Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

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Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 29th, 2014, 3:46 pm

Right, so I've been making the occasional strategy post on the Facebook group, but after some thought I decided that I'd change up the format and just make a thread on the CC forums proper so it'd be easier for people to go back and look through past posts.

So, in the future, this thread is going to be the catch-all location for the various things I've learned while playing solo queue. Keep in mind that while I have been improving (at the time of writing, I'm a gold 1 support main, and pretty competent as adc/mid), there are still areas where I'm not the best source of advice (the top lane, for instance), so you may wish to take anything I say there with a grain of salt.
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Strategy Tip #1: Gold

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 29th, 2014, 4:10 pm

Strategy Tip 1: Gold

So, let's start by talking about gold. It seems like a pretty simple topic, but I find it helps illustrate the proper value of CS and objectives.

Now, a kill is typically worth 300 gold (along with half that in assist gold if it wasn't a solo kill), and is good as a "base measurement", considering that going exclusively for kills is one of the common mistakes you see in low elo.

Now, minions are worth approximately 20 gold (slightly more/less depending on game time and whether it's a caster or melee minion), with siege and super minions giving about twice that. This means that 15 CS is the equivalent of one kill in terms of gold. If you picked up no kills in lane but you're 30 CS ahead of your lane opponent, then you've still effectively won the lane.

Towers are the next objective to look at. Outer towers give 100 global gold with 150 extra to whoever actually brought it down. Inner towers give 125 global gold with 100 extra, and inhibitor towers are 175 global gold. If we look at it across the team, that's 650/725/875 total gold, which is roughly the same value as 2-3 kills.

Then there's dragon. Dragon gives 125-265 global gold depending on the level (being more valuable the further into the game you go), for anywhere from 625-1325 total gold.

For junglers, the small monster camps give out anywhere from 50-70 gold total (not counting the fact that their gold increases throughout the game), which means that clearing 5 monster camps would give you as much gold as a kill.

And the last of the global objectives is baron, worth 300 global gold, or 1500 total, not to mention the baron buff. Needless to say, this is exceedingly valuable.

So in short?

Assist = 1/2 kill
15 CS = 1 kill
4-5 small camps = 1 kill
Tower = 2-3 kills
Dragon = 2-4 kills
Baron = 5 kills + buff

In short, if you have the choice between securing a kill and securing an objective, the objective is almost always more valuable. Keep this in mind next time the low-health Leblanc is running away through the jungle and your minion wave is at the tower.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 29th, 2014, 4:28 pm

Strategy Tip 2: Teleport

One of the age-old debates of top and mid, when should you be taking teleport? The spell gives you a great global presence, but at the cost of the lane pressure or utility that an ignite, heal, or exhaust might bring. So when exactly is teleport more valuable?

Firstly, teleport is pretty convenient in the early laning phase to get back to your tower quickly after a recall. If you have to walk back to lane, you'll typically lose a wave of gold and exp to your tower, which can put you behind if your opponent was able to just stay in lane the entire time. Having teleport gives you the luxury of going back to buy and heal up without losing much ground in the lane.

Second, teleport is extremely important for dragon control. This doesn't matter so much for mid laners (since walking down is a short trip for them), but for top laners it's critical.
If you have teleport and the enemy top laner doesn't, then dragon is effectively a 5v4 in your favor unless the enemy top can stop you from TP'ing in. Conversely, if you roam down to dragon and the enemy top tries to respond by taking your tower, you can TP back in as soon as dragon is secure, and deny them the objective.

Third, having at least one teleport late game helps a lot with split-pushing. Huge wave at an enemy tower but nobody's around? Teleport in and take it. Split-pushing alone and a 4v4 breaks out mid? TP in and win the team fight. Minions on the nexus while a team fight breaks out around baron? Once it's over, TP back for the save/victory.

There's other uses as well (Teleport banking the bottom lane, or teleporting behind the enemy team for an ambush), but those are somewhat more situational.

However, by taking teleport, you do give up the use of a combat summoner, which can be incredibly important for lane and later on. So what's the final verdict?

If you're a lane that needs to get early kills and snowball hard (Renekton against Jax, for instance), then having ignite is too important to ignore. Similarly, if you're up against a kill lane where you might get 100-0'd, then having heal or exhaust could be the only thing keeping you alive.

However, if you don't absolutely need your combat summoner to win/survive the lane, then I think the benefits that having teleport gives may be too important to ignore.

A few extra notes.

1. Having teleport is less important for the mid lane, because you typically aren't the one split pushing, it's a shorter trip to roam to the other lanes/dragon, and having the extra kill power of ignite is often key to finish off an opponent.

