Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of League of Legends (click here if you missed it), let’s look at the 5 roles of an LCS team. Each team has the same 5 “positions” on their roster; like Basketball, the specific role of each person depends on match ups or skill of that player. For an LCS team to have success they must have great team work and communication during the game. When a team is clicking, it is easy to see because they usually dominate their opponent during their matches (see Cloud 9’s run of LCS summer 2013). The reason we are looking at the individual roles of an LCS team is so you can better understand what each position usually does, so you can make better decisions when drafting your Fantasy LCS team. Also, for those that are new to League of Legends, this will provide some insight on what each role does to help you know which one fits you best. I will be breaking down the roles in the order that you will see the players during an LCS match (top, jungle, mid, AD, Support).
Top Lane – Top lane has changed quite a bit over the last two seasons, and with some of the changes introduced in the latest patch, we will probably see some new champs emerge as top priority for LCS games. The main role of the top lane has been one of two things- a tanky champion or a great duelist/split pusher. A tanky champion should be fairly self explanatory, but in case it isn’t, this is what they will do. Their sole goal will be to get CS (creep score) early, so they can build their first two tank items. Then in team fights, they will try and soak up as much damage as they can while their “carries” (high damage dealers) destroy the enemy team. The hard part of playing a tanky champion is if you don’t get some early gold and get a few items, you will be useless the rest of the game. A duelist/split pusher is typically a high damage champion that does great in small skirmishes (1v1, 2v2, 2v1) or has good wave clear with an empowered auto (i.e. nasus, fiora, jax to name a few). Their goal is simply to find fights early in the game when they have an advantage and get kills. This results in a big gold advantage over their counterpart and forces the enemy team to put more of their time and resources into trying to prevent them from pushing down all of the towers. This creates advantages on the other side of the map for the other players on their team. The hard part of playing a duelist/split pusher is if you don’t get early kills and let the enemy team live through your early power spikes, you become “squishy” (easy to kill) or a non threat in team fights. The exception to that rule is Jax, Ryze, and Nasus who only get stronger as the game goes, but they also are very weak early in a game. Obviously there are other options to play as top laner, but these are typically the popular choices. I think we will see a lot more duelist/split pushing champs early this season because of the new possibilities of dragon buffs and the new elixirs. Most top laners won’t score a ton of fantasy points during the LCS season because of their role on the team, but a few will be consistently high scoring because they will play the split pushing champs.
Jungler – Jungler is in my opinion the most difficult of all of the positions, but it is also probably the most rewarding. The jungler controls the space on the map between the lanes. The jungler’s role is to either be an aggressive “ganker” (surprising the enemy lamer and creating a mismatch to get kills), to be a farm heavy late game damage dealer, or to be a tanky/support jungler. Those are the three most common jungle champs you see in the LCS. Also, the jungler is usually responsible for controlling the global objectives (Dragon and Baron). A lot of times the jungler can turn the tide of a game with well timed ganks, a great “smite steal,” or being such a mid game bully that the team can’t do anything about it. However, a jungler can turn the tide in a negative way too,by not being able to get the early kills for themselves or their laners, allowing the enemy jungler to control the global objectives, or not having enough gold to make an impact on the game. Most junglers won’t be the highest scoring LCS players because they are trying to feed the person on their team intended to carry them to the win, but there are a few junglers that will score some big points throughout the season (C9 Meteos).
Middle Lane – Mid laners are probably the most glamorous role in Fantasy LCS. They usually get the most attention and a lot of times they have a lot of the highlight reel plays. The reason for this is mid lane usually features the highest damage dealers in the game. They typically play high damage mages, great aoe champs, or assassins. The middle lane usually has a lot of fighting because their lane is the shortest in the game. It is easy access to the global objectives in the river, and if your mid towers fall, you lose a lot of control over your jungle. So a majority of the game is spent right in the middle of the map. That also results in the mid laners getting lots of action during the games. Mid laners usually have high cs, get lots of kills/assists, but sometimes have the most deaths in the game (because of all the action). Most weeks mid laners will have the most fantasy points, but this doesn’t mean they are the most valuable picks (think of them like fantasy QBs- they score lots of points, but a lot of QBs score a lot of points, making the difference from 1-10 not that big).
AD Carry – AD Carry is the marksman class in League of Legends. These champions have ranged attacks and have a majority of their skills scale off of attack damage. Their role is farm up, get some items, and then stay alive in team fights while doing as much damage as they can. A lot of teams play protect the AD carry compositions (a team that has shields, buffs, and lots of crowd control (cc) so their AD carry can mow down the enemy team without having to worry much about getting killed). AD carry is another high scoring role in League of Legends, but a lot of times an AD carry will be “feast or famine” depending on how well their team plays. The reason for their “feast or famine” scoring is the enemy team usually is going to try and kill the AD carry first, which can result in lots of deaths for the AD carry during games. AD carry also has some of the most noticeable tiers in fantasy LCS.
Support – In the current format of the game, supports are generally high utility or play making champions. Their main goal is to help the AD carry get gold. They do this by harassing the enemy AD carry, shielding or buffing the AD carry during fights, or using their cc abilities to limit the enemies damage on their AD carry. Support is by far my favorite role because I like to try and protect or save my teammates during fights, and I enjoy trying to make plays during the game. Also, supports are the masters of vision during games. When a team has great vision on the map (because of wards, and destroying enemy wards) it is much easier to make objective calls because you know exactly where the enemy team is located. Supports are typically the lowest scoring role in the game, but some supports will consistently score high because their LCS team focuses on getting their AD carry the most gold. When a support’s AD carry is really strong the support will usually get a lot of assists. Support is typically the least glamorous position, but I think it is the 2nd most impactful position in the game behind the jungler.
So there are the 5 roles of League of Legends. Each one offers a very different feel from the other, and each position can play a variety of different roles in their specific team compositions. I’m interested in what you think is the most important role in the game? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, which position do you think is the most important for a fantasy LCS team?