How to Practice Other Roles in League of Legends
In traditional sports like American football, the position you play is largely defined by your physical attributes.
There are some exceptions, but if you’re big and burly, you’ll likely end up as a tight end or lineman.
If you’re on the other side of the spectrum, short and quick, you may be encouraged towards being a running back or cornerback.
Due to these physical distinctions, these football players will gain more value from specializing in the specific skills related to the confinements of their roles.
In League of Legends, you aren’t limited or influenced by physical limitations. You can play a tiny girl like Annie or a massive behemoth like Cho’gath no matter your size or shape in real life.
Because of this, there’s nothing stopping you from practicing other roles. Now that it’s the preseason, it’s the perfect time to do so (if you’re reading this during the ranked season, consider practicing other roles when you’re feeling burnt out or bored from your main role).
In this article, we’ll break down why practicing other roles helps you become a better overall player and help you understand which other roles you may want to consider committing time to.
The Benefits of Practicing Other Roles
The growth that you’ll receive for gaining experience in other roles depends on your individual skill level, game knowledge, and main role.
However, there are some common threads that will apply to most players:
- Improving your secondary role and autofill results
- Understanding the perspectives of your teammates
- Building proficiency in more matchups and metas
- Becoming a more creative player
Improve your secondary role and autofill results
This is one of the more obvious ones – throughout your ranked journey, you’ll inevitably end up in champ select as your secondary role or autofilled to another.
Practicing other roles will make playing outside of your main less of a nerf and ensure that you maintain the consistency of your climb.
If you don’t currently have a secondary role, this article will definitely be helpful in finding one. To learn more, check out our article on How to Build your Champion Pool.
Understand the perspectives of your teammates
In comparison to Clash or playing with four of your friends, solo queue can feel chaotic and unpredictable due to the lack of chemistry and communication with the four strangers you’re matched with.
Experiencing other roles will give you a fuller understanding of the “rhythm” of the rest of the map. You’ll be able to have a better feel of what your teammates are likely to want to do without actually talking to them.Playing other roles helps you to broaden your perspective of the game while learning new skills. This can allow you to better understand and predict the actions of your teammates and opponents. - Multi-Challenger Coach Moriarty Click To Tweet
For example, playing Mid as a Jungle main will help you understand when your Mid will be able to help you contest Scuttle or come bot with you for a 4-man dive. We’ll be discussing the different benefits each role gets from playing other roles later in this article.
Build proficiency in more matchups and metas
In recent years, the variety in the types of roles that different champions can be played in has expanded.
We’ve seen tanks like Sion and Nocturne come to mid lane, mages like Heimerdinger and Veigar in bot lane, and marksmen like Lucian and Vayne in Top lane.
By playing other roles, you’ll be quicker to adapt than other players when these unexpected meta shifts occur. The champions of one role today can easily become the meta champions of tomorrow.
The more champions and archetypes you have familiarity with, the better you’ll be able to play against them or even use them yourself.
Become a more creative player
Lastly, playing other roles improves your creativity by giving you a better understanding of the bigger picture of League and what’s actually optimal.
Imagine telling someone from the earlier seasons of League that SKT would be eliminated by a team that had played Syndra in the bot lane during Game 5 of the semifinals of the 2019 MSI.
The TLDR of this match is that G2 baited SKT into thinking that Syndra was going mid lane so Faker opted for playing LeBlanc (who counters Syndra). Instead, G2 sent Syndra to bot lane and Caps was able to counter LeBlanc with Lissandra.
This twist in the draft was a direct result of Perkz’s experience playing multiple roles (Mid and ADC) and lead G2 to the finals where they ended up beating Team Liquid.
G2 as a team is still known for being able to all play multiple roles and use many champions as flex picks, making them one of the hardest teams to prepare for in professional League’s history.
These concepts can be moderately applied in solo queue and absolutely applied in modes like Clash as long as the context makes sense and has a strategic intention, such as exploiting mismatches as G2 did with Syndra.
What You Can Learn from Other Roles
No matter your main role, practicing any other role will provide value. However, there are some choices that may be more helpful than others depending on your main and playstyle.
