Snowball Fight! How to Push Advantages from a Lane



Thu 7th Nov 2019 - 10:48pm

Gaining a lead doesn't mean the game is over and won. To create a complete victory you must know how to snowball your lead by accelerating your lead and holding your opponents down. With effective snowballing, leads will roll away from your opponents and over their nexus. 

Active Farming 

The key feature of snowballing is to make yourself one of the most important people in the game. This involves accelerating your income and experience so that you can impact the game more than any other player on the Rift.

Active farming is extremely important for extending a lead. CS is simply guaranteed gold and, once you have a lead, there should be nothing stopping you from securing every CS in the lane. Since 17 CS will on average equal one kill’s worth of gold, these CS leads can quickly become deadly for your opponent. Level ups are effectively free stats. Simply leveling up causes you to become harder to kill and enhances your ability to fight your opponents. 

This sounds simple enough! However, the question becomes how do you effectively and actively extend these CS and experience leads?

The way you can effectively accelerate your income with CS is with proactive rotations and side wave control. First, you must determine what threatens you on the opposing team. Champions like Rengar and Hecarim make it hard to defend yourself when you are isolated. Against these champions, you should look to farm waves as they are pushed to your side of the map and create slow pushes for pressure without having to isolate yourself from your team.  However, if they don’t have a distinct side lane threat, you can proactively push waves to the opponent’s side of the map before moving back to the fog of war. It is important after you determine how you want to control these waves, and that you create vision control that enables you.

The purpose of your vision control is to create a lack of opposing vision directly adjacent to the lane and create a path of vision that creates safety for you to move between the side lanes and your team. To stay safe while farming, knowing how far you can safely extend is crucial. Once you reach your limit, use the vision pockets you created to apply pressure on the opposing team with a lack of information.

Once you’re positioned correctly to maximize CS, you must practice efficiency. Farm efficiency is your ability to secure as much of the CS that is accessible. The best way to learn this efficiency is practice. Some ways to practice farming is to go into practice tool with runes that do not provide any farming assistance and attempt to hit as much CS as possible for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, the perfect CS number is 105. If you can consistently hit between 85 and 105 CS, you are beginning to really hit large CS numbers. Another way to practice is to go into a custom with a bot and challenge yourself to farm while dodging all of the bots' spells without trading back. These methods of farming are to make it harder for you to farm while in practice so that once you move to a game against a real opponent you are more knowledgeable about your limits.

Shoot for between 8-10 CS/min with this strategy to truly maximize your income and make yourself the most powerful person in the game with only one or two kills to your name.

Denying your opponent CS is also important with a lead. Once you have a lead, you have power over your opponent and you should use this to deny them CS. This is done by stepping forward, ready to use your abilities anytime that the opponent plans to step forward for a last hit. Create vision control around your lane and make sure to respect the opponent’s trades since you are putting yourself in a vulnerable, forward position. With the awareness to avoid Jungler’s and your opponent’s abilities, you can create massive health leads that allow you to force your opponent to either recall or risk death by staying in lane. Any CS you can deny your opponent stacks on the CS lead that you can build.

These are greedy ways to play the game. Make sure to be accessible to your team’s needs or this farm won’t mean as much. If you are the best form of waveclear on your team then there is a good chance that you will be necessary to defend and you will have to give your assistance to your team with waveclear. This will generally lower your experience leads but you can continue to develop your CS lead when providing waveclear to your team. Also, if you are planning to farm in a side lane, keep in mind which objectives your team will want to prioritize.  With Teleport you want to pressure the opposite side of the map from the objective and hope to draw your opponents. Without Teleport, your plan should be to push waves close to your target objective and use the downtime between waves to strengthen your vision control and prepare to fight with your team.

Objectives and Kills

Once you begin to snowball your gold lead, you must be able to end the game and you won’t be able to do this through farm alone. It is time to learn how to use your leads to secure kills and objectives where your opponents have no chance to contest you.

