What You Need to Be a Great Bot Laner
Thu 24th Dec 2020 - 12:38pm
When changing roles, or coming into the game as a fresh player, all the choices that you have to make can be a little overwhelming. But, one of the biggest hang-ups every player faces is deciding what role that they want to main. Well, just as we did with Support previously (link at the end), we’re going to take a look at the ‘Bot Laner’ role and talk about what you need to to be a great Bot Laner. Hopefully after this, all the Supports that got better from the last piece will now get better Carries!
Master Your Farm
Marksmen and Mages are the predominant classes that cover the Bot Lane position. And for these classes to get off the ground and towards dominating games they need their ever important items. So, one of the first skills you need to master is farming!
Most players strive to reach 100 Creep Score (CS) at the 10 minute mark. This is the “ideal” and it’s often considered by high-elo and professional players to be the benchmark that you must reach to be a great Bot Laner. Achieving “perfect CS” isn’t as easy as it sounds though. Sure, you’re just last hitting Minions but there’s a lot to factor into farming beyond just last-hitting. There are multiple ways to manage your wave, you’ve got your lane opponents to factor, and your ability to farm successfully is often dictated on your lane matchup.
But with that said, there are ways where you can break yourself into the habit of farming and get it to the muscle memory level so you can take your focus away from farming and put it towards managing your opponents. How we do this is by training ourselves in the Practice Tool!
Typically the routine starts like this:
- Load into the Practice Tool
- Don’t purchase items, just head to Bot
- As the Minions crash, focus on last hitting them only and strive to reach that 100 CS at 10 minutes mark.
If you can perform this routine consistently, you can amp it up by introducing a Beginner-Bot (the Miss Fortune Bot which will go Bottom) into the mix. This will simulate a closer to game-like state and will introduce another concept for you to manage.
Let’s break down the routine again but with the Bot introduced:
- Load in
- Don’t purchase items, just head to Bot
- Meet the Bot/Wave and focus on last hitting WHILE trying to poke your opponent out of lane with your autos and abilities
If you can manage to maintain your CS goal while pushing the Bot out of lane, then you’re establishing good habits to emulate in game since that back and forth is going to be closer to a game-time scenario. With that said, let’s further break down this trading concept with our next point!
Trading Done Right
Bot Lane’s flow can be largely dictated by who dominates the trade/poke game. To master the role, you’re going to want to know the biggest windows of opportunity to look for trades and fights against your opponents.
With that said, here are your chances to take trades against your opponent:
- One or both of your enemies are low on HP/Mana. With their combat resources lower than yours you always have the potential to come out on top of well executed trades
- Your opponents are down big spells like Flash or Heal, or abilities like Black Shield (Morgana E) or Aqua Prison (Nami Q). If your opponents whiff their high impact spells, you’ve got the advantage and can look to take a fight against them. Your damage potential is higher than theirs is while their abilities are coming off cooldown, especially if the whiffed abilities are big crowd-control threats.
- Your Minion wave is bigger. If your opponents aren’t respecting the size of your wave, it can do a TON of damage to them should you initiate a trade.
- An opponent is alone in lane. Isolation in Bot typically means death thanks to the 2v1 advantage. But if your opponent is respecting your all-in potential, placing yourselves between them and the wave they’d like to pick scraps from wil deny them valuable experience and gold. This is called ‘Zoning’.
- When your opponent goes to last hit. Especially if your Champion has a range advantage, auto-ing your opponent as they last-hit themselves is one of the best ways to pop a little extra damage in and open up opportunities for bigger fights. One of the biggest windows to poke/trade is on a Cannon Minion as almost everyone greeds to get that juicy Cannon Minion gold.
- You’ve hit your item or level spikes. Level 2 all-ins are important to master and can easily dictate the early game if played correctly. But, if you’re not a level-2 fighting lane, waiting out for your bigger item spikes and trading/fighting once you have those is extremely important.
