Zenith eSports

Proper Wave Management: In-Game Applications

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Hello from the other side, Angelo “Misleading” from Zenith eSports here!

In a previous article, we talked about and explained a variety of wave management techniques that we can use when we play League of Legends. (If you have not read the previous article, you can read the previous article here.) Although we described how to perform different wave management techniques, we did not go over when and where to use them. In this article, we are going to explore deeper into wave management so we know when and where to apply certain techniques. Let’s start with the pros and cons of hard/fast pushing and soft/slow pushing.


Hard/Fast Pushing

Hard Push
Defining characteristic: Active objective pressure focused on the present


Applies consistent objective pressure
Requires little to no preparation
Opens more opportunities for us to roam/invade/recall/*teleport
Denies opportunities for our opponents to roam/invade/recall/*teleport


Not optimal for building pressure
Requires at least one to player to actively influence the wave
More susceptible to external interference

Soft/Slow Pushing

Defining characteristic: Passive objective pressure focused on the future


Able to build an overwhelming source of pressure
Less susceptible to external interference
Does not require any players to actively influence at a certain point
Opens opportunities to turret dive or force objectives


Gives opponents more opportunities roam/invade/recall/*teleport
Denies opportunities for you to roam/invade/recall/*teleport
Predictable source of objective pressure


Now that we know and (hopefully) understand the advantages and disadvantages of hard/fast pushing and soft/slow pushing, we can generalize when we should apply the more advanced wave management techniques. After all, advanced wave management techniques are just modified versions of basic wave management fundamentals. Resetting a minion wave is a modified hard/fast push. Building a minion wave is a modified soft/slow push. Freezing a minion wave is a modified reversed soft/slow push. Below are recommendations of wave management techniques you should apply based on specific situations/objectives. Remember, that the recommendations are guidelines and not absolutes. We should always adjust our technique to match our current situation and its contingencies.

1. Recalling


If we want to recall, then we should aim to hard/fast push the minion wave. Ideally, try to reset the minion wave before recalling. By hard/fast pushing the minion wave, we give ourselves an opportunity to recall without minions pressuring our turret. We also discourage our opponent from roaming/invading/recalling/*teleporting until after he/she clears the minion wave because he/she would want to avoid any unnecessary damage to their turret.


If our opponent is looking like he wants to recall, we should hard/fast push the minion wave. By hard/fast pushing the minion wave, we can force our opponent to cancel his recall and stay to clear the minions. Canceling our opponent’s recall prevents him from doing what he wants to do: heal, buy items, etc. Essentially, we delay his/her or ability to effectively participate in team fights or delay the timing of his/her item-based power spikes. Stay cautious. Canceling recalls is not worth dying for.

2. Farming

If we are looking to farm because we are nearing a certain gold amount or we are a mid-game or late-game oriented champion, then we want to put our focus on freezing the minion wave on our side of the lane. Freezing the minion wave allows us to farm from the minion wave without putting ourselves in danger from over extending. If we are unable to freeze our wave, then we should aim to soft/slow push the minion wave when it is on our side of lane. When the minion wave is on our opponent’s side of the lane, aim to hard/fast push the minion wave and reset the wave. Properly alternating between hard/fast pushing and slow/soft pushing minimizes the time we are vulnerable to outside interference (enemy jungle ganks or roams).


If our opponent is looking to farm, which is true in almost all cases, then we should still focus on freezing the minion wave on our side of the lane. Freezing the minion wave puts us in a good strategic position to deny our opponent from farming, especially if our opponent cannot effectively farm from a distance. When the minion wave is successfully frozen on our side of the lane, we force our opponent to overextend to farm the minion wave. By forcing him to over extend more often, we make our opponent more vulnerable to outside interference giving us and our allies more opportunities to punish our opponent.


3. Taking Objectives


If we are looking to take objectives, we should be building large minion waves. The larger the minion wave we have, the more pressure we are able to apply over a certain period of time. A minion wave 18 minions large (3 waves) pushing towards our turret is terrifying compared to a single minion wave of 6 minions. Remember, that minions are essential to taking objectives. The more minions we have when we siege a turret, the more time we have to siege and destroy the turret. Large minion waves pushing towards enemy turrets are really nice to have when a cross-map river objective is being contested. If we are able to pressure the Dragon with our team while a large minion wave is pressuring our opponent’s top turret, our opponents are forced to choose between protecting one of the two objectives: Dragon or their Turret.


If our opponents look like they want to take an objective, they may start building large minions waves. To stop them, focus on hard/fast pushing the minion wave, in other words, clear the minion wave as fast as possible. If our opponents do not have the support of minions, they are heavily discouraged from continuing the siege (unless they have a dive-ready champion like a level 6 Alistar).

4. Roaming/Invading

If we are looking to make a play by roaming to a different lane or invading the enemy jungle, we should hard/fast push the minion wave and leave to roam/invade/*teleport as the minion wave resets against the enemy tower and our opponent clears the minion wave. Alternative, we should build the size of the minion wave and when the minion wave reaches the enemy turret, use that opportunity to roam, leave the lane, and/or invade the enemy jungle. By pushing the minion wave against the opponent’s tower first, we discourage our opponent from closely following us when we leave the lane. Our opponent is forced to choose between sacrificing gold/experience to chase us and staying in lane, leaving his teammates at a one-man disadvantage if a fight were to break out.


If our opponent is looking to make a play by roaming to a different lane or invading your jungle, the solution is to hard/fast push. Force him back into lane by pressuring his turret. Be careful, hard/fast pushing may make us vulnerable to our opponent’s return, especially if he comes back to lane with an ally. If forcing him back into lane seems like an unattractive solution, then do we need to do our best to follow and match his roam. A good indicator that our opponent might be looking roam/invade is if he hard/fast pushes and then goes M.I.A.

Some Final Words

Wave management is a technical skill. And like most technical skills, minion wave management can only be improved through applied practice and consistent repetition. Having proper guidance lowers the difficulty of learning wave management but it does not reduces the amount of time it will take you to master the skill. Experience is the key to mastering wave management. Every day you will encounter situations you are familiar with and situations you are not familiar with. Only with enough experience in meeting and dealing with a variety of circumstances you can reliably react to novel situations. In our next article, we will tackle wave management with emphasis on lane match ups and how we should manage the wave based on how our champion scales versus how our opponent’s champion scales.


Written by Angelo “Misleading”

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