You can begin this snowball in lane. By controlling vision around your lane and tracking the enemy Jungler, you should be able to push your opponent into their tower. This can heavily benefit you as a result of turret plates or ganks. Upon pushing your opponent into their tower, you do have a few options. You can roam to an extended lane and use your lead to create leads for your allies in other lanes with kills or forcing recalls. Although this is not always accessible, there is gold that is always accessible. Instead of roaming, if you have proper vision around your lane, you can take turret plates. Turret plates give 160 gold per plate. This can result in a kills worth of gold with just two plates! Laning objective secures are unique as they commonly don’t result in large power plays but are still massively valuable to create earlier item spikes.

With power, you must create vision control and objective pressure that forces your opponents into poor decisions. Always buy control wards! It is important to create vision around objectives that allows you to know where your opponents are and where they cannot see. Move with your teammates to ensure safety and create large zones of vision surrounding the impending objectives. Then you must look for openings and be patient. Look for overextensions, isolated opponents, or plays being made far from the crucial objective.

Credit: KipItSimple

With vision control and quick, effective rotations, your team should be able to pounce on kills and objectives that accelerate your path towards victory. If the opposing team overextends be ready to flank and punish the opponent’s aggression with an engage. When an opponent steps away from their team collapse and punish this mistake with a kill before their team can attempt to help. Finally, when a team responds to a split push or attempts a pick on the far side of the map from the Baron or Drake, collapse on the neutral objective as a team with a guaranteed numbers advantage.

Move where you have information when going for acceleration plays. Ensure that your vision is secure, and your opponents aren’t waiting to throw a counterpunch once you attempt your play. Be willing to adapt to your opponent’s reaction to your play and optimize your gains and deny your opponent even the smallest victory.

Power Play

Once you’ve used your vision and map pressure to capitalize on a mistake with either a kill or an objective your next goal is to optimize your power play. A power play is a play that you can make as a result of a successful pick, fight, or objective take. Power plays are crucial to using small victories to create massive advantages for your team. For example, if you kill one of your opponents and then immediately collapse on a lane to get a tower, the act of getting the tower is known as a power play.

The nature of the initial kill or objective will define how you should control your power play. When you secure a baron, use the massively buffed minions to siege opponent’s towers since their waveclear will struggle to deal with the strong resistances and damage buffs that are given to the minions. If you are able to take a tower, this can create opportunities for the rest of the game. The opposing team will lose pressure in the area surrounding the tower that you have taken and will no longer be as safe on their side of the map. Secure vision in their jungle surrounding the tower after the tower take and use this zone of power to create picks and advantageous teamfight situations. Inhibitors also create free pressure for your team in the lane that you took an inhibitor in for a long period of time. Without even visiting that lane your minions will push into the opponent’s base forcing your opponents to respond to the minions allowing you a guaranteed numbers advantage in other areas of the map.

One of the situations that creates a large variety of different power plays is when you get a pick or teamfight win. Depending on map positioning and vision your power play can change from kill to kill as the game goes on. Make sure to take every variable into account. The play you make after kills depends on positioning, minion wave positioning, vision placement, and how many resources and gold your team has. These power plays can range from recalling as a team to spend large amounts of gold to ending the game with a swift push down a lane. You must be adaptable to different circumstances and not reach for more than your team can safely do.

How to Avoid Throwing

Restraint is an important quality to learn in order to effectively snowball without risk of giving your opponents the chance to claw back into the game. 

To avoid throwing, you must realize that denying your opponent the chance of trading is almost always more important than reaching for that play that feels just in reach. Overextensions without vision are a commonly recurring error that can easily allow your enemy team to fight for their gold back. Especially with a bounty, you should never put yourself in an avoidable situation that could result in handing over that bounty.

Never let your eyes off important objectives. The raw stats and pressure that a Baron or Elder Dragon can provide a team can make up for large gold deficits and allow them to fight you on level ground. Keep dynamic vision control on the map and position according to how you can respond.

Never overreach in a power play. It can feel so empowering to have a Baron buffing your team or a numbers advantage as a result of a kill. However, if you play loose and allow the team a winning fight, then they can claw back gold or extend the game with the denial of a Baron siege.

Try to avoid fighting with a lot of gold in your pocket. Your gold lead is only as good as what is in your inventory. If you fight your opponent with a 1500 gold lead but are holding 3000 gold, you are, in reality, 1500 gold behind for that specific fight. 

Good Luck on the Rift. Snowball on your enemies and climb the ladder!

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