The Subclasses in League of Legends
With a game as diverse as League of Legends, featuring over 130 champions, five different roles each game, and an infinite combination of skill levels, builds, champion synergy, and skill leveling so that no game is alike. So how do you break the game down? How does it not just turn into a huge mess of champions? The answer is that Riot used Champion Subclasses.
There are currently seven different classes in League of Legends. Tanks, Fighters, Slayers, Mages, Controllers, Marksmen, and Unique Playstyle champions. But each class would contain too many champions and there are multiple subclasses for each normal class. Under Tanks there would be Vanguards and Wardens and so on for every class, which we’ll get into detail on later. Under Fighters there are Juggernauts and Divers. For Slayers, there are Assassins and Skirmishers.
Then there are the Mages with Burst Mages, Battle Mages, and Artillery Mages. With Controllers come Enchanters and Disruptors. And Marksmen are their own class sharing the trait of being ranged.
Tanks are a generic icon of any online MMO. Someone who can soak up more damage than others so that the damage carries can freely attack without taking damage. However, everyone has a brain (hopefully) in League of Legends and if there’s a 50k HP brick walking around that does no damage, they’ll be smart enough to not attack it. That’s why this is the only game to have tanks that need customizations so that they give a reason to get focused.
Tanks often provide sustained damage or CC (crowd control) abilities. This gives incentive to kill them so that they can’t lock down your carries as they can still kill them given 10-20 seconds hitting them. Trying to walk past them will result in you taking a ton of damage from both the tank and the tank’s team.
Generally, there are two types of tanks; Vanguards and Wardens. Vanguards are generally offensive, setting up picks and taking damage in the middle of the enemy team so that your team can do damage and try to kill the opposing carries. Wardens are made to be near your carries and shield damage for them.
In my opinion, the top two examples for Tanks are Nautilus, a Vanguard, and Braum, a Warden. Nautilus can hook an ADC, root them and ult them and slow them for lockdown, and stay healthy with his shield. He fits the perfect role of making a pick on the enemy team. Braum, on the other hand, likes to stay near his carry. His ultimate (Glacial Fissure) and with his shield is a perfect mechanism to peel (to get someone off someone else) whoever he needs to, his ADC mostly. With a shield and an ult that knocks people upward, he is the perfect choice to peel someone along with the likes of Janna.
Those are the frontliners that want to fight. Generally, their initiation is poor but they are tanky but still do damage (courtesy of Trinity Force). There are two types of fighters. Juggernauts and Divers. Juggernauts are meant to stay in the heat of battle, doing semi-consistent DPS while being extremely tanky. Most of the time, they will be relatively immobile. Some can hit like a truck but need to find a way to gap close which is many times a problem. The other type of fighter is a Diver. Not to be confused with assassins, Divers offer a bit of tank along with 2-3 damage items so that they can stay on the frontline, but given a chance, can instantly gap close to the opposing team’s backline and take out their carries.
A few fighters to note are Irelia, Xin Zhao, Wukong, and Hecarim. Not that all have a semi-point and click gapclose along with enough damaging abilities to be able to kill a carry while not being as squishy as an assasin. A few juggernauts to note are Nasus and Darius. Both these champions hit like a truck but have no real gapclose apart from their flash and their slow or hook, respectively. They both rely on being given an opportunity to reach the backline, which doesnt always happen. However upon doing so they are rewarded with a kill as long as the ADC isn’t peeled for or have flash.
These types of champions are known for killing. Featuring Assassins such as Zed and Skirmishers such as Riven. Both these types of champions are relatively squishy and can deal massive amounts of damage, having a huge snowball potential given a gold lead. The only difference between the two sub-classes are that assassins have amazing burst and skirmishes have some sustain along with relatively high damage but not instantaneous.. Assassins generally don’t build any sustain items while a duelist like Riven could have multiple items with lifesteal.
What’s more is that tanks could easily destroy an assassin if they were at equal gold levels while a tank being unable to kill a skirmisher due to their sustainability. Apart from that, certain skirmishers have tools in their kits to help kill tanks.
