Whether you’re a budding rising star or climbing towards Challenger, there’s always something new to learn. This is especially true for a lane as dynamic as mid. While you don’t roam as much as a jungler, you are a stone’s throw away from anything and everything, be it other lanes, key objectives, or simply in the middle of the woods… to help out your jungler. The changes this season specifically have been an exciting time for everyone, mid lane mains especially. Additions like the Hextech Dragon among others spice things up by allowing you a much higher degree of mobility.
The mid lane, however, is no walk in the park. Apart from being close to everything, you also need to constantly think about outmaneuvering your opponent as well as keeping your eye on 2 entry points of possible ganks. Yes, mid laners certainly have their work cut out for them, but don’t worry too much about it. There are still a lot of ways to improve and optimize your gameplay. Today let’s take a look at some useful tips you may be able to apply in your gameplay strategies.
Fundamental Laning Strategies
You have to learn to walk before you learn to run. Fundamentals are the most important thing you should master first. Think of it as the strong foundation you build your skills and technical know-how upon. Advantages that significantly tip towards you or your enemy team usually happen as early as the laning phase. This is true for all lanes. Learning to control lanes, plan out how far the minions push, and knowing when a good time to trade is, all make up factors that can affect you negatively or positively.
Let’s take a look at common scenarios. You could be winning trades and pushing the lane. Your brush is warded and your opponent is basically hugging the turret. Everything seems just swell. You poke him down, and when it seems like your opponent is about to give you a free kill, you realize you just got baited. You get a few shots in but then the enemy jungler comes from a blind spot and you get chain CC’d and basically just give your opponent the advantage. A lot of the more experienced players will agree that your eyes should be focused on the minions. How many of them are left? Taking advantage of them is a very underrated strategy, especially in the early game. Poking an enemy champion at melee range may sound good on paper, but when you pull the aggro of a full minion wave, you may come out of that trade at a disadvantage without your opponent having to do anything in retaliation.
Winning the Lane
There are many ways to win lane. This doesn’t necessarily translate to the standard holy grail of more cs or more kills. Instead, you should adapt based on the current matchup. Some matchups may favor a more aggressive playstyle, while some simply put you at a disadvantage. In cases like the latter, trading and pushing the lane will put you at a bigger disadvantage. Instead, consider letting the minions come to you and attempt to freeze the lane. This way, you’ll be close to your turret in case the opponent decides to go all-in with a full combo.
Other times you’ll find yourself bullying your opponent, and mobile assassins like Zed can really do a number on opposing mid lane champions before the enemy team can react. Minimize your mistakes and punish your opponents for making them. If you’re lucky, they get rattled and get you fed. If you’re unlucky, they learn from their mistakes and play a bit safer. Either way, it’s good for you, just with varying degrees of benefit.
Take a good, hard look at your champion. Done? Do the same for the enemy champion. Now do it again. Familiarize yourself with what you can and can’t do. Knowing what each champion’s strengths, weaknesses, and limitations is as important as itemizations. This means potentially spreading out your hero pool, even temporarily, just to get to know what they’re capable of. Or… you could just read up on some guides in websites like League Feed. But in all seriousness, factors worth considering would be wave clear capabilities, escape mechanisms, bullying potential, and mobility for possible ganks.
We’re all guilty of just using our go-to item build on our favorite champions. Having a bread and butter itemization isn’t a bad thing, but it’s always best to allow yourself some flexibility, especially when facing off against an enemy team with a healthy mix of everything. Last season, squishy mages in general were nearly hunted to extinction in the meta back then because of how susceptible they were to burst assassins. These assassins are still prevalent today, but at least we can do something about it. This season, we finally have options like Crown of the Shattered Queen. This makes it more manageable and allows squishy champions to survive encounters like that.
Of course, it’s always important to mix it up where certain things are needed. Are they stacking magic resist? Some magic penetration is in order. All squishy? Might want to go with more AP. You get the idea. Speaking of items, we need to discuss another important matter: knowing when to reset. This basically means just going back to base to get your items. You might think you’re saving time by doing this, but you stand to lose a lot more if you’re just sitting on a lot of gold and a Doran’s when your opponent has his 3rd item slot filled already. It might seem self-explanatory, but it’s something to consider, especially when something so basic is often overlooked.
Coordinating with Your Jungler
The jungler is a champion you know constantly moves around the map. While the other champion roles are generally glued to their lanes for the most part with few exceptions (we’re looking at you, Bard), you can count on junglers to always be on the move. This is a double edged sword, because it’s true for the enemy jungler as well. Knowing when certain junglers shine the most is also a key factor to making decisions. When you know the enemy champion has high mobility and CC, you should always be on the lookout for signs of where they might be. This is because pushing the lane too far might cause an unnecessary gank.
On paper, mid is one of the riskiest lanes in Summoner’s Rift. There are multiple entry points for the enemy jungler, even with wards. This is even riskier if you’re playing a slow moving champion with no true escape like Veigar or Brand. But again, the same is true for your opponent. Coordinating with your jungler can not only help you win lane, but gives your jungler a nice reward in the form of gold for his or her troubles.
We mentioned that the mid lane had the most entry points out of all the lanes. You’re literally in the middle, as the name implies. This gives you access to all the lanes, which means, besides the jungler, you’re in the best position to roam, given the right circumstances. Always look for meaningful opportunities to roam. Situations like these often come in the form of the enemy lanes pushing too far, enemy junglers constantly failing ganks, or other similar happenings.
Also check: Best Roaming Mages in League of Legends
That being said, it’s not always good to roam. It’s pretty difficult to help out your teammates when your own tower is being pushed in 7 minutes into the game. Such opportunities usually come when you either kill the enemy mid laner or push your lane too far, in which case you could either go for raptors or go help out your teammates. Mix and match to see what works in every situation, eventually you’ll get a feel for it. Give it a try. Your jungler will thank you for it.
As with itemizations, there is no perfect guide. It wouldn’t be much of a game if we could predict the outcome 100% of the time. Experience has a lot to do with it, and once you nail down the basics, it’s just a matter of practice. Trying out simple plays and mechanics before moving up to high variance plays can really help you get out of your training wheels and become an unstoppable mid laner. Just remember to adapt to the situation and ultimately follow what you think is right, even if it costs you a loss from time to time. Hopefully this guide helped you guys climb up the ranked ladder even higher.