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Published February 16, 2013

When I read my first LoL article on this site, I found myself confused beyond all reason with all the jargon that was thrown out. I didn't understand half the words being used, and many of the words I thought I understood clearly meant something else. For me, that was something that drew me to the game. I wanted to learn more. For many, however, I can see it being an instant turn-off. Hopefully, this glossary will help people navigate this weird (but very, very fun) subculture of language.

AD (or "Attack Damage")

Attack damage, often abbreviated "AD", is the stat that buffs most (but not all) physical damage abilities and your champion's auto-attack shot. Each champion gets a small amount of attack damage every time they level up (generally between 2.5 and 3.5).

ADC

These are carries based primarily around auto-attacking. They tend to build a lot of attack damage and often scale much better off of gold than off of levels. Typically, they are weaker in the early game but can dominate the late game, and they are able to kill enemy champions in 3-5 auto-attacks.

AP (or "Ability Power") 

Ability power, often abbreviated "AP", is the stat that buffs most (but not all) magic damage abilities. This is the majority of the main abilities leveled up (Q/W/E/R). Ability power does not increase simply by leveling.

APC

APCs are carries based primarily around the abilities (as opposed to auto-attacking). They generally fall into two categories: bursty champions and AoE ("Area of Affect") champions. These champions typically improve most dramatically based on level, although gold is obviously still important.

Armor 

Armor is the stat that mitigates physical damage. Armor penetration (or "Armor Pen") helps attackers punch through a certain amount of armor. Armor scales with level for every champion.

Assassin

Assassins are champions that tend to incorporate powerful burst damage along with a powerful gap closer or stealth capabilities. LeBlanc and Kha'Zix are good examples of the former, while Evelynn and Shaco are good examples of the latter.

Auto-Attack

Every champion has an auto-attack. Some of the champions have ranged auto-attacks—generally with a range a little bit shorter than their abilities. Some of the champions have melee-only auto-attacks, although this doesn't preclude them having ranged abilities. Auto-attack damage is improved by AD, while the speed with which you can attack is improved by attack speed. Every champion gains a little bit of attack speed and AD each level, but this can be significantly improved by items.

B (or "Back")

"B" is both the key used to recall to base and shorthand for "back", meaning "I'm going back to base". This is especially important for duo laners to let each other know when they're going to be suddenly without support.

Baron

The Baron is the most powerful neutral monster on Summoner's Rift. He's a giant worm located halfway between the top lane and mid-lane in the middle of the board. Killing him grants a significant regeneration and attack damage buff as well as gold. Often games hinge on fights at the Baron, as it represents a way for the stronger team to force a team fight and to stop the weaker team from turtling and simply farming back up. He does not spawn until the 15th minute of a game.

Blue

Blue refers to one of two things. It can be either the team starting in the bottom left of the map, or it can refer to the blue buff granted by the Ancient Golem neutral jungle monster. The buff is typically given to the jungler initially, but it is later taken by the APC for the team. It gives significant mana regen and a cooldown reduction ("CDR").

Bottom (or "Bot")

This should not be confused with "bots", the computer-controlled opponents played against in a  "bot game". Bot typically refers to the bottom lane of the map, the one running along the bottom and right edge. It is longer than the mid lane and geographically is the mirror inverse of the top lane. In the current meta, the bot lane is frequently occupied by two players, one of whom is a support champion.

Bruiser

These are champions that build tanky, but they still have the ability to do good damage. They are generally melee champions, alhough there are exceptions, like Vladimir, for example. In the current meta, building health is very strong and so there is a tendency to see more of these than in Season 2.

Brush (or "Bush")

Bushes are little outcroppings of grass that block vision through them but not vision out of them if you are inside one. A common tactic is to hide in a bush and wait for someone to come in or near them before attacking. Certain characters (e.g., Rengar or Caitlyn) further interact with bushes. Specific bushes have common names across the map, like "Tri Bush", "Crescent Bush", etc.

Carry

These are champions that can "carry the game". They tend to be high-damage champions with the ability to very quickly kill opponents. Often they are squishy and lack survivability when targeted by multiple players. They tend to be high-value targets in team fights, and generally the team that loses the first carry champion in a fight will lose the fight. They come in two varieties: bursty and sustained. Think of these as high "alpha strike" versus "high DPS". Because of the nature of team fights, the sustained carry (generally the ADC) is the best person to target, as the bursty champion will almost always be able to get off their burst combo in the first couple seconds of the fight, but, after that, they typically have 5-10 seconds of near uselessness. Meanwhile, the ADC can be auto-attacking everyone.

CC (or "Crowd Control")

CC is not a term that comes up in EVE a lot, but people who have played EQ/WoW will understand. CC is the ability of some champions to control the field of play. It comes in a number of different forms, but the most frequent forms are: roots to hold an opponent in place, snares to slow their movement speed, and stuns to stop them from doing anything. They tend to be very short duration, typically 1-5 seconds, and are mitigated by a stat called "tenacity" that reduces that time further. Often these CC abilities are used to initiate a team fight so that the first critical seconds of a fight can be won for their team.

