Chapter 2. Early Game: The Laning Phase
In the early game you want to start off perfectly, this means instead of running to your turret and waiting for minions, to ward across point and defend against potential invades and cheeses from the enemy team. Especially when you play against a Shaco or Lee Sin who can cheese your jungler on their buff. Secondly, help out your jungler on his Golems before heading to your lane.
The primary issue in the first 2 minutes of the game is that (especially in low elo) people get demotivated if they get invaded, get damaged, their buff stolen or killed.
“FF on 20, this is over” – Oh wow is me…
General Lane Knowledge
In the laning phase your first goal is to get ahead in CS (Creep Score), then to potentially make a play to kill your lane opponent or invade and cheese their jungler. It’s key to always think ahead, just like in chess. Know where their jungler can be ( you’ll get the feel of it when you play more). When you play Red side, keep a ward in the Tri-Brush after 3:20, or when you’re playing against a Shaco or Lee Sin, 2:20 just incase for an early gank.
On the Blue side, it’s a bit easier, since you only have to ward the river when you pass it with the minion wave. If you’re getting pushed close to your turret, try warding their lane brush or yours.
Their long brush: your top laner can Teleport to bot lane
Your long brush: Negate lane ganks. Like 5 stack Rengar Empowered Bola leap.
When you have vision, you’ll have more breathing space to calibrate how the lane is going.
You want to know what your opponents wants to do, you can really see it in the way they move, what spells they’re maxing, and if they use spells to farm because that could potentially put you in a great “all-in” position. Having an all round champion knowledge: damage; spells; builds will give you information when to fight, poke, trade and when to focus on just farming.
What I see in most games is as soon as the minions clash in mid, the two mid laners try to ferociously get First Blood – losing CS and getting damage for no reason, and maybe even having to use a summoner to escape!
Last Hitting & Harassing
So instead of colliding with your opponents, focus on last hitting minions. What most people don’t get is that CS is by far superior than getting kills. Most of my games I get 20 – CS ahead in lane, you might think well… Okay but does that really matter, it is just 400 gold, which means that if you get 3 CS ahead you are in a better place.
But what you don’t calculate in is that that 3 CS or 50 gold can mean the difference of you buying an item, which puts you ahead of your opponent, and getting back into lane faster if your opponent is waiting for 30 gold to buy a BF Sword for example. If the lane is completely 0 – 0 but you have 3 cs more than the other ADC, you both back at the same time, you might have 875 for a Pickaxe, while he needs to buy a 2nd Dorans blade, or you get that BF Sword and he gets a Pickaxe and a Dagger.
At the end of the game, when you have 100-50 more CS over your opponent that means you’ve got about +60 more stats! Let’s get back into the laning phase! So, now you know why last hitting is so important and the next factor of the early laning phase is to harass and set up a killing blow or push your opponent out of lane, making him miss CS.
The best moment to harass is when he uses his primary spell on creeps, this gives you the chance to auto attack, (use your own primary spell), auto attack or go for a kill/flash while his spell is on cooldown.
Tip: when he needs to back, push your minion wave into his tower, this makes him miss extra farm and resets the wave. Which can potentially mean that you get 3-7 additional CS ahead, factoring in that new item.. you’ll set yourself up for the kill and potentially a dragon or Tower.
Even when you’re about to take his tower, get it low enough and farm behind his turret till your minions are nearly dead, then take the tower. Especially in low elo bot lane, they are very eager to just take the tower with a massive minion wave. When they take that tower, the Ad Carry gets back in lane and farms 8-15 CS, you want to deny that experience and gold.
When to Push, Zone and Freeze Your Lane
Another reason for losing CS and not getting ahead is knowing when to push your lane out, when to freeze it and when to stand in front, last hitting and zoning your opponent.
Let’s start with zoning, you ideally want to freeze the lane and zone and put your opponents are out of ‘experience’ range when you’re ahead and they can’t duel with you. This means that they maybe have used their summoner spells, potion and/or are very low on Health/Mana and the only thing they can do is recall or stay to farm under their tower and risk a death. By zoning you’ll also deny them gold because his wave is killing your minions.
You will see that not many people can keep their greedy behavior away and try to use their spells to last hit your minions. When that happens you can easily harass, bully out of the lane or kill to widen the gap, with a support like Annie or Tahm Kench you can really sit under their tower and poke them.
You can Auto Attack, use a primary spell, Auto attack and have Tahm Kench eat you to get 0 damage. Or Annie who can Q stun so you can attack them. But when you get behind in lane, try to freeze the wave just outside of your tower range, this decreases the chance of getting jumped, and you get the chance to play catch up.
Mostly after you’ve got 5-8 CS, they will push your wave into your tower and this sets you up for a jungler gank and potential kill, or more farm and a lane reset. If you’re ahead or behind and your opponent backs, you can push the lane into his tower and decide what your next step will be, helping your team mates, recalling and buying up and get a dragon.
Getting Fed in Lane and Taking the Drake
If you’re ahead in lane and your opponent is dying for CS, because usually his team mates will tell him he sucks if he feeds or farms poorly, he’ll tilt and stay in his lane. This is what we just covered, you can kill him or go for a dragon, when he roams, you take the tower and look for the jungler, recall and go to mid lane.
You can get fed in lane, then help your team out by giving them kills, and widening the gap when you’re reaching the mid game. One of the primary mistakes I see novice AD Carries make while being fed is that they are staying in the bot lane to try to and get more kills and farm while they can take other objectives with their team.
Even when your team is really bad, giving them kills, thus more items and more stats, makes them stronger, which means harder to kill and giving you the chance to carry the game or the best scenario would be that by donating a few kills, your mid laner, Jungler or top laner can snowball!
So instead of just killing your enemy support and ADC over and over again, if he provides that opportunity to you, push him out and roam mid to get the outer or even inner tower or get a dragon. When you’re behind, the best thing you can do is farm up in the bot lane, take the Golems, maybe the Crows and help out in the mid lane.
Your primary goal when your lane is lost or “over”, is to get your primary item. Essence Reaver, Infinity Edge, Runaan’s Hurricane, Triforce or Blade of the Ruined King.
Early Game Objectives
your early game objectives are to get yourself ahead FIRST by C’sing to the best of your abilities, getting ahead and picking kills on your lane opponents. To lower the likeliness of your team mates getting ganked, help them out with placing a pink ward in between you and the mid laner. Also ask your support to ward the enemy jungle with a pink ward and yellow wards to find out where their jungler is, so you can ping them or potentially invade and kill the jungler.
You’ll also want to defend yourself from ganks by playing around your teams vision and be vocal (text/ping) about enemy positioning. Once you’re ahead, look for picks on your lane opponent, then decide on if you take his turret, get the drake or roam to help your team mates out!
The perfect transition in the mid game is to be significantly ahead, keep your farm up and keep the vision for your team. When you’re behind or VERY FAR behind by feeding, then ward the brush behind your turret to see 3-4 man tower takeovers come, and farm safely under your tower. It is better to miss a few CS early game than getting that 3 extra CS then dying and giving your opponents gold.