Zed Guide – Build, Masteries, and Counters

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The short, pro guide to dominate as Zed in mid lane. Learn the builds, masteries, counters, and special fighting tactics to carry as him in LoL.

Video

Lane Strategy

  • Abuse your mana-free abilities. Farm with your abilities if you’ll be worse off from a poke trade
  • Light poke comes from Razor Shuriken. Look to reposition yourself so you get a last hit and harass with one Q
  • Heavy poke comes from W > E > Q > W > autoattack. The Shadow Slash (E) slows to set up your Razor Shuriken (Q). Get close enough so Zed and his Shadow each deal Razor Shuriken. Swap with your Living Shadow and auto attack only if the target is below 50% health so it procs your passive. You have to be in melee range to harass with two Shadow Slashes making it an unlikely strategy
  • Your passive is perfect for last hitting minions. When establishing an ideal minion position to freeze the lane or zone the enemy, still let the minion health get low
  • When a melee champion like Gragas or Fizz engages you close, cast Living Shadow and activate it to your retreat location then use Shadow Slash (so your shadow slows) combined with Razor Shuriken for added punishment
  • Quickly push a lane by casting Living Shadow in the middle of the caster and melee minions then E and Q. E again when it’s off cooldown

Team Fight Tactics

  • If you get safely within range of a squishy enemy, cast your ultimate before your Living Shadow. You want your Living Shadow to close the distance on an enemy’s dash (or flash) common for AD carries or for your escape. The added damage from a nearby shadow during your ultimate is minimal, not worth the risk, and allows a likely escape for the enemy
  • Cast your ultimate when the enemy target like Vayne uses Condem to knock you away or dashes away like Corki with his Valkyrie. You will avoid CC or transport to the enemy’s location
  • Ult a tank if your AD is getting soloed by him and the enemy carries are not a deadly threat. This allows your carry to re-target dangerous enemies
  • Some cooldown reduction is synergistic with your ultimate. CDR lets you cycle abilities for maximal Death Mark damage

Sneaky Tactics

  • Only your shadow slows from Shadow Slash. When dueling, if you can shadow within auto-range, instantly Shadow Slash to help you stick to the target. When running, use Living Shadow to create distance then Shadow Slash once the enemy gets near your shadow
  • Ward over a narrow wall then catch out a squishy target by initiating with your ultimate. Once you get the kill, press R again to safely retreat
  • A similar combo is done to juke when caught. Ult the side you’re caught on, shadow across, then swap back to your shadow if need be
  • Count the time since you cast Living Shadow and Death Mark. Know how long you have to swap places
  • Blade of the Ruin King gives added damage to your ultimate
  • Living Shadow provides vision to check brushes
  • Death Mark makes Zed temporarily untargetable so you can use it to dodge tight moments like Karthus’ ultimate
  • Become like Faker
  • Zed has a unique taunt when in-front of Shen: “Challenge me Shen…You shall not be an orphan long!”

Warnings

  • High skill cap. Takes time to master

Zed is Countered By

  • Cho’Gath
  • Irelia
  • Kayle
  • Lissandra
  • Lulu
  • Ryze
  • Soraka
  • Udyr

Zed Counters

  • Karthus
  • Katarina
  • Taliyah
  • Twisted Fate

Counter Mechanics

  • Burst negation. Kayle’s ultimate, Jax’s Counterstrike, or a silence when Zed ults. Cho’Gath with this tankiness and crowd control is cancer
  • Tanky champions work against Zed’s burst reliance
  • Zed relies on minimal enemy CC or ally threats to enter fights so he cannot get crowd controlled. Against low quality players, this doesn’t matter as they may burn such abilities before you ult in
  • Track Zed’s Living Shadow. It has a high cooldown that when wasted, makes him vulnerable to ganks or no damage
  • Strong split pusher as he can clear waves fast, escape, and 1v1 nearly anyone
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Lux Guide – Build, Masteries, and Counters

Need the exact tips, build, and masteries to win as Lux right now? Learn how to play any League of Legends champion like a pro to carry in solo queue. Become a Summoner School student by signing up.

The short, pro guide to dominate as Lux in mid lane. Learn the builds, masteries, counters, and special fighting tactics to carry as her in LoL.

Video

Lane Strategy

  • Assume you have ignite. If you can constantly ignite an enemy, you’re playing Lux wrong. Your strength is your distance
  • Level up Lucent Singularity because it is your primary harass tool
  • Harass with Lucent Singularity behind the enemies initial position. Most players walk backwards to dodge the ability
  • Lux’s harass combo comes from a snare into a Lucent Singularity. Autoattack first to proc your passive then detonate Lucent Singularity and autoattack the final passive. Skip the passive detonations if you suspect damage reciprocation
  • Your nuke combo is the same as the harass combo except you cast Final Spark to detonate the Illumination from Lucent Singularity then autoattack Illumination from your ultimate
  • Detonate Lux’s passive (Illumination) when the enemy has no abilities up as your autoattack does more damage than their autoattack
  • When you want to nuke someone in lane or you’re getting a gank, cast Lucent Singularity first to slow the enemy so it’s easier to hit Light Binding. If the enemy is about to leave Lucent Singularity, detonate it for the damage. If you successfully snare the enemy, cast your ultimate to detonate your passive then autoattack to detonate the Illumination from your ultimate
  • Lux’s ultimate has a short cooldown so you can use it as harass or to maintain map control. Clear waves quickly with an E on melee minions into her ultimate
  • If you get jumped on by a dangerous champion like Fizz, cast Lucent Singularity on top of you to get away. Detonate it when the enemy is about to leave the AOE affect
  • Lux is more effective at counter-ganking than ganking because her abilities are easy to dodge when initiating a gank and unsuspecting when counter-ganking

