Best League of Legends champions... we've got them right here. When you start playing LoL there are so many questions. What is the best champion in League of Legends for beginners and new players? Where should you start? What LoL champion should you play? So many choices! So much information!
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Despite being considered as one of the more accessible MOBAs, League of Legends isn’t exactly the easiest pool to dip your toe in. To help, we've rounded up what we think are the best champions to start with. This isn't meant to be exhaustive: one of the best things about MOBA games like League of Legends is that they offer so many choices for you to try.
What are League of Legends champions?
A champion or hero in any MOBA is the unit on the map that the player controls. Each one is unique, and possesses at least, but not limited to, four abilities which are mapped to the Q, W, E, and R keys. All champions possess one ability that is stronger than the others, known as an ‘ultimate’, which has a long cooldown and can only be deployed occasionally.
In League of Legends there are over 100 different champions to choose from. Much like an MMO or class-based shooter, these can be divided into categories which pertain to the unit’s purpose within the team. Some are marksmen, some are mages, others are tanks, and some champions don’t comfortably fit into any of these descriptions.
In a standard League of Legends match, which takes place on the map called Summoner’s Rift (aka ‘The Rift’) there are five champions per team - no more, no less. Each champion’s abilities are steadily unlocked and then upgraded by earning experience and buying items using gold. Key to both of these enhancements is the killing of minions - AI controlled monsters which attack enemy fortifications and champions. Kill scores of minions in addition to racking up kills against the enemy team and your champ will become extremely powerful in no time at all.
What are roles in League of Legends?
The goal in League of Legends is to destroy the other team’s Nexus, to which there are three accessible routes: top lane, bottom lane, and mid lane. The role of each team member is defined by their position within this configuration.
Top lane and mid lane are the most straightforward positions - these two roles are tasked with fighting opponents in their respective lanes. Those choosing the former will generally pick tank or bruiser champions, whereas those choosing the latter most often opt for ability-based mages.
Move to the bottom lane and things become slightly more complicated. Bot lane is occupied by two players - an ADC (attack damage carry) and a support. The ADC will pick a ranged, high damage champion and is tasked with securing kills and lowering enemy health bars. Support, on the other hand, is a utility based role. The support’s job is the most multifaceted: they are charged with locking down the enemy using crowd control, healing, buffing allies, and keeping their ADC alive.
The final role is that of the jungler. Between the lanes on both sides of the map is a traversable jungle filled with monsters. The jungler’s job is to ‘farm’ gold from this area by killing monsters instead of minions and jump into lanes to launch surprise attacks on opponents. Jumping into a lane that doesn’t belong to you to launch a surprise offensive is known as ‘ganking’.
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What role should you play?
Most players will find themselves most comfortable in a particular role fairly quickly. As old-time Leaguers will tell you, it’s a case of experimentation. Each week a select roster of champions is available to play for free, so be sure try a couple on for size and see how they fit.
It’s dangerous to generalise about which role is ‘your destined position’ as each encompasses a set of champions that utilise wildly different playstyles. There are, however, a few axioms that hold true no matter who you’re playing. If you enjoy assisting others and aren’t too fussed about amassing kills, then the support role might be a great place to start. On the other hand, if you’re more concerned with garnering a favourable KDA (Kills, Deaths, Assists) ratio, then it could be better to opt for for a strong midlaner or ADC.
Jungling and playing top lane are less viable options for fresh players. In order to perform successful ganks, a jungler must be aware of every deployed champion’s abilities - a foundation of knowledge that can only amass with experience. Top lane is equally trying for newbies as it’s the most isolated area of the map and ganks from allied champions are far less regular. It’s far wiser for green summoners to place themselves in lanes where teammates can easily come and assist if they are consistently struggling against their opponent.
Currently, League of Legends players are expected to be comfortable playing any role when they enter a 5 vs 5 match on Summoner’s Rift, however, this is soon to change with the introduction of Riot’s new ‘Team Builder’ mode. When this feature lands later this year, players will be able to select their desired role before entering a match and will be placed with teammates who have complementary preferences.
