League of Legends – MID LANE MASTERY : A Master Player’s Guide to dominating the Mid lane in Season 7
Chapter 5. The Ultimate farming guide
Why is last hitting so important?
Last hitting is one of the most essential mechanics in League of Legends. When it comes to winning your lane, this is one of those bread-and-butter skills you simply need to perfect to the highest level possible. Especially if you are currently playing anywhere below Diamond, proper last hitting is going to allow you to amass a great gold advantage over your opponent without even having to take the risk of attempting a kill. It’s your main source of income. Before we delve into the techniques you can use to perfect it, let me show you a simple illustration of exactly what difference it makes.
In League of Legends, you have 4 ways of earning gold – you get gold for killing minions and monsters, for killing champions, global gold from killing an objective (such as a turret or Baron Nashor) and the gold-per-10 passive that every player gets.
First, you get gold every 10 seconds.
It starts as soon as the first minion wave spawns and can be further increased by items like Spellthief’s edge.
This is exactly like a passive income stream for you – it’s just there for you and you don’t have to do anything to maintain it.
The second way of earning gold in League is by killing minions.
This takes into account for Jungle Monsters as well, but for the purpose of this book we will concentrate solely on Lane minions.
There are 4 types of minions in League – melee minions, caster minions, siege minions and super minions.
We are not going to talk about super minions in this book, since usually by the time they come into play, the laning phase is long gone.
But let’s take a look at each of the other types individually:
Melee minions are situated at the front of each minion wave. You get 19.8 gold for killing them initially, which is increased by 0.2 gold for every 90 seconds (or 3 waves) counting from the beginning of the game.
Therefore, every melee minion’s value will be increased to 25.2 gold at the 40 minute mark, for example.
Caster minions are ranged, squishier minions and represent a part of the backline of the minion wave.
Initially, they are worth 14.8 gold, which scales up with 0.2 gold for every 90 seconds that pass.
Siege minions are the ones that are worth the most gold, hence should get the highest priority.
Before the first 20 minutes, they can only spawn once every 90 seconds, so you will only see them in every third wave.
After that, they begin spawning every other wave. Their initial value is 40 gold, which is increased by 0.5 gold for every new spawn.
As you see, not only are they most valuable initially, but they scale 250% better compared to the other minions.
All these minions comprise the minion wave. Initially, a minion wave consists of 3 melee and 3 caster types. If you were to kill every single one of them you would earn 105 gold.
On a siege minion wave, which is every 90 seconds, the gold racks up to 145. As time goes by, this value will only exponentially increase.
Now remember, minion waves spawn every 30 seconds.
That makes the amount of gold you can gain per minute by farming perfectly exactly 236 gold, without taking into account the gold-per-10 values, which are not important for our purpose.
Killing champions only gives you between 50-500 gold (currently, shutdown kills only give 350 and the rest of the bounty gets split between your teammates, but that may change in the future).
If you put the numbers in perspective, that’s pretty much the same as 19 minions, or 3 full minion waves.
Mind you, that’s only taking into account a scenario in the initial stages of the game.
The value of minion kills only builds up with time, while the value of each consecutive kill you score on a target champion depreciates.
For the first and second kills you get 300 gold, but as you keep killing your opponent, he will be worth less every time you kill him. Let’s put all of this math regarding gold gained from minions in a graph, so I can illustrate the big picture more clearly to you:
The bottom line is, great farming skills will distinguish the good from the great players.
It takes a lot of patience and practice to really master farming, but once you do it, it will pay off huge dividends for the results that you get in your Ranked games.
The art of last hitting
Here is what you have to do to become a master at last hitting.
First, to make things easier, go into your in-game settings and disable the “Auto Attack” box.
This will prevent your champion from auto attacking the closest target available, which will help you miss less last hits. In essence, from now on you will be only auto attacking on command.
Once your minion wave and the enemy minion wave meet, that’s where the waiting game begins.
Your job is to wait for the enemy minion to get low enough in health so you can kill it with a single auto attack. Depending on the champion you are playing, that usually rounds up to about 53-70 health.
You have two options of what to do while you wait for the enemy minion to get low.
First, you can press the “s” key on your keyboard, which will prevent your champion from moving while you wait.
The second thing you can do is move around while you wait for the minion to get low.
I highly suggest that you move around all the time, especially when you are facing a skill shot-based champion like Ezreal or Lux.
This is what everyone in high elo does, because it makes you more unpredictable and harder to get hit with a spell. Just make sure you don’t walk out of your auto attack range.
With last hitting, you’ve got to hit the sweet spot, which is exactly the point at which the enemy minion is 1 auto attack away from dying.
It’s going to be much easier to do it if you are a ranged champion, but it’s easy enough for melees, too.
The trick is to move your character within your auto attack range and right next to the minion if you are melee, before its health is low because there is a little bit of a champion animation that goes on every time you launch an auto attack.
Here is what I mean:
I would say that managing to get an average of 8 last hits per minute is decent. 9 last hits per minute is excellent, and 10 per minute is outstanding.
But the great thing is that most likely, your opponents will never be able to get anywhere close to 10 per minute, unless you are playing in at least high Diamond.
If you are in Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum managing to get an average of 8 last hits per minute will take you a long way.
Managing to significantly outfarm your opponent in lane will win you that lane almost automatically.
There are other things involved when it comes to last hitting, though. It’s not just the auto attack range of your champion, but it’s also the positioning and distance from the creep.