Champion

Champion refers to one of 110 champions released for the game. Each champion has four abilities and a passive, although some of the four abilities can also be passive. When people refer to "Urgot", "Twisted Fate", etc., they are referring to the champions.

Creep

Creeps are the A.I.-controlled monsters that spawn in your base and walk along a lane towards the opposing base. They will attack champions, other creeps, towers, inhibitors and even the enemy nexus as they get near. Every third wave spawns a beefed-up "siege minion" who is better against towers and has significantly more health. These creeps represent the primary input of gold into the game. Typically, when people refer to "creeps", they are not referring to the neutral jungle monsters. However, the game aggregates both types into the "Creep Score" (or CS), so this can be a slightly confusing point.

Dive

Attacking under an enemy tower is often called a "tower dive" (or just "dive"). Because towers will prioritize champions who are attacking allied champions, this can be a risky proposition, especially early in the game when a tower shot can take 20% or more off a champion's health.

Dragon

The Dragon is the second strongest neutral monster on the map. The Dragon is a large gold infusion for a team (190 per champion + 50 for the killing blow, for a total of 1,000). The Dragon spawns early in the game (at seven minutes) and is the primary strategic objective in most games until around minutes 25-30 when the Baron begins to become a realistic proposition. Maintaining wards on the Dragon and knowing when he was killed so that his respawn can be timed are critical actions in high-level play.

Face Tank

Face tank is the practice of having a healthy champion move in range of a tower so that they are targeted rather than their higher damage output allies when trying to take a tower down. Generally, this is only advisable when a large number of the enemy team are dead or out of position, and there are no close creeps that could tank the tower shots instead. Because the tower shots increase in damage with each shot, even the toughest, tankiest champions cannot tank permanently.

Gank

A gank is a surprise attack on an enemy champion. Generally this occurs from the brush or by jumping over a wall. The goal is to burst the enemy down before they can react to get away.

GP5 ("Gold per 5")

Every character gets a specific amount of gold each second. Certain items, runes and masteries can grant additional passive gold income, and this is expressed in "gold per 5 seconds" in the game. The actual result is an increase in gold per second, however.

Inhibitor

Inhibitors are one of the most important strategic objectives. Destruction of an enemy inhibitor results in super minions being spawned from your base. Additionally, you can't attack the enemy nexus without first taking down at least one inhibitor. Once an inhibitor is destroyed, it will respawn after five minutes. Inhibitors are invulnerable until all three towers in their lane have been destroyed.

Jungle

Each side of the map has two jungle areas situated between the bottom and mid lane and between the top and mid lane. The jungles (and the whole map, really) are further divided by a river that runs from the top left to the bottom right of the map. These jungle areas are where the blue and red buffs reside, as well as three neutral monster camps on each side of the map (Wraiths, Wolves, and Golems). The two jungles are inverted mirror images of each other, such that  (i.e., the red buff is on the bottom for the Blue Team and on the top for the Red Team). Without wards, vision is extremely limited in these areas as there are no allied creeps to show what's going on.

Lane

Lane refers to one of three designated lanes that your creeps follow. These are typically referred to as top, bot and mid.

Last Hitting

The gold awarded by a creep goes to the person who got the final killing blow. Last hitting refers to the skill with which a player can do this to increase their gold levels. It can also apply to the practice of only last hitting. This means that the champion will avoid dealing any damage to the creeps except for the final hit. This practice will, if uncontested by the other team, build up a very large creep wave (usually with two or three waves' worth of creeps) that can then be used to push onto a tower.

Meta

Meta is the generally accepted "standard" strategy employed by teams. If you're playing with people you don't know, you're going to be expected to vaguely conform to the meta. At present, that's Bruiser on the top, APC in the mid, Jungler, and ADC/Support on the bottom. There are variations from this, but that is the current "standard".

M.I.A. (or "MIA")

When someone roams out of their lane, it is advisable to call "MIA" so players in other lanes know that someone might be coming to their lane for a gank.

Mid

The "mid" is the middle lane. As it runs directly from nexus to nexus, it is the shortest lane. Additionally, the distance between the two towers at the start of the game is the shortest in the game. This tends to make it the safest lane.

MR (or "Magic Resistance")

Magic resist is the stat that mitigates magic damage. Magic penetration (or "magic pen") helps attackers punch through a certain amount of MR. MR only scales up for melee champions with level. Other champions have to buy equipment to improve their MR.

Neutral Monster

A neutral monster typically refers to the monsters in the jungle. They will not attack unless they are attacked. They have respawn times of 50-60 seconds for the non-buffed monsters and five minutes for the red and blue buff. Each spawn point has multiple monsters, and the timer for respawn does not begin until all the monsters are killed. One common tactic when raiding the enemy jungle is to kill the big creature (who generally has the lion's share of the gold) and leave behind at least one little monster to prevent a respawn. This is easier to do with single-target champions than with AoE champions.