Best League of Legends Top Champion
Illaoi - The Kraken Priestess
Are you a fan of the tentacular? Does the idea of inflicting massive area damage fill you with unbridled delight? If so then Illaoi, also known as ‘The Kraken Priestess’, is probably meant for you.
She might be the latest addition to the 128-strong roster, but unlike other new champions of 2015, such as Kindred or Ekko, Illaoi’s playstyle is fairly straightforward. This fearsome warrior calls upon the power of her ancient god to summon tentacles that spring from the earth. Illaoi is capable of then commanding these tentacles to slam into her enemies, dealing attack damage in a line.
The two primary reasons that The Kraken Priestess is a great choice for fresh players are her durability and gank resistance. Every time one of Illoai’s tentacles strikes a champion it heals her for five percent of her missing health, allowing her to keep on fighting in situations where other champions would die or be forced to retreat.
Because her passive spawns tentacles in close proximity to herself every few seconds, Illaoi can effectively create ‘safe zones’ in between clusters of tentacles in which her damage output, and durability, are greatly increased, making her a far less enticing target for the enemy jungler.
Most of all, her kit includes no stacks, no marks, no ‘dual ability sets’. Her combos are easy to pull off and unlike many of her top-lane brethren, she can harass her enemy from a distance by casting her E, Test of Spirit.
Your Goal: Keep as many of your tentacles alive as possible and deny your opponent their vital gold lead. If Illaoi’s control over wide swathes of the lane isn’t shut down then she can achieve what is known as a ‘split push’ where two or more members of the opposing team must enter the top lane to counter the threat she presents, leaving other lanes under-defended. In other words, divide and conquer.
Your Trick: Illaoi is the queen of comebacks thanks to the astounding effectiveness of her ultimate against multiple foes. Leap of Faith spawns a tentacle near Illaoi for every champion and spirit hit by its area of effect. When ganked by the enemy jungler, quickly deploy Test of Spirit against one of your assailants, then your R, followed by successive instances of Harsh Lesson, her W, to cause every tentacle to slam down. If you were already located near a group of tentacles spawned by Illaoi’s passive, the attacking force will likely find themselves completely overwhelmed by a mass of suckered limbs.
Pantheon - the Artisan of War
Newcomers to Pantheon often find themselves winning trades without even trying and wondering what on Earth is going on. Here’s why.
Aegis Protection, Pantheon’s passive, absorbs the next incoming basic attack from a turret, massive minion, or enemy champion, and is refreshed after Pantheon performs four abilities or basic attacks himself. This passive is also refreshed whenever Pantheon casts his W, Aegis of Zeonia, leading him to absorb tonnes of damage in top lane 1 vs 1 trades where so many champions rely on basic attacks.
The second reason dear old P is a natural born one-on-one skirmisher is his passive ability to inflict automatic critical hits on enemies below 15% health. A 200% damage hit is guaranteed if the target has dipped below the all-important threshold, which makes mopping up low-health enemies a breeze.
Unlike Illoai, who laughs in the face of an incoming enemy jungler and dares the enemy to approach her tentacular army, Pantheon must take a more active role in order to secure his lane, constantly harassing with his Q which fires a ranged spear at his opponent and his E, Heartseeker Strike, which deals damage to enemies in area in front of him.
He might not be the tankiest of toplaners but if his passive is managed correctly, he can avoid tonnes of damage and make life exceedingly difficult for his opponent. Pantheon is a sterling choice for newcomers who are struggling to pick up kills or survive trades.
Your Goal: A good Pantheon should dominate the top lane in addition to becoming a global threat. The opposing team should be afraid to push forward or leave their lane for fear of reprisals, ultimately allowing your own team more maneuverability which should translate into kills, gold, and eventually, the win.
Your Trick: Our greek-styled champion is so full of surprises that I’m going to run through not one, but two tricks that should leave your opponents on the floor.
The first is Pantheon’s ultimate, Grand Skyfall, which allows Panth to deploy himself anywhere on the map after a short delay. When you see the enemy pushing the bottom or mid lane perilously close to your tower, deploy your R just behind them. This will cut them off, cause them to panic, and initiating a surprise gank that should earn you easy kills.