Team Fight Tactics

  • The best goal with Lux in a team fight is to kill a squishy carry before the fight even begins. Do this with wards where enemies cross as you wait nearby
  • If an ally gets caught, zone the enemy back line with the slow from your E. Snare them or the diving enemy depending on who has crowd control to further keep your ally stuck
  • If your team composition can dive squishy enemies, position to the side so you cannot get engaged on and can cast your E and ultimate on the squishies
  • Come mid game with possible fights around Dragon, leveling up Lucent Singularity first gives you good AOE damage to be used with your ultimate
  • Prismatic Barrier is best cast when the team fight starts. It is a boomerang ability where if the shield is reduced from the first cast, it can re-shield an ally for the full amount (around 300 health) if it passes through them again. You often get to cast it again to turn around close kills. That hypothetically equals 1200 bonus health for each team member
  • Your passive is less important in team fights compared to your positioning and skillshots
  • Look to team fight in narrow paths like jungle gaps
  • Unless you’re cleaning up a kill, cast Final Spark on enemies who have been hit by your Q or E. Wait for their CD if you must as the added damage from your ultimate triggering your passive is worth it

Sneaky Tactics

  • Do not detonate Lucent Singularity when disengaging from an attempted initiation or gank. Most Lux players only use Light Binding to disengage forgetting the slow from her E is also as effective
  • Check brushes with Lucent Singularity so you don’t have to face check
  • When running away from damage, cast Prismatic Barrier towards the direction you run as the shield hits you quicker on its return
  • When an enemy retreats near a wall on low health, cast your ultimate away from the wall making it impossible to juke
  • Track where the enemy jungler starts then place a ward on blue 1 minute before it respawns (so they don’t see the ward go down) and steal it with your ultimate
  • Cast Q behind one wall of minions. Some people forget it carries onto the second target. It’s a one-trick pony. They won’t forget a second time
  • Annoy short-tempered enemies with Lux’s tier-one laugh

Warnings

  • Has limited item paths. You want cooldown reduction and ability power
  • Illumination procs separates good Lux players from great Lux players
  • Don’t smart cast her ultimate. You need to see its range
  • Pure skillshot-based champion

Lux is Countered By

Lux Counters

  • Karthus
  • Ryze
  • Annie

Counter Mechanics

  • Lux if played in a safe way cannot be countered due to her range, snare, and nuke potential. The Lady of Luminosity can poke and farm safely with her Lucent Singularity in lane and catch someone from a far distance with Light Binding
  • Lux counters squishy champions when she can take them out from a distance
  • Does well verse short range casters like Karthus and Ryze
  • Lux struggles against champions who can juke her abilities and quickly close the gap between them and her (like Katarina, Kassadin, or Fizz)
  • Juke her abilities to the side rather than backwards because all of her abilities have a long range
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Kassadin Guide – Build, Masteries, and Counters

Need the exact tips, build, and masteries to win as Kassadin right now? Learn how to play any League of Legends champion like a pro to carry in solo queue. Become a Summoner School student by signing up.

The short, pro guide to dominate as Kassadin in mid lane. Learn the builds, masteries, counters, and special fighting tactics to carry as him in LoL.

Video

Lane Strategy

  • Acknowledge Kassadin’s weakness early. Don’t go for a last hit if you’ll take multiple auto-attacks otherwise you’ll get pushed out of lane fast. Consider Corrupting Potion for most lanes or Doran’s Shield if you suspect a lot of autos will fly your way to try counter early weakness
  • Use Nether Blade to last hit under tower. Even if you know you’ll miss a last hit, auto-attack to get mana from the ability’s passive
  • Last hit siege minions with Null Sphere. The gold is worth the mana cost
  • Generally preserve Null Sphere for last hits because it gives you an auto-attack animation reset
  • You are unlikely able to get a kill on your lane opponent until level 6. Your lane strength comes once you hit 6
  • Your kill or harass combo in lane is R > E > W > Q. A good enemy can flash as your Q flies through the air unless you get close with your ultimate.

Team Fight Tactics

  • Get a Force Pulse across the maximum number of champions. The slow and damage is devastating. Coupled with Zhonyas to waste their abilities
  • Silence an enemy dependent on abilities. This may not always be an AP enemy. A Zed who ults in does no damage if you silence once he ults
  • Charge up your ult if you have the mana and know a fight is moments away. The added AOE damage will surprise
  • Your Riftwalks early in a team fight should allow you to reposition to combo a front line threat. Rarely are you able to dive straight into the back line
  • Have a pink or red trinket on the side near a team fight where you can remove enemy visibility then wait until a team fight starts so you jump in to assassinate a squishy
  • If the enemy team clumps and your team is around, Riftwalk and cast Force Pulse then quickly use Zhonya’s Hourglass. it’s an aggressive play with high reward potential
  • If your AD carry is fed, peel with your slow. You can wreak the enemy back line later with Riftwalk

