Hey everyone! This Mobalytics Partners spotlight is by PHuffZone, a top lane expert who’s been playing League of Legends since Preseason 2. As a Math Major at Purdue University, he takes numbers seriously when he’s theorycrafting and analyzing meta trends. In this article, he’ll be exploring the top lane wave management technique of the cheater recall.
Top Lane Wave Management and The Cheater Recall
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Win lane, win game”, but sometimes finding small advantages in lane can be difficult especially in certain matchups. Fear not: there are many ways to get a lead in lane without even killing the enemy laner. Through proper wave management and minion manipulation, you can get a gold and exp lead in lane without ever even hitting the opponent.
For top lane this is especially true, due to the nature of the lane being extended farther then mid lane, and since objective priorities are currently towards the bottom half of the map, top laners more than ever need to make leads for themselves to win games.
One of the most fun and exciting ways to do this is through a strategy called the cheater recall. This term became a staple in my Twitch community that I went and later got tattooed on myself. With that said let’s learn about wave management and how to pull off this unique strategy.
Firstly, wave management is the easiest way to gain an advantage in lane. A basic freeze can go a long way in setting up ganks and allowing you to get free harassment. As shown below in the Perma Freezing section, the most common place to freeze is the yellow and red “slices” of the lane, due to these areas being dangerous for the enemy laner to push that far up to break the freeze.
If you do successfully set up a freeze in one of these zones you also have the option to deny experience as well. To do a freeze you simply need to understand how many extra ranged minions are needed for each section of the lane.
For the center of the lane you want 1 extra ranged minion, outside of your tower range you want 3 extra ranged minions, and between those zones of the lane you want 2 extra ranged minions.
Permanent Freezing in Top lane can be done, simply by following the graphic below for ranged minions. The goal is for the enemy to have more ranged minions than you, due to how minion waves, the minions have to walk farther to get to your creep wave. Therefore the extra damage from the ranged minions will keep the wave frozen in the same spot.
Eventually on the third wave also known as the cannon wave, slowly trim the cannon minion to continue the freeze or you can kill it quickly to develop a slow push. This is usually ideal to do when your jungler is pathing towards the top lane to set up a dive.
The Cheater Recall
Cheater recall is a strategy coined by streamer and LCK analyst LS, the premise being that by recalling at a specific point during laning phase you can buy, fully heal in the fountain, and return to lane without missing any experience.
If done correctly the enemy laner will generally need to be forced to use their summoner spell teleport to return to lane, if they do not you have the option to perma freeze and get a lead as early as 3 min into the game. There are 3 possible “Cheater Recall” options in the early laning phase each with their own advantages.
The most common form of cheater recall is the wave 3 cheater. This is done by only last hitting the first wave, while matching your opponent’s auto attacks on the minions. By matching your opponent’s auto attacks on the minions you can keep the first wave in the middle of the lane in the “green” zone. When the second wave arrives you want to auto each of the ranged creeps and “trim” their health bar.
Trimming is a term that means slowly getting the minion health lower than just last hitting, but you are also not just hard shoving. The idea is that by getting the ranged creeps low health or even killing them you can develop a slow push. By the time wave 3 is approaching the lane past the tower you want to hard shove as quickly as you can.
This can be done by using all your abilities on the minion wave and constantly auto-attacking, if done correctly the wave will crash into your opponent’s tower at roughly 3 min and you should have ~450-500g, allowing you to recall in lane, avoiding the standard 3:20 min gank, as well as buying a Doran’s item/Cull/Cloth Armor + Refillable/Boots+Refillable+Pink/Corrupting. Once you return to lane you can then set up the minion wave outside of your tower and perma freeze.
If done correctly it should look something like this:
The second most common is the wave 2 cheater, this involves slow pushing the first wave and hard shoving the second wave in order to crash the wave into the enemy tower. You can go for this option if the opponent is shoving too quickly on the first wave to be able to do a standard wave 3 cheater.
If done correctly on average you will end up with ~225 gold which can be used to buy a Rejuvenation Bead and a Control Ward or a Refillable Potion and a Control Ward based on your needs for the lane.
The third cheater recall is less common and a little harder, but if something went wrong during the first 2 waves then you still have an option on wave 4 to get an advantage.
If you could not shove wave 3 quick enough or the enemy laner pushed you back as you were shoving you can hard shove the fourth wave to prevent the enemy laner from freezing the wave in a disadvantageous state.
Regardless of which option you chose to do each have their own situations in which one is better than the other, for instance, if the enemy jungler is starting on the side of the top side of the map, then the wave 2 cheater is what you would opt to do since you can execute it before the enemy jungler has time to rotate top.
If the enemy jungler is fast clearing towards the top lane then going for a wave 3 cheater is going to be the better play since you can maximize your gold and exp in lane before the enemy jungler reaches top.
How to Counter Cheater Recalls
The first step to countering the cheater recall is to recognize it. If you’ve pulled off a cheater recall before, you may be able to see the signs that your opponent laner is looking to attempt one.
In order to counter the recall, take trades with the enemy laner in your minion wave, or get them to cast single target spells on you. Single target spells will have your minions aggro onto the enemy laner causing their lane to shove either too quickly and potentially result in an unfavorable trade within your minion wave.
This unfavorable trade will make it much more difficult for your opponent to successfully cheater recall. Being proactive and playing aggressive (especially when knowing the enemy jungler’s position) is a great way to stop cheater recalls because the enemy laner will not have the health pool to contest the third wave.
Your priority should be on reaching level 2 before the enemy top laner, as you will have an extra ability and by that point you should have lane priority.
Lastly, if the enemy laner does pull off a cheater recall you should attempt to hard shove the lane as quickly as you can. If you do not successfully hard shove the lane.
It will slowly push into the opponent’s tower which allows the enemy laner to set up a perma freeze and potentially force you to use a Teleport or Flash.