How to Roam to Other Lanes and Maximize your Impact
Roaming in League of Legends is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated strategies in the game. If done correctly, roaming can allow you to apply pressure in multiple lanes at once. In this Mobalytics guide by PicklePants, we will discuss how you can roam in a safe and effective way- just like the pros. Although this guide focuses on roaming as a laner, many of the principles and concepts can be applied to jungle ganks.
What is roaming in League of Legends?
At a glance, roaming is pretty simple. Its core aspect is to gank and help allies. However, there are other things that roaming can achieve. From getting kills to taking objectives and warding, roaming is something that is incredibly important to learn. There is a lot of preparation and build up that needs to be done beforehand, which is often overlooked by some players. Without a good setup, you may start to fall behind as you’ll be missing out on gold and experience.
Contrary to popular belief, high ELO players also struggle with roaming effectively, and I’ve seen countless victims fall into void due to poor roaming. However, we’ve got you covered in this in-depth roaming guide, which is aimed at every rank in the game.
Similar to our other in-depth posts like the complete wave management guide and the previous comprehensive warding guide, you all loved that we added chapters and sections to them which made it easy to decipher the guide in a more effective way. This is why we have included them once again.
Before we get started, make sure to analyze your GPI
To get the most of this guide, it helps to really understand your own performance and capabilities. Our Gamer Performance (Index) evaluates your ability to roam within its Ganking score, among many other cool metrics like Snowballing and Initiative. If you want to know more about your personal ability to roam, all you have to do is get a free Mobalytics account and analyze your recent matches. We’ll help you understand your current skills and give you advice and insights so you can improve! Now, on to the basics of roaming…
1. The Basics of Roaming
Before we learn how and when to roam, we must first understand the fundamentals of what roaming actually is. Roaming in its simplest form is where you rotate or move from one lane to another. Every champion and role can roam, but some will find more success than others. For example, Janna will find it hard to roam; whereas Alistar would thrive.
Roaming is usually done during the early to mid stages of the game, especially during the laning phase. This is because the likelihood of gaining a kill or achieving your goal is far more probable since enemies will be more likely to be in isolation or fewer numbers.
With the recent changes to towers gaining armor plating, the laning phase has seen an notable extension with the towers become more difficult to destroy. Thankfully, this means that one mistake will no longer cost you your tower. Because of this extension to the early game, roaming is now a necessity rather than something you might do.
What is the difference between ‘roaming’ and ‘rotating?’
Rotating is quite like roaming and basically – they are the same thing in action but different in intention. You’ll find that we will refer to both of these terms in this guide, so it’s beneficial that we make it clear on what they mean before we move on. Roaming is generally a voluntary action which will result in you returning to your lane afterward.
Rotating, on the other hand, may mean that you are forced to move to another lane. For example, the enemy Support may be roaming to the mid lane and you’ll need to rotate to match it. It may also mean that you need to stay in the desired lane for a longer period of time once you’ve got there.
2. Why you Should Roam
For the most part, the main reason for roaming is to help your allies survive and win the laning phase. But, there are other reasons that may entice you to roam such as the potential rewards that come with roaming. Once you’ve understood what benefits are on the line, you will be more inclined to roam and help out your teammates.
When an ally is in a tough matchup, they may get killed or be denied from farming. Once they have fallen behind, it can be very difficult for them to be able to lane against the enemy. When a lane is struggling, roaming can allow them to get back into the game by either forcing the enemy to recall or by killing them. A successful roam like this will give your ally the opportunity to pick up some much-needed gold and experience. Roaming and helping out in this fashion can also encourage them to be more useful later on as they will not be so far behind in comparison.
Having an ally gank you when you’re getting outclassed by the enemy can be a blessing. This is why it is important that you look to roam if any ally is struggling and falling behind in levels, experience or gold. In a game like League of Legends, the impact of each team player is incredible. If somebody is behind, the team may find it difficult to be able to win a team fight as it can be considerably one-sided. This is why it is important to never leave a teammate behind or ignore their cries for help if you have the opportunity to help them.
With the recent changes to the bounty system, the hunger to roam has been no greater with the potential to pick up a thousand gold in a matter of seconds. As it can be quite easy to gain a large bounty, reaping the reward of an enemy’s bounty can be rather satisfying. You may want to roam during this time as you’ll be able to gain the shut down from the enemy. This can potentially give you and your allies an increased influx of gold which will allow you to get your items quicker. Whether you kill the enemy or your ally does, you will both gain gold which will be useful.
After successfully roaming to a lane, you may be able to apply pressure to the enemy’s tower and their gold plates. Applying pressure and taking their tower will open up the map for you and your team, which can make roaming a whole lot easier. You may also be able to continuously gank a lane and put the enemy behind if they have to overextend for farm. This will allow you to repeatedly roam back and forth to their lane and kill them over and over again. This is a cheesy way to make roaming more successful, and it really works.
There are some other reasons why you should roam, but it would take us all day to list them all. Just remember that roaming can allow your struggling laners to get back in the game, it can open up the map, and it can also give your team an increased amount of gold. When roaming to another lane, always keep your intentions in mind and make sure to only roam if you can get something out of it.
3. When to Roam
There is a common misconception among players that believe there should be a certain timer to roaming, or there should be a number to aim for. While there can be some form of a goal for champions like Twisted Fate whose ultimates core purpose is to roam, you should avoid trying to make or follow a goal.
Instead, you should aim to roam as often as you can if you have the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, there is a lot of practice and experience required to master the art of roaming and perfecting your movements around the map, so do not be too disheartened if you’re unable to roam successfully at first.
Let’s start discussing some of the suitable roaming opportunities in real game situations. So far, we’ve only discussed theory, and nows the time to put it into practice.
