Chapter 6. Minion wave management tehniques for Mid lane
Now that we have covered how to last hit like a top level player and what a champion’s zone of influence is, the next category of aspects we are going to look at, is creep wave manipulation.
The most important point that I want to make is that your goal as a Mid laner is to be able to build as much advantage over your opponent during the early stages of the game, so you can then gradually use that advantage to win objectives for your team and eventually, the game.
You do that by denying your lane opponent as much gold and experience as possible, while obtaining the maximum amount of those resources for yourself.
There are a few ways in which you can do that.
The first and obvious one is through killing your opponent and then pushing the next wave as fast as possible into his turret, so all your allied minions die to it and he ends up missing out on a full wave worth of experience and gold.
Meanwhile, as you recall as soon as you push the wave, you healing to full heath, shopping and heading back to lane will almost match the timer of his respawn, so you will both get back into lane at the same time.
The difference will be that you will have an advantage over him experience and item wise. Typically, if you are able to do this 2-3 times during the laning phase, you should be strong enough to 1v2 the enemy laner and his jungler.
However, this scenario is not always possible, due to a variety of factors. You might be facing a very passive player, a counterpick to your champion, the enemy Jungler might be camping you, the enemy Bot lane might gank you unexpectedly after they push their lane…
In other words, no matter how good you become at the game, you will not always be able to kill your opponent over and over, especially when you reach a higher bracket of play.
So what else can you do to achieve a similar effect, but without having to go through the risk of attempting a risky kill?
You can manipulate the minion waves using different techniques I am going to introduce to you next, the goal of which is to minimize your opponent’s ability to last hit or even get in the experience range of your dying creeps.
Yes, with the proper knowledge and practice you can achieve that result without actually having to kill your opponent. Sounds good? Let me teach you how to do it.
Freezing in Mid lane
The first technique you need to master is freezing. Freezing refers to the art of keeping the creep wave battle location stationary, at exactly the right position you want it to be.
The “right” position is the spot in the lane in which you are safe from getting ganked, while your opponent is vulnerable to being ganked by your jungler or top laner. I will show you where that position is for the Mid lane in a moment.
Basically, the minions get “frozen” in one spot for as long as you can keep maintaining that position stationary.
So what are the benefits of freezing?
The first advantage it gives you is that through freezing you can deny your opponents gold or even experience, when you completely zone them out of your minions’ experience area.
Another benefit is that by freezing the wave, you prevent the possibility of your opponent doing the same thing on you.
If you have been playing in low elo, chances are your opponents are not aware of this technique, but as you start to advance to high elo, players will be utilizing freezing to gain advantage over you.
The third benefit is that if you freeze the wave at the right spot, you will be safe from jungle ganks and at the same time, you are forcing your opponent to overextend to get cs, which sets up a great opportunity for your Jungler/Top laner to gank for you.
You generally want to freeze a lane in the early levels of the game, as it provides all the security you need to start building your lane advantage over your opponent.
Sometimes, if you happen to be very behind in lane or you just want to play it safe until you hit a certain powerspike, freezing can be very successfully utilized to help you.
So, let us take a look at how to do it correctly.
First, you need to have your opponent’s minion count higher than yours. Whenever that is the case, his minion wave will naturally be pushing faster and deeper into your “safe spot” (i.e. the area right outside of your turret range), which is where you want to freeze.
Typically, the enemy wave has outnumber yours by 3 to 5 minions, so that you can get it frozen. It really helps if one of those minions is a cannon minion, since it tends to push waves way faster than a melee or a caster creep.
If it is bigger than that number, it will kill your minions too fast once frozen, which may force you to take extra minion damage to keep the freeze going, which is highly undesirable.
If it is any lower than that, you may not be able to maintain the freeze for as long as you need, so you will be missing out on a putting your opponent in a vulnerable position.
Therefore, 3 to 5 is the magic number.
As soon as you get the minions in the spot you want the freeze to be at, start killing the enemy minions at the same pace at which they kill yours, so that nothing moves and the freeze is kept in the same spot wave after wave. All you have to do is just last hit and maintain the freeze.
But what is that perfect spot for Mid lane? What determines if a spot is good for freezing?