The second makes use of Pantheon’s passive, Aegis Protection. When you see the ability activate, immediately charge at your opponent, possibly deploying your Q or E. Their first retaliation will be blocked by your passive, giving you room to let off a couple of auto attacks and then deploy your W, Aegis of Zeonia, which will reactivate your passive, blocking another of your enemy’s attacks. Attack once and deploy your Q again (it only has a four second cooldown) which should reactivate your passive once more. You’ll have absorbed three of their basic attacks and dealt a huge amount of damage.
Best League of Legends Mid Champion
Malzahar – the Prophet of the Void
Malzahar is nothing short of a mid-lane monster whose single-target damage output, minion wave clear, and ability to conserve mana make him a fantastic choice for those looking to master a mage.
Like most spellcasters, Mal is a soft target for most junglers as his base HP is low and his kit features no built-in escapes, but he makes up for it in raw power. This mage calls upon the power of The Void to cast damage-over-time spells that leave enemies helpless as their life ebbs away.
Aiming skillshots is often a trial for new players, and it’s here the Malzahar can spare the freshly inducted a great deal of frustration. Two of his abilities, Malefic Visions and Nether Grasp, are click-hit abilities, meaning that if the targeted champion is in range and the player clicks in the right location, they automatically applied - no questions asked. The ease of landing these two easily makes up for his trickier Q, which is a skillshot that fires after a short delay.
When facing a solo opponent, few can stand against his full combo, which outputs an astounding amount of damage over a few seconds. He also has the ability to silence (prevent from casting abilities) and suppress (completely disable) his foes using his Q and R, preventing any kind of response to his onslaught. These factors combine to make Malzahar a great counter to squishy, immobile mages like himself.
Your Goal: In lane, Malzahar should aim to outlast his opponent and consistently control the minion wave, affording him a gold lead and windows of opportunity to siege towers. In team fights he should secure quick, decisive kills and suppression of high-damage enemy targets to turn the tide of every engagement.
Your Trick: There exist a variety of opinions on the order of Malzahar’s killer combo, but I prefer to deliver it in the following sequence. First cast Malefic Visions and Null Zone, immediately followed by Nether Grasp to secure the target in place and ensure the damage of the previous two abilities. Use your Q, Call of the Void, to pick off the insolent fool who miraculously manages to survive the onslaught of the first three casts.
It’s also worth noting that Malzahar’s E, Malefic Visions. automatically passes to the nearest enemy unit when it dies and each time this happens it grants him mana. Use this ability to clear waves of minions with ease and keep the enemy pinned to their tower. It need not be said that in this instance it’s vital to ward carefully to avoid ganks.
Lux - The Lady of Luminosity
As you’re learning the ropes and getting to grips with summoner spells, ability combos, and avoiding the perpetual ganking cycle, it might be best keep your enemies at arms length: enter stage right Lux - The Lady of Luminosity. This Demacian mage possesses one of the deadliest long-distance toolsets in the game, allowing her to harass opponents from a great distance. This makes her a great choice for entry-level summoners who would prefer not to fight up close and personal.
Lux’s principle damage dealing ability is Lucent Singularity which fires an orb of light to the target area that can be detonated to deal magic damage at the player’s discretion. Lucent Singularity’s range is astonishing, and allows Lux to gnaw at her opponent from a screen’s distance away as well as eliminate minions en-masse.
When used in conjunction with her ultimate, Final Spark, Lux is capable of crippling, or outright killing opponents who are too far away to respond. Final Spark causes Lux to fire a brilliant laser in the target direction that deals heavy damage to everything in its path, and stretches for around two screens in distance.
Your Goal: Poke your enemy back into a corner and don’t let them leave. Lux has the highest long-distance siege potential of any champion in game and can outlast almost anyone by a tower once she’s bought a mana-replenishing item like Athene’s Unholy Grail or Morellonomicon. Most lane opponents will either be forced to get up close or rely upon tower-diving ganks to assert themselves in lane.
