What is the difference between a class and a role in League of Legends? Are they the same thing?

Also, I would like to know what every class is and what every role is in League of Legends (or at least the main ones). I know that there are basic ones like Tank, Assassin, and Support, but are there any more that are more in depth and advanced?

For example, I've seen things like 'ADC' and 'APC', which I believe are short for 'Attack Damage Carry' and 'Attack Power Carry'. Are there any more?

Thanks in advance! :)

8 Answers 8


As of now, nobody has explained the differences between classes/roles. Classes have been explained fairly well elsewhere:

Tank: Very difficult to kill and usually low damage. Tanks normally have forms of innate ways to survive and/or crowd control abilities.

Fighter: Often good duelists. They do decent damage as well as are fairly tanky. Often used as splitpushers since in team fights they die quicker than tanks.

Assassin: Good at killing single targets very quickly and often able to get back out. Tend to be very squishy.

Mage: Generally have aoe abilities and might have a slight amount of cc mixed in their kit.

Artillery Mage: Special class of Mage that deals damage from long range. Normally have very low amounts of cc and/or less damage than their Mage counterparts.

Control Mage: Similar to Mages but have more crowd control mixed into their kit in place of damage. They can potentially contain high damage as well but not necessarily.

Marksman: (ADC) Long ranged physical auto attackers. Great at taking down towers or shredding tanks.

Now, Roles have not been explained well. In league of legends there are exactly 5 roles. Most classes can be a part of most roles but there are single exceptions.

Top: Solo laner who starts the game in the Top lane. Typically Tanks/Fighters are up here but pretty much any class can be played here.

Middle: Normally assassins, mages, or control mages belong here. This is a squishier lane that normally builds AP or AD but don't have great escape/survivability tools (besides assassins). The shorter lane allows for these types of roles since the towers are closer.

Jungle: Most classes can be played here but the most common are Tanks, Fighters, and Assassins. They stay in the jungle killing jungle camps for gold/exp and constantly roam into lanes to help their team get kills

Bottom (sometimes referred to as ADC): This is the most restricted Role. This is always played by a Marksman(ADC) because they have the protection of a support to keep alive.

Support: Supports are normally tanks or control mages. Supports have less of an income than any other role and so need to scale off of usefulness rather than items. Some tanks that are strictly good in the support role I might classify as a utility tank (Thresh/Blitzcrank: They are good at pulling people into their team and locking them down, but are a little less tanky than champions that are strict tanks.)

NOTE-There is some flexibility between classes. Part of class build often deals with how a champion is built. For example, Pantheon can be played both bruiser or Assassin. Full damage he is considered an assassin but if he builds some tankiness he becomes a bruiser.

EDIT: Apparently Riot has it's own group of additional classes. The classes I defined represent what the community Uses.

  • Is Support not also a class? Or is that pretty much defined by Control Mage? Aug 3, 2016 at 2:23
  • Its not a bad answer, its better then the one before. But the definitions are very vague. I am unhappy with the definition of Mages and the Top Lane. If I think about someone like Malzahar or Annie I wouldn't say they have "very long ranged abilities". And "... but pretty much any class can be played here..." is true for every role expect maybe ADC. And even there things like Mordekaiser ADC are a thing.
    – Gin-San
    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:49
  • @DavidEclipse It is pretty much defined by Control Mage and tank. I am on the fence a little with champions like Soraka/Sona/Blitz though. I think they belong closest to control mage but they do have a different feel than most control mages. Blitz is just a weird anomaly completely. Janna/Lulu/Nami I fully feel are control mages with the amount of cc and utility they bring to the table.
    – dphil
    Aug 3, 2016 at 13:35
  • @Gin The thing is that the answer for top lane is simply that simple. If you have something better for that let me know but honestly there isn't a better description than that unless u add unnecessary fluff. I think you misread my mage section. I said OR not AND. Anyways I think that is worth splitting up slightly to add in artillery mages. This is a fully comprehensive list of the classes after that fact.
    – dphil
    Aug 3, 2016 at 13:43
  • @Gin Also, there is never a case where Mordekaiser is an ADC. He is sometimes played bottom but it's incorrect to call him an ADC/Marksman.
    – dphil
    Aug 3, 2016 at 13:48

