This is a core game in eSports. It’s been around for some time and is especially popular in North America. League of Legends deserves credit for the big selections of characters to pick for each role. That promotes unique approaches and leaves the door open for innovative new talents. But what that huge pool of characters means is that the roles get somewhat complicated.
So we’ll cover the main positions of a standard League of Legends team with some additional styles that each may have.
|Players per LoL Team||Team Objective|
|1 Top Laner
1 Mid Laner
1 AD Carry
|Destroy enemy towers to advance through the lanes, then ultimately destroy enemy Nexus.|
Many players will say how helpful it is when a Top Laner is self-sufficient. That doesn’t mean that they are not completely independent of their team, but it means that they can stay alive without needing a lot of support.
It goes without saying, you’ll find Top Laners farming the uppermost lane. This can sometimes change if the team wants to switch their Top with a different player from a different lane.
Top Lane Tank
As covered in this glossary, a tank is a character that can take a lot of damage. They’re the beefy sponges for damage. Tanks can be found in other positions, but usually, they are sent to the Top Lane because they can survive the long lane better than non-Tank champions.
It might seem like Tanks would do well in 1v1 situations, but that’s not necessarily true. Tanks are slower (beefy brutes, remember?) and so they can be outmaneuvered pretty easily. They pave the way for ganks with their crowd control.
Example champions: Ornn, Sion, and Malphite.
Top Lane Split Pusher
These Split Pushers can push one of two things, depending on what’s happening. Unlike Tanks, Split Pusher Top Laners excel at 1v1 encounters. If played well, these champions can beat just about any other champion for a kill.
Alternatively, Split Pushers might not push for a kill if more than one enemy engages but rather serve as a distraction while their team forces (pushes) an objective. It’s not common for these players to actively group up. However, Split Pushers are often prime champions to come in and clean up kills once a fight has started.
Example champions: Illaoi, Tryndamere, and Fiora.
Top Lane Bruiser
A Bruiser combines a Tank’s defense with high damage output. They are more predatory in the earlier phases of a match, building damage as soon as possible. Top Lane Bruisers are very often found battling in skirmishes.
Example champions: Renekton, Darius, and Garen.
Junglers spend the early phases of the match prowling through the jungle, clearing camps, and ganking lanes. Since they don’t usually get as much gold income as Top Laners, Mid Laners, or AD Carries, Junglers often build more supportive items that help their team.
These players typically initiate fights. It’s not difficult to notice opportunistic, predatory behavior in Junglers because the element of surprise is fundamentally their greatest weapon.
Playing this style requires AD-heavy champions. These AD Junglers tend to be really strong early in the game and competent skirmishers, but they lack the defense of Tank Junglers.
That isn’t a bad trade-off for aggressive players. Aggression is a major strength of AD Junglers who can deal a lot of damage in a single ambush. If there is a gank happening, a useful strategy is to have the AD Jungler predict and cut-off escape. The high damage easily turns a retreating champion into a kill.
Example champions: Kindred, Kha’Zix, and Graves.
Tanks have a slow start in the jungle, too. Early in the game, they have to be very cautious to avoid being invaded. They might show a reclusive pattern of play that gradually turns into a more bold one.
As the game progresses, Tank Junglers build more items to boost their health and resistance. That added defense helps them be more effective at ganking. Because Tanks are slow, a good Jungler Tank has to be skilled a timing; they can’t chase down retreating opponents.
Example champions: Rammus, Sejuani, and Amumu.
Mid Laners are known for farming early on and sometimes roaming to the side lanes and jungle once they unlock their ultimate. There are three main styles for Mid Laners to use: mages, assassins, and utility champions.
Mid Lane Mage
Mages naturally rely on their spells to do damage and assist their team. There are even some subclasses of mages. A Control Mage is one that has holds up well in the lane and scale up well throughout the game. Usually, they are great at semi-consistent magic damage and controlling zones of the map for the team.
There are also Burst Mages and Poke Mages. Burst Mages try to put all of their damage into a single spell in order to take their opponent’s health from full to zero with one cast. They pick an opening in a fight and fully commit their burst to it, meaning that they are less consistent damage dealers than Control Mages.
