Decoding the Casters and LoL Roles 1
With both the EU and the NA LCS Summer finals happening this weekend, I figured it was a good time to create a guide to people who are watching either League of Legends (LoL) for the first time or aren’t familiar with all the terminology used by the casters. Also, I’ll talk about the primary LoL Roles.
What’s the Goal of LoL?
The game is a five versus five team game. The ultimate goal for each team is to destroy the enemy base. Each player controls a unique character (a champion) and fulfills a position on the team. To get to the enemy’s base and destroy it, there are a series of structures to destroy first. There are various large scale monsters on the map that once killed, aid that team in their ability in destroying those structures.
That’s about as jargon free of an explanation of LoL as I can give you. So, with that said, let’s translate some of the terminology you hear during a broadcast.
5 Primary Roles
- ADC, AD Carry, Attack Damage Carry, Marksman: if you have ever played a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons the closest analog for this role is “Ranger.” The role is the team’s ranged carry threat. Champions played by this role are usually focused on auto attack damage and scale primarily by building Attack Damage items.
- Support: the best role playing analogy for Support is Cleric. While not necessarily based around healing the team, the Support provides aid in keeping up in vision control and providing roaming support to the other laners. Traditionally the Support is paired up with the ADC. Champions played by Supports tend to offer lots of crowd control and utility.
- Top: traditionally the Tank of the team. While the current meta allows for Top lane players to play more carry oriented champions, Top’s role tends to be playing frontline bruisers that help protect both the Mid laner and the ADC. Top laners tend to equip the summoner spell Teleport, allowing them to make plays across the map.
- Mid: the team’s Mage. Mid laners is the team’s second carry role. Mid lane champions supply the team’s magic damage and arguably, are the most versatile of the roles because of the champions open to them. Mid lane champions can be burst damage oriented assassins, zone control mages, or high utility champions.
- Jungle: the team’s libero. Junglers primary jobs are to provide lane assistance and objective control. Unlike all of the other roles, Junglers are not tied to a specific lane on the map. Junglers tend to be similar to Supports and Top laners in that they tend to play frontline oriented champions that provide some form of crowd control or utility for the team. Junglers can also provide another damage threat for the team like Mid laners and ADCs.
Keywords You’ll Hear During a Match
During the matches, you’ll probably hear these terms thrown around many times by the casters:
- Creep Wave: Squadrons of weak, automated attackers, they push through a lane unless encountering enemy bots, buildings, or are themselves attacked. Manipulation of these minions allows for teams to force decisions between going for objectives like Dragon or Baron, or risk the creep wave taking down a tower.
- Freezing: a technique involving manipulating creep waves. By last hitting specific minions, a player can cause the creep wave to freeze in a specific part of the lane. It’s done to prevent the enemy player from safely attempting to farm minions or as a way for a player who is behind to farm in the safety of their own territory.
- Dragon: a neutral monster that spawns in the Jungle. Defeating Dragon offers the entire team a permanent buff for the duration of the game. It respawns every six minutes. There are four different elemental dragons that can spawn. Each dragon gives a different buff.
- Infernal: gives bonus damage
- Mountain: gives bonus damage to objectives like towers and Baron
- Cloud: gives bonus out of combat movement speed
- Ocean: gives out of combat health and mana regeneration
After the 35 minute mark, the Elder Dragon spawns, and it temporarily amplifies the buffs your team has acquired from killing elemental drakes.
- Baron: a neutral monster that spawn in the Jungle. Defeating Baron gives the entire team a temporary buff. Baron is a highly contest objective because of the stats that the buff gives and allows champions to buff allied minions. Baron buff’d minions are more difficult to clear, thus allowing teams to set up for sieges.
- Siege: a strategic term referring to sitting at an enemy turret, aiming to damage it little by little every time an allied creep wave approaches it. It emphasizes the necessity of a quick and reliable wave clear ability in one’s team composition, and disengage potential in case of an enemy engage and safe and swift turret push.
- Split Push: a term used when a single player on the team is pushing a lane on their own. Usually a side lane like Top or Bottom. The strategy behind this is to cause pressure in multiple lanes, thus splitting the opposing team’s resources.
- Ganking: to “gank” is to show up in a lane with the intention to surprise the enemy player and score a kill. While any role can perform a gank, usually the Jungler or the Mid laner is the most likely to try to execute a gank.
- Rotations: know as rotational play, it refers to a team’s strategic movement on the map. An example would be if a team set up a creep wave to hit the Bottom lane inner turret. Then, they proceed to defeat Dragon. After defeating Dragon, the team goes to siege the Bottom lane inner turret.
- Teleport Flank: players may take two Summoner Spells to strengthen the champion they select to play. Teleport is a Summoner Spell that allows a player to teleport their champion from a location to an allied unit, such as a minion or an allied turret. A Teleport flank is when a player uses an available ward to Teleport behind the enemy to perform a flank maneuver during a teamfight.
- Cooldown: almost all champion abilities in the game have cooldowns: a period of time where abilities are unavailable. Certain champion abilities are extremely crucial to team fights and players will try to play around their cooldowns. The same goes for Summoner Spells like Flash, Heal, and Teleport.
- Backline: usually refers to the Mid laner and the ADC. The backline is where the less tanky carries want to position themselves during a teamfight.
- Positioning: where players should have their champions standing during a teamfight. For example, and ADC rarely wants to be positioned in front of their tanks. This means that they are exposed and easy targets for crowd control effects and being taken out by the enemy team.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of terminology nor does it cover all the complex things that happen during the game. As the EU and NA Regional Qualifiers come closer, I will release part two where I will cover more complex topics like an in-depth look at the Jungle role and what does Vision Control mean. Until then, you can always direct your League of Legends questions to me on Twitter at SageGnosis. Please don’t be a TSM fan.