Whenever people talk about skilled play in League of Legends, most think of action-packed outplays that show off a player’s mechanical skill. However, there’s also a lot of skill involved in a less flashy but perhaps even more impactful aspect of the game: lane control. Today, we’re going to talk about controlling your lane, why it is important, and how you can get better at it.
Lane control refers to a player’s ability to manipulate the minion waves in a lane in order to turn the games in favor of your team. While lane control mostly focuses on minion waves, there are several other factors that can dictate your ability to control the lane:
Lane control may not be as interesting as team fights or ganks, but it has a HUGE impact in all phases of the game. Here are the most important advantages that you get if you manage to control your lane:
The good thing about lane control is that it’s not as mechanically demanding as ganking or team fights. As long as you know how to last hit, you can already start working on lane control. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that there are several aspects of lane control, which we’ll be tackling one by one.
Zoning refers to the act of denying an area (or zone, hence the name) of the map from the enemy. When it comes to lane control, this usually refers to the area around where the opposing minion waves meet. If you’re good at zoning, enemies getting anywhere near the minion waves risk taking damage or outright killed. This also means they are forced to get fewer experience and gold, plus you get to control where the minions will fight.
There are many ways to zone out an enemy, but it all boils down to the following:
You’re probably already zoning the enemies even if you don’t realize it. If you try to attack enemies when you so them try to kill a minion, that’s already one form of zoning because you’re making it dangerous for the other team to stay within your basic attack range. You can turn this concept around by zoning WITHOUT even attacking. For example, hiding in a bush next to the minion lane presents a big threat to the enemy because they don’t know if they’ll get jumped, forcing them to stay away.
Zoning gets a bit more complicated when you’re using a melee champ (usually in top lane) since you don’t have the range to deny a large area. If you’re up against a champ who can outrange you, you’re better off playing passively and try to control the lane with a different approach, which brings us to our next topic…
Pushing (also known as “shoving”) is the act of manipulating the minion waves in a way that they meet at a certain part of the lane, usually closer to the enemy turret. This may not seem important for those new at the game, but pushing at the right time has a big effect on how you and the enemy should play the game. To make things easier to understand, here’s a rundown on what happens when you push a lane.
Knowing when to push is important, but how exactly to do you push? Depending on how urgent you need to push your lane, you can simply kill as many minions as you can with basic attacks or wipe an entire wave out with an AoE ability. You also have to remember that pushing too much could leave you overextended, so you will have to develop a better sense of timing. If you’re still new, this rule of thumb should help you remember:
If pushing is about killing the enemy minion wave as fast as possible, freezing is all about keeping the minion count the same. Because neither side has gets a numbers advantage, the next minion waves will end up fighting at the same spot. This tactic is usually done after you’ve pushed far enough to keep the pressure, or after you let the enemy push to keep them vulnerable to a gank. Freezing can be tricky compared to pushing a lane, but mastering it will greatly improve your lane control.
How would you earn more gold and experience if I just let the minions fight? The most basic method is to simply hold back on your basic attacks. Make sure each minion you try to last hit has as little HP as possible. Remember: every time you damage a minion, your own wave gets an HP advantage over the opposing wave. Land a few too many basic attacks too soon and you’ll end up shoving the lane and potentially giving up the advantage.
You also need to pay attention to what your lane opponent is doing. If they’re trying to push, you’ll have to counteract it by killing just as many minions to prevent them from advancing. If all attempts to freeze the lane fail, the least you can do is to let the waves get pushed next to a turret. The turret will kill off the enemy wave and it will force a reset instead of giving the enemy team an advantage.
An often overlooked part of lane control is “drawing agro”. This refers to the act of making the minions attack you. Soaking damage from minions may sound like a bad idea. However, drawing aggro will allow you to manipulate the minion waves even better than before if done properly. Here are just a few examples of what you can do by just drawing aggro:
This wraps up our guide on how to control your lane. We hope this will help you gain the advantage over your enemies during the laning phase, and well into the mid and late game! Got specific lane control tips that you want to share to other readers? Let us know in the comments section!
Jan is an avid PC gamer and an FB Gaming streamer. His favorite titles include Starcraft, Doom, For Honor, and Warframe, but he also enjoys playing popular Esport titles including League of Legends and Rainbow Six:Siege. When not playing PC games, Jan watches professional wrestling, building gunpla, and riding his motorycle.