Here at Mobalytics, we are constantly obsessing over how to improve your gameplay. We thought it would helpful to our community to provide an in-depth explanation of the eight different skills that make up your GPI. The more you know, the better you’ll play. If you’d like to check out another Skill in our Decompilation Series, check out Consistency, Farming, Fighting, Teamplay, Toughness, Versatility or Vision.
An Introduction to Aggression
You might watch the GIF above and ask, what does American football have to do with League of Legends? Well if we’re going to learn about aggression, more than you might think. Watch the left side of the GIF to see a safety (#2) bait the quarterback into thinking their receiver is open before punishing their mistake and moving back to pull down the interception. Much like in football, aggression in League of Legends is about creating opportunities and punishing mistakes.
Aggression: The Big Picture
Of course, you can only punish mistakes as your opponent makes them, and here is where it’s important to understand your own skill level. Whether you are Bronze or Challenger, aggression works differently depending on where you are in the skill spectrum:
- Passive Aggression in lower-level play
In the lower tiers, it will be to your advantage to play more defensively and wait for the other player(s) to make the mistakes – because rest assured, they will. Being patient may not be flashy, but it’s a great way to learn the game and win while you’re at it.
- Active Aggression in higher-level play
As you progress up the ladder, you’ll find that players tend to be more experienced and make far fewer mistakes. Now, it’s up to you to be the aggressor and initiate more frequently, applying pressure and forcing your opponent to react to your decision making. This way, they’re more likely to break, and finally make a mistake you can punish them for.
Just having this basic understanding of aggression gives you a significant in-game advantage over the Summoner in the lane across from you. Let’s take a look at how this skill is calculated in the Mobalytics GPI and get a better understanding of what makes up your aggression score.
- Kill Participation (KP) measures how much you contribute to your team’s overall total kills (through kills/assists).
- KP is a key indication of how your aggression converts into making an impact, whether it means being there to assist by grouping in most fights, or racking up kills alone in split-push duels.
- Ganking is influenced by your ability to translate your aggression to killing or assisting in kills in lanes other than your own.
- This score is more useful than you think – it definitely isn’t just for Junglers
- Mids can find gank opportunities through roaming.
- Top laners can make a big impact with well-timed Teleport flanks.
- Supports and ADCs can gank mid lane or help their Jungler invade after shoving or as they return from buying.
- This score is more useful than you think – it definitely isn’t just for Junglers
- Aggressive players make the first move and make plays. This score aims to highlight the abilities of the bold few who are able to land the first blow often.
- We know that in a game of 10 players, it’s hard to consistently get First Blood or First Turret, so Initiative grades players by how quickly champions they tend to get their first turret or first kill in general.
- We’ve all had those games where someone gets an early kill and in a blink of in an eye, they’re suddenly dominating and carrying their team.
- This score evaluates players on whether they’re able to take a lead (150+ for 2 minutes) and grow it, and how long they can maintain it for.
- Pressure takes into account your participation in early game shenanigans like taking First Blood or First Turret.
- Taking the initiative in securing these first strikes can help your team snowball off of your early lead – they’re incredibly pivotal in swinging the match in your favor.
- The score is also influenced by your Ganking and Zoning scores since they represent your ability to put pressure in lane or on the map.
- Aggression pushes your boundaries to the very limit – can you land kills in enemy turf without giving your life in the process?
- This score evaluates your ability and tendency to contribute to kills in or closer to enemy territory in relation to friendly territory.
There is no acronym for aggression perhaps more fitting than R.I.P.: recognize, initiate, and punish. If you take away only three things from this decompilation, R.I.P. is the perfect way to remember them:
- Knowledge is power and power is kills. Learn to quickly recognize what a mistake looks like and be able to act on it. In the lower skill tiers, it’s far more likely that your opponent will make mistakes for you and it’s your role to capitalize on those opportunities and punish them for it. Patience as a virtue isn’t sexy, but it will prove incredibly valuable in moving up to the higher tiers.
- When you’ve reached the point where the opposition isn’t making as many mistakes, it’s time for you to take a more proactive approach and initiate. Deny vision around an objective or fake a Baron to force the enemy to check and put them on your plan of attack instead of theirs.
