In a team game like League of Legends, it can be difficult to win the game if your teammates are getting destroyed. While some games are impossible to carry, there are ways to solo carry League games in Season 13.
It’s easy to look at the best League of Legends players and want to solo carry games like they can. For instance, players like T1’s Oner are solo queue monsters, and they can hit rank 1 with ease. Wakanda F0rever, Oner’s solo queue account in NA, hit rank 1 in North America while he was competing at Worlds 2022.
There are players out there who have displayed that solo carrying consistently is possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Pro players are pros for a reason, and they’ve spent countless hours honing their craft and figuring out how to get the most out of their time. This guide is more meant to lead you in the right direction and introd
And that’s ok! Being a player of that level is something that’s learned from experience and can’t be taught. Don’t worry, though, there are some steps you can take to start solo carrying games more consistently in every role no matter what rank or skill level you’re at.
The key to carrying games isn’t in having the best mechanics. It’s all about playing the map properly and having as little downtime as possible. Learning and mastering the fundamentals of macro play and how to farm efficiently will put you in a position to solo carry.
- The secret to solo carrying games in League of Legends
- Finding the right champion for the job
- How to snowball a lane
- Tracking the enemy jungler
- Playing through the right lanes
- Can you actually carry from support?
The secret to solo carrying League of Legends games
It’s entirely fair to be skeptical that there’s some “secret” to carrying games. There is, however, a mistake that players who are hardstuck in lower MMR make: Not learning their fundamentals. Learning the fundamentals of laning and how to play the map may be the crucial component you’re missing.
Fundamentals apply in different ways depending on role, but most of the time it’s all about knowing how to farm, when to farm, and how to position. For players in standard laning roles (top, mid, adc), being able to outfarm your opponent and stay alive will help you climb and put yourself in a position to solo carry games. This may be a simple answer to the complex, multi-layered question of how you to consistently solo carry games in League of Legends, but that simplicity doesn’t mean that these skills are easy to pick up.
Let’s contextualize the importance of fundamentals by comparing how much gold you get for kills to how much a minion wave is worth.
The amount of gold you get for a kill is 300. That number fluctuates depending on a number of factors, but let’s call it 300. A cannon minion wave can be worth up to 195 gold once the cannon minion’s gold scales up to 90 in the mid-game, meaning that a wave is worth almost as much as a kill. Not to mention minion waves usually grant more XP than kills as well.
In other words, the gold and XP you need to solo carry League of Legends games is right in front of you. Jungle is somewhat similar in that you need to find ways to optimize your pathing through the jungle when clearing camps, but there are a few added layers that make the role more complicated. Meanwhile, support players might as well be playing a different game. More on that later.
The takeaway here is that the biggest and most common barrier for improvement is a firm understanding of how to win games, and what building a lead looks like. Beyond that, there are some concepts that are essential for carrying games against more skilled opponents, many of which will be covered in this guide.
Finding the right champion for the job
League of Legends has its fair share of hard carry champions on its roster, and those characters can make winning games easier in capable hands. But the reality is that those champions aren’t going to be carrying games if you can’t get a foothold in the game with them.
Sure, champions like Rengar or Master Yi can carry games by one-shotting people, and playing against someone that’s good at a champion like that can be incredibly frustrating. But building up that level of mechanical skill takes time, and finding ways to properly use your lead on those champions is essential to replicating success.
So, instead of giving you a list of typical hard carry champions, here’s a list of champions that are relatively safe blind picks that can still put games on their back. Any of these characters could be worth one-tricking, and sticking to the same, small set of champions while climbing will improve your solo carry potential. Beginner friendly-champions are in bold.
