It happens a lot when you see their streams.

I notice it more on High Tier Players (around Challenger/Diamond/Master) and Casters often say that the player leveled some ability late.

I usually get out of base and skill my ability right away.

The times that I don't do that are just because I forgot or I went to get something to drink.

Why do most pros put a point into one of their abilities at like 1 minute 50? Are there any benefits for that?

What's their thought process through that?

  • 1
    You have the flexibility of starting with a skill that is more beneficial in a situation. For example: lets say you're playing nidalee and you immediately grab your q then get caught out near the edge of a wall. If you were to wait to train your skill, you could've quickly trained your w and had a chance at escaping over the wall without burning your flash. Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 9:17
  • you should definitly skill before minute 2. ether the buffs are already spawned and you have a higher damage output with a skill or you minions just reached your lane. Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 9:24
  • 1
    This should be done at every level (bronze to challenger), because of how raging it is to get in a lvl 1 skirmish and not be able to kill or escape because your already chose your usual starting ability.
    – Shunwoo
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 10:02

4 Answers 4


The main point is flexibility.

but sometimes it's just a habit...

In case you are invading or you get invaded a skill might be better than another.


You normally skill Amumus E because of the faster jungle clear and sustain.

But when you're getting invaded Q might secure a kill because of the stun and higher damage.

but sometimes it's just a habit...

  • Perfect answer IMO :). Some other examples with laners at lvl 1 : Janna usually starts with E(shield) on lane, but if the team goes for an invade and CC is needed to secure a kill, she can take her Q and throw her tornado, same goes with vayne taking her E for extra CC rather than her Q for laning.
    – Shunwoo
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 9:59
  • or thresh normally taking E but might secure a kill with Q Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 10:31
  • Good answer - lots of champions have similar things: Lucian usually starts Q to trade, but if he's caught in jungle trying to leash he'll quickly wish he brought his E! Take the ability a second before you need to use it, that way you're sure you've taken the right one
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 15:29
  • should I list all those comments and the upcoming in my answer? Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 15:32
  • 2
    I think the reasoning behind why you pick late is a good enough answer, he didn't ask for a list of all possible scenarios. Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 15:34

DropDeadSander covered the general case well, there are also specific champions where you might leave picking a skill even later though.

For example with Tristana I usually skill Explosive Shot first but I don't even always skill it immediately I reach lane unless I see a chance to harass. This is both because as soon as I have it the passive starts pushing and it means I can pick Rocket Jump in an emergency.

In lane-swap situations pros have been known to reach level 3 or 4 with Tristana while only having one point in rocket jump and nothing else because they want to freeze the lane and as soon as they pick up Explosive Shot the passive starts pushing the lane out rapidly. Those sort of situations are very rare in normal play though so I wouldn't expect to do this yourself, generally as soon as you actually start farming in lane you want to select an ability.


I'd guess it really depends on the actual ability/available abilities and their progression.

While I typically don't watch eSports, I'd say you could largely see this for abilities that have scaling cooldown/costs that increase rather than staying constant or decreasing, or those that are equally good early on (so it's hard to pick a favorite).

Also you might want to wait to see what strategy your opponents are trying to push for, for example you might prefer getting your skillshot early, while in other games you might want that extra survivability from another skill first.

Last but not least you might be unsure or wouldn't want to use your abilities immediately anyway. Some champions work pretty well even without abilities, but your abilities might allow you to abuse situations to your advantage. For example, Sivir could grab her Q to get a kill otherwise lost, but she might as well grab her E first to dodge that one skillshot that would kill her.


At level 1, you've got absolutely no advantage having a specific skill levelled to 1 than not; you've got way more options if you leave it unlevelled until you've found a reason to do one or the other. You're able to adjust immediately to any conflict.

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