League of Legends Academy: How to Play + Tips

League of Legends Academy: 102

League of Legends is a team-based game where two teams comprised of special characters called Champions compete to destroy the other team’s base while protecting their own. There are hundreds of Champions to choose from, each with their own special abilities and weaknesses to give the game lots of different variety in outcomes.

The team’s base is called the Nexus and is the vital piece of the map. Teams must protect their own Nexus and use it to become stronger while attacking to destroy the other team’s identical base on the other side of the map. The Nexus is the place where minions, AI with low health that auto-attacks the other team’s structures, spawn, players can buy upgrades for their Champion, and replenish their mana and health for battle.

The map, called Summoner’s Rift, is a symmetric map composed of 3 main lanes for travel, the top lane, the bottom lane, and the middle lane, known as the Jungle. You must clear one lane entirely to make your way to the other team’s base. This includes destroying turrets, AI on the map, and the other team’s player in that lane, in order to reach the Nexus. There are lots of 1 on 1 duels that are critical for leveling up your character compared to your enemy within each lane. These battles are critical for success and ultimately determine the outcome of the match.



Credit- leagueoflegends.com

The objective of a game in League of Legends to destroy the other team’s Nexus while protecting your own. The map is shaped in a diamond formation with three major lanes, and you must defeat the other team in battle to progress to the other team’s base. There are two major turrets surrounding the Nexus, called the Nexus Towers, that defend the Nexus and must be destroyed in order to reach the Nexus.

At the beginning of the match, players must farm the AI on the map to gain gold and experience to level up their Champion. Champions must get stronger in order to win the battles during the match. Champions gain the most XP and gold from battles with opposing players, but consecutive losses can lead to the other team becoming over-leveled and dominating the game. Fight to progress up your respective lane and work with your team to move towards the Nexus and win battles.


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Credit- leagueoflegends.com

Like any other sport or Epsort, there are positions and roles for players within League. Players must play in their role on the team to have success in the match and work together to win. Certain Champions are effective in certain parts of the map and others are effective in others, so you must understand the Champions to have success. Different combinations of Champions can lead to different strategies, so you must communicate with your team to know how you will attack the opposing team.

Top Laner

The top laner plays in the top lane and plays Champions that are elusive and difficult to kill. It is the top laner’s job to protect their team and focus on the enemy team’s powerful members. Because of the way that the map is laid out, top laners are usually isolated off from the rest of the team. Often times, games could go on for quite some time before a top laner groups together with their other teammates.

Mid Laner

The mid laner plays in the middle lane and is often thought of as the star role of the team. Because they are in the middle of everything, they can quickly get to any point on the map to assist their teammates. Mid lane champions are usually one of the team’s two main damage dealers. Their goal is to kill the enemy team quickly and often.

AD Carry

This stands for Attack Damage Carry. An AD Carry plays in the bottom lane and is one of the team’s two primary damage dealers. The AD Carry focuses mainly on ranged, auto-attack based Champions that can deal a lot of damage from a distance. Similar to mages, AD Carries must be properly protected from the enemy team.


The support plays in the bottom lane with the ADC and helps them throughout the game. While the support may primarily help the ADC early on in the game, as the game moves forward they usually transition to helping the entire team. Support champions usually will not deal a lot of damage at all but have incredibly powerful abilities that can help their team out in many situations.


The jungler roams around the jungle for the beginning of the game, killing monsters. As the game goes on, the jungler will try and fill the gaps in their team, helping out where they are needed: trying to add extra damage to the team if the team needs it, or trying to protect the team if they are losing members quickly. Because of this, jungle champions are usually very flexible in terms of what they can do.


Jungle/ Middle Lane

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Credit: leagueoflegends.com

The Jungle is the primary lane that takes up most of the map and can easily access both the top and bottom lanes of the map as well. The Jungle is home to AI beasts that can give buffs, or power-ups to you and the rest of your team, which can help guarantee victory during the duration of the battle. The fight for the buffs from the monsters in the Jungle are a key moment early on in a League of Legends game and can often determine the outcome from the outset.

