Friday, January 13, 2012

Sejuani, The Winter's Claw

Here is the next new upcoming champion for League of Legends. Definitely one that i'm personally looking forward to. Art spotlight and skills are here.

Sejuani, The Winter's Claw

(Innate): Sejuani's basic attacks apply Frost, reducing enemy movement speed by 10% for 3 seconds.

Ability Description Leveling up

Arctic Assault
(Active): Sejuani charges forward, dealing magic damage and applying Frost to enemies. Sejuani stops upon colliding with an enemy champion.
  • Range: 700
Cooldown: 19 / 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 seconds
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
Magic Damage: 60 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+0.4 per ability power)

Northern Winds
(Active): Sejuani summons an arctic storm around her for 5 seconds, dealing magic damage each second to nearby enemies. Damage is increased by 50% against enemies affected by Frost or Permafrost
  • Cost: 40 mana
  • Cooldown: 10 seconds
Magic Damage per Second: 12 / 18 / 24 / 30 / 36 (+0.1 per ability power) (+1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2% of maximum health)

Sejuani converts Frost on nearby enemies to Permafrost, dealing magic damage and increasing the movement speed reduction for 3 seconds.
  • Cost: 55 mana
  • Cooldown: 11 seconds
Magic Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.5 per ability power)
New Movement Speed Reduction: 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 %

Glacial Prison
(Active): Sejuani throws her weapon, stunning the first enemy champion hit for 2 seconds and all other nearby enemies for 1 second. All affected targets take magic damage and are affected by Frost.
  • Cost: 100 mana
  • Range: 1150
Cooldown: 150 / 130 / 110 seconds
Magic Damage: 150 / 250 / 350 (+0.8 per ability power)

