What’s Your Type?
My transition from being a play-setter to a playmaker in “League of Legends” continues. I am certainly learning a lot as I try to improve as a player.
A quick recap of what I mean by the terms:
Play-setter: A player who complements their teammates to make them look better. Play-setters enhance good plays and generally provide support to their allies, plus they are generally overshadowed by playmakers who do the “heavy duty” stuff (i.e. getting kills).
Playmaker: A player who is capable of pulling off the exciting plays that lead to big, in-game impact. These players can and will carry their allies to victory, assuming they have the appropriate supporting cast to make it all possible.
And again, I will emphasize that both player types are not mutually exclusive to each other. Anyone can be a play-setter or a playmaker, and some are naturally a mix of both types.
But yeah, for so long, I was only just a play-setter and nothing more. Even back when I played Defense of the Ancients (DotA), I proudly proclaimed myself to be a support-focused person. I often struggled with winning games on “my own,” relying heavily on my teammates to make victory possible while I did my part to contribute toward a win.
To switch gears from a play-setter into a playmaker has not been very easy by any means.
I have focused a lot of effort into the mid and top lane positions in particular. Playmakers are commonly found in these two lanes, and sprucing up my play style in the solo roles will definitely pay off after a while.
As someone who primarily played a lot of jungler and support roles (with a bit of ADC splashed in), being fixated on calling mid or top nowadays is like a right-handed person trying to write with their left hand out of the blue. It changes everything.
After all, to be a true playmaker takes a certain kind of moxie. Playmakers have swag. They have the confidence and technical skill to pull off the crazy maneuvers that have fans and onlookers gawking in awe.
Highlight reel-caliber plays. All the time. The epitome of a good playmaker.
When a playmaker makes something difficult look easy, you know they got “it” and then some. Changing my ways and transforming myself into a playmaker will net me more than just victories in LoL – I will finally be able to call myself more than just decent at the game.
Finding My Groove
I have taken my share of lumps with this transition. Essentially, I have had to deviate from my normal habits and mannerisms as I attempt to adopt different roles.
Acting as a play-setter for most of my time in the MOBA genre and then suddenly trying to be a wannabe playmaker means forcing myself to change.
Below are five random elements of being a playmaker I have needed to improve on/in the process of doing so. In no particular order of significance.
1. Every last hit is important.
See the minions below?
They are worth gold.
Gold means you have money to spend.
Money to spend means you get items.
Items give you power.
And power wins you the game.
Treat every last hit in LoL like a game of Whac-A-Mole. The act of getting a last hit is like bopping a mole on the head.
It is an “easy game,” but can you do it a 100+ times during the laning phase? Beyond the laning phase? While fighting your lane opponent, avoiding ganks and being useful in team fights?
Be diligent with not missing your last hits when you can. Hit them minions/moles like you are mad at them.
For me, I realize that farming is my worst mechanic as a player. I tend to miss too many minions for stupid reasons, so I am teaching myself how to correct this fixable weakness of mine.
2. Learn as many matchups as you can.
Like a game of rock-paper-scissors, picking the right choice that “counters” the other guy or gal makes a difference.
If you pick the appropriate counter to your lane opponent, you give yourself a huge edge.
As you improve in a game, the difference in winning or losing boils down to random details like this as the competition level rises. Match yourself up for success.
Learn who counters a champion. Learn which champions lose to whom. Pick appropriately.
3. Commit to your actions with no hesitation.
Want to know how I can tell an OK player from a better-and-up one instantly? One shows commitment.
What I mean is, any decent player carries out their action on the spot. Sometimes, you literally have a fraction of a second before an opportunity for something in-game happens. If you sit there trying to think and plan out your move too much, you are going to miss your chance just like that.
There is a difference between someone who bides their time and someone who is blatantly holding onto their moves because they are not sure of what to do.
If you want to do an “all in” to kill your lane opponent, then commit to it. Don’t just start an “all in” and then suddenly change your mind halfway through it.
For instance, let’s say there is an Ashe player with her Enchanted Crystal Arrow ultimate up.
The Ashe has an enemy champion right in front of them. The shot is already lined up for a perfect ultimate, but the Ashe player hesitates and does not fire the ice arrow. You get to a point where you want to start shouting, “ICE ARROW! ICE ARROW!” at your screen because your Ashe is apparently saving their ultimate for Christmas.
A fight breaks out, and the Ashe finally shoots her ice arrow, but she misses it because she took long to decide.
The more you use up time thinking in an action-oriented game, the worse things are probably going to be. You don’t need to do complicated math equations in your head to figure out the precise angle of this and that to be good at LoL. You just need to rely more on your gut instincts and react quickly to take advantage of any situation.
I personally do worse when I wimp out and pause mentally during my games of LoL. I perform better when I just make snap decisions on the fly.
Any action, regardless if it ends up being good or bad, needs players to commit to it.
4. Dare to dominate.
Do you want to show others how skilled you are?
Crush your opponents like it is paramount for you to win your match of LoL.
Below was one of my recent Annie games.
Show no mercy.
I absolutely loathe the “I hate try-hards” mentality. It is a scrub-like way of thinking, especially when these players are the ones I find often in my ranked matches.
When you go against someone who is giving their all, and you try to match that level of play with anything less, expect to lose.
Therefore, being a playmaker entails a lot of ruthlessness on your part.
“I WILL WIN!” = the ideal mentality.
5. Motivate others toward success.
Perhaps one of my subtle reasons for wanting to be a playmaker is the fact that playmakers are easier to rally behind during a LoL match.
When you see someone making plays all day, you are more inclined to listen to them. As opposed to a play-setter who is often hidden away as the supportive role for the team, strong playmakers stand out and make their presence known.
An outstanding playmaker encourages their teammates to press onward, thus the notion of carrying a team becomes possible.
And of course, sometimes you just are underperforming individually for whatever reason. We all have bad games, but you always want to show others that you are trying your best with what you got left in the tank.
Attitude is crucial.
Practice Makes Perfect
I need to practice, practice and practice even further until I can improve as a whole.
Many playmakers are not born overnight, but I do believe a playmaker can be created from any point of the Elo bracket. I can already tell that I am getting better at LoL, albeit slowly.
One game at a time. A new lesson each time.