LoL Improving Any Champion Guide

LoL Improving Any Champion Guide by Stealthlink

About the Guide:

I’ll start of with why I made this and what this can teach you. The why is simple, I come across a lot of different threads on reddit. With subjects ranging from “5 simple tips to gain elo!!!” to people asking for help on specific champions. There’s also the load of people I meet on my smurf who really want to improve, but they build the wrong items and max the wrong skills. These are smart people who don’t have the knowledge to make smart choices, so we end up condemning them for the mistakes they make rather than trying to help them.

So to remedy all that, I wanted to give an aproach that could be used with every champion in every role. I thought a lot about the format, and I’m going to post it on Reddit rather than a guide website since it isn’t something for one champion and it has several different websites in them.

What I hope to teach in this guide is a way to start learning a new champion from 0 experience. I don’t go over specific details on situations while playing or champion-specific mechanics. Instead I try to teach you how to acquire the information yourself by looking for guides or watching streams/vods of the champion.

About the author:

I’ve played the game since the end of season 3 where I hit silver just as the season ended. Since then I’ve learned a lot, and got 2 accounts to Diamond right at the start of season 4. My current highest is Diamond 3 80LP on the account I play whatever I like on, where I like to fill in our team with whatever is needed.

You might recognize me from a previous reddit thread :

About my Heimer guide :

Getting started!

You just watched a cool video or a stream of a champion. Or you just played against a godlike Thresh support who landed every hook and you want to learn that champion yourself. The problem is you don’t have a clue where to start.

I was planning on making a list with chapters, but it’s only about 6/7 pages to read so if you aren’t going to read the whole thing then don’t bother.

The pre-game:
Now that you’ve chosen your champion you need to get the basics straight on what your skills do and in which order you should level them up. Next the runes/masteries and summoners you should use. There’s the lazy way and the more committed way to handling this, and I always recommend the more committed way.

The skills:
This is something you should always start with, before even checking runes/masteries and all that. A lot of skills do a lot more, or less, than you’d initially think. A lot of them have different ways of using them or an active and a passive component. Some even have two different spells on one button, like Jayce and Nidalee. Or some spells change if you use your Ultimate with them, like Karma and Heimerdinger.

The lazy way:

Is going to and just looking at your favourite pro player using your champion and straight up copy their runes/masteries/summoners/skill order/item builds. The good thing about this method is you instantly have your pre-game done, the bad part about this is that you have no idea why you picked these runes/masteries/summoners/skill order/item builds. So this might be a fast way (or a way for more experienced players to quickly get the pre-game out of the way) but there is a better way!

The more committed way:

Is going to a guide website. I personally prefer, but there’s a bunch of other sites out there like it. But you can look those up yourself (not naming them because the quality of a lot of guides on other sites is pretty bad, there’s some really good guides out there but they are hard to find if you don’t know the names of the good players that made them). The reason I choose solomid is because the “Featured” guides make it pretty easy to find a good quality guide.

You’ll see in the guide a section on runes/masteries/summoner spells/skill order/item builds and you can just straight up copy them (the lazy way) or actually read what the authors have to say. If you choose this way you’ll build a better foundation for the rest of your knowledge about a champion so I really suggest you read it.

Take special care when you take your time to go over the item builds. A good way to handle this is writing down on a note (or notepad if you want to alt+tab while you’re in champion select or in game) what you should build in game.

A practical example of a cheat sheet:

For example I’m going to click on a random guide for a random champion and write down the item build. I clicked on a Nasus guide since he’s free to play, I saw there were 6 Featured guides, but one of them was last updated 2 weeks ago. So I picked that guide to get us started.

Thanks to Chibi_Holy for this ;)

The note I’m making as my cheat sheet while I’m in game:

Runes : Cooldown reduction blues against AD, Magic resistance against AP – Rest is same runes
Masteries: 9/21/0
Skills: Max Q then E
Items : Start cloth +5 potions or ruby crystal + 5 potions
Full build in order : Frozen Heart, Merc Threads, Spirit Visage, Randuins, Banshee’s Veil, Trinity Force

Do note that this is a cheat sheet I made AFTER checking and reading all the runes/masteries/summoners/skills/items and what the author of the guide had to say about it. If you plan on doing this the committed way, then do it right and don’t switch to the lazy way halfway through.