Art Spotlight

Monday, January 2, 2012

Learn 2 LoL: Playing a Tank

What Is a Tank?
Very simply, a tank's job is to protect the other members of his team. This involves absorbing as much damage as possible, using CC to disrupt the enemy team, and pressuring the enemy team to focus on you instead of your carry. Tanks are also usually responsible for initiating team fights.
Why Should I Play a Tank?
A balanced team composition will always include at least one tank. This may be a "hard" tank (e.g. Rammus) or a character who fulfills two roles at once, such as a jungler-tank or support-tank. Having two or more "off-tank" characters is also common. Regardless of what kind of team strategy you're picking around, your squishy damage-dealers need protection, and that means tanks.
Which Stats Are Important for Tanks?
Health Points (HP), Armor, Magic Resist (MR), Health Regen, and sometimes Move Speed (MS).
Understanding Resistances
High Armor and Magic Resist stats are the hallmark of a good tank. You need to understand the underlying math to make good use of them.
Armor reduces incoming physical damage according to the formula:
% Received = 100/(100 + Armor)
Therefore, at 50 Armor, incoming physical damage is reduced to 100/150 = 66%; at 100 Armor, 50%; at 200 Armor, 33%. As you can see, the more Armor you have, the more it takes to improve your defenses. In other words, we say that Armor has diminishing returns. The formula is exactly the same for magic damage and MR.
Another, more intuitive way to understand resistances is to flip the formula around and state it in terms of HP. A little mathcraft gives us:
Effective Health = Health Points * (1 + Armor/100)
Said another way, each point of Armor increases your EHP by 1%. So for example, a Shen armed with 3000 HP and 75 Armor effectively has 75% more health vs. physical, i.e. 5250 EHP. Again, the calculation is identical for Magic Resist.
The bottom line is that at a certain point, it's not as effective to just stack Armor or MR compared to building Health. Think of Effective Health as a rectangle whose sides have length equal to your HP and Armor - the best way to maximize the area to increase both sides. Also never forget that building HP increases your resistance to both physical AND magic damage.
Damage Types
To be an effective tank, you must carefully gauge what kind of damage your opponents are armed with. This is a skill you will develop with time as you play with more and more different characters. The best way to learn is to pay attention to the death reports each time you die.
Physical vs. Magic - Every champion's auto-attack deals physical damage. Most champion abilities deal magic damage. You can usually count each character as one type or the other, but be on the lookout for hybridized abilities, armor/MR shreds, and abilities that deal damage as a % of your total health. Also know (and fear) characters that can deal true damage - you can't mitigate it.
Burst vs. Sustained - Most abilities deal a large chunk of damage immediately (burst). Auto-attacks, spammed abilities, and damage-over-time (DoT) effects. Notice that Health Regen will protect you somewhat vs. sustained damage, but is useless against burst.
Single-target vs. Area-of-Effect (AoE) - As a tank, you want to be aware of the targeting of each enemy's skills, their range, and how you might be able to intercept them. Look for opportunities to "catch" incoming skill shots, but be aware that some will penetrate units (i.e. Caitlyn's Piltover Peacemaker).
Understanding Crowd Control
Crowd control (CC) refers to any effect that disables your opponents. We can separate them into "soft" and "hard" (channel-interrupting) types.
Soft - slows, roots, snares, and blinds
Hard - taunts, fears/charms, silences, stuns, knockups, displacements, and suppressions
  • Make sure your team has a good amount of CC skills before you lock in - they're critical for shutting down important targets.
  • Some CC is conditional, i.e. dependent on enemy position or surrounding terrain. Don't count on them to always be available.
  • Good positioning and Tenacity (Mercury's Treads) are your most important tools against CC, but remember that knockups are unaffected by Tenacity. Consider taking Cleanse or a buying a Quicksilver Sash if you see a lot of hard CC on the enemy team.
Be the Initiator
Most of the time, your team's tank acts as the leader. As the front line of your formation, they are chiefly responsible for initiating good team fights. This is a very difficult skill that depends on many factors, as well as gut instinct. Here are a few tips:
  • Tank first. Squishies in back. Stay together.
  • Look for an opening in the enemy formation and exploit it. Choose your moment and commit to the fight. If your initiation skill places you in the middle of them (Amumu), be sure the rest of your team is ready.
  • Be wary of counter-initiating skills. A Sona or Janna ult can completely turn the tables on you.
  • If you're running a poke comp, DON'T initiate. Your goal is to shield your team from the enemy while they poke.
Plan Ahead!
The best way to remain an effective tank is to stay ahead of the enemy, so buy defensive items before you need them. When you get to the loading screen after champ select, look at each enemy one by one. Gauge the balance of magic vs. physical damage, count the amount of CC skills, and remind yourself when each champion is strongest. If you plan ahead, you won't fall behind.
Example: the enemy team is Vayne, Rammus, Sona, Leblanc, and Gangplank. Counting the CC, I see-see that Vayne has a conditional stun, Rammus has a slow and a taunt, Sona has an AoE stun, Leblanc has a silence, and Gangplank has mild single-target and AoE slows. Right away, I know I'm going to need Mercury's Treads here. Beyond that, the first problem will be Leblanc's incredibly high magic damage - a Negatron Cloak will likely be my first important buy. As we get into late game, Vayne will become their main source of damage, so I'll want a Frozen Heart, Randuin's Omen, and/or Thornmail. If Gangplank starts getting farmed, I'll need them sooner rather than later. Rammus and Sona have negligible damage but godly initiating and counter-initiating skills, so I'll have to be on my toes.

So that's it for now. Later this week I'll continue by going through each defensive item and how it can help you maximize your tanking potential. 'Til then!