- Top lane: Garen, Ornn, Sion, Jayce, Darius, Olaf, Camille
- Jungle: Zac, Udyr, Nunu, Rengar, Evelynn, Elise, Master Yi
- Mid: Vex, Malzahar, Ahri, Viktor, LeBlanc, Sylas, Swain
- ADC: Miss Fortune, Tristana, Kai’Sa, Caitlyn, Samira, Ezreal
- Support: Sona, Lux, Janna, Blitzcrank, Pyke, Senna
There are a fair amount of hard carry champions missing here, and that’s on purpose. Let’s use Jax as an example. Is he a strong carry champion? Absolutely, he can take over games and be a menace in both teamfights and sidelanes. However, he has some really hard counters. If you lock in Jax and the enemy picks a champion with high ability damage like Mordekaiser, it’s almost impossible to win that matchup if you and that player are of equal skill.
If you’re going to one trick a champion, make sure they’re a strong blind pick. One-tricking someone like Jax who has those hard counters can really hurt you in the long run, and make it so that some games are lost based on your lane matchup alone.
Read up on Dexerto’s guides for the best junglers and ADCs on each patch for more information on how to play the best champions for the roles, as well as what to build on those champions.
With that aside, let’s get into some general tips for solo carrying games in League of Legends.
How to snowball your lane
Knowing how to properly utilize wave states and control where minions are in the lane will win games for you, and it’ll help you put your opponent behind faster than possible by normal means. Winning lane isn’t enough; you have to crush your opponent. Getting a kill or two on the enemy ADC and finding a CS advantage won’t help if your top laner is freefall inting and is 0-5 before the 15 minute mark.
It’s important to accept that games will sometimes be lost in ways that aren’t in your control, but putting yourself in a position to destroy your lane and carry will always improve your chances of winning. And, while lane matchups and counters are important, there’s one thing that will always matter regardless of who you’re playing and playing against: wave state.
Mid is a bit less punishing than top and bot since the lane is physically shorter, but the longer lanes in bot and top really punish players who shove waves without thinking about it. It won’t matter how good you are at last-hitting if walking up to the wave will kill you.
Using top lane as an example, this diagram will give you a general idea of where your wave should be from the perspective of blue side. Having the wave just outside of tower range is ideal in most circumstances. It allows you to farm safely without the wave going into tower, and, if you’ve got pressure on the opponent, they have no way to walk up and last hit without getting run down.
The green line is where your wave should ideally be in the lane at most times. You’ll want to either be freezing the enemy’s wave there so you can prevent it from crashing into your tower, or you’ll want to be building up your own wave to push it all the way into the enemy’s tower. Laning is very give-and-take, and understanding the ebb and flow of waves is immensely important.
Yellow is where things start getting hairy. Being this far up is fine in most cases, but if their jungler is super far ahead, or you’re behind in a matchup against someone like Tryndamere that has strong dive potential, being at the yellow line could get you in some real trouble. Red is where you don’t want to be unless you’re shoving a huge wave into tower, or if you’re looking for a dive.
So, where’s the carry potential in all this? How is this going to help?
Other than ensuring that you can safely farm, there’s a big lesson to be learned in how to make the most of getting a kill. Let’s say you win a 1v1 with the enemy top laner right around the yellow line, barely live, and don’t have enough health to push the wave in because you’re scared of getting ganked by their jungler. Getting a solo kill that way is nice, but you’re not going to win the game off of that.
If your wavestate is bad and you don’t have time to push it into tower against an opponent with teleport, you can actually lose gold and experience after killing your opponent. If you’ve ever felt like you’re winning lane and losing the game, this could be part of the reason why.
But, if you keep a wave near the green line for as long as possible, stack up two minion waves, push the entire wave into the opposing top laner’s tower, and force a dive? Killing them will not only give you gold and XP, but it’ll also take away two waves worth of gold an experience from them. This strategy is also very effective for shutting ADCs out of the game in bot lane, and it’s even easier to coordinate a dive if your support tanks tower.
That one kill is now just as valuable as killing the opposing laner twice in a row, if not a little more so. Not because of what you gain, but what they lose. This strategy is a bit harder to utilize in mid because the lane is shorter, but wavestate is still very important to keep track of in mid as well.
