Tips & Updates for League of Legends Season 2014
With the New Year came a new season of League. Rankings were reset, maps were altered, and many key factors were overhauled by Riot in the name of creating a more balanced, enjoyable game for Season 4. If you haven’t played recently, I’ll briefly cover some of the most major changes – for more details, you can read the patch notes (3.14 – 4.1) or take a look at League’s interactive promo here. If you have been playing, you’ll know about most of the changes to items and the vision system already. But either way, here are some basic updates and tips to remember for ranked in 2014:
1. VISION, VISION, VISION
There’s been a huge redesign of the vision system, and I can’t stress enough how important vision is in this game.
To begin with, each player is allowed to choose one of three FREE vision items at the beginning of the game, called a trinket. These trinkets are unique and have been designated their own item slot – standardly item slot number 4 – and can be upgraded as the game progresses. The first upgrade occurs automatically upon shop visit at level 9, the second can be purchased for gold. Each player may only carry one trinket at a time, and there is a cooldown penalty for exchanging trinkets.
- Warding Totem
Similar to last season’s Explorer Ward, the Warding Totem places 60 second invisible wards. Keep in mind, these are not to be used in lieu of regular warding. Early game, the totem wards expire quickly, and the 120 second cooldown means you cannot depend on one Warding Totem alone for continuous vision. At level 9 the wards are upgraded to last 120 seconds. You may then chose to purchase one of two upgrades, which will essentially turn your trinket into a reusable Stealth Ward or Vision Ward.
- Sweeping Lens
At least one person on every team, mainly the support, needs to have a Sweeping Lens. It reveals and disables invisible wards and traps, allowing them to be destroyed. It’s advantageous for setting up ganks, avoiding skill shots, and overall leaving the enemy team in the dark. Additionally, with the gold upgrade, you get an 8 second oracle-effect after use. Especially useful when laning against a Teemo.
- Scrying Orb
The Scrying Orb is great for mid-late game team fights. It illuminates an area within a set distance for 1 second, and any non-stealthed enemy champions in the radius remain visible for 5 seconds. It’s like a Clairvoyance that sticks to champions, which is perfect for keeping track of your enemies.
Wards and how they work are different as well. A vision limit has been instated – each player can only have 1 vision ward and 3 stealth wards active at a time. This includes wards from the trinkets, Sightstone, Ruby Sightstone, and Wriggle’s Lantern.
- Stealth Wards
These are invisible 3 minute wards, just like last season. They can be detected with the Sweeping Lens and destroyed.
- Vision Wards
Vision wards reveal invisible units and no longer time out. However, they are now visible to enemy champions and only last until killed. Be careful where you place these, as each player is only allowed to have one at a time on the map.
Remember, trinkets are NOT an excuse to stop buying wards!! These additions were meant to encourage players to actively participate in vision maintenance. So, to the average player who thinks their 60-second trinket ward is sufficient, IT’S NOT. Please continue to buy and place wards just like you would have at the end of Season 3. The trinkets should provide extra vision, not act as a substitute for regular warding.
2. Gold items
Another aspect of the game that’s been heavily changed is gold items – what they are, the way they’re used, and what it means for everyone on the team. Gold items are now much more role-specific, and each player is limited to one gold income item.
- Relic Shield
Great for a tanky support bot lane, this will both feed and heal your AD carry. Very support specific, as it required an allied champion to be nearby.
- Ancient Coin
Grants +2 gold per surrounding minions that die without your last hit. Can be upgraded to have a +4 gold per nearby minion death and gold over time effect. Recommended for standard supports.
- Spellthief’s Edge
Features both gold over time and bonus gold for basic attacks against champions. Can be upgraded twice, good for harassing with a ranged AP support like Sona.
Avarice Blade is the only previous gold over time item that was kept in the game. It provides +3 gold per 10 seconds and +2 gold per every monster kill. This may be purchased with another gold income item, as it builds into multiple other items.
Wriggle’s Lantern provides 40% increased gold for killing monsters.
Jungling items such as Spirit of the Elder Lizard, Spirit of the Ancient Golem, and Spirit of the Spectral Wraith grant bonus gold for killing large or epic monsters.
3. Aim for Objectives
Pick objectives over chasing, it’s better to stay together as a team, it will help you win faster, and if you’re pushing hard at towers, the kills will come to you.
- Map awareness
Even in laning phase, this is still a team game. Instead of having tunnel vision and only focusing on your lane, be aware of what’s going on all over the map. Warn other lanes if you see the enemy jungle going their way. Be ready to help out if your lane is pushed and another is in immediate danger. Remember, the jungler is not the only role allowed to gank. Mid lane especially has great access to both top and bot, so a good mid can help out all lanes and push the tide your way.
Use and pay attention to pings. If you didn’t know already, each ping has a specific meaning, so if your teammate is pinging for you to back off, don’t take it as an invitation to jump into a 1v5.
5. Know when to force a team fight and when to retreat and regroup
- Vision is a huge part of this.
If you have adequate vision of the surrounding area, that’s a great time to force a fight. But if you have no idea where your enemy is, it’s a whole lot harder to make sure you’re at the right place at the right time.
- Player placement.
For example, if your ADC would get caught alone, if your tank is on the other side of the map... don’t force a team fight. Know who should be initiating, and which players you can’t afford to have a team fight without.
Good Luck in Season 2014!