Learn 2 Lol: Masteries

I'll skip the basics this time - you'd just be bored.
With the change to the new Season 2 mastery trees, we suddenly have many more options to choose from. While the masteries in Season 1 were very "fixed", we now have multiple good choices in every tree.
More now than ever, we want to zero in on the key masteries. In Season 1, it was enough to pick two trees to dump 21 and 9 points in, but the new tree's flexibility mean we need to pay more attention. Don't feel that you have to put 21 points in a tree just to fill out that category - 19, 20, 22, or some other split is perfectly fine so long as you gain a real benefit.
Let's quickly go through each mastery tree and pick out the best and worst ones. I'll mark especially helpful ones with "+++" and generally worthless ones with "---". As always, take my advice with a grain of salt, and just remember that just because I don't mention a mastery doesn't mean it's not worth investing in.
Offense (link)
+++Summoner's Wrath (improves Exhaust, Ignite, Surge, and Ghost)
The new "summoner's improvement" masteries are much more accessible now. If you're using the appropriate spells, you have now have no excuse not to improve them.
+++Alacrity (+1/2/3/4% AtkSpd) -> Weapon Expertise (10% ArPen)
The attack speed is meh, but the armor penetration is fantastic considering how early it is in the tree. As some commenters pointed out last time, choosing this mastery makes ArPen runes less necessary.
+++Sorcery (+1/2/3/4% CDR) -> Arcane Knowledge (10% magic penetration)
Pretty much a no-brainer. Both of these are quite valuable for most champions. "AD casters" (e.g. Garen, Riven) may be content with just Sorcery.
+++Sunder (+2/4/6 ArPen)
Gives the same benefit as 3.6 ArPen marks or 2 ArPen quints.
+++Archmage (+1.25/2.5/3.75/5% AP)
300 AP = 15 bonus AP, 500 AP = 25 bonus AP. If you're stacking AP, this is more helpful than Blast (+1 AP/lvl).
+++Executioner (+6% damage on targets below 40% health)
Helpful, but you don't need to invest 20 point in offense just for this.
---Demolitionist (+10 damage to towers)
It's just not that noticable. For comparison, non-nexus towers have 2550 HP.
Defense (link)
+++Summoner's Resolve (Improves Revive, Heal, Cleanse, Smite, and Garrison)
Take it if you're using one of these spells. Revive ftw.
+++Tough Skin (-1/2 damage from minions and monsters) -> Bladed Armor (return 6 magic damage from minion and monster attacks)
Bladed Armor will drastically quicken your jungling. Advanced junglers can use this mastery to finish off monsters instead of wasting an auto-attack.
+++Initiator (+1/2/3% Move Speed when above 70% HP)
350 MS = 10.5 bonus MS, 400 MS = 12 bonus MS. Especially great if you have an MS steroid or are using Swiftness quints or masteries.
+++Enlightenment (+0.15/0.3/0.45% CDR/lvl)
Investing all three points gets you 8.1% CDR at level 18. Tanks usually can't afford to buy CDR in the field, so this is a nice option.
+++Juggernaut (+3% max HP and +10 Tenacity)
3000 HP = 90 bonus HP. Tenacity is a very important stat, so get this if you can! This mastery DOES stack (multiplicatively) with Tenacity from items and abilities. Juggernaut + Mercury's Treads = 41.5 Tenacity.
---Siege Commander (reduces armor of nearby towers by 10)
---Honor Guard (-0.5/1/1.5% damage taken)
1000 incoming damage = 15 damage reduced. You can do better.
Utility (link)
+++Summoner's Insight (improves Teleport, Promote, Flash, Clarity, and Clairvoyance)
Why not?
+++Expanded Mind (+4/8/12 MP/lvl) -> Meditation (+1/2/3 MPRegen)
These two masteries will significantly help your mana pool and are a good option for any leftover points from Offense and Defense. Rank 3 Expanded Mind gives +216 MP at level 18.
+++Runic Affinity (+20% neutral buff duration)
Great for junglers and AP carries who like wearing blue buff.
+++Greed (+0.5/1/1.5/2 gold per 10 sec.) -> Wealth (+20/40 starting gold)
For support characters, this is fantastic. An extra ward at the start of the game, plus 540 gold = 7 more wards over a 45-minute game!
+++Strength of Spirit (+0.4/0.7/1% max MP is added to HPRegen)
The typical AP carry has 1000-1100 max MP at level 18 = +10 HPRegen. Even before items, that's a huge boost to sustain. I'd say go for it.
---Scout (+5% ward vision range)
It's as if Riot didn't even test this one. 1100 base range = +55 bonus range - that's only a half-Teemo! It's not even perceptible. Maybe if it stacked with allies, or was +15%, or increased ward duration...
---Sage (+40 XP on kills and assists)
It's the same XP reward as one minion. Not even one minion.