Take a look at the picture below.
The best spot to freeze at is the area right outside of your turret range. So, if you are playing on the blue side – the red circle is where you want your lane frozen.
Respectively, if you are playing on the red side, it would be the same spot on the other side of the lane.
But notice what’s happening here. First, let’s take a look at the minion count.
The red wave slightly outnumbers the blue wave (there are two extra caster minions approaching), which means that the red creep wave will naturally be pushing into the turret.
This allows Zed to get a freeze on that sweet spot. Look at where Yasuo is forced to stand.
Since all Zed has to do to maintain the freeze is just last hit and maintain that balance, Yasuo knows that if he comes near to try to get a last hit for himself, Zed will have his abilities up to either get him very low in health or straight up kill him.
At the same time, if Yasuo comes close enough to try to last hit, he will overextend massively and he will be vulnerable to getting ganked. So he will be forced to miss cs and keep his distance for as long as that freeze is maintained.
In this position, Zed is as safe as he can be in lane. Even if Yasuo’s Jungler was to come, he wouldn’t be able to gank for him with the exception of a tower dive, which would be too risky and would not work out anyway.
This is how you apply massive pressure to your lane opponent. I suggest that you go into Custom and Bot games and practice freezing there until you get the hang of it, since it’s such a powerful tool in your skillset arsenal.
If you learn to perfect freezing, it will make a huge difference in your gameplay, especially if you happen to be playing at the lower brackets of play such as Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
How to deal with getting freezed on by your opponent
In this part of the chapter, I will teach you how to react if your opponent manages to get a freeze on you. This is a situation that you need to know how to handle, especially as you climb higher and higher in the Ranked ladder.
Your opponent can get a freeze on you as a result of you getting ganked, killed, you made the mistake of pushing the wave for no reason, or simply as a consequence of you getting outtraded by him.
I am sure that you can think of the reasons why getting freezed on in lane is not a great circumstance to be in.
Once you are in that position, it forces you to overextend to cs, and makes it almost impossible for your Jungler to gank for you (unless you are both strong enough to tower dive the enemy laner), while you are the one vulnerable to getting killed.
The only way you can deal with this situation other than 1v1ing your opponent, is to break the freeze.
You can break the freeze by using your spells, auto attacks and/or your Jungler’s help to ideally push the wave all the way to the enemy turret, or at least as hard as you can do it safely.
As a result, your creep wave will be killed very fast by the enemy turret and your opponent last hitting it, which will help “reset” the next waves in the middle of the lane. In other words, the next creep waves will meet in the middle of the lane.
Don’t worry about preserving mana or cooldowns when you have to break the freeze.
You might think that it’s a waste to spend over 200 mana on shoving the lane, but it’s your best move. You want to get out of the position of being frozen on as quickly as possible.
Another tip I can give you is, once you have pushed the wave, unless you plan on recalling, simply retreat in the brush that you have vision control established in.
That way, you have more distance to work with in case the enemy Jungler is approaching to gank you. There is no reason to stand in the middle of the lane while you are waiting for the waves to reset (meet in the middle).
When is shoving the wave appropriate?
Now that we covered all this, the next logical question is when are the right times to push the wave into the enemy tower?
Well, there are a few scenarios when you want to do this.
The first one is when you have just killed the enemy laner and you know for sure that his Jungler is not nearby (use my advice on map awareness, it will serve you very well).
By pushing the lane right after you get a kill, you will make it so that the enemy laner loses at least a wave’s worth of gold and experience for dying to you.
If you don’t have vision of the enemy Jungler however and you have not spotted him anywhere on the map recently, it’s best to assume he is heading towards you to finish you off.
Just go back and recall.
The second instance where it is beneficial to push the lane is right before you are about to roam.
That way, you force our opponent to either stay at his turret trying to get last hits while you are impacting the map, or to try to match your roam and lose all the minions to his turret.
Either way, he is at a disadvantage.
The third scenario is when you are getting freezed on. This is something we already covered in quite a detail, but one thing that I should add, is that by breaking the freeze you are forcing your opponent to last hit under tower.
This gives you plenty of time to just chill in the brush you have established vision in, or to further expand your vision control by placing an extra ward on a different key warding spot.