How to Win More Skirmishes in League of Legends
Understanding when you should and shouldn’t look to skirmish with the enemy are ways of optimizing your trades.
If you pull it off correctly, you’ll be able to get more kills and snowball during the mid game.
In this Mobalytics guide, we will break down various tips and tricks to help you win more skirmishes throughout the game.
Here are the topics we will be covering:
- What are skirmishes in League of Legends?
- Examples of good skirmishing champions
- How to win more skirmishes (4 tips)
- Manipulate the minion wave
- Check the minimap
- Play around your power spikes
- Optimize your champion combos
What are skirmishes in League of Legends?
Skirmishes in League of Legends are multiple trades or duels you and your team have with enemies, generally around the mid game. Skirmishes can also be considered the “calm before the storm” prior to a big team fight happening where you throw your abilities at the enemy in attempts to poke them down.
Although the definition can be loose and up to some interpretation, Skirmishes generally have multiple team members from each team, like 3v3 and 4v4, and are generally messier than organized 5v5 teamfights.
Examples of strong skirmishing champions
A strong skirmisher is someone who can fight or trade frequently with the enemy. They may have dashes, lower cooldowns and very strong all-in or poke. There are a wide variety of strong skirmishing champions in League of Legends. Let it be known, feeding one of these champions in the early game can have devastating consequences in the later parts of the game.
Jax can block incoming auto-attack damage with his E, which offers him extra protection in trades. His Ultimate also provides him with extra protection, which can make him deadly in a 1v1.
Learn to outplay the enemy with one ability with Jax’s Champion Page!
Kayn is an incredibly good skirmisher as it’s something he needs to do in the early game to get his form as quickly as he can. His Q is on a short cooldown, he can use his E to escape or initiate skirmishes, and his Ultimate can provide him time to escape or wait out his cooldowns.
Dominate the enemy team by checking out Kayn’s Champion Page.
Ekko benefits from frequent trades to make use of his Passive. He can also go for deadly trades and escape with his Ultimate. He can skirmish with basically any enemy champion, and once he is ahead, he can melt his enemies.
“It’s not how much time you have, it’s how you use it.” Spend some time learning how to master Ekko by checking out Ekko’s Champion Page.
How to increase your lead further
To get better at skirmishing with the enemy, you must understand the stats related to your performance.
You can check this out at any time by plugging your Summoner name and seeing your GPI scores, as seen in the image below.
With these stats in mind, you can see how good you are at skirmishing with the enemy.
1) Manipulate the minion wave
Understanding wave management in League of Legends is crucial. With good wave management, you can turn any skirmish into your favour. You can also avoid bad situations too as you can identify when it’s a good time to fight.
When fighting in the bottom lane, it would be beneficial to look at where the minion wave is currently placed. If the minion wave is under the enemies tower, you may be unable to go for a trade. This is because the tower will focus you if you decide to attack the enemy. This could change the exchange and make it not turn out the way you hoped.
Alistar, for example, cannot engage pre-6 unless the minion wave is far away from the enemies tower. He isn’t tanky enough to dive until he has his Ultimate, so if he wants to play aggressive, you’ll need to have the minion wave even or slightly closer to your side of the map. To do this, you need to ensure there are equal minions if you want the lane to stay in the middle of the map or more enemy minions if you want the minion wave closer to your side of the map.
This image is taken from our in-depth wave management guide. I would highly recommend you giving it a read if you want to learn how to manage waves. Our description above is a brief rundown of how to do it.
Another way of coming out ahead in skirmishes in the early game is by counting how many enemy minions there are and how many you have. If the enemy has more minions alive than you, then going for a trade may be risky. As soon as you attack the enemy, they will start focusing you and dealing damage. If the enemy has a Cannon minion, you will take even more damage because they do double damage. In the early game, avoid going in for a trade when the enemy has a Cannon minion up- instead, go in slightly after it’s died or when there is none.
2) Check the minimap
Before initiating any fight or skirmish with the enemy, always check the minimap before going in. You must ensure that the enemy Jungler isn’t nearby; otherwise, the exchange will be a 1v2 fight that usually ends in the enemy’s favour.
If the enemy Jungler is nearby, it may be risky to look for a fight as they could easily show up and gank you. If the enemy Jungler is nearby, take a step back, relax and wait for them to move elsewhere before looking to fight the enemy laner.
If you find it hard to keep an eye on the map at all times, I would recommend giving our how to improve map awareness guide a read. It will break down some tips and tricks to help you build good habits related to checking the map. Once you’ve mastered this skill, it will help you in so many different aspects of the game, and you’ll soon see yourself climbing.
3) Play around your champions power spikes
Understanding when a champion is weak and strong is essential. If you know when you’re stronger than the enemy, you can abuse your strengths to get a kill. For instance, early game champions will be stronger (during the laning phase) than late-game champions. A prime example would be Renekton vs Kassadin. Renekton will be way stronger than Kassadin in the early game, whereas Kassadin will be stronger as the game goes along.
If you were the Renekton, you would need to abuse your strengths as much as possible to get early kills and to gain a lead. If Renekton were to play safely in this matchup, he would get out scaled.
You must have an understanding of when each champion is weak and when each champion is strong. If you know you’re stronger than the enemy, you can abuse it to gain a lead.
One way of learning when each champion is strong is by checking out the Mobalytics champion page. We break them down one by one and tell you when they’re good, bad, or mediocre. When a champion is red, they are weak, yellow is mediocre, and if you’re green- they are strong.
Whenever you have a significant power spike over the enemy, you should be able to dominate them throughout that part of the game.
Some level power spike during the laning phase are:
- Champions with good level 2 all-ins include Nautilus, Blitzcrank or Leona.
- Level 3 is a good power spike for most champions as they can access all of their basic abilities. Leblanc, Zed and Nami are much stronger at level 3.
- Champions with strong fighting or CC Ultimates like Leona, Malphite or Zed are stronger once they’ve unlocked their Ultimate.
4) Optimize your champions combos
Skirmishing and trading with the enemy are essential, but if you want to get kills, you need to deal as much damage as possible in the quickest and safest way you can. One way you can do this is by learning the best and most optimal combos for your champion.
Head over to the Mobalytics champion page for your favourite champion, and look at each of their combos. Practice them in the practice tool, and then start to incorporate them into your gameplay.
Once you’ve mastered these combos, you’ll naturally find yourself winning more trades with the enemy. Here’s a separate guide on how to practice combos in League of Legends.
Skirmishing with the enemy is not just about fighting them. There is a huge difference between good and bad trades. Once you’ve mastered optimal trading and used the tips and resources we’ve listed in this guide, you’ll soon find yourself winning more often and getting more kills.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants’s stream.