Chapter 2. Mid lane Champion pool advice
How to properly structure your champion pool for Mid lane
Before I give you my instructions on how to structure your champion pool, I want to make a very important point.
You should stick to playing the champions that you enjoy playing, ideally the ones you like the most. The more you enjoy playing a certain character, the more likely you are to improve at his mechanics and actually get to master him.
Please do not fall into the trap of playing a character just because he or she happens to be overpowered at the moment.
With every patch, there will be new balance changes added to champions and these changes will always shift things up one way or another.
Trying to really master all champions is not possible, either.
You would end up being a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of player, which is not what I want for you.
Mastering 1 champion’s mechanics takes a lot of practice, and learning all the important matchups takes time and at least some level of consistency.
So it only makes sense to be spending your efforts on mastering the champions you enjoy playing, as long as they are suitable for the role. Obviously, apply common sense. No matter how much you enjoy playing Taric, he is just not a good Mid laner.
At the same time, the champions that you play absolutely do not have to belong to the “meta”.
For those of you wondering what “meta” means, it refers to the current common perception of what in-game strategies will be most effective in the present game circumstances.
Sure, always aim to adapt in some way to whatever the current meta happens to be, but constantly picking the new flavors of the month will cause inconsistency in your performance over time.
The other big trap you need to avoid is also really common amongst many players – which is a great thing, because you can take advantage of it by sticking to your champion pool.
I am talking about some players’ tendency to pick a champion they are unfamiliar with, just because it happens to counter whatever character they are facing in lane.
This is more prevalent from Bronze all the way to Platinum, although you do see it sometimes in low Diamond.
As a result, they might have a slight advantage ON PAPER, but in reality, they are handicapping themselves, because they are playing a champion that they are not familiar with.
They probably do not have good knowledge of the matchup, but most importantly, they do not know how to utilize their champion’s abilities properly.
This becomes a huge limiting factor for them when teamfights start to happen and they find themselves not being able to contribute much.
This is why sticking to your champion pool is so important.
It will give you a huge advantage over your Mid lane opponents, because they will often be making those mistakes of playing champions they are unfamiliar with, just because they happen to counter your champion or because it’s the flavor of the month type of thing.
So how should you go about choosing your champion pool for Mid lane?
First, you should only stick to 3 main champions that you enjoy and no more.
Don’t sweat it if you are not good at them right now, that’s not what is important. You will get there with practice.
Practice each champion’s mechanics. Learn how to last hit with him/her and all the other intricacies that are out there.
Practice teamfighting and using your combos effectively. Just keep doing it in normal games until you become confident enough to bring him in Ranked.
Here is the key criteria for choosing your Mid lane champions – they need to be with high potential for snowball (accumulating a larger and larger lead over time), roaming, wave clear, mobility, crowd control abilities and global presence on the map.
If your playstyle is more aggressive, you should favor early-to-mid game champions that allow you to build advantage fast and wrap up the game as quickly as possible.
Generally (although not always the case), the more mechanically complex a champion is, the more potential you have for doing great, but also the more time you will need to get to that point. So this is a trade-off you need to think about.
Also, I would suggest that your main 3 champions include some sort of long-range AP carry with great poke, crowd control and wave clear, and an AD/AP assassin with a ton of burst damage that will allow you to take out enemy caries in teamfights.
The third pick should be something that has high mobility, high damage, a lot of lane control and map pressure. Make sure you have a mix of both AD and AP champions.
After you have chosen your 3 main champions, pick another 3-4. Again, it’s best if they are a mix of AP and AD characters.
Those will be your substitutes in case the enemy team picked or banned your mains. Obviously, you will not be as familiar with them as you are with your mains, but that’s fine. They are your substitutes after all.
Again, those should be champions you enjoy playing. You can be also quite flexible with them, but if you are looking for specific instructions, you could choose from one utility champion, a control mage, another assassin, etc.
If you structure your champion pool in that way, you will be more flexible to fit in different team compositions, and you will also be familiar with your champions’ mechanics, matchups and counter picks at the same time.
You will be miles ahead of your competition, not only because you are more specialized with your champions, but also because you will be more adaptable to any circumstance.
You team composition would benefit from more long-range poke? Maybe more wave clear? More assassination potential and so on? You will be prepared for all that.
If you have made the choice of being a 1-trick pony player (i.e. playing only a single character), that’s fine too.
Just make sure you are really well prepared when it comes to learning all possible matchups, because you will lack the flexibility to accommodate to different team comps.
How to deal with lane counters
There is a counterpick to every champion. There are no exceptions to this rule and even if there were – that champion would have been banned in 100% of the games and you would not even have the chance of playing with him/her anyway.
No matter which champion you pick, there will be other characters that have innate advantages over him. The same truth goes the other way round and that will always be the case.
Like previously mentioned, very often you will be facing people that play champions they are not really comfortable with, just because they have the misconception that if they play a counterpick to your character, they will win automatically.
This could not be further from the truth.
Take the challenge if you see that your opponent is opting for a champion they had never played before in Ranked.
You can track this by checking them out by their Summoner name on websites like op.gg or lolking.net while the game loads.
However, sometimes your opponent’s main champion might happen to be the main counter to yours. If you are both in a similar skill level, you will not stand a chance in a fair fight. So what should you do in a situation like that?
You have 2 options.
The first option is to ask your Top laner for a lane swap. This often tends to works out very well in Ranked, as it tends to take your opponents aback.
They would buy their starting items preparing to face you, only to be unpleasantly surprized that it will be an ineffective purchase against an opponent they did not expect.
The second option you have is to just play back from a safe distance. As a result of this, you have to accept that in order for this situation to work out in the long run, you have to sacrifice the minion kills that are too risky to take.
Be satisfied with getting the experience for those minions. Even if your opponent is trying to zone you, try to get within the experience range.
Do not let him freeze the wave on you, and if that happens, try to push out the wave when it’s safe or ask your Jungler to help you with that so you can recall to base.
You should avoid trading at all cost, even though if you apply the 5-step formula to approaching every trade, you will be pretty well off.
The other thing you should do is be really conservative with your Summoner spells.
Don’t put yourself in a situation where you need to waste your Flash or Ghost, just because you were greedy for that one minion kill. Instead, keep your Summoners for when your Jungler comes to gank for you.
Focus on keeping your farm as high as you can, especially if your champion happens to scare better into the Mid and Late game phases than your opponent’s.
Try not to die, so you don’t miss experience in lane.
The last thing you can do is communicate with your Jungler (in a friendly manner of course) that you need help.
Stay safe until he comes and make sure you coordinate the gank properly.