League of Theorycrafting

No matter what type of game you play, there is probably someone that is playing it in a competitive manner. Everything from planning Super Mario Brothers speed runs to spread sheets on Battlefield 3 weapons, people will go to great lengths to find the best route or highest damage combination possible. All of these tactics are rooted in trying to find the best way to win the game, while maximizing the time that you have to do it. So, why aren’t you doing the same thing?

League of Legends developer, Riot Games, recently re-vamped the entire Mastery system. For those of you that don’t know what a Mastery is, think about talent trees from any RPG that you’ve played. Masteries allow you to supplement characters for more damage, utility or defense, or to help you outplay your opponent. I’ve seen a lot of buzz on different social networks about people waiting for guides because they don’t know what they are supposed to do. So many of us have gotten to the point of just flying through the old mastery trees that changing everything we know knocked us on our asses. “How do we play now that people aren’t telling us what to do?” Simply put; you take a little bit of time to learn the meta game.

It’s amazing what a few minutes of reading can do for your meta game. For example: the basic formula for calculating damage reduction from armor is (total armor) / (100 + total armor). Keeping that formula in mind, if we were to drop 3 points into the new talent called Hardiness, it’d give you 6 more armor. So if your character starts with 100 armor, you’re going to have a 51.5% reduction in physical damage ((106) / (100 + 106)). If you’re going to a true Support, taking into consideration that adding 6 armor to 100 only adds an additional 1.5% damage reduction, is using 3 of your 30 talent talent points worth it to get to the next tier of abilities? I would argue that there are too many other great abilities such as increased movement speed or cooldown reduction to warrant spending 3 points in the Defensive tree.

Knowing how much damage your character can deliver and receive with the new masteries can be crucial to planning out what runes you need. Now you can spend a few talent points to increase your Support’s movement speed and use that extra 2000 IP to buy gold per 10 quints instead. The combinations and synergy between runes and masteries are nearly endless, which opens the game up to all sorts of new meta options.

Wait, are you still there? I didn’t lose you when I threw a formula at you, did I? How about I go down another road to try and explain why you need to learn about the new masteries. Are you having a problem excelling in ranked matches, or have you watched other players single handedly carry your team? You’ve probably asked yourself how they did it. How could someone play so well at such a low rank? It’s because they spent some time learning what is best for their character rather than taking others words for it.

When you find a Legend that you really love, you should take a few moments to analyze his or her skills and role in the game. The next time you play a Carry ask yourself: “Is grabbing 1.5% more armor worth taking over 1.5% more damage?” They both add very negligible amounts to their perspective stats, but how many times has someone gotten away with that amount in health left? Closing in on the end of a game, it’s not going to be worth your time to pick up extra armor on a Carry character because you’re going to die in three hits anyway. When someone yells at you to pick up Thornmail because Trynadmere is walking through your team, you have to evaluate how you got there and what you can do in the future to stop it. The reason Tryndamere just walked over Teemo is because he spent his early game farming, and being aggressive at the right times, all while having a fundamental understanding of how to play his character.

If you are having any problems in any part of the game, you need to look at what you know. Re-evaluating play style and masteries will help you not only become a better player but also a better community member. League of Legends is still in its infancy and the highest ranked players are not always going to be the best ones to look to for advice, so why not learn for yourself? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or listen to others chat about League (The Trinity Force podcast is a great place to start!), but take what you’ve learned and apply it. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next team captain for Team Solo Mid.

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