There are powerful dragons in the Jungle as well, known as Drakes, and give unique bonuses to your team when they are slain. Once again, the battle between the players in the Jungle lane can be the deciding factor for the match overall, due to the power of the buffs that can be given to the team.

The Middle Lane players play in tandem with the Jungler and try to move up the middle of the map, opening a path to the nexus. They can help assist the Jungler with the buffs or try to delay the other team in their pursuit early in the game.

Top Lane

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Credit: leagueoflegends.com

In the Top Lane, the Champions are left isolated from the rest of their 5 person squad and must fight a 1-on-1 duel with the Top Laner from the opposing team. They must be smart about when to choose fights and know when to back up to assist the team in other areas of the map. Control over the buffs in the top part of the map is crucial, and if one Top Laner can become stronger than the other quickly, it can be a path to victory.

Bottom Lane

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Credit: leagueoflegends.com

The players within the Bot Lane are among the most important on the League squad. The main player in Bottom Lane is crucial because they are the most powerful attacking member of the team once they level up, and must be protected in the process. The support player plays as the member overlooking the Bot Lane player, ensuring that they can level up properly. Once the Bot Laner is ready, the duo can work in tandem to attack the opposing team, opening a path to the Nexus.

Both teams are trying to accomplish this at once on the same map, so the early fights over certain buffs can determine the outcome of a game even though it will be a struggle regardless. The small advantages eventually have a snowball effect and become much larger if the team that wins the opening engagements does not make any blunders.


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Credit: leagueoflegends.com

Each Champion has 5 core abilities, 2 special spells, and up to 7 items at once during a match. Abilities can be used in battle to give the Champion an edge in one part of the battle and can be the deciding part of the fight. There are passive, main, and ultimate abilities. Passive abilities are available all the time, main abilities regenerate over time and must be bought as the character levels up, and the ultimate ability is earned with experience in the game and must also be unlocked with gold earned in the match.

Each Champion has a unique set of abilities and can use different combinations against certain Champions to gain the upper hand in a lot of fights. Deep knowledge of how each Champion works is a key first step into becoming a great League of Legends player.


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Credit: leagueoflegends.com

If you are just starting out playing the League, it can feel quite daunting. The game has over 140 unique Champions with a different backstory and abilities that impact their performance in the game. Learning the main Champions can be tough and it can get a whole lot tougher when secondary Champions start getting added to the mix. However, the core mechanics of the game remain unchanged regardless of the Champion, and you must focus on the ultimate outcome of the game, destroying the other team’s Nexus.

Focus on mastering one style of character, whether it is a jungler, Top Laner, Bot Laner tank, or a Support Champion. Test it out and find out what you like while you learn the game, then focus on one Champion to truly master the game. You will learn so much about the game and truly begin to love the competitive parts of League while you grind a Champion, so master one, then move to the next.

Watching pro players can also be extremely helpful in your League learning experience. These players have mastered the game in its 11-year existence and learned the game inside and out. In watching them, you can hopefully absorb 10% of their knowledge and apply it to your personal game, and that will help you learn the game overall as well. There are different strategies and ways to work with your team that can be difficult to learn with other new players, but seeing pros do it lays the blueprint for you and your friends in a simple manner.

So what are you waiting for, why are you reading this and not playing League of Legends? By now, you know that the game is the most popular in the world, and you should learn why. I have given you a blueprint on how to take the first steps in the game so it is not too confusing from the jump, and to guide you on your journey into the land of League of Legends. The game is free to download, so what’s stopping you from joining the fight on Summoner’s Rift?

I am a journalism major at Michigan State entering my 3rd year. I aspire to be a sports writer covering college basketball or the NBA. In my free time, I watch as many sports as I can, play video games, and watch eSports.

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