Getting started in the game:

Now that you know the foundation of your champion, you can start building on it. If your foundation is weak, you will crumble before the end. So if you were lazy in the pre-game preparations the actual gameplay will be a lot harder.

I’m going to go over a personal preference I acquired because of my frequent high ping first. Because I lag a lot, I play Dominion/Aram more than ranked nowadays. The reason I mention it, is because it’s a pretty stress free environment where you can play one or two games to get a feel of your champion. Try out how the skills work and the best part, you can die over and over again and you don’t get punished for your mistakes as you would be in summoners rift. You scale just as fast as your opponents do (generally).

Choosing your game mode:

For summoners rift (This guide is meant to teach you how to improve your champion in ranked after all) you can start with either Team Builder (this ensures you get to play the champion you want to play) or take your chances in a Normal game.

We’re going to keep using the Nasus guide as an example. So in this case, I go top as Nasus and I see on the loading screen (or champ select) that I’m going to fight against a Garen. So I quickly alt+tab and check what the guide has to say about Garen.

Setting your goals:

After you played a bunch of normal games and got the hang of playing your champion a bit. You should start watching vods on youtube and later on watching your favourite streamers or pro players play your champion. You do this and ask yourself a bunch of questions while watching. I’ll make a list you can start off with, but it’s better if you think about it yourself and add/remove questions from the list. This allows you to choose for yourself what you want to learn.

Youtube video’s that you can re-watch and pause or go back a few seconds are the best for this. Or you can try going to lolskill and look up the top ranked players of your champion.

And look up the “best” Nasus players in the world and then check their to see if any games have been recorded so you can watch them in the lol-client instead.

The list:
How does he play level 1? (repeat from levels 1 through 5)
Which skill does he start and why?
Does he prioritize farm or does he prioritize fighting the enemy champion?
How does he do damage to his opponent?
How does he avoid taking damage from his opponent?
When does he choose to fight and why?
When does he choose to back off and why?
When does he ward?
What does his level 6 give him? Does he use it offensively or defensively?
How does he use his summoner spells?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourself so you have something to pay attention to and efficiently use your time. You can spend an entire day watching Sirchezz stack minions and champions (still using the Nasus example) but if you don’t think about why he’s doing certain things you won’t learn a single thing. So instead of watching a stream or vod for 10 hours and learning one or thing that you can’t even apply to your own game, you should think about what you want to learn before you watch it. Then pay attention to that while watching it.

Applying what you learned by setting goals:

The example list was for the early laning phase. Now we can begin setting goals and apply what we learned. You want to learn things but not be overloaded and try to learn everything at once. So in this game we are going to focus on the early laning phase.

The goals you set yourself should be acquirable and be realistic. So setting yourself a goal to get 3 kills before level 6 isn’t going to help anyone.

Some more realistic goals you can work towards keeping the Nasus example in mind:
X amount of cs at 10 minutes
X amount + 10 cs at 10 minutes
X amount + 20 cs at 10 minutes
Don’t die before level 6
Don’t die before 10 minutes
Get 200 stacks at 20 minutes
Get 200 +10 stacks at 20 minutes etc.
Get 300 stacks at 30 minutes
Keep my tower alive until 15 minutes

These are just examples of goals for Nasus, think about goals that you want to set for yourself. So if you find yourself getting ganked a lot, you can choose the “Don’t die before level 6 goal” etc. You already played a bunch of normal games so you can think about the things you are bad at or want to improve.

If you’re playing Syndra mid, you might want to get the goal : “Get level 6 before my lane opponent” and another goal “Learn to use ctrl+skill to quickly level up a skill” (so you don’t have to click the skill to level it up). These are realistic goals that you can aim for every game. (So an example of a bad goal is: Win the game, or get to silver 3 or get to gold 1 or anything like that)

Interlude – Practice!!!