Straight from base
Roaming from your base can bring a surprise element to roaming. As the enemy will not see you leave your lane, they may not expect you to be there. When you roam from lane, the enemy is able to communicate with one another, which can allow the recipient to back off in time before the roam arises. However, roaming from base will irradiate this issue, as the enemy will not know your whereabouts.
Furthermore, roaming from base can be more forgiving depending on the role you’re playing. Roaming from base will allow you to switch directions and return to your lane if things do not seem to be working out en route. For example, if the Support is looking to roam, they will walk through the jungle to gank mid. However, if the enemy seems to be backing off, the roamer can just return to lane and not miss out on anything, as they will arrive at roughly the same time as their ADC.
There are some drawbacks to this though, and you will need to keep an eye on your lane while you’re gone. If the enemy gets to lane before you, they may start pushing the wave which means you’ll need to return as soon as you can.
In the video below, originally, my goal was not to roam but to ward. However, as I got closer to the Mid lane, it seemed that the Mid Laner was “in trouble.”
To counter gank a lane
If you notice that the enemy is looking to move towards one lane in particular, you can try and counter their gank. For example, the Support could rotate to the mid lane to match the enemy Supports roam. Alternatively, if you notice that the enemy Jungler is moving through the river in order to gank, you could head towards the lane as well to counter gank them.
You can counter gank directly from your own lane or from base. Taking advantage of the roaming routes image we will show later on will assist you when it comes to this type of gameplay.
As we can see from this video, I was roaming directly from base. I saw that the enemy Jungler was most likely going to gank the mid lane as they had gone past a ward. I positioned myself out of sight and waited for him to engage. This resulted in us gaining a kill.
When the ADC can be left on their own (as Support)
If your ADC is somebody who can play independently for a brief period of time, roaming when they’re in lane alone is a good way of applying pressure. This is because they will be able to stay in lane and farm while you go and get things done around the map.
Many champions can be left alone such as Ezreal or Draven, but it depends heavily on the matchup. If your ADC is behind or has no possibility to escape, roaming while they’re in lane can be difficult.
While gone, keep an eye on your lane and how your ADC is fairing up. If they seem to be struggling, return as soon as you can.
My ADC was already in lane and farming up a storm. As the wave was quite close to our tower, I knew that going to roam was no problem as the likelihood of them being engaged upon was minimal.
When your ADC is not in lane (as Support)
If your ADC is somebody of the insecure type and is unable to farm while you’re gone, your best bet is to roam when they’ve backed. Quite like roaming from base, roaming when your ADC is not in lane is one of the safest times for them.
From an ADC’s perspective, they would prefer for you to not roam when they’re in lane – especially if they’re weaker early. One of the biggest things to remember when roaming is that your ADC should not be put behind by your roam, so roaming when they can’t be put behind is key.
There are many different situations where the ADC will not be found in lane. For example, they may have either died or recalled. Once they’re no longer in lane, you need to start moving as quickly as you can so you’re able to roam > gank > and head back to base.
Knowing that your ADC is going to back can be incredibly useful. It can allow you to set up a roam by backing before your ADC does. This will give you some breathing room to roam and return to lane. In this clip, I’d left my ADC to finish farming and decided to make my way top.
As I had a huge time advantage on my side, it allowed me to roam further away. After killing the enemy, I then would have backed or gone through the mid lane to get back to the bottom lane.
When you have your ultimate up
Some matchups do not guarantee you a kill with your ultimate. For example, Supports such as Leona and Braum have very good ultimates, but have trouble killing when alone.
Twisted Fate’s ultimate, for example, is practically useless unless he is roaming. Sion also has difficulties killing the enemy laner if he is building tank. This is why I recommend that you should look to roam if you have your ultimate up.
Putting yourself out there to gain a kill is a great way of utilizing your champions kit and making the most of every situation. Roaming like this depends heavily on the champion you’re playing, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to roam in this situation.
Twisted Fate is a champion whose ultimate is fantastic at roaming. Always keep an eye on the map to check what health players are sitting at. If somebody is low enough, try to use your ultimate nearby.
When your ally has their ultimate up
We’ve used Sion quite a bit with our examples in this article and for good measure. He is fantastic at following up his allies thanks to hitting ultimate. If Sion cannot leave his lane because he’s receiving a lot of pressure from the enemy laner, or is gaining unwanted attention from the enemy Jungler, you could try and help him if he has his ultimate up.
As his Ult is considered crowd control, and as he has great follow up potential in general, ganking him when he has his ultimate up is a no brainer.
Champions who fit these criteria are Sion, Malphite, Nautilus, Ornn or Rumble who all have good game changing ultimates, but sometimes are unable to do anything with them because they are immobile or unable to roam. So, if you have the damage, you should try and roam and assist these champions in particular.
This example is slightly different, however, the same concept applies. As the bottom lane had no real priority through poor trading, the enemy could’ve killed them both easily. Because the Top laner had roamed, the bottom lane could bait and overextend because they knew that she was coming. Also, as Zilean’s ultimate is a form of resurrection, they knew that it was going to be a safe trade.
When you’ve killed your enemy laner
If the enemy laner has died – or for one reason or another(like recalling) is not in lane anymore, you should try to roam and do something while they’re not there. For example, if you’ve killed the enemy, you could roam while they’re dead and try to get something done. As the enemy will be off the map, there will be no pressure in your lane which is highly favorable when it comes to roaming. Depending on how the game is going and how long the death timer is, you may be able to push the wave and start to roam.
It is important to remember, however, if you need to back, you should recall and not roam. Also, keep an eye on your own lane and get back there at the same time as the enemy so you do not miss out on farm, XP or lane pressure.
