Lane management is one of the most important aspects to league of legends and being able to properly manage your lane will make it way easier for you to scale in your games even when you are behind. I hope this guide helps you guys out and feel free to ask any questions that I don’t answer in this thread.
What is lane management? Lane management is a fairly broad term and it’s a subtle aspect of the game that when exploited will slowly start to earn you exp and cs leads over your opponent. I like to break lane management up into 4 separate categories, one for every situation.
- Holding Lane. This is typically how you want to manage your lane during the early stages of the game when neither you nor your opponent have a clear advantage. Holding lane is where you do your best to keep your the minion waves in the current position they are in in lane. You do this by looking at both you and your opponents minions. Ideally you want your minion wave to die right around the same as time the enemies minion wave or a little bit earlier in order to prevent yourself from pushing your lane. This makes it much harder for you to get ganked and allows for easy last hitting.
- Slow Push. Slow pushing lane typically occurs when the enemy is vulnerable due to low health, mana etc. What this does is it will slowly build your wave up and push to the enemies tower. There is no set way to “slow push” per say but the best thing to do is to auto each creep once when they are full health and then focus on getting the last hits. You do this when your enemy is vulnerable because it forces them to focus on csing under tower allowing for poke chances under their tower, as well as the fact that you are probably denying your opponent some farm, which is great. When you slow push make sure you have good ward coverage because you are pushing lane, making you vulnerable even if the enemy is also low.
- Hard Push. Hard pushing is something you want to do when you know the enemy is gone. This is something so many low elo players do not do and it ends up making them lose up to 20-40 cs by 15 minutes. The reason you hard push lane is because if you back without pushing you are going to miss out on some cs, but more importantly you risk your lane “RNGing” the other wave and pushing. THIS IS REALLY BAD. By the time you get back to lane your wave could be 3/4 pushed to the enemy tower and now you get to stand back and watch them freeze lane for the next 5 minutes denying you a ton of farm. Hard pushing forces your wave to the tower and if you do it fast enough forces a complete lane reset, which is your end goal when you hard push. Something low elo players also do pretty often is they will stay in lane way too long thinking thats earning them an advantage in cs and experience. In some cases this might work but for the most part your enemy has just given you a free +6 cs lead and a free back because you will get back to lane without hardly any creeps or exp. Plus, the enemy will get back to lane just slightly before you, which lowers the chance of you missing any cs because they will be doing damage to your wave trying to counter push. This puts your wave in a great position for when you return to lane.
- Freezing Lane. Freezing lane is a pretty misunderstood term in my opinion. When a lot of players think of freezing lane they think that they can just freeze their lane all game, come out + 150 cs on their opponent and stomp the game, this isn’t how freezing works unless you are stomping as a top lane tank, but because I’m focusing on ADC’s for this I won’t go into that (If you REALLY want me to I can later). Freezing lane is a great way to punish your opponents for pushing when they don’t have an advantage on you. Ideally, you want to be able to freeze the wave just outside of turret range. How do you freeze lane? Freezing lane is done by simply pulling aggro on the 3 approaching melee minions. You will know when youve successfully done this because you can see little “!” effects above them when they aggro you. Once this is done you can offset the path of the minions by simply walking to one side of the lane, typically you wanna walk to the outside where the pushes lie. This will force the 3 melee minions to all attack the same target when they lose aggro on you. This deals much more damage to a single minion per second and it continues til the wave is dead. More or less you are forcing the enemies minion wave to RNG and progress farther towards your turret while you focus on getting the last hit. Good freezes are hard to continue for very long, usually you will get 3-4 waves out of a freeze unless you are absolutely stomping and are not worried about dying at all. It is easy to mess up freezes because even a couple auto attacks that aren’t the perfect last hit can cause your minion wave to catch up in damage and force them to progress towards the enemy tower. I find that I can freeze quite often if I hard push after they back. Because you aren’t in lane when they return they automatically think “oh they aren’t here, push”, and very rarely will they be able to get the wave to push entirely to your turret. Even if you only get 2 waves out of the freeze that is still 12-13 creeps you possibly denied from your opponent, and that adds up.
