5 Tips to Improve your Map Awareness in League of Legends
Wed 24th Jun 2020 - 8:14pm
The most important tool in League of Legends is the minimap. This small window on your screen can allow you to quickly and efficiently see an abundance of important information about the current map state which is required to make correct decisions with consistency. It takes a bit of practice before the information becomes easily available though. In this guide, we will go over 5 tips that will massively improve map awareness and help you to win more in Solo Queue.
1. Early Jungle Awareness
There are a few unavoidable pieces of information that your opposing team will almost always give out as to the positioning of their jungler in the early game. There is also some information that you can gather with shallow wards as well.
First of all, pay attention to what clear the opposing jungler will choose to do based on their champion. Champions like Kayn, Olaf, and Shyvana will want to get to their ultimate spike as soon as possible and mostly fight within the jungle. This will result in them full clearing which means a later gank timing if any and will affect the side of the jungle that they are on in the early game. Champions like Jarvan IV, Elise, and Lee Sin would prefer to affect the map as early as possible and go for a quicker level three clear combined with an early gank. For full clear junglers, you can expect them to cross from one side of the jungle to the other at a later time and gank once they are able to clear all of their camps. For early ganking junglers, they will want both buffs and either the Gromp or the Krugs before ganking. Jarvan IV and Twitch could even level two gank after red.
To understand this information and use it, you must first determine where the opposing jungler starts. In solo queue, you can expect the junglers to get a leash. Spend a few seconds noticing if the opposing top or bot lane shows up to lane a few seconds late with any resources used. This will indicate the starting position of the opposing jungler. Before the waves meet you can also put a ward down on a buff or raptors for some shallow vision, with an invade you could even get deeper wards.
Once you have this information keep in mind where your opponent is pathing and use this to be aware of when you are vulnerable to ganks and play safe or when the jungler is far away from your lane and you can play aggressively. While you’re learning how to follow the opposing jungler you can use your own jungler’s pathing as a rough estimate. Count their camps and you can keep track of how many camps their opponent has most likely gone through.
2. Objective Awareness and Positioning
It is always important to pay attention to the map closely when you are deciding where to move next on the map, especially when you’re leaving the base. It is always important to be available to be present at the next crucial objective or simply to defend a part of your base that is vulnerable at the time.
When you are making your move pay attention to objective timers, where your opponent has pressure on the map, and where your teammates are. First of all, for Herald, Drakes, and Baron you want to either stay on the side of the map closest to them or have teleport available to respond quickly while being able to pressure the other side of the map. Generally, you will want to reset so that you can be out on the map about a minute before the objective spawns if it is going to be contested so that you can position and ward aggressively to deny your opponents control. This can only be done with attention being paid to the objective timers and not pathing away from the objectives as you leave the base or rotating closer if you’re already on the map.
As for towers, this relies more on your ally’s positioning. If your allies are currently in a lane pushing a wave while the opposing team is pressuring tower in another lane then go to the lane that is being pressured and clear the wave. It is always important to defend these objectives by putting people there instead of going to a lane that your team already has a wave pushed in. This problem shows up most often after lane roams. If someone roams to your lane and you recall while they are pushing your lane, go to their lane and catch whatever wave is going to be crashing into their tower. This defends plates and builds into the next tip.
3. Maximize Your Economy
One of the largest and most consistent differences between the lower and higher levels of play is the economic growth of the carries. It is crucial if you want to carry games that you give yourself the strongest economy in the game so that no one can match your strength. To do this you can’t let any gold and experience go to waste and you also cannot waste time on splitting the economy when you can get sole access to gold and experience somewhere else.
Pay attention to where you have teammates stationed and where there are minion waves available to collect. There are three rules that you need to be sure to follow if you are rotating to a minion wave. Don’t rotate away from an objective unless you have access to teleport. Don’t rotate to a wave that is extended past your range of information and safety based on where your opponents are. Finally, don’t leave your team in a situation that they cannot survive. If you follow these two rules then it is in your best interest to rotate to waves before they crash and collect solo gold and experience while also providing solo gold and experience to your teammates in the lane you left. This can also apply to jungle camps. If your jungler is closer to a wave that is crashing than you are then you should allow them to catch the wave and take a camp or two in exchange. The basic idea is to always have the person closest to a wave respond to it and to allow people to solo farm waves whenever possible.
4. Keep Opponent’s Outnumbered
In order to build leads in League of Legends, you want to force your opponent to make errors by attempting low risk plays in the search for big rewards. The best way to do this is to attempt executions on plays during periods of time when your opponents cannot bring as many people to a fight as you can. There are two avenues to confirm the fact that you outnumber your opponents in a given situation. One is to know where they are and one is to know where they aren’t.
To know where your opponents are is simple. If you see the opposing jungler in top lane while your jungle is around bot then you can go for a dive without the opposing jungler being available to respond and if you can see the opposing mid laner moving towards bot lane on a ward then you can ping your bot laners danger and attempt to make a numbers advantaged play in top lane.
What is more difficult is understanding where your opponents aren’t. This takes a bit of set up. To do this effectively you need to have strong vision set up around your lane. Once you’ve created this area of vision then it eliminates an area that your opponents can be as long as it is clear. This creates information that your opponents cannot be in a certain area and cannot respond to any play that isn’t extended dangerously. This takes a little judgment of the speed that your opponent is able and willing to respond and attention paid and time spent warding before the execution of the play which is facilitated directly by the next tip.
5. Push, Ward, Push, Execute
This is a rather simple idea that results in better use of the map and more awareness of what you are getting into when you make a play. A well-played gank, dive, or skirmish is not simply something that occurs in a decision moments before they occur. They are best achieved with planning for a time beforehand by allowing yourself to have information about certain objectives or where your opponents actually are when you are looking to make a play. The most consistent way to get the vision that allows for this is to create two different execution windows.
Create priority by pushing your wave and forcing your opponents to respond. This creates a moment when you could look to execute a play, but before you do that you are going to use this moment to create vision in your opponent’s territory while they are locked in position on your wave. Then you will repeat the first step of the process by controlling the wave and forcing a response from your opponent. Only this time, once you’ve forced your opponent in a position that you have control of and have vision controlled in the area around you, you can make a play without the opposing team having a clear idea of where you could be and what you could be doing.
Even if you can’t quite find the play to execute this will apply the pressure of missing information on the opposing team and create small advantages for your team to play around. This all comes from the extra map information that you can attain by following the steadier process of push, ward, push, execute instead of executing any time your opponent steps forward.