News LOL Game Coaching to gold: A guide to mid lane

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Middle lane, as the center of the map, has the ability to affect a massive amount of the game. Carries are normally stationed there, and the middle lane turret keeps jungle quadrants under control of their respective teams. Without presence in the mid lane, the game can descend into chaos and a quick victory for the team with pressure mid. It’s also the shortest lane, meaning that every move matters even more due to the distance between you and your opponent.

Now, that sounds like a lot of pressure, but it also gives you a lot of power to take hold of your lane and influence the rest of the game accordingly. A lot of what makes laning as a mid difficult isn’t the actual lane itself, but how you take the advantages that you carve out from laning.

What to play

Easy does it is the mantra in lower Elos. If you are hoping to climb as a mid laner, playing champions with less complex mechanics will give you ample opportunities to carry accordingly. Not everyone can be a tip-top Zed, and certainly not everyone can be the Yasuo we dream of despite their best efforts. Accordingly, playing fun but simple champs with very few intricacies may be more worth it for your climbing purposes. Annie is a classic example to cite, but even Syndra, Ahri, Vladimir and Orianna have levels of safety in and out of lane that lend themselves to be much less complicated than contemporaries such as Katarina, Zed and Yasuo.

Pre-game exercises

Okay, so you’ve chosen your champion. What should be focused on immediately is twofold. Firstly is making a mental note of your own champion, and the second is the champion you’re laning against. Ask yourself the following questions as you get into the loading screen and beginning of the game:

  1. At what levels are my champion going to be especially powerful? For example, Vladimir gets a huge boost in power after level 7, where he has access to his ultimate and level four Q.

  2. When is my item power spike? Taking Vladimir again, we know that he has a small item power spike at Hextech Revolver, a decent spike at Hextech Protobelt, and a huge item power spike after that, when Zhonya’s Hourglass, and boots are completed.

  3. What is my close range, medium range and longest range trade pattern? What is my spell order for doing them?

  4. Who is my opponent’s champion? What is their close range, medium range, and longest range trade pattern? Who has more sustain in lane?

  5. Who is my opponent’s jungle champion? How likely are they to gank me? What angle might they gank at? How will the gank work (e.g. will the jungler attempt to lock me down first, or the mid laner)?

  6. How do I want to play teamfights? Do I dive in, do I flank, do I kite, do I focus on frontline or backline targets?

Asking these basic questions are just the start of your foray into the mid lane. They may seem difficult at first, but they’re an incredibly simple mental exercise that you are already subconsciously thinking about. It’s just about bringing that knowledge into the forefront and embedding that understanding into each individual game as a habit.

Harassing in lane

Though there was a previous series denoting the specifics of this, it really is something to hammer in on in the mid lane in particular. Again, mid lane has the most opportunities for constant trading between enemies as it is the shortest lane. It’s worth looking into my guide on harassing in lane to do this to greater effect.

Roaming

Roaming is key to any mid lane matchup. Even when you are behind, a good roam can set you and the lane you roam to up for success. Some of the important parts of roaming include setting up vision, understanding your mobility, and tracking the enemy jungler.

Firstly, setting up vision is a two-pronged process. Tracking the movements of the enemy laner can be key to determining what side of mid lane they have their vision set up in. If they’re playing closer to one side, it’s likely that they have vision or their jungler on that side of the map. Those subtle movements can reveal a lot, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it.

The other prong of setting up vision is where you want to set up vision, and whether you want to directly contest their vision or play to the other side of the lane. This is fully determined based on the lane you want to roam to, which is based on the "gankability" and which lane is more important to prioritize for a victory.

Roaming doesn’t necessarily mean getting off a gank in that side lane. It can also mean putting pressure or invading the jungle. With the lack of information that the enemy mid laner has thanks to vision control, the call for you as missing from the map puts pressure on an entire side of the map, given that you can roam up and create uneven skirmishes. With this, you can take away jungle camps, plants, and get deeper vision that protects you and a side lane completely.

However, if you have the chance to get a good gank onto a pushing lane, and can coordinate that gank with your jungler for a greater chance of success, it’s fully worth doing. Recognize what kind of mobility advantages or disadvantages you have compared to your lane opponent, and try to create tempo in your lane based on that evaluation. If you aggressively push a lane in, even a mobility disadvantage can still net you a great roaming opportunity as the enemy will be focused on the wave at their turret, lest they lose vital gold and experience.

With these tips, and mastery over simpler mid lane champions, you should face little to no issues as you continue your climb in ranked. It’s important to keep practicing these concepts, and to recognize that embedding these tactics into your game can take many tries and a good amount of time.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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