Posts by "Freddy Chen"

Toughness: Skill Decompilation Series

Toughen Up Buttercup

Top tier League of Legends gameplay is all about balance. Push too far up and you open yourself up to getting ganked. Farm too much and you might find yourself missing in teamfights. Jungle too hard and you might die to red buff. The list goes on and on and as our first Skill Decompilation article covered Aggression, it’s only natural that we follow up with Aggression’s natural counterpart: Toughness.

If Aggression is about punishing mistakes, then Toughness is about understanding what mistakes you/your opponent can make and choosing options that make you the least vulnerable. Being based on knowledge and experience, Toughness can be the most arduous skill to learn as it demands the most research out of all the skills. That being said, to set the stage, let’s take a look at Team Liquid’s (then newly minted) mid-laner, Piglet, make the most of his abilities against Immortals in Week 6 of the Spring 2017 NA LCS (skip to 9:23 for the action to start).

The teamfight starts out looking pretty poor for Team Liquid as Youngbin’s Varus is taken out almost immediately and Piglet’s Cassiopeia is left running with a low quarter of health. However, here is where Piglet starts turning it around:

league of legends team liquid toughness

As Reignover’s Kha’zix falls, Piglet moves behind teammates Lourlo (Mao’kai) and Matt (Thresh), utilizing them as shields, allowing him to continue dealing damage

Piglet positions himself accordingly because he knows that neither of the two Immortals champions in front of him (Morgana and Sivir) can damage his Cassiopeia without going through Matt/Lourlo or passing through his [Piglet’s] Miasma field.

league of legends team liquid piglet toughness

As the fight progresses and Morgana kills Matt’s Thresh, Sivir realizes that she is the only one who has a clear shot at killing Piglet’s Cassiopeia and moves through the Miasma field

Piglet recognizes this and immediately punishes the now slowed and poisoned Sivir, quickly securing the kill with Cassiopeia’s E, Twin Fang (which deals additional damage to poisoned enemies), and a basic attack.

league of legends team liquid piglet toughness

With Sivir down, Piglet turns his attention to Nautilus, who has already been and is still taking damage from Lourlo’s Mao’Kai, doing enough combined damage to send the Titan of the Depths back underwater as well.

Now at a bare sliver of health, Piglet works to position himself behind Mao’kai to block shots from the enemy Ryze, but is literally just a second or few frames too slow and Piglet’s Cassiopeia finally falls.

To put it all in perspective, what just took us paragraphs to explain happened in less than 15 seconds in the Team Liquid and Immortals teamfight. For those struggling to improve their game, it can be understandably intimidating to process how you can get to Piglet’s level of survivability, but we assure you it’s within your capabilities. That being said, let’s take a look at how Mobalytics puts together your Toughness score to help make you one hard to kill Summoner.

Calculating Toughness

In the Mobalytics GPI, Toughness is broken down into five separate sub-skills:mobalytics toughness gpiPositioning

  • Positioning is the only Toughness sub-skill that will be highlighted in green as it scores the balance between how much damage you’re doing and how frequently you’re dying. To translate, if we take the above example, a positioning score of 90.4 out of 100 means that you’re in the 90.4% percentile (top 10%) and are likely doing a lot of damage per death.
  • It should also be noted that your Positioning score is calculated differently depending on which role you have selected. E.G. a Nautilus will or should be positioning themselves very differently from a Karma or a Jhin player. If you find that your Positioning score is significantly higher from one role to the next, you may want to more carefully evaluate where to put yourself next time you play that role.

Build

  • Much like the Aggression sub-skill, Build in Toughness is gray because it does not measure how well or poorly you perform, but how defensive or offensive your kit is. The only distinction is that under Aggression, a Build score of 100 means that you only took offensive items/runes/masteries. Under Toughness, a Build score of 100 means you only took defensive items/runes/masteries.

