Map and Lane Management: How To Roam, Split Push, and More

Ever have a game where your team had more kills, dragons, and minions killed and yet, after the laning phase was over, you struggled to push and had fewer turrets?

There’s a reason that can happen, and it’s because the other team had better map and lane management. I’m going to teach you about a skill that’s important, overlooked, and is assumed knowledge by experienced players that usually win their games.

There are three stages to the game: early-game / lane phase, mid-game, and late game. I'll start with early game and when and why not to yell at your jungler for killing all the minions in your lane.

Early Game

The first thing you need to realize is that at any given time, a lane is going one direction or the other. The only exception to this is when the lanes have reset. A lane reset occurs when all minions in lane from both teams have died, and the next wave to meet each other will be equal. Lane resets are most relevant at the early stage of the game.

This term is also used to denote the clearing of just one side to make the lane favorable to you. "OH NO! A JUNGLER HAS JUST CLEARED ALL THE MINIONS IN MY LANE! WHAT A JERK!" Not so fast. This is the other definition of resetting a lane--it is rearranging the lane to your own circumstances.

So, let’s say you are at top and your jungler kills your lane opponent. You only have 250 health so you leave. There are four minions from the other team and eight in yours. The jungler kills these four minions and perhaps the six after that. You might be mad that you lost 10 cs, but you’re not understanding the situation correctly. The reason for this is to deny your lane opponent the experience and cs, and to make it be on your side. The turret will kill all fourteen of your own minions, and when he gets back to lane you will have ten minions (we’ll say two died to your fourteen at the turret) to kill and he will have six, and the minions will be closer to your turret.

If he had not done so, you’d get back to lane and your opponent would get about a dozen minions to kill and you’d have six, and the lane would be at his turret. You want to keep the minions at your turret unless you know you want to push.

Mid-Game

In the mid game, there will be a mix of activity going that will vary depending on which turrets are up. If a lane has more turrets than the other, that lane will be pushing more often, because the opposing lane will have its minions get to a turret more often.

Some lanes, especially mid, might not have lost its first turret even though bottom or top might have lost theirs. At any point, you will either have more turrets than the other lanes, less, or, if you’re doing particularly well (or awful), even.

If you have more, you have two responsibilities. First, roam and help out the other lanes and other parts of the map. Tops that get turrets then stay at top farming while the rest of the map is getting owned are the worst. The jungler used all his effort up there, the other jungler goes mid and bott, gets dragons, and the other team is winning, and you put your chips on the top and he’s...not moving.

Don’t be that guy.

The other responsibility you have is to keep on your turret. Only this time, instead of trying to keep the minions at your turret, you want to keep them off. So you go, you clear all the minions, then you leave. You generally do this so that you can buy yourself the most time to leave.

It is okay to lose the turret, but you need a very good reason. You either need to have made another lane lose a turret in exchange or gotten a dragon (and dragon is less important the further the game goes on).

If you're the jungler (or anyone really) and you can take a turret for free, you should usually do it. 

If you roam and lose the turret for nothing, it’s your fault. Go back to your lane. Back and forth. It’s almost like a board game--you have a base of operations, a starting point, and you expand gradually until you get that nexus.

I recently played a game where I picked Ezreal with a Leona, and the other team chose Graves / Lulu. Our Amumu died early, and their Lee Sin camped us, causing us to lose our turret by 10 minutes without me even having died. Graves and Lulu then bounced back and forth between mid and bott, and they always arrived in time for us to not get the turret at bottom. We never got it, and lost for that and other reasons. They were doing it right.

 

Late game

Towards the end of mid game and through late game, you will generally be together as five people and worrying about baron or anyone getting caught. Sometimes teammates might yell at you for killing minions in a lane, but it’s important to go to the lane just to clear the minions and leave. If you look at high-level games, you’ll see this happen all the time. A seemingly random player on the team will go to a lane and then kill all the minions. If a champion has poor wave clear he is generally considered a low-tier champion.

Minions are worth more money and easier to kill than jungle monsters, but inexperienced players stick to the jungle to farm to try to catch up, not realizing they don’t matter much. A ward lasts for 6 waves, and a single wave alone will cover a ward’s cost. If the map is correctly warded, you can cover lanes much more safely.

Late game becomes a matter of both teamfights and of responding to lanes correctly. If you ignore a lane for too long, a huge wave will end up doing 500 or even more damage to a turret, damage that is easily prevented. If your team can’t or doesn’t cover turrets to prevent extensive minion damage, your team isn’t well-coordinated and has members that don’t understand important map principles.

In the late game, dragon, baron, pushing, and defending are all important. Blasting minion waves and returning to your teammates is actually defending. A lot of people think that defending is showing up only when minions get to the turret. It’s much easier and even safer to not let a wave get there in the first place.