Before you continue with anything other than the early laning strategies. I really suggest you practice, practice and practice some more. Work through your list of goals for the early laning phase and keep at them until you managed to reach them. Just start with goal number 1 and next game try goal number 1 and number 2 at the same time. Or number 1 and 4, depending on whatever goals you set yourself.

An analogy I’ll be making again is the foundation. If you skip learning the early laning phase or the pre-game properly you’ll build really fast, but really unstable as well. Think of it as building a 1 brick tower by stacking bricks on top of each other. You’ll get a really high tower, but one that’s really unstable and falls over and the slightest sign of trouble. Working on your foundation is more like building a pyramid, it takes a long time (and thousands and thousands of human lives and suffering) but you get an end result that stands the test of time.

Back to vods:

After you learned the laning phase you can start the same process for the extended laning phase and later on the team fights. Think again about what you want to learn and make a list of things to pay attention to.

Example list again:
Does he fight in the lane or does he want to roam?
Does he want to 1v1 the enemy laner or does he want to farm?
When does he go for trades and why?
When doesn’t he go for trades and why?
How does he do damage to his opponent?
How does he avoid taking damage from his opponent?
Does he prioritize farm over trades?
How does he use his summoner spells?
When does he ward?
What items did he buy on hist first back? Second back?

Example list for team fights:
Does he want to team fight?
Does he want to prioritize another strategy than team fighting?
What is his role in a team fight?
When does he go in a team fight?
Does he commit fully to a team fight or use his abilities and back off?
When does he use X or Y ability?
How does he use his summoner spells?
When does he wait to go in a team fight?
What target does he go for in a team fight?
Is he focusing on attacking an enemy champion or protecting a friendly one?

Again, these are example lists and depending on your preference on what you want to learn you can add/remove any of these questions and things to pay attention to. Finding a way that works for you is what’s important here. I’m just giving you a starting point.


The wall of text above is meant to give you a guideline on how to improve your champion. You learn a lot (the most) from playing games, but if you do this without building a foundation of knowledge for yourself about your champion, you can develop some really bad habits or play your champion in a sub-optimal way. The example I used in this guide was Nasus. So you might want to play AP Nasus because you saw a guy do this in ARAM and then you try convincing your team in ranked that AP Nasus is a good pick and you argue the entire game instead of improving. This guide is a way to prevent that from happening (hopefully).

Watching streams is a really good way to hear your favourite players talk a lot and watch them play. But for learning your champion watching vods on youtube or might be better in some cases. This really differs from streamer to streamer, but their main goal is to get as many viewers and keep them around for as long as possible. Some do this by being entertaining (jokes,gimmicks, weird picks, different playstyles) and others by being educational (think Geranimo who goes over all ADC’s a lot and tries to teach you something about every champion and he also talks a lot about his reasoning on why he does something). Then you have the streamers who are both fun to watch and educational like TheOddone and so on and so on.

The point of this, is that watching some streamers can be really entertaining but if you watch the stream for 10 hours you might not actually learn a single thing you can apply to your own games. An example of this can be watching Oddones stream and you want to know how to efficiently do your first jungle clear. Watching a vod shows you exactly how he does it. Watching a stream can also do this but he can also have his mind on other things. A fight starts in the bot lane, a fight starts in the top lane and he starts watching it while he clears his camps. (Probably won’t happen since the first clear takes some effort and attention, but you get the point.)

So start with youtube/vods and once you get the hang of your champion go over to streamers. Look especially for streamers who explain their reasoning.

Last thing to say is that learning a new champion requires patience. If you pick a champion to play because you see a Zed make a sick 1v3 outplay or a Yasuo go in 1v5 you need to realize that it’ll take you probably anywhere from 50 to 100 or 200 games to get even close to that.

And that is taking into account everything I said above here about efficiently using your time. If you use your time inefficiently you might end up with 3000 Urgot games and still be in silver (sorry Urgod, but you were the best example I could think of)

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