All About Presence in League of Legends

What is Presence, Anyway?

A lot of times you hear people use the word "presence" to describe a player, usually to denote lack of it. I'm going to explain what presence is to you.

Unlike some jargon, it is a self-evident term. To have presence in the game is like having presence in real life. When you are in a place, you fill the space. If you're at a meeting or a party, and you have presence, people know who you are, and if they don't know who you are, they will soon.You have physical characteristics or a charisma that forces you into people's minds, whether they like you or not. Hence, presence. It means you're there. You are filling up space. Remember that: having presence means you take up space.


Recognizing presence is important too in assessing your teammates and opponents. For example, if you are mid and you notice the enemy top ducking into the gank bush or tribush a lot and a minute later he ganks you, you can guess he's doing to do that a lot more. That top is displaying presence. On the other hand, there are some top lanes where no matter how many times they receive ganks, or how much cs they receive, they will never know what to do vs. their opponent or in a team fight. Had a Wukong on my team last week, 1-8-7 at the end of the game. He got stomped in lane. He did okay in a couple of team fights but he still went brutalizer and triforce ingredients. He had 8x armor and 8x MR at 35 minutes or so. He either died or left fights immediately. No presence. We weren't able to carry him.

On the other hand, I've seen people lose a lane by kills and cs, but they stubbornly stay in the game and make plays. Yesterday I played as Twisted Fate. I went 1-3-2 in lane. I got ganked by Udyr 5 times, and the enemy Cass was something like 6-4-1. At the end of the game, I was 4-4-10, Cass was 8-8-1, and the Udyr was 1-6-3. What happened? I had stronger and smarter presence post lane. And our own jungler made plays at bottom and top while Udyr didn't do much in the other lanes. Our Vlad was super fed, and on the whole, our team had larger presence. I went 3-1-8 in postlane after a 1-3-2 start. Cass went 2-4-0 after a 6-4-1 start. She was the most fed on the team. On the whole, the game was very even at a casual glance, but I feel we were always the stronger team. The Cass took Doran's Ring first and Heal/Ignite and cheesed our Skarner, for starters. Later, she got ganked by 4 people, got skarner ulted, then healed, then gold carded, then died without dealing damage to any of us. Presence counts.

Entire games are won based on teams having a total stronger presence. This is why they say don't surrender, and why sometimes people know a game is winnable even if behind in some cs and kills.

Champions with Strong Presence: Karthus and Singed

Here's another common example: Karthus and Singed. Ever see a bad Karthus just die a lot but still get a lot of kills, and be a general all around pain? It's because Karthus, as a champ, generates a lot of presence, just from his ultimate. The entire map must beware lest their health get too low. You won't really get away after all. And his passive means it's okay if dies--that's strong presence too. As has been written: Karthus isn't about winning the lane, he's about winning the game.

As for Singed, more than once have I seen a Singed feed at top then quietly just gas the entire map and slowly take towers down one by one. Any Singed that has even a basic understanding of Singed gets this: if he gets beefy enough, he is very hard to push against, but he himself pushes with ease, simply by running around a little bit to choke down minions. He also baits easily and gets away easily and has a lot of sustain. He is extremely annoying. Everyone hates playing against him and he is a popular candidate for laugh-spamming to troll for this reason. I've watched in horror as a team ganks Singed two or three times, takes his tower quickly, and then ignores him for 10-15 minutes while he farms and pushes top, getting another dragon or tower or two, winning one or two small team fights. Then, he pushes so hard you have to pay attention to him. Then, he wins, because the rest of his team didn't own hard enough and your ad carry, the only one who can really stop him now, isn't good enough and/or farmed enough. Sad days.

What presence means in a Top

A top with presence isn't scared because he is countered. He wards. He is not afraid of the enemy jungler. He knows how to countergank and to help his jungler gank, and roam to help steal the enemy's buffs. He might teleport to bottom lane. He helps with dragon sometimes. He ganks mid. He initiates and/or peels, he can kill anyone on the enemy team in a 1v1 situation. If he wins, he starts spreading domination to mid, then bottom.

What presence means in a Mid

A mid with presence has a good handle on where the enemy mid and jungler are at all times. He knows when blue is going to come up. He knows to go and get it. He knows how to farm and take both his and the enemy's wraiths. He knows when to push and defend his lane, knowing that mid towers are the most important. He knows when to go in and out of the jungle. He wards. He ganks bottom and top. He knows how to get a ton of cs. He can pick off stragglers.

What presence means in a Jungle

A jungler with presence knows when everything gets back up and usually knows where the other jungler is. He ganks, counterganks, and knows which lane needs the most help. He knows when to ditch a lane. He knows that if other jungler has stronger presence that all his lanes will do better. He knows how to steal stuff. He has a good idea how warded the map is. He buys wards, especially if he has no lantern. He buys oracles. He knows who is best to be fed. He knows when to dragon or baron, cover a lane, and when to push a tower down.

