If there is anything that sucks in LoL, it is playing a losing lane. Often it feels like there is nothing to do, and you are either left waiting for a miracle to happen or for your team to accept your surrender vote.
Luckily, it does not have to be that way. It is true that losing a lane limits your opportunities, but there are still good moves to make. These might not win you the game, but they will definitely put you a step further to winning.
Now I am about to cover the essentials. The evergreen things that will help you no matter what rank you are. Most tips will benefit you more the lower-ranked you are, but some mentality tips will be helpful for even the highest-ranked players.
Also check out: How to lane against passive players
How to Win in Losing Lanes (The Mentality)
You have probably heard many high ELO people mentioning “good mentality” and how important it is for climbing. What you probably have not heard is them giving a good clarification as to what “good mentality” actually is.
“Good mentality” is something that has helped me climb from D4 to D1 100lp within a span of 1 week, and I will do my best to explain it.
In short, the mentality is a way of looking at things. In its most basic form, it can be either positive or negative. Every player has their default, but I noticed most people tilt towards a negative one. This naturally limits their potential play.
A negative mentality is the worst way to play the game. It makes the game feel frustrating and makes us focus on all the things going wrong. This prevents us from making the best possible plays, as we are not focused on the game itself.
Players stuck in a negative mentality will blame their team, family, ping, god, and everything in between. The thing is, it is really hard to dispute them, as there are always things going against them.
On the other side, we have a positive mentality. Players who embrace it will face the same difficulties as the ones with a negative mentality, but they will simply respond differently. Generally, they simply accept things as they are and focus on playing the next best move.
This is so essential, as it shifts the focus from things that can’t be improved to things that can be improved. Since League is a competitive game where every detail matters, having a positive mentality can really go a long way.
Now, having a positive mentality will only get you so far. You can have a monk-like mentality, but if you get matched with Faker in lane, it will only get you so far. This is why we will cover practical things next. These should really take you to the next level.
How to Play Losing Solo Lane
No matter how good you are, you will have to lose a solo lane from time to time. Sometimes you will be playing against an unfamiliar or unfavorable matchup, sometimes, you will have bad internet, and sometimes the opponent will simply be better.
Anyhow, the lane is lost, and the thing you should be focusing on is how to play it out in the most graceful way. Thankfully, there are a lot of things that you can do in order to equalize the position or even completely turn it in your favor.
Playing safe is the easiest strategy to employ when losing lanes. You can simply keep yourself in the distance where minions drop XP, and farm when there is a non-risky opening. The enemy will keep getting a gold advantage, but you won’t risk dying to them.
Also check out this piece on how to surrender in League of Legends.
Ask for Ganks
Another thing to consider when losing a lane is to ask the jungler for help. A single good gank can completely change the tides of a lane, and completely knock out the opposing laner.
Now, it is also wise to consider if your lane is gankable at all and if there are better lanes to gank. Having your jungler waste time or miss opportunities on the other side of the map can be detrimental. So it is really important to consider these two conditions.
Take Your Piece of The Pie
If you are playing it safe, and being really passive, chances are that the enemy will soon be sick of it. They migh go for Herald, a roam, or invade of your jungle. In cases where you can follow them and fight them with your team, make sure to do so. But there are also things you can do in times you can’t.
The formula is simple, the enemy is taking X you take Y. Their X will usually have a higher value, but that does not mean you can not have some value yourself. Here is how it would look in more practical scenarios:
You are playing toplane and the enemy is going for a Herald. You can sit in the lane and casually farm until they return, but that will net almost no benefit. What you can do instead is shove the wave and start taking their tower plates. This will make the enemy lose CS, and it will also reward you with extra gold.
Now you are playing midlane, and the fed enemy Katarina is heading towards your botlane that is unresponsive to pings. Disaster is inevitable. While praying for a miracle, you should also consider what the next best moves are.
For example, you can look to shove and push the plates. You can also see the toplane and gauge if you can make an intervention. Also, you can use the extra time to ward off the enemy jungle, or invade the enemy jungler if conditions allow it.
All in all, there are often many good calls. It does not matter if the call is perfect or not as long as you are getting at least some value out of it. As time goes on, you can expect to start making better calls more intuitively, as well as more consistently.
How to Play From Behind as Jungler
Jungle is the most impactful role in League of Legends, and therefore it really sucks to be behind as jungler. If things go too sideways, the enemy jungler can claim every objective and win every lane for their team.
The thing that will help you the most in the jungle is the law of equivalent exchange. You might have heard about this term in philosophical settings, but I assure you it has nothing to do with philosophy.
The law of equivalent exchange was taught to me by a Challenger friend while I was only a low Diamond player. It went something like this “for every objective taken by the enemy, there is one to be taken by you on the opposite side of the map.” This has been one of the most insightful things I have heard in my jungle career.
When I started keeping this in mind, I would always have things to do when I feel behind as jungler. If the enemy is going for a dragon and the Herald is up, I could always take the Herald if there are no other limiting factors. If the enemy is ganking botlane, I could always look to gank mid, top, or invade their jungle.
Since jungle is such a broad role with many objectives and responsibilities, there are always ways to come back. In general, it is always best to avoid facing the enemy jungler if they are too far ahead.
Playing the Late Game From Behind
If you were losing your lane, chances are you will end up in a losing position during the late game. This will definitely suck, but there are still ways to come back.
The most important thing to do in the late game, if your team is behind, is to play safe. Many people will feel the need to overcompensate, and they will start doing risky and non-calculated plays. These can quickly make the game even worse.
When playing safe, you will mostly want to defend things. This means no fighting unless the enemy is overextending or failing to group properly. It also entails protecting the objectives without risking lives to do so.
Eventually, the enemy will slip up, and they will start making mistakes. Since there are many comeback mechanics in League of Legends (shutdowns, objective golds, etc) it will be easy to level the playing field.
Playing from behind in League of Legends sucks. Many times it can feel like there is nothing to be done, but that is far from the truth. The most important thing to do when behind is to have a good mindset and focus on not extending the lead discrepancy.
Additionally, there are some more practical steps you can employ. If you are a laner, you can play safe and wait for opportunities to snag something for yourself. If you are a jungler, you can simply path opposite to the enemy and create influence on the opposite side of the map.
Also check out our ADC peeling guide.