LoL Mana Guide: Optimizing Your Resources
Controlling your mana in League of Legends is one of the fundamentals that every player needs to learn in order to succeed. Wasting your mana, or using it recklessly can cause a variety of issues for yourself and your teammates. So understanding how and when to use it is key.
In this Mobalytics guide by PicklePants, we’ve taken your guide requests on board and are going to help you manage your mana pool in an effective way. We will also touch on energy and health as well, but note that mana control will be the core subject. Taking everything on board will help you achieve more during the laning phase and in the later stages of the game as well.
To some extent, there is a rule for one, and a rule for another that will come apparent in this guide. When you break away and remove the layers, it all depends on the champion you’re playing. For example, some champions will use their abilities to farm with and some will not. For example, Karthus will use his Q a lot to farm with whereas an ADC may not. So when we say that you should generally avoid farming with an ability, there are some exceptions.
Before we go into detail about when you should and shouldn’t use your mana, we need to cover the basics first.
Mana is a precious resource during the early game. It will allow you to use your abilities more often and allow you to poke, deal damage, and trade blows with the enemy. Most champions in the game rely on their mana and their abilities to deal extra damage to the enemy, so having a reasonably sized mana pool is highly favorable.
Every champion has different costs involved when using their abilities. Some are low cost, and some are very expensive. You will need to avoid using your expensive abilities unless you’re using them with a purpose. For example, utilizing your ultimate to finish somebody off.
You will only use your ultimate if you’re going to kill the enemy, save a teammate or are using it in a team fight. You should avoid using your ultimate in common trades for a number of reasons:
- It’s really expensive. You cannot use your ultimate every 5 seconds compared to a low cost ability. Using it in lane when trading (and not killing the enemy) can force you to back as you will run out of mana.
- It’s a special ability with a long cooldown. You shouldn’t throw out your ultimate unless you’re using with with purpose. Most champions have incredibly long cooldowns which means they cannot use it willy nilly.
This isn’t always the case. Champions with low cooldown ultimates like Zoe or Jayce can use their ultimates as freely as they like.
In most matchups and situations, you can use all of your other abilities freely during the game without any repercussions as long as you keep an eye on their costs and your mana pool. For example, you will need to avoid consuming all your mana or running out of health by poking or trading blows with the enemy.
On the other hand, energy is something that regenerates rather quickly, allowing you to use your abilities more often. The trade-off is that you cannot increase your maximum energy like youc an with mana. While you will still need to keep an eye on their costs, you can be (to some extent) less reserved on when you use them.
For champions whose abilities consume health, you need to only use your abilities if you’re healthy and have a lot of health. If you’re rather weak and do not have much health available, then you don’t want to use a high costing health consuming ability as you will only be putting yourself in a worse position.
Generally speaking, you never want to use your abilities just to farm unless your champion favors it or when you’re forced to. This is because you will be using all of your mana on the minion wave and not the enemy. You’ll need to find a happy medium between using your abilities on the minion wave and on the enemy.
In League of Legends, you will find yourself in a situation where 2 minions are about to die at once. In this situation, you may auto attack one minion and then use a low-cost ability on the second so you can get both minions. Alternatively, you may want to use an ability to last hit a cannon minion if you don’t trust yourself killing it or if your attack animation is clumsy.
However, while you don’t have your ability up, the enemy may look to trade with you. This is where you can try and use your abilities for more than just farming. If you have a long ranged ability like Xerath Q, you could use it on the minion wave and last hit the one you’ll miss but also aim it in the direction of the enemy. This way you’re getting maximum value out of the mana cost. In these situations, using your abilities to farm (ie, to last hit and poke) is fine.
Finally, you will want to use your abilities to fast push the wave if you intend to recall or force the enemy to come back to lane. For example, if the enemy mid laner starts to rotate or roam, you could use some of your abilities to push the wave while they’re gone, making the wave push and crash into their tower.
Although, some champions who like to push the wave and keep the lane pushed such as Vel’koz, Zoe and Syndra to name a few. These champions may like to push the wave early and use their mana on the minion wave (depending on the matchup). If they can hit the enemy with their abilities while pushing the wave then it’s an additional prize. This is also true for champions like Zed who use energy. They can use their abilities to hit a minion when needed.
Among other things, Karthus is a champion that has a terrible auto attack animation. This makes it really difficult for him to last hit minions. Luckily, Karthus Q can be used to last hit as it deals damage, doesn’t cost a lot of mana and regenerates mana if it kills a minion.
Trading and Poking
Trading and poking is a core aspect of laning in League of Legends. This is where you should prioritize using your mana and your abilities to deal extra damage to the enemy. For the most part, most champions have one ability that they use more often than any other. This is usually their first ability (Q), and they use this ability rigorously to poke. However, keep in mind that every ability can be used to poke.
During the laning phase, you will need to use your abilities to trade with the enemy. You will need to maximize your damage output by dealing damage and trading with the enemy when they cannot deal (as much) damage in retaliation to you. One way this can be achieved is by using your ability when the enemy doesn’t have an ability to trade back with. For example, if the enemy has used their Q previously on the minion wave or to farm with, you could use one of your abilities to poke them.