There is a subtle distinction between a class and a role in LoL. A class, as I interpret it, is a basic "style" of champion. There are several classes available:

  • Tank (little damage but lots of health and resistances)
  • Bruiser/Juggernaut (a tanky champ that also does decent damage)
  • Assassin (very squishy champ that kills others very quickly)
  • Mage (typically APC, which stands for Ability Power Carry)
  • Marksman (ADC, which stands for Attack Damage Carry)(long-range DPS champ)
  • Support (general helper for the team)

A champion's class is just a broad way of categorizing them. There are certain amounts of overlap, as well: Leona, for example, could be considered a Tank Support, while Zyra is a Mage Support.

A role, on the other hand, is how the champion lives up to his class. For example, Veigar is considered a Mage. Due to the way his kit works (he tries to stun you, then blows you up from 100% to 0% instantly), his role is that of a single target burst mage. As another example, Azir is also a Mage but his power comes from keeping his sand soldiers on the field to zone enemy champions away by doing a lot of damage to those that get too close. Azir is a zone control DPS mage. One last example is Singed - he doesn't do a lot of damage, but he's tanky and distracting during teamfights. Singed is a disruptor / crowd control tank.

There are lots of roles, too many to list here. In fact, you can argue that roles are really up to how you want to define them. It's a good idea to become somewhat familiar with what a champion can do as it will then become obvious what roles they excel at and you can start to see what kind of team comps they could do well in.

As with most terminology questions in gaming, the definitions I give here are somewhat subjective.

  • I could argue the singed point, 1000AP singed can rip through a team, but of course that isnt the usual playstyle for singed and your point still stands. Just to reinforce what you yourself have said, whilst a character may be playable in one style, there are other styles of play that a character can perform (case in point... trundle)
    – nickson104
    Aug 2, 2016 at 10:36
  • 3
    @nickson104 Any character with AP Ratios will rip through a team with 1000 AP. Singed does very little damage up front, he requires a long, sustained teamfight to get up to any significant amount.
    – RFKomos
    Aug 2, 2016 at 12:17
  • Agreed and well argued. I was more just reinforcing that characters need not be thought of as fitting only one role
    – nickson104
    Aug 2, 2016 at 12:22
  • 2
    @nickson104 I think most champions fit snugly into one or two roles. However, the beauty of LoL is that odd builds can still work in a lot of cases. For example, most people consider Blitzcrank to be a tanky CC support... but I've seen him built as a full AP burst mage as well. Heck, I've even played full ADC Veigar before, to mild success. (Though to be fair, it was against Bronze players).
    – Mage Xy
    Aug 2, 2016 at 17:53
  • @MageXy We are trying to find a definition for "meta" and usefull builds. It is possible to be successfull with every build. But some are just better. Blitzcranks kill-pressure is full-tank/support nearly the same as Full Ap. The only difference is, that Blitzcrank can't take out targets by himself. (Without turrets or teammates, if the enemy is full-life and you aren't fed). There are enough reasons why Ap Blitzcrank isn't played in high-elo. Also: One of the main reasons such build are working is the surprise-factor. No one knows how high the kill pressure of Ap Blitzcrank is.
    – Gin-San
    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:04

Roles and Classes

  • Classes: Some classes, like Mages and Fighters, have become too bloated and they encompass such a wide variety of different champions that they're no longer as useful. For example, both Darius and Vi are Fighters, but they differ vastly in mobility, durability, damage output, and their general role in team fights. Rather than just using a generic tag to describe both, we introduced ‘subclasses’ - divisive breakdowns of the parent class - to help us clarify differences, sift out big groups, and label the deeper nuances that set champions apart. Additionally, you’ve seen some of this work bear out in our early approaches for subclasses like Juggernauts or Marksmen (although they’ve been hard to break down, as we’ll talk about below).
  • Roles: In my opinion, roles are more like subclasses, because they specify the class even further and defines the "role" of a champion. The community refers with a role mostly to your lane.


