Mid Laner Guide
Last Update: 28/09/2020
About The Author
This is a guide that, our glorious leader, Nekreirypt has requested from me. My IGN is either Iasv12 or vsai12, and I’m a mid main. I’ve been Vanglorious Silver from Winter 2018 – Spring 2020 so I do have some expertise in my knowledge, but there are still many players who are a lot better than I am, so don’t take everything to heart, but consider this guide another point of view. Thanks for reading and hope it helps!
You can find up to date builds at this page here
- / = or
- & = build both but order is up to preference
- SG = Shatterglass
- SF = Spellfire
- FB = Frostburn
- DE = Dragon’s Eye
- CW = Clockwork
- BM = Broken Myth
- Eve = Eve of Harvest
- AS = Aftershock
- AC = Alternating Current
- Def = Defensive item
- BP = Breaking point
- I listed only the mid laners I play.
- Chargers are bought on all mids because journey boots are trash; chargers usually bought as 1st or 2nd item
- You may see a lot of Eve/CW in the builds; this is my opinion only on what to build, so take it with a grain of salt. I think it’s better to get CW if you know you are going to have ‘Mortal Wounds’ on you all of the time, and Eve if not. The CP buff gives you some CP lifesteal (10%) already, so you will have a little bit of sustain even without Eve.
- There’s no last item listed in the builds, but it’s usually some sort of defense. Mostly it’s Aegis, because you’re the ranged mage who should stay in the backline, so you shouldn’t be taking too much damage, but need a block just in case they try to cc you. If they honestly don’t have any CC, I guess you can build husk, or if they are going more of one path (weapon/crystal path) than another, then Metal Jacket or Celestial Shroud might work, but I usually find myself needing a block one way or another, so Aegis is usually my go-to defense item.
Characters & Sample Builds
- Adagio: Shatterglass & AC, Shatterglass/DE, BM
- Anka: SF, SG, BM, Eve/CW/SG/DE
- Celeste: FB & SF, Eve/CW, BM
- Ishtar: AC, DE, Eve & BM
- Lorelai: AC, DE, Eve & BM
- Magnus: SF, CW, FB, BM
- Malene: SG, AS/CW, SF, BM
- Samuel: FB & SF, Eve/CW, BM
- Skaarf: SF, Eve/CW, BM, FB/SG/DE/Def
- Skye: FB, DE/SF, Eve/CW, BM
- Varya: AC, DE, Eve & BM
- Vox: AC, DE, Eve & BM
- Warhawk: SF, SG/CW, BM, SG/CW
Skill set for a mid-laner
Mid-laning isn’t easy. Honestly speaking, it is probably the hardest role as well as the most important role at this stage of the game. Normally, the map is designed where the bot laner and the jungler will 1 v 2 the top laner and vice versa for the opposing side. The mid lane is the only spot where it is constantly 2 v 2 (you and your captain), so whether you are able to control the mid lane may be the determining factor to your victory.
Note: EARLY GAME IS SUPER IMPORTANT AND THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A MID LANER.
- Ability to CS with CP heroes (early game): Most mid lane heroes are late-game heavy and team affecting heroes. Your ability to get gold for yourself, and also your captain will be critical for the team. If you can’t CS well, either practice by yourself, or maybe you gotta accept that mid is not for you.
- Knowing the opposing mid and support hero as well as your own + Positioning: you need to know your strength and weaknesses. Mid lane is a poke wars. Every hero/player have some sort of habit or action that will signal when they plan to do something, and you’ll have to be able to dodge skillshots, and stay in a position where you can farm your CS without being prone to being poked out by the opposing captain/laner. Know what fights you can take, and find those moments when your opposing mid laner/captain is mispositioned. I can’t really give too many tips on how to achieve this except for experience. The more you play the more you know. If you make a mistake, reflect on why you made that mistake and don’t make the mistake a 2nd time. This applies to everything in Vainglory & life in general, and will help you improve to greater heights.
- Poking vs CS: Now this is hard one. Poking is definitely important but if you don’t make plays with your poke, you’re going to get counter-pressured when the enemy minions start overwhelming yours. Minions HURT… A LOT. Make sure you are always clearing your minions when you can’t make a play on the opposing laner, and hopefully your captain is not a dunce and is helping you clear the minions, not taking the minions for himself or making you miss the minions.
- Captains (a side-note from the perspective of a mid player): I’ve played with a ton of different captains during my soloqs up to silver (yes, it is possible since I’ve done it 3 times), and I can usually immediately tell how good the captain is in the laning phase in the first two mins. I won’t say that I know how to do the captain’s laning phase very well, since I’m not good at it either but there are some points I want to let out, since a bunch of captains tend to get mad when they die or get close to dying, and you’re just there farming up your minions.
- HELP YOUR MID LANER FARM. MOST CAPTAINS I HAVE JUST SIT THERE CHILLING IN A BUSH, WHILE I’M TRYING TO FARM UP THE MINIONS. HELP ME SO WE CAN PUSH AND POKE THE ENEMY MID LANER. Know which minion your mid laner/minions is attacking though, so you won’t take his minion or make him miss a minion.
