League of Legends Wave Management – The ULTIMATE Guide (Season 12)

Wave management is one of the fundamentals of laning in League of Legends. Killing enemy minions grant you gold and experience which ultimately lets you purchase items to get stronger. Practicing wave management is crucial in every lane. Most players know what wave management refers to but in reality, they don’t know how to manage a minion wave properly.

There are multiple things a player can do with a minion wave such as shoving and freezing it. Learn all about wave management in our guide!

Also read: Best First Strike Champions

What are Minions?

Minions are a fundamental variable in League of Legends, deployed by the Nexus and controlled by AI. They are to attack any enemy target or structure and use only basic attacks. Upon dying to a champion, they grant a certain amount of gold and XP depending on what type of minion has been killed.

Additionally, they allow you to safely hit enemy towers as they are towers’ primary targets. You can use minions not only as a way to farm experience and gold but also as a way to enhance your trades and other advanced things. To gain the gold and XP from minions, you only need to deliver the final blow to them.

There are four types of minions:

  • Melee Minions
  • Caster Minions
  • Siege/Cannon Minions
  • Super Minions

Melee Minions

These creeps grant you more gold and XP than Caster minions but less than the rest. In a minion wave, they are positioned at the front. They also possess more durability than the Casters but less than the rest.

Caster Minions

The Caster minions are positioned at the back of a minion wave due to being ranged. They are the weakest minions out of all of them and use basic attacks at any enemy target or structure just like any other minions.

Cannon Minions

Cannon or Siege minions are the second most durable type of minions. They are also ranged and do not spawn with every single creep wave. They grant you even more gold and XP than Casters and Melee minions, making them way more valuable than either one of them.

Also read: Best Low Elo Mid Lane Champions

Super Minions

Super Minions are the strongest and most durable kind of minions. In fact, they are so strong that they are capable of going toe-to-toe with weaker champions. They spawn only after you have destroyed an inhibitor, therefore inhibitors are an important objective in League of Legends.

Wave Timings

In League of Legends, the minions spawn in waves. Each wave is AI controlled and automatically spawns at set timings. The first minion wave spawns at 1:05 and continues to spawn with a 30-second interval between each. They are the main source of a player’s gold and experience in League of Legends.

Before 20 minutes into a match, every minion wave consists of 3 Melee and 3 Caster minions and every third wave additionally contains 1 Cannon minion. After 20 minutes, every second wave includes a Siege minion. Furthermore, once 35 minutes have passed in a match, every minion wave becomes a cannon wave.

What is Wave State?

Wave State refers to the condition the wave is in at any given time. The positioning of a wave, the number of minions your minion wave has and the number of minions your enemy’s wave has, and the health of the minions, all of these are factors that can be observed to know the state of the wave.

Understanding the Wave State

Understanding the state of a wave refers to observing the condition a wave is in. A wave state can be understood by observing the number of minions each wave has, whether the wave has a cannon minion or not, the health of the minions, and the positioning of the minions in the lane.

Pushing a Wave

Pushing a wave refers to killing the enemy minions in order to help your minions reach the enemy tower faster. This is done in certain scenarios for your benefit. For example, you have a lot of unspent gold and would like to recall without losing any minions. In this case, you can push your wave to the enemy tower and recall. By the time you reach back to the lane, you would be just in time to collect the next minion wave. 

You can also push a wave, making the enemy laner have to stay under their tower and collect the minion gold while you roam to another lane and help your team out with a player advantage. You can also stack a minion wave to prevent the enemy from trading with you and shove that large wave while you have the option to roam or recall safely.

There are two ways to push a minion wave:

  • Slow Pushing
  • Hard Shoving

Slow Pushing a Wave

Slow pushing in League of Legends refers to a player slowly killing the enemy minions and stacking up a big wave of your own which eventually ends up putting the enemy in a position where they have to stay under their tower for a period of time.

 While stacking a big wave, if the enemy decides to fight you, all of your minions will attack them. You will automatically gain a significant advantage as the minions’ damage will stack and add to your damage.

Hard Shoving a Wave

Hard shoving refers to killing the enemy’s minions as fast as possible to shove your minions into the enemy tower. This is mainly done in two scenarios: when you need to recall and when you need to roam. Hard shoving involves using your abilities on the minions to help kill the minions faster. Some champions such as Ryze and Viktor excel at shoving waves as their kits allow them to clear the wave quite easily.

Freezing a Wave

Freezing a wave is an advanced wave manipulation technique. It refers to letting the wave state be frozen at one point in the lane. When done efficiently, it can deny your enemy from farming minions, making them walk very far from their tower and making them vulnerable to ganks from your jungler. 

This is an especially effective technique when you have the ability to kill your opponent in the lane if they are caught out of position. Champions such as Darius and Irelia excel at this.

How to Freeze a Wave

Freezing a wave starts by letting the enemy push his minion wave towards your tower. After that, you have to thin the minion wave if necessary, meaning you have to kill any excessive minions pushing toward you. Once four enemy minions meet your full wave right outside of your tower range, you can say that you have successfully frozen the lane.

Holding a Wave

Holding a wave is similar to freezing a wave. You do not have to freeze a wave to hold it at your side of the lane. The benefit to holding a wave is that you manipulate the enemy to position in a way that would allow you to either kill them or make them vulnerable. It is a common practice in the higher ranks of League of Legends and you should learn how to implement it into your games as well.

Other Relevant Terms

Some terms we often come across in League of Legends such as ‘CS’ and ‘farm’ are defined below:

  • Last-hit: Last-hit refers to getting the final blow on a dying minion or target.
  • CS: CS refers to ‘creep score’. It is the number of minions you have killed throughout your match.
  • Creeps: Creep is a synonym for minions. Creeps is plural for creep which means multiple minions.
  • Farm: Farming means to last-hit minions.
  • Wave: Wave means a group of minions that spawns together from the Nexus.

Final Thoughts

Manipulating the wave is not easy but it can certainly be mastered. Wave management is one of the essentials to being a good League of Legends player. Every player must know at least the basics of wave management therefore we suggest you advise your friends to read our article to increase their knowledge.

What do you think of our guide? Would you implement some of the mentioned techniques in your matches? Did this article help you become a better player? What are your thoughts on the newest patch? We love hearing your feedback, so hit us with it in the comment section below!

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