Bot Lane Guide
Bot lane is the most wearisome lane in League of Legends. Having two laners on each team increases the number of variables in play tremendously. However, there are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from falling behind in lane, and avoid throwing an early lead. These are both things that are going to be thoroughly covered throughout the article.
The first thing I would like to go over is basic knowledge about the zones of champions. The zone of a champion is generally the range of their auto attacks.
Champions with long-ranged abilities, such as Blitzcrank and Thresh, have bigger zones. Their skills determine the radius of the zone, but their zones shrink once their abilities are on cooldown. As soon as they blow those cooldowns, their zones are greatly diminished and you are free to capitalize on that.
You need to constantly be conscious of where your laner’s zone is and where your enemy’s zones are. This is very important because if you are in the zone of both enemy laners, and your support isn’t with you, you are very susceptible to harass—essentially in a temporary 1v2 situation.
The same rules apply if an enemy decides to walk into you and your laner. It is important to make sure you stay in your laner’s zone because if the enemy tries to harass you, both you and your support can both harass the enemy while they are busy focusing you.
Unwarded bushes are always considered an enemy zone, because you can’t be sure that there isn’t someone lurking in the brush.
Zoning is such a core part of laning in LoL that it has been understood since Beta. This old-school tutorial covers zone control in even more detail if you want to learn more:
The Trading Stance
Now that you have basic knowledge on champion zones, I can go more into detail about gaining advantages in laning phase.
The best way to gain an early advantage in lane is to manipulate something called trading stance. The simplest way to describe trading stance is placing yourself on a caster creep when it’s about to die in order to force a trade.
There’s much more to it than that, though. There are multiple steps to executing trading stance properly:
The first step, as previously stated, is placing yourself on a caster minion as it is dying when you know you will be safe to do so.
There are things that you may want to consider before trying to execute the first step in trading stance. Some questions you should ask yourself are: Do I have more health than my opponent? Have they blown crucial cooldowns? Do I have more minions? Is there a caster minion that is falling low? If all the answers to these questions are yes, there is no reason to not attempt to execute trading stance.
The next step focuses on just a small trade where you can do as much damage as possible in a short amount of time while your opponent is killing the creep and can’t retaliate.
After you do that, you get to the final step of trading stance. At this point, you have to gauge the situation. You have to decide between two options here. If you can win the all in should you continue, then do so. If that won’t work out, then back out and take the free trade. Keep executing this whenever you see an opportunity.
Maintaining your Lead
After you gain a mastery of trading stance, you will find yourself winning lane quite often. But what happens more often than not is the classic “win lane lose game.” Here are some ways to avoid that and maintain your lead for as long as possible:
When you have already developed a lead, you want to constantly be crashing the wave into the enemy tower. This extremely effective because not only are you denying your enemy cs, you’re also allowing your jungler to pressure the other side of the map because you’re drawing enemy jungle attention.
As long as you have sufficient ward coverage and the ability to tell when the jungler is coming based on enemy aggression, you should be able to avoid the gank. This wastes the enemy jungler’s time and more than likely helps your team gain an advantage elsewhere.
When you’re pushing lanes, keep in mind your flash cooldown and the enemy laners’ and enemy jungler’s flash cooldowns. If you don’t have a dash of any kind, pushing can be dangerous. Even if you see the Vi coming, her flash can close the gap to you before you can get away.
Another key strategy used to ensure you don’t lose a lead is zoning the enemy off the creep wave. The reason you want to shove them off the wave is so that you deny gold and experience to the enemy, pushing yourself farther ahead, and putting your opponent farther behind.
Playing a Losing Lane
If you ever find that you have fallen behind in a lane, the best way to come back is simply to play safe and not push the lane. It is not worth walking up and getting chunked just to get one minion.
You should just stay in range for experience if possible. Even if you can’t get in range for experience it’s okay. Just respect the matchup and don’t give them any more advantages than you need to.
If they ever end up extending too far, don’t be afraid to call your jungler for assistance if you think your team can win with a numbers advantage.
You should try to freeze the lane right outside of tower range. The way you freeze a lane is you make sure the enemy minion wave always has more minions than yours. If the enemy is pushing the lane, you match their attacks to keep the wave even. Other than that you just last hit. If they are outpushing you, and you are unable to freeze, farming under tower is acceptable.
The most common mistake most people make when they start to fall behind is pushing the lane. That is the worst thing you can do for a couple reasons.
For one, it opens the enemies up to freeze and deny you from the cs you’re already desperate for. The other issue is that you become susceptible to ganks and roams. Should you ever find the lane pushing towards the enemy, go farm the jungle if you can, or just wait for the wave to bounce back.
If you lose your tower early, it is wise to let the lane push almost to the tier two tower, then let the ADC freeze it there. At this point, the support can roam and try to put pressure elsewhere while the ADC tries to inch their way back into the game. There’s no need to be hasty, just try to stay relevant and try to keep enemy advantages to a minimum.
When your team finally gets to teamfight and you took the correct precautions to make sure your opponents didn’t snowball, you will find yourself in a way better place than if you just mindlessly pushed the lane.
Take the Rift
If you correctly follow this guide, you should find yourself not only winning lane more, but being able to transition those lane wins into game wins. Concepts like zoning and wave control will help you in all stages of the game. To keep deepening your understanding of the laning phase, check out our first installment of The Art of the Lane, on Wave Management.