After killing one of the enemies, the enemy duo decided to roam through the river. On their walk, they found the Jungler and were able to take him down. This is just one example of how killing the enemy can open up a variety of possible actions.
When an enemy laner is missing a core defensive spell
If an enemy champion has no defense capability because they have used one of their Summoner Spells in a previous exchange, you can abuse the fact that they’re defenseless and pick up some free kills. Communication and in-game awareness are so important for this type of roam, because you will need to know which enemies are missing their Summoner Spells.
I recommend visiting an ally frequently if their enemy laner has no Flash. Because their movement in lane can be relatively scripted, you should abuse the fact that they’re defenseless For example, as Annie is rather immobile, ganking her when her Flash is down is likely to result in basically free kills.
When an enemy has their Flash, a reward through roaming can sometimes be difficult because they may be able to escape or dodge your crowd control. But as they’re defenseless, getting a kill can be easier to achieve. Thus, I recommend frequently visiting an enemy’s lane when they’re not able to defend themselves.
Knowing that the enemy is missing one of their Summoner Spells, I made it my duty to abuse the fact that they were defenseless. Using this knowledge to my advantage, I roamed frequently while their Summoner Spell was on cooldown.
When the enemy is roaming and you need to match it
When a champion roams to a lane, there can be a numbers advantage in said lane. For example, if a Mid laner was to roam to the bottom lane, it could be a 3 versus 2 exchange which in many cases will result in the team with the numbers advantage gaining a lead of some sort. This is why it is crucial that you try and follow the enemy laner if they’re roaming. *
In some cases, you will be able to directly follow the enemy if you’re good in a 1v1 setting. Champions such as Zed or Akali are really good in this situation. However, if you’re behind or not very good in a 1v1 environment, you will have to take an alternative route to get to another lane. Taking a more defensive route will allow you to survive and not get killed by the enemy- especially if they’re an assassin such as Zed who gains a lot of kills by waiting for an enemy to walk past him.
Many champions like to bait roams. So, keep this in mind and do not push the wave straight away or directly follow the enemy as you may be falling into a trap. A few seconds late is nothing in comparison to getting baited into a trap and getting killed.
* If you cannot follow the enemy, push the wave and draw them back to your lane by applying pressure to the tower.
After returning to lane after a poor trade, we noticed that the enemy were roaming. We took an alternative route to collapse on them which resulted in our team gaining a kill.
To gank a lane with your Jungler
The buddy system in League of Legends can be incredibly useful. If the Jungler is headed towards one lane that looks to be difficult to handle, you could run along with them to gank the enemy. Making any exchange 3v1 or 4v2 puts the odds highly in your favor.
When you’re playing as a Support that lacks roaming potential, going with your Jungler increases your stature and roaming capability. For example, you may find it difficult to roam on Janna, but when paired with a Zac or any other Jungler, she can become really good at roaming.
Ganking or roaming can differ between scenarios. For instance, you may enter from one part of the lane and the Jungler another; or you may enter from the same side. It really depends on the situation. Thankfully, this type of roam is so forgiving that it will allow you to do a lot of things!
The Jungler was already in the mid lane once I started roaming. Unfortunately, they were bound to lose in the 2v2 situation. I decided to roam and make it a 3v2 which resulted in us gaining a kill.
4. Things to keep in mind before you roam
Before you decide to roam, you need to make sure that it will work in your favor and you will not waste time nor fall behind because of it. No matter what lane you’re playing, the same concept applies to them all and you’ll need to keep in mind everything that we suggest in this section to prevent yourself from failing.
The main potential issue to roaming is that you may fall behind and miss out on gold and experience which can delay level and item spikes. This can create a noticeable difference between your team and the enemies.
You may also miss out and lose objectives if you decide to roam, which you should try to avoid at all costs. For the Support, there is much more on the line such as the life and well-being of your ADC.
When it comes to roaming, you need to make clear and precise decisions in seconds. Many of these decisions will directly adjust the game outcome. This is why it so important to think and act fast and take everything onboard in this part of the guide.
I feel that the best way to roam is by asking yourself some specific questions in the game. Asking these questions will become second nature with practice and you’ll be a pro in no time! Either way, don’t worry if you’re struggling to find optimal roaming opportunities at first.
In League of Legends, nothing is perfect and every little bit of practice you put in outside of the game is all theory. When it comes to actual League of Legends gameplay, no game is like what it should be on paper.
As no game is perfect, you should prioritize minimizing the collateral damage when you’re gone. For example, a few minions missed is nothing compared to a gold lead and a possible tower. In short, every roam you make will not be perfect – this is Solo Queue after all!
Here are some general questions to keep in mind:
1. Are you playing a champion that excels at roaming?
Previously, we have suggested that every role and champion can roam to some extent which we stand by. However, you will find yourself struggling to force roams on champions that lack any form of reliable hard crowd control like Janna, Soraka or Lulu as well as champions that lack raw damage such as Nasus.
Champions that are great at roaming are ones that have either high amounts of damage or crowd control. Alistar, Lissandra, Thresh, Pyke and Twisted Fate are all fantastic at roaming because their kit supplements it. This means that if you’re playing any of these suggested champions, you should have the first base covered when it comes to roaming. Let’s move on to what else you need to know before roaming.
As a side note, if you aren’t roaming with a champion designed to do so, you ARE hurting yourself. For example, once late game arrives, TF’s ultimate is much less useful in a 5v5 teamfight at Baron in comparison to another Mid laner, such as Orianna.
2. Is your targeted lane in a gankable position?
Map awareness is very important in League of Legends especially when you want to roam to another lane. Checking out how your other lanes are doing is a must before you set up and leave your own lane. Without looking at the lane itself, you will be wasting time by roaming and you may miss out on possible opportunities in your own lane such as being able to deny the enemy farm or gain a tower.