In this section, we’ll cover how each role can contribute to improving in a primary role. Note that since different combinations will be covered multiple times (playing Top as a Support main or playing Support as a Top main), there may be some overlap in information.
If you main Top…
Playing Jungler as a Top
Seeing the game through the eyes of a Jungler as a top main will give you a better understanding of the overall map throughout the early to Mid game.
Since you’re on an island all the time as a top, it can be hard to keep track of all the dynamics happening around the map. Outside of the occasional Teleport to bot lane or roam down to Mid lane, your focus is usually just on your lane.
Playing Jungle obviously forces you to travel all over the map and discover its in and outs. You’ll learn how a Jungler balances their individual needs of clearing camps with helping their teams with ganks.
Take note of what attracts or repels you as a Jungler from ganking a lane and apply it when you return to Top to make their lives easier. You’ll likely have a better grip on wave management in relation to setting up your Jungler for a gank and to help them secure objectives like Rift Herald and Scuttle Crab.
Lastly, playing jungle will also improve your ability to avoid and survive ganks since you’ll have a better sense of where a Jungler is likely to be and when they’re likely to come.
Playing Mid as a Top
By spending some time in Mid lane, you’ll be able to still practice your 1v1 laning skills while also expanding your roaming ability and matchup knowledge.
As a solo laner, the biggest difference at mid lane is that you’re expected to help your team more often than you are at Top lane. You have to balance your mid lane duel while also looking for opportunities to gank top/mid and helping your Jungler secure objectives.
At mid, you’ll learn how to play as and against mages and assassins. In general, also you’ll face more ranged matchups than Top lane (although it does happen from time to time due to the likes of Viktor and Kennen).
Playing ADC/Support as a Top
Top laners can get value out of playing ADC by improving your teamwork since you’re constantly with a partner during laning phase and understanding the perspective of squishier champions.
Although junglers occasionally come to visit top lane, you’re mostly in a state of 1v1, especially if you play split-pushers. By playing bot lane, you’ll experience more skirmishes in the form of 2v2’s, 3v3’s and so on.
If you play tankier champions, playing ADC will improve your ability to position and peel for your squishier comrades. By putting yourself in their shoes, you may have a better understanding of the angles that assassins and other dangerous enemies will try to kill you.
Support is the position that’s the least like top lane – you’re hardly ever operating alone and it’s the least farming-intensive role. There’s also near to no overlap in terms of champion pool. You’ll get the most value as a top laner by improving your overall vision control macro.
When you return to top lane, this can help you understand how to aid your team in setting up vision around objectives ahead of time. For the most part though, you’ll likely want to invest your secondary role practice for other roles.
If you main Jungle…
Playing Top/Mid as a Jungler
Matchups are everything in solo lanes – they dictate your ability to farm, trade, and control the wave. Junglers that practice solo lanes will have an edge on Junglers that don’t since they’ll have better judgment in terms of which lanes they should spend their time ganking.
Playing solo lanes will also improve your judgment regarding when your solo laners will be able to help you when you’re looking to fight over Scuttle Crab or take an early Dragon.
When you experience what it’s like to be bullied in lane and always have priority against you, you’ll have a more reasonable expectation when you’re asking for them to help.
I recommend Junglers to practice Mid or Support depending on playstyle. You'll learn a ton of matchups and learning how to lane will allow you to better assess how to impact a game. - Flaress (Concordia University Texas Coach) Click To Tweet
Playing ADC/Support as a Jungler
Unless you play Kindred or Graves, ADC is likely the role that’s the most opposite of Jungler. This is because ADC’s the least macro-oriented role since they focus on farming and mostly take the lead of their Support in lane.
Because of this, you’ll most likely only want to play ADC to improve your mechanical abilities while learning the 2v2 matchups of bot lane.
If you play a tank, seeing the game from the eyes of an ADC can also help your ability to peel since you’ll have a better feel for where they’re targeted from.
If you want to get the download of the 2v2 bot lane matchups but you don’t really want to farm, you can opt to play Support instead.
Support is very similar to Jungler in a lot of ways since you’re macro-oriented, always watching the map, and controlling vision.
