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I'm an avid LoL player and have been for 2 years. The #1 aspect of the game I still struggle with is choosing when to fight and when not to fight. What factors do you consider when deciding whether it's safe to go in or not?

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Our format here doesn't support proper 2-way 'discussions' too well, but there's still plenty to be said on your initial question. –  Nick T Mar 17 '12 at 17:31
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4 Answers

While this list doesn't cover every situation, it should give you a good idea of waht to keep in mind when looking to fight. I’ll cover the two most common times teams are looking to pick fights:

Laning Phase

During laning phase you have to be aware of a few variables before determining if you can go all in:

  • Which damage dealer (for bot lane the AD carry, for the other lanes your (usually) solo opponent) went to buy last? Don’t try to pick a fight if the Graves just shopped and now has two more Doran’s blades over what your AD carry has. This also applies to the enemy team having more money from global gold (dragon, towers) or earlier kills. Be aware of who has the better items.

  • Where are the junglers? If your jungler is waiting in the river bush and you just saw their jungle on the opposite side of the map then it is much safer to try to engage your opponent. Though, this often comes down to where are your opponents in lane.

  • Is there a huge enemy minion wave? Minions add a lot of damage during the early laning phases and by attacking an enemy champion you pull all of that agro. This extra damage can easily sway a fight one way or the other.

  • Who has their summoner spells? If the enemy looks low but is staying in lane still make sure that he isn’t baiting with summoner heal. Keep in mind that you can use this to your advantage. Ignite reduces heal effects so if you can ignite before they use heal then they are suddenly in a much weaker position. Also note when the enemy uses their offensive summoners exhaust/ignite so you can time your own attacks.

  • Did one of the laners just go buy? If the AD carry has just left to buy and the support is throwing bananas in lane, then it is much safer to attack (assuming you are the AD carry or you have two people in lane vs. one)

  • Where are they in lane? It is much safer to attack enemies that are pushed under your tower. If they attack you they take the massive tower damage and are much more likely to be ganked by your jungler. This is a good time to ping to notify you want to fight so your jungler can show up.

Team Fights

  • Who has more people? Be aware of where your team is, if the AD carry is off farming top and the whole enemy team is arrayed across mid, then you don’t want to engage. If their AP just went back to finish that Rabadon’s deathcap then you have a window to engage (just remember the teleport summoner spell and that the shop isn’t THAT far away).

  • Who is winning? Who came out of the lanes stronger, did your solo top go 6/0/1 and destroy their tower within 15 minutes? Then you have a big advantage assuming the other lanes went equal. However, if the enemy has knocked down 4 of your towers and gotten every dragon, then only try to fight when you have other odds in your favor due to the gold difference.

  • Does anyone have baron? Baron can easily sway fights, if you have it then be a lot more aggressive. If they have it then try to only engage under tower. Did someone just get out of position? Sometimes you can win a fight before it even gets started by punishing someone for bad positioning. In these cases it is best to target the AD or AP carries, that removes a huge amount of damage from the enemy team.

  • Is there an objective up? Sometimes it is more beneficial to group up around baron or dragon and force the enemy team to come to you or lose it. This allows you to control the field of battle (this is a great time to have all the wards cleared with an oracle).

  • Are they doing a risky baron? Attacking an enemy team during Baron (assuming near equal strength) adds Baron’s DPS to your teams. This can often sway fights, not to mention the fact that sometimes the enemy team will split their damage between baron and the attacking team.

  • Who has their ultimates/summoners? If you know the enemy Kennen has his ultimate, then it probably isn’t a good idea to group up in a nice tight ball (unless you have Janna who has her ultimate). Use the green dots besides your ally’s portraits to know when their ultimates are up. It is much easier to win a fight when you have 5 ultimates leading the way.

  • Will fighting make you lose an inhibitor or nexus tower? If you have multiple inhibitors down then it can cause you to lose the game to engage an enemy team outside of your base. Make sure there aren't super minions pounding away on anything important.

Of course, it mostly comes down to experience. Sometimes you will want to engage a 3 v. 5 because you know you have some super advantage. Maybe the enemy is low from completing baron or maybe you know the Mordekaiser is just insanely fed.

Last note, be aware of the good initiator and counter initiators. Janna can easily reset a fight that goes badly. Blitzcrank and Nautilus can end a fight before it even gets started. Kennen, Ammumu, and Morgana can all punish a team for bad positioning and win it for their team early.

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This depends a lot on what point in the game you are at, and how many champions of each team would be involved in the fight. Some things to consider are how many of the enemy are missing and could potentially arrive and change the tides of the fight.

The most important thing for picking a fight (5v5 especially, but always important) is POSITIONING. You want to allow your AD and AP carries to be able to pump out all of their damage without getting killed themselves. Sometimes this means initiating the fight and keeping the front line solid, and often this means breaking away from a personal engagement you have during the fight to go protect the carry.

Having vision over the map with wards and being able to find a lone opponent is always a great way to get ahead and have the chance for a 5v4 confrontation soon after.

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There are a lot of factors to take into account when deciding to make your move. For example:

  • Do you have sight of where all the enemies are?
  • Are ultimates and summoners ready?
  • Do you have enough health for the upcoming fight?
  • What size of a fight will it be? 1v1? 3v3? 4v2?
  • Does either team have Baron?
  • Does the team know whats going on, who to target?
  • Is the team close enough?
  • Are you and your team ready and in position?

There are other factors that can effect the outcome of a fight. Its up to not only you but your team mates to know whats going on to pull off an effective fight. As a team based game, cooperation is the key to any victory, so try to communicate as much as you can. Even something as a simple ping can notify team mates with whats happening.

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First, you should look for numbers, like is it a fair fight? (2v2;3v3) if it's check your teammates, like, do you have any tank close? Look your summoner spells, try to get oracle's to take wards down.

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If you're picking the fight, the last thing you truly want is a "fair fight" :P –  Nick T Mar 17 '12 at 17:37
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