Sneaky Tactics

  • Riftwalk under crowd control abilities like Morgana’s Bind towards the enemy if you deem the situation to warrant instant aggression
  • Activate Nether Blade and Riftwalk when at base to charge up Force Pulse or Tear of the Goddess
  • Riftwalk in unusual places when you go to gank to surprise. Kassadin is one of the best roamers in League of Legends
  • Your Nether Blade wrecks tanks who go Sunfire Cape
  • As long as Riftwalk takes you over the halfway point of a wall, you appear on the other side
  • Backdoor like Xpeke

Warnings

  • Always weigh up if you should Riftwalk in for a momentary position advantage and damage versus Riftwalk out to escape
  • Your passive attack speed boost is useless against an AD-based team because it depends on receiving AP damage
  • A lot of champions can kill you mid level 2 or 3 due to their higher burst and synergy from abilities like Anivia, Brand, and Cassiopeia
  • Vulnerable to the enemy jungler camping because Kassadin is melee and has to move up further to last hit minions

Kassadin is Countered By

  • Bruisers like Irelia, Jax, Gangplank, Jayce, Riven, Zed, and Yasuo
  • Poke heavy like Ziggs, Anivia, Urgot, and Orianna, but you counter them late-game

Kassadin Counters

  • All squishy AP champions like Twisted Fate, Karthus, Lux, Veigar, and Ziggs

Counter Mechanics

  • Counter with early lane dominance through poke
  • Consider doing an early 2v1 against Kassadin to shut him down
  • Tanky bruisers hurt because they can sustain any poke and are not greatly limited by your silence
  • Kassadin works well against AP champs mid because he can burst with Riftwalk, which further gives him potential to chase down and dodge abilities
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Anivia Guide – Build, Masteries, and Counters

Need the exact tips, build, and masteries to win as Anivia right now? Learn how to play any League of Legends champion like a pro to carry in solo queue. Become a Summoner School student by signing up now to carry in solo queue.

The short, pro guide to dominate as Anivia in mid lane. Learn the builds, masteries, counters, and special fighting tactics to carry as her in LoL.

Video

Lane Strategy

  • You get a power surge at level three with one ability in Flash Frost and two in Frostbite. Flash Frost can deal double damage as well as Frostbite from the frost proc
  • If your jungler has a non-skill shot crowd control like Maokai snare, wait until that lands before casting Flash Frost to guarantee you hit your stun and chain your abilities
  • Clear raptors only when you have blue buff or are about to back. You’re too mana-dependent
  • Improve the chances of landing your slow stun by walling behind the enemy, seeing the direction he moves, then cast it
  • Once you hit 6, most of your harass will come from an ult into Frostbite combo. This sets you up to hit Flash Frost because your close and the enemy is slowed from your ult. Ideally you want to stun the target in your ult. If not, the stun then wall allows you to get another ult and Frostbite off seconds late
  • When you want to push a wave, tank the melee minions until they line up, then use Glacial Storm and Flash Frost to clear
  • Always know if your egg is up or not. You can be more ballsy when your passive is up

Team Fight Tactics

  • Your ability to clear waves and siege towers is fantastic. You can defend towers well and zone enemies with your wall
  • A level 5 Crystallize provides enormous catch potential when trying to taken an enemy tower
  • Fight in the jungle because your wall is guaranteed to separate a team while your ultimate covers most narrow passages
  • You have two common ways to initiate fights: get into the fog of war then cast Flash Frost or use Crystallize behind one unsuspecting enemy who steps too far forward
  • Get your ult on an attack-speed based champion to debuff their attack speed. You can save your other abilities for other champions
  • Look to use your wall early if you can keep an important enemy out of the fight
  • If an enemy bruiser initiates or gets caught too far from his team, use your wall to block the remaining enemies from engaging. Banish the engager then move onto the remaining enemies
  • If a tank does little damage to you but sticks on you, cast your ultimate on you and walk around in it
  • If your AD carry is more fed than the enemy AD carry, use all your abilities to peel
  • Be patient with your Flash Frost if you cannot kill or be killed. A good Flash Frost that passes through an enemy can double proc its damage when detonated and stun

Sneaky Tactics

  • Launch your Flash Frost as you auto-attack to confuse your opponent that the stun is coming. The particle affects are similar
  • Anivia works well with Ashe and Nunu because their movement speed debuffs proc the double damage from Frostbite
  • Crystallize brushes to gain vision without walking inside. Use it to check Baron from top side
  • Crystallize does one true damage if it shifts an enemy. Be aware it can lead you to take tower damage
  • Interrupt dashes with Crystallize as you see the enemy beginning the move. Good for Jarvan IV. (Example video)

Warnings

  • Be careful when laning while your Flash Frost is on cooldown
  • You’re one of the slowest champions in the game
  • You’re mana-heavy
  • CC cancels your ultimate

Anivia is Countered By

Anivia Counters

  • Mordekaiser
  • Karthus
  • Ekko

Counter Mechanics

  • Mobile enemies like Fizz and Kassadin counter you when they juke Flash Frost with their mobility to get close, deal massive damage, and disrupt Anivia’s ult. Zed works in a similar fashion when he casts a shadow behind, switches to it to dodge the stun, then nukes
  • Vulnerable to large gap closers like Malphite and Cho’Gath who negate Crystallize
  • Does well verse champions like Mordekaiser and Karthus who get up close and are kept in Anivia’s ultimate
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10 Tips to Become Top-Tier Support

“Support is a very difficult role in competitive play because the only two skills that transfer over from solo queue to competitive play are the laning abilities and team fight abilities. All of the warding and map rotations are totally different making it a little bit of a challenge for a lot of new supports. There is definitely room for people who are in the master and low challenger realm to improve just a bit and challenge LCS players.” ~ Silver

Want to improve your support play in League of Legends? Whether you like to play Janna, Alistar, Bard – or even less traditional supports like Gragas – in this guide you get 10 universal tips to become a good support player.

