League of Legends: Orb Walking



Mon 30th Jul 2012 - 5:30pm

It's always infuriating to play an AD carry, chasing the enemy with your autoattacks only to find out that you're a few paces short from landing the last attack to slay the enemy. This is probably a problem that has plagued us all, and while most of us might be compelled to burn a summoner spell in order to secure the kill, there is one relatively unknown playstyle method that can help prevent that unforunate necessity: Orb Walking.

I. What is Orb Walking?

Orb walking is a term that originally comes from DoTA. It is a form of attacking that mainly uses the concept of "animation cancelling". More specifically, it is a method of attacking primarily for AD carries that allows them to chase more efficiently through lane and kiting in brushes by minimizing the time between movement and attack commands, which allows for your champion to attack and move without being forced to choose between the two.

While Orb Walking's existence in League of Legends may not be to the extent that it was in DoTA, there is little dispute that you can manipulate your auto-attack delays. Additionally, while usually intended for auto attacks, animation-cancelling can also be used with a variety of champions to help you chain abilities with an auto attack to deal a bit of extra poke. Orb walking is an essential skill that needs to be utilized by all players seeking to better themselves for a few reasons:

1) Proper orb walking allows you to fire a shot and waste minimum frames out of movement so you can stay hot on an enemy's tail.

2) Proper orb walking allows you to farm minion waves more efficiently if you are seeking to push, and if you are being pushed it will increase your chances of getting the most of your CS.

3) Taking advantage of your animations properly (a form of orb walking) will allow you to chain abilities with an auto attack. Examples include chaining Ashe's volley and auto attack such that you will be able to fire an autoattack at an enemy almost immediately after volley is fired. Allowing volley to go to completion will deny you this auto attack unless the enemy is within your immediate location. 


II. Learning to use the A Button

Currently in League of Legends, auto attacks can be executed in 2 ways. A popular way, unfortunately a way that clashses slightly with orb walking, is using the right button on your mouse. The second way is to manually press the A button on your keyboard and to click with your left button down on targets. However, there are a few reasons why I would recommend the latter method over the former.

Firstly, movement is also executed with the right mouse button. Using the former button has personally made me miss auto attacks or CS at times because I mistakingly click and my character goes to move instead of attacking. Additionally, this can be a life or death problem in chasing or if you accidentally mean to turn around and attack the enemy but instead move into them. 


Using the A button and clicking, instead, has many unknown perks. First, sometimes you will find that minions will stack such that it may be hard to click on that. Pressing A and clicking on the ground will have your champion fire auto attacks at the closest aggressive minion or champion that it can attack. When minions are lumped together, sometimes I will instead approach them and use the A + click method to ensure the last hit.

Additionally, using the A + clicking method makes it harder for your opponents to juke you in a bush. This is because A + clicking prioritizes auto attacks on whatever location you click on. If you right click to move into a brush, you will then manually need to locate the enemy and click again. Pressing A and clicking into the brush where an enemy is will tell your champion to automatically locate them and begin firing once you enter the brush. This will save your skin and perhaps dignity many times over (it has for me).

Lastly, pressing A and clicking provides the greatest control for auto attack animation because it doesn't mix up the left and right mouse buttons. You can press A + click and immediately move with your right mouse button.


III. Chaining skills with auto attacks

While not under the direct jurisdiction of what is generally considered "Orb Walking", I consider chaining skills with auto attacaks a valuable skill that still requires a complete understanding of cancelling auto attacks. An example of chaining a skill with an auto attack would be to use Corki's Missile Barrage and fire an auto attack immediately after, or using an Ashe Frost Arrow with her Volley. While this may not provide the most damage, during early game a single auto attack can force your opponents hand or determine the dominant player in the lane.

Chaining skills with your auto attack isn't extremely difficult, but may require some practice. Generally, I smart cast almost all my skills (except for selective, important ones such as Tristana's Rocket Jump). This is actually an important decision as it reduces the necessity of the click to fire the skill shot. To chain, you must understand and analyze the earliest time possible in which you can fire the skill and interrupt your animation by right clicking/A+ clicking to fire a shot instantly.

We will examine this with Ashe:

Press W (with smart cast enabled) --> As you see the arrows firing, immediately move forward, or, if in range, and auto attack.

Now, you may be wondering, why should be chain these auto attacks if the effects are so miniscule? Well, they might not always be. While Orb Walking itself is generally associated with AD carries, skill chaining can be done with multiple champions in every position to enhance damage and force in auto attacks during skill casts. An example of this is Alistar, in which you can effectively execute an AD in midair as you Headbutt your opponent.

Should you be playing a champion that capitalizes on Sheen or Lich Bane (Twisted Fate), this extra auto attack can actually make a difference, and like I previously mentioned, can be used on AD carries to harass more in lane.

twisted   lich bane  

late game, chaining a Twisted Fate Wild Cards with a Lich-Bane Auto Attack can do well over 1000 damage.


IV. How to Orb Walk 

Now let's get to the important part - learning how to Orb Walk. It's not a difficult concept, but it may be difficult or strenuous to remember to apply it. Remember, Orb Walking is used because it allows you to manuever and kite while dealing out damage instead of forcing you to choose one or the other. Additionally, it improves positioning and damage output in team fights, and if you were to be chasing down an enemy while you had red buff or some sort of slow, it can continuously put you in range to slow them.

To Orb Walk, I recommend you play without locked screen, with smart casting, and auto-attacking with A + clicking. You must learn when your auto attack animation can be cancelled while the shot is still preserved in the air. After you do so, simply remember to move forward towards your target and auto attack, breaking the auto attack with another forward motion, and continuously pressing A + clickong on your target.

Should your enemy be juking into bushes or should you be caught out of position in a team fight and only seek to do damage, remember that pressing A + Clicking on a location will bring your character to attack the nearest enemy. Use this to your advantage in team fights when you cannot be selective with your firing, or when you are attempting to kite or back up and wish to do damage.