2. Having teleport in top lane is less of a priority if you can consistently interrupt the opponent's teleport. Just don't go suicidally far under tower or such while attempting to land that stun.

3. Teleport can be pretty good for backdoors or stopping backdoors. That shouldn't be your goal when taking the spell, but it's something to keep in mind.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 29th, 2014, 10:38 pm

Strategy Tip 3: Levels

Let's take a moment to talk about levels, shall we? Now, each level your champion gains gives you most obviously a new skill point, but it also gives you a bunch of minor upgrades in other areas. You get around 80 health, 3 AD, a bit of attack speed, as well as some armor, MR, and mana. (Exact values are all champion-dependant, mind you.)

In short, having the level advantage over someone is a significant advantage, especially early on in the game.

There's several points specifically where having the level advantage can be absolutely critical.

The first is getting the early level 2. A simple rule of thumb for almost any matchup in any lane is that if you hit level 2 first, you have the power to all-in or zone the opponent until they get their own level 2. I've seen a ton of first bloods picked up because the enemy bot lane didn't respect the fact that the Jinx/Leona lane hit level 2 first.

This is important enough that you should know the exact time that you get to level 2. In the bot lane, you'll hit the level 2 after clearing the SECOND wave's melee minions. (Assuming you killed all the caster minions in the first wave.) If you missed one of the melee minions in the first wave (as sometimes happens when leashing the jungler), you'll need to kill two of the second wave's caster minions as well.

In the solo lanes, I believe you hit level 2 after clearing the first melee minion in the second wave, assuming you were there for the entire first wave. (You may wish to double-check that, since I don't remember off the top of my head.)

The second point where having the early level lead can be important is when you unlock your third ability at level 3/4 (depending on the champion). For someone like Leblanc or Riven who use all three abilities in a full combo, this may be the point to attempt an all-in. For others, such as Tristana, the third ability is less important for the early lane phase. Not all champions get a noticeable advantage here, but some do, and it's something to be aware of.

The third point is perhaps the most obvious one, and that's getting your ultimate at level 6. By this point, judging who's ahead in XP and going to hit that level first is more up to common sense than any sort of formula. Just be very cautious if you're even somewhat low and the opponent might hit level 6 first.

There's a few other, less noticeable, power spikes later on as well. One is at level 9, when champions will have their first ability completely maxed. For champions such as Nidalee or Vlad, this is when their primary spell becomes the most powerful, and when they truly start ramping up into something to fear.

And the final ones are at levels 11 and 16, or when you put another rank into your ultimate. These can be important for some ult-reliant characters (Rumble, anyone?), but at this point your power is more determined by what items you have than just your level.

So, what should you take away from this?

1. Whichever side of the lane hits level 2 first is incredibly important and can decide the lane by itself.
2. If the opponent has the level lead on you early on, then they're typically more powerful than you. It's typically a bad idea to engage unless they're low or you have jungler help.
3. The best time to attempt an all-in is when you've hit a new level and your opponent hasn't. This goes double for level 2 and level 6.
4. The level lead becomes less important as the game goes on. The difference between a level 3 and level 4 character is big, between a level 7 and level 8 character it's somewhat noticeable, and between a level 17 and level 18 it's insignificant.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Matirum » April 30th, 2014, 8:25 am

Very informative facts
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Cephas » April 30th, 2014, 1:35 pm

Wow, this is amazing, A good read lots of great information ( I really liked the teleport bit.)(Never knew when it was good or bad to take tele.)

Have you considered coaching?
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 30th, 2014, 6:14 pm

Strategy Tip 4: Blue Buff

So, how many times have you heard the dreaded phrase: "AFK cause jungler took blue." in solo queue? Depending on your mid laner, that might be quite frequently. However, whether the jungler should keep or give over the second (and later) blue buffs does depend a lot on the circumstances of the game, as well as which champions are involved.

The first question you need to ask is which of the mid/jungler actually NEEDS the mana regeneration. If the mid laner has already built Athenes, they can often function perfectly fine without blue. Conversely, there are some mana-dependant junglers that don't really build mana regen (Nocturne comes to mind), so blue buff can be really helpful for them.

The second thing I want to point out is that even when a mid doesn't absolutely NEED blue, it can still be beneficial. While a Ziggs or Nidalee can manage their mana costs perfectly fine with just a chalice, having blue makes their poke utterly terrifying, and will make the enemy mid absolutely hate their life.

The third and most important concern is whether the mid lane is at risk of dying. If the mid laner is 1/6 and getting repeatedly tower dived by the enemy Vi/Leblanc, then giving them blue is effectively handing it over to the enemy team. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the mid laner take blue and then die within the next minute. (The fact that the mid laner in question was often me is completely coincidental.)