This makes Support a good secondary role to queue as if you’re a Jungle main.
If you main Mid…
Playing Top as a Mid
As a Mid laner, playing Top will improve your dueling and split-pushing skills.
In comparison to Mid where you’re often skirmishing due to roaming, Top is much more isolated. In some games, you may not even get a single gank and you’ll have to protect the turret on your own.
As a result, you’ll learn how to be more independent and understand more of the nuances of 1v1 in terms of fighting and wave control.
Playing top is also a good way of learning how to play against bruisers, tanks, and in general, melee champions. Since the likes of Sion and Aatrox have become mid laners for times in the past, this can be especially helpful to improve your meta adaptability.
Playing Jungler as a Mid
Similar to playing Jungler as a Top laner, doing so as a Mid laner will teach you how to make your lane more attractive for ganks and help you understand when and where the enemy Jungler may strike from.
By seeing the game from the eyes of the Jungler, you’ll be better able to manage your wave in time to help your Jungler invade, contest objectives, and roam to bot lane for a 4v2.
Since you’ll experience the opposite side of the Blue buff gifting, you may be a bit kinder to the Junglers who tax your lane a bit before returning to the jungle after a gank.
Playing ADC/Support as a Mid
The two bot lane roles have become much more hospitable for Mid lane mains in recent times since mages can viably be played for both ADC or Support.
If you want to get a feel for the 2v2 matchups of the game to help you understand when you should roam or skirmish, you can comfortably choose either role. It, of course, comes down to whether you want to focus on micro (ADC) or macro (Support) skills.
As we alluded to earlier, mages like Perkz’s Syndra or Veigar can be played at the bot carry position so you can practice the role without having to simultaneously learn a champion.
However, Mids can play marksmen to practice the mechanics of auto-attack farming. Regardless of whether you play mages, marksmen, or even a melee like Yasuo, you’ll also be able to improve your 2v2 ability since you have to work with a partner.
This can come in handy for the 2v2’s that you fight at mid lane when both Junglers arrive at the same time.
If you want to practice a non-farming role that has a macro focus but still want to hone your laning skills, consider playing Support.
You can continue to practice mages like Morgana and Xerath or gain experience as an enchanter like Lulu or Karma (both have spent time as meta Mid laners in the past).
Surprisingly, you can even get some value out of playing some tanky Supports like Nautilus. The titan became a signature Mid lane pick by the World champion Doinb so you can consider practicing his mechanics here before bringing him back to Mid lane.
Another tanky Support that had his time in the spotlight was Taric when funneling was in its heyday…you just never know.
If you main ADC…
Playing Top/Mid as an ADC
Practicing Top as an ADC will help you hone your laning in its purest form and improve your ability to play independently.
As an ADC, you’re used to working with a partner but when you had to the top side of the map, you can be alone for most of the game, especially if you’re a split-pusher.
This forces you to really sharpen laning skills like trading, farming, and wave management in its purest form since you’ll often be in an uninterrupted 1v1 compared to other roles.
Being alone as a Top laner will help you be more comfortable the next time you’re playing with a roaming Support like Bard and they leave your lane.
Top lane is also a great place to get a feel for the tanks and melee bruiser champions that usually look to engage on you when you’re a squishy ADC.
Try to pick up their play patterns and how they want to position in teamfights.
If you want to focus on learning Top as a role without picking up new champs at the same time, consider using Lucian, Vayne, or Quinn.
Playing Mid as an ADC can you give a similar solo lane experience to Top except with more team involvements during the early to mid game.
For example, you can see how Dragon fights or roams down to bot lane feel from the eyes of a Mid laner, in terms of how they have to balance their wave control with these team initiatives.
Similar to how Top can teach you about tanks and bruisers, Mid is an ideal place to learn about mages and assassins.
Understanding assassins will allow you to look out for the angles that they’re looking to ambush from. If you’re practicing mages, you might as well choose one like Heimerdinger or Veigar so you can also play it when you return to bot lane.
Playing Jungler as an ADC
If your farming and laning skills are in a good place and you want to learn about macro and objective control, practicing Jungle is an ideal choice.