If a lane is pushing for example, unless you can dive the enemy, there is no point going to gank them because you will not be able to do anything as the enemy is already under their tower.
Another thing to look out for is the health of your ally and the enemy. If either one of them is rather low, it may be non-beneficial to gank or roam because either one of them will have to back off. If the enemy is missing a good portion of health, they will probably be clearing the wave and backing before you get there. If your laner is on low health, they will be unable to follow you up once you go in which may ruin any potential at gaining a kill.
If the wave is being pushed into the enemy’s tower, it will bounce or reset eventually. This can leave it in the middle of the lane which can give you a good chance at ganking.
Generally, avoid roaming if the enemy if freezing on their side of the lane. Unless you can dive or your ally can push and make it bounce.
If the wave is being pushed into your ally’s tower, or they are freezing, it can be a good time to roam. However, if the wave is stacking, they will be unable to help you once you go in, so ask them to trim it down prior to your arrival.
3. What resources does your ally have in the lane you’re roaming to?
While not necessary, if your ally has their ultimate up, it would be easier for your team to secure the kill.
Make sure your ally has health and is able to follow up once you engage and go in. If they are really low, they will not be able to help you. This also means that they should not die in the exchange either.
If your ally doesn’t have much mana, they may be unable to follow up with damage through their auto attacks. This would be a wasteful time to gank unless you have enough damage, like Morgana or Pyke.
4. For Supports: Will your ADC be able to farm and stay alive while you’re gone?
A good Support can take over the map through roaming alone. Much like the Mid laner or the Jungler, a dedicated roaming Support can literally be anywhere and everywhere at any given moment. Before leaving their ADC alone in lane, they’ll need to make sure that the ADC will remain alive while they’re gone.
The Supports main priority should be the ADC’s life and they should still be able to: farm, stay alive and not get denied. If the ADC will inevitably be denied or at risk, then roaming can be very difficult for them.
Depending on who your ADC is, they may be able to farm with their abilities. Ezreal, for example, is a great laner that can safely play alone for a small period of time thanks to his Q and his E. However, if your ADC is somebody like a Kog’Maw who is rather immobile and squishy- you should not roam.
If your ADC is somebody who cannot be left alone because they’re either defenseless or have no escape ability like Kog, Jhin, Twitch then you should not roam when they’re in lane. Instead, you should prioritize roaming when they’re guaranteed to not get denied or roam directly from the base.
You may be asking yourself if you can roam even when not all of the criteria are met. The answer is yes, you can roam if these things are not met. However, you should prioritize minimizing what is lost to prevent you from falling behind.
5. Setting up for a roam
Setting up your lane before roaming is incredibly important. Without proper setup or utilization of the tools and techniques we’re going to suggest, you’ll find it difficult to survive and will ultimately see yourself falling behind.
Furthermore, you’ll delay your level and item spikes which can create a gap in your own lane. When roaming, a kill is unfortunately never guaranteed which increases the urgency for you to set your lane up like this so you do not fall further behind.
Shove your wave before you go
If you were to just drop everything and leave lane, the enemy would be able to push the wave almost instantly into your tower and start dealing damage to it. Because there would be nobody guarding or defending the tower, the enemy may even be able to destroy it.
This would not be a good trade for the most part as you’ll lose a tower- especially if it is the first one of the game. Unless you’re roaming to pick up kills and get a tower straight after, you never want to leave your lane in a position where the enemy can just quickly push it into your tower.
This is why you need to make sure that you push the wave before leaving. Directly pushing it will cause a buffer effect that works in your favor. For example, if you were to shove the wave from your side into the enemy’s, you would have the advantage when it comes to roaming. This is because the enemy will have to clear the wave in order for it to not deal damage to their tower.
This will delay them a fair bit if they were to follow. If the enemy was to follow you straight away, then they would lose a wave or more of experience and gold because they just left lane. This would also mean that their tower takes additional damage and they will delay their item and level spikes. From pushing and then roaming, you’ll be in the best position possible and miss out on minimal resources while gone.
If the enemy decides to stay in lane, you will have a short period of free time before it collapses into your tower. This is why map awareness is so important as you will need to keep an eye on your lane while you’re gone and return as soon as you can.
On top of that, if the enemy stays in lane to push, you’ll have the numbers advantage in any fight as the enemy laner wouldn’t be there. If the wave that you’ve pushed into the enemies tower is rather large, it will give you more time to roam and it will take the enemy longer to clear it if they do not have much damage or AOE abilities.
Communicate with your team
Communication is important as a whole in League of Legends and even more so when you’re trying to assist your allies. Before leaving your lane or moving from base, make sure that you communicate with your team and tell them your intentions. For the Support, there is added requirements to roaming because you will need to let the ADC know as well.
The way to communicate with your team is through pings and the chat. Utilizing the communication system through frequent and consistent pinging will allow your intended lane or laners know what should happen. Typically, you would use the “on my way” ping and use it repetitively while you’re on your way. I recommend that you borderline spam it to ensure that your allies take notice. It easy to miss one ping, so use it frequently so they know you’re coming.
You can also use the “OMW” ping to lay out a determined route for yourself. For example, if the Support was to roam to the mid lane, they could ping mid directly, and then ping which way they’re going – like through the jungle entrance or directly through mid. This can often allow your laner to reposition and start the engagement.
6. Roaming Routes
Something that is heavily overlooked when roaming is the route that you take. If you take a suboptimal route, you may find that you get to the designated lane at a later time which may ruin your chances of helping your team or securing a kill.
