URF Mode: A Basic Strategy Guide
Wed 9th Apr 2014 - 12:33pm: League of Legends
Let's face it: URF mode is a lot of fun. Personally, URF is the most fun I've ever had playing League of Legends. It's fast-paced, exciting, and you can do pretty much whatever you want to. And Riot has extended its stay for another few days, removing some of the particularly-OP champions! What more could you ask for?
But suppose you want to get together with a group of friends and do the unthinkable: Tryhard in URF mode. What are some things you can do to win the game? This article won't focus on champion tiers, but rather in-game strategy. Just remember---URF mode is still about having fun!
Use your teleport.
Teleport/Flash has become the default set of summoner spells on URF. The map mobility that you can get from teleporting from one lane to another or from your base to lane is crazy---take advantage of that! Here's some ways you can do that.
If your teleport is up, and you're getting zoned from a wave because you don't have potions, just recall to base and teleport back to lane. You'll be gone for no more than 15 seconds if you buy quickly, and unless you've been zoned for a long time, your opponents won't have been able to stack a wave for long enough to take your tower.
Also make sure you teleport to your tower! The reduction you get on the cooldown is noticeable and worth it.
You can also use teleport to gank other lanes; this is particularly useful for assassins like Zed, Talon, and LeBlanc. If your sidelanes put wards in the far bush, you can frequently get in behind the opposing laners and pick up kills that way. If your lane opponent doesn't have much waveclear, you can try to recall, walk top, lanegank, and then teleport bot (or vice versa)---stacking 5-man ganks in a single sidelane can be very effective to quickly take a tower and then teleport back to defend against any possible enemy push.
And if you get an early kill, instantly recall and then teleport back to lane. Death timers are shorter than recall timers at the beginning of the game, and the time that you take to push the wave to tower could easily mean that you end up forced to lane at an item disadvantage---or even that you get killed when your opponents come back to lane.
Wards are even more important in URF than in normal play. Wards are great teleport targets, particularly in the enemy jungle or in your jungle after your outer towers have gone down, and they're also great for spotting out enemy teleports to wards. Additionally, with the prevalence of skillshot-heavy champions like Karma, Lulu, and even Kha'zix, getting vision of your opponents is key: you don't want to be getting hit from the fog of war.
Along similar lines, getting a sightstone around the transition to midgame on nearly any champion is completely viable. Despite the massive increase to gold income that you get, games tend to end fairly quickly---you're unlikely to get all the way to a 6-slot build, so having a sightstone won't hurt you too much in terms of item efficiency, and health is very valuable. This also frees up your trinket to be an Oracle's Lens, which is extremely important to have against the prevalence of stealth-based champions like Akali, Kha'zix, and Shaco.
One thing to keep in mind is that your trinket has a decreased cooldown too! Don't forget that you can put down more wards!
As mentioned above, health is a very valuable stat to have in URF mode. In fact, all defenses are extremely important to have! Because cooldowns are decreased by 80%, you will be doing a ton of damage just from your bases. There are some exceptions, like LeBlanc, where your goal is still to be able to 1-shot enemy champions, but for the most part you'll be much better served by buying defense stats after a couple of offense items---however, keep in mind that if you're playing against a defense-steroid champion like Leona, it's important to get a Void Staff or Last Whisper ASAP, since their defense steroid will almost always be up.
Banshee's Veil and Randuin's Omen are both fantastic items on URF. Veil because you're constantly needing to not die to a burst combo (Maokai sapling trap, anyone?) or chain CC, and the spellshield is amazing for that; and Randuin's because a lot of champions on URF rely on their increased mobility, and the way to shut that down is with slows.
For boots, you're generally going to want either Merc Treads or Sorc Shoes. Tabi can be ok if you're against a lot of autoattackers, but you're more likely to be against heavy chain-CC than anything else; the tenacity from your boots added with the tenacity from the map makes a huge difference in your survivability.
Generally jungling isn't going to be that worthwhile, because there is always the possibility of a teleport counter-gank, though you can try to take a buff at level 1 before walking (or even teleporting) into lane---get that early level 2! However, you don't have to 2-2-1 lane. You can try putting a strong 1v2 champion (Jayce, Cho'Gath, or Galio) in one sidelane and a trilane with heavy waveclear and zone in your other sidelane---or even mid. Having three people in a lane will mean you lose out on some experience overall, but it also means that you will likely be able to take an early tower.
And towers are important! Being unable to teleport to the midpoint of the map with the reduced cooldown decreases a team's global mobility by a ton, and frees up your team to do a lot more on the map than you otherwise would be able to. Early Barons are very viable to take, and pushing early towers denies enemy vision and helps you establish your own.
Your tower damage also accelerates very quickly over the course of the game with the increase in gold income. So you can lay siege to towers very early---but remember that the enemy can teleport to defend, so be careful!
Most importantly, remember to have fun! Yes, there are some things you can do that will help you win games on URF. But if the team that lost had more fun than the team that won, then really it's the winning team that came in second place.