- In the opening GIF, the safety baits the quarterback because he knows he can run back fast enough to make the play. Recognizing what a mistake looks like, but not being able to act on it is the same as if a mistake had never happened. For LoL, familiarize yourself with the enemy’s burst damage and combos as well as your own and make sure you know how to get the kill when the opportunity arises.
Applying Aggression in League of Legends
Now that you understand aggression, it’s time to apply your newfound knowledge and raise your rank. Remember that aggression isn’t necessarily interacting with the opponent, but forcing situations when you’re ahead. Utilizing his years of experience playing League, our Lead Analyst (and Challenger tier summoner), Prohibit, has put together a comprehensive list of what you can do:
Identifying when you have kill advantage in lane
- Assuming similar mana and skill levels, when you have a 20% or 30% health advantage after some good trades, you’re likely in a favorable spot to win an all-in if you fight to the death. You can use this pressure to play even more aggressively with your gap closers. If your opponent fights you at that deficit he risks dying to an all-in. Test your opponent to see if he respects this fact and then use that respect to leverage things like denying minions and experience.
Recognize when your build needs to be aggressive (Build)
- Sometimes as a carry you just don’t have the luxury for many defensive slots. There will always be games where the enemy has way too many tanks and your team only has, well, you. Those are the instances where you need to rely on your mechanics for defense and build offense.
Setting your jungle path up for first game success (gank paths)
- What champions are the easiest for you to gank this game and what champions on your team are the easiest to gank for? Think about this as the game is loading (shameless plug, the Mobalytics Pre-Game feature is great for this) and start on the side of the jungle opposite to the lane you want to end up on. This way after your clear, you’re right next to the lane you planned on ganking.
Laners, know your roam timings
- You have a free window to roam after you’ve quickly killed the fresh enemy minion wave. You can also look for a roam attempt straight after you recall. As long as you are able to commit to a decision on whether or not to follow through with the gank once you arrive, you should be able to get back to your lane with minimal CS loss.
Know which cooldowns give you priority
- Playing around cooldowns is essential to League of Legends. An extreme example, Blitzcrank is a formidable champion that threatens to kill you outright if he lands his grab. However, the ability has a 20 second cooldown at rank 1. That is a full 20 seconds where Blitzcrank presents no threat!
Use objectives as bait
- Sometimes the threat of losing an objective is greater than taking the actual objective. Giving up Baron presents a huge disadvantage so a good team will do their best to deny or take it for themselves. With good team coordination and using pink wards/sweepers to deny vision around both the river and Baron, you can draw the enemy team like moths to a flame – positioning them for easy kills. Watch xPeke above put on a clinic for how to bait an engagement.
Use minions to harass (Aggro trading)
- Just like you, your lane opponents need to last hit minions to get gold. This presents the perfect opportunity for you as your opponent is forced with a lose lose dilemma, do I last hit the minion for gold and take damage from harass or do I ignore the last hit and fight back.
Use your wave to turn early ganks in your favor
- Minion damage adds up in the early game. If you have a strong grasp on laning and frequently out-trade your opponent, consider pushing slowly to let your wave of minions build up. This way if you get ganked you can have 10 or more minions ready to back you up to turn a 1v2 gank into a 2v2. Minions are no joke! A wave of 10 minions will do 150 damage combined every attack.
Laners, proactively Flash for ganks to guarantee success!
- If someone is taking the time to come to your lane, make sure that you set him/her up for a guaranteed alley-oop. Imagine you’re playing Blitzcrank and your jungler is ganking. Don’t take the risk of missing a max range hook. Instead, Flash for Power Fist into a guaranteed hook then chain that with an Exhaust to help ensure your jungler secures the kill.
- Exhaust renders your opponent helpless for 2.5 seconds as well as reduces their armor and magic resist. When someone uses all their escapes to get in your face, use that Exhaust and fight back! Because they can’t fight back, there only options are to eat a load of free damage or Flash away. This also applies when you get directly on top of someone and use exhaust. If you have Exhaust, look to get close to your opponent and Exhaust when their escapes are down.
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