Communication: Giving Your Teammates the Information They Need to Win

Apr 27, 2016

Communication wins games.

Every experienced League of Legends player has been a victim of poor communication at one point. In League of Legends there is no voice chat. Strangers are forced to work together and communicate with generic pings and text chat in order to coordinate plays on Summoner’s Rift. This is less than ideal, especially in situations with low margin for error.

Consider an early game turret dive. Even with full HP, you do not want to tank more than 2-3 shots from a tower. Trying to establish which player is going to tank the turret and when/how you are going to switch tower aggro can be quite a mission. A successful dive gives you a nice edge in lane. Failing the dive could result in a double kill for the enemy laner. Clear communication can give you that edge your team needs to come out on top.

Commit to Clear, Actionable Communication

Cho'Gath Flash
Sharing “cho 12:30 flash” is infinitely better than “cho no flash”. Photo via League of Legends Wikia.

Most players realize how valuable information on the enemy is in League of Legends. Everybody knows timing the enemy’s summoner spells can reveal ganking opportunities or map movements that otherwise wouldn’t be safe or advantageous otherwise. Yet, most players only go through the motions and demonstrate a lack of interest in clear¬†communication.

Typing out “he flashed” after losing a close duel has become an automatic behavior. Letting everybody know your enemy laner flashed is good information, but with an ounce of additional effort we can turn that into actionable information. Instead of just casually mentioning that Champion X burned flash, write out the timer. Look at the game clock, add 5 minutes, and type it out in chat. Subtract 5-10 seconds if you’re not sure the exact moment your enemy flashed. Giving your teammates accurate timers is significantly better than just stating “they flashed”.

You want to allow your teammates to focus completely on the game at hand. By giving them an accurate summoner timer they no longer have to try and do the mental math themselves, and neither do you. By knowing exactly when your opponent’s flash comes back up you can request a gank with confidence. Your teammates are more likely to help out if they know your opponent has no way to escape.

Use More Pings

League Smart Ping communication
Smart pings are an easy way to communicate your next action to your team at all points of the game. Photo via Ogretici.

There are a few types of pingers. There are the pingers who spam danger ping you when you have no chance of escaping. Then we have the MIA pingers, who spam the missing ping on your team’s jungler when they get ganked by the enemy. Another great one is the anonymous spammer who will spam anonymous pings all game long so you can’t quite figure out who is making all of the noise. This is not what I mean when I say use more pings.

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Toxic pingers have given in-game pings a bad reputation, and that’s not right. Using smart pings can be extremely valuable for your entire team. You are not going to be considered toxic if you ping for assistance when your enemy laner has the lane pushing towards you. Junglers often have to decide for themselves which lanes are worth ganking. You are making their job easier by highlighting an opportunity that you can help them capitalize on. If you ping out high percentage opportunities for your jungler they are more likely to come. Just do your best not to waste their time.

Every time you think in your head “I need to do X”, ping it out so your team is on the same page. When your lane opponent roams, but you decide to stay and get the tower, ping the tower. When your team is grouped middle in the late game, but you have teleport and want to split push, ping on the way to the lane you are heading towards and let them know in chat you’ll need a ward to teleport to. See the enemy jungler poking around? Ping him so your teammates know where they are. Every opportunity you have to convey information about your next move, or the enemy’s, ping it out.

If You’re Not Sure, Defer

Once you reach the stage of the game where team fights are happening frequently, you and your team need to be on the same page. Which target do you need to focus? Should your frontline be jumping on someone, or peeling for someone? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your teammates. Asking “how do we win the next fight?” is infinitely better than being unsure of what to do when the next fight breaks out. You can’t lead if you aren’t sure what to do. Let one of your teammates take control and make sure you try your best to follow their instructions.

The more clear, actionable, information you feed your team throughout the game, the more likely it is you operate better as a group.

Good luck, and 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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