Your Trick: Lux was the first champion I ever felt truly comfortable with and I often find myself coming back to her as my default mid choice. If you want to secure the kill, it’s vital to engage her passive, Illumination. Every time you strike an enemy with an ability, be sure to fire off an auto attack afterwards to consume the mark and deal extra damage. For example, a good combo is E, auto, Q, R, auto (your R consumes existing marks as well as adding a fresh one).
Best League of Legends Jungler Champion
This mythical Shuriman beast devours from below. All the enemy can see is an approaching fin that parts the earth like water and then the world turns red.
Rek’Sai is another relatively recent addition to the League of Legends roster, but she’s quickly become one of the most relevant champions in the whole game. During Worlds 2015 (the global League championship that occurs annually) she was a consistently picked by pro players to devastating effect.
So why is Rek’Sai so deadly? For starters she’s incredibly mobile. Rek is capable of creating tunnels which quickly whisk her across short distances. After she creates a tunnel, it remains until destroyed by an enemy. Before long the map begins to look like an alien rabbit warren which grants Rek the speed advantage.
This monster can also burrow underground, granting her bonus movement speed in exchange for true vision of the surface above. When burrowed, Rek’Sai can only see enemy champion movement, but much of the time this is enough for her to get into position.
Her third benefit is her ultimate, Void Rush, which sends Rek’Sai careering toward any of the tunnel entrances on the map she has created. In essence, she’s capable to teleporting to almost any location she’s needed as long as she’s taken care to create a preparatory tunnel in the vicinity. This makes her a highly efficient ganker as well as allowing her to target undefended towers whilst the enemy is back at their nexus.
Of all the champions in this list, Rek’Sai possesses the trickiest toolset as the function of her Q and E change between her burrowed and unburrowed states, granting her a total of six, rather than four abilities. However, newcomers to League will benefit from her high mobility, massive damage output and lack of difficult skillshots.
Your Goal: Roam, roam, roam the map, make enemies scream. Rek’Sai should opportunistically dive into situations where she can steal easy kills or enemy resources, making the enemy fear their own jungle or linger too long under their own tower until they are easily picked off.
Your Trick: Counter-jungling is easy with Rek’Sai. First, enter your burrowed state and enter the enemy jungle. Find the camp that you want to target and fire off Prey Seeker in that direction. When the ability hits, it will temporarily reveal its most important damaged target - if that’s a champion then dive in using Tunnel and then use Unburrow to stun them. They should be easy pickings as their health has been depleted harvesting the camp. If your probe with Prey Seeker reveals nothing but monsters then engage the same process but instead quickly kill the monsters and make a swift exit through the same tunnel.
Amumu - the Sad Mummy
He’s tiny, he’s covered in bandages, he’s simply adorable, but this little mummy boy isn’t what you might initially expect. His appearance suggests fragility, but Amumu is actually a tanky initiator who is capable of swinging teamfights in his allies’ favour using his terrifyingly effective ultimate.
There are so many reasons why this undead vagabond is a sound choice for those who are new to the jungle but the biggest is probably his Q, Bandage Toss. When cast, this ability causes Amumu to throw a bandage to the target location and if it strikes an enemy, Amumu is dragged toward them. Ganking enemies in lane with this Q is a breeze.
Even better, Amumu’s W and E are both area of effect abilities which apply damage in all directions around him, making them easy to use damage tools once he’s up close.
As an ability power tank, Amumu can be built with damage, or durability in mind, and either way he’s a deadly opponent. What you choose to build will largely depend on your team composition.
Your Goal: Amumu is responsible for the usual jungling duties such as ganks and monster farming but his primary goal is to initiate teamfights and create a window of opportunity for his team to rip the enemy apart. When playing a successful Amumu, the opposing team should be afraid to cluster together and push forward, thereby making them easy pickings as they instinctively spread apart.
Your Trick: One of the greatest reasons to love Amumu is the simplicity of his winning teamfight combo. Simply wait until the enemy are bunched together, cast Q to drag yourself right into the middle of their unsuspecting team huddle, and then cast your R, Curse of the Sad Mummy, which will damage and stun everyone around you. It really is that easy. If you’ve picked your moment carefully, the next two seconds will resound with the joyous chorus ‘an enemy has been slain’ many times over as your damage dealers rip them to shreds.
