Get your roam on

A Silver player will either win his lane and press his advantage, or if they are losing their lane, they will avoid feeding and giving up more than they have to.

One of the most notable difference between a Gold and Silver though, is that a Gold player will extend his advantage beyond his lane. When a gold player gets ahead, they don’t just stay in that lane pressing their advantage, but move to other lanes and get those lanes ahead as well — starting with a lane that is already winning, but getting it further ahead.

If you are wondering, a Bronze player might win his lane against a weaker opponent and might push his advantage without ever helping another lane, but when losing, he will try to force fights and die repeatedly.

Four simple guidelines for winning more

1. Stop worrying about kills and start worrying about objectives.

You are looking at me doubtfully.

Kills happen when you have an advantage and people don’t get out of your way on the way to taking objectives. Stop chasing people and stop seeking out fights. Everybody forgets the goal of the game from time to time: destroy the nexus. It is not: get as many kills as possible.

Yes, it is fun to duel, but you could win the game without fighting a single person. Don’t believe me? Make a custom game with no opponents. The game will end when you blow up the nexus.

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they become impatient and try to force fights. Nearly ever single major mistake I’ve ever witnessed in any game is likely because somebody became impatient and tried to fight when they should have backed off. I’m not saying that you should never fight, but make sure you have a clear advantage before you do. Patience is the right move nearly every time. Yes, I have made and seen other mistakes, but most of those were recoverable or took place after they had already gotten themselves killed a few times.

2. Build small advantages every moment.

Whether it is getting last hits on monsters and minions or taking down towers, you should always be getting more gold and spending it on items that make you stronger than your opponents. What is more, taking down towers also gives you more control over sections of the map. Even though I’m saying that you shouldn’t seek out fights, they are going to happen and by having a gold, vision, and tower superiority, you’ll be in a better position to win fights that break out.

3. Be aware and share.

Always keep tabs on the mini map and be aware of enemy movements, then be sure to communicate what you see to your allies. Even a simple ping may be enough to help others notice, too. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen fights break out and an ally is not more than a quarter screen away and they have no clue it is going on. Ping them and then ping your plight.

4. Practice.

There’s no way around it. If you don’t practice, you won’t get better. Learn a few champs exceptionally well, and play all champions at least a few times. No excuses about not having IP, either. Free campions rotate in all of the time. Play them and get to know how they work and how they are beat. You don’t have to play every champion often, but at least once or twice. Focus on really mastering a few champions that work well for the roles you like to play.


Erik’s Tips: Playing from behind

I have seen this way, way too much in the past two weeks.

Your team gets behind — probably because of unwarranted early aggression on your part — and now you are trying to get back into the game.

The first rule of being behind: don’t die again.

If your opponent’s won the last fight and you haven’t done anything to get ahead of them in gold, then there is a good chance that they’ll win the next fight. I get so frustrated when people die in lane and then try to get back into the game by fighting more.

If you die when you and your opponent both have 1000 gold in items, when you come back to lane, they’ll have 1300-1500 gold because they picked up gold from killing you and they picked up minions. They also were getting xp and levels while you were gone. Even if they didn’t spend the gold, the xp alone is probably enough to be concerning.

The second rule of being behind: farm.

Get every ounce of CS that you can manage without dying or losing towers. If they keep farming at the same rate of you, then you’ll stay the same distance behind — however, the percentage behind that you are will shrink.

Let’s look at the math.

In our example, you die and now they have 1500 gold to your 1000 gold. That’s a 50% lead.

If you keep farming minions for gold for awhile and you each get 1000 more gold, it will now by 2500 to 2000, which is only a 25% lead.

Just keeping up in farm evenly will let you catch up in a comparative sense. As the game gets later, 500 gold will be less important. If you keep dying, that lead will get out of control. They will pick up cs faster, zone you from getting more cs, and take towers. Growing a lead that you cannot close.

The third rule of being behind is: seize opportunities.

You don’t want to spend your time waiting in bushes because you need to be farming, but if you can catch an opponent out while they are in transition in a 2v1, then killing them will help you get back in the game. Picks become a very real way of getting back into the game.

Avoid fair fights, but don’t hesitate to kill opponents who get arrogant and don’t show respect by walking brazenly through your jungle alone or just trying to seize your tower by themselves.

If you can’t beat somebody in a 2v1, then they are likely so much more skilled than you or have such a massive advantage that there’s little hope in winning. I’m sorry. I’d like to offer hope, but you probably need to resign this game and move on to the next rather than waste your time being frustrated in a match you can’t win. In low elo, people get cocky and do stupid stuff. You might just win a fight here or there by them being dumb, but they probably will only make one big mistake and if that isn’t enough for you to push and win, then you’ll probably still lose. I don’t want to be a downer. Just learn from the experience and move on.