Burst Mages, Battle Mages, and Artillery mages. The champions that solely rely on their abilities to do damage throughout the game. As the names suggest, they are very similar in builds but very unique in playstyles.
Let’s start with an example of everyone’s favorite burst mage, Syndra. This champion can burst you; 100-0 you with very little effort at times. One full rotation is near guaranteed to kill someone as long as the Syndra isn’t insanely behind. That is pretty much the definition of a burst mage aswell; one rotation (4 abilities) is all they need to kill a squishy. What most burst mages lack, on the other hand, is short cooldowns. Syndra needs to wait a long time in a fight for her W and E, while a battle mage like Cassiopeia has her E and Q on 2 to 0.5 second cooldown timers.
That brings us to our next section; Battle mages. There are a few in this section worthy of noting, such as Cassipeia, Karthus, Ryze, and my personal favorite: Swain. These champions all do consistent DPS but rely on many of the opposing team’s cooldowns to be used in order to excel in a fight. Note all these champions but Swain have relatively short cooldowns, but that’s because Swain has an ultimate that DPS and all Swain needs to do is to position properly.
The last subclass of Mages are the artillery Mages. Known for their abilities that often outrange most if not all of the opposing team. These champions have great waveclearing abilities and excel in skirmishes in the map. By that I mean 2v2s or 3v3s, not 1v1s. The best example is Xerath. With 4 skillshot abilities in his kit that all are relatively long range, he is one champion that defines being an artillery Mage. Standing far back and doing massive damage through fog of war, he is the poster child for this subclass. Note that all artillery mages need to land skillshots while burst mages need to land much easier ones and sometimes point-and-click skillshots.
Controllers are generally people who can do one of two things: Keep someone alive through shielding, healing, and/or CCing high priority threats. If not that, they zone someone out, which means to force someone not to walk wherever they originally wanted to go to because of danger. They are known as enchanters and disruptors, respectively.
The best example of an enchanter? There are many. If CCing enemies for your high-damage carries is your goal, then Janna would be your best choice. A mix of healing and CC? Then go for Nami, with two CCing abilities and a relatively weak but consistent heal. Then there are the unique champions like Bard and Zilean who provide something special with their ultimates, like a AOE stasis or a free GA.
Taking a look at some champions classified as a disruptor, Anivia comes to mind. With her ult threatening a major load of damage with a point-and-click ability after you step inside, she can quite effectively keep carries from the rest of their team. Disruptors can also be like Orianna, a champion that disrupts the backline by threatening an ult that can nearly 1-shot some targets will keep the enemy team away from the ball, which could in turn be zoning some important enemies like a jungler off an important objective such as baron.
Both subclasses both have some way of controlling the battlefield with CC and/or damage, though Enchanters might not be the favorite thing to play due to the lack of damage and that you can’t see what you’re doing for a team as clearly as the Twitch who runs around 1-shotting the enemy team, which brings to to Marksmen.
Champions who use ranged autoattacks to provide massive damage at six items. That’s really all there is. They have attack speed steroids, or AD abilities that do damage, but at the end of the day they just provide a late-game warranty. Try fighting late-game without an ADC and it will never work. They can burst just as hard as any mage with all their items.
These champions were not designed to fit in any above role. Weird champions that can provide a bit of everything like Kennen, Singed, and Urgot are some good examples of unique playstyle champions. Singed does damage by having a trail of poison that can eventually kill people. He fits multiple roles, disruptor, tank, battle mage (kinda) but his playstyle is like no other. Urgot has an ult that swaps positions with someone, and though not seen frequently, can not DPS like a marksmen due to his range though he is sometimes classified as one. Kennen, a mage, has to go melee to do the majority of his intended damage (ult).
So know that you know about everything, try to buy a new account for LoL and maybe pick up some new roles. A new LoL account starts at silver MMR and you can try new things without screwing up your main account’s ranking. And as always, have a great day. 🙂