LoL Roles Explained: How To Play Each Role

LoL Roles explained, how to play lol roles, league of legends roles
With the start of a new season, do you have what it takes to climb to the top of the ranks?

Every role has their duties, allowing players to synergize their play and combine their efforts for victory. Well, assuming everyone does their job...

"Roles" in LoL simply refers to the lane you will play. Most people pick one or two that they specialize in to climb the ranked ladder the fastest. This makes sense, since joining a ranked queue means you will select your two preferred roles. However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of them, as you can be auto-filled into any role if yours isn’t available. Plus, the more knowledge you have of each position, the better you can combat it. 

The primary roles in league are top, jungle, mid, bot/ADC, and support. Each of these has a typical or standard style of play, but of course, you can have variations or outliers that stand out from the crowd. 

1. Top 

Darius, commander of the brutal Noxian army, raises his axe only once before those beneath it crumble. 

Top laners are typically bruisers or tanks and are responsible for both providing support to their damage dealers and doing damage themselves, placing them in a unique position. Ideally, the top laner would be a tanky or semi-tanky (bruiser) champion with at least one crowd control (cc) ability, such as a stun, root, or other immobilizing effects. Your main focus in team fights is to soak up damage and provide cover for your lower-health, high-damage allies (i.e. your carries). Alternatively, you may play a champion whose job is to cc the enemy carry and take them out of the fight while your team whittles away at the rest of the enemies (like Pantheon, for instance). 

Top’s Responsibilities 

  • Provide crowd control for your team in team fights
  • Protect the carries by drawing enemy aggro 
  • Put pressure on outer lanes prior to team fights
  • Farm up those creeps for gold

How to Play Top

  • Typically a farm lane unless ganked or you get a clear advantage (gold or trading)
  • Engage team fights; this can be straight forward initiation or targetting the carry
  • In some cases, it may be beneficial to your team to split push and draw enemies to you or put pressure on towers to secure other objectives on the map; especially if you run teleport
  • Typically you will farm until fights or major objectives, shoving out the lane and getting much-needed gold 

Pick this Role If

  • You enjoy having more health or dislike the low-health burst playstyles
  • Are good at farming minion gold or would prefer more passive gameplay, especially early
  • You want to initiate fights and take the front line
  • If you enjoy the satisfaction of laying down crowd control on one or more targets to single them out and turn the tide in your favor
  • You like working together with your team to provide the best outcome, even if sometimes it means you will die 

2. Jungle

One of the oldest jungle champions in the game, don't let Olaf's axe strike you down, or else be doomed to a quick and painful death. 

Junglers live in the jungle, for the most part. The role is heavily support-oriented, as your job is to “gank” your lanes, turning an even fight into an uneven one. You have been successful in your endeavors if you do any of the following: kill off the enemy laner, ideally giving the kill to your laner, blow an enemy summoner spell, or force the enemy laner into recalling to heal. Jungle champions are typically either assassins, bruisers, or tanks. Assassins are able to easily provide the damage output and have the mobility to hop out of the shadows, whereas tanks or bruisers typically provide crowd control that secures the kill, making either one a good choice. 

Jungle’s Responsibilities 

  • Provide support to enemy laners by ganking
  • Ideally, give the laners the kills to set them ahead
  • Counter the enemies’ jungle camps by clearing them, denying gold 
  • Secure objectives (with Smite) such as dragon and baron 
  • Help provide and deny vision on the map

How to Play Jungle

  • Clear camps and figure out a good rotation to maximize gold income by hitting them when they spawn 
  • Wait for enemies to be in an ideal position to gank and then do so 
  • If you blow a summoner, repeat gank knowing it’s down 
  • Ward regularly, and when switching to oracle lens later make sure to clear enemy wards
  • Secure objectives with your smite, keeping track of your smite timer and the objective timer

Pick this Role If

  • You like being an extremely important and integral member of the team; a jungler can make or break a game 
  • You have good time management and can handle keeping track of camp respawns, summoner spell timers, and objective timers
  • Playing an assassin or a bruiser/tank sounds fun to you, either one works
  • You have great map awareness and are able to keep track of what is going on across each lane 
  • You want to experience the satisfaction of winning every single lane on the map for your team; if you successfully gank and help the lanes, everyone will be chatting about how they lost because of “jungle difference”

3. Mid

Yone, brother to Yasuo and hunter of the demonic, and decameter of mage mid lanes. 

Mid lane is characterized by extremely high burst meant to nuke out an enemy or, in some cases, multiple enemies. Mid lane champions are typically mages or assassins, though certain champs can rock it regardless (Irelia or Lucian, for example). In some cases, a mid lane champion, typically of the mage class, may prioritize poke damage, bringing down enemies’ health over the course of a short period of time to shift a fight in their favor. Since your position is center-map, the mid lane is also somewhat responsible for roaming to assist where needed; this includes helping your jungle secure their camps or objectives, providing support for invasions into the enemy jungle, or ganking top or bot. 

