Earning Your Edges: How to Win Your Lane and Survive Ganks

Apr 3, 2016

Sometimes you go too HAM. When riding the incredible high following an in-game outplay you often put yourself in a vulnerable position. Maybe it’s a level 1 fight where you force your opponent’s flash. He decides to stick around with 1/4 HP. You look for your opportunity to finish off the free kill, but then it happens. As soon as you make your move, the level 2 gank strikes. That first blood you nearly had in the bag now belongs to your lane opponent who you were dominating before the enemy jungler punished your aggressive positioning. Sigh. Now you’re behind…

Being ultra-aggressive is a high-risk, high-reward solo queue strategy. Against an opponent even in skill, or worse than you, it’s a recipe for a won lane, especially if you can master kiting. However, against an observant enemy jungler, you may find yourself in trouble. There is a middle ground that considerably reduces your risk, while still allowing you to win your lane.

Death by 1,000 Cuts: Limiting All-Ins

The secret to dying less to ganks while still winning your lane comes down to being less blood thirsty. Don’t let yourself overvalue kills–remember, each kill is equal to about 15 CS. Instead of maintaining a constant focus on looking for a lethal opening and exposing yourself to ganks in the process, try shifting your focus towards gaining smaller advantages through trading.

Creating a lane advantage though frequent small trades is an optimal strategy when you don’t have vision of the enemy jungler. Looking for opportunities in which you can deal damage without taking any back will allow you to continuously earn small edges on your opponent without exposing yourself to ganks. After a series of small, successful trades, you can begin to contest CS and further bully your opponent.

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Any time you can gain an HP advantage over your lane opponent it opens the door to further your CS lead. If your opponent refuses to respect your small, clean trades, they eventually will be forced to base (or die), and provide another opportunity for you to increase the CS disparity.

Vision Based Aggression

The idea isn’t to stop looking for opportunities in which you can kill your opponent, but rather limit hyper aggression to small windows in which the enemy jungler is on the wrong side of the map, your jungler is on the right side of the map, or you are willing and capable of winning a 2v1. Don’t disrespect your opponents and you’ll spend less time staring at a grey screen–the easiest way to stop feeding is through map awareness. By ignoring marginal opportunities and instead limiting aggression to frequent and small high-percentage plays, you minimize your risk and maximize success.

Focus on winning small trades instead of chasing kills in your next game. You may still find yourself winning lane in dominating fashion without making yourself vulnerable.

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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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