I don’t care what you play now, because if you were born before the 2000s, chances are you’ve played Super Smash Bros’ Melee. For those who don’t know, it’s an obscenely mechanical game at the top level. We’re talking several hundred actions-per-minute on a freaking Gamecube controller – except for one quirky fellow.
Brett “Borp” Buchanan doesn’t use any advanced techniques. He’s the kind of guy who likes his cereal without milk. His most daring fashion choice is the occasional hoodie while playing. His smiles and frowns fall within a 45 degree radius.
You get the idea.
What does Borp have to do with League of Legends?
It’s not about what he’s playing, but rather how he’s going about it. Many League of Legends players become easily enamoured with the likes of Faker, Uzi or Imaqtpie and neglect to truly learn the game. Instead, they often rely on mechanics alone to climb out of bronze. Let’s take a step back and investigate how Borp manages to win despite putting in a tenth of the activity.
1. Limit your options
No, not your opponent’s options. By using only the simplest commands, Borp’s range of options is significantly more narrow than other players. As a result, he is able to simplify the decision process and almost always make the best choice from a smaller selection, rather than gambling on a random gun from the locker.
Compare Riven to Malphite in the top lane. One can basically outplay any situation through mechanical precision while the other is as simple as his rock solid image suggests. When you’re on Malph, you naturally need to make better reads, manage waves, and seize that one big opportunity to go in because opportunities come by much less often.
2. Focus on the mental side of the game
My top laner from a couple of years ago couldn’t play ranged champions. At all. It was ridiculous to watch him try to last hit with even the likes of Ashe. I’m pretty sure that even some of the most famous professional players early on could barely click twice a second. Yet, they were able to find success due to their ability to read their opponents. Mind-gaming is really a lost art in League of Legends. It’s something people have neglected to bring to the professional arena. Maybe the stakes are too high to put on a confident facade, or maybe they just forget in the heat of the moment.
But when you’ve got way less to worry about mechanically, there’s nothing to do but be mentally engaged. Despite his simple performances, Borp is an incredibly intelligent player. When his snarky smirk starts to creep onto his face, it’s a sign that he’s got his opponent in a mental trap. Even the tiniest step forward for seemingly no reason whatsoever can strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
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3. Learn to wait
If you watch some of Borp’s other stuff, you’ll see how much he stops and waits. Frankly, if you wait long enough, there will come a point when your opponent will expose his/herself. That is the point at which you should be making a move.
If you think about an average solo queue game, these opportunities come in the hundreds. I bet that by the time you see your opponent in lane, they are already mis-positioned and could be heavily punished.
But Borp doesn’t worry about that.
If he doesn’t think he can get to the punish in time he just waits for the next one. This is a skill. Waiting for opportunities also means resisting the desire to take a 50/50, or worse yet, something you know you don’t have the skill to capitalize on.
4. The simple option is the best option
“Two points is two points.”
Borp could, to say the least, be flashier. Instead, he always chooses the easiest option available to him, and it’s usually one that takes less than three buttons.
Stop trying to impress in League with crazy plays if there’s a simpler one available which will lead to the exact same result. If you want to execute it in-game, you should probably be able to pull it off with a 95%+ success rate in sandbox mode, at which point it’s a simple option for you.
So next time you queue up, don’t make the game so hard for yourself. I’m gonna be spending the next month trying to emulate Borp myself (actually I’m just too washed up to do anything mechanical anymore). No matter who you are, or how skilled you might think you are, there’s nothing better at the end of the day than being able to dumb it down.