One thing that really bothered me about all the various League of Legends guides available is that none of them covers which champions to pick up. A few role guides (mostly jungle guides) tackle character choices, but most are not geared toward new players. If I'm a new player on a tight budget, which characters would be the right ones?
This week, we'll look at some of my favorite bargain bin picks and which roles they are good for. I'll also be talking about Dominion roles since there are some picks that work very well for that mode.
Before we get started...
Obviously all of my recommendations are just that: recommendations. I really advise that you do a bit of research and investigate your character before making a purchase. I've burned myself a few times (I'm looking at you, Shaco) by buying someone before playing him or her.
I have fewer trash picks than are typical for someone playing as long as I have played, though, and most of those are from playing characters in free weeks and watching higher-level streams of them. Try not to make impulse buys. It's true that 3150 IP is a lot to spend; it takes quite a few games to build it up. And 6300 IP is even worse if you get someone you don't like.
Back to mid lane again?
My #1 choice for mid lane is Ryze. He's a great character with a lot of upward growth. He's also one of the few characters who can build almost pure defense and still be a damage monster. Whether you're a new player or an expert, Ryze is great. Best of all, he's in the lowest cost bracket for IP, so you can unlock him within your first two or three games.
I talked about her two weeks ago, and she's a bit technical, but Evelynn is an amazingly strong choice for a very low cost. Morgana is also a great pick for mid lane; she's relatively easy to play and is a safer character than Ryze or Eve. Twisted Fate is also a good pick in the 1350 IP range. Though I personally dislike him, his ability to harass, clear safely, and gank make him a decent pick.
If you're willing to save a bit longer, Anivia and Karthus make some of the best choices for a mid lane character. It's going to take somewhere between 10-20 games to unlock one of them, so you may want to get someone else in the meantime. Anivia has amazing laning and pushing power and can capitalize on big mistakes. Karthus has great staying power in lane and is a teamfight monster.
There are quite a few more expensive mages, but I really don't recommend any of them for a newer player. Morgana, Anivia, Ryze, TF and Karthus provide a huge stable of versatility, and there's no reason to waste money or IP. If you're determined to pay real money, check out Zyra, Ahri, and Cassiopeia first.
Picking bruisers for top and jungle
As a top lane choice only, Warwick isn't so bad. However, he is a poor jungler and so-so compared to other characters. Alistar is decent as a jungler (or a support), and he's free, so you might as well grab him.
The cheapest character who can serve well in both roles is Jax. In fact, Jax is just one of the best top lane picks there is, so you really can't go wrong getting him. I've had some success jungling with him, but he's not the best choice. I've already talked about Udyr being a good choice for jungle, and he's a great top lane pick too. Lastly, I have to go with Malphite. Again, he's a good choice in both top and jungle; he's really hard to shut down, and he's very annoying to fight against.
You shouldn't have to pay more than 1350 for your first few bruisers. Cho'Gath, Singed, and Dr. Mundo are also in the 1350 price bracket and make great alternate options. I have to recommend Jax first (I might be a fanboy), but virtually any of the 1350 champions listed above do well in top lane. Singed is not very good in the jungle, but he's quite capable otherwise.
If you're willing to shell out the big bucks, get Lee Sin. If you're only interested in a top lane pick, get Jayce. Lee is one of the most flexible junglers in the game, and Jayce is probably the best top lane in the game (he needs more nerfs)!
I want to help everyone
Soraka is the support that Riot hates because of her ability to create stalemates. I think that if you're coming into the game fresh, she's a good pick just because she can transition from very passive healing to a more aggressive harassing game. She's not really great for higher-level play, but I personally love having her in my lane.
Taric is probably my #1 pick for a support, though his aesthetics might not appeal to everyone. He has great lane presence and cannot be ignored. He is the support that does everything well.
I really don't have other choices for support. If you're a new player, get both of these characters and practice with them before moving on to more aggressive choices. Janna is too technical, for instance. Nunu works only in certain pairings. Alistar requires very calculated play, and most of the other good support choices are expensive. Lulu and Zyra are great, but they're 6300 IP.
I want to shoot something!
If you're willing to spend money, the world opens up. Graves, Ezreal, and Vayne are all top-level picks. There aren't that many high level ADC options in general, and the ones that do exist mostly play the same. I don't really mind this, but for a new player it might be a hurdle.
Welcome to the Crystal Scar
I haven't talked about Dominion in about a million years! There are some good picks there, as there are in any map.
Dominion team selection is a bit different than SR, as the team needs to be a bit more flexible. Looking up at characters I've already recommended, I'd say the team could use a good initiator like Malphite or Alistar. Jax is an amazing bruiser on the Scar, and Ezreal is one of the best ranged damage dealers (Corki is right behind him). Evelynn is a fantastic scout and fighter, too. Lulu and Zyra are monsters, and Jayce is completely game-destroying.
Kassadin is still good in Dominion, despite his map-specific nerfs. I don't really advise getting him unless you play a lot of Dominion though, as his use in SR is very situational. Urgot is unbelievably strong on the Crystal Scar, and he's not a bad choice in SR either as an anti-ADC or even solo top. Blitzcrank is also a very good roamer in Dominion, and he's also one of the more frustrating supports in SR.
Honestly, I realize that Dominion picks are really a whole article to themselves. There's so many options both in terms of overall role composition and then with characters to fill those roles. We might look at that in the future, but for now you should have enough to help you out.
By no means should you take my advice exclusively at face value; these are great, low-cost champions that will do the job, but they aren't the only choices. Before any purchase, do your homework and try to wait until a free week to buy. You might be sorry otherwise!
Author: Patrick Mackey