In addition to this, you will always want to try and retaliate whenever the enemy makes the first move when trading. In simple terms, once they use an ability, you use an ability and trade blows with them. You should try to do this if you are ahead or even in lane, but should minimize this when the enemy out damages you. For example, if the Supports trade blows, a utility Support will always be left worse for wear than a mage Support.This is where you will use the above method to trade.
You can use your abilities as much as you want, just make sure you do not waste your mana. You’ll need to avoid returning to lane and using your mana immediately. Instead, trade and poke every so often. Don’t run oom (out of mana) by trying to poke continuously. Like suggested, you will need to find a healthy balance between farming, poking with your abilities, and poking with auto attacks.
When playing as a champion that uses energy, look to trade when you have almost max energy available. This will ensure that you can trade in the most efficient way and use all of your abilities. Avoid looking to go for full trades when you have low energy as you will miss out on a lot of extra damage.
This iconic outplay would have never been possible if Faker didn’t have lots of energy.
Bonus tip: Abilities that you click on to an enemy champion (i.e. not skill shots) will cause you to take minion aggro. Abilities like Annie Q, Pantheon Q, and Teemo Q are all classed as on hit abilities. Avoid trading with these abilities when there is a big minion wave or cannon wave as you will be taking a lot of free damage. You may also mess up your wave management technique too.
When team fighting, you need to make sure that you do not run out of mana prior to a team fight starting, or in the team fight itself. Without mana, you will not be a threat to the enemy – especially as an AP champion or somebody who relies on their abilities to deal damage.
If you’re walking around Summoners Rift without mana, it may entice the enemy to start a team fight or engage on your team as you will not have any mana or damage potential. Without mana, you will not be able to do much in the team fight.
For example, in a poke composition, your team will need to use their abilities as much as possible before engaging and team fighting. However, they will need to keep an eye on their mana pool and keep a healthy amount available to them which they can use in the team fight itself.
There is no real amount of mana you should keep for a team fight because it is unrealistic to maintain and stick to that amount when a team fight could happen at any second and in any location. As a general rule, you should have as much mana as you can and at least enough to use your ultimate and 2 rounds (Q+W+E) of abilities. But obviously, the more mana you have, the better, especially in long drawn out team fights.
If you do not have a lot of mana when a team fight happens, you will lack damage if you rely on your abilities. For instance, if you’re an AP champion, you will struggle dealing damage as you can not freely use your abilities. This may cost your team the team fight if your team decided to engage. Alternatively, if the enemy sees you do not have any mana, they may be able to start the team fight and force your team into a sticky, unfavourable position.
To avoid putting yourself in this situation, keep an eye on your mana pool and do not stay on the map when you have little to no mana left. Recall, refill and get back into the action.
Tips and Tricks
Balancing your mana is something that takes a lot of practice and we all slip up here and there. We will now give you some additional tips and tricks to help you balance your mana pool to come out ahead.
- Take the blue buff.
- When playing as a mana hungry champion like an AP mid laner, try to take your teams blue buff so you’re able to make use of the bonus mana and sustain it provides. Take this away from your Jungler unless they need it.
- Avoid auto piloting and using your abilities on the wave.
- Avoiding autopilot is key in League of Legends, yet something we all suffer with. Try and reduce your autopilot and stop throwing out abilities recklessly during the laning phase- especially on the minion wave.
- Not only will you be running out of mana, but you will also be pushing the minion wave which can have deadly consequences if you’re an immobile champion.Obviously, this is quite situational as you can use your abilities when you need to. But we were trying to emphasis that you shouldn’t use them without proper meaning.
- Always save enough mana to use your dash/escape ability, or any shield/hard crowd control ability.
- Whenever you’re using your abilities to trade or poke, make sure you save enough mana to use your dash or escape ability. You need to save enough mana for this ability because you never know when you’ll need it.In addition to this, if you’re playing as a champion with a shield, like a Support, make sure you have enough mana to use your shield to protect you or the ADC.
- If the enemy decides to trade when you have no mana, you will not be able to defend yourself (or your ADC). If you have an ability that is a form of crowd control, you will need to always have enough mana to use this ability just in case the enemy ganks you while you’re low on mana. Having enough mana just to use your root or your stun will save your life.
- Turn on your ability costs.
- Did you know, you can display how much mana/energy an ability costs? Head over to your settings section, scroll down to ‘Interface’ and then look for ‘Ability and Attack Display’.
- From there, make sure the ‘Show Spell Costs’ is ticked and on.Having this activated will allow you to know how much your abilities cost throughout the game. Now you will not be acknowledging how much the abilities cost as the game goes on, but you will subconsciously taking into account how much you abilities cost.
- In addition to this, I find that looking at them (the costs) helps me understand what abilities I can use prior to trading with the enemy.
We hope you’ve learned something about using and controlling your mana in a more effective way. Just remember to keep an eye on how much mana your abilities cost and how much mana you have available. Realistically, it’s all about awareness and game knowledge more than anything, so practice makes perfect!
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants stream.