In-Depth Marksman Guide for League of Legends featuring DIG LoL Johnsun
Wed 20th May 2020 - 8:34pm
Dignitas' newcome ADC, Johnson "Johnsun" Nguyen, has more than proved his seriousness in his debut Split in the NA LCS. Playing against a competitor of his skill level can be enough to frighten even the most experienced players, so we figured we'd take a look into the mind of Johnsun and ask some questions about playing the Marksman role. Read on to gain some insights into powerful champions, useful items and more valuable tips when playing in the bot lane!
Bot Lane Bullies
Following the tier lists as of patch 10.8, the two most powerful ADCs in the game right now are Ezreal and Miss Fortune, based on both win rate and pick rate. These champions combine mean early poke capabilities with a strong mid game power-spike to close out many a game with confidence.
For Johnsun, however, the tier lists don’t tell the whole truth. “Right now, I’d say Varus and Aphelios (depending on the matchup and team composition) are the 2 strongest bot lane champions.”
Purely based on win percentages, the hardest matchups for Varus and Aphelios are Yasuo and Cassiopeia. Where traditional ADC picks might fall short of the mark, these less conventional bottom lane carries can prove to be too much for unsuspecting ADCs; but let’s see what Johnsun has to say about this:
“For Aphelios, Syndra is great as she can nullify him, and champions with long range such as Varus, Ezreal and Yuumi. For Varus, it very much depends on Support matchups too, but some champs that are fine into him are Ashe, Ezreal, and even in some cases Aphelios.”
As we’ve just noted, there are a wider range of viable bottom lane carries now than in many previous metas. This encourages players to experiment with a diverse spread of items; some manage to come up clutch and work incredibly effectively while others only fall flat. In traditional, crit-based Builds, for Champions such as Tristana, Miss Fortune and Caitlyn, Stormrazor is an incredibly popular early item thanks to its cost efficiency, critical strike chance, and early damage output.
“Depending on the champion you’re playing,” says Johnsun, “there are a few (necessary items). For on-hit users such as Kog’Maw and Varus, Blade of the Ruined King is great; but Varus can also go for poke by building lethality too with items like Umbral Glaive and Youmuu’s Ghostblade. For most standard ADCs, however, you’d usually rush Essence Reaver or Infinity Edge, and then build into a Zeal item.”
Blundering in the Bottom Lane
In any learning process, mistakes are sure to be made. In a game where wins and losses can be decided by a split second decision, actively improving from match to match is vital when you’re climbing in rank. Playing blindly and making mindless moves is one of the greatest faults a player can possibly make when their intention is to improve, so make sure you analyse your own plays, read up on guides and even watch streams of high-ranking players to step it up to the next level.
To be more specific, there is one glaring error that new players make in the Bot Lane. Johnsun summarises this point beautifully, “I think most ADCs tend to go in when they really shouldn’t. They could be 10/0 and randomly run it down, or split push to make a play when they should just play with their team. They really need to take a chill pill and pull back.”
Cheese Strategies for First Blood
In a previous article, I covered some of my favourite cheese strategies of all time for first blood. For Bottom Lane, finding Level 2 ahead of your opponent gives you a great window to pounce, and with a Support like Leona that has the potential to lock down an enemy with ease, the Level difference can feel even more substantial. These strategies might not guarantee the same amount of success as you approach higher levels of play, so we threw it over to Johnsun for his input.
“For Bot Lane, it’s not that easy unless it’s at the start of the game when everyone is standing at the one spot and it’s free. Otherwise, you’ll just have to get your jungler to come down early for a kill.”
So maybe we won’t see many Level 2 hard engages in competitive play, but following this advice you should be able to secure that extra early kill gold with more success than not!
No BS CS: Improving your Farm
A question that many players ask, or are too proud to ask, is how to improve their Creep Score as they learn to play ADC. A simple tip to start you on the right track is to learn your kit; there are abilities within a Champion’s kit that are more useful than others when it comes to surviving in lane, for example Draven’s Stand Aside is fantastic for interrupting a gank from an overeager Jungler. Knowing this, you should always make sure that you leave it for when the time is right, and using it to secure farm is not always the right choice, whereas Blood Rush is an excellent choice for mowing through waves of minions as the cooldown resets each time you catch a Spinning Axe for use in any situation.
More generally, Johnsun’s got you covered, “You can actually click on the minions that you’re attacking to see how much health they have and compare it to how much you’re dealing, so that can really help with last-hitting. Also, under turrets, there are a certain number of hits each minion type can take before they die, so understanding those numbers is important too.”
Practice makes perfect, according to Johnsun. Identifying how much of a punch you’re packing at your power-spikes is an invaluable skill to acquire, so keep at it and make sure you’re aware of how much damage is being dealt to those minions for best results!
Freezing vs. Pushing
There are different scenarios in which a freeze or a push is the optimal play, and identifying these situations is a key skill for any ADC player. Pushing ahead as often as you can to deny your enemy farm under their tower is not always effective, especially against a proactive enemy Jungler or roaming Midlaner.
Freezing should occur in one of two situations, according to Johnsun.
1) If the enemy bot lane is scared of you, whether it’s because of a kill difference or other reasons
2) If the enemy Jungler is bot-side while your Jungler is top-side.
This is so that you can capitalise on a lead effectively and safely and maintain a high level of pressure without risking your neck.
“On the other hand,” continues Johnsun, “you should perma-push if you’re planning to go for dragon, an invade or looking to knock off some turret plates.” The same theory applies in that you should push when the time is right to keep the pressure on and create opportunities for your team to make plays around your lane / area of the map.
Selling Starting Items
Doran’s Blade is the most common starting item for ADCs (Doran’s Ring can be taken for Mage Bottom Laners), and holding on to them too long can be counterintuitive as you continue along your build path. Selling it too early can put you behind and stunt your growth in the game, while selling it too late can prevent you from accessing a game-winning power-spike at the perfect time.
Johnsun puts it this way: “It’s usually when you start to have 6 (inventory) slots. Not necessarily 6 full items but in the mid-game let’s say you have 3 items and then the components for another as well as a Doran’s Blade you should sell your Doran’s Blade for a ward or two… sometimes though you just need all the damage you can, so keeping the Doran’s Blade can also be okay off if that’s the case.”
Where in the World to Ward?
“Warding is a Support’s job” is a fundamentally flawed mentality when playing in a competitive team game. Everyone has access to wards via the Trinket system, and as such everyone should proactively contribute to their team’s vision across the map; understanding exactly where to place one’s wards is essential whether you want to play offensively or defensively. Buying Control Wards if you have the inventory space and economy to do so is vital regardless of your role, and an ADC that understands this is an invaluable asset to their Bottom Lane. As for the exact location, we thought we’d ask Johnsun for his opinion.
"So most of the time you can just ward the river brush early so that you can avoid an early level 2 gank. If you get pushed you can try to put a deep ward in the opposing enemy’s jungle around the enemy’s Gromp (if you’re on blue side) or Krugs (if you’re on red side). Tribrush is something you should always try and hold vision over as well, but warding the lane bush is also super important to prevent lane ganks and getting cheesed by the enemy team."
So there you have it; if you ever needed to brush up on your marksman knowledge, there's no better place to learn than this! Johnsun's sage words of wisdom are here to help, and we hope that you might learn a thing or two from our very own bot-lane brainiac. We'd like to thank Johnsun for his time and wish him and the team all the best for the offseason! GLHF!