Hey everyone, we have another PicklePants post for you! This was written in collaboration with Icathian Angler, another one of our awesome mods, who is also a Diamond Top laner. The guide is quite comprehensive so feel free to skip around or digest this in parts, enjoy! – Agilio
Split pushing is one of the core fundamentals of League of Legends and everybody should know how and when to do it. As long as you understand the basics of split pushing- then you can always pull off a successful split push. Knowledge and experience is key to pull off this type of gameplay.
Top lane is the role that most people associate with split pushing, however, it is not the only role that can do so. In the later stages of the game, almost all the roles and champions can split push effectively even with a poorly optimized kit.
Before we look at split pushing as a whole, we must first know…
What is Split Pushing?
Split pushing, in its simplest form, is when you move to a weak or undefended lane to apply pressure by pushing the wave in attempts to gain a tower advantage. It’s usually associated with the later stages of the mid-to-late game where it is easier to push effectively. There are a few reasons for this, such as death timers being longer and champions being able to push quickly.
The lanes that are usually pushed in this type of fashion are Bot lane and Top lane. This is because they are the outer lanes of the Rift and they are longer in comparison to the Mid lane. This means split pushing can usually be more effective because the enemies will take longer to get to you, which will either give you time to apply more pressure or escape. Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons, but these are some of the best ones to split push a side lane.
When to Split Push
This guide’s intention is to make split pushing look easy. With that said, it is important to do some basic, but necessary “housekeeping” before you start. Doing so will not only make your split push effective, but it will also allow you to make a direct correlation between games as you can find situations that are identical from game-to-game.
Before you read this, I need to make it clear that this is general information and very situational. Times listed may be good in some games, but may not be in others. Each game is different, so try your best to notice and find patterns/ opportunities to split push.
You can split push if:
1. Your team can fight 4v5 or 4v4 and do so successfully
- This is one of the biggest things to remember and to keep in mind when you are looking to split push. If your team can successfully fight 4v5/4v4 while you’re gone then you may be able to split push.
2. Your team has consistent wave clear and can push the enemy back if they decide to fight or push
- Any good enemy team will realize exactly what you are wanting to do and achieve. It is important that your team has wave clear and can slow down the enemies’ push by clearing waves quickly and avoiding the fight. Ideally, your team will also be applying pressure to another objective while you go for another in a side lane.
3. You can push waves quickly and clear them fast
- If you can quickly push minion waves with your auto attacks and AOE abilities, then split pushing is quite easy. You just need to push (or in some cases slow push) waves and apply pressure to the enemy objectives.
4. You can escape quickly if need be, and you can take objectives relatively quickly
- If you have an escape ability and are strong in a 1v1 setting like Jax or Fiora. Then you can be quite efficient at split pushing because you can fight whoever comes to stop you. You can also quickly disengage and escape if the enemy sends multiple players.
5. You have Teleport and can help your team if they need you
- If your team needs you, you may have to Teleport to a nearby ward or minion. It is important to have Teleport in these situations because it will allow you to get in the mix of the fight quickly instead of Recalling and walking towards them. Teleport can also be used defensively if the enemy is trying to collapse on you.
6. You are able to fight anybody who comes to stop you
- If you’re playing a champion who is strong in 1v1 situations like Fiora, Trundle, Lucian or Renekton, you should have no trouble fighting any champion that comes to counter your push. It may be tough to split push if you’re unable to exert pressure on a lane that is being defended.
When you should NOT Split Push
1. Your team can fight 4v5 or 4v4 and do so successfully
- If your team consists of champions that are good at fighting in a group then there is no need to split push. Instead, you may want to group and fight as a team to play to their strengths.
2. If your team is behind and prone to dying in the 4v4/4v5
- If your allies are dying straight away in team fights, then you cannot split push. You need to help them in team fights and avoid losing objectives. In League, there is a snowball effect – make sure to not let the enemy snowball their advantage. Assuming that your team cannot disengage safely, you will continue to lose objectives until you help defend.
3. If the enemy is able to dive your team with ease
- Effective split pushing evolves heavily around your team composition. If the enemy is a hard engage based team, then your team must be able to successfully disengage a fight without dying. If they are prone to being stomped in team fights, then you will need to group up and avoid split pushing.
- If the enemy can easily dive and fight your team with little to no consequences, then you need to help them. It is not possible for you to split in this situation since they will just dive your allies as soon as you show up elsewhere on the map.