Passive aggressive laning

When I’m top lane, one of the best ways to win in Bronze and Silver is to be patient. Carefully last hit and avoid dueling. Chances are, your opponent will get antsy and want to aggress on you. Back off when they get even close to in range of you. Their aggression will eventually get the best of them and they go in and engage you in your minion line where you have the advantage.

As long as you are getting xp, you don’t have to worry too much about losing a few cs here and there in lower elo. Chances are, they are missing a ton, too.

When they do go in and you have your whole minion wave beating on them, you’ll be in a position to decide to kill them or stick under tower, depending on how well you think the fight will go.

I am very accustom to winning my lane and mostly, I do it with patience. Until I get my first two or three kills, I simply snatch my easy cs as best I can without taking damage and without pushing my lane (there are exceptions — if your jungler is invading, you need to push your lane, just don’t die in the process.)

In low elo, CS and not dying are so much more important than kills. Kills will happen — and lots of them, if you are patient. Starting players assume that the kills come first, but they are actually the result of a carefully cultivated early game.

You need to know your match-ups. If you have an advantage, you can be more aggressive in getting your CS, but worry about your getting the easy gold more than fighting. Punish them for getting to close. If you are in a bad match-up, just try to stay close enough to get your xp and avoid dying. You can’t get back into the game and be useful by feeding your opponent and dying.

Erik’s Tips: Bait

When you first start playing, you are oblivious to what your teammates are doing, but as you get better and become more assertive in your play, you realize the importance of coordinated engagements.

If somebody on your team jumps into a fight, there is no time for debate or discussion, they saw an opportunity and seized it. If you don’t follow up, they might die or the opportunity will be lost.

Eventually, you become conditioned to stick with your allies and trust that if you dive in, they’ll come too and the other way around. And for the most part, this is very good because there really isn’t time to discuss things and, on the whole, you’ll win more.

Yes, I know that sometimes it isn’t going to work out. Sometimes, you’ll dive in and nobody will go with you and you’ll die. Or sometimes, an ally will dive in and you can’t follow up.

As a beginner, you can never count on anybody following up on your engagements. You’ll constantly be disappointed if you do. When playing with friends or more skilled players, you’ll find that, more often than not, they’ll follow you step for step.

The problem is, sometimes we all make bad calls and engage when we shouldn’t. It happens and your allies will die with you and blame you for baiting them. Simply because they are conditioned to follow up on engagements.

The foundation of team play is trust. If you engage, I follow. If I engage, you follow.  When anybody engages (whether it is a good choice or not) and their allies don’t follow, they lose trust in their allies and become hesitant to engage in the future. If you initiate multiple bad engagements, the same thing happens… your allies stop trusting your judgement and stop following you.

I think it is the onus of everybody to communicate their intentions as quickly as they can (when possible) through pings.  If you plan on backing up or are afraid an ally might engage and shouldn’t, then ping a warning. If you are going to engage ping a target.

On the whole, I think it is better for team coordination to follow a bad engage than let them die alone because games are won with engagements, not by passively waiting. If an ally picks a bad engage, you don’t need to tell them. They’ll probably know they screwed up and bickering about it in game won’t help. Sometimes you win bad engages simply by being coordinated.  You also need to take responsibility for your ally’s bad engagement — you didn’t ping a warning that this was a bad time to jump in.

You can’t control others, but you can improve communication of your own intentions and build trust with your allies.

Don’t blame.  Personally own the entire team’s mistakes and share the entire team’s victories.

Mistakes happen less often and engagements are better when everybody is communicating. Even when you are on Skype or Team Speak, the most efficient means of communicating are pings. Learn to use the smart pings, especially the target and warning alerts.


Breaking a loosing streak

Having a bad week? Here are some of my thoughts on how to turn that frown upside down and get back to winning. In the comments, be sure to tell me what you think and what you do when you are having a rough time.

  • Take a break from ranked and play some ARAM or Dominion Games. Personally, I find ARAMs to be relaxing, and no pressure. Everybody is bad with their campions and it really doesn’t matter if you win.
  • Find a new champion and learn them (in normal games.) By learning a new champion, you focus less on trying hard to win and more on learning the mechanics and nuances of the champion. If you are like me, you’ll play safer and won’t be as hard on yourself about mistakes because you know you are just learning that champion.
  • See a movie. Step away from the game for a week and do other things. When you come back, you’ll be fresh and ready to play again. Pushing through a losing streak by force of will can sometimes just make it worse. The harder you try, the more you lose. It’s tough to tune your play — either you lose because you are too timid and afraid to make plays or too aggressive and chasing into death traps. Time away will give you a chance to recalibrate. It’s like riding a bike and you’ll be doing good again in no time.

What do you do when you are on a losing streak?