For example, if you were to take a longer route to counter gank, the enemy may have already got the kill and be backing off before you get there. This is why it is incredibly important to always take the most appropriate route when possible.
Below, we have some image suggestions and examples of different routes you can take. Use these images at your own discretion, and try your best to adapt to every scenario with the most appropriate route whenever possible.
Be sure to watch your replays (which you should already be doing), to see if your pathing was optimal and how your timing could have been improved.
Roaming from bot lane (usually the Support)
Let’s start in the bottom lane with the Support. When the Support wants to roam, they may do so from base, or from their own lane.
As we can see in this image, we’ve given the perspective of either team and we will do so for every image in this section. In most situations, either team can take one or more of the potential routes, so we’ve gone ahead and labeled them for you.
One of the more common and obvious roaming routes in the game is straight through the river itself. This can be a good route to take as it runs directly to the mid lane. It can also be one of the safer routes on our list depending on the situation.
For example, if you’re pushing and have lane pressure, you could take this route to the mid lane. In a lot of cases, this will be the route you’ll take as it is the most time efficient with a high chance of success.
Each team can also roam through their own jungle if they’re unable to make it through the river. In most cases, especially if you don’t have a ton of vision control, you’ll only want to take a defensive route if you want to be safe.
For example, if you’re following the enemy Support and trying to match their roam, you would want to take a defensive route rather than follow them directly as they can just turn around and collapse on you. There are also some other reasons why you may want to take this route such as if you know that the Scuttle Crab has been taken or the river is warded.
Due to the architecture of the map, the Blue team will be ‘more’ overextended going through the river- which is why it’s favored for you to sometimes take a more defensive route through your own jungle.
For the Red team, it’s not uncommon to roam through the enemy’s jungle in order to dive or rotate to the mid lane. We’ve avoided displaying this route as you should only take it in strict circumstances such as if you’re winning lane or you’ve killed the enemy bottom laners.
Roaming from Top lane
Now let’s talk about the Top lane. Top laners generally do not roam unless they have an edge in the lane or they know that they can pick up a kill by roaming. Some champions have ultimate’s that are very good at ganking.
Due to this, roaming can be quite good for them as it will allow them to use their ultimate in an effective way. For example, Hecarim could run to the mid lane and cast his ultimate on the enemy and then return back to the top lane: the same goes for Sion.
The roaming route you take from the top lane depends on where the current minion wave is as well as where you are playing the lane. If you’re playing aggressively, you will always want to take the route through the river. Or if you’re ahead, you can take the deeper route into the enemy’s jungle. This is because you’re stronger than the enemy and should have roaming priority.
Top laners are also the most likely role to take Teleport. This opens many more ganking options and will reward players with better map and game sense. Your routes after a Teleport depend on your location and game state so we won’t have a specific image for these instances – feel free to mix and match with other map routes and apply them to your TP.
As the blue team, if the enemy is pushing the wave towards you, you’ll never want to roam as the enemy will be able to get your tower. But you can take a more defensive route through your own jungle if you want to surprise gank another lane. Just like the suggestions with the bottom lane, if the river is warded or if you do not have roaming priority, you should take this route. This is also a good route to take if the enemy is freezing or denying you farm.
Here comes the tricky part to roaming: what angle should you approach the mid lane? You need to look at where both the Mid laners are and attack from the side that is closest to the enemy. If the wave is in the middle of the lane, you should look at approach slightly from behind the enemy to cut them off and make it difficult for them to escape.
You would never use the route closest to your ally as the element of surprise would be ruined. Depending on who you’re playing as well as what stage of the game you’re in, you may be able to dive the enemy. Before doing so, make sure that you’ve communicated to the Mid laner your intentions and make sure that the minion wave is under the enemy’s tower too.
Roaming from Mid lane
As a Mid laner, you can have some of the highest impact on the map. One way of having high impact is by roaming as often as you can. As the mid lane is located directly in the middle of the map, you have the opportunity to roam to either of the side lanes whenever you feel like it. With the potential to be anywhere and everywhere, much like a Jungler, they can solo win a game by winning their lane and snowballing their lead to help other lanes.
Unlike some of the other images we’ve shown you, as the Mid laner, no matter what team you’re on, you can take any route to move around the map. In some cases, if you’re ahead, you may even be able to even go into the enemy’s jungle to scout or hunt the Jungler as well as dive the enemy bottom lane.
While it’s important to take the most efficient route when possible, in some cases you may benefit from looping around the map by not taking a direct path. For example, if you’ve pushed as the red team, you could walk back and out of your own jungle entrance past the blue buff, cross through the river bush and into the enemy’s jungle behind the red buff.
From there, you could run bot to either dive or gank. You can also utilize the blast cone to escape and dodge any potential wards inside the blue tri-brush.
Using a non-direct route can work wonders if you’re playing a mobile champion that has a dash or a leap. Leblanc, for example, benefits heavily from this type of roaming technique as she can use your W to get over walls. Most of the top lane nor bottom laners have this advantage when it comes to roaming: so make sure to abuse it whenever you can!
Roaming from base
Roaming from lane to lane is a perfect habit to utilize once you’re in lane. Unfortunately, not every champion nor situation will allow you to roam once you’re in lane. This is where roaming directly from base can come in handy. More often than not, the only role that does this is the Support with the exception of a few Top laners such as Sion, Camille or Malphite.
This is why I recommend that whenever you’re playing as the Support, you always take one of these designated routes to lane rather than tabbing out and just mindlessly walking bot. If you were to walk bot and then decide that you want to roam, you would have wasted precious time and you may miss out on experience because of your negligence.
As you walk through your own jungle, you should keep an eye on what is happening in the mid lane and around the map. In the image, there is an emphasis on particular areas of the map that are highlighted with purple. These are cross sections on the map where you need to make a decision to which you either continue roaming or return to your own lane.