So that's it. Not a whole lot to it, really. Just be sure to decide ahead of time which masteries you want to use with your character. :)

Learn 2 LoL: Runes

What Are Runes?
Runes are one of two options all summoners have to customize their champions before the game begins. You may buy them from the in-client store and save them to a page in your rune book, which is accessed from your profile page. You can then select a rune page at champion select to give you bonus stats in-game. Some details:
-Runes may be purchased for Influence Points only. IP is earned as a reward for each game you play; Conversely, RP (Riot Points) can only be purchased with real-world money. Riot's business model does not allow you to buy game-affecting content with RP.
-They come in three tiers of power. Summoners below Level 10 are restricted to Tier 1 runes. At higher levels, you may buy Tier 2 runes. Summoners above Level 20 may buy Tier 3 runes.
-Runes come in four types:
Marks (red) specialize in offensive stats
Seals (yellow) specialize in defensive stats
Glyphs (blue) specialize in magical stats
Quintessences (purple) are the most powerful and offer a wide range of choices
List of Runes
-You may combine runes of the same tier in your book to generate new ones. Sacrificing two runes creates one in the same tier, while using five will create a rune one tier higher. Combining runes is cheaper IP-wise than buying them outright, but the result is random. Note that the resulting rune may be of the same type as one of the ingredient runes.
-You unlock a new rune slot with every level you gain. They are unlocked in the order: mark -> seal -> glyph, with a new quint slot opened at levels 10, 20, and 30. Thus there are nine slots each for marks, seals, and glyphs, but only three for quints.
-Each summoner is given three two pages in their rune book for free. The same rune can be present in multiple pages at once. You may buy extra rune pages in the store for 6300 IP or 590 RP each, or in a 7-page bundle for 2600 RP.
-You may freely choose any rune page at champion select, but you may not change their contents as you can with masteries.
When Should I Buy Runes?
That, my friend, is up to you.
However, my advice is to wait until Level 20 before unlocking any runes. Why? Because as soon as you can buy Tier 3 runes, you won't be satisfied with your old Tier 1 and 2s. While you can use the rune combiner to recycle your old ones, the fact that the result is random rarely produces something useful.
Moreover, I feel that your IP is better spent on new champions, at least in the beginning. You'll inevitably find new characters you love to play, and I encourage you to master as many different kinds as possible. Besides, since the different character archetypes call for different rune sets, you may not wish to invest hard-won IP into characters you'll end up dropping anyway.
If you've found a character right away that you really love and are antsy to buy runes to match, consider the fact that Tier 1 runes are very cost-effective. For example, look at Fortitude (health) seals. Tier 3 gives you 5.35 HP per rune and cost 820 IP each. By comparison, Tier 1s give you 2.97 HP, but cost only 60 IP. That's over half the effect for only 7% of the cost!
Which Runes Should I Buy?
Again, this is up to you. Of course:
-Buy runes to complement the characters you play. Obvious enough. Buy stats that either accentuate a champion's strengths or mitigate his weaknesses.
-We usually buy runes with the focus on the early-game. The effect of runes is generally most important at the beginning, when everyone has low stats and few items. Some rune sets retain their significance through the whole game. Consider at which game phases your character is strongest.
-Scaling runes outstrip flat runes starting at champion level 5 roughly around the time the laning phase ends. If you expect to see a lot of action in lane, you may get better mileage out of flats.
Where Should I Start?
Most would agree that there are several "best" choices in each category. Here's a list:
Desolation (armor penetration) - 14.94 total ArPen for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP OR Insight (magic penetration) - 8.55 total MPen for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP
By far the best-in-slot for vast majority of characters. Damage penetration is a tough stat to buy in-game, but it helps your DPS significantly. Notice that few characters have scaling Magic Resist per level, so reducing their base 30 MR to zero is relatively easy combined with masteries and early-game items. Because of the math behind it, flat damage penetration is more valuable the less defense the enemy has. Match them to your damage type.
