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League of Legends Key Terms

Amanda Zelauskas | 
Image Courtesy of Riot Games.

Image Courtesy of Riot Games.

‘League of Legends’ is one of the most popular video game worldwide. The last time Riot officially announced a monthly user count was in 2016, and they confirmed that there were over 100 million active players a month. At the League of Legends World Championship 2017, there were roughly 57 million fans that tuned in to watch the event around the world. These numbers are expected to carry over, if not grow, moving forward.

However, maybe you just jumped into League of Legends. There is a lot to take in and we are here to make it easier. Here are some of the key terms you should know when starting your time on the Summoner’s Rift.

League of Legends Key Terms:

Auto Attack: AKA Basic Attack or AA. An attack that a champion can repeat without new clicks.

Ability: An unique action performed by a specific champion. An ability is different from a summoner spell or active abilities as other champions can use these.

ACE:  An ace is earned when a player kills the last living champion on the enemy team.

ADC: Short for Attack Damage Carry. A champion that deals high amounts of damage – specifically as the game progresses. This can also refer to the role taken when playing the bot lane.

AoE: Short for Area of Effect. Spells or attacks that deal damage over a wide-spread area.

Backline: The furthest combat distance from enemy champions. The backline will be played by range and mage champions. These champions are typically low in health, but high in damage output, so they are to be as protected as possible.

Backdoor: When you attack an opponent’s Nexus while they are focused elsewhere. This is done by sneaking through the jungle and taking the enemy by surprise.

Baron: Officially known as the Baron Nashor. The Baron is the strongest neutral enemy in the game. Once a team has defeated the Baron, all living teammates earn the Hand of Baron buff. The buff rewards teammates with bonus attack damage, bonus ability power, an empowered recall buff and increases the power of nearby friendly minions.

Base: Each team has a base, which is located between the entrances to the middle and bottom lanes along with a base entrance at the top and middle lanes. Players can heal along with upgrading their champion.

Bot: Short for Bottom Lane. The bot lane is the bottom of the three lanes on Summoner’s Rift. Can also refer to an AI controlled champion.

Buff: A beneficial spell or effect used on yourself, a teammate or friendly minion. The opposite of debuff.

Burst: A large amount of damage dealt in a short amount of time – specifically to a specific champion.

Crowd Control: AKA CC. A group of status effects that limit an opponents movement or actions.

Cooldown: The amount of time it takes for a skill or ability to be used after a first usage.

Champion: Player-controlled characters. Each champion has unique skills, abilities, and attributes.

Commit: To stay in a fight until it is over. To not retreat.

Countergank: Setting up an ambush in response to an opponent ambush. See gank. 

Counterjungle: To kill the neutral champions in the opponent’s side of the jungle. This takes away easier buffs, gold and experience for the opposing team.

Crit: Short for Critical Strike.  An ability or attack that deals twice the damage. The likelihood of getting a crit relies on several factors.

CS: Short for Creep Score. A term borrowed from Dota 2 – CS is the number of enemy creeps that you performed the last hit on and obtained gold from.

Death Timer: The amount of time it takes for a champion to respond after being slain.

DPS: Short for Damage per second. The amount of damage that dealt per second by a hero.

Drake: AKA Dragon. Powerful neutral monsters that can be found on Summoner’s Rift. Killing a Drake grants your team varius effects and buffs.

Dive: To chase a specific enemy unit into a dangerous area – typically near a turret.

Farming: The act of killing creeps for gold and experience.

Flank: A military term. Attacking an enemy – either solo or as a team – by splitting up and surrounding them. Specifically, when a champion sneaks past the frontline to attack the backline champions.

Flash: A spell that allows a champion to teleport a short distance.

Frontline: The front of the combat group that can soak a lot of damage.

Gank: To ambush an enemy.

Inhib: Short for Inhibitor. A structure that blocks the spawning of super minions from the opposing team. Each team has three Inhibitors in their base, each corresponding to a lane.

Jungler: A champion that is dedicated to the jungle. A jungler is in charge of clearing neutral camps within the jungle.

Lane: Summoner’s Rift is separated into three main lanes – top, middle and bottom. These three lanes are where minions travel from one side of the map to the other.

Lane Swap: The act of one or more champions switching dedicated lanes.

Laning Phase: A phase within a match that can last from 10 to 30 minutes. This phase is based around champions gaining gold by farming minions, towers or enemy champions.

Last Hit: The final blow on an opposing minion, creep or champion.

Minion: Non-player characters (NPCs) that spawn from each team’s base.

Nexus: The large structure in each base. The objective of League of Legends is to destroy the opponents Nexus.

Picks/Bans: This happens during the drafting phase of the game. Each team gets five champions to select (picks) and five champions they can ban from being selected (bans).

Push: Advancing forward in a lane.

Recall: An ability that all champions have that allows them to teleport back to the team’s fountain. Requires eight seconds.

Shotcaller: The player on a team that takes the lead in communication.

Solo Lane: Being the only champion in a specific lane.

Splitpush: When a champion or group of champions switch to another lane that is weak or susceptible to attack.

Stun: A unit or champion that is stunned will be unable to control abilities, movement, attacks, or active abilities.

Super Minion: Powerful minions that only spawn when the enemy’s inhibitor is destroyed.

Squishy: A champion hero that with low health. Can only take little damage before dying.

Tank: A champion that can take massive amounts of damage.

Teamfight: When multiple champions from each team engage in a fight.

Top Laner: A champion dedicated to the top lane.

Turret: AKA a tower. A structure that blocks the enemy’s path to the Nexus. They take high damage and fire at opponents within a certain radius.

Ulti: Each champion’s most powerful ability. These don’t become available until level six.

Zoning: The act of pushing an enemy champion(s) away from certain objectives to prevent gold and experience gain.

Amanda Zelauskas
Amanda has been a gamer ever since she could wrap her fingers around a controller. Her experiences in the gaming industry range from professional competition participation, corporate marketing, all the way to video game reviews. Amanda's entire life has been dedicated to video games, and now her passion is to share her stories and experiences with readers from around the world! Amanda has previously written for Newegg's Gamecrate, ZAM, and Knowtechie.
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