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I'm sure everyone has had this issue at some point. Outleveling your lane enemy is usually the difference between life and death. So the question is when to hit the recall button. Interested in all lanes, all roles. For example, Support: hit recall when you have 620 gold to get that Philosopher's Stone.

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5 Answers

The amount you return to fountain should always be minimized

You'll notice an experienced player returns to fountain much less often than a newer player. Less time at the fountain means more income.

We can break down the logic into periods of the game:

Laning

High level goals of laning phase:

  • Out farm your opponent
  • Control the tower
  • Get kills if possible.

Backing Tips:

Try to return after pushing your lane.

Make sure your opponent can't shove the lane and cause you to lose CS at the tower while you're returning

Try to return ONLY after you've saved enough to actually purchase something

What's the point to returning to heal, if you could have waited one more wave and purchased a big item to help?

Return if you need additional health or wards

This is tricky. Unless you feel like you're in absolute danger of dying to an attack or gank from the jungler then you do not need to go back.

Mid Game

High level goals of Mid game:

  • Push Towers
  • Control Objectives
  • Farm

Backing Tips:

Don't just back if you're low on health or mana

Even if you're low on health, if you're knowledgeable of the enemy and have map awareness, you can still farm and gain gold until you have enough for an item. This is especially true if you have life steal.

Playing a mage with low mana? Knowing blue is up in 15 seconds can save you a trip and valuable time.

Don't back when you know an objective is close

I know you're dying to finish your Infinity Edge, but what's it worth when you're back at base and your team just died at dragon?

If you find yourself in a position where you can get significantly stronger, ask your team to stall an objective while you purchase. Make sure you have vision of the objective before backing.

Late Game

High level goals of late game:

  • Objectives
  • Team pushing

Backing Tips:

Be sure to back with your team, or when you don’t put them at risk

I've seen a lot of games lost from one poor initiation late game. If you're not with your team, you increase the chance of having your team killed without you. Back when you feel you're not going to place your team in a position when you're at base, and they're getting caught.

Know timers for objectives

If baron is up in 10 seconds and the enemy knows you're backing, you better believe they're going to start baron knowing they have an advantage. As I mentioned earlier, if you MUST back, let your team know to stall, and do NOT let the other team know you're backing.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, honestly. It all comes down to intuition. Best of luck

-- Taijii

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I will start with general laning. A guideline you really can't go wrong with is to buy when your laning opponent buys (or within a reasonable amount of time after). It is essential to keep up with your opponent in items and consumables (wards and pots). If you choose not to buy after your opponent does and he returns with items, you could end up in a sticky spot in terms of losing CS, being zoned, or even killed.

Supports should generally go back when their carries go back. This is to prevent a pattern where only one of you is in lane at certain points. If this happens, that one player will get completely zoned by a good opposing lane. Supports should also go back when at risk of being bursted down (common sense) and during some situations such as no wards + no information on enemy jungler (meaning your carry cannot CS safely).

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So the question is when to hit the recall button.

Since an answer that covers every champion in every lane is beyond my sanity ability, here are some general things to consider before recalling:

  • Current gold. Can you buy something essential to your build or that gives your lane an advantage? If you're ignoring CS, can you afford GP items?

  • Relative experience. If you're about to level up (especially lvl 6), it may be worth the risk to stay in lane and get a new ability. If you have Catalyst, this level will also heal you.

  • Your opponents last recall/health. Generally, it's safe to recall when your opponent does. However, if they're low on health and have large sustain, it may be better to apply pressure instead. Also be careful if they have teleport, since they can quickly re-appear in lane.

  • MIA's. Low on health and the enemy team is MIA? Good time to eat your blue pill.

  • Global objectives (baron, dragon, buffs). Even at 1/3 health, some champions can help secure globals (smite) or protect their team while doing so (Janna's Monsoon).

  • Buffs and when they expire. Low on mana but blue buff is available? Consider grabbing it instead of recalling.

  • Summoner Spells. When playing with teleport, it's ideal to only recall when you can teleport back to lane. Often it's better to use heal, clarity, etc before recalling.

  • Sustain (lifesteal, spellvamp, health and mana regen, etc). If your opponent just recalled and you have the means to heal yourself, you can gain an experience advantage by staying in lane.

  • Other lanes performance. Sitting at half heath after just killing your opponent? Instead of recalling, check for other lanes you can gank.

  • Kill/Death ratio. Play safer if first blood hasn't happened, or if you're behind in kills. If you're ahead in kills, you can afford riskier play.


Rules are meant to be broken, and these are no exception. Champions with great sustain can recall much less frequently, and champions with huge burst (LeBlanc) don't need much HP to be effective. Sometimes it's better to save your heal/clarity than to use it and be forced to recall anyways. Deciding when to safely leave lane is a very important aspect of this game, and ultimately relies on the player's best judgement.


tl;dr: Recall to shop important items and to protect yourself from dying. Recall less if you have good sustain, are easily winning your lane, can help another lane, can take a global objective, or have newly acquired buffs (and enough hp to use them).

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There's a lot of variables here. The basic goal is to wait until you can pick up a core item for your role without risking enemy champ free farming, lane partner dying or losing your tower.

If you are low enough to be killed you clearly don't have a choice - that aside, before leaving you should ask yourself -

  1. Do I have enough for my core item(s)?
  2. Will my lane opposition be able to free farm? (The AD carry in case of bottom lane)
  3. Will I lose my tower or put my lane partner at risk?
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depends, if i lane i go back when i kill their lane and push the creeps to their turret to deny them xp and possibly reset the lane. Or when you see they backed and are ahead of you in items, in which its not good to stay in lane as you dont want to put yourself behind. As in the jungle, i recall after i farm the jungle enough to but my gp5 or first item, possibly after the first or second gank to keep my lane presence on the map. but you are right to push their creeps and take their jungle to be ahead, deny your lane opponent xp and such.

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