Mid Lane: Using Patterns to Predict your Enemy

Hello guys. This week I’m going over how to properly read your opponent so that you can avoid ganks with ninja like senses. Knowing when your opponent will go in for trades is key to success. Prediction is the name of the game in laning phase. Without a proper spidey sense you’re going to find yourself on the losing side of engagements.

Predicting your enemy comes down to 2 things:

1. Zones
2. Patterns

Zones are the basics to predicting the enemy’s opportunity for engagements. We can’t touch on patterns without going over zones.


Predicting the enemy is about knowing their potential threat zone for their key abilities. This can be either their CC (Crowd Control) or their gap closing ability. Zones are the ranges of potential and actual threat that each enemy possess. In order to know when an enemy is going to become aggressive you need to first understand the ranges of their spells. Let’s use Ryze as an example:

  • Ryze has a very short range for any caster. You know that in order for him to deal damage, he first has to walk into range of you. This process of him walking from out of range into range is the first indicator that he will be aggressive in the near future. Otherwise he will be farming with auto’s or spells. There are two types of scenarios that happen when he walks into your range. The first and most common is that he will harass you. The second ( which usually happens after repeated harassing attempts or during a gank ) is an engagement. Engagements are intended to kill; harassments are meant to zone and weaken.

However, Ryze is a champion with zero gap close. Champions with mobility are more and more commonly seen in the mid lane and most others. This is partially why you see the rise of  top lane Ryze in higher Elo and competitive play. There are simply less mobile champions in top lane. Mobile champions can afford to be much farther away from their threat range when getting a gank, or going in for an engagement. Once you study zones enough, the zones themselves will tell you the patterns of the enemy player.

My Tip: Never forget to account for the mobility of the enemy champion when thinking of their potential threat zone!

Patterns Patterns11

Patterns are a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution. In league this will translate into you having to remember EVERYTHING. Your experience in the game will tell you the patterns of champions.

On a metagame scale this include, but are not limited to:

  • cool downs for spells
  • ranges for auto attacks
  • spell orders
  • movement speeds
  • combo patterns

What runes are they running? Full offensive runes, indicated by overly high AP at level 1 and very low armor/magic resist, likely means you should be wary of early all-ins. Defensive runes means they are intimidated by your character. Runes can tell you right off the bat what type of player they are. A player with an abnormal amount of offense is typically more aggressive, harassing constantly with their abilities or auto attacks. Similarly, a player with an abnormal amount of defense will likely be more passive, focusing instead on CS.

 Their CSing habits are the most important lane indicators to keep track of when trying to remember their patterns. Memorize when they like to go in for auto attacks, and harass when they do. The key to winning trades in lane is to attack when they are focused on creep score. It’s the biggest bait. More than a kill early game, champions NEED to kill creeps early to get to at least level 4. The beginning of the game is your chance to study their patterns. It will tell you how aggressive they will become.

My thoughts: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve won lane because I’ve told my jungler, “This mid lane is SO aggressive. It’s going to be REALLY easy to gank them.” When a player forgets to CS because they are focused on auto attacking you, they are an aggressive player.

Other than their champions and set-ups, you also have their physical movements to predict how they are going to act next. Pay attention to what side of the minions they like to move to after CS. Use that knowledge to try and get in your long range poke. When you get good at it, you will be harassing them and CSing at the same time with your skills. Pay attention to what side of the river they are on. If they tend to stick to one side, and then suddenly move to the other side, then there are only a couple options:

  1. They need to avoid minions to  harass you. This is common in champs like Nidalee and Jayce. In this situation, try to maintain the minion block and harass back while you’re safe. If they continue, that means they either are trying to all in, or have a gank coming!

  2. There is a gank coming. Say you have a jungler coming from my red. Move to the opposite side of the lane and use your zone control to push them closer to your jungler. When you see an enemy do this to you, run away. You know a gank is coming EVEN if there is no ward giving you vision. They just telegraphed the gank for you!

There is one more subset of patterns that you cannot forget about: objectives and roaming. Noticing when an opponent is roaming  is a huge part of winning any game. Often times just by leaving lane you can force your opponent to return to lane. But other times it becomes a great opportunity to ambush or counter-roam them if they are hesitant with their choice. In order to roam, the enemy will first have to clear his wave, then walk the direction he wants to gank. If you put yourself one step ahead of them and think about what direction they want to go, you can catch them out (or preemptively ward and continue farming). 

When it comes right down to it, your enemy is going to be trying to make something happen all the time. You shouldn’t have to use guesswork to determine when you’re at a disadvantage. If you believe yourself to be ahead, but your opponent begins to play like they’re the ones with the advantage, then there is likely something they have or know that you cannot see.

Your enemy’s movements and actions will ALWAYS telegraph their intentions. You just need the game knowledge to read them. You have to apply the knowledge in your head every game in order to properly predict what the enemy is going to do. I hope this gave you an increased awareness of how important using that knowledge is to capitalizing on mistakes. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you guys next Thursday.


You can follow my stream here: http://www.twitch.tv/lol_acerunner/ Thanks!

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My name is Chris "Acerunner" Young. I've been playing League since 2010 and have played mid exclusively since then. 4700 games later I'm here writing to you guys about mid lane.

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