Nien on the Importance of Learning Multiple Roles in League of Legends


Heya guys, I am Zach ‘Nientonsoh’ Malhas and I play top lane for Counter Logic Gaming. For those unfamiliar with my background as a pro League player, I have played three separate roles competitively, Top, Mid, and ADC. Although playing three roles competitively is no easy task, it is incredibly rewarding. Effectively being able to play all three roles has made me into a much more well-rounded player, not only that, though. Playing all three roles has had a large impact on my game knowledge, and when playing a game like League, knowledge is the most important thing to have.

I’m sure you guys don’t really care all too much about how many roles I’ve played or the reasons I played them, so I’ll just get into why it is important to be able to play more than just one role, and effective ways to improve at not only your favorite role, but as an overall player.  League of Legends, and all other MOBA’s for that matter, are very unique in how they are played in that you can be the guy who “carries” late game one game, and then have an entirely different role the next game. There is nothing at all grounding a player to a certain role, though the vast majority of players on League lock themselves down to playing only one role, and some players even go further and only play one champion. A large part of why this takes place is due to the rating system placed on league. A lot of players really do not care how good they actually are, instead, they tunnel vision themselves onto getting a specific rating, such as Diamond 1. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have ambition and a goal in mind, but I feel like most players do not go about achieving their goal in the right manner. Instead of solely trying to improve and having the rating come to them naturally, many players simply spam one role or one champion with the sole purpose of achieving the rating. Although this is a good band-aid fix to achieve a rating, do you truly deserve to be at a rating if you can only play one champion, or if you can only play one role?

Although you may be a very good Lee Sin, Ezreal, or Jayce, are you actually a good League player? The main difference between pro players and casual players is not only the amount of time put in to improving, but also the effectiveness of the time put in. Say I am trying to coach two separate league players, $420mlgnoscopez$, and Timmy the dolphin. For their training regiments I tell $420mlgnoscopez$ to play 500 games of ADC, whichever AD he wants to play he can feel free to play, and I tell Timmy the dolphin to play 500 games as well, except 100 games on each role, and every 10 games he should play a new champion. $420mlgnoscopez$ decided to play 300 games on Ezreal, 150 games on Vayne, and 50 games on Corki. $420mlgnoscopez$ managed to climb to plat 1 after mastering Ezreal and spamming him 100 games in a row. Timmy the dolphin, however, only managed to reach plat 5. Many would argue that $420mlgnoscopez$ is the better player, simply because his rating is higher, but who has actually gained more from their training regiment, and will ultimately become a better player if a similar training regiment is continued?

Most likely, $420mlgnoscopez$ can now mechanically play Ezreal/Vayne and Corki very well, but after around the 20th~ game on each champion how much was he truly learning? Timmy the dolphin, on the other hand, will have a much better understanding of 47 other champions than $420mlgnoscopez$ has, but, also, a much better understanding of how the lanes actually interact, and how the game actually works.

Think of it like a pizza with the 5 main ingredients being the dough, the cheese, the sauce, and two random toppings, similar to the 5 positions you can choose from on League. Generally, a great pizza will have all of its ingredients be good, with a few things that stand out. A good pizza will have all of its ingredients be mediocre but could have something that stands out as great, and a bad pizza will have sub-par ingredients with potentially one of them being good/great. Which type of pizza do you want to be?

In my opinion the greatest player will always be the one who can do every role well, but who stands out in a certain role. It is necessary to fully understand every position on league to fully understand the game, and limiting yourself to only one role is only limiting your potential as a player. Don’t get me wrong, if all you want from league is enjoyment and you enjoy only playing one role or one champion, more power to ‘ya. But if you are a player that is motivated and constantly striving to become better, you should be striving to be able to proficiently play and understand every role. Personal improvement at each individual role is a whole different topic entirely, and I may go into it in another blog but it’s just too much info for one blog. If I were to give a few sentences of advice I’d say to critique yourself as if you were another person. Criticize yourself as if you were a pro player. Never settle at your skill level, there is always areas to improve, anyone can become the best player. All it takes is determination and motivation, and an effective use of time :D. The only thing that separates you from me is the amount of time I’ve put in and the amount of effort I’ve put in to improving, if I can do it, you can as well. We are all human beings after all; we can do amazing things if we truly put our minds to it.

by Zach Malhas, on September 13, 2013