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Every champion is going to be different in the last-hitting department, depending on their auto attack speed and animation, their attack damage, if they're ranged or melee, ect. This much I know. What I don't understand and have a hard time grasping is when I last hit, when I hit a champion, and when I push or pull back from a lane. And I'm looking for an answer in all three lanes, as of this preseason (Season 4) meta.

What I understand so far is that you don't want to push your lane too much when you are in the first ten minutes or so. Pushing your lane (while it's the actual objective of the game) puts you in a bad position where the enemy jungle can easily gank you. I have seen too many lanes push too far, only to get ganked by a jungle a few seconds later.

What I'm not clear on at this point is when I switch to pushing that lane. I HAVE to push a lane at some point. You can't indefinitely stand there and farm for minion kills, as the game will never go anywhere. At some point, the trigger must be pulled and a tower has to go down. My problem is knowing when that is considered acceptable in each lane.

Also, when do I switch from minion killing to hit a champion as each lane? I have the most trouble in top lane figuring this out. Do I hit minions and ignore the enemy champ if they hit me? Do I sucker-punch him randomly? Do I engage when he engages? Do I run away? I know this is very, very variable on who I am and who they are, but I have to have some guidelines to go by. Mid is much easier to understand on trades. Bottom lane ADC, I know that I should be focused on only getting CS and ONLY taking champs down when they are pushing too far, when I have own jungle incoming to our lane, or when our support does a good job of locking them down. Is this right, though?

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Your question in its current form contains several different questions, not all of them within the same scope. It would be best if you broke this question up into its disparate parts and ask them each in turn. –  Yuuki Jan 7 at 14:32
    
I guess the question might be too vague. But what I'm trying to look for are general rules to laning and when to focus on last hitting or killing the enemy champ in my lane. –  CrystalBlue Jan 7 at 19:00
    
great question! –  Click Ok Jan 8 at 2:13
    
its not that its vague, its you are asking a lot of different questions. –  Paralytic Jan 8 at 18:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

This is actually a huge topic that also tells a big part of the difference between a high and low elo player. It's also not that easy.

There is no real secret formula for when to push a lane or when to harras an opponent. You have to apply an own strategy for every matchup in the game. So I won't list every single possible matchup but I will give some examples.

First of all, even as support or jungler, knowing when to push or freeze a lane is a big factor of winning your lane. So now:

When should I push my lane?

Bot

  • If you want to do dragon (Both sides)
  • If you are Purple team and you are laning against someone who has problems with lasthitting under the turret
  • If a pushed lane opens an opportunity to kill your opponent (if you have Blitzcrank/thresh for example and they can land a hook)

Mid

  • If you want to do Dragon (Both sides)
  • If you are laning against someone who has trouble lasthitting under the turret
  • If you are laning against a roam dependent champion (Kassadin etc.)

Top

There are no real reasons to push top except for the ones that count for every lane.

Every lane

  • If your jungler ganked successfully, push hard and try to get a turret
  • If you want to get a lanegank going you will have to push. (except mid)
  • Push as much lanes as possible if you are doing Nashor
  • Push if your Lane opponent is missing so he loses farm under the turret
  • If you want to towerdive
  • And of course push if you can get a turret (2v1 lanes, or range vs meele)

When should I be freezing my lane?

Every lane

  • If you want to harrass
  • If you want to farm passively
  • If you might get ganked but your jungler is near for a countergank

When should my lane get pushed by the opponent?

Every lane

  • If you are expecting a gank
  • If you have no trouble lasthitting under the turret
  • If you are screwed easily by ganks
  • If you want to make a longer escape path for the enemy (passive-aggressive playstyle)
  • If you have a baaaad feeling about the position of the enemy jungler ;)

Now this counts for most situations, however there are some exceptions.

Example You are playing Varus, Leona VS. Caitlyn, Janna.

Now if you go for what's above, you should get pushed since you can create a longer escape path for Janna who has no real escape spells and you also have no problems with farming under the turret as Varus. Also both of you have no escape spells so playing under the turret is safe right?

No! Caitlyn has a higher range than you and janna can disengage pretty easily. Also her shield will negate a huge part of the damage you deal to any of those two and she can push the turret even harder due to the bonus AD of the shield. In a matchup like this it would be better to just freeze the lane. You can still initiate if you have to but you won't lose a turret. Also if you position yourself right you won't get ganked that easily and in addition to that you can ward the bush to watch out for lane ganks.

When should I harras my Lane opponent?

Now this is also veeeery dependent on the matchup. In some cases it's easy: Whenever you can (Kayle VS. KhaZix for example). But most of the time it's a bit more complicated.

If you are range vs meele you generally want to harrass with autoattacks whenever you can and you want to punish your opponent hard if he goes in for a cs or tries to come to you.

If you are meele vs range you mostly want to focus on farming and rather go all in or trade heavily. Also if you are high range vs low Range (Caitlyn VS. Sivir for example) you also want to benefit from this with autoattack harrassment.

Now there isn't only meele vs range or high range vs low range. Unlike DotA, League heavily focuses on spells in lane. Now some champions have rather High costs while others have none at all. Here you have to know when to harass or trade with your spells since you can also harras an enemies mana pool if done right. If you are let's say Katarina VS. Sion you should always spam your Q so Sion has to either take the damage or use his shield which costs a lot of mana. But no matter what never lose Farm because of harrassment.

