It’s no secret that professional League of Legends players spend their daily lives improving themselves to become better at the game. However, if that were the case, a lot of players in the Challenger Series should be qualified to join professional esports teams since they’re able to climb to the peak of the competitive scene. It’s not easy to become a pro player in League of Legends but by mastering the fundamentals of what esports organizations are looking for in a player, hardworking individuals can work their way to become one.
Describing a League of Legends Pro Player
League of Legends Pro Players aren’t just mechanically gifted on playing various champions, they have other skillsets that also play an important part in helping their team reach success. They are unlike your average Solo Queue player or streamer. There are a lot of pros in the Challenger series but most pros are usually found in the lower ranks since their schedule doesn’t allow them to grind freely. To become a pro player, one must dedicate their entire career to developing their fundamentals.
Pro Player Fundamentals:
Once you reach a level of play in League of Legends that you can consistently reach the Top Divisions in the Ranked Series, you’re ready to learn the fundamentals to become a pro player in League of Legends. Most aspiring professional players start off by joining small teams or are members of the collegiate league. By using this as their starting point, they can learn what it means to be a pro. However, for players who have never experience playing with the team, they might consider learning these concepts:
1. The Macro
Macro is obviously the most important part of being a pro player. If you haven’t mastered your macro skills, it’ll be difficult for you to join any team as it’ll require synergy between players. The Macro refers to aspects such as Vision Control, Objective Control, Lane Priority, Resets & Rotations, and Crossmap Teamfighting are skills that you’ll need to master. We’ll get to those in detail later on in the article.
When you’re watching professional games, you’ll notice that players like to spend more time securing objectives; dancing around the dragon and baron pits trying to place or remove Vision in the surrounding area while players try to take Turrets on the other side of the map to force out responses from the enemy team. This is the height of Macro Play and is essential to your team’s success. Without proper knowledge and execution of macro, even a team with the best mechanical players can be overrun with overwhelming advantage.
2. Shot-calling & Communication
Communication is essential in working as a team and most solo queue players might not know the difference between efficient shot-calling and cluttered shot-calling. The difficulty that comes with shot-calling is whether your team is capable of executing the commands and whether the commands you’re making are the correct ones. Poor shot-calling leads to failure and the enemy team can take advantage of this to make plays around the map.
Let’s take the example of watching professional games again and you’ll notice that the players don’t usually talk much. This is because there is such a thing as cluttered comms which is caused by distributing unnecessary information to the team that leads to confusion. Players usually communicate in 2-5 word phrases to minimize noise and make it easier to hear other players’ comms. The shot-caller is the only person who should talk in detail about plans and strategies during the game.
3. Meta Flexibility
Reading the meta is often the job of your team’s analysts but being flexible to the changes is necessary to become a pro player in League of Legends. META is an acronym for Most Effective Tactic Available which means that there are certain items, tactics, and champion combinations that are strong in the current patch. These often get nerfed after a while so the meta constantly changes, making each set of games completely different from the previous ones.
Players should be able to conform with the meta and play different champions at a certain level efficiently. Players with small champion pools and linear playstyles are doomed to become irrelevant once a major shift in the meta environment tilts the opposite of the style they want to play. While it’s good to master one champion to the level that no one else can, even a one-trick can turn out to be outperformed when playing against a meta champion.
4. Mental and Physical Fortitude
Being a pro-player in esports requires you to have… a strong mind and body. I know it sounds cliché and you might wonder why esports players need physical fitness. The short answer is basically that pro players like sports athletes spend countless hours trying to improve themselves. Sitting for hours a day in front of your computer can cause some serious problems like complications regarding your motor functions. Players should exercise and go to the gym in order to maintain a healthy body.
Mental Fortitude is also necessary. The term Tilt-Proof is necessary for players to maintain a consistent performance whether it’s a winning streak or losing streak. Being too overconfident or losing motivation might cause you to lose games which is why players should only focus on winning regardless of their standings. This is especially true in Best-of-X games or during matches that you’re losing in order to attend a comeback victory.
Proper understanding and execution of macro is the most important factor of being a professional player. Teams often spend countless hours training to reach a level of macro that is beyond what non-professional teams can hope to achieve. This enables teams to properly take control of the game and tilt the favor to their advantage every time. The team that has the strongest control over the macro game will surely be the ones that are favored to win.