Defensive champions are strong for this reason. If you’ve played against a good Anivia or Lux you know how big of a pain it is to win, even if you might have more good teammates--those mids defending turrets effectively become the equivalent of offensive rebounders, giving your team more chances to make mistakes and more time to get their crap together. When you’ve lost four turrets and you only have one to three of the enemy’s, and you don’t have the first mid turret, you have a long and rocky road ahead of you.

Using the Minimap, Owning the Map

These skills are not optional when it comes to being a skilled player in Summoner's Rift, regardless of whether you're playing normals, solo queue, or ranked 5's. 

For a refresher and point of convenience, here's a glossary.
Lane-clearing / clearing a lane: this is when someone goes to kill all the enemy minions in a lane, effectively setting the lane to be pushing in your team’s favor.
Split pushing: this is when a champion constantly sticks to another lane to either force the other team to split their group up or when the other team is not capable of punishing by capitalizing on a 5v4. Example: fed Lux prevents your weak team from pushing, meanwhile, a teammate is pushing another lane. Someone leaves, then the stronger 4v4 with the Lux pushes back and forces an objective fight. It’s easier to do this the stronger wave clear and the stronger mobility a champ has (Singed, Shen, Master Yi).
Pushing/pusher champs: these are champions that clear minions easily. Even better, some might do more damage to turrets than other champions (Ziggs passive, Twisted Fate’s W).
Lane Reset / Resetting the Lane: in the early game, this means pushing to the turret so the turret kills your own minions, denying experience and gold to the enemy and leading the minion location to be closer to your own turret. In the later game, simply doing a wave clear is also sometimes referred to as resetting the lane, though it's more often used in the former context.

Best,

Old Man Eyebrows 

This week's eyebrows:

 

Did you enjoy today's article?  Check out my past blogs here!

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Comments

  • #34 Cerbereth

    I think the best take away for me was that if two champions are similar, but one has better wave clear it is better to use the one with better wave clear. 

  • #32 darkserenity24

    Simple, basic, elementary and easily understood league facts. I am honestly surprised why people still don't know this. Giant hot air balloon thumbs up from me.

  • #28 LaughingBacchus

    This is exactly the reason why fast waveclear potential is power and not just comfort.

    Great article and powerful eyebrows.

  • #26 LPF

    I would love a detailed article on split pushing.  How and when to split push.  When you should go to split push and when you should stay grouped as 5.  What to do if a teammate insists on split pushing 24/7.  I have an easier time with it on a 5-man, but I have trouble knowing how to react to it, deal with it, and/or support it in solo queue.

  • #23 emosaurusrex

    If you have more, you have two responsibilities. First, roam and help out the other lanes and other parts of the map. Tops that get turrets then stay at top farming while the rest of the map is getting owned are the worst. The jungler used all his effort up there, the other jungler goes mid and bott, gets dragons, and the other team is winning, and you put your chips on the top and he’s...not moving.

    If your top lane is that far ahead you WANT them to keep pushing top. You either force an inner or you're going to force 2+ players to come stop you and usually burn cooldowns trying to kill you; your team then has the option to help you engage them or force an objective.

    Obviously there's a time and place where this isn't appropriate (your team is bronze status and keeps getting caught, prevent free dragons, you have hard engage and can force fights you know you'll win) but under normal circumstances you're better off pressuring the inner.

  • #20 Insanitism

    Extremely powerful article

    It has artificially given me maybe 100 Elo.

  • #19 Steps1000

    Good work as usual

  • #18 Drarky

    Pretty nice article, love those tips and very handly

  • #15 HellsToyMaster

    Thank you for the tips, good Read.

  • #12 brbafkftw

    Thanks for the tips, I know plenty of people that could use this information...

    Maybe you could also discuss other advanced techniques like

    When and how to proxy a lane or how to stack a lane to push by killing only the caster minions

  • #25 pldl

    Or how to force your enemy minions to push. Little stuff like these can win games.

     

  • #11 Dj0z

    Before: the infamous "Ravenous Hydra vs BT" article.

    After:

    Quote from OldManEyeBrows»

    Never said split pushing isn't viable--requiring or thinking you require Hydra to do so effectively is what isn't viable. A Renekton without a Hydra or a Shen without a Hydra can split push well.

    Do they buy Hydra at high-level play?

     

    It’s easier to do this the stronger wave clear and the stronger mobility a champ has (Singed, Shen, Master Yi).

    Enter Hydra melee carry, unmatched king of blitzkrieg splitpushing. Ignore him for 30 seconds and lose 2 turrets. Since you mentioned Yi i'm gonna go ahead and state the obvious: your team's Yi has BT and splitpushes bot, my team's Yi has Hydra and splitpushes top, everyone else is doing a cautious baron dance, and turrets are equal everywhere: Hydra Yi wins the race by 2 decades. Incase of a teamfight he most likely deals between twice and 5 times as much total damage as BT Yi.