Alacrity (attack speed) - 15.3% total atkspd for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP
Some champions may prefer to have more attack speed over penetration, e.g. to proc more on-hit effects or shreds. Most junglers will be able to clear the neutral creeps much faster with these.
Vitality (health per level) - total 175.0 health @ lvl 18 for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP
A decent defensive choice. Notice that HP will protect you from both physical and magic damage.
Defense (Armor per level) - total 24.3 Armor @ lvl 18 for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP
A fine choice if you're not planning to build any armor items. Because of how armor stacks, you may be better off with more health.
Clarity (Mana Regen per level) - total 10.5 MPR @ lvl 18 for 205 x 9 = 1845 IP
These will greatly help your MP management. For many characters, this may be all you need to avoid buying a mana regen item. And they're cheap, too!
Force (Ability Power per level) - total 27.5 AP @ lvl 18 for 410 x 9 = 3690 IP
Ability Power adds damage to most abilities (surprise!). If your character has good ability power ratios, these are most likely your best option. A natural fit for most caster-types.
Focus (Cooldown Reduction) - total 5.85% CDR for 820 x 9 = 7380 IP
Some characters greatly benefit from getting as close to the 40% CDR cap as possible. These can help you get that last little bit you need. Since the new mastery trees have more CDR available compared to Season 1, you might not find them as necessary as before. They're still a decent choice for most any character. Scaling CDR glyphs (Celerity) are better choice ONLY if you're not getting any other source of CDR (you're likely to go over the cap).
Shielding (Magic Resist per level) - total 24.3 MR @ lvl 18 for 205 x 9 = 1845 IP
Extra MR means more survivability. Remember, the less you have, the more valuable it is. For comparison, this rune set offers the same amount of MR as Mercury's Treads, the first defensive item most tanks will buy. Squishy AD carries will especially appreciate these.
Fortitude (Health) - total 78 HP for 2050 x 3 = 6150 IP
Flat HP Quints used to be the default choice for nearly every champion in the game. They've been nerfed since then, but they're still a decent choice. Every single character in the game will benefit from them.
Strength (Attack Damage) - total 6.75 AD for 1025 x 3 = 3075 IP
Physical carries will love these. The extra damage has a very noticeable impact on your harassment potential, particularly if you have long range on your auto-attacks. AD Quints will also tremendously help your last-hitting.
Potency (Ability Power) - total 14.8 AP for 1025 x 3 = 3075 IP
15 AP will give many mage champions a bit more oomph behind their abilities in lane, more so if you've invested in the Archmage mastery or Rabadon's Deathcap.
Swiftness (Move Speed) - total 4.5% MS for 2050 x 3 = 6150 IP
If your character is focused on chasing or kiting (e.g. Udyr, Singed), these will obviously help. Pair them with the Initiator or Swiftness masteries for increased effect!
Avarice (Extra Gold / 10 sec.) - total 3 Gp10 for 515 x 3 = 1545 IP
Support characters just loooooove gold-over-time effects and don't care much about the other stats quints can give. If you find yourself playing such characters a lot, they're a great investment. This set gives an extra 180 gold per 10 minutes, or 810 over a 45-minute game. That's ten extra wards!
Anything Else I Should Know?
Just one thing. One-and-a-half.
If you feel cramped by having only two rune pages, I highly recommend the seven-page bundle. It costs about $20 USD, which is relatively expensive, but on the other hand you'll never be annoyed by your rune book again. It's the only "functional" thing you can buy for RP. Don't bother with buying pages one-at-a-time; it's really painful to shell out 6300 IP for an empty page.
If you do buy the bundle, think of a way to keep your runes organized. Use a system that will help you quickly remember each page's contents in case of last-second switches. I personally name my pages by each color's stats, using lower case letters for scaling runes. That way, I can see right away that my "APen/mpr/mr/AD" page has Armor Penetration marks, scaling MP Regen seals, scaling MR glyphs, and flat AD quints. Easy!

