How To Plan for Victory in League of Legends
Tue 22nd Dec 2020 - 6:00pm
What Is A Game Plan?
Before creating a game plan, it's important to know what exactly a game plan is. A game plan is more than just a plan to win your game. It's not as simple as playing better than your enemy, or winning teamfights. A game plan is like an ideal road map that you must follow to maximize your chances at winning that is tailored to your individual circumstances that you start the game with, and that develop as the game progresses.
How Do I Start?
To start, visualize your game plan as four distinct steps. In order: pre-game, early-game, mid-game, and late-game. The goal of the game plan is to answer some basic questions specific to each step, and to use those answers to create a strategy to succeed in that step.
Before clicking the Play button, there are several things that you can do to impact the result of your upcoming game. First, you can obviously practice/warm-up (highly recommended). Aside from that though, you can establish what it is you're planning on playing. Specifically, decide on the role, the champion, and the playstyle that you think you will perform best at. For example: I plan on playing mid as Zoe, and looking to play a pick-oriented playstyle. Depending on the team that I have, I will make changes accordingly, but this is enough to start looking for a game. With this initial plan, once in champ select, you will need to pick the runes and summoners that will enhance your ability to play to your plan.
Example Zoe Rune Page
Some of the plans you may have created in the pre-game may not seem plausible because of the way that your team drafted, but that's fine. It's a good habit to get into, and it will at the very least keep you thinking and will become habit. In the cases where your team drafts something completely foreign to you, you'll be forced to think more on the fly. Again, this will come with practice and repetition. Use the loading screen to give you time to consider these factors and eventually make your decisions for your early-game plan. There are three important questions to ask yourself before you load onto Summoner's Rift.
1. What are your matchup's strengths?
2. What are your strengths?
3. What are you going to build first?
The most important thing to understand is your matchup's strengths because your job is to do whatever you need to do, to not play into their strengths. For example, your matchup is Zed (as Zoe). Zed's strength is in all-in for solo kills and roaming to get kills in other lanes. With that in mind, a plan to minimize Zed's strengths is to use early levels to get a lead in lane. Zed generally has a hard time early because he is melee in an easily ganked lane. Zed also doesn't have any wave clear unless he uses his abilities, which are the same abilities he must have to kill you.
By pushing the wave hard early, you leave Zed with two options, either use his abilities to clear the waves, or stay under tower and last-hit. Either way, it should leave ample opportunity to punish him and eventually shove the wave to his tower. Use the time between the waves to ward and help your jungler apply pressure. In doing so, you can establish more control over the jungle and will be in a good position to maintain that pressure post-level 6 when you'll want to avoid being in lane with Zed. The pressure you've created will also give you vision setup to prevent Zed's roams from being successful.
With that done, it's also important to understand your strengths. Zoe is incredibly good at applying pressure especially in the jungle because she can use fog of war and terrain to capitalize on her Sleepy Trouble Bubble. To get into a position to apply this pressure, you need to have good wave management, so choose to either shove into the enemy tower, or find an opportunity to freeze the wave and roam.
Finally, you must understand the start of your build path. Using this matchup of Zoe v Zed as an example, it should be clear that Zhonya's Hourglass is a great buy. Additionally, your mythic item should be Luden's Echo because of the insane burst damage you'll be able to dish out. With Luden's Echo, Sorcerer's Shoes are fantastic for more magic penetration. From there, the build becomes more situational and depends on the rest of the game state in the mid-game.
Shoving first wave to ward enemy raptors
Shoving waves to keep the enemy under tower
The first step to a good mid-game plan is to establish your entire enemy team's strengths. If they have good side laners, expect the, to split push. If they have good pick potential, expect them to deny vision in the jungle and be camping bushings around objectives. The key objective again, is to avoid playing into the enemy's strengths at all costs. For example, if they have good split push, don't waste time 'dancing' around objectives, be decisive and force them to use their teleport. If they don't, you have a player advantage in the fight, if they do, you've gotten them to waste their teleport and will have less pressure on you for the remainder of the cooldown. Once that is sorted, figure out your team's strengths and play towards them. If you have good pick potential, deny vision around objectives and look for opportunities to create leads.
In the event you and the enemy have similar strengths, it is important to understand which team has the lead. If your team does, play to that strength even though it is theirs too. If your team is behind, you'll need to establish an alternative or secondary strength that you can try to play towards instead.
Vision setup for picks near dragon
Finally, the late-game. The late-game is the toughest because it plays out similarly to the mid-game but with much higher stakes. Keep playing to minimize the enemy's strengths and maximize yours. The longer you leave the enemy to split push however, the more damaging it will be, similarly, the easier your team can get picks, the easier you can transition to key objectives like Baron Nashor, Dragon Soul, or Elder Dragon. So the key is to create a plan similar to the mid-game strategy, but prioritize vision as much as possible. Vision is essential to success in League of Legends and must be respected as such. In the late-game it ultimately comes down to which team makes the biggest mistake, and the more vision you have, the more information you have, and thus, the easier it is to make decisions and avoid these mistakes.
Using vision to get picks near key objectives
Now that you have a template to create your own game plan, go try it out! Remember to minimize your opponent's strengths, maximize your own, create an optimal build path, and WARD! Do your best and keep asking questions.
Good luck, Summoners!