The roles in League of Legends are pretty well defined by the current meta of the game. The ‘meta’ is the most common way the game is played, or the ‘proper’ way as explained by many, at any given time. This changes slightly from region to region and shifts every patch, so keeping up to date with the best way to play your role is essential if you want to play competitively.
That being said, the meta isn’t the only way to play the game. If you want to play an on-hit effect Renekton AD carry or movement speed Teemo and you have fun doing so, go for it. It’s a game, so enjoy it as you will. However, you need to be aware that following absurdly non-meta builds will likely open you up to much in-game criticism, mostly from your team.
Following the meta isn’t overly hard, and so long as you read up a little, anyone can do it. Typical lane structure will be as follows. Please note that this information may change after publication.
Solo Top – typically with a bruiser champion. Top laners should have high sustain/durability and a reasonable amount of damage. Top champs typically farm until they have enough items to aid them in fighting on the front line during team encounters. It’s typically the top laner’s role to draw enemy fire to themselves by running into fights head on and disrupting the opposing team.
Solo Mid – typically a mage or an assassin type champion. Mid champions are usually expected to be able to deal a significant amount of damage. Most mid champions invest in high Ability Power (AP) items, though, there are many that it is recommended you build Attack Damage (AD) on. Because of mid lane’s position and accessibility, most mid champs are expected to roam to other lanes, providing ganks and keeping their team ahead.
Jungler – Jungling champions usually have high mobility, sustain or high durability and some form of crowd control (CC) or engage. Jungle champs roam the jungle, killing neutral monsters for gold, buffs and high EXP. The jungler needs to be aware of how all the lanes are progressing and look for opportunities to gank for their teammates. On top of this, the jungler may want to deny their enemy some of the EXP and gold by clearing parts of the opposing jungle.
Marksman – Marksmen champions, sometimes referred to as ‘AD Carry’, belong in bot lane with a support champion. Marksmen are ranged champions who rely on auto attacking to deal most of their damage. The idea behind a marksman is to farm minions so they can buy expensive high damage items, making them very powerful as the game goes on. As a duo lane, it is vital that the marksman and support work together and communicate well.
Support – The support sits in bot lane with the marksman, their main tasks include controlling the vision in bot lane through effective warding, setting up kills for the marksman and ensuring that their marksman has as much access to farm as possible. Supports typically don’t deal as much damage on their own as other roles, and as such their ability kits are often geared towards utility, including CC and sustain. In most cases, supports are expected to not kill minions unless they are alone in lane.
With all the roles briefly covered, this is the sort of layout you should expect to see in most team compositions. However, during low level matches, it is more common to see two champions going into the top lane, and the jungler is removed from the composition.
Remember to call the role you want to play when you’re on the champion select screen, and be prepared to negotiate or play another role in some cases.