What presence means in an AD Carry

An AD carry with presence knows who to hit in lane (the other carry usually) and afterwards (whoever is nearest to you). An ADC with presence can CS and is farmed. An ADC with presence evades ganks and follows up on them. AN ADC with presence helps burn dragon down and has enough damage that anyone on the other team, even a Singed, Amumu, or other scary fatty, knows that they have a time limit to get their stuff done, otherwise they will die to the carry first. A team with an ADC who doesn't get this is crippled, and the other team knows it. In lower elo games, tanks and fat people from top and jungle know this and run the team over, because the carry has no presence. At late game, a carry often is the only possibility of pushing out a buff top or jungler.

What presence means in a Support

A good support gets in the bush, knows where to ward, knows where the wards are, knows who to buff and when, and doesn't feed. A support with presence saves lives over and over again, baits well, and gets kills for the team. A good support has great map awareness, just as good or better than the jungler's. A good support doesn't waste wards. A good support doesn't get caught. A good support knows where to go. A good support buys wards even when the other team has an Oracle's. A support with presence knows to buy Shurelya's and use GP10 quints and the Greed mastery to have the gold flowing.

 Summary: Characteristics of people with presence

  • Plays stronger champions (see above). They pick champions with globals, AOEs, mobility, cc, or otherwise strong, commanding moves.
  • They understand every champion on the map. Some people are scared to engage because they feel they are countered, or don't know their opponent well enough.
  • They have a deep understanding of their own champion and what he/she can do. They know many combos and don't only do the same thing over and over again. They have a good sense of whether or not they win the fight. They understand when they can't win, or what it takes to beat someone in a fight. They are fearless, yet not stupid. You can't write this guy off. He is always taken seriously.
  • They use their strength to control areas. Simply by going somewhere, they demand that the enemy team either flee or die, or for the enemy to send someone to address them--the more of the other team they require, the stronger the presence. If one or even two of the enemy team's members aren't enough, the better. Ever see a singed or Cho'Gath or Dr. Mundo wailing on a tower, ignoring a non-support champion that is throwing everything at them for a while, or even for the duration of the whole tower? That's presence. Ever see them simply just go somewhere and everyone has to flee? That's presence. You are a stronger actual force in the game. Your tower is unkillable, theirs indefensible (or harder to defend), or the section of the jungle simply belongs to you. Hence...Mundo goes where he pleases.

May you always have great presence.

Old Man Eyebrows

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  • #27 DennyBraids

  • #26 Gunthore

    Really enjoyed the article.

  • #21 Misticaltom

    Heeey, why is Mundo's head up there for Jungler presence? Does Lee Sin or Nunu not have enough presence for you?

  • #19 leimaR94

    Woooooo someone who acknowledges Cho! :DDD

    Enemy bot lane: Hum dee dum our jungler's coming to ganks, yay.....

    *Jungler comes.......bringing a 6 stacked monster he didn't know was behind him


  • #18 Deliq

    In my opinion players with presence mostly play OP champions with solid to awesome early game and at least mediocre late game. Examples of this is Yorick/Irelia top, Karthus/Ahri/Katarina mid, Amumu/Maokai jungle, Ezreal/Graves/Caitlyn/MF bot and Sona/Taric/Blitzcrank support.

    The champions who create absolutely no presence whatsoever are UP trash champions like AD Yi, Karma, Heimerdinger and similar. These champions need to be carried by their team every game and leech their teams gold so it would probably be better if they just went afk or something (with report for assisting enemy team afterwards).

  • #22 Forfeitish

    I'm afraid I don't get the point you are trying to make here. You say that people with presence pick early game champs that have a weak endgame but then list examples that include things like Karthus who doesn't have a strong laning phase at all. Or Blitzcrank who has a strong presence throughout the entirety of the game.

  • #28 Deliq

    Quote from Forfeitish »

    You say that people with presence pick early game champs that have a weak endgame but then list examples that include things like Karthus who doesn't have a strong laning phase at all. 

    Requiem is probably the ability with the heaviest presence in the whole game. It basically removes around 300-700 (depending on how much Karthus is farmed) maximum health of all champions PERMANENTLY because if you get below that number, you are dead.

    As far as I can see Karthus is dominating all tournaments so I dont see any problems with his "weak lane phase". In fact he pretty much starts securing kills for his team once he reaches 6 and thats something no other champion can do.

  • #13 Cerbereth

    So will some champions always lack presence, or is it a matter of any champion can have presence in the right circumstances?

    Also are there other things to consider besides presence when choosing a champion?

    Last edited by Cerbereth: 11/2/2012 5:03:16 PM
  • #14 OldManEyeBrows

    Presence is an overall package.

    Master Yi has poor presence. If you simply stun him, he's done. He can't do anything other than Q or auto-attack. Hence his always considered low-tier.

