The question every League of Legends player, at some point, asks themselves is “Which Lane Should I Play?”. And it’s a great question to be asking, because one great thing about playing LoL is that its complexities allow players to enjoy and excel in vastly different roles on the team. In this guide we will address the most important aspects of Top, Jungle, Mid, Bottom, and Support so that you have everything you need to decide which lane best suits your play-style.
How-to Choose Your Lane
Let's start with an overview of the 5 positions you can play in League of Legends. There is Top Lane and Mid Lane, these are the two 1v1 lanes. Bottom Lane is a 2v2 lane, where each team sends a Carry and their Support. Finally, there is the Jungler, whom is not tied to any specific location, but rather moves around farming neutral camps throughout the map.
Champion Archetypes: Tank, Fighter, Specialist
If you want to smash your opponent in a 1v1 scenario, book your tickets for the Top Lane island!
Top lane is often referred to as ‘being left on an island’, due to it being the most isolated lane. You might look at a map of Summoner’s Rift and see that Top and Bottom are mirrors of each other, so what makes Top more isolated? The answer to this is simple: the Drake Pit. Since killing drakes is such an important objective throughout the laning phase, it often pays off far more for teams to invest more resources in Mid or Bottom, leaving Top on an island to fend for themselves.
Because of this isolation, champions that thrive in the Top lane tend to be durable melee fighters and tanks that can hold their own. If you enjoy some mechanically intense 1v1 fights, then Top is your lane. If you can secure a lead by outplaying your opponent, it will take significant effort from the enemy team to interfere, and might cost them a Drake if they aren’t careful.
A note on Specialists: If you are a fan of the unique class of champions known as Specialists (Teemo, Singed, Heimerdinger), they most often find their home in Top Lane, where they can execute their distinctive play-styles with less interference than in other lanes.
Champion Archetypes: Tank, Fighter, Assassin
The big-brain role.
Jungle is one of the most unique roles in the game, because the Jungler is not tied to a specific lane during the lane phase. Instead, it is your job to clear the neutral monster camps throughout the map, and assist other lanes (via ganks) as you go. Efficiently performing this job is referred to as pathing, and often the jungler with better pathing outperforms their opponent. For these reasons, Jungle is often seen as a role that you can win simply by playing smarter than your opponent. You don’t have to be a mechanical god to win a 3v2, you just have to figure out how to path in a way to create the 3v2 situation in the first place.
The Jungler is also held most responsible for securing the Drakes, Rift Herald, and Baron, since these objectives are in the neutral zones. If you want to make sure your team is getting the powerful effects that these objectives provide, you can do so best from the Jungle role.
Champion Archetypes: Mage, Assassin
The centerpiece of the team, if you ever wanted to play a flashy Mage or Assassin that can delete an enemy in a matter of seconds, you’ve found your home.
The sheer importance of Mid Lane’s position on the map is not to be understated. Being centralized on the map has driven Mid Laners to excel by roaming whenever possible. When you roam, you are creating a numbers advantage, similar to the way a Jungler creates a numbers advantage when they show up to gank a lane.
Mid Laners interact with their Jungler more frequently during the lane phase than other laners do. This is because Mid is equidistant to all of the neutral objectives, meaning you will never be too far if your Jungler needs some help. This Mid-Jungle synergy can easily take over a game when executed properly, taking objectives, ganking lanes, and acquiring more of the map until the enemy doesn’t have a way back into the game.
Since Mid is the shortest lane, you can often find low durability, high damage casters or assassins occupying the role so that they aren’t ever far from their tower if a gank comes their way. If you want to play a champion that can 100 to 0 your opponent or control large zones with your spells, you are going to want to give Mid lane a shot!
Bottom Lane, ADC
Champion Archetypes: Marksman
Looking for a role where you can farm gold until you’re an unstoppable killing machine? Welcome to Bottom Lane.
Bot Lane is where each team sends their Carry, often referred to as AD Carry or ADC. Carries are marksmen who scale incredibly well with items, rather than levels. For this reason, the ADC shares their lane experience with a support, and the support helps the ADC safely accrue as much gold as possible. A setup like this allows the ADC to purchase their big shiny items, like Infinity Edge, Essence Reaver, or Stormrazor, as soon as possible.
Because of this insane item-scaling, an ADC grows exponentially stronger the longer the game goes on. There are very few champions that can go toe-to-toe with a full build marksman in the late game, due to the sheer amount of damage output they have. This does come at a cost of being vulnerable, having a low health pool and below average defensive stats means that if you are not positioning properly you could get one-shot.
Because of these traits, an ADC player spends most of their time on the knife’s edge, putting out as much damage as possible, while playing as safe as possible. Get too ambitious, you die. Too safe? All the gold your team invested in you isn’t paying off. But if you strike the right balance, you can carry your team to victory.
Champion Archetypes: Enchanter, Controller, Mage, Tank
Do you have an eye for how to assist your teammates? Do you enjoy manipulating the ‘vision game’ by placing and destroying wards? You might be a Support main, aka big-brain role v2.
Supports are designed to operate on very low income, which allows them to lane with an ADC without siphoning gold away from them. And of course, if you are funneling gold into someone, you are going to want to protect your investment! Thus, your primary duty as support is to enable your teammates, and most of all your ADC. Different champions accomplish this in different ways, but the desired outcome is the same.
One way all Supports create opportunities for their team is by managing vision control on the map. By creating pockets of vision for your team, or darkness for the enemy team, you are providing and denying valuable information. If your team has a lead and you start to deny all of their vision, they will be forced to walk into the Fog of War with no vision for major objectives. Set up a vision trap like this around a late-game Baron and you can win the game for your team before the fight ever begins.
In this guide we covered all 5 roles in League of Legends, including the role you want to main! Whether it’s Top, Jungle, Mid, Bot, or Support, you can queue up for your next game on the rift, confident that you understand the core concepts behind your role.