And the final thing worth considering is the enemy blue buff. If your mid picked it up off that double kill a minute ago, perhaps the full time of blue on yourself would be more beneficial than just giving mid a refresh. Conversely, if the enemy Heimerdinger took blue and is pushing hard, your mid might need the blue buff to clear the minion wave.

Overall, when to give blue versus when to take it is mostly a judgement call, and I'd say it's ultimately up to the jungler. One more note, giving the blue buff to someone aside from your mid is perfectly possible, so it's worth considering if they keep going out of mana and the typical recipients are managing just fine. Just use your best judgement, and things should work out fine.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » April 30th, 2014, 6:40 pm

Strategy Tip 5: Improving your CS
(For those unfamiliar with the term, CS = Creep Score = minion kills.)

Remember from my post on gold about how a 15 CS lead is the same as getting a kill? CS'ing well is very important, but what are some ways to improve?

The first and most obvious way of losing CS is getting pressured to where you can't last hit without risking death. If this happens, your best bet is just backing away, and recalling or trying to hit under tower as appropriate. It sucks, but as important as farming is, it's not worth sacrificing your life.

Avoiding this pitfall is really just a matter of improving your laning in general, which is outside the scope of this specific tip. I'll try to touch up on laning and match ups at some point in the future.

The second way I see people miss CS is trying to harass instead of last hitting. I've seen plenty of instances where people throw out abilities left and right and then chase their opponent through the lane, while simultaneously leaving the weakened enemy minions to die.

What makes this tricky is that this is sometimes justified. If the harass in question will lead to a kill, force a recall, or otherwise make your opponent miss more CS than you do, then it was a good move. However, many times it's merely harass for the sake of harass, and you're missing CS without actually doing anything important in the lane.

The strategy I currently use is to make last hitting my first priority, and if none of the creeps are low, only THEN go for harass. (There are exceptions to this rule, naturally. If you can win an all-in, if you're playing ADC and your support engages, if the jungler arrives... but this is typically a good rule to follow.)

The third way I see people miss CS is when the wave is pushed to their tower and the tower takes some of the last hits. While last hitting under tower can be tricky, there's a few guidelines to help.

Melee minions will be killable with a single auto attack after taking two tower shots.

Caster minions will die to a tower shot and two auto attacks from someone who hasn't built AD, or one auto from someone who already has.

Siege minions... are pretty hard to judge. I typically recommend using an ability to help last-hit them if you're unsure.

In addition, if your own minion wave is also attacking them at the tower, this can throw the pattern off and make things more difficult. In short, you'll probably miss a couple creeps whenever you're pushed to your tower, just do your best to minimize said losses.

As a side note, if you have quick wave clear and you're not under too much pressure, you can just take the minion aggro yourself and freeze the wave just in front of your tower so you can clear it easily. Just keep in mind that this is more practical for some champions than others. (Jinx can do this incredibly easily, Vayne would have a rougher time.)

The fourth way I see people miss CS is when pushing the wave. There are times when you want to hard-shove the wave, I'll grant. (Pushing to tower to either take it or deny the opponent farm, for instance.) However, unless it's a "Take the inhibitor before they respawn" sort of situation, you should still try to get any CS possible. The key word here is patience. Rather than use all your abilities and autos at the first possible moment to push quickly, take a moment to ensure you get every minion in the wave. It doesn't seem like much, but those few extra minion kills can really add up.

And finally, one way I see teams in general miss CS is letting two of the lanes just sit there while everybody's mid. While there definitely are times when you need to ignore farm for the sake of a team fight, if there's NOT a large fight in the immediate future, it's often a good idea to have someone in the lanes (WITH wards, mind you) farming up. This goes double if there's a massive minion wave pushing your tower. Not only is that a ton of gold and experience you're missing out on, but it'll often do significant damage to your tower, and you could easily lose multiple turrets if an enemy champion goes to help it along.

One final warning. I've been emphasizing how important CS'ing well is, and I stand by that. However, while having good farm is important, being there for objectives, team fights, and barons has to be your top priority. If you're just farming in the bot lane while the enemy team is pushing mid, you may have just cost your team the game.