- Lastly, if you see the enemy Jungler on the opposite side of the Map. If the Jungler isn’t around, you can confidently go for trades in lane without fear of a gank turning the tides against you!
Those are some big windows! As you get more experience, you’ll learn the moments that your Champions are their strongest. Sometimes it’ll be with items, sometimes it’ll be with abilities or levels, and in some cases, you may just want to avoid trades entirely and focus on farming to get yourself into the Mid game safely. Whatever your style is, take the farming routine that we mentioned before, and use it to also work on harassing and trading against your opponent.
And one last tip, if your enemies all-in you, always attack back!
Bot Laners are typically weak in the defensive categories. Though items can help them overcome their frailty, Carries typically want to focus on damage. So, with that defensive weakness in mind, we want to mitigate our squishiness by positioning properly for fights.
For Marksmen, this typically means you’ll be on the back end of your team and bringing up the rear. You want to be in this ideal position since it allows you to repeatedly auto-attack your opponents without threat of being dove. Because if anyone tries to dive you, they’ll have to get through your entire team to take you out!
Mages can be played both at a middle range and back end range. Some Mages, like Cassiopeia, operate a lot like Marksmen and want to ramp up with their spells over the course of an extended fight. But other Mages, like Syndra, are excellent at making quick picks on mispositioned opponents due to their relatively fast CC-combs. Mages like this are better served in the middle of their teams where they’re a little less safe but are forward enough to make plays or follow up off of the CC of their allies.
Again, as you get time on your particular Champions, you’ll find your place in fights. Largely this is dependent on your Champions range of auto-attacks or the reach of their spells, as well as the composition that is built around you. Sometimes you can find yourself as a poke-oriented carry on a team of divers, and you’ll sometimes find yourself alone in fights without the safety of your team to peel for you. This means you’ll have to be adaptive in your approach to fights. Sometimes this means staying just out of range of the fight entirely before coming in after the biggest spells have been flung to safely DPS, other times it means playing deep alongside your team since you absolutely need their coverage to be effective. Time and experience are key here though, so never be discouraged if things just don’t seem to click right away.
Summoner Spell Usage
Summoner Spell usage is an underrated aspect of the game. From well-timed Exhausts to reduce an Assassin’s damage, to well targeted Ignites to apply Grevious Wounds to a healing target, there are many situations in which proper usage can make or break a skirmish or teamfight.
In the 2v2 down Bot, that’s doubly so since you’ll often be opting for Heal as a Bot Laner. Why? Well, Heal simply returns the most important stat in the game, Health, AND it gives a little extra burst of movement speed to help position yourself after.
Heal is vital in a 2v2 lane as it can turn clutch fights, save a dying ally, or even be used to catch up to land that last auto-attack. And these situations creep up far more often than you’d think. But, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely limited to Heal as your Summoner Spell of choice.
Though it’s often opted into since it benefits both laner in Bot, you can opt for Exhaust if you’re against a team that has a ton of dive and you’re lacking in the wave of peel. Exhaust not only slows the enemy, allowing you to double back into a comfortable range, it also (as mentioned) reduces the damage output of the afflicted target for its duration. So, it can save you from the all-ins from diving Champions like Kled, Zed, Akali, or Talon.
As an extremely niche option, if you’re on an aggressive Champion like Draven or Lucian, you can opt for Ignite while your Support opts for Exhaust or Heal. This gives you full control over the application of Ignite’s damage which can benefit you in some circumstances.
- Practice and perfect your CS. 100-CS @ 10 minutes is the goal!
- Time your trades around key power-spikes or when your opponents are at a disadvantage
- Use your team as a meatshield and position towards the back in fights.
- Select the Summoner Spell that best works against your opponent and use its full potential
I hope this piece has given you an inkling as to what you need to know to better tackle the Bot Lane position. There’s more to this role than meets the eye and it’s often the knock-out punch to close out game. So, if you like being that trust left hook to clean up and close out, this role might be for you!