Just like every other day, the solo queue on Summoner’s Rift is busy. You get assigned random teammates and together, you strive for a win. And if you do win, you praise your teammates and think about who you’d like to honor-vote.
It’s the losses that are the problem. Anxiety starts to build up when the game begins to turn against you. Then come the dreaded W-questions that initiate the discord. “Why the hell did top die?” “What the f**k are you doing there?” Although it becomes more rare as you climb up the tiers, teammates fighting would bring a fair share of your losses.
These days, the top side is in frequent conflict with the bottom duo. “Why on earth is our bot blown away from the laning phase?” “Why does our top laner never have TP?” “What in the world is our jungler doing?”
※ This interview is focused on solo ranked, not the team game.
GorillA: First, the bot duo is always the victim. Even if bot scales extremely well, if the top side is busted, you can’t win. Then what you always hear is that all bot laners do is tickle the opponents, or say that the supports are just tools.
Smeb: The precondition is wrong. They always say they scaled well but we lost. They say it’s a top-side game — if it is, they should just quietly hop on the carry bus. They always act up thinking they’re the protagonists, and then if they die, they blame it on the top side [Laughs].
GorilLA: Okay, then when we scale decently, why is the opponent top always stronger? If we’re behind by just about 4:6, the bottom can take care of the late game, but most of the time, there is no way to resolve the problems. Anyways, in the top tier games, just being the better player is always best, regardless of the position. Recently, Kellin hit No.1 as a support in ranked.
Smeb: Kellin is a player who knows how to play the game. The better the support is, the more timely are their top roams.
Top laners’ view: Push to get ganked, pull to get dived
Smeb: I’d like to talk about the top laners’ dilemma. All top laners out there, you know when you push the lane, you get ganked, and if you pull the lane, you get dive, right? Since the bot lane has two players, this could be controlled in a way.
So what I want to say is that the jungler always has to have the top laner’s back. It’s easier to go through the game when the top is winning.
GorillA: In that case, you shouldn’t blame bot. If the opponent dives on top with three champions, our mid-jungle should come to the bot lane to execute a four-man dive. But our mid laner is just collecting CS. The top and bot shouldn’t be fighting about this — it’s the mid’s fault. But the mid lane is also on the top side. So it’s a top-side game.
Smeb: I think you’re looking at it from a high-level analyst point of view. The problem with the bot duo is that they recognize that it’s a top-side game, but they don’t act like it. Especially, the ADCs are blind trying to scrape off that turret gold. They know they should snowball through the top side in the early game, but they keep calling the jungler.
GorillA: Frankly, as a support, there are a LOT of ADCs that are too whiny. I’d say that wouldn’t be a problem with the bot lane in general, but the problem with the few ADCs that have the wrong mindset. What can a support do?
Smeb: So you’re saying PraY is the problem?
GorillA: No, no, no. PraY isn’t like that.
Smeb: Honestly, ADCs are really easy to play. They’re just machines that push the lane. All of their teammates assist them.
GorillA: I partially agree. Honestly, ADCs just need to gobble up what their teammates serve them.
Smeb: I’ll give you top laners a great tip. Top laners should build trust and friendship with the jungler from the pick/ban screen. If you make them acknowledge that the top lane is the easiest lane to get kills, they’re there behind you even if you don’t call them. Why? It’s the best way for themselves to scale in the early game.
GorillA: Isn’t it that you’re always being pounded by the opponent top laner and the jungler’s there because they feel anxious?
Jungle difference: by the jungle, for the jungle
Smeb: Representing the top laners around the world, I can’t stand opposite buff starts. Bad junglers.
GorillA: If junglers start on the opposite buff, the bot lane is happy, but there’s pressure. If we lose the game, they could start there to blame us. So the bot should know to suggest the bot buff according to the situation.
Smeb: As a player that has played support in the LCK, it depends on if the support is a melee or ranged champion. In a meta where melee supports appear often, I think starting bot buff is better.
GorillA: Adding on to that, if we have a ranged support, it gets really advantageous to get to the lane first to position. If you can share things like that with the jungler from before the game starts, it’ll help raise your tier.
