The Fundamental Game
By its genre definition, you already know that League of Legends is a “MOBA” (Massive Online Battle Arena). If you peel away at it’s surface and really break it down, however, you’ll begin to realize that your usual round on Summoner’s Rift is actually comprised of many layers of games within the game. Here are a few examples:
At the most macro level of the totem pole, a LoL match is similar to a Real Time Strategy or Tower Defense game. You’re controlling and upgrading units in order to destroy enemy structures, while trying to protect your own.
The next level down, is similar to a 5v5 deathmatch where Teamplay is tested – are you able to coordinate your abilities better than the other team?
The Vision game can be similar to playing Battleship as hide your Wards while searching for your opponents. At other times, it can feel like King of the Hill as you fight for prime warding spots.
For tanks, utilizing your Toughness and peeling for your carries is like protecting the squishy VIP on an escort mission.
The Jungler experience is akin to a stealthy spy game as you weave behind enemy lines.When you’re looking to gank, it’s like a horror hack-and-slash as you create dread in the minds of laners, showing up where your Aggression is least expected.
Finally, at the totem’s most fundamental level, is the Farming game. This level is all about collecting the necessary resources of gold and experience in order to nurture the seed that your champion begins as. Every 30 seconds, Summoner’s Rift generates waves of minions that represent potential increases of power – it’s up to you to tap into them and other sources (such as objectives) in order for your character to feed and grow faster than your enemies.
Farming is the fundamental game because it fuels the arms race which influences the rest of the totem pole. It builds a foundation that creates a lasting impact on the overall flow of the game. The team with more farm will have better items and more experience – better items and more experience means having higher stats and stronger abilities than their counterparts. Sure, it’s not impossible for the team with less farm to win, but their road is definitely much more difficult as they’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Welcome to our Skill Decompilation on Farming.
The numbers behind your Farming score
Between our eight GPI scores, Farming’s sub-skills are the most straightforward.
Throughout your match, the GPI will measure your:
- CSPM = CS (Creep score) per minute
- GPM = Gold per minute
- XPM = Experience per minute
- In a nutshell, the more CS/Gold/Experience you collect, the higher your score (0-100) will be.
We separate these measurements into three different time thresholds:
- Early Game = 0-10 min
- Mid Game = 10-20 minute
- Late Game = 20-30 minute
- Simply hover your mouse over each respective threshold and you’ll see your CSPM, GPM, and XPM measurements for that time period.
These time thresholds allow us to measure your effectiveness in Farming as the dynamics of the game change.
In the Early Game, your primary source of gold comes from CS-ing minions in lane or taking camps in the Jungle. We designate Early Game as the first 10 minutes because it is usually the length of time until the First Turret goes down. If your Early Game score is low, you’re likely to be missing CS. If you’re a Jungler, perhaps your ganks haven’t been working out so you’ve been wasting time that you could have been collecting camps.
Once the First Turret is destroyed, the map begins to open up as some lanes will end their phase to begin roaming. We measure this as the Mid Game. From 10-20 minutes, gold sources expand from being mostly minions and camps, to including more kills and more objectives. Your score here will depend on your role. As a Support, you may be roaming more to help ward and clear parts of the map. As an ADC, you may still have a high Farming rate as you stay in lane pushing toward your power spikes.
Between 20-30 minutes, the map has greatly opened up. Although carries will still be collecting CS from minion waves as they push toward your base, the game has shifted greatly toward team fighting. Your score here will depend on how much you’re grouping with your team as 5, whether you’re getting kills and assists, and whether you’re securing major objectives.
We do keep track of stats post 30+ minutes but keep it in the back-end because many games will end by the 30 minute mark. The data also isn’t that useful for improving your Farming score because the dynamics of the game have changed as many champions will have most of their items and won’t need as much gold.
Your Farming score also takes into account two other sub-skills: Creep Score and Gold.
Creep Score looks at your CS throughout the entire game:
- CS = your average Creep Score per game
- CSPM = your average Creep Score per minute per game
- CS % = the average percentage of your team’s total CS that you collect
Gold measures your gold income:
- GPM = your gold per minute on average per game
- Gold% = the average percentage of your teams total gold income that you collect
The Balancing Act
To be a great Farmer in LoL, you need to be like a tightrope walker. You must walk a fine line in order to succeed – lean too much to a side and it can be fatal.
If you focus too much on farming you may miss out on crucial team fights – having all your items is pointless if your team is dead. If you don’t farm enough, your team will also suffer – your effectiveness will be cut if you’re behind on experience, items, and power spikes.
By the end of this Decompilation, you’ll have more tools to achieve the perfect balance for your Farming game. We’ll only not only teach you how to mechanically improve your Farm with CS’ing techniques such as last-hitting and wave management, but we’ll also help you improve your game sense to help you still be a team player while maximizing your overall gold income.