So there you go. As always, feel free to share your rune preferences in the comments. :)

Learn 2 LoL: Game Flow

-----Know Your Territory-----
As your lane conflict comes to an end (usually through the destruction of one side's tower), you will suddenly find that you have a lot of options as to how to proceed. Before you can make a good decision, you need to be aware of the difference between safe and unsafe places. Listen to your "map sense".
-Safe areas of the map are nearby friendly towers or champions, or are places that you can escape from easily.
-Unsafe territory is anywhere where there is or could be an enemy champion. If you can't see enemies on your minimap, you should always assume they're nearby!
At the start of the game, the map is cleanly divided into safe and unsafe territory: your side and theirs. As each side's towers fall during the course of the match, your side becomes less safe and theirs more so. The map becomes more and more uncertain.
I said it yesterday, but it's important enough to repeat: wards are NOT optional! When you place a ward, you are gaining certainty over an entire section of the map for a whole three minutes, as well as insight into the enemy's movements. If you see the other team walk past your ward into your jungle, you now know your jungle is not safe. Even if you don't see them, you have eliminated several possible enemy positions.
Better map vision means better plays!
-----Farm or Roam?-----
"Farming" means focusing all of your attention on killing minions and jungle creeps, instead of picking off enemies and starting teamfights. If you are a character who needs more items to be effective (i.e. a carry), focus on farming before anything else. If you had a hard time in lane and are behind on your build, farm twice as hard. Don't engage enemy champions, and be ready to book it if they come for you.
However, you must know when to stop farming. Be ready to help your team secure important fights and map objectives. Remember, you are much weaker when split up! It won't matter how long you farmed if you can't use it to help win fights.
-----Dragon Dancing-----
The bottom half of the river is home to Dragon, the main early game map objective. Killing dragon gives your team 975 gold (190 each + 25 for the last-hitter) and gives you a big advantage over the enemy. A common beginner mistake is underestimating the importance of Dragon! You should have Dragon warded as often as possible throughout the game.
Beginning around level 7 or so, start looking for opportunities to claim Dragon. A good time would be after killing the enemy bottom lane or jungler. Get your teammates' attention, then have bot and/or mid lane push their waves to the enemy tower and come to Dragon. You'll generally need 2 or 3 people. Make sure the area is safe; watch your minimap for enemies wise to your plan. Ward the surrounding jungle paths and place a vision ward (if you have one) to kill any enemy wards. When you're ready, have your tankiest teammate hit it once, then walk back to leash it into the river (this is usually safer than fighting in Dragon's little cove). Unload everything you have on it - be quick about it!
Dragon respawns exactly six minutes after it's killed. You want to remember exactly when this happens so that you can retake it ASAP! So when you clear it, look at your game clock in the upper-right-hand corner of your screen, mentally add 6:00, and type it in your chat box (if we get it at 14:35, I'll write, "20:35 dragon"). If the other team got it or you're not sure exactly when it was cleared, give your best estimate ("~21:30 dragon"). If you keep time, you can better coordinate your team to stay on top of it.
If you see the other team starting Dragon and yours is in good position, you should contest it. Even if you can't kill their team, you might still be able to stop it! Oftentimes, you and the enemy will be stuck in a "steal the bacon" situation, where Dragon is unsafe for both teams, but neither can allow the other team to take it. There's a certain... pas de deux dix to it that's characteristic of high-level play. Use your best judgement, stick by your team, and remember that securing (or stealing) Dragon is generally worth ONE teammate dying.
-----Dem Buffs!-----
There are two jungle monsters on each side of the map that carry the powerful "neutral buffs". Killing them grants you their buff, which lasts 2:30 (3:00 with the Runic Affinity mastery) or until you die. If an enemy kills you, they gain possession of it.
