What is the best champion in League of Legends for beginners and new players? Where should you start? What LoL champion should you play? These are a daunting set of questions: so many choices! So much information!
Despite being billed as the most accessible MOBA, 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. And the good news? They're all available in the League of Legends store for minimal influence points. We've split our choices below according to in-game roles.
The best League of Legends tanks
While Tanks in a MOBA fulfill the same role as they do in an MMO, how they do it tends to be much less about spamming aggro building abilities, and far more about making yourself such a nuisance that the opposing team is forced to take you out; focusing their attention on you rather than your squishy teammates. Initiating fights is a great way to get their attention, but also having lots of crowd control (CC) like stuns, slows, throws, and area denial can all throw up big neon signs that say ‘Hit Me!’. The good news: because you’ve got the armour, you can rope-a-dope with the best of them.
Sometimes, in the deep grumblings of grizzled League players, you won’t hear Garen called ‘Garen’. You’ll hear a slur, a little bit of slander that gives some insight into how everyone but Garen players see Garen. They call him ‘Spin to Win’. Because he spins, and then, most often, he wins. It’s all quite frustrating for anyone up against him.
A great big armoured dude with a two hander sword, Garen’s signature move is Judgement. He spins around very fast, shrugging off any slows and getting a fair distance over the course of the three seconds. It’s great for catching up to anyone running away, or running away from anyone trying to catch you up. Combined with his passive, which regenerates his health whenever he’s out of combat, Garen becomes a bit of a nightmare to face, but an champion to play. He's a great introduction to Tanks.
What you will learn: Everyone hates Garen
Alistair treads the line between Tank and Support. There's little you can really do to frustrate your team as a new player with Alistar, a kind of grumpy minotaur thing. In fact, the only weakness is mistiming a Headbutt, pushing an enemy out of position. That’s because he’s got a heal. Everyone loves heals.
It means you can make your lane push hard if you want to push, and it keeps whoever you’re laning with nice and topped up. It’s got a pretty short cooldown too. If you want to be a particularly frustrating player for the opposing team, you can try and deny them last hits by casting the heal (roar) just before they hit. Because that’s just funny.
What you will learn: Everyone loves heals, and throwing people around is lots of fun.
The best League of Legends support champions
Where your tanks distract during the teamfight, and build themselves up nice and strong so that they can take all the hits their distraction brings, the role of the Support is a little more esoteric. While they help in teamfights by making everyone fight harder and longer with heals, shields and buffs, their primary role is one of babysitting. They’re the Medic to League of Legends’ Heavy. And their Heavy is the Carry. They lane with them, keeping them alive through those difficult adolescent levels until they’re all big and strong and able to decimate the enemy team single handedly. Supports are the silent Champions.
Except when it all goes wrong and they rage in chat.
It’s tempting to throw Soraka in this list, just because she is awfully useful and very easy to play, but she’s also incredibly boring. No damage output, and nothing but heals makes for a pretty dull forty minutes. Instead, a present you with Janna, the elf lady with questionably dignity when it comes to fashion choices and a powerful control over air.
Before you even start a game as Janna, your team is going to like you because you give a global speed buff. And then once you’re in game your suite of shields and CC is going to make you lovely to lane with, especially when your ultimate can create an Exclusion Zone with a Monsoon to rival the Olympics, healing anyone in range. That makes you useful both to your carry (shields, CC heavy whirlwinds) and your team (Monsoon). Who doesn’t like that?
What you will learn: How to shield properly. Good bit of timing with the whirlwinds.
She's a great big armoured angel, and there are little things more annoying than an enemy Kayle with a good sense of timing. Her Ultimate, Intervention, makes either herself or an ally invulnerable for a few seconds, and with a game as fast paced as League of Legends, that is more than enough time to deny a kill.
The rest of her abilities aren’t all that shoddy, either, with a heal, a slow, and a general damage passive all thrown in to make the purpose behind everything very clear and very easy to wrap your head around. And when you’re just starting out, the more passives you can get the better. It’s less to worry about.
What you will learn: Invulnerability is kind of bullshit. When and who to slow.
