Beginners Guide to League of Legends for New & Returning Players

League of Legends, released by gaming giants Riot Games has been popular since its release way back in 2009. The complex system of a MOBA game has made summoners spend years mastering the intricacies involved in the game and that doesn't include the patches every few weeks. From picking a champion to building an item path, each move requires deep consideration for summoners.

In LoL, champions in teams of five go against each other to attempt to reach each other's nexus and catch a few kills along the way.

From the smaller concepts of runes and items to the grander ideas such as gameplay style or team synergies. Each player must start with a basic understanding of the game in order to upgrade their knowledge and get those wins.

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Types of champions and roles

Champions are categorised into the following traits which each are singular to that champion. For example, an ADC is a high damage dealer who also dies quickly, and is positioned at the back of the fight. Think of champions such as Jhin or Caitlyn. However, an ADC can also be an AP champion (focussed on abilities), or an APC, so champs such as Veigar or Ziggs fit the bill here.

Controller, Fighter, Mage, Marksman, Slayer, Specialist, Tank
Top, Jungle, Mid, Bot, Support
Extra traits
Roamer, Melee, Ranged, Mana, Manaless, Fury, Energy, Heat, Flow
Poke, Aggressive, Defensive, Engager, Disengager, Passive

Laning and Duos

Each lane in the game is composed of one champion... well until you get to the bottom lane. Focussing on the laning stage, the bot lane provides plenty of information to work with.

Bot lane consists of an ADC and a Support. This usually takes the form of a high damager dealer (AD) and a champion (AP) who can provide buffs via shields, healing, engages and disengages.

Duos in bot lane that are powerful together are two engagers such as Maokai and Tristana or an auto-attack champion such as Jinx with somebody who has a heavy focus on immobilising abilities such as Nami.


Abilities are the things that make a champion tick. Their abilities are the moves that are performed in order to get their damage out, heal themselves, apply CC and more.

A champion has four different abilities with a passive and two summoner spells that can be cast. The first four of the abilities can be anything from a slow to a heal, to a damage outputter or even a portal.

Draven abilities and level up pattern
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The fifth ability is a little special in the way that it works. Usually, this ability is for rarer use whereas the first four can be used constantly. This fifth ability is called a champion's ultimate. The effects of each ultimate are usually more powerful and have stronger effects than the first four. Because of this, the cooldown is longer than any other ability.


Runes are statistical buffs that help a champion build into their items. For example, equipping the water walking rune would be useful for a jungler, as it provides increased movement speed when in the river, a perfect opportunity for ganking.

Runes are set up with a primary category such as precision wherein four separate runes can be selected. The secondary category allows for a selection of one category again and two runes. An example of a rune selection would be Kayle in the top lane who would choose something like this

Rune selection for Kayle in top lane from League of Legends
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Items in the game are suited for the different classes stated above. Each item will give the champion added effects, buffs or active abilities that will aid in offensive or defensive manoeuvres.

Each item has different costs depending on how strong that item is in the game. Stronger items such as infinity edge will have you dishing out 3,600 gold whereas a basic starter item such as Spectral Sickle is only 400 gold.

Do not fear though, champions don't have to save upwards of 3k just for one item. There are smaller items which can be bought to improve stats and build into the final item. For example, Spectral Sickle mentioned earlier can be brought into Harrowing Crescent which is a full item.


Objective control is subjectively one of the hardest parts of management when playing any lane but particularly the jungle role.

Junglers move between lanes and gank (flank attack) them to help laners get an edge over their opponent. But they also keep an eye on their farm in between lanes and the larger objectives such as the multitude of dragons or Baron Nashor.

Ocean drake from League of Legends
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There are five types of dragons available in the game and each gives different buffs.

  • Cloud dragon - Provides CDR (cooldown reduction) to player's abilities
  • Infernal dragon - Provides increased AD or AP
  • Mountain dragon - Provides a shield with armour and magic resistance
  • Ocean dragon - Provides health restoration and heals when damage is done
  • Hextech dragon - Provides ability haste with bonus attack speed
  • Elder dragon - Gives the enemy team a cap on their health, when they go below the cap the champion is executed.

Objectives also come in the form of towers that must be destroyed in order to reach the team's nexus, this is typically done in the laning phase.

This is simply the basic knowledge needed to begin your journey into the rift. Playing regularly and developing your own sense of style is important to level up.

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