Right now, League of Legends is boasting 126 Champions, and you bet that their skill caps range from “I can get this right on the first couple of games” easy to “it will take me days to learn how to use this properly” difficult. In the previous posts, I showed Champions that were easy enough to understand and play for those just getting into the game. Now, allow me to introduce to you 10 Champions that take more skill than the average beginner to master, and some helpful tips if ever you do want to pick them up and learn them!
(Note that these are in no way sorted according to difficulty, they all equally take practice and patience to learn and master)
1. Cassiopeia, the Serpent’s Embrace
Our resident snake lady likes using people as pawns and spitting out poison. But landing said poison then spamming the hell of out your Twin Fang is easier said than done. That, and her ultimate requires enemies to be staring at you in the face for them to get stunned (and it only stuns enemies in front of her). Late game, Cassiopeia can rip apart an enemy team if you have full stacks of her passive.
- Observe your opponent and try to hit your Q (Noxious Blast) where you think they’ll go. Usually they’ll move back when you slither towards them so aim your Q slightly behind them.
- Remember that your E (Twin Fang) refunds it’s mana cost and part of your missing mana when you kill a unit. Early game, you’d want to use E to last hit minions and use Q to harass your opponent.
- Also remember that your E has a 0.5 second cooldown when an opponent is poisoned. So, if someone is poisoned, SPAM E! (Don’t forget to reapply your poisons)
2. Orianna, the Lady of Clockwork
Orianna, like Cassiopeia, takes a few mind games with your opponent. Using Orianna’s Ball takes a bit of practice to get it in the right position, but she is a very rewarding Champion when mastered. With insane amounts of burst from her spells, she’s personally one of my favorite Champions to take to the mid lane. Also, she’s one of the few Mages whose auto attacks actually quite hurt (thanks to her passive).
- Be mindful of where the Ball is placed on the battlefield. You can use it to zone your opponent by placing it by their minions (they don’t want to be anywhere near it in case you cast W.)
- You can shield your initiator before a clash so that when he/she goes in, you can follow up with your ultimate.
- Predict where your opponent is going to walk so that you can quickly cast Q (Command: Attack) at them, followed up by a W (Command: Dissonance).
- You can make the Ball return to you by walking far enough from it. This is better than spending mana to call it back by casting E (Command: Protect) on yourself.
- Your shield (E) damages enemies it passes through while traveling to the target of the shield.
3. Zed, the Master of Shadows
And here we have Shredder – I mean, Zed. Think of him as an AD counterpart of Orianna, in the sense that you need to keep track on where you place your shadows. He also bursts an insane amount of burst when he’s fed, and he’s generally a very annoying lane opponent. His skills also eat up a lot of his energy, and while energy is the fastest resource to regenerate in the game, it’s a bad thing when you find yourself out of energy and in need of an escape. His ultimate is also hard to pull off, as you need to keep track of who you used it on, where the shadow you left behind is, and whether or not you’re dealing enough damage to actually kill your opponent when your ultimate pops.
- You can use Q (Razor Shuriken) to last hit minions.
- Double tapping W (Living Shadow) will cause you to switch places with your shadow instantly.
- Keep an eye on your opponent’s items. If you see them with a Zhonya’s Hourglass, don’t use your ult on them (the Zhonya will just cancel the burst at the end).
4. Bard, the Wandering Caretaker
I’ll be honest – I can’t play Bard. I’ve tried and tried, and each time I just want to just bang my head on my desk. His mana costs for his heal and his ultimate will drain your reserves quickly, and most of the time, if you’re not hitting his Q, you’re going to feel useless. Not to mention that you can mess up the timing of his ultimate (since it’s an AoE Zhonya’s Hourglass) and could either save your teammates or save your opponents. If you manage to hit the 10% of usefulness out of the 90% of thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing”, I swear to you, you will feel like a god. Not many people can actually pull off playing Bard, and if you’re a competent one, kudos to you.
- Learn where and when to use your E (Magical Journey). It could prove to be a good escape tool, but enemies can follow you through it. You can also use it to lead your enemies into an ambush if you have teammates waiting for you at the other end.
- Don’t wander off and leave your lane partner alone just to collect Meeps for your passive. Stay if you know they can’t handle fighting two people at once.
- Learn when to stay or go to another lane to help a teammate.
- You can use Bard’s ultimate (Tempered Fate) to freeze opponents who are trying to take objectives like Dragon and Baron
5. Vayne, the Night Hunter
Vayne is a favorite among those in solo queue because of her reputation as a hyper carry (a carry that’s weak early game but near unstoppable late game). Most think they can 1 v 5 a team as Vayne because of the amount of damage she can dish out, but quite honestly, she’s quite difficult to master. Not only does she have one of the shortest ranges in the game for a Marksman, but she requires good positioning so she doesn’t get caught out. The rewards are high when you have a fed Vayne, but again, getting there is not easy. A good Vayne will just kite you forever until you die.