Damage Taken

  • Like the Build sub-skill, Damage Taken is also gray because on its own, your amount of Damage Taken cannot be measured as good or bad. A high Damage Taken score simply means that you took a lot of damage and should be viewed through the lens of the most common champions/roles you play. For example, if you’re playing tank characters like Nautilus or Mao’Kai and your Damage Taken is not very high, then perhaps you need to help body block more shots for your supports/ADCs.

Gank Susceptibility

  • A little self-descriptive, Gank Susceptibility measures how frequently you die to enemy champions outside of their lane, in the early phase of the game. As the game progresses, the dynamics shift more towards team fighting and objectives, so early game gank avoidance is a more measurement of your independent Toughness.

Deaths

  • Hopefully, we don’t have to explain the what the Deaths sub-skill is to you and why it’s a red sub-skill and not gray.

Wise Words from the Prosteam liquid lourlo toughness

How to take your Toughness to the next level

We feel the best way to explain how to improve your Toughness score is by breaking the learning curve into three distinct components: game knowledge, mechanics, and map awareness.

Game Knowledge

[STARTER] Learning Champion Abilities

Knowing your windows and cooldown timings and how the enemy can punish them is imperative to good defensive play. You can learn this information through osmosis by just playing more games, but to be efficient about the process, study your champions through the League of Legends wikia.

[ADVANCED] Mastering hard-to-quantify information

As you move up the ladder, you’ll want to start improving your perception and gut analysis of the opposing team. This manifests in concepts such as:

  • Estimating how quickly a team can kill Baron
  • How fast can the opposing team respond to an enemy Baron attempt
  • How quickly can different champions traverse X distance on the map.

Each of these concepts change from game to game so the best advice really is to play, play, play. To help minimize the learning curve, watch LCS footage to see how quickly a team can reach/take objectives with maximum coordination and use that as a baseline (considering that most of the opposing teams in your solo queue will not have nearly the same level of coordination).

Mechanics

[MELEE] Spacing and Positioning

Positioning is arguably more important for melee champions than ranged. For tanks and bruisers, you don’t always want to dive straight into the fray. Doing so can easily divide you away from your team and result in you getting you bursted or dying before your team even has a chance to help out. If your team comp doesn’t have a lot of great follow-up, think about holding the space right in front of your backline until the enemy missteps before going HAM.

[RANGED] Spacing and Positioning

As a ranged champion, good positioning is considered being spaced within a few units of maximum range. Maintaining great spacing allows you more time to react to skill shots and abilities while keeping you a hair’s length away from dangerous melee champions. If you’re struggling with movement and mouse control, work on your max range spacing in the practice tool by kiting the Scuttle Crab in the river.

Juking and Dodging

Unfortunately, we can’t just tell you how to dodge skill shots, but we can suggest one piece of advice to make juking a much easier task: if you aren’t playing a champion that can make use of walls for mobility, try not to hug too close to a wall. Walls restrict your movement, make you more predictable and also easier to hit. Give yourself more room to make it harder for your opponent to guess where you’ll move next.

Health Management

Staying at as high of an HP value as possible is imperative in the early game. This might seem frightfully obvious, but the extra 150 – 200 hitpoints that you retain at full HP with a potion makes a huge difference when trying to escape an all-in or a jungle gank. Now the question is do you potion around 70% HP to bring yourself back up to 90 – 100% or do you save it for later? While we can’t answer every specific scenario, it generally depends on how your opponent is playing and what the lane matchup is. If your opponent is relatively passive and you don’t expect jungle ganks, you’ll likely be trading less frequently and can lean towards being a bit more greedy with your potions (as you have a larger window to naturally regen health).

Risk vs Reward

In League, everything is risk versus reward. For example, minions are low risk/reward (~15 minions is about a kill) and 1 v 1 kills are high risk/reward. Part of a good defense is knowing the payouts for each risk you take. For example, if you’re getting crushed in lane and the enemy is looking to harass you for every CS you go for, which minions pose the greatest risk to last hit? In this situation, identify how aggressively your opponent is trying to trade with you when you make a move towards last hitting. If they move to harass, then the risk is too high and the correct move is to wait until the wave pushes closer to your tower to last hit safely. High level streamers like Scarra and resident Mobalytics coach Adam “Moriarty” Isles, who take solo queue seriously, are a great resource to accelerate your learning process when it comes to the risk vs reward dance.