This is where having an eye on what is happening in the mid lane is important. If the mid lane is in a gankable position, you could continue walking towards mid until you come to the next cross-section where once again, you’ll need to decide if you can gank or not.
If at any point the lane changes and doesn’t seem to be in a gankable position anymore, you can simply return to your own lane. In Solo Queue, you may see that the mid lane looks to be in a good position to gank, but when you start walking there- the lane may have changed
If you take this route, you will be in the best situation possible when it comes to roaming- even if you do not actually go to the mid lane.
We’ve only gone ahead and only created an image for the Support. This is because, generally speaking, unless you’re playing a specific champion who can roam like this – the Top and Mid laners should not take this approach to lane as standard.
7. What to do While Roaming
To make the most of roaming, you’ll need to keep an eye on the map at all times and be prepared to do other things while you’re en route to another lane. Usually, you’ll roam to help other lanes out and pick up kills. But, as you’re not in lane anyway, you may as well try to make the roam more successful by achieving and doing as much as you can in a short space of time. From warding to map awareness, scouting, and fighting, there’s a lot that can be done while roaming.
Keep an eye on what is happening in lanes and around the map
Once you’ve left your lane, you’ll need to keep an eye on what is happening in your own lane and the lane you’re headed towards. If you do not look at what is happening in either lane, you can end up wasting your time which can result in you missing out on gold and experience as well as pressure in your own lane.
In a previous section, we suggested looking at what resources both laners have available to them. Resources such as health and mana are incredibly important when it comes to your teammate being able to follow up. If you see that your ally has taken a beating while you’re on your way, you may have to turn tail and head back to your own lane as the roam may be a lost cause.
This is because they may die in the exchange which is often not worth risking. If your ally has used all of their mana up before you get there, it will be difficult for them to follow up with damage – especially if they’re a mage.
Another thing to look at is what abilities both champions and yourself have available. If your ally has just used their main source of damage or crowd control before you get there, you may have to wait for it to be up again before going in. There would be no point engaging if your ally cannot follow up as it will reduce possible kill potential and essentially, the enemy may be able to survive because of the lack of damage. This is where communication and map awareness is crucial.
Your own lane is something that is often forgotten about once you’re roaming. As you’re no longer there, you can be giving the enemy laner an opportunity to pick up some extra farm and gold. This is natural if you roam when the enemy is in lane, and it cannot really be avoided, but keep this in mind when you’re gone. If you notice that the enemy is starting to get a good amount of CS, return as soon as you can so you can to ensure you do not fall behind.
If you notice that the enemy has started to push the wave back, you’ll need to return to lane and protect your tower. Towers are very fragile even with the armor plating. Destroying the tower or its armor grants the enemy bonus gold, which is something you can do without.
Unless you can get a tower first, or make a worthwhile trade such as the Mid lane outer for a side lane outer, you never want to give the enemy the opportunity to take a tower or destroy the armor plating.
This is because it will give the enemy laner gold, make your lane vulnerable and open up the map. To conclude, always have an understanding of how your lane is being played out when you’re not there.
When roaming, especially if you don’t have the greatest of kill threat, you’ll need to know where the enemy Jungler is at all times. If you run into them, they may blow your cover and the roam will fail. Avoid going into the enemies jungle and taking an aggressive route if you don’t know where they are.
Walk through every bush you come into contact with
Bushes are located throughout the map and these bushes can contain visible and invisible wards. If you were to not walk through a bush housing a visible ward, the enemy would be able to see you and they may be able to back off in time.
Control Wards, Zombie Wards, Farsight Wards, and Ghost Poros are all visible to the eye and easy to destroy. Avoiding them would mean that you would be wasting your time if you continue to roam. I recommend that you check every bush you walk past for visible signs of wards. Clearing one can open up more opportunities for your whole team.
Facechecking can be difficult though, so use at your own discretion. If you have a Sweeping Lens available to you, you would want to use that as a substitute rather than face checking bushes directly. If there is anything inside of the bushes such as a ward or champion, it will create a silhouette or outline of what is inhabiting them.
This will make it much safer to roam if you’re somebody who is squishy like Lux or Zyra. To maximize this technique, I would recommend that you path directly through the middle of the river so you give the Sweeping Lens the biggest area of effect.
When in doubt, always count the numbers of enemy champions on the map. If you count most of them, say four out of five, the likelihood of your path being safe increases. If you only see one or two, it’s probably better to avoid facechecking or roaming without more information.
Using a Sweeping Lens or placing a Control Ward while you walk through the river will also spot invisible wards such as ones that are placed through a champions trinket or picked up through Kleptomancy.
Ward while you roam
Warding is something that is incredibly important in League of Legends and players do not always utilize their Trinket or purchase Control Wards. When you’re roaming, you should try to place deep wards on your way to and from each lane.
Warding like this is incredibly valuable as it can allow your team to know where the enemy is and what camps the Jungler has available to them. With this knowledge, lots of things can be achieved such as the ability to take objectives more safely as well as pick up kills around the map.
Depending on who you’re playing, you may find more success at this. For example, Leblanc can deep ward very easily thanks to her Distortion (W), which can enable her to get over walls. This will reduce the time spent inside the enemy’s jungle which ultimately makes deep warding safer. Syndra may find it difficult to roam and ward as she is rather immobile and has no dashes or leaps.
Many players tend to just ward their own lane and nowhere else. If you’re able to, I would highly recommend that you ward like this whenever possible.
For the Mid lane specifically, here are some suggested warding positions you can use while you’re roaming. Many of them are in the river or on the suggested roaming routes which come in handy as you will not need to take a detour. However, you may see some other wards that are much deeper in the enemies Jungle.
