Matchmaking: How to Choose the Right Champion as a Beginner

Mar 24, 2016

At the time of this article being written, League of Legends features 129 playable champions, plus one more (Aurelian Sol) expected to be released any time now. All of these options make for an overwhelming decision when players new to the game are deciding which champions to save their IP for. This article will create a criteria to help beginners find easy-to-play champions that they can use as they learn the basics of the game.

This guide is geared towards new players with less than 100 wins to their name, as well as full-grown level 30 players who may have taken a shortcut during their developmental levels by queuing up with friends from higher ELO. Even ranked players who have come to terms with the fact that they aren’t exactly mechanically adept will benefit from the following tips.

Skill Shots Create Room for Error

This is what happens when you don’t land your skill shots. You get auto-attacked to death. 

The easiest way to climb out of low ELO is to let players out play themselves. Everybody wants to be a flashy playmaker, but not everybody has the necessary mechanics to pull it off. Skill shots are high risk, high reward abilities that can deal large amount of damage when they hit, but nothing when they miss. Because of this fact, as beginner, we want to avoid champions that rely on skill shots, and we want our opponents to play champs that rely on skill shots.

If you have experience playing other games at a high level, you might not be too bad at landing skill shots. You don’t have to completely rule out skill shot heavy champions if this is the case, but still, it’s important to remember that if you miss your abilities, you may find yourself in trouble.

Crowd Control is Incredibly Strong

Tristanna being slowed by Nasus’ Wither (W) ability. Crowd control dictates the pace of team fights,

Champions with crowd control built into their kit have the power to tilt team fights in favor of their team. Playing junglers like Xin Zhao or Pantheon make ganking considerably easier thanks to their simple crowd control that locks up enemy champions long enough for your team to kill them. Crowd control creates low HP baiting opportunities in which the enemy is fooled into thinking he can finish you off. They charge at you, you stun them, you kill them, you win the game. GG WP.

Make Farming Easy

The more minions you successfully last-hit; the more gold you have; the better items you buy; the more damage you do to enemy champions.

Killing creeps, farming minions, however you want to say it, it’s an extremely important game mechanic for beginners to master. Learning how to CS is one of the single most important things you can do in League of Legends. The champion you are playing influences how difficult farming is significantly.

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Champions such as LeBlanc and Anivia have very slow auto-attack animations that force you to think ahead of time when deciding the best time to go for a last hit. AD champions are easier to last hit with than AP champions; the more AD you have, the more damage your champion’s auto-attack does. Before committing to a champion, make sure you spend some time in a custom game feeling out their last-hitting experience.

Mobility Saves Lives

Here’s a Lucian player dashing over the walls of the Dragon pit. Mobility is very strong in League of Legends. Photo via

Choosing a champion with a dash can allow you to escape ganks more often. Exploring Summoner’s Rift and getting into position is considerably easier on a champion like Lucian than it is on someone like Ashe. Dashes can be used offensively or defensively; earning you kills or saving your life. This is good insurance for new players who are prone to positioning errors.

Tanks Allow for Misplays, and They Do Damage

You can deal a lot of damage on Darius by building just a single damage item before going full tank. Photo via Riot Games.

The more HP and resistances your champion has, the more you can afford to misplay without dying. Many players are opposed to the idea of playing tanky champions because it sounds boring. Nobody wants to be the brick wall who’s purpose is limited to absorbing damage. It sounds boring because it is boring.

However, tanks don’t quite work like that in League of Legends. We quite often see tank top laners successfully duel enemy AD carries here in Season 6. Tanks don’t just soak up damage anymore, they also deal a ton of damage themselves. Champions such as Poppy, Nautilus, and Darius all deal a TON of damage by building a single damage item, then going full tank.

Choosing Your Champion as a Beginner

Keeping these things in mind, you will be able to choose a champion that enables you to grow as a player as you learn more about the game. You don’t have to follow all of these rules, but the more you follow, the easier it will be to succeed early on.

Good luck, have fun!

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Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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