Map Awareness

Vision

Warding enemy camps/river will help keep track of where the enemy Jungler is (or isn’t) spending his/her time. As a Top Laner, if all your team wards are on the bottom side of the map and jungle, and you do not see the enemy Jungler, you can infer that the enemy Jungler is near the top side of the map. Our community manager, Katelynne, put together this quick reference guide for common warding spots on Summoner’s Rift. Map key is as follows:

  1. Green Dots – Good early game spots for regular wards, but generally applicable throughout
  2. Pink Dots – Good spots for control wards
  3. Red Dots – Good spots for mid to late game phases

league of legends wardsMental tabs

Being able to keep mental tabs on your opponents through fog of war is what separates good players from the greats. You can start with the Jungler since their movement is very predictable in the early stages of the game. Pay attention to which lane leashes for their Jungler to predict which side they started on. Most Junglers will gank the opposite side of the map they started on. For example, if they started bottom side, then they will likely work their up and look for a gank top or mid around 3~4 minutes.

Reading Ganks

Look for patterns in your opponent’s play. Have they been playing cautiously and avoiding trades like the plague, but they’re suddenly going all in on you in a disadvantageous situation? Expect a gank and start to retreat!

Closing Thoughts

We chose the Mr. Mundoverse skin for our featured image because in many ways, building your Toughness skill closely parallels the process of working out and going to the gym. Gains don’t appear overnight in the same way that you won’t magically become an un-killable god of Summoner’s Rift after reading this article (probably). Success in Toughness is built brick by brick on the foundation that is your skillset.

Start with knowledge, learning what to expect of your enemy and what to expect of yourself. Once you’ve established full understanding, practice and refine your mechanical capability to consistently execute that knowledge to the point of muscle memory. Last but most definitely not least, you’ll never defeat the enemy you can’t see so make sure you have map awareness up for yourself and your team so you can apply all that you’ve put together.

 

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Aggression: Skill Decompilation Series

Here at Mobalytics, we are constantly obsessing over how to improve your gameplay. We thought it would helpful to our community to provide an in-depth explanation of the eight different skills that make up your GPI. The more you know, the better you’ll play. Welcome to the first article in the Skill Decompilation Series.

 

An Introduction to Aggression

USC safety Adoree Jackson (#2) baits UW QB Jake Browning into thinking his receiver is open

You might watch the GIF above and ask, what does American football have to do with League of Legends? Well if we’re going to learn about aggression, more than you might think. Watch the left side of the GIF to see a safety (#2) bait the quarterback into thinking their receiver is open before punishing their mistake and moving back to pull down the interception. Much like in football, aggression in League of Legends is about one thing: punishing mistakes.

Aggression: The Big Picture

Of course, you can only punish mistakes as your opponent makes them, and here is where it’s important to understand your own skill level. Whether you are Bronze or Challenger, aggression works differently depending on where you are in the skill spectrum:

  • Passive Aggression in lower-level play
    In the lower tiers, it will be to your advantage to play more defensively and wait for the other player(s) to make the mistakes – because rest assured, they will. Being patient may not be flashy, but it’s a great way to learn the game and win while you’re at it.
  • Active Aggression in higher-level play
    As you progress up the ladder, you’ll find that players tend to be more experienced and make far fewer mistakes. Now, it’s up to you to be the aggressor and initiate more frequently, applying pressure and forcing your opponent to react to your decision making. This way, they’re more likely to break, and finally make a mistake you can punish them for.

Just having this basic understanding of aggression gives you a significant in-game advantage over the Summoner in the lane across from you. Let’s take a look at how this skill is calculated in the Mobalytics GPI and get a better understanding of what makes up your aggression score.

