New To League/Gameplay

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A champion HP Bar

Overview

Champions are the player-controlled units in League of Legends. Champions are distinguishable from other units in a few ways. First, generally they're bigger than game-controlled units; second, an experienced player will be able to recognize all of their models; and third, and easiest to tell, all units in the game have health bars floating above their heads, and champions' health bars look different from those of other units. See a full list of champions here (takes you out of the tutorial section).

Each champion has several ways of interacting with the map and other units in the game: moving, auto-attacking, casting abilities, casting summoner spells, buying items, and teleporting back to base. Most champions have four abilities, one of which is an ultimate, and also an "innate" ability, which is usually a passive effect. They also have two summoner spells. There is no courier in League of Legends (if you don't know what this means, it's unimportant).

Abilities

Synonyms: Spells, Skills.

Each champion has 4 abilities. You cast an ability by pressing a key that's "bound" to casting that spell. The default is that you can press Q, W, E, and R to cast your abilities; for that reason, they are often referred to by those letters. For example, someone would say that JarvanIVSquare.png Jarvan IV "E-Q'd to get over the wall," meaning that he cast his Demacian Standard.png Demacian Standard and then his Dragon Strike.png Dragon Strike, to get over the wall.

Each champion's abilities are unique to that champion, and every time you play a champion, it has the same set of four abilities.

In nearly every case each champion has one ability called an "ultimate" (bound to the R key) that isn't available to be learned/used until level 6. For more information on learning abilities and ultimates, see here.


However, some champions break these standard rules and can bring more than 4 abilities through shape-shifting. Some of the most obvious cases of transformations are EliseSquare.png Elise, GnarSquare.png Gnar, JayceSquare.png Jayce, NidaleeSquare.png Nidalee, and more. Very often, those same champions find their transformations at the expense of their ultimate ability.

The effects that abilities can have are extremely varied, and in order to fully understand them all you have to watch or play hundreds of games of League of Legends. But to get a better idea of what you might see champions do, read here.

Innate Abilities

In addition to Q, W, E, and R, each champion has a fifth "ability" that (generally) can't be activated by pressing a key. This is called the champion's "innate" or "passive."

Passive abilities can range from providing very simple stat buffs to giving rule-bending specificities to champions.

For example, NamiSquare.png Nami's Surging Tides.png Surging Tides grants bonus movement speed to ally champions hit by her spells while JhinSquare.png Jhin's Whisper.png Whisper restrain his attack speed and convert his Critical Strike Chance and Bonus Attack Speed into Attack Damage, giving him slow but deadly attacks.

Other passives such as VolibearSquare.png Volibear's Chosen of the Storm.png Chosen of the Storm or ZacSquare.png Zac's Cell Division.png Cell Division) grant champions more defensive abilities and can sometime change the tide of a teamfight completely

Some passives even bring activable effects such as CorkiSquare.png Corki's The Package.png Package which empowers one of his spells and transforms it.

Summoner Spells

Each champion also has two Summoner Spells, or "Summoners" for short. Unlike abilities, summoner spells are not unique to a champion. Instead, the player can choose two from a set of different spells (this link takes you out of this tutorial) each game. This is referred to as "running" spells. (For example, you might say, "I ran Teleport (Summoner Spell).png Teleport/Ghost (Summoner Spell).png Ghost SingedSquare.png Singed toplane" to say that you played Singed with the summoner spells Ghost and Teleport, in the toplane.) Summoner Spells are typically more powerful, and have much longer cooldowns than normal spells and ultimates.

Among the most popular summoner spells are:

  • Flash (Summoner Spell).png Flash, which allows its user to teleport over a short distance instantly.
  • Teleport (Summoner Spell).png Teleport, which allows its user to channel and teleport anywhere onto the map after a few seconds.
  • Smite (Summoner Spell).png Smite, which is only available to junglers and allows to better kill Epic Monsters.
  • Ignite (Summoner Spell).png Ignite, which, once applied to an enemy, make it burn and take damage over a few seconds.
  • Heal (Summoner Spell).png Heal, which instantly regenerates the health of its user and targeted ally.

Keystone Runes

Most runes provide several background buffs to a champion (see Runes), usually each champion will have one Keystone Rune that provides a relatively significant buff to their power. For a complete list of runes & what they do, including keystone runes, see here (takes you out of the tutorial section).