Tip #1: Learn One Champion at a Time

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you when learning support is to take on one champion at a time. This means you should become very comfortable with one champion before proceeding to learn the next. Learning how to play all the support champions at once is inefficient as you fail to learn the ins and outs of each champion. The ultimate goal is to have a champion pool of four to five support champions, where you are very comfortable on two to three of those champions. These are the champions you main for support.

Here’s some advice from challenger support Lohpally:

“Find champions that fit your style and are comfortable and just focus on getting better at those first before branching off, don’t overwhelm yourself with champion mastery.”

Here’s some advice from challenger coach Silver:

“Try to focus on one or two larger ideas and once you master those, move on.”

Tip #2: Learn the Specific Capabilities of Each Support Champion

The champions in League of Legends designated for support can be categorized into different groupings. There are a few different kinds of supports, in terms of method and role. Many of these champions may be capable of doing different roles, but not all champions are able to do them equally. Let’s go through a few different types of supports.

I like to call champions such as Soraka, Sona and Janna “dedicated supports” because they allow their ADC to farm safely, help set up potential kills, and they  make sure that their ADC is healthy. They generally rely on the strength of their raw abilities. On the other hand, champions like Zilean, Karma and Morgana can be referred to as “AP supports” as they focus on winning their lane by using their abilities to contribute damage to the enemy lane. Play to the strengths of each type.

Tip #3: Identify Your Mistakes as a Support

I find lower elo players ask questions like, “I main support but I just can’t get out of Silver elo… what do I do?” Well, the first step to improve is identifying what you’re really struggling with. You have to realize that every champion for the role of support is powerful in its own unique way, and you have to make sure you’re playing these champions right without making mistakes. For example, knowing when to engage with a champion such as Alistar is necessary in order to win your lane. Engaging at the wrong time can give the enemy bot lane a double kill and put your ADC along with yourself behind in gold.

One of the best ways to recognize your mistakes is to watch replays of your gameplay. “The main tip I have for people improving in solo queue in almost any role is to look at your own play before you start blaming everyone else,” says challenger coach Silver. “95% of the time there is something however small that you can improve on that would have made at least a little bit of a difference in the outcome.”

Tip #4: Vision Control

A big mistakes I see with low elo supports is a lack of vision control. Many low elo players believe that putting out wards and maintaining good vision is not necessary. Ggood vision around the map is one of the biggest factors in winning a game. If you recognize that you do not have good vision control as a support, force yourself to put more wards on the map.

Tip #5: Keep in Mind Cooldowns of Your ADC and Opponents

While it is difficult to know the exact CDs of your ADC and lane opponents, top-tier supports have a good idea of when the abilities of their ADC and opponents are on cooldown.  Knowing the CDs of your fellow teammates and opponents can help you recognize when to initiate and when to play safe.

Tip #6: Melee Support vs Ranged Support

When you play a melee support against a ranged support, try your best to hit level two first and then use this advantage to immediately engage. After this first engage, be cautious when trying to engage, and ward the opposing bush to have vision of the enemy support. Avoid getting poked down, and try to all-in when possible.

Tip #7: Observe Lane Patterns

Depending on the enemy lane’s champions and play-styles, they may choose to play the lane aggressively or passively. It is your job to recognize this pattern. If the enemies are passive for the majority of the time but they suddenly begin to play aggressively, be cautious as there is a good chance that your lane is getting ganked.

Tip #8: Harass as a Ranged Support

It is vitally important to harass the enemy ADC and support if you are playing a ranged champion such as Nami or Morgana. Even if it means harassing the enemy champions with just auto-attacks, taking that bit of health away from them will relieve some pressure off your ADC and help your lane overall. Your spells can be very effective as well.

Tip #9: Summoner Spells

Summoner spells are very important. Having your summoner spells up while the enemy bot lane doesn’t gives your ADC and yourself a huge advantage in a two vs two. Keep note of summoner spells and try to force a fight if you have this advantage.

Tip #10: Try Lead the Team

“Support players are the leaders in lane and not enough people realize that,” said challenger coach Silver. As a support, it may be effective for you to make the calls in solo queue on when to engage, which objectives to go for next, etc. Helping the team be organized can lead you to victory. I often find that teams in solo queue need a leader who can step up to the plate and make the calls. In addition, make sure that you keep a positive mindset throughout your games as a support because a negative atmosphere usually leads to defeat.

Found these support tips helpful? You will like Summoner School, the complete guide to become a dominant player.

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8 League of Legends Tips to Be Higher Ranked

The majority of League of Legends players are stuck in low tiers with no idea how to climb up.

20.76% of players are in Bronze while 45.27% of players are in Silver. On the other hand, 2.43% of players are in Diamond and only 0.02% of players are in Challenger.