Poke Mages aren’t very mobile and try to leverage their long range spells, dealing damage to enemy champions before they have engaged in a fight. This causes the opposing player to lose aggressive confidence and stay out of the fight, hence they are ‘poked’ out.
Example champions: (Control) Orianna, Twisted Fate, and Azir; (Burst) Syndra, Annie, and Ahri; (Poke) Zoe, Xerath, and Vel’Koz.
Mid Lane Assassin
Assassins also have magic-focused damage. AD Assassins establish themselves as such because of their tendency to pick-off and instantly kill enemy champions. They look for squishy champions with low mobility in particular. Those enemies make for easy kills early in the game.
Other Mid Lane AP Assassins give more priority to their abilities and levels. This usually translates to a slower start yet safer methods of escaping fights later. Mid Lane Assassins of this type are rare because they are weak early on and they don’t have waveclear.
Example champions: (AD) Zed, Irelia, Talon; (AP) Fizz, Akali, and Ekko.
Mid Lane Utility
These are supportive members of the team. They are usually chosen to compliment a hugely-damaging pick on the team. Mid Lane Utilities, sometimes referred to as ‘Mid Lane Supports,’ use the gold they get from their lane to back-up their teammates.
This can be by providing stronger shields, healing, or applying a durable layer of protection to a specific teammate.
Example champions: Karma, Lulu, and Lux.
Now, this isn’t an official title on a roster, but it is an integral position for every League of Legends team. Bot Laners typically play AD Carry champions paired with the Support teammate. This pairing is important because the AD Carry champions that Bot Laners usually play are very squishy and easy to kill when alone. They compensate for that by dealing destructive damage, and they especially shine in the later phases of the match.
Occasionally, the Bot Laners might be swapped for mages or other roles, but this is more dependent on advanced team composition.
Bot Lane ADC
Similar to Mid Lane Mages, there are three main types of Bot Lane ADCs: Hyperscale, Mid-Game, and Utility. Hyperscale champions start off with terrible range but as they get items, they become absurdly stronger. If they survive till the late game and cooperate well with the Support, then their damage output goes through the roof.
Mid-Game ADCs ride the wave of a single-item power spike early on. The moment they obtain that item, their team tries to capitalize by forcing fights around objectives. These ADCs hold their own in lane, too.
Utility ADC champions make for excellent picks to cover for other roles because of their rare initiation tool. However, this type has low mobility and is easily targeted both in team fights and in lane. The nature of a Utility ADC means that they can be extra supportive for their teammates when a team fight does break out.
Example champions: (Hyperscale) Vayne, Twitch, and Kai’Sa; (Mid-Game) Miss Fortune, Lucian, and Ezreal; (Utility) Jhin, Varus, and Ashe.
Bot Lane Melee Carries
These Bot Laners are special because of how rare they are. They are only really picked when there is a very strong ranged ADC in another role. That way, the team’s siege potential (how far away they can damage the enemy objectives) doesn’t suffer in the late game.
Bot Lane Melee Carries are huge kill threats in their lane, which has been proven to be a valuable asset in the right hands time and time again.
Example champions: Riven, Mordekaiser, and Yasuo.
There are not a good amount of resources that come a Support’s way, yet they’re teammates depend on them to be effective without building expensive items. It’s advisable for any Support to buy an item that gives additional gold income.
Supports are instrumental in their team’s vision control. They are tasked with peeling (defending) their ADC primarily. It’s not uncommon for a team’s Support to attempt to lock down the enemy’s backline, though.
The most textbook style of Support is Enchanter. They are there to heal, shield, and buff their teammates. Support Enchanters sustain their team not so much with their decent laning as with their item building.
These champions particularly like to build items that further buff their ADCs. They, themselves, are pretty weak in engagements—especially if the enemy focuses on them.
Example champions: Soraka, Sona, and Janna.
Unlike the healing style of Enchanters, Support Picks are aggressive. They often build Tank items and show patterns like Assassin’s where they want to pick-off an enemy champion without drawing attention.
This style has good kill pressure in lane and don’t stray far from it. Tactically, Support Picks are responsible for clearing and establishing vision for the team.
Example champions: Blitzcrank, Pyke, and Thresh.
Interested in learning more about League? Our list of the top players can be found here. Also, take a look at some of our other articles such as the history of eSports, the most popular games of 2019, and the biggest live events of all time.