The Early Game

Posted: May 23, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Laning

The early game, also known as the laning phrase is one of the most underestimated (in importance) for many players. For the sake of this article, I am defining this as until one or more towers are destroyed, forcing teams to change lanes constantly due to the fact that the map has become far more dangerous with the safety and vision of the tower(s). Generally, the laning phrase is where you want to acquire as much gold as possible when the game progresses to team fights, your champion would be far better equipped and hopefully gain an advantage through game stats. Of course, everyone understands this, but how do we acquire gold? Let’s take a look at the methods of getting them:

Minions Kills – Aka last hitting. This is the most source of income for most of the players during the laning phrase. It’s boring, and it’s tedious but it gives you gold, which converts into power and stats for your champions. If you ever seen any of the top League of Legends players play, they will rarely miss a last hit unless their opponent is harassing the shit out of them. Even then, they manage to get a significant majority of the last hills on the minions. Another key thing to note is that these players rarely ever give up a last hit unless it is to another teammate that needs it, or is in danger of dying. Keep in mind, your opponent is also trying to last hit to get gold as well, and often harassing them can deny them the gold. This is far more valuable when both teams are of a quality where you can no longer just sit back and farm. However, there is a key difference between harassing for an advantage and harassing for the sake of harassing. If you are harassing for the latter, then you are misisng out on gold that will translate into a far better advantage later in the game. Champions such as Urgot and LeBlanc regularly opt to harass their opponents since they are amazing early game in their lanes, and can afford to fight their opponents. They also are pressured to do so, since they need to force a strong early game to pick up for their weaker late games.

Tower Kills – Worth 150g per player on your team. More importantly, this immediately destroys safety for the other team, as they can no longer farm without being in danger of a gank. However, it will end the laning phrase. Nevertheless, tower kills contribute to winning the game as it means your champions and minion waves are getting closer to their nexus.

Dragon Kills – Generally, early dragon kills only occur when the enemy team is at low skill level and don’t know the value of getting a dragon kill. If your team manages to snag dragon, it’s an amazing 190g per player. I hesitated to put this in the early game, as it usually becomes a key resource on the map during the mid-game, when one team is trying to bait the other into a team fight. However, early dragon kills still can happen.

Player Kills/Assists – This is the flashy and “interesting” way to make gold. Killing the enemy team players. Everyone loves it, it’s probably why most people play this game (myself included). It’s a nice 300g for the last hit on the player, 100g if you didn’t, but helped. There’s even a bonus 100g for First Blood. There’s also the bonus of stinting the growth of the enemy team because by they would spend time death and be unable to progress their character. Baiting early lane battles and ganks is usually how this is achieved.Just keep in mind, the same applies to your team if you are happen to not be the victor in a fight.

Gold Per Items- I mean Heart of Golds, Avarice Blades, Kage’s Pick, and my personal favorite Philosopher’s Stone. Each of these awesome items give you 5 gold every 10 seconds. While, far weaker than Minion Kills, it has an important place in the early game. Not everyone on the same lane can farm. Generally you want to give the farm to the carries, which will scale and later hopefully carry the team. This means that tanks and supports generally want to give up their farm and  use these items so they can still somewhat get gold on a regular basis. That said, some carries might still use it (such as Gangplank who really needs to wait until much later in the game to be strong thus he gives up power in the early game to get more power in the later game).

As we can see here, while player kills are the most gold to one individual, tower and dragon kills are worth far more. Losing your tower is also far more dangerous as it means you can no longer can maintain your primary income, which is Minion Kills. Minion Kills is also the most reliable source of income, and everyone should be prepared for the “lack of action” and last hit. Player Kills is something that is usually something when the opponent overextends and gives you an opportunity to do so. If you have a jungler, then this opportunity tends to occur more often.

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