General Laning 101
Updated: Jan 26, 2019
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Thanks to Samurai Gamers for game infos.
This is my very first loooong guide from my old blog, which is a product of multiple lost games due to teammates not paying attention to the map and minion waves. What started as a would-be short rant ended up into a lengthy piece as I rather enjoyed making those diagrams in paint. I hope that you will find this useful as much as I was pleased writing it.
09/13/2018 - added more info on Pushing section, some diagrams
12/30/2018 - moved to AoV Academy, minor revisions
I am by no means an expert in AoV. In fact, my micro is almost nonexistent that I can't get used to "Minions and Towers" in controls.
I know you're wondering why you'd pay attention to a guide written by another scrub. Don't worry I'm wondering about that too.
As I've already mentioned, I'm just a scrub and my highest rank is platinum 4 which I reached by playing "tower defense", and like good old tower defense, I just focused on three important things:
Keep eyes on the map.
Focus on objectives.
Clear minion waves.
If a scrub like me can reach plat with just these 3 basic facts, imagine what a non-micro-challenged player like you could accomplish. Perhaps you're even destined to be a Conqueror!
FOCUS ON THE MINIMAP
In tower defense, you need information about the incoming waves in order to plan ahead. In AoV, there are three lanes to defend. You're usually tasked to protect one in the beginning of the game but you're still responsible for the other lanes. There is no "YOUR LANE" here; there's only "OUR LANES" since the entire team will lose eventually if a lane loses terribly. This makes it a lot more complex with a lot of variables thrown in unlike in regular tower defense where you just focus on incoming waves. Map awareness plays an important role in maintaining your lanes. Being able to track enemy movement in the map provides vital information on what they might be intending to do, and of course, proper rotations cannot be accomplished without looking at the map.
OBJECTIVES, OBJECTIVES, AND OBJECTIVES
Towers Unlike tower defense where you only have to defend your tower and survive, you have to take down opposing towers and core in order to win. Towers are important not just for gold (and for winning) but for map control too. First, they provide vision in a large area. Since there are no wards in the game, the only way to gain vision is through the scout bird and allied units - structures, minions, and heroes. You get denied a large vision radius when you lose a tower. Second, they act as stop valves to limit enemy movement through your part of the map. They act as some sort of garrison where heroes usually go for safety. For more information about how turrets work, check Samurai Gamers.
As the screencaps show, towers are tougher in the first 3 minutes of the game. Still, they can be vulnerable and may fall to multiple minion waves when left undefended. Force pushing a tower under 3 minutes is not advised though. This will be further tackled later in the article.
Jungle The jungle provides not only gold but buffs too. These buffs give significant advantage and must be controlled.
The most contested objective early game would be the Abyssal Dragon (even in pro scenes) as it provides a significant amount of gold to the team. Arguably, it's almost more important than towers as early source of gold since towers will eventually fall anyway and will just provide one time gold reward unlike the dragon that can be killed again when it spawns.
It's pretty common to see even in ranked games some players focusing too much in killing heroes instead of objectives. Remember, heroes are just glorified minions. Killing them won't win you the game. Taking down towers (including core, of course) will. We're playing tower defense here, not team deathmatch.
DO THE WAVES
Clearing waves is the main focus in tower defense games so it's common sense that in AoV, we should focus on the same. Not only we'd save our tower from destruction doing so but we also gain a substantial amount of gold which we need in getting items. Compared to hero kills, creeps are better steady sources of gold and clearing them should be prioritized. As I've said, heroes are just glorified minions that only need to be taken down if they're denying you the objective of killing a tower or taking a buff, or is a danger to the structural integrity of your base. It's silly to just chase an enemy hero just to get a kill only to get collapsed on by the enemy team. Creep waves won't bait you so stick to them.
MINION PHYSICS 101: PUSHING AND PULLING
With wave clearing comes the concept of pushing and pulling, so what are these?
Pulling refes to aggro-ing a creep and luring it away from its normal "territory" (monsters), or tracks (minions), hence the term pulling.
Creep pulling is usually done on large jungle monsters to "reset" them. For sidelaners, always pull the buff golem where your jungler is not starting. This may not totally prevent an invade but may buy enough time for your team to collapse on the enemy.
Lane minions can be pulled too but there is not much tactical benefit that can be achieved from this. This is naturally done when proxying and/or stealth pushing.
Pushing refers to advancing in a lane, with or without minions, with the goal of taking down an enemy tower.
When to push? It's a common sense to always have a pushing lane. You don't necessarily need to join your creep wave in doing so. All you have to do is CLEAR THE MINION WAVE. This will allow your lane to push. Maintaining a pushing minion wave will allow you to have better lane vision. The deeper the push, the deeper your creeps can go and the deeper the vision that they can provide. With wider lane vision, all you have to do is to try to control the enemy jungle camps.
Although pushing is an integral part of the game, forcing it especially in early stages (where tower has higher defense) is not advisable, as I've said above. It's more beneficial to just let the minions push by themselves and look for close objectives nearby. The basics early game would be (1) clear your wave [MAIN QUEST], (2) look at the map for "side quests".
Side quests could be: (a) nearby small jungle camp, preferably enemy camp; (b) nearest buff camp, also preferably enemy camp or help your jungler secure one; (c) a skirmish about to happen; (d) nearest lane needing help. After finishing a side quest, always return to the MAIN QUEST.
But why don't we force an early push if it's so important?