Unless you’re playing Graves or Kindred, Jungle is the role that will give you the most contrast to ADC since it’s more about making big decisions than honing your mechanical consistency and execution.
Playing Jungle will also improve your ability to track where the enemy Jungler is so you can have a better idea of when you can shove lane harder for plates or look for an all-in.
Playing Support as an ADC
Out of all the other roles to practice, Support will likely give you the most immediate gain as a player, especially if you’re newer to the game.
Playing Support will allow you to learn the other half of your partnerships and matchups. You’ll get a feel for when your Support is looking to trade, engage, and when they want to leave to roam or ward.
This will allow you to tune your gameplay as an ADC to be more in sync with your Support partners. In exchange, it will also improve your performance against enemy Supports since you’ll have a better idea of what they’re trying to do from their side.
If you main Support…
Playing Top/Mid as a Support
Gaining experience as a solo laner as a Support main will improve your laning skills such as trading and wave control. Although you don’t need to farm as a Support unless you’re using Relic Shield or Steel Shoulderguards, understanding the rhythm and flow of farming will improve your own ability to find the windows to poke or engage enemy ADCs that are farming.
This is the role that’s the least like Support. Instead of focusing on macro and constantly trying to aid your team, Top is the most individually focused role.
It may be a daunting contrast but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone to expand your knowledge as an overall League of Legends player.
As a Support playing Top, you can improve your ability to play tanks and engage champions, especially if you usually play champions like Leona, Alistar, and Nautilus.
It can also be beneficial to play champions like Jax and Tryndamere so you can learn how to peel against these champions and better protect your team.
Lastly, understanding how split-pushers see the game can improve your macro sense when trying to understand how to help your team rotate and control vision the next time you have a split-pusher on your team or you’re playing against one.
If you want to get the solo lane experience while still having some macro focus, consider practicing Mid lane.
Instead of an isolated 1v1, you’ll be expected to balance that with helping your teammates around the map since you’re the center anchor.
You can practice your mage skill set if you play champs like Vel’Koz and Lux or play assassins if you’re more of a Pyke player.
If any Mid laners give you trouble when they roam down to bot lane, consider getting a feel for them and how they set up for it so you can play around it better next time you’re back at Support.
Playing Jungle as a Support
If you want to expand your knowledge of the game but don’t want to worry about the mechanical execution of skills like last-hitting, Jungle may be your choice.
Junglers are the kindred spirt of Supports as the two roles that constantly watch the minimap and play the macro game like chess.
Supports will roam but will tend to stay toward the bottom half of the map (in most cases) during the early and mid game.
Practicing Jungle will allow you to build your knowledge of the rest of the map that Supports generally don’t tread to into later in a match.
Understanding the Junglers perspective will also improve your objective control since you’ll have a feel for when allied or friendly Junglers will be looking to contest objectives.
Use this knowledge to ward ahead of time or help your Jungler clear vision to improve your chances of securing or protecting objectives.
Finally, of course, playing Jungle will improve your ability to set up ganks for your Jungler and avoid ganks by the enemy Jungler.
Playing ADC as a Support
As we mentioned in the ADC playing Support section, playing ADC as a Support will yield the most immediate value since you’ll be able to learn the other side of your partnerships and matchups.
Walking in the shoes of the ADC will help you understand how to aid your ADCs in farming, trading, and resetting.
Playing as ADCs will also give you a better feel for how to fight against and engage on ADCs since you’ll have more familiarity with their cooldown windows.
If you understand your allied ADCs item power spike rhythms and anticipate the waves that they’ll Recall, you can plan your activities around the map ahead of time like roaming to Mid or helping your Jungler invade and get deep vision.
It’s no surprise that some of the best players in League’s pro history have role swapped – Doublelift from Support to ADC, CoreJJ from ADC to Support, Perkz from Mid to ADC to Mid, Score from ADC/Top to Jungler…the list goes on.
By expanding your overall skill set and knowledge of the game, who knows? Maybe you’ll find that another role fits you better than your original main role.
At the end of it all, it’s not just about playing other roles to become better at your main role, but to become the best overall League of Legends player you can be.