Wave management is a critical skill for players seeking to climb to a higher Elo. Most players have heard of freezing lane, and many have heard the term slow push. Players who want to reach high ranks need to know what these terms mean and how to execute these strategies. They are an invaluable tool to add to your arsenal and give you an edge on most of your opponents.
Many low to mid elo players do not understand the nuances of wave management. They have heard these terms and may even understand how to freeze and slow push a lane. Unfortunately, they do not understand when they should freeze or push and why they are doing it. In this article, we’ll cover those little nuances that will give you an edge and help you increase your winrate and become a better player overall.
How to Slow Push?
Slow pushing, as a concept, is a little more complicated than a freeze. When a player slow pushes, they want to set up their minion wave to have slightly more minions than the enemy wave. The goal is to allow many minions to group up and form a single monster wave. If the wave grows too fast, the player’s minions will decimate the enemy wave, push too fast and reach the enemy turret too soon. The goal of a monster wave is to crash hard against the enemy turret so that the turret will be in danger if no one clears the wave. If the wave isn’t big enough, it can be ignored, and you will have completely wasted your effort.
So now that we’ve covered the concept let’s talk about executing a slow push. Simply kill the backline caster minions (the ranged ones) to slow push. Do not touch the melee minions. They are tanky and will tank your wave while you wait for another one to show up. Once the next enemy wave shows up, kill its backline as well. Repeat this for a few waves, and voila, you will have a gigantic wave ready to push.
Also read: Best Junglers Against Squishy Teams
Why Should You Slow Push?
Slow pushing is a great way to apply pressure to the enemies, whether ahead or behind in the game. It is a strong strategy because players can apply pressure that can’t be matched with a hard push. If you are very far ahead, then you may not need three waves worth of minions to help you apply pressure (although they wouldn’t hurt). However, if you’re behind or even in levels, slow pushing is a great way to give you the advantage you need to pressure your opponents. Now, let’s get into some of the most common ways to apply that pressure, using a slow push.
Having a large wave makes it easier to execute a dive alone or with your Jungler. The wave will give you more time to position yourself since the turret will have more minions to kill. You will also have the extra minion damage on the enemy, which will be a pretty big deal in the early levels. Remember that trying to slow push during the laning phase can be difficult occasionally if your opponent has sound wave clear or knows what you’re trying to do. If you know that your Jungler wants to gank, and your opponent is playing extremely safe, consider setting up a gank by slow pushing with a monster wave.
We’ve covered this a little already, but if you like to split push, you need to learn how to slow push. If you are not ahead in levels or items, it will be effortless for an enemy Champion to answer your split push. They will show up to their turret and clear your wave while you get a couple of autos off on their turret. If your split is easily answered, you are putting your team at a massive disadvantage; they will be playing 4v5, and you won’t even be getting turrets to make up for it.
On the other hand, if you utilize a slow push strategy, you will have waves of minions with you once you reach the enemy turret. These minions will do massive damage to the turret, along with your autos, so you will be able to take the turret down much faster. The enemy team will have no choice but to send someone to you to stop your push, or they will lose the turret. Your wave will be much harder to clear for whoever tries to answer you, and as mentioned above, you may even be able to dive them and snowball the game from there.
Split pushing is highly versatile, so it is such a crucial skill to learn. You can use the technique to build up a monster wave for split pushing, as we mentioned above. But what if you want to join your team for an objective? Well, you can follow all of the steps we previously outlined, but instead of sticking with the monster wave, you can walk away. Delete the caster minions of two or three waves, then join your team. Setting up the waves and then leaving will not only slowly build a gigantic wave, but it will do so very subtly and catch your opponents off guard and allow you to pressure an objective on two sides of the map at once.
Let’s run through an example. Drake is about to spawn, and both teams are sitting mid-lane, trading poke and trying to get a pick. Now you could sit mid with your team and then run to Dragon when it spawns and have a 5v5 team fight that you may win or lose. It is not a wrong choice, but it leaves a lot up to chance. What if the enemy picks someone off? What if your ADC gets blown up immediately? Then your team loses the fight and Drake, with nothing to show for it.
Let’s say instead of sitting mid with your team, you run top and start clearing the backline of a few enemy waves. Then you return mid and fight for Drake. Now, if you win that fight, you get Drake, and your Top lane has a monster wave crashing against the enemy turret with no one alive to defend it. On the other hand, if you lose the fight, you still have the consolation prize of Top lane pressure. So, when you slow push, you always have the option to bail and help your team or continue the push yourself to maximize your side lane pressure.
How to Freeze Your Lane?
