If you want to bet on League of Legends matches, you have to understand the gameplay. It might seem straightforward on the surface, as the game pits two teams of 5 against each other with a simple goal of destroying the core building of the enemy base (Nexus). But just like with most multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, there’s a lot of nuance to it. And it’s easy to get lost during a LoL esports broadcast if you don’t know what to look for.
Don’t fret, though, because we’re bringing you a comprehensive guide on the basics of League of Legends gameplay. Keep in mind that we’ll only be talking about Summoner’s Rift since this is the most common map in pro play. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
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League of Legends Draft Phase
Before a LoL match starts, there’s draft phase. This is the place where both teams select their champions—playable characters with their own abilities and playstyles. We’ve covered this topic at length in our League of Legends champions guide, but for now, remember that each champion has strengths and weaknesses, and both teams will try their hardest to get the best characters on their side.
There’s a lot of depth to the draft phase. A champion can only be picked once, so selecting a powerful character for one of your players automatically locks it away from your enemies. Plus, each team can ban five champions, which is useful for removing power picks or covering certain weaknesses. The last part has to do with team compositions. Many champions have synergies with each other, so one side might want to select a combination of potent characters while the other will attempt to disrupt this plan.
Of course, player preference also plays a huge role. For example, a pro might be skilled on tanks, so he’ll lean towards champions that fit this category. And if the best tanks are already picked (or banned) by the enemy team, he’ll have a tough time performing up to his usual standards.
League of Legends Laning Phase
A League of Legends match kicks off with the laning phase. This is the part where players take their positions in one of three paths (top lane, mid lane, or bot lane) that connect the bases of opposing teams. There, they slay computer-controlled minions for gold and experience while fighting enemy players that are trying to do the same thing. These battles are heavily encouraged—after all, champion kills come with hefty gold bounties.
It’s also worth noting that each lane is home to different champions. The top lane is meant for robust tanks and daring fighters, mid lane is perfect for explosive mages and mobile assassins, and bot lane is shared by long-ranged marksmen and utility-based supports. Champion choices are important, as they set the pace of the game. For example, top lane doesn’t see a lot of action since both players are usually playing durable characters. Meanwhile, a clash between fragile mid laners will probably result in a kill. And the player who gets the better end of that exchange will have a hefty sum of gold to spend on items in order to set himself further ahead.
Between the lanes lies the jungle. This no man’s land is shrouded in the fog of war and populated by neutral monsters. It’s also the domain of junglers. Unlike laners, they can seamlessly move around the map while collecting gold, experience, and buffs from neutral monsters. Moreover, this freedom allows them to swing by most lanes to assist their allies or ruin the day of their enemies. Oh, and they’re also in charge of securing neutral objectives—but we’ll get to that later.
The laning phase usually lasts for the first 10-15 minutes of the game. This is where the individual skill shines the most, as players challenge each other for every single minion while making sure to ward for the enemy jungler. And if that doesn’t provide necessary results, some pros will even leave their lanes to blindside their foes on the other side of the map. Once the first turrets fall, the match enters the mid-game.
League of Legends Mid Game
The League of Legends mid-game is decided by objectives. As we’ve mentioned before, you win a LoL esports match by destroying the enemy Nexus, and objectives are the stepping stones on the way to this goal. With that, League of Legends bookmakers put a huge emphasis on objectives, so it’s a good idea to be familiar with them.
The most basic (and important) objectives are turrets. Turrets are defensive structures that are located along all three lanes. Destroying one of them grants a sizeable gold bonus and gets you one step closer to the enemy Nexus. And if you want to win, you have to take down every turret in one of the lanes. That’s far from an easy task, though. Turrets hit hard, so you need to use allied minions as a meat shield to approach them, and taking them down often requires combined efforts of several champions.
Once you dismantle three turrets, you reach an Inhibitor. Destroying it doesn’t yield much gold, but it does boost the strength of your minions. Moreover, it spawns powerful super minions, which will come in handy when you make a final push for the enemy Nexus.
Of course, there are other ways to find an edge in League of Legends. Remember how we said junglers are responsible for securing certain objectives? Well, most of those take the shape of epic monsters that provide massive advantages to the team that slays them. For example, killing an Elemental Drake will grant a strong buff to every player on your team while taking down a Rift Herald will let you summon the monster to act as a walking siege weapon.
Objectives like Baron Nashor and Elder Dragon are even more impressive. The former gives players buffs that also empower nearby minions, and the latter increases champion combat prowess to the point where it’s nigh impossible to challenge them in a direct fight. Of course, these objectives are quite hard to take, so you might not see anyone approach them until the late game.
Mid Game Gameplay
So, what does this have to do with the gameplay? Well, since players are no longer contained to their lanes, they can travel the map and claim objectives in an effort to tip the scales in their favor. Naturally, the enemy team won’t sit by and allow this. Hence, mid game is all about action and momentum.
Teams will constantly try to outmanoeuvre each other with the goal of snatching free turrets and epic monsters. Oftentimes, they will resort to advanced tactics like placing champions in distant lanes to draw enemies away from desired objectives (aka split-pushing). And if that fails, there’s nothing wrong with brute forcing your way to victory through a string of decisive skirmishes.
This is the time of teamfights, turret sieges, and dragon standoffs. Every objective brings a team closer to victory, so no one’s willing to give them up for free. And while the laning phase is important, it’s only in the mid game that lineups can showcase their teamwork and game knowledge. Coincidentally, most matches are decided during this stage, so pay extra attention to it if you want to bet on LoL esports games.
League of Legends Late Game
The League of Legends late game is the boiling point. Champions become increasingly powerful, as they gain experience and purchase items, but they also take a lot longer to respawn. Thus, every risk grows tenfold. After all, a bad teamfight or even a single death can lead to a loss. However, the opposite is also true, and a team that spent the entire match on the back foot can pull off a late-game comeback.
Baron Nashor and Elder Dragon hold even more weight here. Killing them provides a ton of firepower, so both teams will be looking for windows to claim these objectives. That said, you always have to be conscious of the risks. For example, a good splitpusher can create an opportunity to slay Baron Nashor, effectively securing a powerful buff for his team. But if he dies in the process, his teammates will be hard-pressed to hold off their foes in a 4v5.
As tension rises, players will be inclined to stick together. With that, the late game often comes down to a bold call or a decisive teamfight. And since both teams will be eager to take advantage of every opportunity they can get, this makes for a very explosive ending.
So, that’s the gist of it. League of Legends matches start with the laning phase, which serves as a demonstration of individual skill and mechanical prowess. Then, they transition into the mid game and encourage both teams to battle for game-changing objectives. And finally, they hit the high-risk, high-reward late game where a single play can make or break the entire match. In the end, every gameplay stage is important. And once you understand them, League of Legends betting will become much more straightforward.