5 Lethal Strategies for Securing First Blood in League of Legends
Mon 19th Aug 2019 - 9:04pm
Drawing First Blood is an important moment in any League of Legends match that you’re likely to play. It contributes to the flow of the early game greatly by providing the killing team an immediate boost to their gold income, allowing the killing player to take a lane advantage and denying vital farm for the slain enemy. While it is not impossible to come back from this initial disadvantage, it is certainly challenging against a team that knows how to secure their lead. For these reasons, we’re going to take a look at 5 strategies that you can try over the course of your next games to secure First Blood and snowball your way to victory.
1. The Level 2 Bot Lane Press
We’re going to start with a personal favourite - this cheesy strategy is one of the most successful strategies here, and if you don’t end up locking down the kill, you’re sure to burn some summoner spells in the process.
This method takes place in bot lane and focuses on taking advantage of the power disparity between a level 1 champion and a level 2 champion. Usually, there isn’t a large amount of time between you levelling up and your lane opponent doing the same, so we’re operating with a small window of opportunity. Essentially, the idea is to launch an all-in engage as soon as you and your ally laner hit level 2, to punish your enemies with an extra ability at your disposal. Take a look at the strategy in action below:
The core component of this strategy is knowing how to effectively track your experience gain. Assuming both the ADC and Support are in the lane to gain experience from the first minion death, they will hit level 2 after 1 full wave + 3 melee minions. It is on this second wave that you should start to position yourself for the engage. There are a few other pieces of key information to consider when trying out the Level 2 Press:
- You need a support with strong CC for the initial lockdown, such as Thresh, Leona, Zyra, or Morgana
- This works best with high mobility ADCs, such as Tristana, so that you can follow the enemies' Flashes and lock down that kill
- Save high-damage abilities for the engage. It’s okay to miss a minion or two in positioning yourself correctly
- Consider your summoner spells: depending on which side of the map their jungler is farming on, it may be best to hold onto them rather than Flash after the double kill
2. The Invade Strategies
This is a strategy that nearly everyone in League of Legends has been involved in. Whether they were on the winning side of it or not comes down to which team was feeling cheesier at the time. To best utilise this strategy, you should run a team with heavy level 1 lockdown, particularly in the support role. Blitzcrank, Thresh, and Morgana are all excellent choices for this, and provided someone else on the team takes an ability that can CC as well, you’re almost guaranteed First Blood regardless of whether the enemy uses their summoner spells or not.
There are many ways to effectively execute this strategy but we’re going to run through 3 in particular on the blue side for you in order of cheesiness.
This first method, seen above, requires less commitment than following two, as you’re simply holding a forward position rather than pressing too far into the enemy jungle. Gaining control of this brush and stacking your team in there can catch wandering warders by surprise as they try to gain vision over the river.
Now we're getting into a more aggressive invade. Your team can move up into this brush and push across to the enemy’s buff to try and find a pick, while being able to also back out of this position easily enough if the situation looks unfavourable.
This final strategy will combine both positions and smother them in cheese as you dive over the walls and into the enemy’s buff to wipe up as many kills as possible, while maybe even stealing their buff along the way. This strategy will require a strong level 1 team with equal commitment to the invasion or else you’ll see yourselves crumble as soon as you Blast Cone over the wall. Not only will a Support with strong CC be required for this, but a team with high early damage is needed to ensure you come out on top rather than fall apart at the enemy's feet.
Invades are among the most high-risk, high-reward methods when it comes to locking down First Blood. As previously mentioned, team-wide commitment is required to pull these off without a hitch, but knowing the spawn times of the buffs (at 01:30) is also vital in coordinating your movements. When the buff spawns, waiting a few seconds before blasting over the wall is going to be better for your team, as the enemy will have been damaged by the buff already and will also likely have used abilities in attacking it.
3. The Lane Freeze Gank
Let’s slow it down a bit. Not all First Bloods need to come from cheese strategies. In fact, sometimes it’s better to take some time coordinating your next attack with your team. This method is arguably the textbook example of a gank, as the laner will freeze the minion wave just beyond their own tower (highlighted in red), keeping the enemy pressed up in their own lane and consequently exposed to ganks from your jungler (the blue arrow). For a better demonstration of this, refer to the below image:
This strategy, as previously mentioned, is a lot slower than the others mentioned in this guide. That being said, sometimes the most lethal methods are the ones that are more carefully worked than others, with this being a prime example. Where the above image shows the blue side perspective of a lane freeze gank, the gank may actually work better if the red side bot lane freezes the minion wave just outside of their towers, as the blue side tribrush is another avenue of potential for the jungler to exploit on their way down. Either way, while this is the most calm approach to securing First Blood of the 5 on the list, it can definitely prove to be an effective one if the others aren't applicable to your game.
4. The Counter-Leash trap
Now, totally ignore what we just said about slowing it down because this strategy brings the cheese straight back into your gameplay, particularly oriented towards a bot lane with high early damage and decent CC. This method will surely cause some trouble for unsuspecting enemies. This works best in the Tribrush as the red side and in the bot-side river brush as the blue side, with the aim being to wait until the enemy bot lane runs towards you after leashing their jungler. Take a look below:
This is dependent upon a few different factors, so do not feel discouraged if it doesn't go according to plan in every one of your games. The first variable is the camp at which the enemy jungler starts at. Should they start somewhere other than the bot-side red/blue buff, you won't catch the opposing bot lane as they rotate down towards you. Secondly, your own jungler needs to find another leash for their buff, requiring that your mid laner take valuable seconds away from their own lane or your jungler Smites the buff rather than a later camp. The last thing to consider with this trap is that there is every possibility that the brushes are warded, meaning that moving through them can turn against you very quickly; leaving a ward in the river behind you to make sure you don't get caught out is essential to the success of this plan.
5. The 3-Way Gank
This final strategy makes use of a mid-laner with Teleport, as they work with their ally laner/s (depending on whether this is executed in top or bottom lane) and jungler to converge on the enemy from 3 different directions. This strategy is le grand fromage of cheese strats, as it focuses a huge amount of attention on one particular lane from many different players at once. The following clip shows this strategy in motion in a custom game, for you to adapt to your next PvP match:
Regardless of the enemy top laner’s reactions, running an ally through the tri-brush, river and lane itself at the same time provides little-to-no opportunity for escape for your opponent. Bear in mind that the strategy only works following a deep ward in the enemy’s tri-brush, so that your mid laner can make the approach from behind, but once it’s placed, you’re good to go. As the top laner in this situation, you should attempt to freeze the lane just outside of tower range so that, similarly to the 4th strategy in this list, you expose your enemy as best you can to your team.
The strategies mentioned throughout this article were designed with the aid of willing assistants, but applying the theories into your own games will undoubtedly provide you with success once you find the right combinations of champions for the job and nail the timing of your coordinated attacks. First Blood is a valuable bounty to cash in on, don't let it fall into the hands of your enemies. GLHF!
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