Agile champions that close in and take out unsuspecting targets in the blink of an eye. However, they must pick their opportunities carefully since a high-octane offense comes at the cost of low defense and long waits between takedown attempts.

  • Assassins: Assassins specialize in infiltrating enemy lines with their unrivaled mobility to quickly dispatch high-priority targets. Due to their mostly melee nature, Assassins must put them themselves into dangerous positions in order to execute their targets. Luckily, they often have defensive tricks up their sleeves that, if used cleverly, allow them to effectively avoid incoming damage.

    Zed, Fizz, LeBlanc, Talon

  • Skirmishers: Unlike Assassins, Skirmishers aim to shred through any nearby enemy that approaches. Because Skirmishers lack high-end burst damage or reliable ways of closing in on high-priority targets, they are instead armed with situationally powerful defensive tools to survive in the fray, along with extreme sustained damage to cut down even the most durable targets.

    Yasuo, Fiora


Versatile champions that can take on the role of damage dealer or defender of more fragile teammates. They occupy a happy medium between the massive damage of a Marksman or Mage and the prolonged survivability of a Tank that lets them adapt to various situations.

  • Juggernauts: Juggernauts are melee titans who relentlessly march down the opposition and devastate those foolish enough to get within their grasp. They are the only subclass who excel at both dealing and taking significant amounts of damage, but in turn they have a tough time closing in on targets due to their low range and extremely limited mobility.

    Nasus, Darius, Garen

  • Divers: Divers are the more mobile portion of the Fighter class. Divers excel at singling out high-priority targets to blitz toward, immediately forcing those targets (and their teammates) to deal with the diver’s presence. Divers are not as durable as the tanks or juggernauts of the world, but Divers can take their fair share of punishment while bringing enough damage to be a real kill threat if left unchecked.

    Xin Zhao, Vi


Volatile champions that cast high-impact spells with various effects, which can include damage, healing, stuns, and more. They are fragile, however, so accuracy and timing are often key to keeping themselves, and teammates, alive.

  • Burst Mages: Burst Mages aim to single out vulnerable targets by locking them down and following up with a devastating barrage of damage from range. Burst Mages struggle heavily against beefier targets who can shrug off their initial spike of damage.

    Veigar, Lux, Annie

  • Battle Mages: Battle Mages get into the middle of the fray, seeking to wreak havoc upon the entire enemy team with their overwhelming sustained area damage. Due to their relatively short (but not melee) combat ranges and the need to burn down their opponents over time, Battle Mages have significant defensive capabilities that range from sustaining endlessly to literally defying death for a short period of time.

    Vladimir, Karthus, Swain

  • Artillery Mages: Artillery Mages are the masters of range, and they leverage that advantage to whittle down their opponents over time from great distances. In turn, Artillery Mages are severely punished when enemies finally succeed in closing in on them, due to their extreme fragility and limited mobility.

    Xerath, Ziggs, Vel'Koz


These champions deal large amounts of consistent, rapid-fire damage to enemies from a safe distance. They often employ the help of Supports to stay alive, as they are fragile and require time to build up their attack strength over the course of a game.

  • Marksmen: Marksmen excel at taking objectives, dealing reliable sustained damage at range (usually through basic attacks) while constantly skirting the edge of danger. Although Marksmen have the ability to stay relatively safe by kiting their foes, they are very fragile and are extremely reliant on powerful item purchases to become true damage threats. Marksmen are such an already distinct set of champions that they are not currently divided into subclasses. Even though there are some potential ways to split the Marksmen (ex: mobile vs. immobile, spell-based vs. basic attack focused), all of the Marksmen ultimately serve a very similar role for their team.