- It’s good to play aggressive as a captain, but if you play too aggressive and take too much damage or die, your mid-laner is going to have a rough time. As a captain, you are usually the one setting up the kills for the mid, pushing the mid-laner out of position. In the early game, you can usually trade with the mid laner for damage. Sacrificing captain health for the equal amount of mid lane health makes the opposing mid lane play more passive, which causes them to usually miss more CS which will allow you to get ahead. But setting up a kill requires some level of coordination.
- I’m going to use an example to explain this concept. During one of my recent matches, I had a captain who was decent, but had no coordination with me, the mid laner, at all. He was on Lance, while I was on Magnus. If you know each hero’s strengths and weaknesses, you would know that Magnus has a relatively weak early game but still a decent poking potential with his B into A combo along with his perk. We were up against a Skaarf Ardan, which has faster clear with spitfire + goop combo. I have to use my B to clear my minions, so that’s what I do. And everytime after I do that, Lance comes and hits an impale on Skaarf. OK, good job captain, nice poke damage, but don’t expect any damage from me when I just used my stun, and have minions in front of me body-blocking my A.
- Being able to land your skillshots: well… guess this is pretty obvious, but it ties into basically everything else above in the list. Figure out where your enemies are going to move and target that area. Your captain will usually try to help and set up something to make it easier for you to dish out damage. Optimally, try to land your skillshot while you’re farming the minions so you won’t get pressured in lane even if you miss.
Some General Stuff
This is going to be where I delve more into game sense rather than just focusing on mid laners. Guide meant for all positions, and yes, I don’t play all the positions, so I may be completely wrong, but this is from my perspective and my opinion.
Lane Management (for laners, duh):
There are 3 things you can do to a minion wave:
- Full-clear: most common, gets most gold, allows you to put a bit of immediate pressure towards enemy laner, which if ignored, will result in them losing minions to turret, and some amount of turret damage
- Slow push: Allowing the minions to stay in the middle with a little bit more minions/hp on your side, so that your minions will slowly build up, until they overwhelm the opposing minions, allowing for a huge push on towards the enemy turret, that must be dealt with unless your enemy plans on losing 1 if not 2 turrets. Useful when there is something happening (like hovering over a dragon) on the other side of the map where a single recall, can result in a free dragon for one side.
- This is a further explanation of the last line since I see it done so well in professional play, but people completely suck at it in actual ranked. If your/someone else’s slow push is successful, STALL!!! HOVER OVER THE DRAGON, POKE AT A SAFE DISTANCE, BUT DON’T FORCE A TEAMFIGHT. LET YOUR MINIONS FORCE THE OPPOSING SIDE TO MAKE A DECISION: back and clear minions and let you have dragon, lose turrets to minions pushing, or try to engage onto you and force a teamfight. Let me tell you that from experience, if the positioning is good, the one that engages on the enemy will usually lose. Why? Because if they are engaging, they will have to pull the trigger and use their abilities first, even if it’s not the most optimal way to use it. They will have to keep following you as you kite back, which usually makes them take a lot of poke damage. If they’re bunched together, CP heroes can usually wreck havoc on them, and if they come one at a time, well, free stacks of BP and DE, thank you very much. USE YOUR MINIONS AND YOUR SLOW PUSH EFFECTIVELY DAMMIT!
- Freezing: Letting the minions attack each other without you hitting them. Only works properly when they have slightly more minions on their side then yours. Why freeze? Well, there are a few reasons why. Freezing when the minions are slowly pushing towards you forces the opposing laner to overextend if they want to farm the minions while you are able to stay close to your turret. If you know you can jump on the opposing laner if they try to farm, this work especially well since the enemy laner will have to watch as his minions slowly die away.
- Be careful though, since this method has to be used in specific moments of the game and if used improperly, could be a huge problem for your team to handle. Freezing is typically used in the early stages of the game where there are no dragons to take, and rotations are relatively less impactful since people don’t have enough items to take turrets or get kills. If you freeze at a later point of the game, people will counter you by rotating and taking a dragon/turret somewhere else. You also have to mind how many minions are on each side and whether or not you’ll be able to clear them properly if it happens that you are going to be pushed by them. The most common way of countering a freeze is by having another person come to your side to help you so that you can extend to clear the minions. Since freezing is usually done next to your turret, the enemy minions will now be close to your turret, and if you can’t clear them properly, you might get ganked under turret, or have your turret take a lot of damage. A simple way of making sure you can protect your turret is by concocting the freeze and hitting the minions in the very back without killing them. This way the back minions will still do damage, and if they happen to push against you, you can clear them relatively fast. Just make sure that the minions you hit aren’t going to have to tank soon, since that will break your freeze.
