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In League of Legends, the laning phase is all about juggling last hitting the minions and harassing the enemy champion to prevent them from last hitting the minions. What do you do in a scenario in which the enemy's harass has a farther range or just better in general? Specifically, I had to mid lane against a Brand with me as Ryze and it was kinda painful. Ryze inherently have a hard time last hitting unless he starts to spam his spells which will often leave him mana-less. When I try to get in range to use my spells, Brand had already used his combo to stun me and gotten back before I can use more than one spell. Is there a strategy I should adopt when playing against a champion who's range and harass is obviously superior to mine?

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3 Answers 3

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It is very hard to create a solution to this problem 100% of the time, but there are some tips I can give.

  1. For your scenario specifically if you find that you aren't able to farm to well then consider some mana regen seals so you can make better use of your abilities to last hit those minions.

  2. Early laning is all about holding your tower over everything else. If you can't effectivley harass your oponent then don't. Let him come to you and ask for a gank. If the issue is that he is farming to well then he most likely pretty over-extended asking to be ganked. However, holding your tower in good standing and making sure you don't get underleveled are more important than harassing the enemy. You will have all game to outplay him, let him have his early game glory.

  3. Consider who is going to be in what lane when you are chosing your lanes. A lot of champions can sustain better than Ryze against Brand, but in general Brand will always be a pain early game. Cait, Akali and even if you're feeling daring Morde in mid are good counters to Brands mid game.

  4. Also instead of putting your focus in harassing Brand put your focus on avoiding his harassing. Last hit minions as best as you can and keep your movements frequent and sporadic. A lot of Brands moves are skillshots and are very easy to avoid.

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+1 for mana regen. Passive mana regen can really make/break AP champions. –  Toast Feb 21 '12 at 20:33
    
One thing to consider is not picking Ryze versus Brand in the first place. If you play Ranked or Normal Draft Mode you have a greater chance of knowing who their mid is before you pick yours, and upon seeing Brand maybe Ryze isn't your strongest pick. Not saying this solves your problem in all situations, but Normal Blind Pick tends to cause nasty rounds like the one you described. –  Sadly Not Feb 22 '12 at 15:07
    
"you have a greater chance of knowing who their mid is before you pick yours" Not technically true, though Draft pick does offer many advantages when picking champions. –  Toast Feb 22 '12 at 20:18
    
What to do if your jungler doesn't care about their mid being so far forward?I had it multiple times that mid was pushing really hard (to a point where i stood quite far behind my tower just to be safe), i notify the jungler but nothing ever happens until the opponent eventually gets a lucky hit. PS: Soloqueue non-draft –  dbemerlin Mar 26 '12 at 13:07
    
The gank doesn't need to be from a jungler. Any player from any lane can offer support. If noone is responding to you then you are basically out of luck. If you literaly can't hold up against them you will have to let the tower fall instead of risking your life to keep it alive. You're fighting a losing battle at that point anyway. Teamwork makes up basically 100% of LoL –  Emerica. Mar 26 '12 at 13:53

The most important thing is to learn to last hit under a tower. For an average early game:

  • Melee minions require 2 tower shots + 1 auto attack to kill
  • Caster minions requrie 1 tower shot + 2 auto attacks to kill

Obviously this is heavily dependent on champion and changes throughout the game

If Brand is zoning you this hard, he's going to be pushing his wave. Get the CS you can from under your tower (takes practice), and let your jungle know that mid is prime for a gank.

Ryze is more of a late game hero as well. The most common way to build damage is with a teardrop, so rush it and use your spells to last hit as necessary.

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As mentioned by Toast in his answer , one of the bigger things to learn is how to last hit under a tower. If an enemy is constantly pushing you to tower, learning the 2T-1 combo for melee minions (2 Tower, 1 auto), and 1-T-1 for caster minions (1 auto, 1 Tower, 1 auto) is essential for keeping your CS up whilst under pressure. CS is arguably one of the most important statistics for champions to improve upon, and mid lane is no exception.

More specifically, to address your question regarding characters with high harassment capabilities, there are several ways you can improve upon.

1) Call for a gank. If you have a jungler, they're the obvious choice to do so. If you aren't running with a jungler in lower level games, either one of the sidelanes can come up and attempt a gank.

2) Punish them when they harass you: harass them back! Typically if an enemy is harassing you, they're opening themselves up to punishment in the form of:

  • Putting themselves out of position / pushing too far away from their tower
  • Using up mana
  • Using up cooldowns

Watching for an opening is crucial to monopolizing on your strengths as a caster in the laning phase. In your example of Ryze vs. Brand, as soon as Brand uses his Pillar of Flame to try to set you alight, you should know that he's looking for an opening to stun you with Fireball. However, if you keep yourself behind minions, he wont be able to do that, and if he tries to come close, you can Q - W - Q combo him. At early levels, most casters are very squishy and have poor sustainability, so even something as simple as 3 spells may very well outright kill them, especially if paired with Ignite.

3) Change your starting items. As Ryze, it's incredibly tempting to start with a Mana Crystal for that extended time in lane and the extra power on your Q and W. However, since many AP champs are strong at harassing with a lot of range and/or spammy spells, it's not always the best option. Boots 1 and 3 health pots is a very safe way to start the game. It allows you that extra speed to dodge skillshots and get out of ground effects, plus 3 "crap I messed up" buttons as opposed to 2 or less. Specifically in the case vs. Brand, dodging his Pillar is the fastest way to put him behind, as it's his only great harassment tool until level 8 or so, when he can start getting more points in E.

4) Get that blue buff. Unless you're a manaless champion like Kennen, Vladimir or Morde in mid, your jungler should be giving you the Blue Golem buff no later than on the 3rd spawn, if not earlier. This depends on the jungler, of course (Fiddlesticks and Amumu are much more mana reliant than others, for example, while Lee Sin and Shyvana don't even use mana), but having Blue buff drastically reduces your reliance on Mana and allows you to harass / last hit with less discretion.

Lastly, and not really a point, but don't be discouraged by certain pair ups. There are a lot of clear winner matchings, and Ryze is one of those champs that suffers a little bit from early game weakness simply because he doesn't have the items to provide him the sustainability that he needs to fall into the chain caster category. Some great champs to learn for mid lane if you want to be the one doing the harassing fall into a few categories:

  • Xerath and Ziggs are both super long range harassers that can farm well even at a distance.
  • Cassiopeia and Karthus are very spammy types that punish enemies for even one misstep.
  • Leblanc (and to a lesser degree, Veigar and Annie post 6) have the potential to kill you even if you're at full health with their full combo, and provide powerful zoning as a result.
  • Galio is typically picked as an anti-caster pick, but fares well in mid due to typical lineups. Early game his spells hurt a lot even without AP or MR items to boost, and he can bully enemy mages due to his higher durability and their lower early game sustain.
  • Vladimir, Mordekaiser and Kennen are all great harassers due to their lack of mana reliance, and Vladimir even more so due to his natural leech through his Q and his passive synergy between AP and HP.
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