If you are currently placed in Bronze or Silver, and you are looking for advice on how to become a better player so you can rank higher and escape league hell, then you have come to the right place. With the following tips, you will drastically improve your play in solo queue and reach higher ranks.

Tip #1: Develop Patience

You must have patience before anything. You will not attain the rank of Diamond from Bronze within one day; it requires patience and dedication. Too often I see players rush their solo queue games with sloppy plays because they want to reach tiers such as Platinum and Diamond within a few days when they are just Bronze or Silver. You have to give every solo queue game 100% of your attention, and by no means should you rush the games as it leads to misplays most times. Patience will let you slowly improve as you finally reach that ranked goal of yours.

Tip #2: Pick One Role

Mastering one role, and preferably one champion for that role is very important if you want to reach Diamond and Challenger tiers. Although you won’t be as well rounded, your solo queue win rate will increase if you start constantly practicing one champion for your favorite role. You will eventually become very comfortable with that champion and role, and you will be able to easily defeat and punish those who are not as comfortable. It does not have to follow the meta either, it can be any champion you enjoy playing for any role. Just practice it and get comfortable with it. The cheese tactic can work. For instance, I know one guy who reached Diamond by playing support Shaco.

Tip #3: Improve Map Awareness

This issue seems to be present among lower ranked players the majority of the time. They tend to not look at their map, as they are too focused in the game. However, this is a habit that needs to be broken because it can lead to deaths and lost games. If you are too busy focusing on farming, you will not see the enemy jungler approaching your lane for a gank, causing an avoidable death. Ensure that you are constantly paying attention to your map. If you have issues looking at your minimap regularly, do a minimap flip. Although it may be awkward for the first few games, you will soon be able to watch the map and your lane at the same time. Warding is also important. Every player on the team including yourself needs to ward, not just the support.

For more help with map awareness, Summoner School covers everything you can know.

Tip #4: Do Research

Pro players, such as Meteos, constantly make guides for different champions. Find guides created by Challenger players for your favorite champions and take time to read them. These guides are created by knowledgeable players who have reached Challenger, and they know the best strategies for each champion. Listen to their advice, and apply it to the next game you play. You will notice a difference in your gameplay, and you will improve if you regularly read updated guides for the champions you play.

Tip #5: Accept Your Mistakes

Learn to accept your mistakes if you want to reach higher ranks. Everyone makes mistakes, even high elo players. But you have to learn to recognize these mistakes and use them to improve your gameplay. For example, if you notice that you lose one game due to a lack of wards, then communicate with your team the next game and make sure everyone wards around the map, including yourself.

Tip #6: Take Breaks

I’m sure you’ve had days where you just keep losing, and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to win. Don’t worry, we have all been there. The best thing to do is take a break. Your motivation is low when you lose 3-4 games in a row, and continuing to play won’t do you any good. Whether it’s going outside on a walk, or taking a nap, just step away from your computer and take a break. That’s the best thing to do when you find yourself on a losing streak.

Tip #7: Watch the Pros

One of the best pieces of advice that I can give you is to watch pro players. Whether it’s watching them stream, or watching the LCS, you will truly improve a considerable amount by watching these professional players play the game. You will be able to learn new strategies, and recognize certain mistakes that you tend to make. You can then apply these new strategies that you have discovered the next time you play and you should notice a difference.

Tip #8: Don’t be Toxic

Focus on yourself in solo queue, and make sure you are not rude or toxic to other players on your team even when they make certain misplays. If others on your team are toxic, the best course of action is to mute them and continue focusing on the game. Muting toxic players on your team will allow you to focus on your own play rather than arguing with the rude individual.

By using the tips and various pieces of advice given in this article, you can improve your in League of Legends and quickly climb the ladder. Remember, it takes practice and dedication to reach Diamond or Challenger, it will not happen in a few days.

If you’re after a complete guide to win at LoL even when your teammates feed, check out our full Summoner School course.

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Interview with LCS Team 8 Coach Matt Schmieder

I had the opportunity to interview Matt Schmieder, head coach of professional League of Legends lineup Team 8 who competed in the League of Legends Championship Series.

Q: Hey Matt, for those who don’t know much about you, how about you tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I’m Matthew Schmieder, the head coach of Team 8. I’m from New Jersey and I’m 19 years old. I took a break from studying at Rutgers University to live the esports life. In my free time lately I’ve been listening to music, playing solo queue or 5s with friends, and watching Starcraft.

Q: How did you get involved with Team 8?

A: I became a big fan of Team 8 during NACL Season 2, when they came from out of nowhere and started taking games off LMQ, when no other team was, and I followed them in other tourneys like NACS and Black Monster Cup. Sometime around last April/May I messaged Maple on Twitter, asking if the team was looking for analysts. I showed them some samples of my work and they decided to trial me. Eventually they said I could stay in their team house during the summer, then we made LCS and now I’m here.

Q: What’s the team training routine in the house? In other words, how does the team’s daily schedule look like?

A: We typically have two scrim blocks a day, the first usually starting at 12pm. Blocks can be anywhere from 2-4 hours, and I usually schedule at least an hour break between both blocks. After the second block, we do replay review. Other than that, there isn’t that much structure to our schedule. We tried to implement set sleep/wake-up times, but I think we are all reasonable enough about it that we don’t need it to be set it stone. Additionally, some of us have different sleep schedules so setting us all to the same time might throw some people off.