Keystone Descriptions (Advanced)
Keystone Description (Click Mastery for More Information)
Press the Attack After 3 consecutive autoattacks, deal bonus Adaptive damage and increase incoming damage towards the target from all sources.
Lethal Tempo Shortly after autoattacking an enemy champion, gain vastly increased Attack Speed, able to exceed the cap. Hitting an enemy champion extends the duration.
Fleet Footwork Gain movement speed, extra damage & healing from certain energized attacks.
Conqueror Grants the ability to deal true damage to opponents and ignore their resistances.
Electrocute Deals a bit of extra Adaptive damage upon consecutive times damaging an enemy champion.
Predator Gain Movement Speed after a brief channel & deal extra Adaptive damage with your next autoattack/ability against a champion.
Dark Harvest Damaging a Champion below 50% health deals Adaptive damage and harvests their soul, permanently increasing Dark Harvest's damage.
Hail of Blades Permit its user to deal 3 consecutive attacks at an increased speed.
Summon Aery Send Aery to damage an enemy you attacked or shield an ally you healed or shielded. Aery needs a few seconds to come back and cannot be sent out again until she returns to you.
Arcane Comet Damaging a champion with an ability hurls a comet at their location dealing Adaptive damage.
Phase Rush Gain Movement Speed & Slow resistance upon upon consecutive times damaging an enemy champion.
Grasp of the Undying Gain extra damage & life drain based on your maximum health when you autoattack an enemy champion.
Aftershock After immobilizing an enemy champion, increase your Armor and Magic Resistance before exploding, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies.
Guardian Guard allies close to you, and allies you target with spells. While Guarding, if you or the ally take damage, both of you gain a shield and are briefly hasted.
Unsealed Spellbook Gain a Summoner Shard every few minutes, which you can exchange at the shop to switch Summoner Spells. Newly acquired spells are acquired on their own cooldown. Additionally, your Summoner Spell Cooldowns are reduced.
Glacial Augment Basic attacking a champion slows them for 2 seconds. The slow increases in strength over its duration. Slowing a champion with active items shoots a freeze ray through them, freezing the nearby ground , slowing all units inside 60%.

The Freeze Ray can fire upon any number of champions concurrently, and has no cooldown.

Kleptomancy After using an ability, your next two basic attacks within 10 seconds against a champion grants gold. Occasionally, you will gain a consumable item instead.

Autoattacks

Every unit in the game except for rift scuttlers, inhibitors, and the nexus has an autoattack. It is effectively a resourceless ability that deals physical damage to a single target upon being cast; however, it is usually not thought of as an ability because autoattacks behave almost exactly the same way for all units. There are only two real differences. Autoattacks are classified based on how far away you can be from your target to use one.

Ranged Autoattacks

Ranged autoattacks are able to travel a short distance between the attacker and the target. They cannot be dodged by moving out of the way. Champions with ranged autoattacks tend to be less tanky (have less health and other defense stats) than champions with melee autoattacks. A champion with a ranged autoattack is referred to as a ranged champion. Ranged champions that itemize in order to maximize their autoattack damage are known as AD Carries (or "Marksmen") and are often played in the bottom lane.

Melee Autoattacks

Melee autoattacks are not able to travel any distance between the attacker and the target; i.e. in order for a melee champion to be able to autoattack, it has to be adjacent to its target. A champion with a melee autoattack is known as a melee champion. Melee champions tend to be tankier than ranged champions (i.e. have more health and other defense stats) than ranged champions.

For more information on attack ranges here.

Moving

Of course all champions are able to move (walk) around the map. There are two ways to move. Either you can issue a command to your champion to move from position A to position B, or you can issue a command to your champion to attack-move from position A to position B. The only difference is that, if you attack-move, your champion will stop to autoattack all targetable enemy units in its path. Knowing when to attack-move and when not to is an important skill for players to have, so you may hear the commentators talking about it.

How fast a champion moves is known as their Movement Speed.

Recalling

All champions also have the ability to recall, or teleport back to their Fountain (also known as the Wells). Recalling is different from the summoner spell Teleport, and they should not be confused. Recalling is also referred to as "pressing B," because that's the default keybinding of recalling, or "blue-pilling", due to the way recalling worked in an early version of League of Legends.

How recalling works:

  • The player decides to recall, and initiates the recall.
  • The champion must stand stationary for 8 seconds. At the end of those 8 seconds, the champion will instantly appear in its team's well.
  • If the player issues any command to his champion during these 8 seconds, the recall is canceled and must be restarted.
  • If the player takes any damage, or any form of Crowd Control, the recall is canceled. The player is protected from interruption in the last 0.1 second of Recall's channel.
  • Having the Hand of Baron buff or the Eye of the Herald buff halves recalling time.

Recalling is important for a few reasons:

  • If you're in your fountain, you will regenerate to 100% HP and Mana/Energy very rapidly.
  • The only way to buy items is by being in the fountain (unless you die, you can also buy items while dead).

Because going back to base can take you very far away from your team, timing recalls properly is an important thing for players to know how to do.

Other Champion Concepts

Skins

A skin is a slight adjustment to a champion's base model (what the champion looks like in-game). The size of the adjustment varies between skins, but to experienced players, all skins of a champion look very similar to the original ("base" or "default") skin. However, to a newcomer, it can sometimes be confusing. Refer to the overlay icons on the side of the stream, or on the minimap, if you're wondering what model belongs to what champion.

Skins are purely cosmetic and have no impact on game-play in any way.

Pets

Some champion abilities can create pets, which are secondary player-controlled units that have very limited interaction with the map. Some of them are more similar to champions (such as ShacoSquare.png Shaco's Hallucinate.png Hallucinate), while some of them are more similar to minions (such as AnnieSquare.png Annie's Summon Tibbers.png Summon: Tibbers), but all of them are limited to moving and autoattacking.

Traps

Some champion abilities can create traps, which are stationary AI-controlled units that have very limited interaction with the map. Some of them are stealthed, such as TeemoSquare.png Teemo's Noxious Trap.png Noxious Trap while others are visible, such as NidaleeSquare.png Nidalee's Bushwhack.png Bushwhack. The effects that they have vary.