Dominate the Lane: When to recall and Freeze your lane



Sat 17th Nov 2012 - 7:27pm

Greetings fellow Summoners!

A lot of uneducated players may think "If I'm pushing my lane then I can win lane harder!". The average player may think "If I just ward, I can push and win harder!". Now, in some situations this very well may be the case but more often than not this is not how you would gain an advantage in lane or abuse a small advantage you already have.

What a lot of people don't do is a tactic called freezing and knowing exactly when to back. The first one may seem a bit strange to people who have never heard of it before but the second concept may leave a few people wondering "What? Shouldn't you just back whenever you need to?". Not necessarily though, as leaving at certain times may actually leave you farther behind then your lane opponent even though you may have obtained a lead, or even better: give you a lead even when behind or even make an advantage you have even larger.

When should I back then?

Simple, you can tell when to back purely by how large your minion wave is compared to your opponents and how far pushed it is in the lane. Here are some factors you may need to consider before backing:
- Where is my minion wave pushed to?
- Is his minion wave larger, or is mine?
- How fast can I clear a wave of minions?

Where is my minion wave pushed to?


When you take a look at your minion wave, this one is fairly easy to analyze at first glance. This part isn't directly part of whether or not you should back but it ties into the other questions you'll be asking yourself.

Generally if the wave is past the midpoint in the lane, you shouldn't back unless the enemy laner isn't there because they will just push to your tower and make you lose creeps. When the wave is past the midpoint in the lane so that it is on their side of the lane you are generally safe to back unless your wave is bigger and the enemy laner is present, which can result in the concept I'll explain last called freezing.

Is his minion wave larger, or is mine?

Larger wave

This one is generally an obvious thing to observe but there are some factors that would make a wave that looks smaller become stronger. For example, if one wave has a cannon minion and one doesn't, or if they both have a cannon minion but one has more health then the other (it will generally live longer).

But a less obvious example would be a greater proportion of caster minions compared to the other wave due to the larger amount of damage that caster minions due compared to melee minions.

If your wave is bigger and it isn't near your enemy turret it generally is a bad idea to back because if the enemy laner doesn't clear the wave instantly you could end up losing a lot of creep score. However, if your wave is weaker anywhere near the mid point or farther up is generally a good place to back because you don't have to worry about losing too many minions because your wave will die before theirs would, causing you to generally only lose a lot of minions if the wave reaches your tower fast.

How fast can I clear a wave of minions?

Being pushed

This one isn't as influential on backing but it definitely effects you if you get pushed on and the enemy laner backs after pushing on you. This determines at what point you should recall from pushing the lane back from being at your tower.

However, if you backed recently and you don't need to back yet, you can freeze the lane at your tower and cause a large minion loss for your enemy as well. But some of the times you will also need to back so you may need to ask yourself this. If you are bad at wave clearing (example being pre-6 Ezreal, Fiora, etc) then you should try your best to push the wave out to the middle of the lane and back as if you wait too long the enemy laner will return and just shove it back into your tower and put you in an even worse position.

If you are good at wave clearing (post-6 Nidalee, Irelia w/ ultimate, etc) then you can shove the 1 or 2 waves that show up when you're pushing back really fast and push your lane to the tower and back safely.

Freezing the Lane


This is the nightmare of all top laners, primarily melee top laners. This lane changing concept is known as freezing the lane. This concept is letting your lane be pushed toward your turret but then stopping the minion wave right before your tower so that the tower does not hit the minions, but the wave stays in such a position that it causes you to slowly gain a lead that you wouldn't gain otherwise.

To avoid this: Simply keep the lane near the middle or toward your tower and only last hit minions in the enemy creep waves. If you do end up pushing to the point where they can freeze the lane, punish them for holding the lane there. Generally there will be a time period where they just tank minion damage in order to let their minion wave catch up to it so they can keep the wave there without taking damage. Do as much damage as you can to them, use abilities, auto attacks, everything (within reason) to push them back to their tower to prevent them from freezing because if you're a melee champion, this will make it A LOT harder to get creeps that are behind your wave.

To do this: Let your wave get pushed to your tower and stop it right before the tower, most of the time you will have to sit right before your tower and let the minions hit you to let your newly spawned minion wave catch up and allow you to keep the wave there without taking too much damage. However, if your lane opponent harasses you too much or the minions do too much damage while you wait for your wave to catch up, you will have to back off to your tower because this will only gain you a lead if you actually manage to get the creeps that you're freezing without dying.

Hopefully I helped improve your game! Good luck, summoners!