Map awareness is a crucial skill that you need to work on if you want to become a better League of Legends player. And frankly put, no one has become a pro by ignoring the minimap. Paying attention to what is going on at all times on the map can significantly improve your win rate. It has been like that since the start of the game, and it is true now. The map is a key element in League of Legends, and you must check it very frequently.
Why is Map Awareness so Important?
New players in League of Legends often miss the central point for why the map exists in the first place. It is not just a small box on which you can check your champion or place pings – but a source of all the information in the game. Let’s analyze this a bit.
If you glance at the minimap, you can see your base, your enemies’ base, and the neutral objectives in between. Everything that can happen in League of Legends will always appear on the map. Of course, this excludes the fog of war events, but you can take care of even that with enough wards.
So, in the corner of your screen, you have a mainboard that hosts all the League of Legends’ processes. If you focus hard enough, you can follow every thought and decision of the nine other players in your game simply by observing the little box. You can then know when they want to do next, whether they’ll attack or retreat, when they are recalling, and when they’ll be back in the lane. And then the question becomes: Why wouldn’t I watch the map all the time?
But, map awareness isn’t an on and off switch. It is a skill that can significantly be improved, but it takes time and practice. However, the fact that it is one of League of Legends’ most important aspects will always remain true.
Having a good map awareness results in better gameplay overall. You’ll start making optimal decisions, and you’ll be taking advantage of every mistake made by your opponent. You’ll be able to know where the enemy jungler is, so you’ll rarely die from ganks and surprises. And lastly, you’ll have more fun because you will be winning more games.
So let’s learn how to significantly improve your map awareness!
Many new players or people who don’t necessarily play MOBAs fall into the trap of playing League of Legends with the camera locked. This is a good feature for getting used to focusing on your champion, but it’s essentially bad for improving at the game. As you level up in LoL, you’ll need to take more and more stuff into consideration. So unlocking your camera is the first step to increasing your map awareness.
To stop using the locked screen mode in League, simply press “Y” on your keyboard. And if that doesn’t work, you can click on the little camera icon right beside the minimap.
Unlocking your screen will give you the freedom to check every part of the map at all times. Although it might be too overwhelming at the start, it will serve you in the long run. Because without the constant glare over your champion, you’ll be following “more” of the game, and you’ll start recognizing potential benefits for you, like ganks, buffs, and camps. And if you haven’t done it yet, we strongly recommend you to play League of Legends with an unlocked camera.
2) Increase Your Map Size
The next step you want to take is increasing the size of your minimap. That’s easily done through the HUD (interface) settings inside the game and the Minimap Scale line. Usually, when you first install the game, your minimap’s size is set anywhere between 30 and 50%, depending on your resolution. However, the 100% Minimap Scale is strongly recommended for improving map awareness.
The point here is to make your minimap as big as possible. Because if it is too small, your eye is much less likely to track it, and as a result, you’ll unconsciously just neglect it. But if it is big enough to always take a portion of your view, you’ll once again be forced to look at it. This is very important for building up the habit to check every now and then on your minimap, so take advantage of it.
And to optimize this change, we suggest you decrease the size of your HUD and Chat. It’s simple – when you scale everything down except your map, the map itself comes into focus. And when it’s staring you right in your face, you can’t help but glance at it regularly.
3) Watch the Score Table
If you’ve ever watched a single streamer or a pro player, then you’ve probably seen that they spam the “Tab” button. That isn’t always because they need to check which items their opponent has bought, but to check who’s missing too.
If you haven’t noticed, whenever an enemy champion is in the fog of war, the Score Table displays a little “?” mark next to their icon. This means that that champion can’t be spotted anywhere on the map and might be coming to gank you. Realizing this, you can walk to a safer spot every time you see that someone isn’t in their lane. This is an excellent shortcut that doesn’t require staring down at your minimap.
4) Use a Timer
This is perhaps the single-best advice that we can give you and the one that will help you the most. There are tons of sources on the internet that will provide you with a free “beeper” that can act as a reminder for you to check the minimap.
For example, there is a specific YouTube video made exclusively for improving the map awareness skill in LoL. The guy in the video repeats the word “map” every ten to twenty seconds for over an hour, which is enough for one game of League of Legends. And every time he says “map”, you should turn your attention towards your own minimap. Doing this for just a few games will significantly increase your map awareness, and you’ll soon learn to glance in the corner of your screen without any external sound.
Now, if you don’t have the best internet connection and can’t run videos in the background, there are other internet pages that provide this feature. And if that isn’t an option for you, you can always use your phone as a reminder as well.
5) Use the F Keys
The F keys are often a forgotten feature in League of Legends. If you’ve ever seen a POV of Faker and noticed how he rapidly flicks the camera from one teammate to another, it is because he uses the F keys. Their function is pretty straightforward.
When you press F1, the in-game camera brings you to your own champion. F2 is your next teammate, usually the top laner, and F3 is your jungler. This continues to F5, giving you five very accessible buttons to quickly check on yourself and your friends. Doing this will help you understand how your team is thinking about the game, whether they’re preparing to attack or back off. According to their own gameplay, you can draw information about your opponents as well, which further increases map awareness.
Using the F keys can feel weird at first, but it is a beneficial strategy. If you struggle to reach these keys on your keyboard, you can always change the keybinds in your settings to something more comfortable for you.
6) Play a More Active Role
When we say a more active role, we usually mean jungler or support. This does not mean that the rest are AFK roles and can’t be the best in a given game. But generally, the jungler and support are the two roles with the biggest influence on the map, at least for the first half of the game. They put the most of wards, roam a lot, and track the enemy team’s movement.
If you don’t main these positions, just give them a try in a normal game. For example, being a jungler forces you to check your lanes, to see how your own teammates are doing, and where your enemies are going. Junglers have better control overall, simply because their role requires them to be focused on what is going on across the map. And experiencing that can improve your own map awareness.
As we mentioned earlier, map awareness is a skill that needs to be built over time. Our tools are excellent for practicing this trait but don’t expect groundbreaking results overnight. Everyone learns at their own pace and will eventually get where they want to get.
We advise you to incorporate all of the techniques we talked about and be mindful of what you’re doing in-game. One of the biggest enemies of map awareness is the “auto-pilot” mode. That is when we completely relax and defocus while playing LoL, so we let our memory and instinct to guide our actions, rather than our active thinking. Whenever you catch yourself doing something that you don’t necessarily want to do, that’s when you’re going on auto-pilot.
Taking a break will refresh your mind, and you’ll come back more aware in your next games of League of Legends!