Of course an early tower takedown is always welcome. Not only it gives gold but it also gives early map control. Still, there can be negative effects of "forcing" a push.
First, aside from gold from creeps and the tower itself, there are no rewards in just hitting a tower. With the tower having ginormous defensive stats early game, you're wasting time that could be better spent instead in side quests.
Second, if there are no enemy heroes within the vicinity of the enemy tower, you are denying them gold and XP that they could have gotten from your minions.
Lastly, forcing a push will set you deeper into enemy territory which may likely result in the enemy collapsing on you. If you have no map control around, chances are the enemy can get a good flank.
When not to push?
But, but you said to always push!
Yes, the optimal scenario is to always have a pushing lane, but like pizza vitamins, too much of good stuff can be bad too. If you push a lane too hard, you're venturing deep into the enemy territory. Yes, I mentioned that pushing will give you control of a territory but that doesn't necessarily mean that the enemy cannot punish overextending.
As diagrammed above, a large wave can either be a "free gold" to a defending hero or a means to a victory. Always remember that the minion wave is a resource, both for you and your opponent. Wise use of minion waves can improve your winning chances. You can use them to push or even bait an opposing laner into a gank to get numbers advantage to force objectives.
MORE ABOUT PUSHING
Aside from the regular siege wherein you group up, choose a lane, and force your way into the enemy base, there are other varieties of pushing but most of it revolve around split pushing. Splitpushing is when you split (duh) your team and push two or more lanes, usually done at 1:4 with a designated split push hero.
The cardinal rule of splitpushing is:
FOCUS ON THE MINIMAP
I just can't stress this enough.
don't split push if:
you can't see the enemy on the map.
you don't have waveclear/tower takedown capability. If you're a Payna or an Alice, please just stay with your team.
you don't have map pressure and your opponents have excellent waveclear. You're just giving them free gold
do split push:
if you have map pressure. Make sure though that your team will not try to fight it out, especially if your opponent has the numbers advantage
WITH EXTREME PRECAUTION when your teammates are securing dragon/slayer and you're in the most distal lane. Your goal here is not to push but to show yourself in the map and attract enemy attention.
if you're using a splitpush hero, i.e. Kilgroth, Omen, etc., as split push heroes are usually not that good in head to head teamfights. They excel in just suddenly appearing and cleaning up fights.
Splitpushing is not necessarily a means to just take a tower down. Sometimes it's a smokescreen for other things happening around the map. When you see an enemy hero splitpushing and you can't see his teammates in the map, chances are they're taking dragon/slayer or even just lurking in a deathbrush, looking for a counter-collapse.
Also, splitpush requires good communication within the team. Most of the time, it results to flaming in soloQ as you'll be perceived as "not helping" when you try to split push.
Proyxing is clearing a minion wave from behind enemy towers as popularized in League by Singed. Its main goal is to force the enemy to tank minion waves since their own waves will be cut off. In LoL, this can be extremely backbreaking due to high minion damage. In AoV, this is somehow limited though since creep waves are easier to clear and minion waves aren't as painful to tank compared to League. Also, this can only be done safely in between tier 1 and 2 turrets in the sidelanes due to the distance.
Still, it can be used tactically to attract enemy attention. Heroes with fast clear and good mobility like Arthur and Lubu can proxy well.
The sidebrushes (encircled orange in the screencap) in between the T1 and T2 turrets are good ambush spots. You can sneak in with a teammate and wait for an unwary laner. Some players won't expect this as the towers give a sense of security, not knowing that they are in the blindspot of the towers. Proxying is a way of abusing the towers' blindspot.
Wave cutting is "proxying behind an enemy siege" instead of a tower. This is best done by a hero with good mobility and waveclear but poor anti-siege potential, (i.e. again Arthur, Taara). This is just a way of cutting possible minion reinforcements for the enemy team. Since sieging without minions is time consuming, this can delay a siege significantly or even force a retreat. This is better done though with a good clearing teammate guarding the tower in order to clear off the minion wave the enemy team is pushing with.
Stealth push is a term that we coined for the tactic of advancing past your own creep wave to clear the enemy waves. The aim is to hide your creep wave from the map.
STORY TIME! There was one scenario when we were able to amass a large wave on top, 3 cannon minions IIRC. Knowing that this will just be pwned by the enemy, I advanced through our waves and solo pushed WITHOUT minions. My friend somehow realized what I'm intending to do and followed. From an enemy perspective, I thought it would seem that we are tryharding to win, pushing without minions. We were behind objectives and it would seem that we are really desperate and hardpressed. For some unknown reason, the opponents ignored us even though we were pseudo-proxying near the high ground turret (I think they went Slayer). It was too late for them to respond when our very large minion wave reached high ground turret. We took it down rather quickly and luckily, our Violet rushed towards top and joined to finish the game.
In general, pushing requires good understanding of minion waves. Training yourself in custom games will help broaden your knowledge significantly.
Yes! This is the part that you've been waiting for. With all the gold that you've gotten from taking towers and jungle objectives plus clearing waves, your hands are probably itching to use the items that you've invested on. Sorry, but I have no tips regarding this aside from the fact that every time you get a kill, you must get an objective after. There is no need for purposeless killing. Too many kills can backfire anyway as you'd give shutdown bounty if ever you get slain.
I hope you'd enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing this. See you in the Antaris Fields and as always, observe, formulate, adapt.