Laning against passive players can be a really annoying experience. Even when you are ahead, it can feel like there is absolutely nothing to do. The feeling is quite justified since the enemy is literally refusing to play the game in a sane manner.
Thankfully, there are some actionable things to be done in order to counter this damned playstyle. Once you learn these things, you will have a much easier time playing against passive players.
Therefore, in this article, you will find out how to lane against passive players and why their playstyle actually sucks. This will allow you to enjoy the game more and, most importantly, create more game-winning leads.
Learn and Utilize Wave Management
Wave management refers to calculated last hitting of minions that creates favorable lane states. It is the best way to generate and extend leads, and it works extremely well against passive players.
There are three most common strategies for wave management, freezing, slow push, and fast push. I will cover freezing, as it is the best strategy for dealing with passive players.
If you want to learn more about other strategies, though, I would recommend reading this in-depth article which details all ins and outs of wave management.
Freezing is essentially a method of wave management, which aim is to keep the minion waves clashing under an ally tower. This kind of position is great, as it protects us from ganks, gives us more space to chase down the enemy, and also makes the enemy play into our territory, making them more prone to ganks.
To freeze a wave, you will need to kill minions in a way that makes the enemy wave bigger than yours. If the enemy wave has 4 more creeps, and you are only last hitting, the wave should remain in the position it is.
The freeze is most commonly done in near proximity to ally tower. This forces the enemy to walk up into a dangerous territory, where they can get poked, ganked, or run down by the opposing laner.
You are Tryndamere and playing a lane against Darius. You have gained some lead early, which has caused the Darius to play passively. He sits under his tower, waiting for minions to be pushed in so he can collect gold safely. If things keep going this way, he will soon catch up to you.
You might feel frustrated, and you might feel like there is nothing to do, but that is not really the case. In this situation, I would recommend a freeze. This technique will force the enemy Darius to walk up, or he will be unable to kill minions and get gold. If he walks up, you can simply beat him up.
Setup a Gank
Another thing that works well against passive players is ganking them. You can make use of this technique whenever you sense your jungler has nothing better to do. This can be done in combination with freezing, but it can also be done when the enemy is hiding under their tower.
The freezing method is quite simple. Your jungler comes up, they do their thing, you do your thing, and if everything goes well, the enemy dies. When it comes to diving the enemy under their tower, there are some additional options
To facilitate diving, I would always recommend poking down the enemy, so you and your jungler can execute them more easily. Another good thing to do is to pick up a Herald and then put additional pressure on the enemy.
The Herald method is especially strong, as you can cast the Herald behind the tower, leaving the enemy with nowhere to run. If the tower is low enough, you can get the enemy, the tower, and a second tower with the Herald.
Roaming is yet another effective strategy. It is highly situational, but it can be game-changing when executed correctly. The ideal roam will net you a kill at minimum, but even getting summs from the enemy is sometimes enough.
To prepare for a roam, you will simply need to push the wave in. This will give you enough time to travel a little until the next wave arrives. Of course, you should not randomly roam at all times. You should rather roam only when certain conditions are satisfied.
For example, if you are playing mid, and the enemy bot lane is safe under their tower, protected by their jungler who is clearing camps on the same side. If you come trying to dive them, chances are you will simply get shut down.
Now, if the enemy bot lane is low and pushing your allies in, while their jungler is clearing the opposite side, they are a perfect target. You can simply push your lane, and make your way down to the bot lane.
These examples were somewhat niche, but the underlying principles apply to all kinds of situations. If you would like to learn more about roaming, I would highly recommend checking out this article if you are a support main, or this one if you are a mid laner.
Invade Enemy Jungle
Invading enemy jungle is my favorite thing to do when laning against passive players. It is such a great bang for the buck. When invading the enemy jungle, you are feeding yourself gold and powerups from camps, while denying those from the enemy jungle. You are essentially netting your team double value.
The reason I have not listed this method higher up is because it is somewhat more niche and harder to execute. For example, you can not do it if you do not know where the enemy jungler is, but even if you do, you need to know if you can fight them.
You also need to have a good sense of what camps you can kill, and if it is gonna cost you HP. If you go in with 100% HP and walk out with 50% HP after killing Gromp, it is fair to consider that trade questionable.
So essentially, this method works the best on champions that can quickly kill camps and that can regain health quickly. It will also work on every champion in later stages of the game, since there are few laners that can not kill camps when equipped with a few items.
There is not a single player who has not asked themselves how to lane against passive players. It is the most sane and reasonable question considering how annoying their playstyle can be. Thankfully, there are many techniques to utilize against these kinds of players.
The first one is freezing, this technique forces the enemy to play more aggressively, or they lose out on minion gold. The second one is setting up a gank. This one is quite simple, as good gank will send the passive player to rest.
There are two other solid options that consist of leaving the lane (roaming and invading the enemy jungle). Roaming sets you off on a short travel to a neighboring lane in hopes of getting a kill, while invading and clearing the enemy jungle gives you extra gold and denies the same gold to the enemy jungle.
Any of these techniques are great, but they will be highly situational. It is best to have all these in mind so that you can make the highest-value call in your game.