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Mar 29, 2021

How to Dominate Positioning Early Game and Lane Properly in League of Legends

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Laning Philosophy: Interested in getting better at laning but not sure how? Let's go over the core concepts of laning to understand what you may or may not be doing properly. We'll break down the basics of how to position in lane, what to watch out for, and how to decide target priority. For purposes of this exercise, we'll be using screenshots from bot lane since it's a more complicated exercise, but the same philosophies apply to solo lanes as well.


Laning Philosophy

Interested in getting better at laning but not sure how? Let's go over the core concepts of laning to understand what you may or may not be doing properly. We'll break down the basics of how to position in lane, what to watch out for, and how to decide target priority.


For purposes of this exercise, we'll be using screenshots from bot lane since it's a more complicated exercise, but the same philosophies apply to solo lanes as well.


Basic Neutral Gameplay


During the laning phase, imagine a circle around each champion representing their effective range. This varies from champion to champion, and the danger level within that range also varies.

While this might seem obvious, what's not obvious is that these circles should at a minimum always be overlapping. Optimally, you want to put the enemy inside your circle but not be in their circle if possible. The overlap of these circles should always constantly be changing in order to mask your intentions.

Why So Serious?

If you're outside of this range constantly during laning phase you're not applying enough pressure in lane. This means the following:

  1. The enemy laners are free-farming 
  2. Your teammate is left vulnerable and pressured
  3. When you approach for jungle ganks it's incredibly obvious

What if my circle is very small or theirs is very big?

Some champions have low effective ranges. However, there's a secret that these small ranged players can use to their advantage and that's by taking advantage of the motion of the ocean, or at least the flow of the lane.

The secret is, these circles turn off. Every time the enemy champion uses a spell or launches an auto-attack, their circle either gets weaker or sometimes disappears entirely. Take for example Blitzcrank:




When Blitzcrank's hook is available, this red circle is the danger zone. Meanwhile, when his hook is down, his effective zone goes down to that nice cute little green circle.

Note that Miss Fortune in this screenshot is at AFK distance and should be closer to one of the green X mark.

Target Selection

Okay, so you're in range of being useful and now it's time to battle it out. What's next? Next is target selection. Generally speaking, you'll want to go for the stronger champion (the one that does more damage). 

During a skirmish this fundamentally comes down to the one golden rule:
Do more damage to them than they do to you on a percentage basis
- SSJSuntastic @ nerfplz.com

Besides the obvious dodge their abilities and hit them with yours, let's check out the target selection diagram below.




Here, we see that all four champions are relatively close in HP. 
  • Janna and Sivir are in range of Swain
  • Lulu and Swain are in range of Sivir.
  • Janna and Lulu cannot hit each other
  • Sivir has the OPTION to hit Swain or Lulu
  • Swain has the OPTION to hit Janna or Sivir
Janna and Sivir MUST both hit Swain here to win this trade.
Swain and Lulu MUST both hit Sivir here to win this trade.

Obviously, only one side can actually win this trade, but if Swain or Sivir pick the incorrect target here, it's an automatic trade loss. The enemy team will see that they can kill their target faster than they die, forcing the enemy to back off and take free damage.

Once one side gets items and level advantages this changes.

Level 2 All In

Whew, okay that was a lot of overcomplicating some generally intuitive laning, but now that you know exactly what to be looking for graphically, hopefully that helps you out.

Next up is the legendary level 2 all-in. 

Always watch out for the level two all-in. This is how many minions it takes to hit level 2:
  • Solo lane: Seven minions (first wave plus one melee minions)
  • Bot Lane Duo: Nine minions (first wave plus three melee minions)
Melee minions grant more experience than ranged minions. 

Below, you can see how this plays out in a grandmaster game with Doublelift playing Tristana. 

The MOMENT that his auto-attack is in the air to kill the third melee minion, both he and Galio jump all-in. Note how both Galio and Tristana start positioning right when the minion is about to die.


Here, there are a few takeaways.

  1. Keep the wave relatively even on the first wave
  2. In solo lanes kill the second wave's first melee minion ASAP (three melee minions for duo lanes)
  3. If you don't think you can hit level two before the enemy laners, back off when the second melee minion is at half health.

Summoner Spell: Flash


Finally, let's talk about Flash. We could literally write full guides on how to use Flash properly, and someday we will. For now let's just go over some basic fundamentals about Flash and how to use it properly.

Flash before, not after

Reaction times aside, always be ready for dangerous spells and use Flash to dodge the maximum damage, not to run from death. For example, If you see the Blitzcrank hook is about to land or could land, use Flash before it gets to you. Late game players seem to understand this, but early on are greedy and try to hold their Flash as long as possible.

Flash IN not OUT

Again, thinking about the Blitzcrank scenario, his hook is his only gap closer. After that's burned he's relatively weak and can be kited to hell by any ranged champion. Maximize his hook downtime by flashing towards him (at an angle) and rain damage on him while he has no way to fight back.

Plan Ahead

This is something that's grossly underrated. Players often see high-level players flash things like Malphite ultimate and think it's based on pure reaction speed. The truth is that they've already planned for the occasion and know exactly what they need to Flash in order to avoid dying.


It will take a long time before you can use Flash at a high level but keep thinking about the different potential use-cases and you'll be grossly ahead of your peers. Combine this with the laning skills you learned above and you'll be climbing the ranks in no time!

Did you find these tips helpful? Got your own to add? Comment below!





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