There are many skills that make a good league player. The first ones that come to mind are probably using the game mechanics well, correct lane management, performing well in team fights, and so on.
However, there is one skill that is just as important but valued far less especially in low-elo. That skill is utilizing the minimap correctly and this writing will give a few core tips about it.
The minimap is important both for your individual performance and for your synergy with your team. By using it you can position yourself advantageously, gank lanes safe from getting counter-ganked, and can get important information about your enemy team’s members.
The most basic things you can do are maximizing the size of your minimap in the in-game options and getting used to checking the minimap frequently.
Changing the settings is simple enough as is and for checking the minimap frequently, you can use a “Map awareness exercise” video where you will hear a sound every four or five seconds signaling you to look at your minimap.
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The Best Settings for the Minimap
Two minimap settings will be useful for us. The first and the more important one is the “Minimap Scale” setting. The setting is a sliding scale going from 0 to 100 and it is important that you have yours set to at least 100 to see the minimap easily. I am saying at least because there is more to it than just the client setting.
You can go above the 100 upper limit and set the minimap scale as high as you want. For this, you will need to tweak the game files a little. I know what you are thinking. No, this is not something Riot Games prohibits and you will not be penalized for doing it. It also does not cause any bugs or performance problems in your game, at least from the reports of players using this method.
The file we’re looking to change is the PersistedSettings.json. To find this file you need to open up the “Riot Games” folder in your driver, then click on the “League of Legends” folder there, and finally go to the “Config” folder.
Now that we found the file, we’re going to edit it. Simply open up the file using the notepad app installed on your computer and search for the word “MinimapScale”. You can search easily by using the Ctrl+F shortcut. There, you should see two lines of text:
You can probably guess you need to change the “value”. The “1” in there corresponds to the 100 in the in-game settings. Say, if you had set your minimap to 50, the number you see here would be 0.5.
From here on, you can experiment for yourself by changing the value and testing out what works best for you. It is especially useful to set the value higher as you start practicing minimap awareness and gradually decrease it as you get used to it.
Alright then, with the minimap scale out of the way we can proceed to the next setting, the minimap location. There is an option that allows you to move your minimap from the right corner of your screen to the left corner. You can find this option on the interface options page just as the minimap scale.
We all have a dominant eye and most of us are right-eye dominant. It is because of this that the minimap is located on the right side of the screen. This could affect your play negatively if you are left-eye dominant.
The good news is, there are online quizzes that can help you learn your dominant eye. On another note, even if you are right-eye dominant, you might just feel more comfortable having your minimap on the left for any kind of reason. So, give it a try and maybe you will strike gold.
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Checking Your Minimap Frequently
Now that we’ve adjusted our settings to make the minimap easier to check, we need to start checking the minimap. You will want to always keep an eye on it. The best advice for this is to look at the minimap whenever you can. This can sound silly but let me explain;
You shouldn’t be staring at the minimap trying to see and take note of everything. Instead, you should just peek at it, registering as much information as you can. This can be underwhelming at first since you probably won’t be able to notice much but you must give it time. As you practice checking your minimap quickly, you will get better at noticing things.
As mentioned earlier, there are map awareness exercises you can find online. They might annoy you to death by urging you to check your minimap every five seconds but they can be a good start.
A more healthy approach to this would be to figure it out yourself. Just keep it in the back of your head that you should check your minimap whenever you can. A very core advice would be to do so when you don’t have a risk of receiving damage or losing objectives.
What to Look For / How to Use it?
It doesn’t matter how often you look at the minimap if you don’t know what to look for. So, what are the important things you’ll need to pay close attention to? Let’s examine this by using the game phases so it is easier to digest.
First, we have the “laning phase” or “early game”; in-between the start of the game and the first tower scored. This is the part of the game where everyone more or less stays in their lane and aims to out-perform their lane opponent. Because this is the starting phase of the game, everyone is still weak and especially vulnerable to ganks.
You will want to keep an eye on both teams’ junglers. If the enemy jungler is close by you would not want to play too aggressive or extend too far into the lane as these would make you an easier target to gank. On the other hand, if your jungler is close by you can play more daringly and even bait your lane opponent into a gank from your jungler.
You also want to keep the possibility of a counter-gank in mind so try and be aware of both of the jungler’s positions. And don’t you forget, you might get ganked by other lanes as well so don’t just focus on the junglers.
Second, comes the “mid-game” phase. The objective during this phase is to clear out the towers and secure the neutral objectives such as Dragons, Rift’s Herald, and Baron. At this stage, the game becomes more disorganized and spontaneous.
In mid-game, all players are more mobile. Players change positions frequently to initiate or join team fights, gank or chase other players, and chase objectives individually or as a team.
You will need to pay everyone in the game some attention to plan your next move or foresee the enemy teams.
You will also want to have vision on the neutral objectives. The best approach is to place a control ward that will make the objectives and the crucial spots around the objectives visible and also keep a spare control ward if you have the space. In fact, all players should use control wards actively throughout the game, regardless of their role.
Third and last is the “late game” phase. This is when the game has progressed for about over half an hour and ADC’s have completed four or five of their items excluding the boots. All of the tips from the mid-game apply to this phase as well.
On top of the previous things we mentioned, there are probably very few towers left standing if any. This means your vision of the lanes is severely compromised. You will need to make do with a lot less information and take higher risks overall.
If you pay enough attention in the earlier game, you might notice patterns of the enemy team’s players that can help you through this stage.
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The F Keys
The F keys are not about the minimap but they can provide a massive help for your map awareness. By using the keys F2, F3, F4, and F5, you can focus your camera on your allies,
making it easier for you to follow what’s happening on their part of the map.
In the end, using the minimap correctly is a massively important skill for a League player but it takes time to master. By applying these tips and analyzing your games to see where you need improvement, you can up your League game in due time.
It might also be helpful to use champions with simpler mechanics as you are practicing map awareness. That way, you can have an easier time shifting your focus to the map.
Oh, and you better not be staring at your legendary skin instead of the map, yeah?