Precise Practice Tips for League of Legends
Sat 1st Feb 2020 - 4:58pm
In all things, practice makes perfect and League of Legends is no exception to the rule. To obtain mastery of the Rift, your champions, and to hit that ELO you crave, you've got to put in the time and effort to make the majority of what is needed to obtain your goal second nature. So, today we'll be breaking down some practice habits to get into, as well as covering some tips that can improve the quality of your League sessions.
1. Practice Last-Hitting
You can't talk about practicing without mentioning this routine. Every laner (even Supports) should be comfortable last-hitting on their champions. And the best way to go about gearing yourself to perfectly CS is to drop into the Practice Tool or a Custom Bot game and go at it.
To start yourself off with this routine, jump into the Practice Tool, grab your standard starting items, run to your lane and focus on last hitting the minions. Your goal during this exercise is to hit 100 CS by ten minutes. This is the gold standard number for perfect CS and is what high ELO streamers and professional players aim for when playing themselves. And if you've ever had a 1-on-1 coaching session, most coaches will encourage you to push for this benchmark as well!
You may not hit this goal on the first try, and that's okay. Remember, we're practicing here! We're refining the visual and muscle memory down so we can succeed when under pressure from an opponent.
Speaking of which, we can also simulate this pressure and still practice our CS skills. For our second routine, let's drop into a Custom Bot Game and throw in a Bot to lane against. Our goal is still to achieve the 100-CS by ten-minute mark, but we're also going to try and harass the enemy Bot out of lane. This exercise not only gets us used to last hitting while under a mild amount of pressure, but we also learn a bit about our trading patterns on our champion, and we can look for ways to manipulate the wave to get in extra poke without losing CS. Again, you're probably not going to be perfect starting out, but once you feel comfortable with the routine and feel like you want to ramp up the difficulty, you can drop in an Intermediate Bot for your next session to ramp up the environment. Intermediate Bots will definitely move to harass you more and will be closer (relatively) to the environment of a normal or Ranked game.
Ideally, you want to hit that 100-CS benchmark through all of these routines. But, the reality is that most of us aren't perfect and will probably fall short of this goal. Don't sweat it and just focus on getting better for your next session. 80 or 90 CS at ten minutes is still an excellent point to be and, if we're hitting this consistently and still spiking closer to 100, we've built up good muscle and visual memory for success in normal or ranked queues!
2. Practice Your Cancels and Combos
Every champion has an ideal rotation of spells. When executed cleanly, these combos produce the highest amount of burst and DPS against your enemy. Equally so, most champions have a set of animation cancels that further optimize these combos and allow for not only precise execution but also allow us to catch opponents off-guard. And to all you Junglers out there, canceling animations is one of the best ways to optimize your Jungler clear!
Starting with our Laners, pick the champion you'll be practicing and research their combos first and foremost. After you've collected a list of the combos, have them pulled up to the side and drop into the Practice Tool to begin simply executing the combos against a Target Dummy. I suggest removing cooldowns first and just executing the combo over and over again. Focus on how the combos are executed visually first and memorize patterns and frames you see.
After you have this down, turn cooldowns back on and focus on executing the combos within the appropriate frames. With cooldowns on, you may have some lag between what you saw without cooldowns, but you still have a proper visualization of what occurred and are now executing them under regular restraints to build proper muscle memory. For this routine, you don't want to just practice it a 'couple' of times. You want to practice until you can do it perfectly every time.
Also, if your champion's combos synergize with items like Hextech-GLP or Gunblade, you'll want to incorporate these items and practice the windows that these item activations can be woven into the combos for optimal damage.
For you Junglers, the primary focus for your routine should be proper auto-canceling when clearing your jungle. For those unfamiliar, canceling your auto-attacking is basically stopping the follow-through of the animation after the damage has been dealt. Canceling your animation allows you to kite the camp a few steps back, before doing so again and again. During this process, the camp will also cancel its animations and fail to deal damage to you, thus allowing you to maintain a healthier clear.
This is especially important on the first clear of the game. If your Champion is weak during the early stages, optimizing your clear will help in situations where you are invaded and will prevent you from having to back at inopportune times. Tempo is key when playing Jungle and, if you're forced to back early, you concede tempo to your opponent allowing them to dictate the course of the map until you can recover.
3. Limit Your Champ Pool and Play Your Mains in Normals
We all want to be that player that can play literally any champion within our role. But, we're not all Faker. One of the best ways to not only climb but improve as well is to limit your pool to a select solid group. So, look at your champions in your role. Refine that list down to five picks and say, "These champions are my mains."
Now, with those five champions in mind, we'll naturally want to put them through their paces by practicing their combos and cancels as we mentioned above. But, we'll also want to put them up against real players. However, don't jump immediately into ranked! Take your champion into normals first and apply your combos and practice in a live atmosphere.
Normals are a great space to 'limit test' and push hard to see what it is your champion can and cannot do. And truthfully the only consequence of playing poorly in a normal game is the potentially miserable time that you'll have under the boot of someone playing something they're familiar with. Even then, learning how to play your champion in a losing situation just helps you simulate the environment where you need to play the 'comeback' game claim your LP from the jaws of defeat in ranked.
4. Consume League Content Related to Your Role and Champions
This one seems out of place in the 'practice' article, but this is an important part of our pathway to improvement. Professional athletes from all sports consume the content of the predecessors. Pros 'watch film' and see what it is the leaders of their craft did well to succeed in their day and try to emulate their efforts in their modern practice and game. Though League doesn't stretch multiple decades to give us thousands of star players to draw from, the high ELO community is filled with tons of players to look up to.
Be these professional players that stream the game in their off-time, high ELO personalities like Tyler1, or one-tricks that focus on the champions within our pool, we've got plenty of film to watch and study. The VODs, YouTube videos, and Twitch clips these players produce may enlighten us to something about our role or champions that we may have not been previously aware of. So, in our downtime away from the game, we can keep geared towards implementing practice habits by consuming the content of these players.
5. Seek Out 1v1s Against One-Tricks and Mains
1v1s are great. Not only are they an arena to claim bragging rights, but they're also a great atmosphere to practice the mantra "iron sharpens iron."
For each of your champions that you add to your pool, you should seek out players of these champions and ask to practice and limit-test against these players within the one vs. one setting. By playing the mirror match, you can see what it is a player with more experience on the champion does and look to apply what they do to your own play.
This setting is also great for coaching as you have an immediate source of champion knowledge right in front of you. Often, one-tricks and mains have already isolated their patterns, know their windows of opportunity, and could have tricks of execution for their champions that they can share to you to help you along the learning curve. Further, these players often play their champions through good and bad metas, so they're probably the best source of measuring their champions' strengths from patch to patch.
If you're struggling to find players who main the champions you're looking to play, seek out the Discord servers and Subreddits related to the champion you're eyeing! Often champion communities are welcoming and can be the gateway to establishing yourself as a true main of whoever you have your eyes set on, and you can often find great friends within these communities that will push to to improve your play!
1. Practice Last-Hitting Before You Play
2. Learn and Practice Your Combos and Cancels
3. Limit Your Champion Pool/Play the Champions Regularly in Normals
4. Watch Pros, High ELO Streamers, and One-Tricks for our Role/Champions
5. One v. One More Experience Players
I hope these tips get you going on the pathway to refining good practice habits and eventually climbing to the rank you desire!