Using Hitboxes in League of Legends
Sat 18th Feb 2012 - 3:39pm
Today I'll be talking about skillshots and how to use hitboxes to your advantage.
People are always asking me, "Dan, how do you land so many skillshots?" I don't answer these imaginary people that I just made up, because people look at me funny when I do. But they're pretty persistent. So hopefully this article will both teach you something and finally get these hallucinations off my case.
In League of Legends, there are targeted abilities and skillshots. Targeted abilities, unsurprisingly, target minions or champions and are guaranteed to hit once they are cast. Skillshots, on the other hand, have no target. Line skillshots fire themselves from your character to your cursor (Ezreal's Mystic Shot, Sivir's Boomerang Blade); point skillshots appear at your cursor's position (Karthus's Lay Waste, Trundle's Pillar of Filth).
But in exchange for the accuracy of targeted skills, skillshots gain some excellent benefits: you can cast them into brush or the fog of war to check for enemies, you can hit invisible enemies, and you can poke the enemy team from a distance without getting close enough to be targeted by their spells. But you knew all that, and I'm proud of you.
What are hitboxes?
Hitboxes are used in collision detection in video games. They are invisible zones around the character model which trigger when hit by something. In First-Person Shooters, character models are surrounded by many hitboxes which tell the game which part of the body was hit. In League of Legends, each unit is surrounded by a circular hitbox that detects when a skillshot hits them.
There are three sizes of hitbox for champions in League of Legends, which I will give the unimaginative lables Small, Medium, and Large. Champions like Annie or Kennen use the small hitbox, and are thus harder to hit with skillshots. Champions like Cho'Gath or Gragas use the large hitbox, and have a larger target area to hit (note: Nasus / Renekton's hitboxes grow when they ult, and Cho's hitbox increases when he gains stacks of Feast [source]). Everyone who isn't small or large uses the medium hitbox; human-sized champions like Ashe or Ryze. Minions have their own hitbox which is smaller than those of champions.
Using hitboxes to your advantage
Knowing that hitboxes extend past the unit model lets you properly aim your skillshots. In the following picture, note how Cho'Gath is standing in his minion wave, feeling all safe and secure.
Despite all the minions around him, he is still vulnerable to skillshots. Since his hitbox extends past his model, you can still grab him:
You can also use this when last-hitting in lane. If you have to use a skillshot to last-hit, such as when you're being zoned, knowing how the minion hitboxes overlap allows you to confidently hit what you're aiming at. Consider the following:
You want to introduce that minion to your cleaver. Hold on, though. Don't directly target the minion! You'll end up hitting the minion to its left. In this case, you want to overcompensate by aiming for your target's right side, so that the left minion's hitbox doesn't block your shot.
To recap: enemies standing in creep waves can still be hit by skillshots if their hitbox extends past the minions' hitboxes, and when targeting a unit standing next to another one, aim at your target's outer side to avoid the other unit's hitbox.
Different skillshots have different widths, ranges, and missile speeds; steal yourself a blue buff and spam 'em 'till they're second nature to you.