Before you start betting on League of Legends there’s a few things you need to understand.
First things first you must get your head around the gameplay and each of the champions professionals use. Champions are player-controlled units with unique traits and abilities, and knowing them is almost a must if you want to play the game on a high level. After all, something as simple as choosing the right champion can set you up for success while a bad pick can sabotage the entire match.
In this brief guide, we take a look at the ins and outs of League of Legends Champions. We also walk you through the basics of what makes a good team composition and what steps are necessary to build it.
LoL Champion Abilities
The main reason for picking a particular champion is its abilities. Every playable LoL character comes with three basic spells and one ultimate ability. Basic spells tend to have relatively short cooldowns, so you can use them as your main fighting tools.
Meanwhile, ultimate abilities often come with powerful effects that can change the course of the entire game if you cast them at the right time. Their cooldowns are also quite long, so it’s smart to hold on to them as your trump cards.
Of course, things don’t always fall into the same pattern. The League of Legends champion list includes over 140 positions, and a few of these characters have powerful basic abilities and lackluster ultimates. Even so, think of them as exceptions that prove the rule.
Another important part of a champion kit is a passive. As the name implies, this is a trait that affects the game without requiring any player input. Some champion passives take the shape of conventional stat bonuses, but others can significantly alter your spells or even grant access to unique items.
Champion Classes in League of Legends
Then, you have to be mindful of different champion categories. Most champions can be split into seven classes: controllers, fighters, mages, marksmen, slayers, tanks, and specialists.
Controllers are supportive champions that incapacitate enemies and empower allies. Fighters are melee characters that bring a potent mixture of survivability and raw firepower to the table. Mages are spellcasters that wreak havoc on the battlefield with powerful abilities. Marksmen are ranged damage dealers that dismantle their foes with devastating auto attacks.
Slayers are mobile assassins and skirmishers that excel at winning duels and scoring quick kills. Tanks are robust melee champions that make their presence known through a combination of durability and crowd control. As for Specialists, they’re everyone who doesn’t fit into any of the above categories.
As you’ve probably guessed, each of these classes comes with its own playstyle. Moreover, they tend to have their preferences in terms of which role (top lane, jungle, mid lane, bot lane, support) they take on the map. For example, marksmen and controllers thrive in the bot lane, mages and slayers dominate the mid lane, tanks and fighters feel most comfortable in the jungle, and specialists can fit into every role imaginable.
Remember, though, that classes are very broad categories. So even if you see two fighter champions in the same role, they might have noticeable differences in how they want to approach the game.
Every LoL champion comes with a set of stats. The exact values tend to vary, depending on the character you’ve picked, but the stats themselves are universal. For example, health (or HP) indicates the amount of damage your champion can take. So when your health reaches 0, you die and have to wait for the respawn timer to jump back into action.
Meanwhile, mana is a primary resource that lets most champions use their abilities. As a rule of thumb, your maximum mana (mana pool) is quite large in League of Legends, but since every spell cast eats away at it, you will eventually run out of resources.
Keep in mind that some characters have energy instead of mana, which comes with a smaller pool and a faster regeneration rate. Some champions have neither, meaning they can cast their abilities as long as those are off cooldown.
Then attack damage decides how hard your auto attacks (right clicks) hit, attack speed dictates how often you can strike, and range determines how far you can reach. Armor reduces incoming physical damage, and magic resistance does the same for magic damage. Finally, movement speed affects how fast a champion can travel across the map.
There’s a bunch of other stats, of course, but these are the ones you want to look at since they determine the class of your champion. For example, a character with high attack damage and range values is a natural marksman. And if someone has a ton of armor and health, they would make a great tank.
Champions in Team Comps
LoL Champions aren’t noteworthy for things they bring to the table. Champion synergies are just as important, and they act as the basis for building good team comps. After all, League of Legends has countless character combinations that can set you up for success in champ select.
For example, immobile marksmen (Kog’Maw, Varus) love to be paired with controllers (Lulu, Janna) because of the sense of safety the latter group provides. However, some interactions go even deeper. Champions like Lucian and Braum work well together because of the way their passives and dashes complement each other.
In a similar fashion, a Malphite can set up a devastating ultimate combo with his Yasuo or Orianna. Finally, champions like Xayah and Rakan have built-in synergies that straight up empower their basic abilities when they’re playing together.
So, does this mean you always need to pick these characters together? Not necessarily. There’s a lot of thought behind building a strong team comp, and sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the good of your teammates. For instance, a usual team fighting champion composition would include tanks in the top lane and the jungle, a mage in the mid lane, a marksman in the bot lane, and a controller in the support role.
However, tanks tend to be vulnerable in the early game, and controllers often have to play passive in lane, so some members on this team would have to accept losing the laning phase in order to be stronger in team fights.
Of course, team fighting isn’t the sole purpose of League of Legends champions. Classes like slayers and fighters thrive in chaotic environments, so they will often look to pressure the side lanes and drag their enemies into unwanted skirmishes. And since these classes usually go to the jungle or top lane, it’s entirely viable to mix in some durability with a tank in the support position. Hell, even a traditional bot lane class like marksman can find success in many other roles.
With that, assembling a good team comp comes down to more than individual synergies. And oftentimes, you have to assess your win conditions before picking the perfect champion to fulfill those.
Champion Updates and Reworks
In League of Legends, champions aren’t static. Riot Games constantly change them through patches and class updates. Most of these developments focus on numbers, altering spell damage and stat values to make champions feel more balanced in the global LoL landscape.
It’s also possible for old characters to be overhauled via champion reworks. Reworks seek to replace outdated abilities with spells that are better suited for the current League of Legends meta. They effectively introduce new characters to the game, and champions like Warwick, Irelia, and Vladimir have all been updated to the current LoL standard.
However, champions aren’t just bland lines of code. Most of these characters have complex backgrounds and deep storylines that let you catch a glimpse of their personalities. For example, you can learn that Teemo is a yordle equivalent of a Navy SEAL, that Kindred is a living embodiment of death, or that Lucian has a lifelong vendetta with Thresh.
Granted, lore isn’t for everyone. And ultimately, it doesn’t change the way the game’s played. But it does offer a unique look into the world building of Riot Games, and that’s something many League of Legends fans appreciate.
Champion Prices and Discounts
Much like most things in League of Legends, champions aren’t free. Every new player starts with exactly zero owned characters. And while you could make use of free champion rotations in normals and ARAMs, you have to acquire more champions to play Ranked.
Now, usually, these deals are done in Blue Essence (BE), which is the currency you collect from completing missions and disenchanting champion shards. However, nothing is stopping you from purchasing Riot Points (RP) and using those to buy champions instead.
Champion prices tend to vary. Some of the oldest characters cost as little as 450 BE while more recent champions can require up to 6300 BE (or even 7800 during the first week of release). Meanwhile, RP prices range from 260 to 975. Fortunately, Riot Games often announce champion discounts, which makes it much easier for new players to try out new things.