How to prevent poor lane management? This is actually a good question. I’m really surprised by the amount of players that don’t know the option to disable auto attack when you aren’t moving. Disabling this alone is one of the best ways to avoid managing your lane poorly, because with this option on you run the risk of constantly auto attacking creeps you didn’t intend to attack, slow pushing and missing cs. Auto attack canceling is also very important as an ADC. I’m not going to go into orbwalking too much as I’ve seen tons of threads on it but if you want to learn about orbwalking here is a good description of it, and here is an example of how effective orbwalking is on my favorite champion Vayne. Watch how these guys reposition Vayne after every auto attack in order to dodge damage. Every champion has an auto attack animation specific to themself. Some are slower than others in terms of when the projectile is released, as well as how much additional animation they have after the projectile is released. By auto attack canceling, you are stopping this animation that occurs after your projectile has already taken flight allowing for quicker repositioning and more accurate last hits.
This thread is already pretty long so I don’t want to make it too boring so I’ll just end with some tricks for improving your gameplay with this new knowledge.
Minion waves spawn every 30 seconds starting at 1:30. Early game it takes both you and the minions roughly 26 seconds to get to your turret. The middle point is reached at right around 32-34 seconds. So ideally, if you want to shove a wave out and provide yourself with a good lane reset, you need to shove the lane so that all of your creeps die to turret before the enemies next wave of minions gets to the turret. If this doesn’t happen then you’ve pushed the lane on yourself. How? Because every second that the enemies minion wave is stopped from progressing forward is a second your wave has to push. How i try to track is is by looking at the game clock and deciding if I can push the wave before they get reinforcements. The actual math I’ll leave up to you guys.
What about late game? Lane management is definitely more important in the early to middle stages of the game. Once you get damage to clear waves seconds this probably about the time that the laning phase is over so you should clear and then look to make plays on the map. Freezing at like 25 minutes in unless your Nasus is not going to win you very many games. Late game is when turret pressure becomes way more important than missing 12 cs, so here is a great trick for manipulating lanes in the late game. I know leaving cs is painful but sometimes it can benefit your team greatly. If you’ve ever seen an LCS team create a 30+ minion wave of mage creeps and wonder how they did it look no further. This is pretty easy to do but takes time for the wave to build up. All you have to do is catch the enemy minion wave as it meets yours similar to freezing. After this kill the 3 mage creeps and leave the melees to die to your wave. This creates a slowly building minion wave that will become huge in about a 1:30-2:00. It is best to do this with the wave right outside your turret, giving the wave as much time as possible to build up. You can use this to apply huge pressure on 2 areas of the map forcing the enemy to either split up or decide where they should team up.
I have a couple of really handy images I’ve taken from helpful threads in the past, and honestly I don’t have the links for the threads but I’ll post the images anyway, I’m sure someone knows of the posts and will correct me so I can give them credit as I’m ridiculed. These are extremely handy.
Here is a map showing travel times of minions. It doesn’t show the travel time in the mid lane, but I’m pretty sure mid lane minions arrive 6-8 seconds faster than top and bottom minions.
This image shows why freezing doesn’t last forever and you shouldn’t expect it to. This chart doesn’t take into affect RNG but it is really accurate and a great drawing. I really wish I had the original posts because both of them were very well done. I’ll be sure to include them if someone provides me the links.
Here is a nice table for checking max cs at certain points in the game, great for challenging yourself as well as seeing just how many cs you are missing from your lane alone, you will probably be surprised.
I think I’ve added a decent amount of information but please ask questions if you are unsure about something and I’ll be happy to answer. This can go a little more in depth by describing which champions do better with each lane tactic but I’ll only do that if you guys ask. Good luck summoners!