Albeit what was said in previous articles about League being a different sport from other traditional sports, you can draw some similarities. A player has to be well-practiced, conditioned, and has to have studied up on new trends. But the number 1 thing that all sports share is that the game always starts with a clean slate. At the start of a new game, no matter the sport, the game is always basically zero to zero. For League, this leads into the early game which is where a lot of games can be decided. The elements of the early game never really changes. Monster camps will always spawn at their same time, minions will make it to lane at the same usual time, and everyone will have a yellow trinket up at the start of the game. And to be honest, a lot of amateur teams don’t know how to go back, back to the beginning.
One of the hardest things about coaching is talking about a level 1 invade 45 minutes after it has actually happened. Telling a team that they lost at 10 minutes into the game doesn’t help them at all. The next game is just going to be a different comp with different early game goals. How can we make practicing the early game more efficient? We play 15-minute scrims. Here’s how the scrims work out. You go through your picks and bans and then use your drafted comps to play the first 15 minutes of the game a couple of times through. That means, after you pause at 15 minutes, you remake the game with the same comp and talk about what you need to do differently against their team. It’s a very simple practice drill that no amateur teams (at least to my knowledge) are doing.
This does not mean that you pick Leblanc, Corki, and every other early game one item power spike champions you can pick. Scrims are not for winning. This goes double for early game scrims. You need to set goals for your scrims, early or full games. A goal for an early-mid game team is win the game by 15 minutes, while the goal for a double scaling game could be don’t lose the game by 15 minutes. Also, if you’re scrim partner is trying to practice a level 1 invade, don’t try to set up a trap for them to counter the same exact level 1. This completely defeats the purpose of practicing a level 1, because the same invade won’t be used twice in a row in the same best of series (if it is, the other team might have issues?).
There’s a lot a team can get out of playing a lot of early games. Yes, you sacrifice practicing the ability in closing out a game, but once you figure out how to play your certain comp in the early game, then you can practice closing out the game. It’s hard to talk about the early game when the last thing in the player’s minds is that teamfight they got aced or the baron steal your jungler just made to win the game you shouldn’t have won at all. Sometimes to improve our team’s play overall, we just all need to start back at the beginning, over and over again. Hell, you might even need to go back farther than the start of the game, maybe to what goals you set for your team for that game. The early game gives the foundation for the rest of the game, so let’s build a better foundation within the amateur scene. The next article will be on the most important thing we can do as a scene. See you then!