Know your Values
To maximize your Farming, you’ll need to understand the value of your choices.
Do you know how much gold is in a minion wave? This is useful to weigh when you’re considering whether or not to leave lane to roam or grab your Blue buff. Do you know how much gold you need for your next power-spike? It might be worthwhile to stay in lane a little longer before going back to base (unless you’re on the verge of dying of course).
The item values you’ll have to memorize will differ on your champions and build, but there are certain values you should always know or have a feel for (as of Patch 7.9):
Minions and waves
Waves are your bread-and-butter source of income. They’re dependable, predictable, and cannot be stolen by your enemy like Jungle camps. In the Early Game lane phase, your team’s ability to collect the waves will depend on your individual mechanical skills in last-hitting and wave management.
As the game goes on, and it’s easier to waveclear without having to worry about mechanics, collecting minion waves becomes more a question of making sure carries hit their item power spikes.
- Did you know that the value of minion waves increases as the game goes on? After the first spawn (111 gold), a full wave increases its total value by 4.1g every 90 seconds. After 20 minutes, a wave’s value increases by 4.6g every 90 seconds. Finally, at 35 minutes, a wave’s value will increase by 5.1g every 90 seconds until the end of the game.
- The first wave arrives at 1:40 and waves will arrive every 30 seconds after 2:05. Before the 20:00 mark, there will be a Siege minion (also called a “Cannon” minion) in every third wave. After 20 minutes, a Siege minion will be included in every other wave.
- Remember that your waves spawn at the same time as your enemies’. Use this to your knowledge to predict when and where the enemy minions will arrive, even when you don’t have vision.
- Know the ideal CS scores per minute benchmarks. For example, at 5:35 min, you should have 50 CS if you last-hitted perfectly – at 10 minutes you should have 100+ CS. Use these goals as mental reminders to evaluate your CS in game.
- Familiarize yourself with camp values and spawn times, especially if you’re a Jungler.
With enough practice, collecting minion waves will become second nature. Perhaps even some day you’ll break the record for the most CS in a professional game (current is 764 by Froggen).
Objectives are key sources of Farm around the map that will often pull you away from your waves. Although it’s possible to take objectives alone, you’ll often need multiple champions to kill or contest one. Most objectives provide team gold and global benefits, as a team you’ll have to decide whether your time is worth potentially leaving behind CS in order to contest or grab one.
Turrets are the roadblocks that control minion wave flow and your ability to navigate toward and around the enemy side of the map.
The most valuable turrets in terms of gold are the First, Outer, and Inner. Inhibitor Turrets and Nexus Turrets don’t yield as much gold but are of course crucial for victory.
Depending on the situation, it may be worth leaving your lane to help another lane race to take the First Turret or another turret in order to open up the map and end the Early Game.
Here are their values:
- First = 300 to team globally
- Outer = 250 to champs who participated in destroying it, 100 global
- Inner = 175 participating, 125 global
- Inhib = 50 participating, 150 global
- Nexus = 50 participating
Dragons aren’t worth much in terms of gold (Elementals only give 25g to killer, Elder Dragon gives 250g global and 25g for killer), but they’re worth investing time to contest due to their different team-wide effects.
Here is a great explanation by Jatt about the Elemental Dragons and their benefits:
This objective (25g to slayer) has become much more powerful with the 7.9 Patch. If you have the time and resources, she is a more valuable target than Dragons due to her flexibility and snowball potential. In honor of her shiny makeover, we’ll be explaining her facets in more detail.
- Slaying the Herald
- The Rift Herald spawns at 10 minutes and will despawn 19:45 (unless you are fighting her, doing so will extend her existence until the 19:55 mark – which is when Baron will replace her)
- Aim for her eye (her back side) to kill her faster – it’ll do extra damage until she’s under 15% health.
- One player can pick up the Eye of the Herald, which will replace their Trinket until activated.
- The player holding the Eye will have empowered recall (similar to Baron buff).
- Using the Eye
- The player who holds the Eye has 4 minutes to activate it. Upon activation, it takes 3.5 seconds to summon the Rift Herald as an ally.
- Once summoned, the Herald will set itself toward the enemy Nexus of the closest lane, and will target enemy minions and structures.
- The Herald deals immense damage to turrets, so she is a huge asset for creating map pressure and split pushing.
- Fighting Against the Herald
- Similar to when fighting the Herald in pit, targeting her back side causes her to take increased damage.
- Upon summoning, the damage she dishes out scales with her health, so the more you target her, the less damage she’ll do. Keep in mind that she also damages herself with each of her attacks.
