Early Game Bullies: A Look at Champions That Dominate Laning Phase

Posted: June 6, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Laning

No champion is equal to another champion at a specific time period in League of Legends. The diverse cast of champions that all have different abilities is what makes the dota genre game like League of Legends quite fun. At the same time, it can also be very frustrating when your champion simply does not have the power to farm in the lane versus another champion. We will take a look at some of these “early game bullies” through examples.

Here are a few types of “early game bullies” that current exist in this game.

Early Game Birds – These are champions that simply have strong base damage abilities that allows them to simply bulldoze through you. They also tend to have some sort of crowd control that allows them to trade better in harassment, but also potentially kill you faster.  I guess the best way to say this is that they are just better than you (in the early game). Two great examples of this would be LeBlanc and Urgot.

LeBlanc absolutely shits on most champions in the game. If they happen to rely on abilities (like a mage), the situation becomes much worst. Between a potential snare, silences, a double flash, and high burst damage, LeBlanc is a champion that will kill you outright if you try to fight her.

Urgot is also another champion that will often dominate his lane to the point where his opponent will be behind in farm and experience, and sometimes get killed by him. As long Urgot lanes his grenade ability on someone, they will eat 3+ acid hunters that are now ignoring a large chunk of your armor. Unless you have flash or movement abilities on hand, Urgot can easily burst a large chunk of your health pool every time he lands his grenade on you. While, he does not have the raw damage and disable power, he does have the safety of range and a shield to help him win fights.

These two champions essentially are champions that want to build an early game advantage through aggression. However, both of them become far weaker as the game time progresses. As a result, it is often wise to let such champions dominate their lane while staying alive. Farm what you can, but don’t let these champions be strong in the late game as well. Get your jungler to help coordinate a few ganks if possible. Remeber, these champions are only as strong as much you feed them later in the game.

Infinite Fucking Range – Range is a really nice thing to help. It lets you get your farm easier, and it lets you giggle while you can harass your opponent and they can’t do anything but take it. Unfortunately, sometimes you might be on the receiving end. Caitlyn and Orianna are two champions that display this point very well. While, I wanted to include Urgot in this section, he needs to land his grenade ability first. In addition, he depends more on his early game dominance more than anything else. Anyway, back to our examples.

Caitlyn… her range is pretty much her uniqueness as a champion. Unless you approach the late game with a Kog’maw or a Tristana, no one will outrange her in the autoattack department. She also has a long-range skillshot to help her harass and farm even more. Oh, you used an ability to get closer? Well placed traps and her net launcher ability allows her to get away from you even more. Also, beware that she actually does more damage with her passive if she isn’t in the mid lane. Bushes makes her passive really good at hurting enemy champions. Just remember that if you can cast an ability on her, chances are she can autoattack you back.

Ah, our new champion, Orianna. Her ball allows for a disgusting amount of harass through Q + W combos. Like Caitlyn, she’s extremely good at chipping damage away from your health pool, while running away when you even try to get close to her. While, she does not win in straight up fights, she does not need to. She will stay at range, use her W to either slow you or speed her, and use her shield to negate your ranged harasses. Orianna is also quite strong at pushing a lane if she has to due to her plethora of aoe damage. Protip, look at her ball AND her. Orianna can only control the ball from a certain distance, and her ball can only come from a certain location. She’s not the hardest hitting champion, but she can do it ofen. Learning how her mechanics is the best way to reduce the amount of damage that this BALLerina can do to you. (You mad, Cat?)

Generally, the best way to fight these champions are with those that have high sustainability or also have a great deal of range as well. Counterpicking with the right champions is generally the best way to combat these champions. Do not hesitate to switch champions up in a lane to deal with them.

Ultra Sustained – Some champions just don’t care that you can harass them. They will simply just take your harass, and harass you back. These tend to have healing or life steal mechanics that allow the first part, and then have great harassment tools for the latter. Nidalee, Vladimir, and to the lesser extent, Maokai.