Vision Control refers to the concept of placing wards and removing enemy wards to monopolize information on the map. While the support is the role most expected to achieve vision control dominance, the entire team should also do their part by constantly contesting vision. The support can’t place wards in every corner of the map, but the entire team can place enough wards to reveal the enemy’s plans. The team must constantly place down wards and sweep crucial areas to prevent the enemy team from spying on you.
Unlike in Solo Queue, warding in pro play is completely different. Teams are in charge of placing their wards on efficient intervals as to allow complete vision control over an area. There are certain warding spots that pro-players target constantly since they offer the most useful amount of information. Learning where to place your wards and when to do this without the enemy knowing about it is the epitome of Vision Control mastery.
The team with the better objective control is the most likely to win. Kills offer a lot of gold, but against teams who like to play cautiously or revolve their team comp around meta picks and combinations, kills can be difficult to get. For professionals, the most reliable source of gold are objectives such as Turrets, Dragons, and Rift Heralds. In the later stages of the game, winning can be achieved by securing the Elder or Baron, regardless of the kill difference between the teams.
You’ll often hear the terms Baron Dance and Dragon Dance in professional play. These terms refer to the teams taking turns trying to secure the safest spot to take the objective away from the opponent while the other team tries to discourage them by threatening to deal a significant amount of damage to the other side. One mistake during the dance can cause your entire team to lose the game regardless of who has the most kills in the game.
Lane Priority refers to the act of taking control of the lane state and pushing your opponent laner as far back into their Turrets as possible. The team with lane priority has access to objective control on their side of the map since the enemy laner/s can’t risk trying to leave their lanes in a horrible state unless they want to lose a lot of resources. Lane priority is achieved by successfully clearing the wave quickly or dealing damage to the enemy laner which causes them to play more cautiosly.
While taking Lane Priority is definitely important, it’s also necessary to know when to surrender lane priority if you want to become a pro player. Surrendering lane priority has some small benefits such as allowing the opposite lane to thrive or luring the enemy team into making a move towards your position. A team that has good communication and synergy is able to use losing lane priorities to their advantage to make plays elsewhere on the map.
Resets & Rotations
Resetting is the art of learning when to recall while rotations is the art of knowing when to move towards another lane or area. This is a necessary skill if you want to become a pro player. Scattered recalls can be taken advantage of by the enemy laners, they can also secure lane priority if the players recall at the wrong time and leave the lane in an awkward state. Resets are also necessary to buy items and refresh wards to get a better chance of getting vision control on the map.
Rotations refer to the players moving from one area of the map to another. Successful rotations can catch opponents off-guard and secure a kill or two for your teammates. Proper rotation also requires players to match the threat generated by another team or taking advantage of a winning situation. Rotations require every member of your team to move into position whether defensively or offensively in their lane to prevent the team from countering their rotation.
Crossmap Teamfights is a basic skill that most high ELO LoL players already know how to execute. This refers to the players’ ability to join teamfights or predict when a fight will break out on the map and move accordingly. The numbers advantage is generally the most important factor in winning a teamfight but players with global presence may choose to move a bit later and instead create pressure elsewhere on the map.
Practice to Become A Pro Player
The road to become a pro player isn’t simply achieved by learning all these concepts and leaving it in your brain. After all these things are easier said than done. Even the top professional players in today’s time make blunders when executing these concepts. These concepts aren’t also easily learned when playing Solo Queue as it can only take you so far when your playing with people you’ve never been with before.
The best way to learn how to become pro players is by playing with a team. Whether it’s a Flex Queue team, Clash Team, or one that participates in local tournaments, having a team is definitely the best way to learn what it means to be the best player. After all, even Faker can’t carry a team if his teammates aren’t in perfect synergy as him. If some of these concepts confuse you, it’s best you refer to professional games to determine where they made mistakes and what strategies their trying to emulate.
It’ll need a lot of hardwork and patience to become a pro player. Being a professional at the game and making it your career isn’t a hobby you can do during your free time. Pro players dedicate their entire existence to becoming the best at the game. Once you’ve decided to pursue this career, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort into improving the League of Legends you already know into something more organized
What skills are necessary to become a pro player?
To summarize, the necessary skills to become a pro player are shotcalling & communication, meta flexibility, mental & physical fortitude, and mastery of macro skills (vision control, objective control, resetting & rotation, lane priority, and crossmap teamfighting).