I hope this helps a bit but the topic is just too huge to be discussed online. I can really recommend the guides over at Solomid.net. They usually have good players writing in-depth guides which include the most common lane matchups and how to deal with them.

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Even tho I agree that you should push when the enemy is MIA, to deny him XP and CS, I don't think that the goal should always be to get his tower asap. Especially early on it can put you in a bad spot. If the enemy freezes his lane at/behind his (destroyed) tower, you gonna have to move urself in a vulernable spot to farm. Also there are some champs (like Vlad) who are not strong gankers/roamers, so you have no real advantage from getting that tower early (in S4 even more, because it gives less Gold and less XP) –  Toby Jan 8 at 10:18

Knowing when and when not to push your lane is almost entirely dependent on map control. If you know where all the enemy champions are, you know when it's safe to push your lane. For example, if you notice the enemy jungler attempting to gank another lane, then you know you'll more than enough time to push your lane until he's ready to come down and gank you. Barring Teleport or similar ults (Shen), knowing where other champions are will give you vital minutes to push your lane for an advantage.

Because of this, it is extremely important for everyone to buy wards, not just the support. Especially with the addition of trinkets in Season 4, warding can be done by anyone. Map control is underrated but much more important than that extra bit of gold.

Minion killing vs. harassing is a contentious issue and largely dependent on your champion. Some champions excel at harassing (Elise, Kayle, etc.) while others are better at straight-up duels. Your strategy will be largely dependent on your champion. Harass-heavy champions will prefer to whittle away at their lane opponent's health, grabbing a minion every now and then, and switch to farm mode when the enemy is forced to go back due to low health. Strong dueling champions, such as Riven or Fiora, will attempt to force trades, jumping in on their enemies when there are few minions, since they tend to come out on top on those situations.

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I agree with some of the things jutschge said but not enough to not make my own answer.

Alright, most of your issues with laning will be solved by experience with your champion. As much as I dislike playing the same champions all the time I have started reducing the number of champions I play in ranked to around 10 as it hurts my early game when it comes to remembering how to last hit with that champion or how well they escape early game, etc.

When should I last hit?

When your not pushing a lane.

When should I harass my opponent?

Typically you wanna harass them by using an advantage you have over them to trade damage. This advantage could be a lot of things; range, heavy sustain, damage, defense, level, items. When you harass/trade with your opponent you should always know you are gonna come out and have done more to your opponent then they did to you. My favorite time to harass is if I have reached lvl 2 before my opponent and I will engage on them, use combo and get out. This is best done with champions who have gap closers, lifesteal/spellvamp, or cc. Another is when I have a massive minion wave on my side and as the last enemy minion dies I will cc my opponent allowing minions to hit pretty heavily before they can get away.

All easier said then done, as you don't wanna harass while they have a minion advantage but you also don't wanna not harass at all as they will slowly cut you down or quickly even. I typically only harass if I notice they are trying to harass me or I know without a doubt I will get them and lose very little in the process. I find that wasting everything I have for one kill is silly and is what costs most people their lanes. As more then likely the enemy will take advantage of you being without your summoners. As a jungler it is shocking the number of times I have come in and gotten an easy kill on a summoner who is a tick from health after dropping everything for fb. As now I have an advantage over the entire enemy team early game and can just acquire kill after kill.

When should you let your lane get pushed?

If your losing trades with your opponent, can't cs because of range, or wanna setup a gank.

When should you push your lane?

There are really only a few reasons to push your lane;

-first is your opponent can't cs under a tower and doing so gives you a demanding lead.

-second is you would like to base.

-third is you have a significant range advantage and can poke your opponent down even harder as they attempt to cs.

-fourth is you wish to roam or take advantage of your laning opponent roaming.

-last is to take a tower.

This one is easy for mid/top as once you have taken your tower you win. Although for bot you typically don't wanna take your tower as soon as possible if you are winning the lane. Being that ADCs need the most gold out of any other role they wanna sit and CS or feed as much as possible. Judging when your ready to take it is usually personal preference (typically I am comfortable taking a tower around 100 CS), just make sure you communicate if you dont wanna take the tower.

These are pretty strict as trying to set up for a kill or gank under the tower by pushing is a dangerous game, and just not worth the risk unless you got your whole team on standby. If your in a kill lane and your blitz/thresh can't land a hook in other parts of the lane they aren't going to any better under the enemy tower. Also pushing your minions to grab an early dragon isn't going to do anything unless your opponent has a dead/missing jungler and/or ADC. As no good team will just let you have a free dragon for a minion wave, especially if they have good vision.

Now some champions excel at pushing and thrive of off constantly pushing lane. Heimer and Singed are good examples. Singed is so good at it a form of pushing called proxy pushing, where you go past the first tower(while its still up) and grab minion waves. This is typically very effective at drawing the junglers and even the mids attention. And if done properly (heavy warding, jungler support, low enemy cc, lots of speed.) can shut down over half their team as they chase you around.

When should you freeze your lane?

Easy enough to decide here. Your enemy jungler is camping you pretty hard, your opponent has just pushed to tower then based. This will allow you to setup a 2 man gank as more then likely they wont have their lane warded. Most importantly is this is the best way to cs, and also the hardest thing to do when it comes to csing. Knowing how much or how little to hit creep so as to not push or not be pushed isn't very easy.

Hope I have covered everything, but if you want better answers you would be better off asking multiple and smaller seperate questions.

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