How to Lane - Melee vs Ranged in League of Legends



Thu 23rd Nov 2017 - 8:13pm

In League of Legends, there are a plethora of champions with different shapes, sizes and abilities. Many champions are melee and are recognizable by their point blank basic attacks. If you’ve ever played a game of League and if you’re reading this, you would know how unfortunate and painful it is to play as a melee champion against a ranged one.

Many players seem to give up the laning phase when they see that they’re against a ranged champion. Fear not! We will discuss some things you can do in these matchups to help improve your laning experience. Using the information presented will allow you to be more active in lane rather than giving it over to the enemy.

Starting Items

If you are a champion that doesn’t have the best early game, then I recommend starting with Doran’s Shield. This item is good as it gives you some early defensive stats that will benefit you in the early levels and help you sustain. Realistically, you will be unable to always trade exclusively against ranged champions. Taking early defensive stats will allow you to survive for longer during the early stages of the game.

Dorans Shield is a great starting item.

The item itself gives 80 health and flat health regeneration every 5 seconds. This is good because it will heal you back quicker when you are attacked. It will also restore health when taking damage from enemies. I do not recommend taking harass for free, but in some situations you will have to take damage to farm. This is overall a really good item to start with because it will allow you to survive in lane for longer against the enemy's harassment.

Level 1/2

In Melee versus Ranged matchups, the lane is quickly dictated by who hits level 2 first. In the all matchups, you will want to hit level 2 first but especially in melee versus ranged. If you do not get the level 2 first, then you will be denied minions and farm. While you may not be able to do anything against Ranged champions early, it is important to hit the level 2 to stay up in CS. Being an equal level will prevent the enemy going for extremely trades in the early levels. This will also prevent you from being poked out and losing minions and the experience. Farming is something you need to do and you must make sure to keep the wave in a reasonable position so you can farm easier.


Going for early trades against champions with ranged can be one way of swinging the lane into your advantage. If you can get the level 2 advantage, then you can go for a trade if the enemy is still level 1.

You can try to fight them if you have ranged abilities such as Akali Q, Zed Q and Talon W. However, this is very situational and depends on the champion you’re playing and who you’re against. It is recommended to look up your champion's power spikes. Most Assassins have the opportunity for an early level trade such as Zed’s W+Q combo. Champions who deal damage will benefit more from these early level trades compared to tanks.

Ability Farming

Most champions in League of Legends have at least 1 damaging ability. Some of them cost mana, some cost health and others cost energy. If you're in a matchup where you are being heavily denied CS from a champion with range, then I recommend trying to farm with your abilities.

If your ability doesn't cost any mana, then it is possible that you can farm with that ability. Dr. Mundo, The Madman of Zaun, has his Q ability that doesn't cost any mana but instead health. This ability will refund the cost if you kill the enemy hit. This can be a good way of farming because you are able to regenerate and get the cost back immediately or over time.

There are some other champions that can benefit from using their abilities to farm with such as Zed. While this sounds good on paper, it is highly situational. You should not, and I do not recommend using your abilities to only farm with. You need to poke and last hit. If you are only farming with your abilities, then you lose all your poke potential. You should not use your abilities to farm if they have high mana costs.

Sacrifice CS for Experience

Getting farm is incredibly important. In lanes where you will be poked when going to take farm, it is best to sacrifice some of them for the experience. While you do need gold and minions to buy items, experience and staying alive is more important. You need to stay up in CS and levels to still be hazardous to the enemy. While high elo players suggest getting a high amount of CS at 10 minutes, in lanes like this you will have to take what you can get. I recommend always trying to get Cannon minions, but be prepared to sacrifice some. Is that minion gold worth the amount of harassment from the enemy? Keep that in mind when farming.


Depending on your champion, you may need to pick up more defensive items early. If you’re a tank and playing against someone with range such as a Kayle or Swain. I recommend buying early armor or magic resist before getting your first core item.

In Season 7, Bramble Vest was introduced and it is an amazing item. It’s a mini Thornmail with the same “Thorns” passive. It will deal damage back to enemies when you’re being attacked from basic attacks. This is good as it will allow you to deal damage to them when they attack you. At 1000 gold, the item grants 35 armor which will also help you when trading and farming.

There are many other defensive items out there. Some may be more viable then others and you should build what you need right now to survive the laning phase. Ninja Tabi is another good example of an early defensive item. However, you should only get this item if you will directly benefit from it.

Minion Wave

In every laning phase, you should play around with minion waves to get the most out of your lane. This depends on your champion, but you should try to have it in a more defensive position outside of your tower. You do not want to push the wave because the enemy will easily freeze the wave in a position much further up in the lane and deny you CS. This is something you do not want to happen. When backing or roaming, push the wave as far as you can so they cannot take your tower. Minions will act on instinct and if you’re being attacked by autos from the enemy champion, they will switch targets. This means the wave may mess up - keep that in mind when playing around with minions.


If you’ve messed up the minion wave and are being heavily denied, then you should roam. If you are a champion with any potential CC, then you can look to roam and rotate with or without your jungler. Before roaming, make sure that it will be worth it. Push the wave so the enemy cannot take your tower. Look for potential opening in the game where you can gank your middle or bot. Wait for the enemy to use a core ability before going ham.

You must remember that you will be in a disadvantaged position at the start of the game. It is important to farm up and play safe especially early. You should try to position the wave in a favourable position to sustain a high level of creeps while also staying healthy and not being poked easily by enemies. It is better to stay a few CS behind early rather than having to back because you took too much aggro. Practise makes perfect when playing melee versus ranged. Every lane is different so keep an eye on what you can do to have the best possible outcome to this laning phase. In many cases, experience matters as League of Legends is a very, very situational game.

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