Don’t be afraid to dive without your jungler if the enemy is low and you have confidence. With a big minion wave on your side and eyes on the enemy jungler, you should be diving.
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Putting your opponent behind on gold is, in some ways, equivalent to gaining that amount of gold. So, if you get a kill off of a dive and make the opponent miss minion waves while getting them all yourself, you can snowball insanely fast. Gaining 450 gold off of a minion wave and a kill followed by forcing the opponent to lose two waves puts you ahead by anywhere from 600 to 800 gold. In comparison to just 300 from a basic kill.
High MMR players who smurf in low ELO brackets often use strategies like this to crush the competition. Against opponents who aren’t good at controlling waves, strong laners can put their opponent tremendously far behind in record time by knowing how to use minion waves to their advantage.
Tracking the enemy jungler
At a base level, you can track the enemy jungler by keeping an eye on the map and looking for when the jungler ganks a lane, or by warding the bushes near whatever lane you’re in to get some prior warning. But there are some things you can do if you’re got an advantage that can make it much more difficult for the enemy jungler to farm and gank.
For example, a ward near the raptor camp can be a great way to use an advantage as a mid laner if you’ve got early push. Warding near raptors gives vision on the jungler when they’re doing raptors, going to red, or running toward river.
A lead in lane is only good if you find ways to use it, and junglers are going to be looking for ways to stop you from snowballing. Keeping track of where the jungler is can ensure that you won’t have to worry about getting ganked. Don’t take risks unless you have a solid idea of where the people on the enemy team are.
In higher level games, support and mid lane players will also be roaming often. Similar rules apply here; try to keep tabs on where the enemy team is at all times.
Cross-mapping is arguably the most important concept to learn when it comes to solo carrying games at a high level. The basic idea here is that, instead of fighting the enemy when you’re at a disadvantage, you look for other opportunities on the map to stay in the game or perhaps even find a lead.
Often, when your team does something like try to fight on Drake early and lose, it can feel like the game is already lost based on the other team finding a lead. But, if you manage to take down Herald or a tower in top lane during that time, you can stem the bleeding and perhaps even find a gold lead. Players don’t solo carry in League of Legends off of teamfights alone.
Rather than trying to teamfight at a deficit, it’s almost always better to think about ways to pull back into the game through intelligent map play. Maybe that’s stealing jungle camps or pushing a wave or taking a drake, maybe that’s finding a pick on the enemy mid laner to stagger their respawn timer to prepare for a fight. Always be doing something productive with your time.
Winning a game of League of Legends is all about finding an advantage on the map and killing the enemy Nexus. Killing enemy champions is a side activity, something that’s sometimes necessary to accomplish your goals. Your priority should always be what you’re getting out a fight rather than the fight itself.
You don’t have to be better than your opponent mechanically if you can outsmart them and play the map better. League of Legends, unlike many other competitive games, doesn’t require strong mechanics to do well. You’ll hit a few walls and have a few examples where your opponent just straight-up outplays you, but developing game sense and map knowledge is much more important to carrying than mastering mechanics.
Playing through the right lanes
This tip is mostly oriented toward jungle and support, but can also apply well to any role depending on team composition. Finding a win condition isn’t something that every champion can do alone, and games aren’t won off the back of one person unless there’s a massive skill discrepancy. Even if your teammates are behind and not doing much, you’ll need them to be, at the very least, present.
That said, it’s ok to pick favorites. And your favorites should be those who are in volatile lanes, or who have actual carry potential.
Let’s say you’re jungling and your bot lane drops first blood: there are two possible paths to take. Either you try to gank the losing lane immediately and deal with the problem, or you prioritize other lanes and try to find leads elsewhere. Some players would try to go toward bot lane and fight for an advantage, but, if those laners died so easily in the first place, what are they realistically going to be able to do to help you if you try and gank?
