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League of Legends: Beginner Terminology and Slang Guide

league of legends, ward, zoning, push a lane, surrender at 20, /surrender, feeding, gank, jungler, LOL, league, baron, dragon, nashor, poke, MIA, last hit, ELO, teamfight, team fight, ace, penta kill, creep, minion, tower, inhibitor, nexus, support, adc, cdr, summoner's rift, riot games,

This guide will presume you know the basics of the League of Legends “Summoner’s Rift” map: towers, minions, nexus, lane, etc.  However, I’ve been brushing off my Summoner over the last few weeks trying to get back into the game and have learned a hell of a lot about in game terminology and basic game tactics that in my time that I’d like to pass on to you all.

A few terms to become familiar with:

ADC: Attack Damage Carry.  This is a champion whose sole job is to be able to provide damage output for one of your three lanes. They usually start off weaker than other champions, but can grow to be monsters if paired with the right lane partner.

CDR: Cooldown reduction.  Critical to your League of Legends character, the faster your cooldown rate, the faster you can reuse your major skills, mapped to Q,W,E,R, etc.

“Push” a lane: The term “push” means for your champions to take advantage of a series of dead enemy champions or disconnections and attempt to help the minions take down a turret, inhibitor.  It’s usually a call for everyone to race over to a single lane and do as much damage to enemy lane turrets as possible before the enemy team resets itself.

Creep: a nickname for minion waves, or the general progress of minions along their lane.  They can easily be taken for granted as they typically are evenly matched without a champion pushing behind them.

Ace: When your team takes down the last surviving champion on the enemy team, meaning all enemy opponents are currently being revived, giving you a battlefield free of enemy players.  When you see that, you’re in a good position to push a lane to take down a turret or inhibitor.

Top, Mid, Bottom:  In a 5v5 game, the breakdown usually goes two players top, two players bottom lane (bot), and one character running middle lane (solo mid).  Every now and again in low level matches, one team will have a “jungler” (see below), which can really mix things up for both sides.

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Summoner’s Rift’s “top, mid, bot” lanes.

Teamfight: After the first towers start getting taken down, it gets a bit chaotic with champions running all over the map.  However, its very common for players to run around as a five man team (at least they SHOULD) for both survivability and in hopes of catching an enemy player alone.  Generally, when two teams collide in a lane, surprise= called a teamfight.

Jungler: When you start getting into higher level games, you may have a teammate who decides to go “Jungle”.  This is when one of your top lane damagers runs around in the fog of war jungle area, killing computer controlled creatures for both gold, buffs, and most importantly, gives him the ability to move around the battlefield to jump in and ambush enemy champions if they push too far forward (the “gank”).  It’s tricky to do, but if you can pull it off, your team’s jungler will be a force to reckon with, primarily because they never know where he’s coming from.

ELO: The term for rank in League of Legends.  Really not your concern at this point, but it doesn’t stand for anything, it’s just the mathematical method that ranking is established.  You can’t run ranked matches in League of Legends until you’re Summoner rank 30 (max level), so this shouldn’t concern you at all.  However, you’ll see this get tossed around a bunch.

Last Hit: You’ll notice when your champion (the avatar your Summoner is using on the battlefield) kills an enemy, a pop-up and money bag sound will pop out, meaning you’ve gained XX number of bonus gold pieces.  Last Hitting is a critical skill to learn, both as a supporter and as an damager.

Backdoor: Get your head out of the gutter.  This term means while all your champions are either teamfighting each other, busy buying items in the shop or dead, minions have broken through and are managing to take out a tower.  During hectic League of Legends teamfights, it’s not entirely uncommon for someone to break off and try to quietly push a lane where no one is paying attention to in order to help the bigger picture game of taking out towers.  This also means that a champion is attacking a tower without the support of a minion wave to back him up, generally while everyone is paying attention to something else.

Baron: The toughest League of Legends computer controlled enemy on the map, “Baron Nashor” is half way down between the top and mid lanes and he pops up at the 15 minute mark.  Killing him requires a team effort (or 1-2 real bad asses) and is usually done to break stalemates.  The team that kills Baron receives a global four minute buff called “Exalted with Baron Nashor”, which is a massive damage, health and mana regeneration booster, as well as a mess of gold and experience.  Bottom line, the team that kills Baron is going to have fun smashing enemy faces or pushing lanes for a hell of a long time until that buff runs out.  Baron respawns after seven minutes.

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A team gearing up for a Baron Nashor kill.

Dragon: On the other side of the map between bottom lane and mid lane hovers a dragon, another computer controlled enemy.  Upon killing him, all teammates receive 190 gold, and the killer gets an experience boost.  Much easier than taking down Baron, but also not nearly as beneficial.  The dragon also respawns after a six minute timer, making it simple for a team to pop back down while the enemy team is sitting in their respawn timer to knock it out multiple times in a match.

Blue and Red: The buffs that a jungler can pick up while killing certain computer controlled enemies within the fog of war on the map, and are representative of the colored rings around a champion.  The red buff, called “The Blessing of the Lizard Elder” is a big time damage buff, while the blue buff, called “Crest of the Ancient Golem”, grants the user increased cooldown reduction and a mana/energy regeneration.  If an individual with these buffs are killed, they are transferred to the champion who gets in the last hit.

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I THINK that’s Katarina getting the last hit on the Dragon; she has on the “blue buff”.

Ward: the bane of the League of Legends jungler.  The point of the jungler is to remain hidden so he can spring unawares into an enemy lane and ambush an over-extended enemy champion.  However, as you’ll find out as you get more experienced, it is a support champions role to purchase and place “wards”, which allow the team to see into the fog of war at likely ambush sites.  Useful in opening phase of the match when towers are still contested, and also used in front of the bushes in front of both Baron Nashor and the Dragon to see when the enemy team is ganging up to take them down.

Gank: Ambush a champion while they are over-extended and alone, usually with multiple champions coming out of the bushes.

Feeding: Hopefully, you won’t be the one doing this in League of Legends.  When your champion is killed by an enemy champion, you give them a large experience and gold boost, which can then make them more powerful.  When a player dies repeatedly at the hands of enemy champions, it literally makes the game that much harder, as the enemy champions get stronger with each kill, hence “feeding” the enemy champions.  If you do nothing else, do not feed the champions!  Don’t be that guy!

Poke: Harassing, low damage but threatening ranged attacks against enemy champions to make sure they don’t get too comfortable killing your minions, to “zone” the enemy (see below).

“Zoning”: From the League of Legends Wiki:

The act of controlling your enemy’s positioning and/or making them afraid of entering your zone. Zoning occurs when you push enemies back from minions by making them fear your zone. This is beneficial because they will have a much harder time funding items mid- and late-game due to not being able to last hit minions for gold. Additionally, by pushing enemy champions far back enough, you can even deny them experience from dying minions. Both of these things together can be extremely advantageous throughout the game, as your opponents can be both undergeared and underleveled.

MIA: When towers start falling, its typical for champions to start trying to surprise other lanes by creeping through the fog of war to ambush them from behind.  When you see “top mia” in the chat window, that means one or both champions are no longer contesting top lane and are possibly coming to gank in another lane.

“Surrender at 20”: Teams are allowed to start a “surrender” vote at the 20 minute mark of a match; typically when one team is cleaning the floor with the other team, the vote is initiated by typing /surrender in the chat box.  As games typically last a half hour or more, this is obviously the best outcome for a team.

Think that’s all the major ones I’ve encountered in my last few weeks of grinding it out on League of Legends. I’m sure there are more, but these seem like the most common for a fresh fish League of Legends player.  Feel free to drop some more in the comments below if I missed a few!