Nexus

The Nexus is the ultimate objective on the map. Destruction of the Nexus wins the game. The Nexus is invulnerable while it still has all of its inhibitors and/or while either of the nexus turrets is still up.

Red

"Red" can refer to the top right half of the map, which is also called the "purple" side occasionally. More typically, however, it refers to the red buff granted by the Lizard camp. This buff adds a slow to the champion's auto-attack as well as a small DoT ("damage over time"). Generally, this camp goes to the Jungler on the first wave and subsequently goes to either the Jungler or the ADC—depending on who can better use it—later in the game.

Q/W/E/R

Abilities are often referred to by their hot keys. Q/W/E are the normal three abilities while R is the ultimate ability. It should not be confused with "QQ", which means "complaint" or "complaining".

Skill Shot

Some champions have abilities that must be manually aimed. With the default interface, this is done by clicking on the ability and then left-clicking on the map (right-click will cancel the action). The game gives you an overlay that shows where it will hit. These items have travel times, and landing or missing your skill shots can make a huge difference in your effectiveness with that champion.

Summoner

The Summoner is your representation in the game. Summoners increase in level up to level 30, with each level allowing one more rune and one more mastery point to be assigned. Summoner can also refer to the two "summoner spells" that are chosen by champions during champion selection: Flash, Ignite, Smite, etc.

Support (or "Support Champion")

A support champoin is a champion that will work in a two-man lane and will not farm any creeps, but instead focuses on harassing the enemy lane and healing the person in the lane who is farming. Most supports have some sort of sustain or protection, although this is not always the case.

Sustain

Many champions have ways to heal themselves or regenerate their mana beyond the normal speed. These range from Life Steal (for auto-attacks) and Spell Vamp (for abilities) to normal passives that increase these attributes faster than normal. Additionally, items can be purchased that increase the natural regen rate and there are potions to provide limited, one-shot boosts. Sustaining in lane is a critical component to maximizing the gold and experience gains during the laning phase of the game (i.e., the time in which the players are generally focused on staying in their lane rather than roaming for global objectives).

Top

The top lane runs along the left and top of the map. This lane is closest to the Baron and takes on an increasingly important role the longer the game continues.

Tower (or "Turret")

Each lane is protected by three towers. These towers have high health and armor. They do a good amount of damage that increases with subsequent hits. The towers cannot heal (except in rare circumstances like Heimerdinger's passive) and, starting with the one furthest from the base, are typically referred to as "Outer", "Inner", "Inhibitor", and "Nexus". Taking these turrets down is one of the most important early objectives, as it can significantly increase map control and make taking the Dragon (and later the Baron) significantly easier.

Ult

Virtually every champion has an ability that is their ultimate ability. You cannot level this ability until level 6 and cannot max it until level 16. It is generally the most powerful game-changing ability in each champion's arsenal. Usually, it's on a long cooldown, although there are a number of exceptions. In the top left of your screen, there are health bars for every champion, and a green dot shows whether or not the champion's ult is available (or "up"). Attacking the enemy team when your ults are up and their's aren't can make a tremendous difference in team fights.

Vision

Every champion and every creep grants vision in a radius around them. Without this vision, everything else falls into the "fog of war", and you can't know what's in there. There are a number of ways to improve vision. Wards are the most common, but some champions have items that can be placed to grant limited vision, like Caitlyn's traps, Teemo's mushrooms, etc. Some characters have skill shots that they can use to grant vision, like Orianna's ball. Having vision over large parts of the map can give your team a tremendous advantage.

Ward

Wards are vision-granting consumables that can be placed throughout the map. They cost 75 gold for the standard variety and 125 for the "pink" variety. The more expensive pink wards will reveal hidden objects, including other enemy wards, and allow those objects to be both targeted and damaged. Without this vision, even if you know a ward is there, you can't hit it, not even with an AoE effect. Wards are also granted by certain items, like Sightstone, Ruby Sightstone, and Wriggle's Lantern. Warding is generally the primary responsibility of the Support champion, but it is important that every champion (with the possible exception of the ADC) wards and keeps vision up on the map. Typically, wards are placed in either key ganking routes or near the Baron and the Dragon to monitor them. Additionally, a common strategy at high-level play is to ward the enemy jungler so that their whereabouts can be tracked, and hopefully keep other lanes safe.

In Conclusion…

There you go, dear LoL players. I hope this will clear up any difficulties you have had reading articles or guides. I feel that this guide will help you enjoy this game even more.

Seminole Sun
I enjoy the intellectual / theorycrafting side of his games and write about what I enjoy. Follow me for mostly LoL rated tweets @econocentric and join the in game chat room "themittani.com" in LoL. You can also email me at seminole.sun7@gmail.com

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