A Master Player’s Guide to dominating the Mid lane in Season 7
I am assuming that by now you have already read the table of contents and the description of this article, so you probably have a pretty good idea what it will be about.
So instead of giving you another resume of the material you are about to learn here, I would like to use this short section to give you a very brief background on how the creation of this article came about. Just a few paragraphs and then we will move on to the exciting stuff.
This article has been the result of the powerful influence that your support has had on me as a person, and on my creativity and enthusiasm as a results-oriented League of Legends coach.
About a year ago, after having mentored for free over 60 low elo players and helping them improve at the game, I decided to put together most of the game knowledge I have as a Master Tier player in an article and make it available for people to learn from.
It was something I felt somewhat iffy about, because writing an article requires a lot of time, effort and planning. I had no idea whether the League of Legends community would be interested in long, detailed educational content, but I did it anyway.
But what’s really meaningful to me was the appreciation that I got from most of the people that read it and applied the concepts inside to their own gameplay. As a real-life teacher whose life is dedicated to building people up, there is no better feeling for me than to be able to make a positive contribution to someone else’s life and I would like to thank everyone that supported my work from the bottom of my heart.
Due to the support I got from my dear readers, I felt motivated to roll up my sleeves and produce the best of my work as a results-oriented League of Legends coach and a teacher. After countless hours of hard work, I am proud to announce that each of the books people wanted me to write is now available to anyone that is open to learning and is willing to get to that next level as a player in their favorite role.
Chapter 1. Understanding the Mid laner’s role and responsibilities
Mid lane is one of the most fun and rewarding roles to play in League of Legends. But it is also more complex than others.
Before we move on to the meat and potatoes of this article though, I would like to briefly touch on a few key concepts regarding the responsibilities and the role of the Mid laner.
All the rest of the chapters of this article will equip you with the game mechanics and knowledge you will need to become the best Mid laner you can possibly be.
This chapter, however, is a bit different. It focuses entirely on presenting you with ideas that you can use to shape and transform your identity as a player to a whole new level.
Being aware of these concepts is something I consider a must for everyone that is looking to reach that next level as a Mid laner.
Leadership is by far the most important quality of a great Mid laner. As a Mid laner, you are in the centre of all events on the map and as you probably already know, you have great potential power to affect those events and lead them to the outcome you desire.
Also, you happen to be situated on the lane that offers the shortest path to Victory (the enemy Nexus). In most games, the Mid laner is looked at as the backbone of the team, because in one way or another, you will always be involved with the events that determine the outcome of the game.
So what exactly is Leadership and how do you become a leader for your team?
Well, let’s start with looking at what the word “lead” means. It means to go first, to initiate.
So if you want to be an effective leader and a solid backbone for your team, you must be very clear on the outcome that you want for that particular game.
But what does that mean? Don’t we all want to win the game?
Something very important – this does not mean that you should start the game by typing in chat stuff like “Hey guys, let’s all do our best so we can win this game!”
These types of statements will be perceived as annoying by your teammates. They show that you lack confidence, you are hesitant and that you are expecting other people to take the lead, which are not qualities a true leader would ever express.
And it certainly does not mean that you should be giving unsolicited advice to your teammates, i.e. giving them instructions without being asked for them first.
It means that your actions and the things you are communicating to your team throughout the full duration of the game are all congruent and aligned with the purpose of leading the team to your desired outcome – victory.
The best way to lead is by example. You have probably heard this when it comes to weight loss. Instead of telling the people around you that they should lose weight and get fit, you would influence them much more if you focus on getting yourself in shape first.
Then, when people see you bring awesome results into your own life, they will naturally want to follow you. All of a sudden you will have way more power to influence them.
They will be interested in how you did it. They will ask you questions about what specifically you did to achieve the results that you have… and they will be paying close attention to your answers.
Why? Because you will be in the position of someone with authority, of someone that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.
This is by far the best way that you can exhibit the quality of leadership to your teammates. You do and say things that present you as the confident, masculine and emotionally centered leader they expect you to be.
