In a game with as much depth as League of Legends, there’s always value in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes that means going back to fundamentals, and today we’re going to focus on the most basic of all of them: last hitting. Smacking minions for gold is an unusual skill that requires rhythm, good timing, and snagging last hits is the most reliable way for laners to secure gold in the early game. And if you’re a laner, you’re simply missing too many last hits.
The Economy of League
Every last hit is vitally important. One caster minion is worth 17-18 gold in the early game, which is roughly equivalent to 10 seconds of your base value passive gold generation. Time spent waiting in the fountain for just a few more gold is time you could have spent on the map making plays: placing wards, fighting with your team, farming minions, securing objectives, etc. Missing early CS is often an “unforced error” – a mistake induced by yourself and not your opponent. These early mistakes have a snowball effect, especially if you consider the potential time you are wasting, and the fights you later lose because of the items you don’t have the gold to purchase.
CS Per Minute
Creepscore per minute (cs/min) is a statistic players can use to track how well they are last hitting in their games. Jungler and support mains, this stat is going to be much less useful for you, but if you want to evaluate your last hitting skills, find some games in your match history where you played a lane. Open up your match history on op.gg and check out your recent cs/min scores. Make sure you select the server you play on (NA is default), then enter your summoner name in the search box. This website calculates our score for us, and you’ll find your cs/min in parenthesis.
Any score above 9 cs/min is exceptional, but a score between 7 and 9 cs/min is still decent. You will win games with much lower cs/min scores, but recognize that 12 or 13 minions run down your lane every minute, and the lower you go, the less you were maximizing your gold income in those games.
Once you’ve come to terms with your poor cs/min, we’re going to talk about some simple practicing tools to improve your last hitting.
Although we may dream of playing in sandbox mode, we can always practice farming in a custom game. Last hitting is such an essential part of any player’s skillset, and it’s arguably the easiest thing to practice in a custom game.
Let’s say you just bought a new champion. Intimate knowledge of your champion includes knowing the best and fastest way to use your spells to push and farm waves, as well comfortably using your champion’s auto attack to freeze the lane and only last hit. Whether you push or freeze the lane in a game should always be a conscious decision. Early game you should freeze the lane by default, and push only if you have a good strategic reason. There will be many times in a game when you need to push the wave as quickly as possible, so you should make sure you know how to do this on your champion. This is one of the first things I try to do when I pick up a new champion, and it’s a lot easier to practice in a custom game.
Ten Minute Challenge
Once you feel you’ve mastered blowing up minion waves, it’s time to challenge yourself to a 10 minute session of farming using only auto attacks. It’s okay to use your typical runes and masteries, but if you really want to challenge yourself, play your champion naked (yes, take off all your runes and masteries). The goal of this session is to come as close as possible to a perfect score of 107 minions. If you’ve never tried this before, you will probably be surprised at how difficult it is to even come close to the maximum score.
For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever broken 100 cs in the 10 minute challenge, and I usually play with my runes and masteries (it’s more accurate to an actual game). The ten minute challenge is really the twenty minute challenge, because you should do this twice on the same champion and see if you can improve your score. No one became a master at anything by doing it just once.
The 10 minute challenge is a useful tool for learning how wave positioning affects your ability to farm. A fantastic way to cost yourself last hits is to freeze the wave too close to your opponents tower, resulting in enemy caster minions dying out of your range. Maybe you have been annoyed by melee minions suiciding into your turret unexpectedly. Paying attention to the health of YOUR melee minions will help prevent surprises—their melees will run into your caster line after they defeat your melees. These are only two considerations, but I hope you will discover many more details about last hitting through your own observations.
If you find yourself struggling to string together consecutive last hits, rejoice that you’ve discovered something you can easily work at, so keep practicing your last hitting in custom games. Improving your cs/min by as little as 0.5 cs/min translates to hundreds of gold in a 40 minute game. Pro farmers can outplay their opponents simply by earning every uncontested creep. For everyone else, well, I guess there’s always support.