Win the Map: Roaming in League of Legends



Thu 12th Mar 2020 - 6:02pm

Winning in League of Legends is near impossible if you are a one-man army with the daunting feat of fighting the entire enemy team. In order to avoid this situation, you must be able to consistently and effectively roam the map creating advantageous situations for your team to build leads and eventually win the game through. There are multiple important steps to take in order to roam effectively and efficiently.

Create Window

First, you must create a roam window. Roam windows are periods of time where there is little to no opportunity cost for your roam. This basically means that the time you spend roaming should not repeatedly be at the expense of gold, experience, or objectives. You also need to ensure that you will be able to move before your opponent by forcing them to give up gold and experience to follow immediately. You must be able to understand what defines these windows and what actions can create them. 

One key feature of a roam window is a large period of time before your opponent can push their minion wave to your tower. The reason for this is you do not want to lose gold and experience and allow your opponent to get damage and plates from your tower. This will generally mean you want to crash a stacked wave shortly after waves meet by quickly clearing the wave and then moving away from it. A stacked wave is only necessary if your opponent is matching you at that moment in lane. If your opponent is showing on vision or has recalled then you have no need for a stacked wave and can simply move after clearing the minion wave that is there.

In order to consistently create a stacked wave, you will need to pull the wave to your side of the wave then bounce it creating a slow push that will build up over at least one more, maybe two more waves, before clearing the opponent’s wave. You shouldn’t need to escort these waves to tower if you do it correctly since the wave should be too large to hold outside of their tower.

If you plan to use an opponent’s laner as a roam window then you will need to move quickly understand that they have gone for a recall and clear the wave as fast as possible. The risk of roaming on a recall is that you will deny yourself a clean recall. Before you go back to lane in these scenarios you will need to assess your opponent’s items and resources compared to your own to determine if you can return to lane directly or if you will need to recall first.

One case that generally can work is roaming directly from base after recalling. Generally, you will only lose one wave for a roam at this timing and if you can see an opportunity that seems like a sure thing then you will often catch your opponents by surprise.

Assess Opportunities

Having a roam window does not always mean you will have an opportunity. You must be able to determine your opportunities at a moment’s notice or you risk too much unnecessary movement that can nullify the roam window you created for yourself.

An easy way to keep up with this is to use your F-keys as they are called (F1-F5) that will help you cycle through the cameras of your teammates or even just be vigilant of the minimap as you are controlling the wave. If you are paying attention correctly then you should already know where you want to go as you crash the wave. This should take practice and until then you should have a few moments to decide after the crash.

There are two distinct criteria that are important to understanding where a roam opportunity is revealing itself in an adjacent lane. One is a glaring vulnerability in your opponent’s positioning and the other is an overwhelming strength in your ally’s positioning. However, the laner’s positionings aren’t the only things that matter, keep both junglers in mind when deciding when and where to move to.

The most common vulnerabilities you will spot are overextension or overstaying. In situations where your allies and opponents are closely matched and the opponent is pushing waves into your team’s tower then you should spot an opportunity to turn an even lane into a numbers advantage situation for your team. Look for situations where your opponent isn’t escorting a large wave and is still far forward in lane to pounce on a roam. Your allies can even create a situation that forces their opponents into this scenario with a freeze that forces the opponent to make an error in their decision making. Overstaying is more of a question of resources than position in the lane. If one of your opponents in another lane is staying in lane with no mana or low health then this is a strong reason to roam to that lane as you should be able to kill them with a numbers advantage regardless of where they are in the lane. These are also situations that can happen at the end of a successful roam, make sure once a roam is complete that you encourage your teammates to quickly reset if they are low on resources so that the opposing team cannot respond with a roam. 

When looking for strength in your allies to roam to then you want to spot a lane where you can look for a dive. You will want your jungler on the side of the map where you are executing the dive in this case. Your ally laners will have to set up a dive. This requires your opponent’s to hopefully be down resources and in the best case scenario Summoner Spells as well. It also requires your allies to crash a minion wave on the enemy tower. You will use this minion wave to position for the dive before any of your teammates have to take turret aggro.

You almost always want to roam to the side of the map that your jungler is on. This allows you to have a bit of security with the potential help of your jungler depending on how the situation plays out. It is also helpful to track the opposing jungler when you’re going for these roams. If you are not considering the positioning of the opposing jungler then you can very quickly have a roam turned against you with a surprise counter gank. Use information such as buff spawning or deep vision to ensure the positioning of the opposing jungler and make a play while they are not in the position to assist their team. 

Although not a full roam, rotations to your jungler are also super important in situations where you have priority in your lane. If you see your jungler getting invaded or invading the opposing jungle then use these windows to support them instead of worrying about roaming to adjacent lanes. This will help you to control the map if you strengthen your jungler so that they can always contest the opposing jungler. 

Vision and Pathing

Before you can roam, you will need to control vision in key areas. You will generally use priority in lane to find time to drop vision around your lane in areas that can give you info on where the opposing jungler is or isn’t and where your opponent has vision. 

To get a deeper look into vision be sure to check out my article on Mastering Vision Control in League of Legends. To give a summary, you want to make sure to control vision of intersections that show the decisions of your opponents as early as possible. You want control wards to cover the exits of our lane so that you can delay your opponent’s knowledge of your pathing. Outside of control vision, you also want to pay attention to where your opponents ward. If you see your opposing laner push a wave and head into the river just to quickly return, you can assume that they placed a ward on that side of the lane. To effectively roam, you will need to clear or avoid this vision. As a champion with dashes, you can use those dashes to sneak past pockets of vision otherwise you will need to move in longer paths around the vision. Dodging vision creates uncertainty in your enemies and even if you are unable to roam you will at least pressure the map. This may relieve some pressure in adjacent lanes or even force the opponent to make a crucial error because of your absence from the map. 

When you’re nearing the other lane you must be aware of key vision points such as tri brushes and pixel brushes. When it comes to these you may want to dodge them using creative pathing through the jungle or maybe even blast cones. Sometimes, you don’t have the option to dodge vision. In these cases, you will want to enter the vision when you are prepared to immediately fight. This means you will want to take positioning that has the most potential to cut off the enemy and you will want all your crucial cooldowns available. Your opponents may try to disengage but if you can position correctly then maybe you can cut them off especially if you are roaming on an overextension.

Special Cases

What happens if there is no opportunity for a roam? Or maybe if a fight that you are roaming to ends before you can even reach it there? In these cases, there are some tricks you can apply that will target your own opposing laner being lulled into a false sense of security. With no opportunity in other lanes then you can obviously continue to control vision or just check an objective. However, you can also look to gank your own lane. If your opponent sees you roam, there is a chance that they will immediately try to shove their wave and look for their own opportunity to get out of lane. The speed at which they want to push and the security from you not being lane could cause them to overextend after using their spells on the wave. You can jump on them in this case and force them into a situation that is heavily advantageous for you or even a situation that gets you a kill.

If there is a fight that you are roaming to and your team is losing it before you can get there, you can opt for a phantom roam. By sitting out of vision when your opponent assumes you are attempting to make it to your team and help out with the fight, they may begin to match your roam. At this point, they may let their guard down as they move. This will allow you to jump on them when they don’t expect it and pull a kill for yourself out of a roam that would have been doomed otherwise.

With these steps, it won’t be long before you can take over the map in solo queue and watch your opponents collapse under your map pressure.