Understanding Your Draft in Solo Queue:

So, you’ve decided to load into ranked, whether you’re brave or just damn reckless remains to be seen, a lot will depend on your decisions. These decisions are not only the actions that you take once the game has begun, they should start in the draft. This isn’t going to be a guide that focuses on team comps because in low ELO these aren’t as important as doing the basics well. What we will be looking at is playing around the champions you have selected, lane/jungle priority and understanding itemisation/power spikes.

Let’s start with the loading screen, draft is over but the game hasn’t started yet, this is a good opportunity to size up your respective teams and begin to make a plan. Normally I approach this by looking at my lane match up and who is in the jungle. If you are a jungle main, you are going to be looking at all of your lanes and the enemy jungle.  As a bot lane main, I’m going to give a bot lane example, if my match up is


As the Lucian/Braum lane, I’m feeling pretty good early game, I’ve got mobility to dodge hooks, Braum E and W for extra protection and kill pressure if braum can apply his passive. Using our early strength to hit level two first we should then be able to set up a slow push and create a CS advantage whilst maintaining kill pressure.

As the Ashe/Thresh, I have some poke and a slight range advantage, but I don’t have the same burst as the Lucian. This makes me more reliant on Thresh Landing a hook for early trading. I’d be looking to keep the wave somewhere between my turret and the river and to farm safely. The advantage that Ashe and Thresh have, is that at level six they have much greater gank assist, with the arrow, hook and flay.

So before we move on from lane lets consider the jungle match up.




Both jungle champions are strong gankers, with their own form of crowd control and high early burst damage. In the early duels however should they meet in the jungle Elise holds the advantage.  As far as the bot lane match up is concerned Braum and Lucian will have make sure that they ward and are careful not to over push as an Elise Cocoon and Death Sentence would spell death or at least a few summoners.  If Lucian and Braum wish to have ganks, they would have to freeze the lane and force Ashe and Thresh out beyond the river to give Jarvan a good opportunity. Ashe and Thresh however if they are playing the lane defensively should have less to worry about from Jarvan as while he has good follow up, he is squishy early on and unlikely to dive the turret when Thresh has cc available.

This is just one hypothetical example, however this kind of plan is doable for every match up in the game and is particularly important for the jungle position. With a plan and a good understanding of the lane match ups the Jungler can be more efficient in helping their team mates and securing objectives.  Having this early plan can help you avoid needless and early deaths, as Lee Sin is so fond of saying, master yourself, master the enemy.

tri force

So we’ve talked a little bit about this specific match ups but how do you determine who is strong when? You’ll need to be thinking about Itemisation and Abilities.  Let’s take the example of Syndra and Fizz. I’ve chosen this example because it highlights a couple of things about laning you will want to consider, the first being range. Because of her superior range advantage Syndra will hold the early advantage over Fizz able to harass him while he farms. The second is wave clear, with her orbs Syndra can push the wave a lot faster in the early levels, gaining ‘priority’ allowing her to leave the lane more quickly should a fight break out in the river. If you haven’t seen it there is a great video on priority published by LoL Esports, you can watch it on the link below:

Fizz however needs to survive until either he is ganked or hits level six, with level six he has kill threat on the Syndra in the 1v1 which will force the Syndra to play more cautiously or risk giving over early kills.  Most champions have their own individual points of power and if you are unsure check out a champion guide it should help. This leads me on to items, whilst all champions power up as the game continues and gain levels and gold, not all champions use that gold as effectively as others. To analyse this further we’re going to look at Sivir and Lucian.  Lucian typically starts with a Blade of the Ruined King and Sivir with an Essence Reaver or Infinity Edge. In terms of stats, the Blade offers Lucian lifesteal, percent health damage as well as attack speed and damage. The Essence Reaver offers 25% crit chance, 20% cool down reduction and attack damage.  This gives Lucian a big early advantage and a power spike he can take advantage of as he can lifesteal and auto attacks faster. This will change later in the game as Crit items become better when stacked.

At three items Sivir begins to come online as she will have 75% crit, whereas lucian will have 25%. Whilst Sivir shouldn’t attempt to duel Lucian, with most of her auto attacks dealing bonus crit damage and her area of effect potential she will deal much more damage in team fights. This three item power spike is true of most crit ADC’s. It does not mean that Lucian becomes useless, just that from this point onwards the opposing crit ADC should hold the advantage moving into the later portion of the game.

Itemisation and scaling is something important to consider, if the enemy has a team that will out damage and fight better than yours at 30 minutes, you will want to be more active in the early game. The reverse is also true, don’t force fights when you are at a disadvantage or you may never get to take advantage of the scaling you drafted.

I’ve done my best to give some specific examples and illustrate my points, but what it boils down to is a few simple considerations:

  1. Your lane match up. Who has priority, do you have to play safe, can you bully.
  2. Jungle champions, does the enemy jungle gank well early, do they wait for level six? This will often influence your laning decisions.
  3. Which team scales better, this should inform your levels of aggression throughout the game. (Just because one team scales much better does not mean the game is over at low elo, punishing mistakes will make up the difference.)
  4. What is your plan? Is it to contest early drakes because you have the stronger bot lane, is it to wait for a three item ADC. Plans often change in game, but having one for the early game to follow can help avoid needless fights and deaths.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any queries or feedback on the layout/style of the article, please leave it in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you.

Author: Varda Yavanna

My personal blog, expect some gaming news, book reviews, excerpts of my writing etc...

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