Before you Split Push
Assuming that you have read above and that you’re indeed able to split push. You must make sure that some very important things are achieved to make the most out of the situation and make your push effective. These two things are very important and are even more important than what has been listed above. You may be playing a champion that can split push, but you need to do some important back work before going to split push. If you do not do this, then your push may be ruined and consequently, you will fall behind.
Prepare Ward Coverage
Ward coverage is not situational. You need to have good ward coverage around the map to ensure that you will not be collapsed upon by the enemy champions. Below is a diagram of some effective wards that you can place before/during the split push:
As we can see by the diagram, there is a ton of vision around the map that can help you to split push effectively. If an enemy champion walks near a ward or you see that they are headed your way- you may have to back off. However, on the switch side of this, if you see an enemy leave your lane then you can hard push.
There are plenty of different places to use your wards and trinkets. So make sure to ward appropriately around the lane you are split pushing.
If you do not ward, then you will not gain the valuable knowledge that can save your life or allow your team to secure another objective. If you see that multiple enemy champions are coming your way, then you have time to escape and tell your team to take an objective.
Communication between your team is key. Your team must know if and when you’re going to split push. This allows them to play accordingly and play around you. If the enemy doesn’t know how to play with a split pusher, you may need to adapt to the game and in some cases, explain (in detail) what you’re going to do.
If you have Teleport, make it apparent by pinging it and make sure your team knows you are there to Teleport if they need you. In team fights, get the Support to drop a ward or Teleport to the nearest ward and help them. Do not ping Teleport and then not follow up. While split pushing, keep an eye on your team and the mini-map and be prepared to Teleport and help them at any moment
Remember – if you do not plan on using your Teleport and the enemy engages on your team, you may be at fault for losing a team fight because you were not there. So, it is important to talk to your team and tell them your plans and ideas. Communication is key, remember to tell them “I’m split pushing – play safe.”
How to Effectively Split Push
Our Mobalytics mod and residential Diamond Top lane main, Icathian Angler, has kindly jumped in to help us out (his quotes italicized).
He suggests following basic wave management to ensure your split push is effective:
“While the concept of split pushing is fairly simple, there are some neat things you can do to create more pressure in the side lane.”
Setting up a split push with a double (and sometimes triple) cannon wave requires impeccable timing from you and your team.
“This is seen in pro play, where a side lane gets slow pushed and is set up prior to taking a major objective, as well as the entire team playing around the stacking waves.”
To stack waves like this and create a super wave you need to slow push a minion wave. To do this- you kill the back caster minions. This will make the wave slowly push and allow the wave to stack.
Icathian says, “Depending on where the minions clash in the lane, it varies how many minions you have to kill to create a slow push. The closer to the middle of the lane, the fewer minions you need to kill for the lane to push by itself. If you want a ‘super wave’, you can just kill 1 or 2 casters if the lane is reset (meaning even.) The less you kill, the slower it will stack and the bigger it will get.” He follows on with “The fewer minions you have in an advantaged wave, the more time you have for the next waves to eventually clash.”
“Wave stacking can be quite hard to pull off and hard to accomplish. You don’t always need a super wave to split push when you’re playing a traditional split pusher.”
This statement is true- especially if the enemy is efficient and organised. In cases where you cannot create a super wave, you will need to use a combination of slow pushing and fast clearing to get the wave in a more favorable position to allow you to split push.
The Difference Between Split Pushing and Overextending
Like stated throughout the guide, split pushing requires attention to detail and absolute focus. Many players think they’re split pushing, when in fact they’re just over extending and pushing mindlessly. It is important to obtain and have dual objective pressure to split push.
While you can get turrets by just pushing waves with no pressure around the map, it can be harder to do so and is not considered split pushing.
“This is a symptom of the split pushing champion (for example Jax) creating pressure before the rest of his team is able to follow up,” Icathian explains.
This is a miss-timing and miss-communication between the split pusher and his team. “When this happens, the sidelaner gets collapsed upon as the enemies are able to rotate to stop him; which in some cases, will get the champion killed.” Icathian emphases that “This is overextending, not split pushing.”
When to Split Push
There are a few different direct occasions where you can split push effectively. The reason you can split push during these times varies but they all have the same goal – to provide your team with enough time to gain an advantage. One of the problems with split pushing is that there is no timer for split pushing. Instead, it’s all about experience and game knowledge so play lots of games to understand more about split pushing.