- Do not Q (Tumble) towards your enemies, especially during a clash
- Save a Tumble for getting out of the way and to reposition yourself during a clash.
- You can Tumble out of Jarvan IV’s ultimate.
6. Gnar, the Missing Link
Gnar doesn’t look like it, but he’s a Fighter/Tank. That’s because he transforms into a scary monster once he gets his Rage Bar full. And therein lies the difficulty. When you’re an adorable bundle of orange fluffiness, you are squishy as hell. And though you’re huge when you transform, it doesn’t last forever. You only have a small window (15 seconds) to be a big, beefy monster who hits like a truck before you shrink again. And after that, you have to stay alive for 15 seconds before you can build up Rage again to be able to transform.
- Manage the Rage you’re building. Constantly attacking will build it faster, but will also send visible signs to your opponent when you’re about to transform, so they’ll back off.
- Jump in the fight just when you’re about to transform so that you can take your opponents by surprise.
- Time your ultimate. You can only use it when you’re Mega Gnar, and remember it only stuns when your enemies hit a wall.
7. Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance
Kalista rose in popularity among those in the professional scene when she was released since her passive basically allows her to be extremely hard to kill because of her slipperiness. Recently, she’s been nerfed, so it’ll take a little more skill and practice to be able to spear people to death. Her passive makes it a little difficult for beginners to learn her, as she can’t cancel her auto attack animations, and her ultimate requires some coordination between teammates to be used effectively.
- Learn the ins and outs of her passive by clicking to move to another place just as you’re winding up for an auto attack or her Q (Pierce).
- Communicate with the Champion you made your bound ally on when to use your ultimate. It could be a powerful initiation tool when used properly.
- Gauge how much damage you’re going deal with E (Rend) by looking at how many spears are lodged into your opponent and how much health they have left.
- You can use her W (Sentinel) to patrol objectives (like Dragon) and other dark parts of the map.
8. Twisted Fate, the Card Master
Twisted Fate is the Champion that’s going to teach you how to micromanage and how to look at the map, and that proves to be a difficult task for beginners. His W (Pick a Card) gives you three different cards with different effects, and learning when to lock on to a type of card and using it is quite a task (mostly because you have to memorize their order and then you have to time hitting W again to lock in your chosen card). His ultimate makes him a good ganker, since he can teleport to far areas of the map to aid his teammates, but before that you need to learn to prep the right card and where to gank (many players will tell you tales of TF’s using their ultimate then using the Blue Card instead of the Gold Card on the opponent).
- Practice glancing at the map every few seconds after you hit Level 6 so you can see where you can set up for a gank.
- Watch either the top of TF’s head or your HUD to keep track of the colors of the cards when you press W. But also don’t stand still while you’re doing this and don’t take too long picking a card.
- Remember: Red = Slow and AoE damage, Blue = mana, Gold = Stun. You’d want to use the Gold Card when you cast your ultimate.
9. Anivia, the Cryophoenix
Her Q (Flash Frost), which happens to be a stun when it hits, is a slow moving projectile. She’s extremely squishy, and positioning her W (Crystallize) can be tricky. Her ultimate (Glacial Storm) also drains your mana fairly quickly. But don’t underestimate this bird. Her sustained damage with her ultimate, coupled with the sudden burst of her E (Frostbite), makes her a powerful Mage that is difficult to kill (her passive turns her back into an egg that, if it survives for a few seconds, will revive her).
- You can pop your Q early by pressing Q again as it travels.
- You can use W to trap enemies or to cut off those trying to chase you
- Keep track of your mana when you cast your ultimate as it’ll drain quick if you leave it unchecked.
10. Yasuo, the Unforgiven
Many nerfs since his release have not been forgiving to our resident ronin (see what I did there?). And while he still has the capacity to make entire teams cry when he gets rolling, Yasuo now needs a little more practice and knowledge of who you’re up against before you can go crazy on him. Knowing when to go in and out, when to use your ultimate or just hang back, and when you’re overusing your E (Sweeping Blade), those are some of the things you have to consider when you’re playing him. Also, when there are no teammates of yours with a knock-up, you’re pretty much going to have a hard time as yours is kind of hard to hit (and you have to cast Q twice before you actually get a tornado).
- You can use E on enemy minions to close the gap between you and your opponent and also to escape when you’re done harassing your opponent.
- Timing your W (Wind Wall) right can save you and your teammates from taking large amounts of damage.
- You don’t always have to ult when an enemy gets knocked up. Gauge to see if that enemy has teammates to help or whether or not you have back up. Also, don’t ult the Tanks. Go for the carries.
If ever you do want to try your hand at any of the Champions listed here, don’t let their difficulty get you down! Mastering a Champion takes time and several games before you start having a feel of them, so don’t be afraid of failing a few times before you get it right. These may take longer than others, but trust me, they’re well worth the effort.