These wards will require you to venture into the enemy’s jungle, however, they can be very rewarding. If you’re ahead or you know where the enemy Jungler is, then warding here is rather safe. Beware though, if you’re unsure of where the enemy Jungler is or you are rather squishy or immobile, roaming into the enemies Jungle can be difficult.
As the Support, you will be placing the most wards around the map. One way of increasing your vision score and lighting up the map for your team is by warding when you roam.
Unlike Mid laners however, it is probable that you will not have as much confidence to deep ward as many Supports are on the squishy side.
Usually, you will stick to warding the same roaming paths and not venture too far off track. However, if you know where the enemy Jungler is, then there will be no problem.
Top laners should only take an aggressive route when they’re ahead. Placing wards while they’re moving through the enemy’s jungle is a fantastic way of gaining vision in the top side of the map. Unfortunately, the top side of the map often gets neglected when it comes to warding as only 3 players can really impact that part of the map.
This is where warding on the go is crucial. Having vision in the top side of the map will allow your bottom lane to play more aggressively if they know where the enemy Jungler is.
As always, you should use these suggested warding locations at your own discretion. In many cases, there are more locations where you can choose to ward and we’ve only listed a few of the more popular ones.
Take an unorthodox roaming route when ahead
Once ahead, you should try to make more aggressive plays around the map. Roaming and taking routes that you wouldn’t necessarily take from behind, can often increase your lead and put the enemy even more on the back foot. One such roaming route would be through the enemy’s jungle.
Denying the enemy Jungler safe haven from their own jungle will prevent them from gaining gold and experience. It may also prevent them from being able to step foot in one side of their jungle in particular which can relieve pressure on that side of the map.
Depending on what role you’re playing, there are a few different things that can be achieved by taking more aggressive roaming routes. Here are some things to keep in mind:
For solo laners:
You may be able to kill an enemy
While ahead, finding and killing the enemy Jungler will grant you gold and put the enemy Jungler behind as they will be unable to farm for some time.
It may allow your team to take major objectives such as the Rift Herald, a Tower or the Dragon. As the enemy Jungler is dead, you’d have a big Smite advantage or be able to siege since the enemy Jungler would not be able to defend the tower either, which may allow your team to take one with ease.
You can steal the enemy Jungler’s camps and buffs
If you have a lead and more damage, you may be able to take camps away from the enemy Jungler. This will waste the enemies time if they walk specifically for a buff or camp, and deny the enemy gold and experience while giving you a lot of free gold.
The enemy Mid laner may miss out on the Blue Buff which will give your Mid laner an easier time in lane. The enemy will be unable to spam abilities which can have a high impact in the later stages of the laning phase.
You will be able to ward more aggressively
While roaming into the enemy’s jungle, make sure to leave wards to scout vision. If you know where the enemy Jungler is, your team will be able to play around it and gain kills or take objectives off the map without fear of the enemy Jungler showing up.
Usually, the Support would not be able to do as much compared to a solo laner when invading as many of them are squishy and lack damage. This is why the Supports wouldn’t necessarily hunt for the enemy as a solo laner would. Furthermore, some Supports would not be able to go as deep compared to other roles because they don’t have the survivability aspect that other lanes do.
Taking unorthodox roaming routes can often be more impactful in the northeast and southwest due to the architecture of the map. I find that the Red team Support specifically will have a much easier time at roaming aggressively through the enemies Jungle and the same goes for the Blue team Top laner.
Previously in the ‘Roaming Routes’ section, we suggested that you should take a safer route through the river in most cases. However, when you’re ahead, you’re able to take almost any route to another lane.
For example, as the Red team Support, you can roam through the enemy’s jungle when ahead, where previously we suggested you shouldn’t. When you’re ahead or have priority, you can adjust your roaming route to suit any occasion.
Avoid warded areas
This goes without saying, but you should try to avoid any warded areas while roaming. If you walk through a bush that is warded, the enemy may be able to react and back off before you get there. This would mean that you’ve wasted your time and you will waste more if you continue to roam.
This is why it is important to avoid warded areas of the map when roaming. Taking advantage of the Jungle plants like the Scryers Bloom will allow you to spot any wards that are en route. Furthermore, you can use the Blast Cones to get over walls and avoid specific warding spots. For example, the bot lane tri brush which is a notorious bush that frequently houses wards.
If you know that the Scuttle Crab has been taken, you should avoid walking through the river as well and take an alternative route as the enemy will see you coming. Remember that the surprise element to roaming can make it more impactful and successful.
Take advantage of the jungle plants
Jungle plants are amazing in League of Legends and they can assist you in many ways. The two plants that directly help you in roaming are the Scryer’s Bloom and the Blast Cone. These jungle plants will enable you to adjust your roam pathing and increase the likelihood of gaining a kill and this is why I highly recommend them.
You can use the Scryer’s Bloom to scout for vision which can allow you to know if a part of the map is warded. For example, using it near the bottom side of the map will allow you to spot any wards that are in the Bot lane bushes. Any wards that are placed will show on the map which you can play around to ensure that you’re not spotted at any time by taking an alternative roaming route and avoiding these wards.
If you’re the Support, you can shoot the Scryers Bloom into the enemy’s jungle to make deep warding and aggressive roaming more successful. If you know that the enemy Jungler is not on one side of the map, it will be safer for you to go and walk through their jungle. As suggested, this will be more surprising and safer for you.
Some of the images we’ve shown throughout this guide have directly discussed the Blast Cone. You can use the Blast Cone to get over walls and dodge warded areas. It is a fantastic plant that truly enables the person using it. Whenever you’re roaming and come across this plant in particular, try to use it to your advantage. If used correctly, you will be able to increase your success rate at roaming as the enemy will not see you coming until it’s too late.
