League of Legends Beginners Guide: What are the Lanes?

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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In our series aimed at explaining League of Legends to total beginners, today we break down what it means to be in a lane, and what each lane means.

When you load into your first game of League of Legends, you’re going to have a lot of questions like where to go, which character to pick, and what to do. We’ve already covered the first aspect of that – generally – in our guide to champions post and even have a few suggestions for which champions a new player should aim to play. Today we’re going to go into the second question, where to go, by explaining the lanes of Summoner’s Rift.

When you first load into a lobby, you’ll see people start to (very quickly) type words like “bot,” “top,” “mid,” “jungle,” or “support.” These describe the roles of League of Legends but also delineate the areas of the map that players are intending to go for the laning phase of the game (save for support). For today, we’re only going to focus on the first three of these.

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These are the “lanes” of League of Legends: bot, mid, and top. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, benefits, and drawbacks, and varied play styles that make choosing a lane a different experience from your last game.

We’ll get into the nuances of each lane discussing the general play style of the lane and how it impacts the rest of the map. We’ll also examine the classes of champions usually played in that lane and what sort of role each player can play by choosing one lane.

Of course, none of these rules are set in stone; they are merely guidelines and trends. As you’re learning the game, you should free to experiment and try all the lanes and various champions that you enjoy. This is merely a starting point so you can learn to play the game “properly” from the first time you hit the Rift.