The best League of Legends carries
Carries aren’t really the hardest role to play in League of Legends. However, they’re the hardest to get right, because they necessitate patience and focus above all else. Nothing that happens in the game matters more than you getting as much gold as possible in as short a time as possible.
That means last hitting every single opportunity you get, and then taking whatever kill you can. Remember that as a carry there is no such thing as kill stealing; it’s all about the gold, and any team that shouts at you for such doesn’t know what they’re doing. By the time you hit level sixteen or so you want to be an unstoppable anthropomorphisation of death. So you need to be kitted out.
Anyone with a global Ultimate is going to be a bit of a nightmare for the opposing team, and while Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow can be devastating, it moves pretty slowly, so you have to lead it incredibly well. That means that it’s not all that friendly to newcomers. The big secret of Ashe is that that doesn’t matter. She's a frost-themed archer, and the rest of her skills are so generally useful that it doesn’t matter if you miss some shots with your R. In fact, training up your skillshot prowess can only ever be a good thing. You’ve got a lovely slow in Volley, a temporary sight ward with Hawkshot and a nice little passive in Frost Shot. So just stock up on the items you need (the recommended are usually a good idea) and right click your way to victory.
What you will learn: How to lead targets with a global Ultimate. How to last hit.
Where Alistar is a bit of a supporty tank, you might say that Sivir is a bit of a supporty carry. If you were mad. While her Ultimate does benefit the whole team with an attack and movement speed buff, the rest of her abilities are purely about dishing out huge amounts of damage while keeping herself alive.
I'm pretty sure there's some Native American influences in there, because they love throwing about sharp bits of metal, and she's all about sharp bits of metal flying through the air. Her Spell Shield acts as a bit of a panic button, protecting you from the next ability targetted at you, and the slight movement speed boost she gets whenever she attacks enemy champions means that she’s a great chaser, netting you a few tasty kills. And then there’s the fact that she throws a big spinning boomerang around, and no one wants that headed their way.
What you will learn: How to skillshot. When to pursue a target and when to let them go.
The best League of Legends ranged nuke champions
Once a fight starts, your job as a nuke is to turn your mana bar into dead Champions. How you do that depends on the Champion you pick, but that’s your main goal. Make sure that your mana bar depleting is doing so in time to their health bars falling away into nothing. And then your team will be happy with you. Along with the Carry, you’re the guy that’s going to be protected by everyone else, and raining down the hurt on a large scale. Head to mid lane, stay alive, stay levelling, and grab all the gold you can.
He's a tattooed ex-con with a penchant for magic, and because of how his spells work, there’s a very clear way to build Ryze; get as much mana as is physically possible. Because of this, he’s not stacking Ability Power, which means you tend to be a little less squishy than most due to a lot of Mana items also helping with health. Which is nice, when you don’t really know what you’re doing.
His Rune Prison, too, is a nice starting out ability when you’re still getting to know the game, as it lets you pin an enemy Champion in place while you rain down everything you’ve got. You don’t have to bother aiming when they’re standing still.
What you will learn: How to focus on a single stat in an Item Build. The joys of Rune Prison and snares.
As far as Nukes go, Annie can cut it a little too close for comfort with a lot of very short ranged abilities, but she makes it up by having a very angry giant teddybear that she can summon as her Ultimate, that stuns everyone around it and does frankly silly amounts of damage.
Couple that with her passive, which makes every fourth spell she casts a stun, and you’ve got someone who can get up close and personal, but it doesn’t really matter that you’re all that close because everyone else is probably dead. But don’t hold me to that, because your deaths are your own fault and not my responsibility.
What you will learn: That sometimes it’s a great idea to get close, and sometimes... not. Also giant flaming teddybear.
The best League of Legends Junglers
Hold up a second. Are you really sure you want to try jungling already? I mean, you’re new to the game, and jungling is pretty tough. It requires a lot of map awareness, and a willingness to put your health on the line to kill that one last mob before you clear the camp and you port back. It leaves your solo lane up top all on their own, with their survival based on your generosity and heroism. Seriously, jungling can be pretty tough.