    Syndra has weak presence. Even if fed, she has to be careful not to be caught, and she has poor jukes and CC. 


  • #16 registermyaccount

    Master Yi has huge presence if he's just slightly fed imo, because once he does get farmed or fed a bit, he will push your towers down like there's no tomorrow while the rest of his team goes and turtles/pushes another lane.

  • #17 FleurDeLiz

    Most AP mids have to be careful not to get caught as their primary build tends to be quite squishy. Some have better escapes than others but that won't matter if enough people caught you that you just get CC chained to death.

    They all try to make up for it with raw murder power. Some do so better than others.

    (Ryze is a notable exception for being a quite tanky bastard on a full build)

  • #20 Faren22

    However, it is pretty easy to stop him from getting farmed, and his pushes are not very effective because he is forced to leave if an enemy shows up. Plus, he's worthless in teamfights if the enemy has any kind of hard CC - he just explodes if his Meditate isn't available.

  • #25 Cerbereth

    Thanks, helps me understand the article now.

  • #30 registermyaccount

    Faren you're right, Yi does suck because of those reasons you listed. However, in my elo (~1300) people still feed Master Yi from ganks and stuff. Once he gets fed, he'll just push your towers down, and you're gonna need at least 3 people from your team to gank his split pushing- if its 1 or 2, he'll either run away with his ult or just slaughter them. Needless to say, if you send 3 people, the rest of their team will wreck you.

  • #15 K0stra

    Circustances. Several examples

    Wu:  Wukong can turn into hypercarry, but his lane can be rather weak against certain (sustained) champions, if you fall behind and still go for carry build you have no presence in temafights as you jsut die too quickly wihout eally doing much damge. But if you go for more tanky build... you won´t be able to corry probably but you can initiate, soak up the dame and still pose some threat (he is bruiser therefore his kit is naturally more damage-y then usuall) and get presence as initiator or bodyguard.

    Teemo: he sucks in teamfights (low rng not that damagy as ADC and not really tanky), if he is not ahead he is pretty much just a mascot during fights, but he can sodomize most of a common top lane pics (strong lane presence) and his kit grants him quite a safe splitpushing and bonus map awareness (map presence).

    If you think map presence doesn´t exist you are wrong i´ve witnessed game litterally won by split-pushing and backdooring. In last IPL Wingsofdeathx (palying Nidalee) managed to deny enemy baron, they had stronger temafights and they would be probably able t owin baron fight, but Nida would just destroy theyr bot inhib. Later on he got farmed enoguht thanks to those splits, he just killed enemy Shen (top ane shen well farmed and with good score) and destroy nexus, if ability to force entire enemy team out of baron just by staying at bot then i don´t know presence is XD. You could say presence depens on a) earned money b) mechanical skill c) game/map awereness d) player flexibility

    Remember when i said teemo sucks in temfights? Recently i was in duo with friend playing as Teemo, he managed to snowball his lane after early gank from me and ten pretty much carried us in teamfights, ho got enought money lead to make up for his champion disadvantage and he is good enought player to know it, if he stayed top and jsut split pushed as we originally planed we could maybe loose (anything can happen in solo queue no matter the elo) but the game would surelly drag for longer period of time, this way we just forced early baron and snowballed rest of game.

  • #12 OuterRaven

    Having map presence, particularly as a jungler, is all about going where the enemy doesn't want you to go. You can learn this by playing jungle Nunu, the most annoying control jungler in the game. Enemy Nocturne taking his red? Go there, eat red, snowball his face and walk away. Nocturne helping Morgana get blue? Go there, smite blue, snowball their faces and walk away. Enemy buying lots of wards? Get an early oracles, Nunu's one of the best oracle carriers because he's annoying, hard to catch and gets tanky mid-late game. Enemy bot lane and jungler trying to take dragon on lowish hp? Walk in there like the badass yeti that you are, eat the dragon and walk away (flash over the wall if you need to).

    It's all about applying pressure brah.

  • #8 Sabiena

    Good read, as usual. Well done. 

    I can point a few of my friends online here. 

  • #7 Mockstar

    Very good read, points out some things I need to work on. (where the damn jungler is.) Any specific tips on that? He'll move towards overextended/low health lanes, obviously. How does one keep track of timers on buffs? Is it just straight memorizing them? I've seen jungle timers around, but never used one.

  • #10 OldManEyeBrows

    You need to know that it's 5, 6, 7 for buffs dragon baron. 1:55 is when the buffs spawn. Most junglers take the same route. How long it takes them comes with experience playing with and against them.

    Best way to know is knowing how to jungle yourself. Then, when you're elsewhere, you can think about it. Example: if early in the game jungler takes blue and instantly goes to enemy wraiths you know that as mid you should follow him for a gank on the enemy jungler in his wraith bush by the towers. 

  • #11 Sabiena

    You just blew my mind with "5, 6, 7 for buffs, dragon, baron." I'm going to put that up on the wall now.

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