Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
The first decision you are faced with when starting a game of League of Legends is which champion you will play. With over a hundred champions and counting, it can be daunting to choose what champions to try for your first games. With that in mind, here are some champions that cater to newer players.
Keep in mind that while there is a rotating sampling of free champions per week, champions must be unlocked to play if they are not on their free week. Each champion listed below has an entry-level cost of 450 Blue Essence or 260 Riot Points and these champions can be unlocked from the shop tab in the League of Legends client.
Also keep in mind that the recommended summoner spells, runes, and item builds can all change each game depending on the other champions and the state of the game, but all recommendations should work well in most games.
Marksman, Bot Lane
The original champion used in the League of Legends tutorial, Ashe is a great marksman for new players because of her long range and ability to provide utility for the team. Ashe’s auto attacks slow enemies and her W Volley has a large hit-box and also slows enemies. She has two global spells: her E Hawkshot scouts and reveals the map over the location it travels and her R Enchanted Crystal Arrow is a great engage tool that stuns the first enemy hit.
Ashe is a very weak champion defensively, so you will look to play behind your teammates and use your long auto attack range to your advantage. The slows and stun in her kit allow for her to kite very well despite her lack of mobility. You can use your Hawkshot to spot enemies and then use your Enchanted Crystal Arrow to stun them and allow your team to follow-up.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Heal are the safest spells because of Ashe’s limited mobility and squishiness as a champion, but Ghost, Cleanse, and Barrier can work situationally.
Recommend Runes: Precision is most common for Ashe’s primary rune, using Lethal Tempo or Fleet Footwork for her keystone rune and Sorcery for secondary runes to add to her damage.
Recommended Item Build: Blade of the Ruined King > Berserker’s Greaves > Runaan’s Hurricane > Infinity Edge > Guardian Angel > Lord Dominik’s Regards
Mage, Mid Lane
Annie is a great burst mage for new players looking to deal a ton of damage. Her passive Pyromania stuns an enemy target after every four spells cast, giving her excellent crowd control. Annie’s Q Disintegrate is a targeted spell that deals damage and is great for farming minions because it has a low cooldown and refunds mana when it kills its target. Her ultimate Summon: Tibbers is her huge nuke spell that also summons a controllable pet that will continue to deal damage until killed or timed out.
It is important to keep track of your passive on Annie so you can use the stun effect on enemy champions. To get a guaranteed stun, you can save it for your Disintegrate because it is a targeted skill that cannot be dodged. To maximize damage, you can use your stun with Summon: Tibbers because you can hit multiple enemies with the spell and the Tibbers pet deals damage while next to enemy champions.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Ignite are great for engaging and bursting out an enemy champion. Taking teleport is also a great way to get around the map and help your teammates in fights.
Recommended Runes: Domination primary adds to Annie’s burst potential by taking the Electrocute keystone rune or Predator to help get in range of enemies. Sorcery secondary again adds to her burst.
Recommended Item Build: Luden’s Echo > Sorcerer’s Shoes > Spellbinder > Rabadon’s Deathcap > Void Staff > Rylai’s Crystal Scepter
Fighter, Top Lane
Garen is a great champion for players who like to have strong defensive capabilities but can also get involved in dealing damage in the heart of fights. His passive allows him to regenerate health rapidly when out of combat, so he can back off when he takes damage and stay healthy. Garen’s Q Decisive Strike grants him extra move speed and silences targets on his next attack, combining well with his E Judgment, a spin move that deals damage to any enemy in range. Garen’s R Demacian Justice is an execute that deals extra damage to low health enemies, great for finishing enemies off.
Due to his passive and his strong burst damage, Garen is great at utilizing brush on the map to regenerate his health and surprise enemies with a Q Decisive Strike into E Judgment combination. If you are about to go into a fight or in a dangerous situation, make sure to press your W Courage beforehand to reduce the damage you take. Using your R Demacian Justice on the villain, an enemy champion shown next to your champion model deals even more damage by ignoring enemy resistances, called true damage.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Ignite are the best spells to quickly get onto enemies and execute them, but Ghost, Teleport, and Exhaust can all be used to great effect on Garen.
