Mid lane is second only to the Jungle, as far as map impact is concerned. Raw mechanics can only carry you so far in the Mid lane. A good Mid laner needs to know when and where to roam to carry their games. Decision-making is one of the most challenging League of Legends skills to master, but it’s also one of the most important.
I’ve played League of Legends for over ten years and topped out at Diamond rank. Most of my time has been spent in the Jungle. This has given me a keen sense of which lanes to help and when. I have also spent a fair chunk of my time in the Mid lane and have noticed my Jungle skills translated exceptionally well to the Mid lane, and given me the confidence to make this guide for Mid Laners trying to improve.
In this guide, I will go over a few of the most critical things to keep in mind when playing the Mid lane and deciding whether to roam or stay in lane. I’m going to cover as many scenarios as I can so that you can make the best decision in every game you play, no matter which Champions are involved or whether you’re winning or losing.
Are you Winning the 1v1?
The first thing you should think about when playing Mid lane is whether or not you win against your lane opponent. If you do win, how hard do you win? Try to gauge this during lane, take into account your Champions, and how your opponent plays. Are you winning every single trade? Have you killed them? Will you continue to win the fights once you’re both level 6?
Intuitively, many Mid laners think that they need to roam and spread the wealth if they’re winning. However, this isn’t always the case. If you’re winning extremely hard, there’s no reason to stop, especially if you can win the 1v2 against the enemy Jungler.
If you decide to roam and get nothing out of it or die, then you’ll be giving your opponent the perfect opportunity to catch up in gold and XP. I’ve seen many Mids (including myself) throw free games down the drain by roaming when they should’ve just pressured their lane.
You’re Not Winning
If you’re losing lane, roaming can still be a bit risky, but sometimes the risk is necessary. Champs like LeBlanc and Zed need to get kills to be effective. If they can’t grab kills against their lane opponent, then they should look to roam. Roaming is a lot less risky on Champions with mobility because they’ll lose less farm if things go wrong.
If your Champion scales without kills or can’t roam easily (i.e., Ziggs or Vel’Koz), then you’re probably better off staying in lane and soaking farm until you can be impactful. Roaming and gaining nothing is the worse thing you can do, especially when you’re already behind.
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Lane priority in League of Legends simply refers to whether or not your lane is pushed and how much control you have of said lane. Champions like Malzahar are extremely good at getting lane priority because he can push very fast and very aggressively.
Whether winning or losing, gauge whether you will keep lane priority if you roam. I talked about losing farm when you roam, and priority can prevent that. If you can set your lane up to push, even if you roam, then you’ll lose a lot less farm when you do so.
On the other hand, if you’re against a Champion like Malzahar, and your waves are in the middle of the lane, roaming is a terrible idea because the enemy will be able to shove as soon as you leave and will get a couple of turret plates at least.
You can use this same logic to understand when your enemy may try to roam. If they shove lane super hard, blowing all of their abilities on minions, and then disappear, they’re definitely trying to roam.
If you know that your opponent is roaming, there are a few things you can do:
- Freeze and Spam Ping: This will save your teammates from dying and completely waste the enemy’s time. It will allow you to come back if you’re behind. Or, if you’re ahead, you can zone your opponent off of their farm to completely shut them down.
- Take Turret Plates: You’ll still want to spam ping, but if your opponent roams and you’re on a Champ that can push hard, then go ahead and push! Grab a couple of turret plates, and you’ll be awarded the same amount of gold as a kill. Just be sure that you don’t push too long and die to your laner or the Jungler.
- Counter Roam: If you’re stronger than your lane opponent and they shove you into turret so that they can roam and try to catch up, then it’s your job to make sure that they fail. Ping your teammates and follow your lane to even out the numbers and win a team fight.
How Much Will You Lose for the Roam?
I discussed the risk of losing farm, but you can lose a lot more than just gold and XP. For example, if you roam to the Top lane while the enemy Bot lane has priority, then you’re practically handing over a free Dragon to your enemies.
When you’re playing Mid, or any lane really, you need to think about the map and game state as a whole. Even if you roam and grab a kill, you could throw the game for it if it was at the wrong time.
So, in general, roaming at the wrong time could throw your lane by allowing the enemy to catch up with you, and it could lose objectives like Dragon. Track the enemy Jungler and only roam when it is smart and safe to do so.
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Are Any Lanes Gankable?
I’ve focused on when you shouldn’t roam, but when should you? You have to think like a Jungler. Are any enemies overextended? If so, does your team have the resources to help you? Are you so far ahead that you could 1v2 if you decided to roam bot?
If your teammate is out of Mana or has very low HP, they won’t be able to help you gank and may die if they try. If the enemy is extremely fed, then it’s pretty likely they’ll kill you both and snowball even harder while throwing your lead in the trash.
You have to be honest about how gankable teammates are (even if they are spam pinging for assistance). You will throw games if you roam bot and give their ADC a triple kill trying to force a turret dive. I’m speaking from experience as an overly aggressive player that has thrown 100s of games trying to force a bad gank.
Know Your Team Composition
Let’s look at two Champions, Vayne, and Draven. Vayne is a late-game Champion that can melt everyone once she gets a full build. Draven, on the other hand, hits his power spike level 1 and is only useful if he gets kills. Which of these Champions is more important to help?
Vayne will hit her power spike, whether you gank for her or not. So as long as she is even in the lane or not getting steamrolled, she doesn’t need ganks. If she can find kills, then great, but she doesn’t need to force anything because she naturally scales.
Draven, however, needs kills. His passive gives him money for netting kills, and frankly, he’ll be useless if he’s not fed. If you can roam and net your Draven a few kills in the early game, then you’ll all but guarantee victory. In that case, it’s worth losing XP and farm because you’re setting your ADC up to hard carry.
So think about which Champions actually need your help, not just which lanes are gankable. It will be a lot harder to gank for Kayle than it would be for Renekton, and you’ll be getting a lot less out of it since Kayle won’t be able to snowball off of one kill, and Renekton will.
Work With Your Jungler
Have you ever been playing Bot lane, minding your own business, just farming your life away when all of a sudden you have a Nocturne flying in at you? You happened to have your Flash and Heal available, so you were able to get back under the safety of your turret with 10 HP. You sigh in relief, start your recall, and then suddenly Lux Ult blows you away.
Two heads are better than one. If you notice your Jungler setting up a gank for Bot or Top, and you have the lane priority to do so, then roaming can ultimately snowball the game. The best scenario is that the enemy Jungler tries to counter gank your Jungler, and your team ends up getting two or three kills due to your numbers advantage.
Winning a fight with your Jungler is also a great way to set up the next objective. If you won a 4v4 in the Bot lane, you could immediately transition to a free turret or Jungle kill. Following your Jungler is a great way to ensure ganks succeed and control the entire map.
In summary, you should roam when it won’t allow your opponent to mount a comeback and when a kill is all but inevitable. You never want to waste time roaming, and you never want to throw a game by making an overly aggressive play. I hope I covered at least a few things in this guide that will help you roam better and be a better Mid laner overall. Thanks for reading!