Smeb: As a top laner, you get frustrated with the junglers that don’t know how to snowball. Those who don’t know how to gain kills. For example, those who don’t come to the top lane — why is that? The top lane is full of users that have that 1v1 instinct, that desire to slay their opponent, so it’s really weak against ganks. Also, when your team’s top laner is Smeb and you don’t gank top? That just means you don’t want to win.
GorillA: To me, I like the junglers that use the map fully. It’s hard to win if they go to just one side, but sometimes, there are junglers that just divide the map in half and only go to the top side. If they do, the opponent takes a hint, and the support goes to the top lane to cover. When that leads to a big loss in a skirmish or teamfight, then I suddenly become the one to blame.
Top laners’ choices: Control wards and TP
Smeb: As much as top laners are weak to ganks, you have to utilize the control wards well. It’s really difficult to determine when and where to put them up, but in another way, it can be a tool to call the jungler to the top. You can lure them up by putting up a control ward as if you’re saying, “Hey, I opened up the vision here like this. If you come up, I’ll get you a kill”.
GorillA: Then I’ll talk about Teleport. There are people who wonder why our top laners always use TP to return to their lane while the opponent top laner TPs bot. Honestly, the bot duo shares the fault with this. You need to trade thinking about that. But, if a top laner didn’t even give you any information that leads to the bot lane exploding, and then blames you for it, they’re the worst. Just block them.
Smeb: Using Teleport varies based on top laners’ style. If they’re confident in laning, they often Teleport to their lane. If they’re confident in reading the map, they save it to use on the bot lane. But to gold and under, I recommend Ignite. It’s a shortcut to raising your tier.
GorillA: I was one of those who had a bad impression of top laners that don’t take TP, but after meeting a Darius one-trick that picks Ghost, my impression changed. He was extremely good. So when I meet that user in solo queue, I just roam top to help him.
Smeb: See? you roam top! [Laughs]
Which lane has the most influence in ranked solo queue?
Smeb: The Rift Herald is an objective that’s really good to snowball. You have to use it wisely, but to do so, you have to call the jungler often.
GorillA: The bot duo also goes to the top side often for the Rift Herald. Even if our top laner has priority, if the opponent bot roams, it’s two people. Supports have to know this timing really well. If they roam too often when it’s not the proper time, it backfires. Don’t you remember that ADC who dies when you do?
Smeb: These days, it’s easiest to raise your tier as a jungler. It’s proved by the rankers in solo queue. The top positions are occupied by junglers.
GorillA: In numbers, I’d say there are about 80% mid laners and junglers combined.
Smeb: I think junglers take up about 50%. I don’t know about the rest. If I exaggerate a bit, all laners are just tools to raise the jungler. The junglers in the past were those who guard the top laners, but now they’re royal blood.
GorillA: The problem is that the top is strong in the early game and gets weaker in the late game. The ADC is the exact opposite. But the junglers are always strong. Of course, each lane has its own roles, but mid laners and ADCs are compulsory to end the game. If the ADCs nowadays farm little by little to get weapons like swords and spears, the opponent’s top half, especially their jungler, drives in a tank already.
Side note: Supports, stand tall and proud
GorillA: I agree that there’s a bit more room in laning as a support. But bot laning these days or in the game as a whole, if the support is bad, it gets really hard to win the game. In the old days, the laning wasn’t that deep so it was easy to go half-half, but these days, it’s really delicate. If the support is bad, the laning goes to the bin. I wish the people would recognize the support position more.
Smeb: It’s not a role to diminish. But one thing they have to keep in mind is to not talk so much. They talk soooo much. And, they need to listen to what top laners say more.
GorillA: In solo queue, those who throw are mostly top, jungle, mid, and ADC. Most supports are nice. The other role players probably know that and they’re meaner to the supports. Also, the supports need someone to speak for them. There are many top-tier streamers in all other lanes that have tons of viewers, but there aren’t any supports that really come to mind right away in that regard. Frankly, support streams aren’t as fun, and there’s no voice to speak out the support players’ minds.