The Core of Competitive League of Legends Part 4 – Execution


League of Legends is an extremely complex game, with many of its important aspects often being overlooked. In this four part article series, I, BonkCushy, will be breaking down the “core” of competitive League of Legends, specifically looking at Composition, Objectives, Rotations, and Execution, in hopes to give new players a different way to look at the game.

Each part of this article series will be dedicated to their alignment within the acronym, so today’s article will be about Execution. Although I am honing in on one of these topics at a time, remember these are all interconnected, so as you read the articles, try and make connections between them. For example, trying to understand rotations can be difficult if you don’t have clear priorities for objectives, nor the knowledge of how to optimize your composition efficiently at taking objectives.

Individual Execution: Micro

Obviously, there is a difference between the micro of a Challenger player and a Silver player, and that’s the ability to consistently do the thing they intend to do. Before getting into execution on a team level, we need to acknowledge the individual executions that allow team play.

Micro is the term affiliated with an individual’s non-strategic ability to perform and has recently been interchangeable with ‘mechanics’ in the League of Legends scene. This includes basics like being able to farm minions, execute flash, kite, and many other mechanical feats. Professionals for League of Legends don’t need to be as proficient in the micro game to succeed as compared to other games like Starcraft, because the game itself isn’t as demanding for commands.

However, League is able to make up the difference in the micro game by making the macro game even more complex, with an extraordinary amount of variety in scenarios which need to be accounted for. A perfect example of this can be seen when Link was apparently able to solo kills onto Faker, who is arguably the best mid laner in the world, in their scrims. This probably occurred because Faker wanted to test his limits against Link, by doing more high risk, high reward commands than usual.

When the time came for the actual All-Star games, Faker didn’t risk anything in lane, and showed his dominance in other areas in the game, such as his ability to execute macro strategy with his team. One last thing to be noted is that there are opportunities in League where the highly mechanical, highly strategical players are rewarded, but are extremely few and far between that it isn’t necessary for a professional to be so absurdly skilled.

Team Execution

At the competitive level, execution on a team level, or team synergy, is immensely more important than the skill level of an individual. Although skilled players can be skilled in isolated scenarios, when working together they may wrongly estimate either their ability to deal with the enemy or what their allies may do. An example of this can be seen when, in the first week of the NA Summer LCS this year, when Cloud 9 gave up a 5 minute triple kill to RobertXLee. They overestimated their ability to 3v3 and/or did not account for Brokenshard to be in the area, which sealed the deal for C9’s bot lane.

Teams with a certain style also can beat other teams that have a more optimal composition because they’re so practiced in it. The KT Arrows, my favorite team at this time, have a very aggressive all-in style similar to SKT T1 K before their period of dominance. Although their strategy is not optimal, they are still a top team in Korea. The picture below depicts Hachani being reassured by Coach Lee about picking Blitzcrank, a very KT Arrows-esq champion, into an easily predicted Yasuo pick. KT Arrows won this game.

Outside of the general team synergy lies the role specific synergy: how two or more members on your team work together. In almost every game, skirmishes between a couple of champions on each team will break out, creating small teamfight scenarios outside of a traditional 5v5. Regardless of the meta, it’s crucial to have good synergy between the AD Carry and Support player because they have to lane with one another. In the way the current lane-swapping meta works, there also needs to be good synergy between the Top Laner and Jungler as they buddy jungle in the early game, and in prior metas the Jungler and Mid Laner needed good synergy because 2v2’s in the mid lane used to happen more frequently.

To summarize this article:

  • Micro, or ‘mechanics’, is the ability to consistently execute commands.
  • Macro is everything micro isn’t; big picture strategy and the ability to find and use information given to you. Read more about Macro in my Objectives article.
  • League’s macro game makes up for it’s lack of difficulty in the micro game (relative to other esports)
  • Individual micro is commanding your champion, while teamplay execution requires the shotcaller to command you.
  • Top teams often beat other top teams because they had better execution in a game, even when their strategy might be worse.
  • A single mistake in the early game can lose the whole game in a competitive environment, unlike soloqueue, which is more forgiving.
Click here to find the other articles in this series!

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I am currently a color caster for NESL, and write blog posts for Cloth 5, with a focus on analysis and strategy. I also play Super Smash Bros. Melee competitively, going to weekly tournaments in the greater Boston area. Currently, I am enrolled at Boston College, with a Communications major. To get in contact with me, follow me on Twitter @BonkCushy.

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