This will allow you to influence most of them to do and say things that are congruent with the common goal – achieving victory.
Your teammates will be more determined to try harder to do better, regardless of the current game circumstances.
Shot calling is the next responsibility that a great Mid laner should fulfil within the team.
It is also very strictly tied to exhibiting true leadership, because it also involves initiating, going first.
A shot caller is the player that guides his teammates into the direction of what to do, where to be at certain times, which fights to pick and which objectives to go for.
A good shot caller does not impose his opinion on others by commanding them or exhibiting manipulative behaviour by demanding that people should follow what he says.
Good shot calling is not as simple as telling people what to do and expecting that they should follow it. The way you communicate your ideas is extremely important.
Don’t yell at your teammates (regardless if they deserve it or not), don’t write in CAPS or be demanding of them.
When you want to communicate your idea of what you should next for example, present your plan in a reasonable and confident way. Be polite and respectful. It never hurts to be nice.
Here is an example of how to shot call properly.
When you want to contest Dragon for example, here is what you should say: “Hey guys, Dragon spawns in 90 seconds. Let’s push the side lanes so we apply map pressure, then recall to spend our gold on items, get some wards around the Dragon area, clear the enemy wards so we deny them vision and get ready to contest it. Sounds good?”
Now compare that to saying something like “If we don’t get this next dragon we will probably lose the game. If you guys don’t group for it this time, I am done trying to win this game.”
Would there be a difference in how you influence your team?
The difference is so massive, that it should be obvious why so few people know how to shot call properly.
With the first statement you are communicating your idea in a very confident and clear manner. You are logically and rationally presenting exactly what to do, without having to tell your team what the consequences of not doing it would be.
You show that you are centered and you know what to do to lead the team to a victory. The “Sounds good?” part illustrates your confidence the most.
With the second statement, you would be demanding of your teammates. It is showing that you are afraid, fearful and you have no idea how to lead.
All you would do is to influence your teammates to feel the same way about the situation, which would lead them to stop trying to do their best and eventually, to losing the game.
So the way you communicate your ideas is very important. The other important part about shot calling has to do with making the right calls at the right time.
Knowing what to do and exactly when to do it is a challenging task. It requires one to have a very deep understanding of the game dynamics and as much game knowledge as possible, all of which you can acquire from my books and by practicing the principles and ideas I teach in my different books about League of Legends.
The rest of this article will teach you how you can become the best Mid laner you can possibly be. You will learn everything you need to know about carrying your Ranked games as a Mid laner.
There is really no shortcut for this, gentlemen. You have to put the time and effort in learning about the game from the best sources (my books) and then practicing the ideas over and over, until you understand them to the point that they become natural to you.
Repetition is the mother of skill, as the saying goes.
Until you really put the time into learning about the game, making the wrong shot calls will cost you most of your games.
What I have noticed in the last few years of coaching players is that once you fill in those knowledge gaps that you have at first, high level shot calling starts to come naturally.
You don’t even have to think about it at this point, it becomes instinctual to you.
The absolute best resource that you can learn from when it comes to game knowledge is my book 21 Days to Diamond and Beyond.
If you read it and apply what it teaches, t will fill all those knowledge gaps that are preventing you from seeing what the right course of action is in each possible situation. It is the best of my work.
Back to shot calling.
So, mistakes in shot calling will cost you objectives, resources and eventually – the game. The biggest and most common mistake that causes most players to lose their games is attempting to get Baron at the wrong time.
Another example of a shot calling mistake would be attempting to contest Dragon when all 5 enemy team players are situated on the bottom side of the map and are heading towards the Dragon Pit area, while one of your teammates is clearing the jungle, another one has just based and a third one is farming top lane.
Instead, what you should do in that situation when your team is scattered around the map is to give up the Dragon, let it go.
If you have some sort of sniping ability, you should attempt to steal it with it. But do not try to 2v5, especially when your Jungler is not around to try to outsmite it.