It’s much less risky to find a lead in other areas. If your bot lane is dying, go top. Give up drakes and fight for Herald, vice-versa if your top laner is losing. Sometimes the best way to deal with a fed laner is to ignore them and play around other people on your team, boosting up those who can carry and leaving those who are already losing alone. That 0-7 top laner isn’t going to be useful, and those who can solo carry in League of Legends have learned to ignore lanes that are lost.
If you are that losing laner, just try your best to farm it out and find relevancy in either teamfights or sidelanes. Everyone has bad games, but bad games don’t have to result in a loss. Be patient and look for ways to come back.
For a jungle-specific tip, try to identify which lanes will be hot zones and base your jungle pathing off of playing for them early. If top lane is a volatile matchup like Renekton vs. Fiora, plan on being there early to tip the scales in your team’s favor. This is a little more risky to do at early levels in Season 13 than it was prior due to how important farming the jungle is, but creative jungle pathing will still catch the opponent off guard.
Can you solo carry League of Legends games from support?
Support is a role that those who are used to doing damage and carrying games often don’t like playing. You have less gold than the rest of your team for most of the game, and you can’t farm to gain a lead like the other roles. However, support has some real carry potential for those who are smart with how they move around the map help snowball leads for their team.
Simply put, support has all the power in the world when it comes to the early game. Support items are a huge help with gold generation, and supports are often more powerful than their ADC counterparts in the early game. A strong player on a high pressure champion like Lux can essentially 1v2 the lane early and put their ADC extremely far ahead, and creative support players have learned how to have a big impact with almost no gold to their name.
This play from TSM’s Chime in solo queue shows what a good support player can do for their team. Even against Lucian/Nami, one of the most powerful and oppressive bot lane combos in League of Legends, he was able to find an opening and put his ADC in the lead on a low damage champion like Janna. The players who don’t risk flashing in to push Lucian into tower and instead ult him away may save their ADC, but they’re not going to carry. Get creative and use your tools in ways the opponent won’t expect.
Unfortunately, winning lane isn’t enough to solo carry in League of Legends. Rotating for early Herald fights, finding opportunities in mid lane, or rotating with your jungler to coordinate teamfights will help carry your team into the mid and late game with an advantage. The amount of map control and agency you have as a support player is immense in the early stages of the game, and making sure the map is warded late game can prevent your teammates from throwing the game.
While damage-oriented champions like Senna or Pyke might be better suited for carrying games in Silver/Gold games, there’s a certain point where your teammates catch on and are willing to be led to victory. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
The right way to practice
This is the most boring tip of them all, but also a necessary step to solo carrying games. Once you play a select few champions enough, you’ll start to recognize what your limits are and how you can best leverage your lead to win a game. Not only does every role have a different way to carry the game, but also every champion has a different set of win conditions.
There’s a right way to practice. Stick to one or two roles, with the same few champions. Taking away all the variables that come with trying to learn different characters or roles will allow you to focus on learning the game itself rather than the character you’re playing. The concepts covered in this guide will be much easier to pick up when you have time to focus on the map and the game.
Not to mention, some picks require a lot more practice than others to get use out of.
A champion like Ezreal is a solo queue demon in the hands of those who can land all of his skillshots, but knowing how to properly utilize his kit and pressure the enemy out of lane takes time. Whereas a mechanically simple champion may be a bit easier to grasp and result in more wins. Consistency is key.
If you’re really struggling in ranked and want to consider a roleswap or a new champion to pick up, pick one of the aforementioned beginner-friendly champions. Don’t make things harder for yourself than you have to on the path to solo carrying in League of Legends.
While carrying games looks different from every role, this set of tips will be helpful for putting the game on your back while playing any role on the Rift. Check out some of our other League of Legends guides below.
Best ADCs in League of Legends | Best Junglers in League of Legends | How to get better at warding in League of Legends