    Vayne, Ashe, Caitlyn, Lucian, Ezreal


Robust champions that can withstand the front lines of conflict, but often don't do much damage themselves. They focus on starting fights, taking hits, and drawing attention away from the fragile damage-dealers on the team, who can finish off the preoccupied enemies.

  • Vanguards: We like to refer to Vanguards as “offensive tanks.” Vanguards lead the charge for their team and are specialists at getting action started. Their explosive team fight initiation seeks to catch enemies out of position while allowing allies to follow-up to devastating effect.

    Leona, Malphite, Sion

  • Wardens: If Vanguards are “offensive tanks,” then Wardens are surely “defensive tanks.” Wardens stand steadfast, seeking to hold the line by persistently locking down any oncomers who try to pass them. Wardens keep their allies out of harm’s way and allow them to safely deal with enemies caught in the fray.

    Shen, Braum, Taric


[Note: I splitted Controllers from Mages, even through they are a subclass.]

Controllers are defensive casters that oversee the battlefield by protecting and opening up opportunities for their allies.

  • Enchanters: Enchanters focus on amplifying their allies’ effectiveness by directly augmenting them and defending them from incoming threats. Enchanters themselves are often quite fragile and bring relatively low damage to the table, meaning they really only shine when grouped together with others.

    Janna, Lulu, Soraka, Sona

  • Disturptors: We initially called this subclass ‘control mages’ but realized that could be expanded to the entire group (that and ‘Utility Mage’ wasn’t a very good Class name). Disruptors specialize in locking down opponents or, in some cases, entire battlefields by creating intense zones of threat that only foolish enemies would dare wade through. Although not as reliant on their friends as Enchanters, the fragile and immobile Disruptors greatly benefit from allied presence - both to deter incoming danger and to help capitalize on targets they’ve locked down.

    Zyra, Anivia, Taliyah, Azir

  • Initiators: Champions that can initiate teamfights or ganks well are labelled as an initiator. And while the first one to go in should always be the tank, the initiator can be anything you like. An initiation method is basicly an ability that creates enough time to let your allies cross the distance between the 2 teams and start a teamfight. Similiar to Venguards.

    Lissandra, Amumu, Ashe, Zac, Nami, Leona

[Note: Added for completion, even if the role is mostly covered by other classes.]


  • Support: These champions provide lots of utility and set up teams to succeed with practical skills, such as heals, shields, stuns, and more. They often set the stage to lay traps and avoid ambushes, and depend on teammates to deal the majority of the damage.

    Thresh, Janna, Soraka, Blitzcrank

Secondary Attributes

While unofficial, the following attributes are often still used to describe and classify champions, even by members of Riot Games:

  • Carry: A champion who becomes powerful enough as a match progresses so as to be able to seemingly win games single-handedly, thereby "carrying" the rest of the team on their back. Typically, this has been used specifically for basic attack-dependent champions, due to how autoattack-based builds tend to scale the hardest into the late game, but the term has also applied to mages.

    • Hypercarry: A more extreme version of a carry, a hypercarry is a champion whose late-game strength is assumed to be so powerful that they eventually eclipse any other non-hypercarry in power. While a very subjective term, it is one that has been applied with some level of consistency to:

      Azir, Kog'Maw, Jinx, Cassiopeia, Vayne, Nasus

  • Jungler: A champion who can successfully thrive on the jungle's resources. While more of a position, or role, the jungler attribute is dependent on certain champion characteristics, such as innate toughness, sustained early damage, self-healing, mobility, crowd control or burst damage. Not all of these traits are required, but all successful junglers possess several of them.