    Now before anyone QQs, this applies to every other melee champ who could build BT: 25 damage and some LS is nothing compared to Hydra's clearing power and burst. My recent experiment as bruiser trynda would have been a loss if i didnt manage to quickly clear the 2 lanes worth of minions & superminions pushing our last Nexus turret. Took me around 10 seconds instead of ages if i had a BT instead of Hydra. Not even gonna talk about:

    So you go, you clear all the minions, then you leave. You generally do this so that you can buy yourself the most time to leave.

    Anyways, good and informative article (even though it didn't teach me anything new), at least i can link people to it, which could do alot of good.

    Also, i might aswell flip a coin to know if your next article will be good or bad, i just don't know what to expect from you anymore. Just keep making more like this one please.

    Last edited by Dj0z: 6/4/2013 7:15:26 PM
  • #14 TehLlama42

    If both teams want to sit around, 4v4, and let a base race happen, sure, RH becomes THE option.  If a team denies the HydraYi the ability to earn piles of gold by split pushing, then one is left with a squishy melee carry who can do some AOE burst, but is otherwise not much of a contribution.  
    I agree with your assessment on lower level players who are disorganized or respond incorrectly to a split push melee champion being more easily dominated by the absurd wave clear Hydra gets, but that's such a small niche, I'd rather run a champion who has that built into the kit somewhat, or as a staple item (Think Renekton and/or Sunfire Cape) and build utility items so that the split push can create unbalanced teamfight opportunities as often as free map objectives.

  • #16 Dj0z

    Quote from TehLlama42»

    I agree with your assessment on lower level players who are disorganized or respond incorrectly to a split push melee champion being more easily dominated by the absurd wave clear Hydra gets, [...]

    Ok so Hydra is for lower Elo right? go tell them: http://www.probuilds.net/champions/LeeSin

    Or alternatively you could just count the amount of Hydras and the amount of BTs in that page.

    Last edited by Dj0z: 6/4/2013 10:24:09 PM
  • #30 BITalentul

    You are extremely biased with your RH fanaticism. Out of all the top Lee Sin players, the only one who builds RH religiously is Cruzer ( and he normally loses btw, I don't think that's a coincidence), the rest either build it REALLY sparingly or, more commonly, not at all. As OME said, it's not a bad item, it's just a win more item, a way to piledrive your advantage home, but when you are behind or you want the best bang for your buck BT is a lot more efficient. Blind fanaticism can not blot out math Period

  • #31 Dj0z

    Indeed, your blind fanaticism for BT can't blot out math and stats. Like in the link, the times the pro Lee Sins won with BT (zero times) as opposed to the times with Hydra. Not proof, of anything, but surely telling. Apparently when you sir are behind, you want to save up 1550g for 45 AD and then wait again recipe gold to complete the worse item, while the better one is built smoother, and allowed at all because you're melee, but hey, to each his own. I don't need/want/care about your approval and you're entirely free to handicap yourself with BT.

  • #33 BITalentul

    Enjoy winning with your Hydra in the lower Bronze echelons then ;). The fact that you do not understand RH is a bad investment is mind-bogling, but hey! to each his own. Lee Sin is the only hero who can actually ALMOST benefit from hydra as from BT, yet you dictate it is a must for a plethora of champions. If we were to go by your logic, the fact that you are melee and can buy RH and because it has a "smooth" build path, every adc should be going Runaans right? I mean you splitpush like mad, aplies on hit effects, has a smooth build path AND it's ranged only.

    Faux theorycrafters and vocal, no math flayers, like you bog down the game, like the early "OMFG TRIFORCE ALWAYS RUSH ITEM ON LEE" that contributed to him remaining hidden op for circa 6 months.

    Enjoy a ravenous day!

  • #21 NicknameMy

    Why the fuck get Hydra? Get Statikk Shiv and Blade of the ruined King to have the AS to kill turrets quickly.

  • #24 Dj0z

    Quote from NicknameMy »

    Why the fuck get Hydra? Get Statikk Shiv and Blade of the ruined King to have the AS to kill turrets quickly.

    Example: Fiora DPS vs turrets = 75. with Shiv = 105. with Hydra = 126.

    A quick example that shows how silly your statement was. Crits, on-hits and actives (except Youmuu's and SotD's) don't work vs turrets, and Hydra's waveclear is by far the strongest in the game. Any melee with stronger AS steroids will mathematically get more DPS vs turrets from building AD than building AS. Fiora has a massive AS steroid and a medium AD steroid. Lee has an AS steroid and zero AD steroid. Yi is probably the same too, etc. Why the fuck get Statikk or BoRK?

  • #27 NicknameMy

    Because split pushing is not only about pushing, you also must be able to 1vs1 or 1vs2 if necessary, this way, you put way more pressure onto the enemy team.

    And do you know about the passive of Yi, Double Strike, which comes faster with more AS. And that his AD has actually a CD with Wuju Style, so the more you attack, the more damage you can aplly?

    Last edited by NicknameMy: 6/5/2013 1:04:57 PM
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