- Commit resources to stop her early or else you may risk losing multiple structures.
This is the most valuable objective (300g per person, 325g for last-hitter) in Summoner’s Rift due to its many benefits. It not only affects your whole team (that are alive when it is slain), but it also empowers minions that are nearby champions with its buff.
Baron can often be the location of a match’s climax as it usually the turning point of a close game, turning the tides of victory toward one of the teams. Throwing a game at Baron is a tale that’s old as time – if you’re ahead it may be better to bait and look for a pick instead of committing to a risky fight. If you’re behind, do your best to scare the opposing team away or prolong their fight with Baron so they take more damage – once they’re weakened, push in to try to contest or finish off the damaged enemy team.
Kills, Assists, and Streaks
Kills, assists, and streaks measure the values of combat interactions between champions throughout the match. They create a changing market of gold worth. Some kills are indeed worth chasing after – other times, it may be better to let the straggler survive but take the objective instead.
- When a kill occurs, the most gold goes to the player who did the final blow. Assist gold is split evenly between the assisters, and team bounties are awarded globally.
- First Blood is worth 400g to the killer and 200g between the assisters.
- Ganking and roaming can be very valuable when successful
- Don’t forget that a dead enemy is also missing out on the Farm they would have been getting.
- However, if a gank doesn’t work out, you’re missing out on camps and experience so weigh your risks vs rewards.
- Some kills are worth more than others.
- Throughout your game, you’ll hear the announcer exclaiming things such as “Rampage!” and “Unstoppable!”. Make sure you know what these mean, they’re indications of how big the bounties on those players are.
- If an enemy has a large bounty, make it a team priority to send your gank/roam/teleport resources toward collecting that gold. Likewise, if one of your teammates is valuable, be prepared to rotate in order to protect them.
Wise Words from the Pros
General Farming Advice
To push your Farming game to the next level, here are some of our favorite tips – curated by our analyst Hewitt “prohibit” Benson.
How to utilize your Practice Tool
- The Practice tool is a strong option to practice your fundamentals. Here are ways to use the tool the practice farming:
- Make towers invulnerable
- Don’t shove (try to auto as little as possible to set up certain CS)
- Train at specific levels so you don’t have to think twice about whether or not your auto will last-hit in the heat of the moment.
- Remember that this won’t replace in-game experience – against a real lane opponent you’ll have to also worry about their harass. The Practice Tool is all about making your CS second nature so you can dedicate more thinking to reading your enemy and making calls.
Farm under tower effectively
- General rules in early game
- Caster = 1 Towershot + 2 Autos
- Melee = 2 Towershots + 1 Auto
- If melee minions aren’t full HP, chip them down in order to time it so you can hit them for 1 Towershot + 1 Auto.
- For casters, you’ll often need to kill them outright as a tower shot will usually kill them even at 60-70% hp.
- If you’re a Support, learn how to chip minions into last-hit kill range for your ADC partner.
Be mindful of minion attacks
- When trying to shove a wave, you may find yourself missing CS (especially on champs like Vayne who can only push with autos)
- If you focus on the enemy minion that your allied minions are attacking, you’ll decrease the chance that multiple minions will be getting low at the same time
- Prioritize killing caster creep as you’ll guarantee killing 3 minions while your own minions are occupied with the enemy melee minions
Build your CS differential
- Maximize your CS differential by managing the lane’s flow.
- Use zone control when you have an advantage to deny your opponent.
- Hold the line to freeze a lane and make it awkward for them to farm without compromising their safety.
- Remember to press Tab periodically (and safely) to keep track of your CS score against your opponent’s.
Learn the tempo of the map
- Like a song, Summoner’s Rift has a rhythm and flow – use this to your advantage to maximize your efficiency.
- If you time your waveclear properly, you can help your team with objectives or by roaming for a gank and be back in time to collect the next wave.
Know when to give up CS
- Remember that this is a delicate balance between experience, health, and gold when you farm.
- Sometimes it’s better to give up CS but stay in experience range in order to preserve your health.
- Keep an eye out! In the near future we’ll be having a guest article specifically for this advice.
Your teammates need items too
- Pay attention to if your teammates are nearly completing crucial items.
- Getting 400 gold to purchase an extra Long Sword isn’t as important as a teammate finishing their Void Staff.
The Bottom Line
Athletes practice their balance everyday in order to achieve their peak performance. In order to become the best player you can be, you must also achieve balance in your game. This especially holds true for Farming where you constantly have to consider your mechanics, resources, risks, and rewards.
Keep track of your stats after every game. Critique yourself and set realistic goals. If you’re finding yourself zoned out and not able to farm, watch your replays to see what you could have done better. Be mindful of the tightrope walker, and the journey of your climb will find its center.
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