The Nuts and Bolts

If you click on the “Aggression” skill in the GPI, you’ll open up the skill breakdown and see that there are six sub-skills that make up your aggression score:aggression skill breakdown
These sub-skills are highly representative of your ability to punish the enemy once you recognize a mistake. Understanding these skills is a good way to better understand your potential areas for aggression improvement. However, while Kills and Assists and Damage Dealt are fairly straightforward metrics, the rest may not be as intuitive to understand.

Kill Participation

  • Measures what percentage of total kills on the map you took part in. To clarify, in order to have participated in a kill, you just need to have registered as having an assist or kill by dealing damage to the enemy, buffing an ally that’s killing the enemy, or cc’ing the enemy.
    • Kill Participation will be very subjective to both what role you play, your presence in lane, and how your team composition adjusts to the enemy.
    • For example, you could have a game where you consistently dominate the top lane, forcing the enemy to either adjust or match your lane presence in other lanes. This ideally lets the rest of your team swoop down on those weaker lanes, resulting in a lot of kills, but low kill participation for you.

Initiative

  • Measures how frequently you participate in early game shenanigans like first blood or tower. Regardless of whether you are playing passive or active aggressive, you/your team should ideally draw first blood and/or tower because it can provide the spark to fuel a snowball.
    • First blood grants the team who scored first blood 100 gold and first tower grants the team 400 gold. These may seem like small advantages at face value, but these gold bonuses can turn the tides of entire games especially when you consider the value of gold is much higher earlier in the game.
    • Consider that taking a tower allows you to effectively farm two waves of minions at once, potentially doubling your gold advantage for a power spike or leveling the playing field if your team is behind.
    • According to League of Graphs, teams who take first blood/tower have over 50% and 70% win rate respectively.

Ganking

  • Measures how frequently you’re capitalizing on opportunities to influence other lanes.
    • Passively looking for ganks = waiting for the enemy laner to be pushed all the way up to your tower for a guaranteed gank regardless if they have wards or not.
    • Actively looking for ganks = denying vision around a lane with pink wards to make it easier for you to successfully gank the enemy laner even when they’re not pushed up to your tower.

Build

  • Takes into account runes, masteries and items and measures whether your build leans more towards offense or defense. For Aggression, a Build score of 100 means that you have built very offensively and a score of 0 means you have built very defensively.
    • The first thing you may notice about the Build sub-skill is that it is colored gray, not green/red like the other sub-skills. Build is gray because it is a neutral skill and a high or low score is not a reflection of you playing well or poorly.
    • Build tells you how you choose to equip yourself to play the game

TDLR recognize initiate punished league of legends

There is no acronym for aggression perhaps more fitting than R.I.P.: recognize, initiate, and punish. If you take away only three things from this decompilation, R.I.P. is the perfect way to remember them:

Recognize

  • Knowledge is power and power is kills. Learn to quickly recognize what a mistake looks like and be able to act on it. In the lower skill tiers, it’s far more likely that your opponent will make mistakes for you and it’s your role to capitalize on those opportunities and punish them for it. Patience as a virtue isn’t sexy, but it will prove incredibly valuable in moving up to the higher tiers.

Initiate

  • When you’ve reached the point where the opposition isn’t making as many mistakes, it’s time for you to take a more proactive approach and initiate. Deny vision around an objective or fake a Baron to force the enemy to check and put them on your plan of attack instead of theirs.

Punish

  • In the opening GIF, the safety baits the quarterback because he knows he can run back fast enough to make the play. Recognizing what a mistake looks like, but not being able to act on it is the same as if a mistake had never happened. For LoL, familiarize yourself with the enemy’s burst damage and combos as well as your own and make sure you know how to get the kill when the opportunity arises.