Q: As the coach, do you advise the players on strategies or play styles?

A: Yes I do advise on strategy. I see my main job as getting the players to be more mindful of overall strategy, as applied to every phase of the game. As for play-styles, every team undoubtedly has a play-style but I also see my job as trying to move our team away from a predictable “style” and instead toward being able to play a multitude of styles as necessary. That’s is a lofty goal which not many teams really achieve, but it’s good to have that final goal in mind.

Q: It’s been a bit of a rocky start so far for Team 8, do you expect that to change for the rest of the split?

A: I do expect it to change. In scrims, I think there’s tangible progress being made in our team-play which doesn’t always manifest itself in LCS games. We obviously aim to place as high as possible, but I think keeping focused on improvement just as much as LCS results will benefit us more in the long run.

Q: How is your relationship with the team? Is it strictly professional?

A: I wouldn’t call it strictly professional. I’ve lived with the team for about half a year now, and it’s hard to be strictly professional when you go through everything together for that long, not that that’s a bad thing necessarily. It’s also important to note that my relation to them previously was as an analyst rather than a coach, so I wasn’t expecting the same level of respect or authority that I do now. And transitioning to a different role has had its own unique challenges.

Q: What advice would you give to somebody that wants get involved in Esports, whether as a player or a coach/manager?

A: It is maybe true that in esports, you need a bit of luck to break into the scene, but that’s not something you can control. What you can control is that you work hard and have a mind toward improving yourself, always. I feel as if Thorin might have said the same once, and that’s because it’s applicable to anything you do.

Q: There is a lot of controversy regarding player imports from outside of the region. Do you think that there is fresh talent in North America?

A: Undoubtedly. I think it’s really on the orgs to give challenger/amateur players the environment to grow, and the right people to guide young talent in the right direction attitude-wise. At the same time, I don’t blame teams for looking overseas for talent .The LCS format is unforgiving in that it doesn’t allow much time for players to learn on the job, whether you’re looking to either compete for worlds or avoid relegation. If you have to choose between an NA player who needs time to learn to play competitive, or a seasoned foreign player (ignoring language issues), isn’t the answer obvious? By that I don’t mean that every imported player is necessarily more seasoned or always the better move, but that it’s important to consider a team’s motivations and needs before criticizing a roster decision.

Q: Thanks for your time Matt. Before we end this interview, do you have anything to say to all your fans?

A: Thanks to everyone who supports Team 8 in a positive way! We appreciate you for sticking with us through everything. Also shout out to my best friend Mike who has always been there for me.

I would like to thank Matt for taking the time to sit down and answer those questions. I wish him and his team the best of luck in the NA LCS!

For more tips to get better at league, enter your email for the free Summoner School course.

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How to Deal with Ranked Anxiety in LoL

Transcript

G’day I’m UberGiantsBro and today I’m going to show you how to deal with ranked anxiety in League of Legends. I used to have ranked anxiety back in season 1 about when the season 1 rewards were announced because this made take ranked more seriously. Now this anxiety made me a toxic player, believe it or not.

I stopped enjoying playing the game because it just made me angry and I only started enjoying League again when I was able to deal with my anxiety through some advice my older brother gave me that I’ll show you in this video. After that I’ll tell you 3 of THE most important things you should always remember when approaching ranked games so keep watching.

Now before I fixed my anxiety there was a big hurdle that I had to overcome. I’m not a psychologist and I’m not going to explain to you how the brain works or anything like that but one of the things I had to realise was that it was okay for me to be angry. What wasn’t okay was how I expressed it. The main challenge for me in dealing with my anxiety was not to stop myself getting angry but to focus more on other emotions, the ones that help me play better and let me improve.

So I would still get angry but instead of raging at others I would focus harder on my game, concentrate on what I could do better next time and use that anger as motivation to improve myself.

Now this small change in my mindset had a massive impact on how I played and thought about the game. I started enjoying the game more. And because I was enjoying the game more, I was more motivated to improve as a player and learn from my mistakes and I went from about 1600 elo (which was gold) in season 1 to around 2200 elo in season 2 on the NA server with 200 ping.

It was like the dam of improvement was unblocked and all the elo came rushing out. I’m not boasting about my elo but just giving you an example of how a small change in your mentality can make the biggest difference in your overall skill and improvement as a player.

So obviously not everyone will have the same anxiety or the same goal in League of Legends but if you’re hitting a wall in your improvement, or you’re “stuck in elo hell” or WHATEVER, it might be because you’re focusing on the wrong thing. You could be getting bogged down in your anger like I was or you could frustrated at the afkers and this stops from you improving (because you’re no longer concentrating on improving!), or you could be scared of even playing ranked because of the ragers you’ve heard about. These are just some examples of ranked anxiety you might be dealing with.

Whatever the cause for your ranked anxiety is, there’s a couple things you should remember;

1. League of Legends is just a game.

As cliche as that sounds and as funny as those jokes like chicks dig elo are at the end of the day that’s all League of Legends is. It’s a game. And unless you’re a professional at League of Legends or trying to get into the pro scene and you need the higher rank to get scouted or whatever then your ranking is only for you. If you have pressure or issues in real life that are giving you anxiety, please deal with them directly.