Best League of Legends ADC Champion
Jinx - the Loose Cannon
From the instant she landed on summoner’s rift Jinx was an instant favourite. It wasn’t just her exhilarating playstyle that whipped the League community into a frenzy, but the whimsical, infantile personality that Riot bestowed upon her. A minigun, a rocket launcher and a laser pistol - what more could a girl need?
Two years on Jinx is still one of the most popular champions on Summoner’s Rift, and more than ever she’s a great first choice for anyone to start learning the art of the ADC. It takes her a short while to spin up, but once she’s up to speed Jinx chews through champions, minions and turrets like cardboard.
Jinx’s standard weapon is a minigun, which can be swapped out for her rocket launcher, Fishbones, using her Q ability, Switcheroo!. The minigun increases her rate of fire with each hit whilst the rocket launcher benefits from increased range and deals splash damage. Switching between the two costs no mana, and allows Jinx to dynamically respond to threats whether they be up in her face or just out of arm’s reach.
Once her she’s fired a few basic attacks with her minigun and her basic attack speed is at its peak, Jinx is a fierce damage dealer, and can out-pace most other ADCs early, mid, and late game.
Your Goal: Errrm, destroy everything? Jinx is what is known as a ‘hyper-carry’ which means that she’s extremely vulnerable and brings almost no utility to a team composition in compensation for her vast damage potential. A good Jinx should know when to linger in safety behind her tankier allies and when to pounce forward, making mincemeat of everything in her path.
Your Trick: Jinx’s biggest weakness is her lack of mobility. Conversely, she’s at her most dangerous when her passive, Get Excited!, grants her 175% movement speed which decays over six seconds as she can chase down targets with a combination of rockets from Fishbones and her W, Zap!. I recommend buying Boots of Swiftness, for a huge speed increase, along with the Furor boot enchantment, which grants 12% bonus move speed every time she inflicts damage. Peeling away from Jinx with this combination is virtually impossible.
Also be sure watch out for enemies across the map who are recalling on low health. Jinx’s R, Super Mega Death Rocket!, is a global ability that deals more damage the further it travels and is perfect for picking of slovenly summoners who don’t conceal their moment of vulnerability with a trip to the brush.
Sivir – the Battle Mistress
Sivir is the polar opposite of Jinx in the world of ADCs, as her kit affords her utility as well as high damage output. Her survivability makes her a great choice for fresh players who often find themselves devoured whole before they’ve managed to output any damage.
The first reason Sivir is hard to kill is her E, Spell Shield. When activated, this ability surrounds sivir in a protective barrier that totally absorbs the damage and disabling effects of the next incoming ability. It’s hard to overstate what a game-changer a well timed Spell Shield can be as it allows Sivir to both get up close, or retreat into safety without interference - a luxury which most ADCs can only dream of.
The second reason Sivir can quickly turn the tide is her R, On The Hunt, which grants her entire team a 60% movement speed bonus, allowing them to pursue, or run away with terrifying haste.
When you’re first learning Sivir, it’s likely that you’ll deploy these abilities defensively, but as time goes on you’ll learn how to engage them to devastating effect in an offensive strike. It’s this natural learning curve that makes her a suitable starter ADC for those searching to conquer the bot lane.
Your Goal: Survive and wait for the critical moment to deliver a crushing ultimate. Unlike Jinx, Sivir’s toolkit is designed to keep her and her allies alive in addition to delivering damage. As such, she’s a great counterpick to certain in-lane foes such as Caitlyn or Blitzcrank whose abilities she can simply shrug off using Spell Shield.
Your Trick: Most of combos I’ve listed so far have required you to initiate the fight, but Sivir is fantastic at reactive play. When the enemy support or ADC launches a vital ability such as a stun or slow, cast your E to absorb it. By now they’re probably out of position and ripe for the picking. Cast your R, followed by E to grant yourself and your lane partner a sudden burst of speed and hurl yourselves headlong into your foe. Now that they’ve expended vital crowd control they’ll be forced to retreat, but with your 60% bonus movement speed, you’ll be unshakable. keep your Q on standby to pick off any cheeky stragglers that attempt to flash away.