Wise Words from the Pros saintvicious league of legends

Applying Aggression in League of Legends

Now that you understand aggression, it’s time to apply your newfound knowledge and raise your rank. Remember that aggression isn’t necessarily interacting with the opponent, but forcing situations when you’re ahead. Utilizing his years of experience playing League, our Lead Analyst (and Challenger tier summoner), Prohibit, has put together a comprehensive list of what you can do:

Identifying when you have kill advantage in lane

  • Assuming similar mana and skill levels, when you have a 20% or 30% health advantage after some good trades, you’re likely in a favorable spot to win an all-in if you fight to the death. You can use this pressure to play even more aggressively with your gap closers. If your opponent fights you at that deficit he risks dying to an all-in. Test your opponent to see if he respects this fact and then use that respect to leverage things like denying minions and experience.

Recognize when your build needs to be aggressive (Build)

  • Sometimes as a carry you just don’t have the luxury for many defensive slots. There will always be games where the enemy has way too many tanks and your team only has, well, you. Those are the instances where you need to rely on your mechanics for defense and build offense.

Setting your jungle path up for first game success (gank paths)

mobalytics pre game

Mobalytics Pre Game Feature

  • What champions are the easiest for you to gank this game and what champions on your team are the easiest to gank for? Think about this as the game is loading (shameless plug, the Mobalytics Pre-Game feature is great for this) and start on the side of the jungle opposite to the lane you want to end up on. This way after your clear, you’re right next to the lane you planned on ganking.

Laners, know your roam timings

  • You have a free window to roam after you’ve quickly killed the fresh enemy minion wave. You can also look for a roam attempt straight after you recall. As long as you are able to commit to a decision on whether or not to follow through with the gank once you arrive, you should be able to get back to your lane with minimal CS loss.

Know which cooldowns give you priority

  • Playing around cooldowns is essential to League of Legends. An extreme example, Blitzcrank is a formidable champion that threatens to kill you outright if he lands his grab. However, the ability has a 20 second cooldown at rank 1. That is a full 20 seconds where Blitzcrank presents no threat!

Use objectives as bait

  • Sometimes the threat of losing an objective is greater than taking the actual objective. Giving up Baron presents a huge disadvantage so a good team will do their best to deny or take it for themselves. With good team coordination and using pink wards/sweepers to deny vision around both the river and Baron, you can draw the enemy team like moths to a flame – positioning them for easy kills. Watch xPeke above put on a clinic for how to bait an engagement.

Use minions to harass (Aggro trading)

  • Just like you, your lane opponents need to last hit minions to get gold. This presents the perfect opportunity for you as your opponent is forced with a lose lose dilemma, do I last hit the minion for gold and take damage from harass or do I ignore the last hit and fight back.

Use your wave to turn early ganks in your favor

  • Minion damage adds up in the early game. If you have a strong grasp on laning and frequently out-trade your opponent, consider pushing slowly to let your wave of minions build up. This way if you get ganked you can have 10 or more minions ready to back you up to turn a 1v2 gank into a 2v2. Minions are no joke! A wave of 10 minions will do 150 damage combined every attack.

Laners, proactively Flash for ganks to guarantee success!

Lead Analyst Prohibit offensively Flashes in to guarantee the kill

Lead Analyst Prohibit offensively Flashes in to guarantee the kill

  • If someone is taking the time to come to your lane, make sure that you set him/her up for a guaranteed alley-oop. Imagine you’re playing Blitzcrank and your jungler is ganking. Don’t take the risk of missing a max range hook. Instead, Flash for Power Fist into a guaranteed hook then chain that with an Exhaust to help ensure your jungler secures the kill.

Exhaust offensively

  • Exhaust renders your opponent helpless for 2.5 seconds as well as reduces their armor and magic resist. When someone uses all their escapes to get in your face, use that Exhaust and fight back! Because they can’t fight back, there only options are to eat a load of free damage or Flash away. This also applies when you get directly on top of someone and use exhaust. If you have Exhaust, look to get close to your opponent and Exhaust when their escapes are down.

yorick league of legends

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