TLDR:
CS well, and frequently, but smartly.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Matirum » May 1st, 2014, 9:20 pm

an addition to cs strategy is from the perspective of the jungle. "when is it ok to take cs in a lane" , "when do I want to freeze the lane/ when do I shove lane to tower" Im just heading to bed so don't have time to fully answer this right now. if no one touches on it when I next get on ill be sure to answer.
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Re: Nicholas1024's Strategy Thread

Post by Nicholas1024 » May 3rd, 2014, 12:27 pm

Matirum wrote:an addition to cs strategy is from the perspective of the jungle. "when is it ok to take cs in a lane" , "when do I want to freeze the lane/ when do I shove lane to tower" Im just heading to bed so don't have time to fully answer this right now. if no one touches on it when I next get on ill be sure to answer.


Strategy Tip 6: How and when to push?

So you're in lane, you're NOT being harassed down, and you can focus on farm more than just survival. Nicely done. Now for the million dollar question, should you be pushing the wave, or trying to freeze it and just farm up?

Like many things in League, this is a judgement call, and there's legitimate points to be made on both sides, so let me illustrate the pros and cons of each.

Pushing to tower:
Now, pushing to tower will make you more vulnerable to ganks, so it's not recommended unless you have ward coverage. In addition, it also makes it effectively impossible for your jungler to gank your lane unless you're able to tower dive. Also, while some champs can harass well under tower (Caitlyn, Nidalee, etc.), others basically can't without fully committing (Leona, most melee champs). So while they will miss CS, it reduces the chance of them dying, and puts you in a riskier position.

Now for the benefits. First off, if you plan to roam, you absolutely want to push out your lane first. Else they can just match your roam without worry, or take the tower while you're trying to get a kill. Secondly, pushing to the tower is a prerequisite for actually taking the tower, so if you think you're in a position to get the objective (and have the wards to NOT get ganked while doing so), then go for it. Third, as mentioned, it's pretty difficult to last-hit perfectly under tower, so the opponent will likely miss a few creeps unless they have ridiculous waveclear (in which case it's hard to actually push them to tower in the first place.)

Freezing the Lane:
As far as freezing the lane goes, this is more or less the default move, in my opinion. It renders you less vulnerable to ganks, gives your jungler the opportunity to make a move, and is overall a safer play. However, there's a few points to keep in mind here.

1. If the lane is even, then harass is much the same as usual. However, if you have a significant advantage, then you can get away with walking in front of the creeps, basically telling the opponent "If you so much as get near the wave, you will die." Some opponents are easier to deny than others (For instance, you will never prevent a Ziggs from farming), but if they can't effectively clear from a distance, you can sometimes prevent them from CS'ing at all. In extreme cases, it's even possible to deny them experience, which means they'll have basically no hope of coming back without extreme jungler help.

2. NEVER freeze the lane just outside of the opponent's tower. This gives them all the advantages of tower safety and being hard to gank without giving you any advantage whatsoever. You'd be just as vulnerable as if it's pushed to tower, you can't damage the turret, and they won't even miss any creeps from the wave position. If you're in this position, either let them push the wave, or send it to the tower and let that reset things.

3. You need to keep in mind that if you're last hitting and the opponent is not, the wave will slowly push on it's own. Furthermore, if your creep wave is bigger than the enemy creep wave, it'll continue to grow and push on it's own. Unless the enemy creep wave starts bigger than your own and you only last hit (And tank a few of their caster minions while you wait for your own to arrive), the lane will push eventually.


Conclusion:
Pushing the wave is a good move at times, but you need to do it with a goal behind it. Before you push, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Do I have the wards to push safely?

2. Can I get or damage the tower from this push?

3. Can I deny CS with this push?

4. Can I gain map pressure with this push so my team can do things elsewhere?

5. Can the enemy team take advantage of my time spent pushing to win a 5v4 elsewhere?

In short, If you have wards, a goal, and no more pressing objectives, your'e clear to push.


What about the Jungler?
One more thing I didn't touch on above, is how the jungler plays into this. So you've come to the lane, ganked, and now you have the question of whether to push or leave the wave be. Well, here are your options.

If you killed the enemy laner or they're low enough to be dived, then by all means, push to the tower. If they stay, kill them, if not, get damage on the tower.

If your own laner has to back but the enemy lane doesn't, then you can stay and last hit. You can also push and go back to your jungle, but it's wise to check with your laner first. (Some will be fine with it, some will get irritated with you.)

If the gank just didn't materialize and both sides are still pretty high health, then go back to farming your jungle and just wait for the next opportunity.

Aside from that, there's the notion of a "jungle tax", where the jungler takes a few CS after a gank regardless of the outcome. This is really just a matter of personal opinion and which champs scale harder. If you're playing Lee Sin and taking CS from a Vayne, that's probably a mistake. If you're playing something that scales hard like Kayle jungle, then it's fine. Just be aware that most laners (particularly in solo queue) will get annoyed if you tax their lane too much.
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