Setting up for success

League of Legends Early Game Objective Guide

League of Legends
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The enemy base may look impregnable - but there is always a way. Image credit: Riot Games

The secret to winning those clutch teamfights in League of Legends is often to start them with an advantage. If you want to up your tactical game and show you’ve got a bigger brain than Heimerdinger, read on!

Preparation, they say, is half the battle. Flashy outplays and clean fights might be what most League players dream of - but usually it is map control and early objectives that set a team up for success or failure. League of Legends has three early game objectives on the map: turrets, dragons, and the Rift Heralds. Securing each of these gives you a significant lead on the spot, but to get the most of them, you should incorporate them in your map play.

When and where

Taking objectives is best seen as an extension of your pressure around the map. Winning a skirmish or sustained pressure will allow you to take objectives, which in turn solidifies your team’s lead. Even without winning a fight, good warding and jungle control can help you snatch a free dragon or Rift Herald. Sometimes, the compositions of the two teams will show you where you can and cannot easily fight. If your top or being pushed, securing Rift Herald would be harder, because the opponents can come first. Meanwhile, if you have a pushing bot lane, you could look to play for early bottom tower and dragons.

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Ah, the outer tower - the bane of many new players. Image credit: Riot Games

Towers: gold and control

Towers, also known as turrets, are perhaps the clearest objective: they guard the lane, do damage to any enemy that comes close and breaking them gives a handy chunk of gold to the team - and you must destroy at least some to get in the enemy base and win the game. The outer towers also have an early plate mechanic that makes them tougher in the first 14 minutes where every destroyed plate gives the turret a defensive bonus for the same period - but every plate destroyed gives gold to nearby champions. In addition to being necessary to win, towers are key for the early game. Not only do you get more gold when you destroy them, but it denies the enemy a safe zone and vision in the lane that weakens their jungle control.

Sr villa srvillage riot ocean 00090

All Runeterran doctors agree that slaying ocean dragons is great for your health. If you survive, that is. Image credit: Santiago R. Villa & Riot Games

Dragons give little in terms of outright gold, but the stacking buffs they offer more than make up for it in the long run. Dragon buffs give you a lasting advantage that only grows as the game progresses in the form of bonus damage, resistances, sustain or cooldown reduction to ultimate abilities. With dragons, however, there is a secondary factor - each one gets your team closer and the enemy further away from the powerful dragon soul buff - and the soul buff is often game-defining. As they are relatively easier to secure, this makes dragons a good “investment” for the late game.


The peaceful Rift Herald. Crikey, she's a beauty! Image credit: Riot Games

Rift Herald: the enabler

The Rift Herald can spawn up to twice in the Baron pit before leaving the map for its bigger relative - the Baron. While not doing a lot of damage to a prepared team, it often takes a while to kill and gives little upfront gold. However, it lets you summon the Herald to as a giant battering ram minion. Its charge does true damage to tower , which is not mitigated by their armor and is a great way to cash in on some turret plates or finish a damaged turret. More than that, it lets you supercharge a pushing wave that requires someone one the enemy team to go to that lane - leaving them with less people elsewhere. In a way, the Herald can be seen as a “support” objective that helps you get more from your pushes.

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