There are two dragons: blackclaw and ghostwing. Both have their own purposes, but in my opinion, one is definitely better than the other: Ghostwing. Now, now, calm down and I’ll explain why I think this. Ghostwing can be taken at any point of the stage and still be useful. Your team gets gold, barrier, and regen, completely worth it. But blackclaw, in some cases, is not worth getting at all. To make a blackclaw push effective, at least two of the minion waves of the lanes should be pushed. If there are two or more minion waves being pushed against you, unless you plan on ending the game, right there and then, your team will lose more than you gain from the push. Additionally, if people head back to clear the waves, your team won’t be able to properly push with the blackclaw, allowing the opposing side to clear it easily and get 250 gold each. That’s a total net worth of 1250 gold while clearing one turret is 300 + 50*5 = 550, so taking two turret is 1100, which is less gold than killing a blackclaw. If you can’t make a blackclaw push count, you’re just giving free gold, which will cause your lead to slowly diminish.
And I can’t believe you made it here. After all that rambling and you’re still here, but ok, let’s get to the final and hardest part of the game in general: ROTATIONS! You’re a mid laner, so you’re in the middle of the map (NANI?), which makes it easier for you to rotate to both sides of the map, but also for other people to rotate to you.
My opinion on rotations early game:
- For mid laners: You don’t rotate, unless you can make a play such as a kill, or there is a huge minion wave pushing against one of the side lanes, and they need help relieving the pressure so that they can farm it. Getting yourself gold is extremely important. As I’ve said earlier, most mid-lane heroes are late game oriented, and if you aren’t farming and you aren’t getting kills, you’re not gonna do well in teamfights.
- For bot laners: You don’t rotate, unless your mid-laner needs help. Bot laners should usually be focused on taking down the turrets of the opposing top laner. Taking down the turrets will give you and your team more gold, which will help getting a net gold advantage over the opposing team if they aren’t able to do the same. Usually you should try to push for the second turret before mid-late game (explained further below), but have enough map awareness to check if the mid laner/captain is missing (and if so, be careful), or have your teammates ping you when the enemy mid laner is rotating down to gank you.
- For top laners: You don’t really rotate, unless your mid-laner needs help while the opposing bot laner/jungler is not pushing towards your turret. Your main focus in top lane is not dying. If you die, you’re feeding the enemy bot laner more gold, which allow them to build more items and make it easier to kill you again. Dying early game also allows the enemy to deal free turret damage as well as making you miss a lot of CS, which will start a gold gap that could lead to a snowball for the enemy team. Your second focus is to keep the turret alive as long as possible. Notice that this is the 2nd focus. If you die to protect your turret, it is NOT worth it. There are limits for how long you can keep your turret alive, and if you can’t stay next to your turret anymore, just leave; if they kill you, they’ll take the turret anyways.
- For junglers: Well this one is more free in where you go. Ideally, the jungler should assist and stay with the bot laner so that they can get their gold safely and take the turrets down their lane. But there are some things that you have to do a jungler as well that is almost as important as helping your laners: clearing your own jungle rotation. If you don’t clear your gold-oak and weapon treant on time, it is a waste of gold that puts you behind on both levels and items. Make sure you keep an eye on when your treants are spawning, and if there isn’t anything important going on, go and clear them. But after you clear, depending on how each lane is doing, you should go and assist the lane that needs the most help, but also take note of what is happening, and make sure that the situation isn’t resolved already when you arrive. If mid is free and is closer to the laner that needs help, they should be rotating to help the laner since it’ll be faster and more effective with 2 people. If they do rotate, make sure to always keep an eye on mid lane, so they won’t try to take mid turret.
- For captains: Similar to jungler, but instead of sticking to the bot laner, you stick with the mid laner. Go help any lanes that need help as long as the mid laner is not struggling, and when your mid laner is just peacefully farming CS or taking his blue buff/backs (Mid laner probably shouldn’t be taking the cp side of jungle by himself until he has one damage item so help him tank -.-), you can rotate depending on which lane will perform best with you being there. Make sure you aren’t dawdling in the middle of nowhere, since your income comes from the ambient gold of other laners.
- A side note for captains (also could apply to junglers) and ambients gold: the ambient gold goes to whoever has the least amount of gold that is next to the minions being farmed, which is usually you if you are there. But if there is another important carry/jungler nearby, let them take the gold unless you’re close to building an important item such as fountain/crucible. This usually doesn’t happen in 5 v 5, so I’m kinda veering off-track and talking about 3 v 3 jungle. Too many captains just chill there to steal ambient when the laner and jungler are both there trying to share gold and experience. Know that damage builds cost a lot more than utility builds and allow the damage dealers have the gold/experience when possible.
- Rotations mid-late game: Honestly speaking, you should start bunching up and trying to make plays around the 10+ minute mark. If there are minion waves to be cleared, try to get another person to follow you, especially if you have no turret to back up to. If someone gets picked off, that’s almost immediately a free dragon that the opponents will just take for themselves, so map awareness of the enemies, and being able to not get caught out is important when rotating.
Hope you liked the guide, and if you have any further questions about the points being made here, you can message me in-game or on discord Sai#1362.