What do you think of when you hear the term “snowballing?” Perhaps it brings to mind the image of a snowball rolling down a hill, collecting more snow until it’s massive. Snowballing is the term used in League of Legends when a player gets an advantage and maintains their momentum by generating even more moment-to-moment wins for themselves throughout the game. Today I’m going to cover some sure-fire methods on how to snowball in League of Legends!
When it comes to snowballing out of control, some Champions are simply better at it than others. Some common themes between great snowballing Champions are the ability to reset or the ability to deny opponent damage through an ability in their kit. Let’s look at a few quick examples of Champions that have a notorious reputation for snowballing out of control.
Darius (Top Lane)
Darius is a notorious Champion in solo queue since he applies massive pressure in the 1v1 and can become nigh-unstoppable if he gets going. Darius is a slow moving yet deadly Champion capable of short-range bursts. If he catches a lead, his weakness due to a lack of mobility gets nullified from the stats he picks up. Coupling this with his resetting and executing ultimate, teamfights or duels can be quickly cleaned up.
Master Yi (Jungle)
Though a slow starter, if Master Yi gets off the ground, he can be even more evasive and snowbally than ever, especially with the recent directional buffs to his Q. Thanks to his evasiveness, Master Yi can R-Flash onto important targets and take them down with his empowered auto attacks before using his Q-reset to blink to his next target. Additionally, his ability to take down not just Champions but neutral monsters like Baron and Dragon makes him extremely valuable when he gets rolling.
Katarina (Mid Lane)
Kat is infamous for her ability to insta-burst her opponents down as early as level 3. With her ability to roam around the map and blink all around a teamfight, she can instantly burst down important carries and dodge impact abilities without much effort if she’s rolling. Her only weakness is point and click Crowd Control (CC), so avoid picking Kat when your opponent has lots of it!
Samira (AD Carry)
At one time I would’ve put down Draven in this category as our quintessential damage and outplay AD Carry (ADC) machine. But Samira brings the outplay and damage without needing to be as skillful. Samira comes packaged with a resetting dash, crowd control, an almost-always available ultimate, and most importantly, style. When paired with the likes of Alistar, Taric, or Blitz, she can get extremely fun when she gets snowballing since she’s able to deny a lot of pressure with her pseudo-Wind Wall.
Pyke brings up our Support pick since no Support truly ‘snowballs’ given the ideal execution of their role. Pyke’s snowballing potential comes from, you guessed it, resets. Like Darius, his resets come from his executing ultimate. Throw in a crowd controlling dash and hook, and Pyke can set up ambushes as well as the best of Supports. He’s also just extremely good at knocking them down if need be.
Naturally, there are some honorable mentions like Jax, Draven, Fiora, Fizz, and Renekton, but these are some of the heavier hitters in the Season 12 meta for our buck.
Snowballing comes from recognition, not just outplaying your lane opponent. Naturally, winning your 1v1 is the start, but if you can apply your lead towards your team and win the map, you’re going to be hard carrying every game. So, take the time to assess the following things to look to do just that:
- Does my team have the resources (Health, Mana, Levels, Ultimates, Summoners) to follow up if I make an aggressive play?
- Does my team have abilities to enable my ambush? (Crowd control abilities like Blitz’ Hook or Morgana’s Q)
- Are the enemies in a vulnerable position? (Forward positioning, low health pools, lacking resources in HP/Mana/Levels, etc.)
- Where is the enemy Jungler/my Lane Opponent, and can my play be executed before they get there?
- What does my opponent gain from my leaving lane?
Answer these questions and evaluate from moment-to-moment in game if you have the chance. Typically, your windows of roaming can come off a successfully crashed wave, a blown Summoner Spell, a takedown, or off of a recall. Quickly scan the map after these events, and ask one of the questions above, and in time you’ll get to where you answer them subconsciously, so you can more fluidly follow towards the next play. Being able to move from one play to the next in fluid motion is going to enable you to take advantage of any resources you’ve taken away from the opponent, as well as help you learn to quickly recognize your win conditions.
Invading the Jungle
Through low elo, counter-jungling isn’t really a concept to be mastered, but instead just something done without thought. However, picking up this skill is invaluable to ascending the ranks, because if you’re robbing your opponent of resources, you’re constantly keeping yourself ahead of their curve.
For Top Laners, your early game dueling ability often outshines a Jungler’s, especially since you’re getting valuable solo lane experience. So, crashing your waves and waltzing into damage or threaten Junglers on their camps is a big method of pressure. One mistake and they might slip a takedown into your pocket which will get you off the ground against your lane opponent. Just be wary of your opponent’s ability to respond to a rotation.
For Mid Laners, you have the ability to quickly farm up the Raptor Camp and Scuttles, taking them away from the Jungler, especially if you’re playing Mages! This act robs Junglers of valuable gold and EXP, and thanks to your kits often dedicated around wave-clear and crowd control, these are easily said and done efforts if you’re timing your plays on crashes or when your opponent has recalled. Assassin mains should be a bit more wary, since these camps often take you longer and can chip your HP pool down quickly if your name isn’t Talon.
For Junglers, you want to invade off of opportunities where you find yourself on the opposite side of the map from your opponent. Invading Top-side Jungle when you see the enemy Jungler Bot is just free real estate to claim up their camps without being pressured, especially if your allies keep your opponents busy. Additionally, from this advantage, you can often look to make cheeky and unexpected ambushes on your enemy laners by coming from their side of the Jungle rather than a neutral position.
Play for Plates and Herald
Turret Plates and Herald were introduced to create situations where players would find value in early game aggression, or as a response play for cross map Dragon takes, giving some increased value to the top side of the map. Herald’s ability to take Turret Plates early, and the fact that it spawns twice within the first 20 minutes, really amps up its presence as a legitimate snowball tool.
So, as a Mid, Jungle, and Top Player, you should always have this objective in mind when you are looking to open the game up. Naturally, the gold that Herald can earn you through knocking off plates is fantastic, but also keep in mind that it can be utilized to claim the first turret bounty while also opening up the map. Commonly, Mid Lane turret is a great target for Herald due to the fact if the Mid Lane turret is down, your team has an easier time entering, exiting, and moving through the enemy Jungle for rotations or plays. But, when in doubt, Herald should be utilized to get your most fed player around the map more. So, whether this is Bot, Top, or Mid, utilizing Herald to allow those players to move to the next objective more freely is ideal.
So, there you have it folks! Picking up the right Champion, starving your opponents for resources, and keeping in mind the more impactful early game objectives like first turret bounty and Herald can really elevate your snowballing potential. Keep these things in mind and look to act towards them and you can really begin to follow patterns towards taking over games!