Proper Wave Management: Adapting to Champion Scaling (Part 1)
Hello from the other side, Angelo “Misleading” from Zenith eSports here!
Welcome to the third article in the “Proper Wave Management” Series. (If you have not yet read the first or second article, you may click the following links to visit them – 1st 2nd) Understanding proper wave management is a necessary stepping stone on the journey to becoming a competent League of Legends player. Previously, we have covered the basic and advanced techniques of wave management and evaluated which situations call for which wave management technique. Today, let’s explore proper wave management with respect to the scaling of our champion and the scaling of our opponents’s champion.
Early game champions are well-known for their dominant laning phase. If you try to trade with them, you may find dying or recalling earlier than you would like. Excellent examples of early game champions are LeBlanc and Pantheon. Their strongest power spike occurs during the early stages of the game, however, their power begins to wane the longer game goes on. Early game champions are typically very item-independent as their abilities have high base damage or have high utility. Their most significant power spike is when they have one two completed items. Unless our early game champion is a support oriented champion, our champion may lose its effectiveness as the number of opponents in a team fight grows . During the laning phase, these champions exert a lot of pressure and control in lane. If they are able to keep their lane opponent bunkered down under their tower, they are able to search for opportunities to influence other areas of the map.
Mid game champions are typically known for their two to three item power spike. Ahri, Lucian, and Gnar are good examples of mid game champions. Since they may spike during the laning phase, it is not uncommon for them to start out decently and stay relevant for the entire game. Their late game is only out shined by late game oriented champions. (No surprise here.) Mid game champions are slightly item-dependent as their abilities have only decent base damage and utility. If they try to duel an early champion too early, they may find themselves killed in action. During the laning phase, they are focused on gathering enough gold to purchase their core items. Only after purchasing their core items they look for opportunities to team fight and take objectives.
Late game champions are known for their overwhelming power if the game lasts longer than thirty five minutes. A ticking time bomb, as many people coin it. Great examples of late game champions are Nasus, Veigar, and Vayne. If the game goes on long enough, it is excruciatingly difficult to stop them. They find passive laning phases, focused on last hitting, very attractive and they usually do not have any kill pressure in lane. The only time a late game oriented champion should be able to kill us is if the enemy jungler comes in to assist him. Late game champions are heavily item-dependent and they should avoid any and all fighting until they have the items to bolster their strength. The longer they are able to farm for gold to purchase their items, the sooner they are able to attain “unstoppable” status.
Now that we talked about the three main categories of champion scaling, we can talk about the recommended wave management techniques we should use in each match up with respect to our and our opponent’s champion scaling. (A small warning: things may get a little repetitive but we can get through it together. (: )
An Early Game Champion vs
An Early Game Champion
As an early game champion against another early game champion, we have several wave management techniques available to us. We can hard/fast push the lane to give ourselves an opportunity to roam and prevent our opponent from roaming at the same time or we can try to freeze the minion wave on our side of the lane and try to deny our opponent from farming as much as we can. And if our opponent tries to freeze the minion wave on his side of the lane, like we are trying to do, we should aim to reset the minion wave as soon as possible. While we hard/fast push, we need to establish the necessary vision to warn us if the enemy jungler is nearby. If we decide to try and freeze the lane, we should still have wards to track our opponent if he/she decides to leave the lane. In this match up, every advantage, no matter how small, is valuable.
A Mid Game Champion
As an early game champion against a mid game champion, we are temporarily stronger than our opponent during the laning phase. We can hard/fast push the lane to give ourselves an opportunity to roam or invade the enemy jungle or we can try to freeze the minion wave on our side of the lane to deny our opponent from farming. The longer we are able to deny our opponent from gathering gold, the more we delay his mid game power spike. If our opponent tries to freeze the minion wave on his side of the lane, we need to reset the minion wave as soon as possible. Before our opponent reaches his mid game power spike, we may also try to build large minion waves against him. Large minion waves will allow us to pressure his tower in addition to creating up opportunities for us to eliminate him under his tower with the help of our jungler. When our opponent reaches his mid game power spike, however, it may become difficult to freeze the minion wave. As always, wards need to be established so we may safely hard/fast push and prevent our opponent from influencing the map.
Before our opponent’s power spike:
After our opponent’s power spike:
A Late Game Champion
As an early game champion against a late game champion, we should always be stronger than our opponents in lane. We need to abuse this fact as much as possible because we will, inevitably, be out scaled. We can hard/fast push the lane to give ourselves an opportunity to roam or invade the enemy jungle but it is better to try and freeze the minion wave on our side of the lane to deny our opponent from farming. Denying our opponent from farming is essential to winning because it delays his “unstoppable” status. Our opponent, if he knows what he should be doing, will definitely try and freeze the minion wave on his side of the lane. We need to reset the lane, without any delay, if this happens. If our opponent is able to freeze the minion wave on his side of the map, we will be vulnerable to jungle ganks and our opponent will be able to farm the minion wave safely. If we are unsuccessful in freezing a minion wave, and our opponent is able to reset the minion wave, we should adapt and slow/soft push the minion wave and allow it to build. With a large enough minion wave and the help of our jungler, we will have an opportunity to dive and kill our opponent because he is on a champion who is weak in the early. We can keep abusing this advantage until our opponent reaches his power spike.
Some Final Words
By now, we should have a general grasp on how we should tackle wave management as an early game champion. As we have said in previous articles, we can only improve at wave management if we actively practice it over a period of time. So we should get onto the rift, right now, with early game champions like Pantheon, LeBlanc, and Kalista. Early game champions are the easiest type of champions to practice minion wave management with because we should have lane dominance right away. You might be asking, “where’s the section for mid game and champions and late game champions???” Since mid game champions and late game champions have an extra variable to factor in, a delayed power spike, we are going to give them our attention in a separate article. For now, let us get some good wave management practice in so we are ready for the next step.
Written by Angelo “Misleading”