Recommended Runes: Using Resolve primary with Grasp of the Undying as the keystone rune gives Garen the tankiness he needs to deal damage as a melee champion. Using Sorcery or Precision secondary adds to Garen’s damage.
Recommended Item Build: Black Cleaver > Ninja Tabi > Sterak’s Gage > Dead Man’s Plate > Spirit Visage > Warmog’s Armor
Support, Bot Lane
Soraka is the perfect champion for those who love helping and protecting their teammates. She has two damaging spells, but both deal minimal damage and are used more for the utility: her Q Starcall slows and her E Equinox silences enemies. Soraka is known for her two healing abilities: W Astral Infusion that heals an ally near her, and R Wish that heals all allies regardless of proximity.
To heal allies with Astral Infusion, Soraka takes from her own health, so be careful not to sacrifice too much health to your teammates. Her ultimate Wish heals for extra health when allies are below 40% health, so make sure to use it when one or more allies are low and not just to top off their health pool. Soraka also runs faster toward low health allies so you can get over quickly to provide heals.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Exhaust help Soraka to survive when enemies get too close, but Heal can also be very good if your bot lane partner did not take it.
Recommended Runes: Sorcery primary with Summon Aery as the keystone rune is standard on Soraka because it is effective both when she heals allies and when she attacks enemies. Resolve secondary allows her more tankiness to survive and more health regeneration to heal allies.
Recommended Item Build: Remnant of the Watcher’s > Ionian Boots of Lucidity > Redemption > Ardent Censer > Locket of the Iron Solari > Mikael’s Crucible
Nunu is a great champion for a first time jungler because of his great damage and sustain to jungle monsters. His Q Consume deals huge damage to minions and monsters and also restores some health to Nunu. W Blood Boil grants Nunu movement speed and increased attack speed to help speed up his jungle clear. Nunu’s E Ice Blast is a targeted damage spell that slows an enemy and his R Absolute Zero is a channeled ability that slows enemies in the area and deals more damage the longer it is channeled.
After getting out of the jungle and grouping with teammates, Nunu is great at buffing marksmen because his Blood Boil can be cast on an ally as well. Otherwise, Nunu’s job in fights is to absorb damage and slow enemies using his Ice Blast and Absolute Zero. Casting Absolute Zero in the middle of the enemy team will draw attention to you and allow your carries to deal damage while the enemy must deal with you.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Smite are the best spells for Nunu, and jungling should not even be attempted before Smite is unlocked because you cannot buy jungle items without Smite equipped as a summoner spell.
Recommended Runes: Resolve primary with Guardian as the keystone rune gives Nunu more tankiness, while Sorcery secondary allows him faster movement as a jungler and slightly increases jungle speed.
Recommended Item Build: Enchantment: Cinderhulk > Ninja Tabi > Zeke’s Convergence > Knight’s Vow > Frozen Heart > Warmog’s Armor
A more damaging option in the jungle, Master Yi is for players who want to chase down and quickly kill enemies. His Q Alpha Strike makes Master Yi untargetable while he hits multiple enemies, great for killing jungle monsters and dealing damage in fights. His W Meditate heals him while he channels it, giving him the sustain to get through a jungle clear. Master Yi’s E Wuju Style and R Highlander are his auto attack buffs, giving him extra attack speed and extra damage on his attacks.
Master Yi has a lot of movement speed and damage but is compensated by lacking in health and tankiness, so you can’t be in the middle of a teamfight for too long. Master Yi thrives on looking for enemies caught out alone or cleaning up fights after the enemies use their crowd control abilities. A well-timed Alpha Strike can dodge enemy abilities by going untargetable and Meditate reduces incoming damage while channeled.
Recommended Summoner Spells: Flash and Smite are recommended on most junglers, but Master Yi can also make effective use of Ghost because of his need to stick on enemy targets to deal damage.
Recommended Runes: Precision is the best primary rune for Master Yi because it gives him extra attack speed and either Conqueror or Fleet Footwork will work for his keystone rune. Sorcery secondary gives him more movement speed to chase down enemies and adds to his damage.
Recommended Item Build: Enchantment: Bloodrazor > Berserker’s Greaves > Guinsoo’s Rageblade > Blade of the Ruined King > Guardian Angel > Frozen Mallet