2. You have time to increase your rank.

Now unless you’re racing for a higher tier to get an end of season reward or you’re studying League of Legends and your homework is to get silver by next week, remember that you have TIME to increase your rank. In the overall context of you playing League of Legends, it doesn’t really matter if you lost that long ranked game or even that placement series (FOR WHATEVER REASON), what does matter is that you LEARN from it so that you’re more likely to win next time. Focus on one simple thing you can get better at and your rank will soon follow.

3. If you’re *THAT* good, you will get to where you belong eventually.

Unfortunately this might make you realise that you’re not as good as you believe you are. But that’s okay, because like I said before, all it takes is a shift in mentality to focusing on your mistakes and improving instead of getting angry about afkers or how bad your team is. I once made a new account along with my brother who’s also challenger. We leveled it up from scratch and only played with eachother for fun and jumped straight into ranked when we had the minimum characters. We got to challenger in X games, and people around us were amazed to see us rank up that fast. But the thing is, we weren’t, we knew that it was only a matter of time like I said in point 2.

We had about 5 4v5’s on the way up to challenger and we even won a couple of them, but we weren’t angry at the others because we knew that in the context of things a loss here or there didn’t really matter because we would get to challenger anyway. I mained Heimerdinger and he mained Warwick for the most part.

Now, continuing on from point 2 and 3 where I say it’s only a matter of time, you might be saying “well it’s going to take forever because I struggle to see my own mistakes and I don’t have that much time in the first place”. Great. That’s why myself and my two brothers have put hours and hours into creating the most complete League of Legends guide out there so that you can save yourself time.

If you’re gold and below and value your time and would like to speed up your improvement then check out Summoner School at thelolguide.com If you’re above gold you can still learn from it but there are basic concepts covered in the guide which you might want to skip over.

That’s all for this video on how to deal with Ranked anxiety in LoL, please thumb it up if you learned from it or enjoyed it and until next time all the best in solo queue.

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Yasuo Mid Guide And How To Counter

Transcript

G’day, I’m UberGiantsBro and welcome to this concise Yasuo guide. In this video I’m going to teach you what you need to know to play Yasuo mid as well as how to counter Yasuo if you’re versing one.

The first thing you need to know about Yasuo is that he’s a high risk, high reward champion – he’s easy to stuff up but he has a fairly high skill cap so he feels great when you outplay someone with an awesome combo.

So with the runes build and masteries, I don’t want to talk about them too much because they’re fairly self explanatory. Ofcourse you can try other stuff but this is what I’ve fuond to be the best settup. The reason for the 5% crit runes is that with this build it puts you at a neat 100% crit chance.

So with laning with Yasuo there’s a few things you need to keep in mind.

Firstly with skills you’ll want to start with Steel Tempest (his q) and max it always because it does the most damage. The only exception to this is starting with e against someone with skillshots like Syndra or Gragas so you can dodge their harass by dashing through minions.

Never stand still in lane, moving charges up your shield (passive) which is really what gets you through a tough harass lane. So make sure to time your trades for when your shield is up. The other reason you want to keep dashing in lane is because it increases the damage of your dash.

So Steel Tempest, Yasuo’s q is either a little stab skill shot or if you use it while dashing it’s a small spin attack. Every 3 casts you get a knockup on the q which turns the spin attack into a spin attack with a knockup and the stab into a whirlwhind, both of which you can use to set up your ult. It’s good for farming and it’s got a really low cooldown which is actually reduced by attack speed. It helps to charge your knockup before you engage, like in this example. I block Lee Sin’s q with my wind wall and then dash away and charge my knockup which I use as a whirlwind to set up my ult and die as a hero samurai.

Alright so you can close a lot of space with Sweeping Blade his dash but if you’re chasing it really helps if you have your 3rd q ready for the knockup. If you don’t have 3 stacks of q ready like in this example you can easily charge it up by using q when you dash through a minion but it might slow down your chase.

Most of Yasuo’s kill potential comes from his ult and you can activate the ult on your own by getting 3 stacks of q and then q’ing for a whirlwind like in this example or dashing and then q’ing for a guaranteed knockup like in this example. Make use of your windwall to block any retaliation damage but I didn’t need to in this example cause TF’s card was down.

One of the things I love most about Yasuo is that he’s a great roamer. As soon as you hit 6 you should be looking to roam, preferably to a lane that can set your ult up. Yasuo combos really well with AOE knockups in team fights so that’s another reason the Rock works great with him. Monkey and Cow are all great picks with Yasuo but outside of lane there’s literally a tonne more champions that Yasuo’s ult works with. Almost any displacement or knockup ability can activate it. Not sure how many of them are intentional but it even works with things like Vayne’s condemn if you can react fast.

This was one of my first games with Yasuo and I didn’t anticipate his ult to work with Lee Sin’s ult and so I bungled it up really bad, but the next time he came back I’d learnt from my mistake which is the important thing and something I talk a lot about in my other videos.

Another cool thing you can do if you’re running away is you can run next to a wall and then skirt around them and dash through them to get over the wall. You can do the same thing with jungle creeps if you stab them over the wall first so they agro on you and you get vision.

One of the main things you have to remember is that you can’t dash to the same target within 10 seconds so be calculated in how you use it.