Nidalee. If you don’t play this champion, you probably don’t like laning against her. Actually, even if you play her, you still don’t want to lane against her. She is probably arguably one of the best laning champions in the game. With a long-range skillshot that does more damage the further it travels, an amazingly scaling heal that gives her attack speed, traps, and a fast and bursty melee form, Nidalee makes laning a chore when you are her opponent. Simply put, a good Nidalee does not care. She weakens your harassment, she can set traps to give her safety, and she forces you to stay behind minions or eat spears. Once, she gets her cat form, both her melee burst prowess and GTFO potential skyrockets. Oh, and please for the love of anything, please be careful when you are at low health. That spear always has more range and damage than you think. Always.

Another loved and hated champion, Vladmir. While, his first couple levels aren’t great, he quickly becomes someone who simply does not leave his lane, but at the same time can force you to. While the idea of building spell vamp items on such a champion is brilliant, it is also rage inducing. Through spell vamp and his Q’s natural ability to heal, Vladmir does not need to leave his lane often. An often mistake of players is to not play defensively against him as the early game progresses. While, Vladmir is not the great in the begining, once his Q levels up, you do not want to get close to this champion. Like Nidalee, he is also great at escaping things that normally kill a champion through the use of his pool ability.

While, Maokai does not have a direct healing ability, his passive can at times seem just as good. If you give Maokai, an enemy laner that uses a lot of abilities, his passive makes him extremely difficult to damage. In addition, while it may seem like you would want to get close to Maokai to harass him, be cautious about it. Maokai’s abilities allow him to put out an extremely powerful burst than will also leave you rooted and vulnerable.

To combat healing, you want to have either champions that reduce healing through abilities. Or you heal right back with your own ultra sustainable champions. Ignite can also work if you want to negate the healing in a gank attempt. If you don’t have the tools to deal with these champions, play defensively. Focus on farming, rather than harassment. These are champions that generally do not care too much about the minor damage you throw at them. Either you ignore them, or you get a full on gank. Don’t try anything in between.

Brawlers – Irelia, Renekton, and Rumble are probably some of the better examples. These champions simply just run right in and punch you in the chicken salad sandwich and don’t care if your champion can’t handle them. Unlike sustained champions, these just want to fight you unless of prancing around and outlasting you in harassment.

Irelia is extremely misleading if you don’t understand how her abilities and mechanics work. If you dare to harass Irelia without care and get her health percentage below yours, chances are she will charge in, stun you, and proceed to make you cry. Once, she gets her ultimate, she gains quite a bit of both burst and healing. Oh, and if you are an ranged AD, please try to find someone to switch lanes with. She will probably eat you alive.

Renekton can charge right in, stun you, hit you a few times, and leave – leaving you at a lower health than him. Also, he can lifesteal through his Q. His ultimate also makes him extremely difficult to kill and you do not want to duel Renekton if he has ultimate. He is kinda like Irelia, but trades the higher burst damage and mobility for more sustainability. However, don’t mistake him to be a pushover in a fight.

Oh, that champion is a bit low on health, maybe I can go in and kill him. Nope, not against a champion like Rumble. Rumble’s early game damage is stupidly high. His flamethrower simply melts through health pools like nothing, and he has relatively dependable ways to keep you close to him. Once, Rumble gets his ultimate, you need to be really careful to stay the hell away from him since his ultimate not only does ridcious amounts of damage over time, but slows you quite a bit.

These kind of champions are those that actually want to fight you in the early game. They will simply out tank you and pummel you to death. They tend to have a way to close the gap if you get too close. Playing cautiously and at a distance is your best way to combat against them. Do not try to fight them fair because you do not have a good chance to win. Instead create unfair fights through your jungler if you want to kill them.

I know my articles to be a bit on the long side, but if you take anything from this article is that:

1. Not every champion is equal. Equality only works when the champions are the same.

2. Different enemies force different responses and play styles. Sticking to one will lose you games.

3. Understand every champion. You don’t have to play them, but you should know how every champion generally works.

  1. […] just the issue of AP carries being better than AD carries at mid lane. A few months ago, I wrote an article regarding strong early game champions. I called one of these type of champions, the early game […]

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