-Crest of the Ancient Golem ("blue") - This buff gives the holder a large chunk of Cooldown Reduction and regenerates their mana (or energy) at a high rate. There are few characters who don't like wearing it, but it's especially useful on caster-types who are more limited by their cooldowns and mana.
-Blessing of the Lizard Elder ("red") - The auto-attack of a character wearing this buff will slow the target and deal extra minor damage over time. It's most useful on auto-attacking carries and junglers when they're ready to gank.
There isn't too much to say here. The neutral buffs are pretty important, so protect yours to the best of your ability and try to steal the enemy's when you have the chance.
-----Baron Nashor is Your Bestest Friend-----
Baron Nashor is the "boss" of Summoner's Rift that spawns in the upper half of the river starting at 15:00. Killing him grants every member of your team 900 XP and 200 gold, plus 100 gold for the last-hitter. In addition, every living member of your team gains the Baron Buff:
-Exalted with Baron Nashor - a unit with this buff gains +40 Ability Power, +40 Attack Damage, and a large increase in HP and MP regeneration. Lasts 4:00 and is not transferred upon death.
A team wearing this buff will have a very large advantage over their opponent. If you see the other team wearing it, be prepared to defend your base!
The rules for taking Baron are largely the same as those for Dragon: keep it warded, pick a good opportunity, and do it quickly. However, since killing Baron takes much longer and leaves you more vulnerable, you need to be extra sure to keep the surrounding area warded. Failure to do so could allow the enemy to steal the last-hit or trap you in Baron's cove. As with Dragon, knowing the right time to engage and when to shift your attention is key. When it's killed, mark its respawn time at seven minutes after.
A well-coordinated team can move to claim Baron as early as 20:00. Don't forget to ward it.
-----Teamfighting Basics-----
Teamfights are the meat of this game. The success or failure of your team depends on many factors, but here are three main points:
-Know when to fight and when to run
If your team doesn't have a reasonable chance of winning teamfights, you simply shouldn't fight them. Defend your towers and farm until you can. Consider using a poke strategy, backdooring, or split-pushing the enemy towers, but don't instigate a fight. Stay safe and don't get caught. If your teammate gets caught, leave them behind unless you're absolutely sure you can help; otherwise, the enemy will just kill you both.
-Engage together
If your team is strong and ready to fight, group up and move together. Look for good opportunities to initiate fights or catch enemies when they're split up. Punish bad positioning. Force them to contest you at map objectives (Dragon, Baron, and their towers). Plan ahead of time which characters and skills you're going to initiate with.
-Have your kill priorities in order
You almost always want to focus their squishy carries first. Ignore their tanks as best you can. Protect your own squishies with your tanks. Pay attention to both your own positioning and that of your opponents.
-----Press Your Advantage!-----
If you're ahead and winning team fights, it's critical to capitalize on your success. If you don't, you're just allowing the enemy more time to catch up. Don't forget that the goal of the game is to kill towers and inhibitors, so shove them down whenever you get a good chance. Always put pressure on the enemy! A few strategies you might use are:
-Poking - Keep your whole team together and use ranged abilities without engaging a full-blown fight. An effective poke team will force the enemy back to base to heal without ever actually fighting.
-Split-pushing - Separate your team into two or more groups and push multiple lanes at the same time. The opposing team will have to either split up or choose a tower to lose.
-Backdooring - Have four team members defend towers while your fifth quickly pushes alone. This forces their team to respond to a single person, giving you an opening.
Keep in mind that knocking down enemy towers will allow your minions to get closer to their base, making it easier for them to farm. If you don't continue to pressure them, you're just making their comeback easier. Don't let that happen!