There are a bunch of things you need to keep in mind while you are roaming and if you neglect or do not think about some of these things, then you may end up getting yourself killed or you may start to fall behind. If you see that a roam is going to fail or looks to be going wrong, just return to lane and do not waste any more time.
Once you’ve roamed to another lane, you need to think about what you are going to do next. Your next decision needs to be quick and also be decisive- if you delay or back track on your decision, you may waste precious time that can cost you a tower, an objective or just farm and experience. Either way, there is an emphasis on how quick you need to make your next decision.
Return to your lane
Returning to your own lane is often required after roaming. In many cases, you will return to your own lane to either respond to what the enemy is doing or to continue farming. If you were unable to get a kill through roaming, or you do not have enough gold to recall, you can return to your own lane assuming that you will not die. For Supports specifically, you will have to return to lane no matter what.
Supports (in most cases) will have to return to lane after roaming as they will need to protect the ADC. If the Support chooses to recall, their ADC may get zoned off the minion wave and get denied gold and experience. Obviously, this is something you want to avoid, so if you have the health – it is important to return to your own lane and stick to your ADC.
If the enemy didn’t decide to follow you when you roamed, they will most likely still be in the lane where you left them. A smart enemy would have pushed the wave while you are gone, which would need to be addressed. If the wave is an immediate threat to the tower, you should return to lane and clear the wave to prevent the enemy from getting free damage down on your tower. Towers are incredibly important and you do not want to give the enemy the opportunity to deal damage to them.
Furthermore, if your tower is in immediate danger of being destroyed – you need to get your ass back to your lane as soon as possible. With Riot’s recent changes to towers, they are now a little bit stronger, so they won’t be destroyed in one push. However, you do not want to give the enemy the opportunity to take a tower for free or let them whittle away at it. This is especially true if the tower is in the Mid lane or if it is the first tower of the game. I highly recommend that you protect your mid lane tower at all costs as once destroyed, it opens up the whole map for the enemy.
If you have got a lot of gold, it is important that you recall and spend your gold wisely. Even though you may be rich, if you do not invest it and spend it in an efficient way, you will have no advantage. Recalling can allow you to pick up the next item you need which can help you in your own lane.
Backing also allows you to reset your resources: specifically, your health and mana. After a roam or any exchange, you may have used some of your mana or you may have lost some of your health which may result in you being slightly vulnerable. It is smarter to return to base rather than go back to your own lane if you are missing a good portion of health so you do not get killed.
Take the tower
Staying in lane to take a tower after roaming is a very good way of gaining more gold. Destroying the armor plating or outright taking the tower can grant you and your allies a reasonable amount of income. As each tower grants gold, it would be beneficial if you can try to destroy it. In addition, the armor plating can also give you a nice amount of gold which is why it’s important to try and destroy it. Gold mined from these towers will allow you to get your next item quicker in comparison to the enemy.
Taking towers is very dependent on the in-game situation though. For example, if the enemies tower is rather low, you may be able to take it. Whereas if the tower has armor plating, it can be quite difficult to take in one push. Another thing to keep in mind is what is happening in your own lane. If your enemy laner is pushing, you may have to return to your lane and defend your own tower. However, it may be worth staying in the lane to take the first blood tower and trade towers instead. Realistically, you will only want to do this if you are able to get more out of it. For example, the first blood tower or a more important tower such as the mid lane tier 1.
Taking towers will allow you to open up the map. Unfortunately, while gaining kills is nice, they rarely win the game. Instead, you will need to take towers to destroy the enemies Nexus. If you are able to take a tower, it can open up the map for your team to conquer certain areas. The mid lane towers are by far the best to take as they open up each side of the enemy’s jungle. This can also help increase your roaming potential, because it may allow you to roam through the enemy’s jungle.
Rotate to another lane
Rotating to another lane is very dependent on the situation. If you are ahead, you can rotate to another lane to continue applying pressure. However, in many cases, you may not be able to do this as the enemy will try to take your tower. Let’s suggest that you are a Top laner who has rotated to the middle lane and killed the enemy. You could then rotate to the bottom lane after- if there is nothing happening in your own lane. Some players do not necessarily react well when somebody roams – i.e. they do not push their lane and force the enemy to come back. You can use this to your advantage by continuing to snowball and help other lanes out. As suggested, this can be quite difficult, so you may only be able to do this if you have won your lane or have taken the tower prior to roaming.
Rotating can allow your team to get more kills and earn more gold as well. As you will be able to kill the enemy and possibly take a tower, you will be gaining a nice amount of gold that can allow your team to get their next item. As League of Legends has a snowball effect, putting the enemy behind and gaining gold for your team will create a noticeable advantage in terms of items and levels spikes.
Furthermore, taking a tower will also open up that part of the map which can allow your team free reign over certain areas. For example, if you’ve previously taken the mid lane tower, you can rotate to the bottom side of the map- kill the enemy and then take the tower. This will make it extremely difficult for the enemy Jungler to farm in their bottom side jungle, which may create a level disadvantage. It will also give your team priority over the Dragon. As well as deny the enemy their bottom side buff.
Remember that in an ideal situation, there will be no repercussions from roaming. Unfortunately, as League of Legends is far from ideal, you will find yourself roaming in bad situations where you either roam to early or too late. As suggested, no matter what happens, try to make the best out of a bad situation. With that in mind, thank you for reading, and I hope this guide has helped you improve at roaming.
Another Everything guide for the books! We hope you found this comprehensive guide useful and educational. Let us know if we missed any concepts or tricks related to roaming in the comments below. As always, you can find Picklepants in our Discord if you have any questions!