Alright how to counter Yasuo. A lot of Yasuo’s matchups come down to skill and jungle pressure so there’s not too many champions that counter him directly. It’s impossible to go past Riven though because she can out-trade Yasuo with her shield if he ever gets too close and also she can match his mobility especially if there’s not many creeps around. It’s worth noting though that Riven’s Wind Slash can be blocked by Yasuo’s Wind Wall, pretty tough to do.

So instead of talking about matchups and counterpicks here’s what you can do to counter Yasuo DESPITE what champion you have. Like all champions it helps to know what his cooldowns are like and his ability ranges and so it’s a good idea to play him yourself a few times.

Firstly you need to be aware of what his knockup looks like, it makes a special sound effect and he has a glowing aura around him. This makes it easier to know when he’s going to go in on you or you can be ready to dodge the tornado. Don’t confuse the knockup aura with the shield animation.

You can dodge his q fairly easy by sidestepping tiny bits as it’s so short and narrow. Be aware of all the things I told you about in this video like the bonus damage from consecutive dashes (especially early on) and also be aware that he can’t dash to the same target for 10 seconds and be aware of his windwall and HIS KNOCKUP! Hue Hue Hue Hue

That’s all for now, please follow me on Twitter @UberGiantsBro, like and subscribe and I’ll catch you in my next video.

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How to Rotate Lanes Like SKT T1 World Champions

Transcript

G’day, I’m UberGiantsBro and today I’m going to show you how to rotate lanes like SKTT1 the world champions. A big reason SKTT1 won the season 3 world championships is because of their near flawless rotations. You’ll carry a lot more in solo queue when you understand how and when to rotate lanes.

Lane rotations can overwhelm you, but like most complex systems, when you break it down each individual part is simple. It doesn’t take a diamond or challenger level player to understand rotations and it’s something practical you can use in your solo queue and team games despite what league you’re in. So let’s get into it.

So what are lane rotations? A lane rotation is when you move from one lane to another to gank, cover, push or defend the lane. A rotation doesn’t just mean you have to run straight there either, in some situations it might be better for you to base and then run to where you need to go. An example is if you do a lane swap for your fast push.

The core idea of lane rotations is that by doing those things and not wasting too much time running between lanes you maximise exp and gold distribution to your team. It’s like in Football or Basketball how players spread out to cover more space for their passes, they aren’t standing next to each other and they aren’t chasing the same person. Remember in junior games how kids always clumped together chasing the ball carrier? In LoL terms if two people were chasing the same farm by moving to the same lane, that would likely be an inefficient rotation and a waste of time and pressure. Rotations are all about efficiency.

So now both teams just traded an early turret kill, but what we’re more interested in here is what happens after. Now SKT the blue team swap their duo lane straight back to bot lane after the turret trade. They do this for two reasons; to continue to push down the outer turrets with Caitlyn (this is generally known as a fast push) but more importantly to have numbers near dragon. If the enemy rotates their ad and support to top at a bad time, you can often claim a free dragon.

Renekton rotates bottom to take the cs because Zyra doesn’t need it and because his top wave is pushing in slowly. If your wave is pushing in towards you won’t be losing much cs if you’re not thereso you can usually take this chance to clear a jungle camp or put a ward up.

As you can see Renekton hardly lost any cs top.

Renekton backs and starts running up mid for dragon. Rumble realises his lane opponent has probably backed to go to drag so he rotates to dragon as well. As a rule of thumb, you want to follow your lane opponent.

SKT know TSM are doing their blue so they use this opportunity to push mid. Elise gets caught off guard with this rotation, she’s farming wolves instead of defending mid. This a result of not keeping an eye on the mini-map to see where the enemy is putting pressure. See bot is safe because of the ward coverage and top is pushed out, so there’s really only one logical place that they could pressure (mid).

SKT hold the middle side of the map and they wait for Renekton to push mid up and then they all rotate mid for a free inner turret. They trade the dragon for an inner turret for dragon is worth. In dragon dances, the team towards the center of the map generally has the positional advantage because they can choose to either rotate mid or force the 5v5 dragon fight.

Caitlyn is running up mid to help seige but they recocgnise they won’t be able to siege well against the wave clear of Gragas and Corki and there is a big wave pushing against them top so Cait goes to farm that instead of wasting time running up mid. Thinking ahead is integral to good lane rotations. This call may have been made by someone else on the team but it’s important that every player has an understanding of this for themselves.

If you want more examples to help you understand rotations better then here’s what to do. Next time you’re watching the pros stream, focus 50% of your attention on to the mini-map and see how they and see if you can recognize why. Did they just push out their lane and are now moving to gank another lane? Are they rotating to clear a big wave that needs farming? Are they basing to move into a lane swap to help a fast push? When you get better at recognizing these things then watch a replay of a game from around your skill level (maybe one of your games) and notice the differences in rotations.
Are players slow to react to a big wave pushing in? Do they even react at all? Is there any organised pushing rotations? Do players ‘step on each others toes’ to cover lane farm?

This is a perfect example of better understanding why you’re stuck in a low league despite thinking you’re a ‘god’ at the game. There’s a lot of skills like this that you actually have no idea how bad you are at them until you learn what they are and how to develop them all revealed in Summoner School.

That’s all for this video on rotations. If you have any comments or questions about rotations make sure to post them below or direct them to my twitter @UberGiantsBro. If you liked the video please show your support with a thumbs up, and until next time all the best in solo queue.

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