For example, if your team wants to take Dragon, I suggest that you split push and apply pressure to the Top lane. This will either result in you getting the Top lane tower, or your team getting the Dragon for free whilst the enemy comes to stop you. Either they will send their Top laner to deal with you making the Dragon fight 4v4, or they will send multiple people to stop you- resulting in a free objective for your team. You will also be applying mental pressure to the enemies rather than just physical pressure!
On the opposite side of the Rift there is Baron. If your team wants to take Baron and can do so, then you could potentially split push Bot lane to apply pressure. The same method applies to the Dragon. Keep pushing the lane and let your team take the objective for free if the enemy tries to stop you. Here are some specific instances:
Split pushing with Rift Herald
Split pushing with the Rift Herald is one way of almost guaranteeing an objective on the map. If the split pusher themselves have the buff. They can use it in a lane and then group with their team. You must ensure that you have pressure on the map so your Rift Herald can deal damage and take the tower.
Using the Rift Herald will create a situation where you can join your team and the Rift Herald can push and take an objective by herself. This will also allow you to potentially take another objective or start a 5v5 or 5v4.
Split pushing with Baron
If your team has recently killed Baron and received the buff, then it’s time to split push. You should, in most cases, avoid fighting as 5 and instead, apply pressure by trying to get as many towers as possible. You should do this to gain an increased global gold lead over the enemy and to open up the map. You want to avoid fighting as 5 because you may get caught out as a team, resulting in you all dying and wasting the buff.
Instead, you want to siege as many towers as possible.
In this example clip, we can see how effective split pushing with the Baron buff can be. While my team fights the enemy and takes the Mid lane towers. I am allowed to freely push Bot lane and get 3 towers and an inhibitor.
Trundle is a great example split pusher because:
- His Q is an auto attack reset which will allow him to take towers and push waves quickly.
- His W increases his attack speed and movement speed. The bonus attack speed will allow him to push waves and take towers quickly, and the bonus movement speed will allow him to engage or disengage the enemy.
Proxy farming is another method of split pushing but is less common. It is most effective during the laning phase when you are ahead of the enemy laner. If you can successfully pull off a proxy farm then you should try to do it. I’m not suggesting trying to do a triple or double proxy, but instead do a proxy between the tier 1 and tier 2 towers.
In this example clip, I am rather ahead of the enemy and can safely farm between the two towers. Thanks to Jax’s kit, I am also able to easily escape any engagement that might come to me.
You can proxy farm if:
- You are stronger than the enemy champion
- You can push and clear waves quickly
- You are fast or can escape with ease
- You are able to regenerate resources such as health and mana quickly
- The enemy champion is unable to successfully push back or clear waves without harm to themselves
“The Perfect Split Push”
To apply the perfect split push takes a lot of team coordination and practice. Do not be discouraged if you cannot Split push properly the first time. The secret to applying a successful split push is by having more than 1 objective being pressured at one time.
For example, if you’re split pushing Top lane tier 2 tower, ideally your team will be also pressuring the Mid lane tier 2. This is good because you’re pressuring two lanes at once, but it will also give you a higher chance of you getting your objective. This is because the enemy will not be able to leave the Mid lane to save Top lane, as Mid will go down instead.
Let’s take a look at different types of pressure and where you’ll want to be (indicated by the white zones) for each situation.
This is the type of pressure you want to have if you’re split pushing Bot side Tier 1:
This is the type of pressure you want to have if you’re split pushing Top side Tier 1:
This is the type of pressure you want to have if you’re split pushing Tier 2 side lanes:
This is the type of pressure you want to have if your team is pushing Mid Inhibitor:
You should always have your team in either an equal or more offensive line: objectively trying to take a minimum of two objectives at once.
In this example, we can see why it is important that you have an equal line when trying to split push. Because my team was not applying pressure with the Baron buff, I was too far forward pushing and the enemy could come to stop me. This is not split pushing, this is just pushing.
In this example, we can see how effective split pushing if when your team is on equal or forward terms. Because they are also applying pressure around the map, the enemy could not stop me from taking objectives in the Bottom lane.
Pros and Cons of Split Pushing
You can achieve global map pressure
- If you can successfully get another object while your team attempts to get an objective- then split pushing like this is good. While they are pony dancing around an objective, you can freely get another. This will give your team an almost guaranteed objective and a possible second every time.
