A Guide to Skirmishing Across Summoner's Rift
Tue 8th Sep 2020 - 10:00am
The current state of League of Legends encourages mobility and global map pressure in equal parts. Champions such as Galio, Talon, Twisted Fate, Ekko, Elise, and Camille are all incredibly prevalent in the current meta thanks to their high mobility and potential to cover large distances of the map effortlessly, and Teleport is taken more than any other Summoner Spell, with the obvious exception of Flash. With this being the case, understanding effective use of your mobility and when to skirmish across the Rift is a hugely important skill; throughout this guide, we will cover all of this and more so that you can cover your teammates and rack up those post-game honors!
What’s the Point of Skirmishing?
Objectives in League of Legends are made up of the structures and neutral monsters on the map that teams will fight for in order to gain an edge over their enemies. A team that focuses solely on fighting for the sake of it will almost always be outscaled by a team that plays for objectives, thanks to the scaling provided by the Elemental Drakes and late-game power of the Elder Dragon and Baron Nashor. If you allow your opponents to take control of the objectives on the map uncontested, you’re going to find yourself in all sorts of trouble as the game goes on.
How Do I Skirmish?
This might sound like a silly question, but it’s incredibly valid when you consider the effectiveness of certain methods in certain situations. Teleport is a universally powerful skirmishing tool, allowing any player to find their way into a fight across the map if need be. Global ultimates and high-mobility abilities are unique to each champion, but when you have no access to this kind of utility, the tried and true method is simply running your way over to your destination. What you choose to do is ultimately dependent upon each situation, but we can deduce a few things that will apply in every game.
Your abilities are the simplest way to skirmish, provided you have access to such powerful tools as Galio’s Hero’s Entrance or Twisted Fate’s Destiny and should be your first thought when the teams are sizing up to fight. Ensure you understand the range and cooldown of these abilities, so that they can be used most effectively, but more importantly you need to nail the timing of these tools so that you don’t end up being caught out before your team can follow the play. Lastly, these abilities can often be used as good escape tools in shaky circumstances, so size each situation up and consider whether you’d prefer an engage or disengage opportunity in the fight to come.
Teleport is not only a powerful tool for skirmishing, it also provides the user an opportunity to return to lane and farm, preventing the enemy from getting too far ahead. With this in mind, you need to carefully consider when to pull the trigger and use the Teleport or else you might find yourself being targeted, or excluded from fights while it’s on cooldown. The Teleport play should only come out if your impact on the fight will be the deciding factor, so don’t use it just for the sake of using it! (Even though it looks pretty cool.)
Running to help a fight is the simple solution if it’s close to your position, but sometimes it’s better to just run instead of using Teleport even if you have it available, so you can hold on to such a powerful Spell. If an objective is on the horizon, and your enemy laner is still hanging around, you can go in and attempt to force their Recall, so that you have the freedom to roam unthreatened and Teleport back if you need to once the objective has been claimed.
Should I Skirmish?
Making sure that your laners are on the same page as the Jungler when it comes to fighting for these objectives is so important. As a Jungler, keep a constant eye on the respawn timers for the objectives you want to contest, and make your team aware of these timers by pinging them well in advance. Getting to the area early and placing wards, clearing the enemy’s wards and potentially even securing a Scuttle Crab for yourself allows you to gauge the situation more comfortably and decide ahead of time whether you’ll need more help.
As for whether you should take the objectives or leave them alone, you need to remind yourself that you’re the Jungler, and this is your domain! Pathing Top as the Drake is spawning to pick up a kill on one player is rarely ever the right decision, for a variety of reasons. Not only is the kill never a guarantee, but by showing in Top you will tell the enemy team that objectives on the bottom side of the map are available, putting your Bot Lane in danger.
As a laner, sacrificing a bit of your farm works out more advantageously for you in the long run provided you’re not losing too much in return for the objective. For example, a Top laner Teleporting botside to contest the 2nd Drake in the game risks losing their Teleport advantage, potentially being sieged at Top and losing a significant lead that could be irreversible against an early-game enemy. On the other hand, sacrificing a full Siege Minion wave will almost definitely be worthwhile for an early Rift Herald play.
But what do those numbers look like? Time to nerd out:
Value of a siege minion at 8min 15sec = 72g
Value of 3 caster minions = 42g at 14g each
Value of 3 melee minions = 63g at 21g each
Total value of 1 wave 15 seconds after Rift Herald spawns = (72 + 42 + 63) = 177 solo gold
Value of Rift Herald on kill = 100g
Value of 3 Turret Plates split between 2 players = (160 * 3) / 2 = 240g
Total value of slaying Rift Herald and claiming 3 Plates = 580 team gold (340 solo gold)
Comparing these two plays, taking the Rift Herald in this instance yields a more immediate reward whereas taking the Drake across the map contributes to greater strength as the game progresses, so understanding your team’s playstyle and focuses (as well as those of the other team, in order to counteract them) is vital when you have the power of mobility in your kit.
Following this guide, you will be able to understand not only the value of an effective skirmish, but when to execute a skirmish for greatest results. Evaluating each game on a case-to-case basis and guaranteeing that your team has the potential to cover those distances if need be is essential for success, so introducing a Champion with global threat into your roster or taking Teleport over Ignite (as you should be doing most of the time anyway!) will yield positive results in the majority of your games. GLHF!