If you are playing a ranged champion, the projectile of your auto attacks takes a certain amount of time to land.
That’s why things like attack speed and individual champion’s auto attack animation come into play.
This is the pre-launch time that takes place as soon as you launch an auto attack. With some champions such as Lux this is quite significant, and you have to take it into account.
Another tip I can give you is to look at your minions. Keep track of which target they are attacking and how fast the target’s health is going down.
If 6 minions are attacking the same target, it’s 6 times harder to get the last hit compared to a scenario where there was only 1 minion attacking it. But that’s just in theory. In practice, it’s just as easy once you get the hang of it.
If you want to score as many last hits as possible, try and do your best to not let 2 enemy minions of the same wave get to the sweet spot of last hitting we talked about, at the same time.
Here is what I mean.
If you see that 2 minions are getting chunked down at the same rate by your minions, this means that they are going to go down at exactly the same time.
If you tried to last hit them both at the same moment, you would have to miss one of them for sure. Unless you cast a spell of course, which is not necessarily something I would recommend that you always do.
If you have mastered the art of last hitting, you should generally avoid using your spells for it. It’s much better to save your spells for trading in lane.
Using your abilities to last hit minions will automatically give your opponent lane control for that brief period of time while your cooldown comes back up, since you will not be able to use it.
Of course, the exception being the low-mana cost spammable spells like Annie’s Q, Khazix’s or Ryze’s Q.
To avoid this situation, as soon as you see 2 enemy minions going down at the same pace, auto attack one of them twice while they are still healthy.
This will speed up the process of it going down and is going to make sure you can last hit it first, and then prepare for the next last hit.
The magic number here is 2 auto attacks, because it gives you enough time to set up for the next minion, even if you have low attack speed.
This is where having the proper runes and masteries comes into play.
Another tip I can give you is to play only a select few champions that you enjoy. Playing 2-3 champions is better than 10.
Just take the time to get used to the character’s auto attack animation, since that’s something that varies a lot across the different champions.
The best way of doing it is to get into a Custom game without other players in it and start practicing. Pick a lane and focus on getting as many last hits as you can when no one is bothering you.
Once you get to the point of getting at least 95% of the enemy creeps, try doing the same while moving between each auto attack.
Try to stay out of auto attack range of the minions before you hit them, and go in for an auto attack only when you will get the cs with the finishing blow.
Stay focused and observe how your results improve as you keep practicing.
This exercise will naturally increase your mechanical ability to remain mobile while farming, which will help you win trades and remain safer in lane.
Once you start hitting every last hit, put a beginner Bot against you to make it harder.
After that, progress to intermediate to make it even harder (or more complex, I should say). 15 minutes a day as a warm-up before your Ranked games is going to make all the difference in the world.
If you do that every day, 15 minutes a day rounds up to 7 and a half hours per month of practice.
It adds up quite quickly and you will be surprised at how fast you improve.
It’s a tried and proven progression scheme that has worked for thousands of players and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work for you.
Try it and get back to me in a month.
Last hitting under Tower
Last hitting under Tower requires a little bit more practice, but it is still simple enough once you get the hang of it.
As you get used to it, it becomes second nature. Here is how you do it perfectly.
You wait for the minion to get focused by the turret and you get within auto attack range of that minion.
If the creep that gets targeted is a melee minion, wait for it to get 2 Tower shots and last hit it as soon as it gets the second one.
Depending on your champion’s auto attack animation, the golden rule is to launch your auto attack as soon as the turret’s shot is halfway on its way.
If it’s a ranged minion, you want to hit it once before the turret has hit it, and then once more once the turret has already auto attacked it. You will see that the turret shot gets about 70% of its health.
Of course, all of this applies to the early levels of the game.
If you are playing in the bottom lane, it’s best to have your support do it for you, but that’s not to be expected in low elo, so just do it yourself until you get to the higher brackets of play.
Prepare yourself in advance, get into range and get that first auto attack before the tower hits that ranged minion.
When last hitting under Tower, sometimes it will be necessary to use an ability to get an important last hit, for instance on the siege minion.
That’s fine, because you have the protection of your turret so you will automatically win any trade if your opponent tries to capitalize on you having your ability on cooldown.
You should never be afraid of using an ability when last hitting under the Tower as long as your opponent is within the Tower range – at the early stages of the game one Tower auto attack will always chunk them down faster than they can chunk you down.
Positioning when last hitting
The last thing I want to talk about when it comes to mastering last hitting is your positioning.
Apart from getting as much farm as possible, your goal with last hitting is to maintain the proper positioning at all times.
This means that you want to be both safe from enemy skill shots, auto attacks and other forms of poke, and safe from the enemy Jungler ganking you.
Remember the concept of a champion’s zone of influence? Well, here we go.
The best way to achieve that is by moving in between each last hit in a way that does not have any reoccurring pattern to it.
This makes your positioning much harder to predict for the enemy and helps you stay safer for longer.
The other thing to note is that sometimes, when you have advantage in lane, you want to be positioning more aggressively in between your last hits so you can force favorable trades on your opponents to further increase your lane pressure.
But again, always think about your enemy’s zone of influence, even if you are ahead. It only takes one sloppy move to lose all your advantage in lane, so don’t lose track of that.
Ideally, you want to stay out of your opponent’s zone of influence while waiting for the right moment to last hit. In other words, you should be within close distance to that minion WHILE being safe from harass.
That’s really all there is to it when it comes to last hitting, let’s move on to the more exciting parts about this book!