I think that's pretty much everything you need to know about mid- and late-game LoL. If anyone has something else to add, please post it in the comments! :)

Learn 2 LoL: Laning

Today, I'm going to be talking about the first stage of the game, laning. Everything starts here, both in terms of the game and developing as a player, so you should pay attention to this before anything else. And since every single game includes laning, you'll be sure to have lots of opportunities to practice! There's a lot to cover, so let's get to it.

Step 1: Have a lane in mind BEFORE you pick a character
As you play, you will quickly learn each character's preferred placement on your team. Look at the characters your team has already chosen and do your best to fill in the gaps. Eventually, you will begin to catch on to advanced concepts like team composition and "The Meta", but until then, choose characters you feel comfortable with and experiment. Your team composition doesn't matter when nobody knows how to play (yet).
Step 2: Have your priorities in order
Through the laning phase, your priorities (from most to least important) are:
-Not die
-Destroy the enemy's tower
-Gain XP (be in range when enemy minions die)
-Last-hit enemy minions for gold
-Deny the enemy XP and gold by zoning
-Harass/kill enemy champions
Note that the order of these can change depending on the circumstances; for instance, you may decide it's more important to keep the enemy from farming so as to delay their build. However, not dying is always the most important. When you die, not only do you give the enemy gold, you are missing out on XP/gold by waiting to respawn and walk back to lane.
Step 3: Control your zone
First, watch Shurelia's zoning tutorial:
Videos, fun!
Each champion has an area around them that they control, the size of which depends on the ranges of their auto-attack and abilities. Avoid walking into enemy zones and use yours to create pressure. If two opposing players walk into each other's zone, they will trade damage, and whoever deals more will come out ahead. Learning the size of each character's zone and the damage available to them in lane comes with experience.
Pay attention to how minions and brush affect your zones. Minions block most skill shots, so don't hesitate to use them as a shield. Enemies need sight of you to auto-attack, so hiding in the brush can foil those pesky ranged carries.
Step 4: Understand aggro
"Aggro" is when the AI controlling the enemy's units focuses on you. You don't want it! All minions, towers, and enemy champions targeting you will have a yellow border around them.
-If you attack an enemy champion, nearby enemy minions will aggro you. At the first few levels, they will deal significant damage to you.
-Towers aggro the first enemy unit to walk in their range, so let minions go first.
-If you attack an enemy champion under their turret, they will switch aggro to you. Be careful!
As you get more experienced with your character, you may choose to "tower-dive" (ignore aggro) in order to kill a low enemy champion. It's a risky move at all levels of play.
Step 5: The art of the last-hit
Learning how to last-hit is the most important skill you can learn. In terms of resources, LoL is a race to farm as quickly as possible and buy your end-game items. The more gold your team has, the stronger you are and the larger your advantage over your opponents. And while champion kills are worth a lot more than minions, keep in mind that about 10 15 CS (creep score) equals one kill.
So how do you do it? Simple: get the last hit on as many minions as you can. Watch the minions' health bars and find which ones are decreasing fastest. When they have only a sliver of health left, right-click them. Success is dependent on good judgement and familiarity with your character's damage and attack animation. Don't get discouraged if you're having trouble; remember, it just takes practice!
If the minions have been pushed back under your tower, last-hitting will be more difficult. You may need to use some of your abilities to keep your tower from stealing the gold. Again, practice! Some tips:
-Melee minions will be left in last-hit territory after two (2) tower hits. Let the tower hit them twice, then finish them off.
-Caster minions are trickier. Try to hit each one once BEFORE they get in tower range. One tower shot at this point leaves them in last-hit range.
-If you issue a "hold" command (bound to "S" by default), your champion will not auto-attack the creeps until you issue a new order. You can use this to time your last-hits easier.
Step 6: Don't push your lane!
At the beginning of the game, each team's first minion wave will clash right in the center of the lane. As you fight, they will be "pushed" towards one side or the other. In general, you want to avoid as much as possible situations in which the wave is on the enemy's side of the river. Why?
-You will be further from your tower. That is, safety is that much farther away should something go wrong.
-The enemy will be closer to their tower, and therefore harder to finish off.
-You leave yourself open to ganks from other lanes or the enemy jungler.
The ideal place for the minions to clash, then, is on your side of the river. This forces the enemy to stay on your side of the map, making them more vulnerable. Since dealing damage to enemy minions pushes the lane, the Golden Rule of Laning is:
Last-hit, and ONLY last-hit!
Of course, when you have a good opportunity to damage the enemy tower, you need to push the lane first. If you do it fast enough, the tower will even kill off all your minions and "reset" the lane back to the middle. An aggressive lane may also choose to push the lane to put more pressure on the enemy.
Step 7: Wards are NOT optional!
Sight Wards, available in the shop for a mere 75 gold, are your best friends. You may not realize it, but the lowly ward is the most important item in the game. Why? Because LoL is fundamentally a game of area control. By gaining more sight of the map, you gain direct influence over the game. In short, Map vision enables good plays.
In the laning phase, wards are important mostly because they stop ganks. When you place a ward in the river brush, you are making it safe to push your lane. If you see someone coming from the river to stop you, book it. Without that one measly 75g ward, you would probably have died, giving at least 300g to the enemy and missing out on way more than the 75g it would've cost you. So don't forget!
-If you have more than 75g left over after buying items, buy AT LEAST one (1) Sight Ward.
-It is EVERYONE'S responsibility to ward the map as much as possible.
-If you don't see your lane opponent for awhile, it is considered good etiquette to call "MIA". However, it is YOUR responsibility to watch the minimap for missing opponents. Consider MIAs a luxury.
(For those of you wondering, Vision Wards are used to watch for stealthed champs and enemy wards. You generally don't need to bother with them.)

So, that's pretty much everything! It's a lot to take in, to be sure, but it's all important to a successful laning phase. And since the laning phase decides the shape of everything that comes after it, you owe it to yourself to do your very best.
Win the lane -> win the game!
If I've forgotten anything, I'm sure someone in the comments will help me remember. :)