Freezing is a lot more simple than slow pushing. Many players can deduce what freezing the lane means from the name alone. Freezing a lane means setting up your minion wave and the enemy wave so that neither one is pushing. This technique is commonly used to stop waves right before the turret so that the freezing player is safe from enemy ganks.
Freezing a lane is quite simple, most of the time. Last hit, and auto-attack less than the enemy Champion. Your goal is to let the enemy kill your wave before killing yours. Then, when the enemy only has a couple of minions left, you can tank those minions’ attacks while you wait for your next wave to come clash with them. The enemy wave mustn’t hit your turret. If your turret starts attacking the enemy minions, then your lane will inevitably start to push. Depending on how your enemy plays the lane, it is common to transition from a freeze to a slow push. If your enemy is freezing and you want to break it, it is easiest to push hard enough that your lane hits their turret.
Freezing is a balancing act, as you do not want to find yourself tanking a lot of minion autos after your wave is dead. Doing so will make you very vulnerable to the enemy laner because the minions will lower your health, and the enemy Champ will have the opportunity to take some pop shots against you. You have to use your best judgment of when you can afford to freeze, and when trying to do so will put you in a deadly situation.
Also read: Why Does the Bot Lane Always Feed?
Why Should You Freeze The Lane?
Slow pushing is primarily an offensive technique used to create pressure. Freezing can be used defensively as well as offensively. Many players make the mistake of always trying to freeze their lane, even when shoving would be the better option. Most of the time, you only want to freeze if your lane is around. Otherwise, they will roam and potentially snowball the game with ganks. However, if you are very far behind, your only option is to freeze and spam ping question marks. Other than protection against the enemy laner, there are a few other very crucial use-cases to understand for mastering lane freezing.
As mentioned above, freezing can be used offensively or defensively against ganks. Freezing the lane on your turret will make it very difficult for the enemy Jungler to gank you. Their only option will be to turret dive you, which could end up working out in your favor. It’s essential when you’re freezing to ensure that the enemy wave is not getting too large. You want to keep it larger than your own so that you don’t accidentally start slow pushing, but you want to keep it small enough that you can manage it and the enemy doesn’t build a monster wave.
On the other side of the coin, if you have the lane frozen at your turret, it makes it extremely easy for your Jungler to gank for you. If your enemy wants gold and XP, they will be forced to over-extend to farm. If they cannot consistently ward (which most players will not do), then your Jungler will have ample opportunities to gank. It is imperative to prevent monster waves when freezing if you want your Jungler to gank. You will not be able to react to a Jungler gank if your enemy has a lot of minions built up. If you try to run through a massive wave of enemy minions to help your Jungler, then there is a good chance your opponent will be able to trade a kill during the gank, or worse, come out ahead.
Shutting down your opponent is another way to implement the lane freeze offensively. If you play a Champion with a lot of poke or are in an advantageous match-up, then you can freeze your lane and completely shut your opponent out. Once they get ahead, most players will opt to hard-shove waves repeatedly. This strategy will leave them vulnerable to ganks but also allow their opponent to farm XP and gold safely under their turret. On the other hand, freezing will put you in a much better position to snowball your lead to a victory.
If you are much stronger than your opponent, you can freeze your lane at your tower and stand by your backline minions. Your goal is to force your opponent so far away from the wave that they miss XP, or they will have to fight you and potentially give up a kill. Once you’re ahead, freezing is the best way to completely shut down your opponent and gain a massive level advantage over everyone else in the game.
Finally, let’s talk about how freezing can help you when you are behind. The first, most obvious advantage of freezing is that it allows you to farm safely at your turret during the laning phase. You will not be vulnerable to ganks, and your opponent will have to engage you under a turret to kill you. Many players do not realize that freezing is still an option post-laning phase.
If you are behind after your turret is down and want to catch up in levels or gold, pushing will leave you even more vulnerable to the enemy team. Many Junglers will know you are behind and try to take advantage of your efforts to catch up. They will repeatedly gank you, sometimes bringing one or two other Champs with them, which will make the game even more bleak and unwinnable.
However, if you set up a freeze by your Tier 2 turret, you can comfortably farm as long as you want, and if anyone tries to answer your freeze, they will be the vulnerable ones. Keep in mind, your team will be at a numbers disadvantage while you freeze after the laning phase, and intelligent enemies will try to take advantage of this. Only freeze mid-game if you must catch up on levels or if your Champ scales extremely hard and you are trying to reach your late-stage monster form.
We hope you found this article helpful and that you learned everything you came here for and more. Our goal was to cover the nuances and use-cases of different wave management techniques that we believe make the difference between good and great players. Knowing how to execute a slow push or freeze is essential, but knowing why and when to execute these strategies is the difference between good and great players.