Early Game Strats: How To Defeat Your Enemy In 15 Minutes



Thu 23rd Jul 2020 - 10:47pm

In the competitive gaming scene, there is rarely a title talked about more than League of Legends; the ever-dynamic nature of the game means that while one match could finish in 45 minutes, another could be over in just 15. Today we’re going to be focusing on wrapping up a game as soon as possible, by making your enemies feel like there’s no possible chance they can stage a comeback. Read on for some of the deadliest early plays, strategies and tools players have available to them so that you can be gaining LP in record time! 

Forcing Early Objectives

Objectives in League of Legends are the key to unlocking control of the late game for your team. The logic behind this is simple; if you get to the point in the game where every player has a full build, the gold difference between teams ceases to matter and the game becomes even, unless you have the Dragon Soul or Baron Buff on your side! In Season 10, this is more relevant than ever as the Rift Herald, Elemental Drakes, Baron Nashor and Elder Dragon all come to play at different stages in the game for extra playmaking potential. 

Before 15 minutes, you have the potential to see 2 different Elemental Drakes (the first will spawn at 5 minutes, and after a 5 minute respawn time the other will appear) and the Rift Herald twice over (Shelly arrives at the 8 minute mark, and can return after a 6 minute timer if slain before she despawns at 19:30, or 19:50 in combat). Regardless of how bloodthirsty you may be, the best way to make your opponents feel hopeless at 15 minutes is by locking down these objectives without fault. Let’s do some quick maths: 

If you knock down a Turret with the aid of the Rift Herald before Turret Plating falls at 14 minutes, each plate you take with you gives an extra 160 gold. Let’s assume you stage a sweet gank in Top Lane, claim the Eye of the Herald and run back to drop Shelly with your Top Laner at your side, you stand to gain 240g for you and your Top Laner.

160 (local Turret Plating gold) / 2 (shared between 2 Champions) * 3 (optimal number of Plates dropped by the charge) = 240g each. 

Assuming this is the first Turret to fall, you also gain 150 local gold (75g each) and 50 global gold for each member of your team. This works out to be 365 gold for you and your sieging partner, out of 880g across your whole team. These figures are simply too large to ignore, and provided you can get an extra charge out of the Rift Herald before it is slain you generate huge value out of this early objective. Combining this and early Drake priority is a powerful way to back your enemies into a corner with oppressive map control.

Forcing An Early Gank

Ganking is vital when trying to put pressure on all areas of the map. Ideally your Jungler will take responsibility for the majority of ganks across Summoner’s Rift, but when the focus is on a 15 minute match, the load must be shared for best results. In the current meta, there is a huge amount of room for flexibility in all lanes for roam potential; Supports like Leona and Nautilus are very well geared for a stroll into the Mid Lane, Mid Laners like Galio, Twisted Fate and Zed have the mobility to influence fights anywhere on the map, and Top Laners take Teleport more commonly than any alternative to provide aid wherever needed (as can be seen by Lourlo in the below screenshot from Dignitas' win over FlyQuest in the North American LCS). 

For this particular style of play, your ganking priority should be focused on the Champion/s that hit their stride earlier than others. Assassins that rely on Lethality items to quickly dispatch their enemies are the perfect suitors for your early attention, so that they can take their deadly advantage to other lanes with great effect. Champions like Zed and Talon are fantastic picks for this, and by being found commonly in the Mid Lane they open themselves up to many opportunities to both help and be helped within their team. 

Bringing The Heat

With all this talk of ganking the right lane and focusing on aggressive, early-game oriented Champions, ensuring that you bring them into your game is necessary in trying to force an FF at 15. At the end of the day this strategy is reliant on a specific playstyle, and late-game Champions such as Nasus, Kassadin and Kayle do not fit neatly in this framework. Champions with early playmaking potential, on the other hand, such as Lee Sin and Kha’Zix are highly preferable to lock down those early kills.  

There are more things to consider bringing into a game than your Champion; Runes and Summoner Spells are just important in order to choose the right tools for the job. While Conqueror is often the optimal pick on aggressive Champions like Darius, they do not provide the greatest amount of pressure in the earlier stages of the game, and as such can often be substituted for something like Phase Rush, that amplifies the kill potential of the champion in laning phase. In relation to Summoner Spells, powerful choices such as Teleport can be substituted for Ignite in the right circumstance for greater impact in 1v1 situations; for example, Champions such as Twisted Fate that have the ability to close such large distances in Teleport-esque fashion at Level 6 can take Ignite to enhance their threat for the purpose of this strategy.

The Element Of... Safety?

In order to maximise your early economy, you’ll want to be pushing your enemy’s minions in towards their Turrets in the hopes that you can crack a few Turret Plates for that sweet extra gold. This comes with a few risks, as you expose yourself to a gank from the river behind you and the brushes in lane, which is why warding is just as important as always. Ideally, you’ll place your wards deeper in the river than usual, so that you have extra time to react to an incoming gank and pull back from your shoved position. The Scuttle Crab also becomes even more important in this scenario as you can maintain control over the river when deciding your roams and identifying the enemy’s positions. 

To ensure you snowball as hard as you can in the early game, correct itemisation is very important. In this case, the most aggressive choice may not necessarily be the best one; many Mages believe that the best option for exerting early control after you’ve begun to beat your lane opponent is to build into a Mejai’s Soulstealer, but this can quickly turn ugly for the wielder. If you’re caught lacking with the stacking, your lead can be squandered before you know it and your hopes of a 15 minute game are crushed. This is why building your standard build path, with maybe the exception of an additional offensive item before you build your defensive ones, is (more often than not) far superior to the double-edged swords that are early game cheese items. 

Following these tips, and some silky smooth gameplay, you’ll be able to punish your opponents before they have the chance to step out of line and you’ll be climbing the Ranked ladder in no time. Without risk, there can be no reward, so make sure you give this some practice in normal games before taking it to the highest level of play- GLHF!