How Competitive League of Legends is Played
League of Legends or LoL for short is a global gaming phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. Forget the initial blast that was Counter Strike, the faded fame of Call of Duty or the legend in everything but name in DOTA – LoL rules the team based competitive games.
It has taken several years but Riot Games, the company behind the MOBA behemoth, have amassed such an astounding following of dedicated players that number in the millions. Over 24 million LoL players get online every day which surpasses any other game present on the market (talk about high demand eh)?
Let’s take those numbers into a little bit more context – from those 24 million players, only 0.002% are ranked into the top tier level. Meaning, only a handful of the teams can rank up high enough to enter the rival competitive level and compete in tournaments organized by Riot and other companies like Intel.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. These facts weren’t meant to discourage you. Quite the opposite, in fact. This should prove a true testament of the power of LoL – the power of the community and why it is such a behemoth in the world of betting. More and more players are watching Twitch streams of players and teams, betting on a variety of aspects before and during each match up. But how does one watch a competitive LoL match, without losing oneself into this frantic gaming extravaganza? We got you covered 🙂
For the Uninitiated
So, League of Legends is a competitive 5 vs 5 game where victory is achieved when one of the team manages to destroy the Nexus of the other team. Now this may be a lot of information for someone who has no idea what the heck a Nexus even is. So, let’s go slow.
League of Legends is a MOBA or a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game. It is played on a single map which is created with full on equality in mind for both teams (more on the teams later). Like we mentioned previously, the team’s only goal is to destroy the Nexus of the opposing team. This “Nexus” is a building on the far side of the map and it is accessible only through a team’s base, including a set of defensive towers. These towers are deadly and do a lot of damage, meaning it takes team effort to take down.
To make things complicated, there are computer generated minions or creeps that attack the bases and which can be killed for experience and gold. These creeps come in waves throughout the duration of the game. Now, there are also the teams and their heroes that try to destroy the Nexus and killing each other in the process…
Teams and Roles
Every LOL match is played in 5 vs 5 teams made up of different heroes. Before each match the teams begin their team build up through a selection of heroes. In order to make the game more interesting and the outcome less obvious, a unique feature is introduced – banning of heroes.
This means that a team has the option to ban a selection of heroes so the team cannot pick them. Banning a hero is amazing when you know an opposing team’s player is dominating with a certain hero – making that hero unavailable means you can potentially cripple the team’s strategy.
It is one of the great things about MOBA games and LOL in general – the suspense before knowing which hero setup a team will go for, will there be a balance to a setup and more…
Speaking of balance and setups, a team’s synergy is what makes or breaks a match and most LoL pros know their way around the heroes. With a rooster of over 130 heroes, it is easy to get lost in what the game has to offer.
Luckily, thanks to the game’s internal role management, we get the “standard offering” of tanks (heroes who can take a lot of damage), glass canons or in LOL’s case “assassin’s and wizards” (which deal a lot of damage but can be killed easily), junglers (more on them later) and support (which heal other heroes and provide benefits to the team in the form of armour boosts and more).
Of course, thanks to the huge roster, we get a complex mix of a tank or a high damage dealer, ranged or melee and more. The beauty of it all is that each class has something unique about it which can be countered by a specific other class and vice-versa.
Now then, we mentioned balance and roles and the heroes and their classes’ fulfil each in terms of map orientation. Not every class can dish out huge amount of damage or cross the map as fast as others.
Now then, teams need to organize each hero to his / hers benefit in order to counter the other team’s heroes and penetrate the base, each tower crumbled getting the team to the nexus and victory.
There are 3 main entrances to a base – the upper, mid and bottom lane. These lanes are where the above mentioned creeps keep spawning and take the fight to the enemy. It is an unspoken rule that tankish heroes take the upper lane, high damage dealing heroes with lots of mobility go on the mid and a support hero usually helps another hero on the bottom lane.
The only hero class that doesn’t fit into any lane are the junglers. These heroes keep to the parts of the map not covered by the lanes. High in mobility and damage, these heroes level up by killing creatures (creeps) that are static.
Junglers are also responsible for killing enemy players through what is known as ganking. Since we have 1 on 1 hero per lane, usually junglers jump on in and tilt the scales on these 1 on 1 battles and if the kill is successful, then that player got “ganked.”
Overall, laning is arguably one of the most important aspects when playing LoL so teams that haven’t mastered proper role management and team play will arguably lose 90% of the time.
Start, Mid & End-game
Once the teams have been picked, the roles assigned and the strategy has been put in place, the match starts. 5 vs. 5 on the opposite start of the map, the heroes go to their designated lane (or jungle) and start farming mobs.
This is done for the purpose of collecting gold and getting better items which only grow more powerful as the hero gains experience. At level 6 the hero gains his/hers “ultimate” (a powerful spell or ability which can tilt the scales of the upcoming battle).
The start of each match is usually “tame” in terms of players vs. player battles since the heroes are very weak and cannot do a lot amount of damage. Once the farming has begun however and the heroes slowly gain levels and with them, power, the flow turns to the mid game.
Here we get the first ganks and team efforts to take out towers or destroy one of the two powerful creeps (like the Dragon). These “boss” mobs drop a lot of experience and gold and usually take team effort of at least 2 or more players, meaning the opposing team may take advantage and gank them.
Once the players start gaining even more power and have acquired a number of powerful items, then the game as nearing the end game. More of the base towers have fallen and the nexus is ripe for the taking. Here the game is being decided if there was a stale mate in the mid-game.
If a team has made a lot of mistakes and had several of its players die repeatedly then the winner would be very easy to predict. Usually longer matches are played in LoL when minor mistakes are made and the kill ratio is more or less tied. There are matches however that can take less than 30 minutes. Some however, can take more than an hour, with teams going toe to toe in every segment of the match.
Picking a winner
Now that we got the gameplay, the flow of each competitive match and the small things that made up the large whole of what is League of Legends competitive play, let’s talk briefly about making the most of your viewing and betting experience.
It should come as no surprise that League of Legends betting is very similar to other contemporary eSports, with certain tweaks when it comes to odds and payouts. Depending on the tournament, whether it is an EU LCS which uses the Bo2 format (best of 2) or the NA which uses the Bo3 (best of 3 formats), and the odds may vary for certain wagers.
You should note that making a betting strategy is mostly tied to the selection of teams and the progression through the tournaments. One on one matches are the most lucrative (i.e. Bo1) since the teams are sure to go all out and the winner to be decided quickly. Of course, Bo3 formats offer for better chances of picking a winning team based on their score on the tournament, but the payouts are bound to be smaller.
Since League of Legends is such a complex set of gameplay elements, you can always pick a fun and enticing bets to place like who gets to draw first blood, which team is going to get the first kill on the dragon, etc.
A good rule of thumb however is to have set a bankroll before each match, and to slowly but surely increase your bets over the course of the tournament. By using the % system, i.e. placing bets that are either bigger (5% +) or smaller (4% -) based on your winning / losing streak, you obtain better chances on the long run.
Have fun but also learn a thing or two about LoL
In the end remember that League of Legends is the pinnacle of eSports and eSports betting and it is truly an amazing experience to just sit back and watch the games unfold. There’s more to it than raw strategy – a lot of heart, talent, blood and tears represent the struggle to the top, so keep a good positivity and try to enjoy yourself.