Hello, I’m Faladran (FAL-uh-DREN), a Diamond I jungle and support main on the NA server. This is my first post here on Cloth5, and I’ll be discussing the two main player mentalities that I see in this game.
There are many different types of players in League of Legends, but most can be classified into one of two categories, which I personally refer to as micro and macro. These respective categories refer to two widely varying skillsets with completely different playstyles, but both are important to learn in order to become a consistent, well-rounded player.
Micro players are all about the small intricacies of the game: laning, last hitting, trading, and most activities requiring mechanical skill. These players often rely on their gut instincts and pull off strong reaction-based plays. While they don’t always make the best decisions, they can often turn bad situations around through sheer mechanical superiority.
Example micro players: Doublelift, Voyboy, ZionSpartan
Macro players, on the other hand, prefer to calculate their moves ahead of time and formulate strategies to achieve victory. These individuals may be comparatively weaker in terms of mechanical ability, but their strong decision making and plentiful game knowledge allow them to [bait and] outsmart opponents.
Example macro players: TheOddOne, Genja, Yellowpete
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So which is the superior mentality? I may be biased due to the way that I play the game, but I personally believe that macro-oriented players have an edge over the long run. There are many viable champions who require little to no mechanical ability (Nasus, Xin Zhao, Soraka, Annie, Kayle, etc.), allowing the user to focus primarily on decision making. Additionally, unless a player is so mechanically superior to his opponent that he stomps him to the point of no return in the laning phase, the victory will generally go to whichever team makes better calls, takes more objectives, gets caught less, and is as a whole more intelligent. This is why when you see many players complaining about always winning their lane but ultimately losing games, it’s typically evidence of strong micro and weak macro, as the need for solid decision making becomes greater after the laning phase. That being said, there are a few micro players who are so mechanically strong that they can almost always snowball and carry games simply by outplaying their lane opponent (Best Riven NA comes to mind).
Keep in mind that this isn’t a matter of black and white. It’s very possible for a player to be either weak or skilled in both categories. For example, Madlife has an extremely thorough understanding of the game, but also has enough mechanical talent to consistently outplay opponents at the highest levels of competition. However, most of us will tend to lean towards one or the other in terms of mindset and overall playstyle. For the purposes of this article, try to think of each category as a description of what a player’s strengths are relative to the level they play at (e.g. I’m a macro-oriented Diamond I player with unimpressive mechanics compared to others of my rank, but my mechanics would probably shine in a lower level game).
In the majority of games, we have to use both sets of skills simultaneously and efficiently in order to achieve victory. For example, while deciding when and where to teamfight may be a macro-based decision, the actual mechanics of teamfighting are centered around micro. The laning phase is often heavily dependent on mechanical skill, but important decisions such as how how to respond to a gank or when to back and which items to buy are all macro. The latter skill becomes even more crucial as the game drags on. Baron calls, rotations, warding, and pushing are among the most important parts of the game, and this is why pro-level matches are won by the team with superior macro.
Whether a person develops into a micro or macro-oriented player depends partly on which roles, and more specifically which champions he decides to play. Traditionally, carry positions have been associated with micro play, whereas support and jungle have been thought of as macro roles. There are notable exceptions, however, such as how Genja and Yellowpete play AD carries with a macro mindset. Sometimes it really comes down to personality and preference more than whatever position you happen to play.
Once you’ve determined your playstyle, you can take measures to improve on your weaknesses and make the best of your strengths. Perhaps you’re a macro-oriented jungle main who happens to be a bit behind mechanically. You can improve on your micro play by practicing champions like Lee Sin and Elise. This way, you can polish your mechanics while remaining in a role you’re comfortable with, before stepping further outside your comfort zone.
Alternatively, maybe you’re a mechanical genius who always wins lane but ends up falling behind or getting caught later on. Trying out more utility-based champions will force you to use your character’s skillset in more strategic ways, as opposed to relying solely on mechanical outplays. For example, playing Malphite will make you learn to group up for teamfights, and practicing Shen will improve your splitpushing and map awareness.
I often mentally sort champions into the two different categories. Here are a few suggestions for choices in each role:
Top: Riven, Jayce
Mid: Zed, Ahri, Fizz
Jungle: Lee Sin, Elise
Marskman: Vayne, Draven
Support: Thresh, Blitzcrank
Top: Malphite, Nasus, Shen
Mid: Ryze, Annie
Jungle: Jarvan IV, Zac
Marskman: Ashe, Varus
Support: Sona, Soraka
Micro champions are generally prized for their high snowball ability and outplay potential. They require a lot of mechanical skill to play optimally, but tend to carry hard in the traditional sense if used well.
Macro champions are valued more for the utility they bring to a team. They may still require some mechanical ability, but they’re often fairly straightforward and allow the player to focus more on decision making.
While it’s a good idea to become more well-rounded, you may want to focus on your personal strengths when it comes to ranked. In that case, a macro player will generally achieve better results with a macro champion, and vice versa. Finding a champion with the right playstyle for you will help you play more naturally.
To summarize: micro players are mechanically oriented and seek to outplay their opponents in laning and teamfights. Macro players focus on the strategic aspects of the game and win matches through strong decision making and shotcalling. A strong team is well-balanced and has players of both categories who can cover for each other as necessary. You can improve on your deficiencies by playing champions that force you to learn how to play the game in ways you’re not used to. It’s a good idea to become more well-rounded by shoring up your weaknesses, but it’s also beneficial to know who you are as a player and focus on your strengths.
So, which kind of player are you? Do your champion picks and choice of roles reflect your playstyle? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to ask me any questions you have.