Best League of Legends Support Champion
Leona – the Radiant Dawn
This armour-clad melee tank is one of a handful of support champions with initiation potential on par with the likes of Amumu and Malphite. Leona is as tough as nails and performs at her peak when flinging herself into the heart of the enemy to absorb damage, stun critical targets, and prevent the blighters from getting away.
Three out of Leona’s four abilities stun the enemy, giving her a suite of crowd control that can immobilise targets for several seconds and give her allies the chance to engage. Her Q, E, and R, when used judiciously, are a nightmare for the enemy to deal with, as Leona becomes the blight that sticks and just won’t go away. To compensate for her fearsome hardiness and utility, Leona’s damage output is relatively modest. Don’t take her on The Rift expecting to secure dozens of kills. Rather, Leona will clock up innumerate assists and set up attacks for her allies.
Best of all, Leona is newbie friendly. Only two of her abilities are skillshots and the first, Zenith Blade, travels through minions to make contact with champions, making it exceedingly easy to land. The second - her ultimate - is an area of effect spell where those in the centre are stunned and those on the outside are slowed, so if your aim isn’t right on the money, then you’re likely to at least achieve the latter effect rather than missing entirely.
Your Goal: Become the League equivalent of a limpet. Latch on to important targets and don’t let go until they’ve become a tasty morsel on which your allies may feast. A good Leona should punish the enemy for the slightest infraction, whether that be carelessly wandering into brush without a ward, or drifting slightly too far from their own front line.
Your Trick: It’s tempting to deploy Leona’s ultimate, Solar Flare, at the beginning of a fight, but most of the time it’s inappropriate to do so. Initiate with your E, putting yourself on top of the enemy. then after a short delay stun the nearest threat with your Q and W whilst your ADC gets to work on the enemy health bars. In all likelihood you enemies will attempt to flee to avoid the damage from your W (an instinct which should be avoided as it does very little damage), and as they do, deploy your R on top of the opposing carry, who will be stunned, shortly followed by ‘extremely dead’.
Soraka – the Starchild
Soraka is the kind of champion that MMO fans and players of class-based shooters will likely feel more comfortable with - she’s a healer. This champion’s purpose on the battlefield couldn’t be clearer; she possesses only only a single damage dealing ability and two which restore the health of her allies.
Why is she a good choice for bot lane freshman? Soraka doesn’t need to enter the fray in order to be useful. If Leona hangs back in a fight she instantly loses her utility value, but not so for Soraka, who can can cast her ranged abilities from afar without putting herself in danger.
She’s no shrinking violet, however, and to play Soraka effectively, the summoner behind the wheel must be willing to strike out at the enemy. Soraka’s W, Astral Infusion, heals a target ally at the cost of 10% of her maximum health, so as she tops up a teammate, her health reserves are quickly depleted. In order to keep her own health high enough to cast Astral Infusion, she must cast her Q, Starcall, which siphons health to her from every enemy hit. It might sound counter intuitive, but Soraka fuels her defensive abilities by being aggressive - albeit from a distance.
Your Goal: Keep your ADC (and the rest of your team) alive by constantly replenishing their health in order to out-sustain your opponents. If her own health and mana are managed carefully, Soraka is capable of keeping her teammates in the field for vast periods of time. The enemy will be unable to weather the onslaught and their front lines will crumble as they are forced to recall.
Your Trick: Unlike other entrants in this list, Soraka doesn’t really possess a ‘killer combo’. Her toolset is ungainly, provides virtually zero burst damage, and doesn’t afford her any built-in escapes. Instead, this champion is an example of ‘slow and steady wins the race’, and her success depends on her successfully landing her Q to replenish her own health.
Succeeding with Soraka is largely a matter of mana and health management, and to that end I can recommend no better item than Athene’s Unholy Grail which replenishes one third of a champion’s total mana when they secure a kill or assist. Successfully land Starcall, on enemies to keep your health bar high and use this to keep topping up your allies. As long as they keep killing, you’ll reap enough mana to heal them all day long.
Those are our champion picks, but do you agree? Let us know your League of Legends newbie tips in the comments.
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