- This is a really good method of getting global map pressure because it will Split the enemy up and allow your team to team fight whilst you get an objective.
You can gain a CS lead over the enemy laner
- In most games, laners will have to give up some CS to group with their team. As you will be Split pushing, you will not be missing out on CS or experience compared to the enemy. This means you will gain lots of gold and also gain an experience lead over the enemy laner. This will in turn- put you ahead of the enemy.
You can open up the map for your team
- Gaining an objective for your team is important. If you can get a tower whilst your team pressures another lane or objective then you will open up the map for your team and put the enemy behind. For example, having all tier 2 towers on the map will mean the enemy Jungler will be starved of farm. They will be put behind and miss out on gold, CS and experience.
You need to focus on what you’re doing at all times
- If you miss judge or make any little mistake whilst split pushing it can cost you dearly. Split pushing is an art form and you must focus on doing it properly or it will result in a waste of time and you may get killed for it. Split pushing and any form of wave management are very hard to do successfully if you autopilot.
Your team may get caught and die
- This is the biggest issue with split pushing. Split pushing requires your team to know what you’re doing and you need to know what they’re doing. If your team is going to get caught out, then you cannot be split pushing and you need to stick with them. If you are never with them, then they will lose every single fight because it will be 4 versus 5.
- Communication is key and your team must know and understand how to work with a split pusher.
You cannot effectively split push every game
- In some games, it will be near impossible to successfully split push. This can be caused by a range of things such as your team being behind, the enemy being able to clear waves just as fast or you being behind in lane. If you cannot split push effectively, then I would recommend that you try to find a balance between grouping, team fighting and split pushing.
Want to learn more about split pushing and Top lane in general? Check out NEACE! NEACE is a high elo Top laner and a good teacher. I recommend checking him out and watching his streams! He’s also done a separate split pushing guide which you can find here.
Q and A regarding Split Pushing
Q: Can X Champion split push?
A: Practically all champions can split push effectively. As long as you understand the fundamentals of split pushing and know how to quickly push waves then you can split push on basically anyone.
Here are some champions that are quite good at split pushing:
- Top: Jax, Fiora, Trundle, Renekton, Lucian, Maokai, and Tryndamere
- Mid: Ahri, Zed, LeBlanc, Corki, and Galio
- Jungle: Master Yi, Nocturne, Udyr, and Hecarim.
Q: I’m behind- can I split push?
A: Yes and no. You can split push if you’re behind, but you cannot provide the second part of split pushing which is the pressure side of it. You can push waves effectively, but you cannot and will not be able to fight anybody who comes to counter your push.
In some cases, you will be able to and others you cannot push at all. Period.
Q: I am fed, but my team is not. Should I split push?
A: This is a very complicated and complex question. In short, it’s situational.
If you are ahead of the enemy and are stronger than you could try to split push and apply pressure to the map. If you team is behind, they will unable to fight at all. So, you need to communicate with your team and keep an eye on the map. Assuming you are ahead and can fight basically anyone, you will need to continue applying pressure to objectives and let your team farm up.
If you see your allies being caught out, or are being baited. Prepare your Teleport and go and help them. Even if you arrive slightly late, you can clear up the team fights.
Alternatively, you can stay with your team and try to siege objectives. This is not as effective, but is safer for your team.
Q: My team keeps fighting when I’m gone- what do I do?
A: In this situation, there are two things wrong. Firstly, it’s not necessarily their fault- but neither is it yours. Before and whilst split pushing, tell your team what your plans are and tell them you’re going to split push.
Keep an eye on the map whilst you are split pushing. Do not be afraid to spam ping your allies to back off if you see the enemy trying to engage on them. With that said, if you see the enemy engaging on your team then USE YOUR TELEPORT TO HELP THEM. They are losing team fights because you’re not there. Teleport and help them!
Whilst split pushing, you need to keep an eye on the mini-map throughout your time away from your team. Map manipulation is important- what is the map telling you? If you can see that an enemy champion has broken away from their team, you may have to back off from split Pushing.
So that’s it. You’ve now learned how to successfully split push in League of Legends. There is plenty of things that can be gained by split pushing and a lot that can be lost. Remember to only split push if you can do so effectively.
Thanks for reading! If you want to discuss this article or have a chat with P!CKLEPANTS or Icathian Angler you can find them in our Discord. Special thanks to SGK for helping out with editing.