  • Melee: A champion with basic attacks defined as melee. Melee champions typically have a short combat range, but tend to make up for it with bolstered innate defenses and unique advantages to their abilities. Most assassins, fighters and tanks are melee.

  • Ranged: A champion with basic attacks defined as ranged. Ranged champions tend to have the most reach out of all champions, but are also more fragile on average. Marksmen and most mages are ranged.

  • Pusher: A champion who can quickly kill minions and clear minion waves, thereby "pushing" their lane towards enemy structures and enabling their destruction, which they can also typically achieve better than non-pushers. Pushers typically have area of effect damage, rapid attacks or abilities and, occasionally, pets.


  • Should I add champions as Examples?
    – Gin-San
    Aug 2, 2016 at 8:29
  • Sure, it would make your answer better.
    – Riley
    Aug 2, 2016 at 8:41
  • 1
    Added, should help to understand the roles I mentioned above.
    – Gin-San
    Aug 2, 2016 at 9:22
  • 1
    I've never heard half of these terms before, but I stopped playing a long time ago and the meta has likely changed drastically so I'll assume they are well-known terms. Putting that aside your answer is excellent and provides great information
    – Tas
    Aug 3, 2016 at 2:22
  • 1
    @Momop. Okay, good point. But Ashe and Lissandra also aren't tanky ;D However, I add Nami to express the diversity of this subclass even more. (And because I don't mentioned a Support)
    – Gin-San
    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:53

A class, is the type of character that you are playing (Tanks, Fighters, Mages) and the Role would be the part of the map of which they are assigned to (Top, Middle, Jungle) and one character can fit more then one role.

ADC does stands for Attack Damage Carry, but APC typically stands for Ability Power Carry which is most likely to consist of the Mage class.

Here is a link to a post that Riot themselves put together, regarding classes: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/gameplay/dev-blog-classes-subclasses

  • +1 the only answer that mentions the "official" complete terminology. Even if nobody uses those casually, they are meant to guide design decisions (class reworks) and beginner players to find similar champion.
    – Mephy
    Aug 2, 2016 at 2:18

There are a number of different classes (positions) and roles, though they are some what obscured because of overlap and meta changes. The different classes relate to which position they play, and the role they play refer to their play style. The different positions would be Top Lane, Jungle, Mid Lane, Bot Lane, and Support, though this could change if there was a drastic meta shift (this is unlikely as it has stayed relatively the same for 5+ years).

The different roles would be Marksmen (ADC), Support, Mage (APC), Fighter, Assassin, Tank. Generally speaking Tanks or Fighters are played in the Jungle or Top Lane, but there are a lot of variations as champions from any role can play these positions to some degree of success. Mages generally are most commonly played in Mid Lane, though as with Top Lane and Jungle, other roles can successfully play this position, and Mages can certainly be played in other positions. Marksmen are most commonly played in Bot Lane with a Support to protect them, though like the other positions, different roles may take these positions from time to time, and Marksmen or Supports can be played in different positions.

Also, note that one champion can have multiple roles, such as Karma, who is a mage/support.


A short glossary of terms first:

AD - Attack Damage (One of the two damage types. Armor reduces damage from AD.)

AP - Ability Power (One of the two damage types. Magic Resist reduces damage from AP.)

CC - Crowd Control (Any effect that interferes with the enemy's ability to control their character)

ADC (officially called "Marksman" by Riot, but the community prefers the term ADC, Attack Damage Carry)

The ADC's role is to provide high, sustained damage over the duration of a team fight. Usually from long range. They generally have low burst and terrible defense so they rely on their team to protect them while enabling them to get into position to deal their damage. ADCs are almost exclusively seen in dual lanes with a support, much more rarely in the jungle (usually only when the lanes provide a lot of CC). See Ashe, Sivir, Lucian, Jhin.