That said, there’s no better way to learn the layout of the map, and exactly how long it’s going to take you to get from one side to the other. Or to immerse yourself in the meta-game of LoL, where you need to know what’s going on all the time, otherwise you’ll start to get shouted at. Try it if you’re feeling brave.
Built for jungling, Warwick is a constantly self-healing werewolf whose regenerative abilities come from both his passive and his Hungering Strike. These two abilities combine to give him an incredible amount of sustain in the jungle. Boosting his attack speed with his other two abilities, and having a lunge that supresses on his Ultimate make him one of the most powerful gankers in the game, too. He’s just a general bastard, and extremely friendly to newbie junglers. because of quite how forgiving all that lifesteal makes him.
The struggle is in knowing exactly who you need to be pouncing on when. Sometimes you’ll want to take out the support so that the carry can’t sustain on their lane, but other times you’ll want to take them out of the equation entirely if they’re getting too fed. Warwick gives you enough of a safety net that you can practise making those decisions.
What you will learn: That lifesteal is a Jungler’s best friend.
While I’m not really a fan of Master Yi, as his immunisation to slows, hands off nature of Alpha Strike and his frankly silly Highlander Ultimate make him a bit of a ludicrous samurai/ninja dude, but he is awfully good at jungling thanks to Meditate, which lets him regenerate health so long as he’s not interrupted. It means he doesn’t really have to head back to base all that much, which keeps him out in the field, racking up gold and coming in for ganks when they’re needed.
And that Highlander, which makes him super fast, ignore slows and make his attack speed crazy? If you kill someone with it active, it refreshes all your cooldowns, including the cooldown for Highlander. So a good Master Yi player is just about as frustrating as LoL gets, as he’s never slowed, constantly killing and almost impossible to be killed. Like I said, not a fan.
What you'll learn: experience on staying out in the field for as long as possible
The best League of Legends Assassin champions
I can see that look in your eye. It’s that look that twinkles when you start up an MMO and you reckon you’re going to be the lone wolf that gets things done. That you don’t need anyone else, and you’ll help the team just be being awesome. Teamwork shmemework, you say. You reckon you can just rock up with an Assassin and start killing squishy champions.
The frustrating thing is, if you know what you’re doing, you’re right. That’s exactly what Assassins are for. But you need to get them in a state where they can start doing the killing, which usually takes a little work.
Like a leaner, more angry Garen, Tryndamere is the most pissed off Champion in League of Legends, with an even bigger, more angrier sword and less armour. Presumably because armour makes him angry. Tryndamere can be as frustrating as Yi at the best of times, with an Ultimate that means he just refuses to die. Again, it’s a nice little safety net for a new player, but an experienced team will know to just shut him down so that his Undying Rage doesn’t let him get out of a tricky spot.
Regardless, with his heal, debuffs and speedy spin attack in Spinning Slash, he’s full of sustainability, and if you just frontload him with AD items like Bloodthirster and Infinity Edge he becomes pretty ridiculous. It’s just about getting him that gold.
What you will learn: That the point that you trigger Undying Rage is the point you retreat with any other Champion.
Probably the most difficult to wrap your head around of any Champion on this list, Sion is an undead lumberjack who's all about timing, even more so than Kayle or Janna. Knowing when to pop your Ultimate, Cannibalism, to turn yourself into a near unkilliable leviathan of damage and lifesteal. He’s also got one of the most powerful stuns in the game. Knowing who to target with it is half the teamfight right there.
If you can figure those two things out, you’ll become an extremely frustrating duelling partner for top lane, and devastating in team fights. You just have to hold your finger off the trigger until it’s go time. And when Sion says it’s go time, it’s go time.
What you will learn: That an Ultimate can live up to its name, and when it's appropriate to trigger it. And the power to stun.
Before you run any of these guys into an online PvP match, it’s worth trying each out at least once against the bots, as unexciting as that sounds. Just having a basic understanding of how each ability works, and when to use it is going to make a massive difference to your effectiveness once in a proper game. It’s only forty minutes, and if you’re looking to invest some time in League of Legends, forty minutes really isn't a lot of time.