Mid’s Responsibilities 

  • Acrew massive amounts of damage to quickly take out your enemy or enemies
  • Make sure you hit your abilities, this is especially important for mages, as the majority have skill shots
  • Help your jungler out in the jungle, your team’s or the enemy’s
  • If you have the opportunity, put pressure on the map by roaming, especially if you’re dominating your lane
  • Try to help out with vision around the center of the map and objectives 

How to Play Mid

  • Burst down your enemies with massive hits, or whittle away at them through poking, but either way make each hit count 
  • Keep up with your mana if you have it, the worst thing to happen to an AP carry (as most mages are) is to run out of mana 
  • Roam and assist on the map anywhere you are needed; jungle, top, bot
  • If you’re an assassin, hop in, kill, and hopefully make it out alive to fight another day and do some extra damage during the now uneven fight
  • Make sure your lane and the surrounding area of the map is warded, mid is the easiest to gank for junglers; don’t get caught 

Pick this Role If

  • Satisfyingly killing off an enemy in a single ability combo appeals to you, whether it be assassination style or burst style 
  • You are confident in your ability to watch the map and roam where needed
  • Managing mana or energy is not an issue for you
  • You are confident in your ability to survive enemy assaults and play behind your front line without getting picked off 
  • The idea of being a large percentage of your team’s damage output is appealing 

4. Bot/ADC

Miss Fortune, pirate of Bilgewater and with the charm and style will rain bullets on your parade.

Bot, also known as ADC, is the lowest-health role in the game and prioritizes dealing consistent, sustained damage to your enemies. Typically, this role is played by a marksman champion. It is an extremely damage-heavy role with the responsibility of dealing a large portion of the team’s overall damage. The ADC’s damage, in most cases, comes from their basic attacks, making them excellent farmers. During lane phase, they will play in the bot lane with a support and prioritize minion kills until getting a clear gold advantage or a good pick on the enemy bot lane (from a gank, support initiation, etc.). Positioning during team fights is vital to your survivability as an ADC and the role is heavily reliant on your team’s ability to crowd control enemies and protect their backline, where you will typically remain if you wish to live. 

ADC’s Responsibilities

  • Dealing sustained, but heavy damage to the enemy players, securing victory in fights
  • Positioning appropriately to not be picked off
  • Providing back up to your front line and tanks when they engage; don’t leave them out there to die unless they are intentionally trying to give you an escape route
  • Putting down pressure and damage to enemy turrets, as the ADC provides the highest structure damage
  • Participating in objective kills (dragon, baron, herald), as you, again, will do the majority of the damage to them

How to Play ADC

  • Play around your support and tanks, as they will set up kills and act as your safety net 
  • Build attack damage and attack speed to make sure you are putting out as much sustained damage as possible 
  • Always monitor your positioning to make sure you have as few openings as possible; if you go down, so does a lot of your team’s damage potential 
  • On the same note, avoid being solo unless farming near a turret, as this will be easy pickings for the enemies 
  • Farm, farm farm; getting the gold advantage and as many items as you can as early as possible will lead your team to a quick and easy victory

Pick this Role If

  • You enjoy doing a lot of damage to enemies
  • You are okay with playing lower-health, squishy champions; high-risk, high-reward 
  • Positioning yourself around your team and ensuring you aren’t too open to an assassin or an enemy player’s crowd control won’t be an issue for you 
  • You can synergize well with other players, as you will be sharing a lane with your support and need to be able to work together
  • You have good map awareness to help with your positioning, avoid getting caught out or ganked, and ensure you are present for objectives and fights

5. Support

Leona, one of the queens of the support role, swearing her shield to protect her ADC by laying down insane amounts of crowd control.

Support is one of the most underappreciated but vital roles in League of Legends, as they ensure the safety of the ADC, help to initiate team fights, and also provide important support factors throughout the fight and the game as a whole. The support is the laning partner of the ADC and often is the key to initiating fights in the bot lane and thus getting the ADC much needed kills and gold. Supports provide crowd control, healing, shields, etc. to their teammates throughout the game and are typically tanks or lower-health healer-enhancer types (that often also have cc). When executed properly, a support can make or break a fight, securing kills and protecting allies all at the same time. Supports are also responsible for the majority of the vision control (providing and denying). 

Support’s Responsibilities

  • Ensure that the ADC survives throughout lane phase and late-game
  • Provide support to other members of the team who are in need
  • Help the frontline initiate fights, or initiate them yourself 
  • Provide and deny enemy vision across the map; this is a must, as the primary support item is geared towards warding 
  • Secure objectives through the provision of vision, making sure to keep track of the timers of both the desired objective(s) and your wards 

How to Play Support

  • Provide back-up to your teammates, especially your ADC
  • Make sure to heal, shield, and provide cc when needed
  • Always ward and clear wards; if you have wards available but don’t have the maximum placed, you’re doing something wrong 
  • If you are playing a tank support or have heavy cc, help your teammates initiate fights or initiate them yourself (for example, Leona or Nami are great for this)
  • In the instance that one of your carries or a teammate with a bounty (i.e. a lot of kills and few deaths) is going to die, do everything in your power to get them out, including sacrificing yourself; supports are martyrs in a way

Pick this Role If

  • You like being an integral part of your team’s success; supports can truly make all the difference 
  • Not doing a lot of damage or taking a backseat to other players doesn’t bother you 
  • You enjoyed playing healers or tanks in other games
  • You know when to initiate a team fight as well as how to help your teammates disengage
  • You have good awareness of your surroundings and map; this is for warding, securing objectives, and knowing when to initiate or disengage, all important features of a good support 

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Born and raised in the mountains, I have dedicated my life to story-telling of vast and wide realms. I live to enjoy the worlds of others, through role-playing and video games.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: PVP
Top 3 Favorite Games:League of Legends, Dragon Age II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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