Assassins specialise in dealing a high burst of damage to a single target, and usually have tools that enable them to escape afterwards.They don't have good sustained damage, and usually they're very close range. AP assassins are more common, but there are good examples of AD assassins. In team fights, Assassins aim to eliminate a high priority target (ADC or Mage) as the fight starts. Depending on the champion, they might be played mid, jungle or top. See Leblanc, Zed, Ahri.


Tanks specialise in survivability and screening for their team. The tank either prevents the enemy team from attacking his carries with CC, or forces them to attack him by diving deep into the enemy team and threatening their carries. Tanks have excellent defensive stats, usually a powerful suite of crowd control, and decent mobility. Most (but not all) tanks have low damage and range. Tanks are usually played in top, jungle or support. See Trundle, Tahm Kench, Gnar, Maokai.

Mage / Mid (I have very rarely seen "APC" used to refer to Mages but I guess it happens)

Mages deal moderate sustained damage over the duration of a team fight. They usually have a lot of area effect spells that allow them to spread damage across a whole enemy team, and some good CC. Like ADCs, they tend to be squishy. Although most Mages deal AP damage there are some notable "AD Casters" whose skills scale with AD rather than AP. Mages are almost always played Mid (to the point that the role is often called "Mid") but also show up Top. See Viktor, Varrus (AD Caster), Aurelion Sol, Vladimir.

Utility Support (usually called "Support")

Supports aid their team either sustain or crowd control. They often resemble mages in terms of defence & mobility but with far lower damage. Supports might specialise in engage (CC or movement abilities that allow their team to force a fight), disengage (the opposite, always letting you run away), or sustain (healing). There's a lot of variety within this group so it's hard to describe their role in a teamfight clearly, but usually it's disabling or enabling key targets. While Supports are usually run as part of a dual lane, a couple make it into the mid (usually before being nerfed back to bot lane). See Thresh, Bard, Karma, Lulu.

Assassin Tank Mage Carry

Usually called "Lee Sin"

These terms would, I think, describe most champions you're likely to run into, and they're all terms that I hear used regularly in the community. I've never seen wide uptake of stuff like "wardens" or "vanguards".


The main classes are the following:

Tank: Typically builds heavy defense. Skillset has high disruption potential (lots/powerful crowd control effects). There to soak up the enemies damage and keep them from getting away or taking out their allies.

Fighter: Usually also durable. Compared to tanks, fighters trade disruptive power for damage output. They can take it on the chin and send it right back with interest.

Mage: A rather varied group that have as a commonality that they deal the vast majority of their damage as magic damage. Most are ranged, typically build for damage output and rely on their abilities to do it. Mages are balanced around three core aspects: sustained damage, burst damage, utility (both crowd control and things like shields and heals). A mage that excels in one area will likely rank poorly in the other two, and those that aren't standouts in one area and likely fairly good at all three or at least two of them.

Marksman: In some ways, they are the physical damage counterparts to mages, however, most marksman don't have much burst, and instead have much greater sustained damage potential, relying more on their basic attacks instead of abilities to deal their damage. They build for damage output and rely mostly on distance and allies for protection in fights.

Support: A widely varying group of champions which tend to have two core traits: they are strong early on in the game, and have excellent synergy with allied champions near them. The support, more than anyone else, should always be near where the greatest number of their teammates are. Supports often have good disruption tools and many can actively save allies from danger. Supports typically build whatever will allow them to best assist their team throughout the game.


There is from my basic knowledge

  • Full Tank
  • Bruiser - Tanky with a bit of damage
  • Assassin
  • Support
  • Attack Damage Carries
  • Ability Power Carries
  • Control Mages (kind of like Ahri, didnt know how to describe it)
  • 10
    Ahri is an assassin. A control mage would be more along the lines of Ori or Anivia
    – Dragonrage
    Aug 1, 2016 at 21:47
  • 26
    And this is a good example of why you shouldn't accept the first question that answers your question because not long after a much better answer (in terms of depth and overall votes) was written
    – Kevin
    Aug 2, 2016 at 0:04

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