99.99% of the time when you try to 2v5, you will simply donate the enemy team two kills, which they can then potentially snowball into a Tower or Baron Nashor.
In my book 21 Days to Diamond and Beyond I explain in detail all the possible scenarios of when you should go for each objective and what to do in each situation that can potentially occur in the game.
Map awareness is the key, critical factor that will allow you to be able to recognize what is happening on the map at any given moment. It is one of the best skills you can develop not only as a Mid laner, but in any other role.
If your map awareness is on point, you will be seeing even the slightest opportunities to direct the game to the outcome you desire. You will not be missing anything important that happens on the map.
And it also goes hand in hand with shot calling, since good map awareness is required to make smart decisions.
So the million dollar question should be – How should you go about developing that high-end map awareness that will serve you so well in your Ranked games?
There is a right and a “wrong” way to go about it.
What I used to advise players when coaching them on 1 on 1 basis was to just briefly look at the minimap after each successful last hit that they land.
But over time, I started noticing that since this was an entirely new habit for most of them, it affected their ability to stay present in the laning phase and especially to last hit properly.
It simply meant that they should work up to that point using a progression, in a manner that would allow them to preserve their focus enough so they continue to stay present in the laning phase and keep their creep score unaffected.
So I discovered that the right way to go about developing a high-level map awareness is to start by looking at the minimap on two occasions: as soon as a new enemy creep wave enters the lane; and after each time you recall at base.
Mind you, by “looking”, I mean you glimpse at it for less than a full second and you try to quickly assess the situation – see if someone is missing in a lane, if the enemy jungler is heading towards bot lane, if a teamfight is just breaking out, etc.
As soon as you see what’s going on around the map, quickly shift focus back on your lane.
So you start by looking at the minimap once every 30 seconds. What you will notice is that it will slightly affect your ability to cs and focus on the laning phase dynamics, but not to the point to where it’s hindering your efforts.
You should stick to that pace for as long as it takes you to become completely accustomed to it. What I found in my practice of coaching hundreds of players is that it tends to take them anywhere from 3-7 days to fully adapt.
Then, you should start glimpsing at the minimap twice as often while in lane. Once as soon as a new enemy wave gets to the lane, and once more in about 12-15 seconds.
You COULD set a beep timer which would beep every 15 seconds to remind you to check it, but I would not suggest that you do it – it will piss you off more than anything else.
You should stick to this pace for as long as it takes you to become completely comfortable with it and you reach the point it does not even bother you anymore. Again, it should take you a maximum of 7 days for you to be ready to transition to the final part of the progression.
At this point you will have better map awareness by most Diamond players. No, I am not kidding you.
You will also be well conditioned and you will have worked up to the point to where you can start glimpsing at the minimap after each successful last hit you land.
Just a very brief glimpse, but enough to allow you to see what’s going on, that’s all you need.
This is how you create a godlike map awareness. If you follow this simple progression, it will take you a little bit of time. But you will eventually get to the point to where it’s an automatic habit of yours and you no longer have to even think about it.
The greatest benefit is that you will always be up to speed with everything that’s going around the map. This gives you a huge advantage over your lane opponent, because you will be able to react to whatever is happening elsewhere on the map faster than him.
You will warn your teammates of danger faster than him, you will predict outcomes and situations before they even happen, and you will be of so much more use to your team.
And the greatest benefit is that since it has become an automatic habit of yours, it will not take up any of your ability to concentrate on the laning phase itself.
One trick that will make all of this easier, is to increase the size of your minimap. Go into the Game Options and set it to 100% scale to make it more visible for your eyes.
You can also move it left or right, depending on your personal preference. Choose whichever option seems more natural.
One last note I need to make before we move on with the rest of the information I want to share with you, is that if you were playing as a Jungler, you need to approach map awareness differently, since you will not be laning.
But since this article is all about Mid lane, I felt it was inappropriate to include it in this article. I am just making you aware of that, and if you are interested in learning about it, just check out my next article “League of Legends Jungle Mastery” where I go very in-depth into all concepts regarding jungling (in Season 7).