Keybindings – Basic Attacks and Movement

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Safari Caitlyn enjoying some tea
The key is refinement

Most people have an intuition that mouse speed and accuracy are part of being good at League of Legends – this is why. Professionals have mastered the dual arts of dodging and kiting, which involve rapid back-and-forth clicks to control positioning as tightly as possible. Pixels can make or break a fight at any stage of the game, so knowing how you can start saving those animation frames is the first step to becoming the next unkillable demon king.

Before we talk about how to control your champion properly, we first need to know what the different commands you can use are. All of the options you’ll want to mess with can be found in the Hotkeys → Player Movement menu.

Hotkeys - Player Movement
The keybindings don’t actually matter a huge amount for this one. Just make to use something comfortable for your hand.

Tools of the Trade

Move Click (Aka right click)

If you’ve literally ever played the game before you already know what this does.

Attack Move

Using attack move allows you to set a location to move to, while also specifying that if you encounter something along the way, you’d like to immediately start basic attacking it. This is handy because it allows you to “buffer” an action – more on that later.

Attack Move Click

Exactly the same as attack move, but with an added automatic left click at the end. It’s mostly a preference thing which one you use. Some people like to do some weird stuff where they bind attack move click to a mouse button, but that requires editing some config files. If you’re interested, there are plenty of tutorials out there that cover how to do it.

Attack Move on Cursor

There’s a setting in the Game menu near the bottom labeled “Attack move on cursor”. This changes how targeting works for attack move when there are multiple enemies already in range. Disabled, you will attack the closest target to your champion, measured from the center of your model. Enabled, you will attack the closest target to your click. I prefer having it on, because it allows you more control over your target selection.

Stop Position

When pressed, ceases player movement and prevents auto attacking till a new movement command is issued. If you want to pretend that you got caught in freeze tag, this is how you do it.

Auto Attack (Checkbox in the Game menu)

Determines your champions behavior upon reaching the destination of their last move command. When checked, you will begin to “automatically attack” the nearest enemy target. When unchecked, you will input an implicit stop-command and take no actions. Although it can be annoying, having this on provides one distinct advantage. When standing in a warded bush, you will begin to auto attack any near-by creeps. This can alert you to the presence of wards without using a sweeper.

Tools We Don’t Use

Hold Position

Like stop position, but only stops movement – auto attacking is allowed. It just turns out that there aren’t a lot of times that you want to do this. Stop position is almost always preferred, due to the extra control it gives you. The only Edge case I’ve run into (credit to Truesapling for pointing this out) is specifically versus Fiora as a means to continue to auto her while sticking yourself against a wall so that she can’t proc her vitals.

Attack Only Click

A command that will trigger a basic attack if you’re in range of a target, but do nothing if you’re outside of range. Again, there just aren’t a whole lot of times you want to do this. Any time you could be using it, you’d probably just rather right click.

The Techniques

Chasing / Kiting

When you play ranged champions, a lot of your time is going to be spent keeping your range advantage. This requires that you continuously reposition, retreating when they advance and advancing when they retreat. However, you also need to continue to output basic attacks. Basic attacking causes you to stand still for an instant, due to the animation of firing a shot. However, you can cancel the tail end of this animation with a movement command. After the particle leaves your gun/hand/etc and starts flying through the air, the attack can no longer be canceled, and you are free to right click to continue moving. Getting the rhythm takes a lot of practice, since each champion’s basic attack animation is different. Attack speed also plays a factor in the timing.

Preventing Bush Jukes

One nice thing about attack move and attack move click is that they “buffer” the input of an attack, but don’t require an explicit target. You can use this to your advantage when an enemy is retreating into an unwarded bush. If you attack-move into the bush, you’ll instantly start to auto them the moment you gain vision of them. Obviously, this is a few frames faster than moving into the bush, figuring out where they are, then right clicking on them.

Last Hitting

When you’re trying not to push a wave, it’s important to control the timing of your auto attacks explicitly. Walk up to the wave, and use stop position to stay in range of it without attacking. Queue up an attack move command to bring up the targeting display, and left click at the appropriate time to last hit.

The alternative is to use right clicks to do everything. This would mean clicking back and forth, then quickly whipping the mouse over to go for the last hit. This can go wrong a number of ways. If you mistime one of your clicks while dancing back and forth, you might accidentally auto attack, and whipping the mouse is imprecise. Also, if you aren’t in range when you right click, you will take a step forward. This can mess up your timing and cause you to miss the last hit.

“Dancing” in Lane

Whenever you would be standing still, it’s almost always better to just click back and forth. It’s much the same principle as jumping a lot in FPS  games – continuously moving makes you harder to hit. The proper way to do it is to make sure that you keep your mouse cursor close to your champion. That way, if you need to dodge the opposite way that you’re moving, your cursor has less distance to cover. It may not seem like much, but every moment counts when a skillshot is incoming.

Kiting Creep Waves into Tower

When you’re trying to freeze, sometimes you’ll want to tank the wave for a few seconds to prevent it from crashing into turret. When you’re doing this, there is a small optimization you can do to take a little less damage. Very quickly alternate between stepping towards your tower, and pressing hold position. This will stutter step you towards tower range, and occasionally cause the minions to move out of range of you and stop attacking. You can also do this by ducking in and out of brush if you have access to one. Although it won’t prevent all the damage, you might save yourself 100 health or so if the wave is large.

In Conclusion

I hope that you learned something new about keybindings, and have found a new skill to practice on the rift! Check out the other articles in the series here.

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