Lane Swaps: Opening the Meta Game One Resident Sleeper at a Time

      Over the last couple of years we have seen an influx of lane swapping at the professional level. While they may slow the game to a crawl, when we break it down we can see the strategy behind this tactic. The mindset behind a lane swap is to accrue an advantage where otherwise there would be a disadvantage. Flip-flopping your bot lane, and top lane allows not only your team to avoid a poor match-up for your top lane or bot lane, but it also allows your team to be more open with your champion picks. This guide will give you a basic breakdown of lane swaps and why they help teams pick more open compositions. 

      The lane swap has many uses, and an easy way to explore the way lane swaps work is by setting up an example. For this example we will assume you decided to pick Ryze a top lane hyper carry as your team wants multiple threats. Your opponent seeing this decides to pick champions such as Pantheon, Darius, or Gnar. Those lane opponents can be a cause for concern for Ryze due to Ryze’s poor early laning phase. Chances are that Ryze will be pushed out of lane many times or due to his lack of escape Ryze will be picked on by the enemy Jungler. Sadly both hamper Ryze in obtaining the farm needed to be the monster we know he can be. There’s an easy solution to this though, and that is to lane swap with bot lane, and if done right your top will be left farming under tower. More importantly with some help from the support it allows Ryze to pick up some levels unhampered by what would have been a poor time at top. The swap would also allow Ryze to end the laning phase with a decent creep score and few to no deaths. Lane swaps do not just benefit the top lane but, they can also be used for the bot lane to avoid rough match ups. This example will use Vayne, and while this champion tends to have a larger than life late game power spike, she has a downside where most match ups do not tend to be in the favor of Vayne. Lane swaps however allow champions like Vayne to farm or shove and wait for a 3v1 tower dive at top so at most the swapped AD Carries will receive farm, a kill, and a tower before swapping back to bot lane with a bf sword in hand. Even if the support is helping top most AD Carries won’t be killed by the opposing top laner during their weaker early levels. As long as the Jungler is close by ganks by the enemy Jungler would be ineffective as well allowing the AD Carry to farm.

      The start of a general lane swap is for you not to let your opponent know you’re going to lane swap, and ward to see where your opponents are going to lane. You just want to ward parts of the jungle where you know the enemy Jungler is most likely to start, and see who is helping him. This shows who is going to what lane, and this lets you set up your swap accordingly. Next is to determine where your top lane is going to start the game. You can have your top lane help out in the jungle until they get level two or you can send your top laner straight to the lane, and send your support with them so they can at least obtain a few levels. Then, send the support back to the lane with the AD Carry in it. Next you’re going to want your AD Carry to set up the wave where it allows your Jungler enough time for a good clear, because after the jungle finishes his clear you want the top to be under his tower. Next you want to dive the solo lane, and if everything goes right you will have a kill, and a tower destroying in your favor. Then, you will want to swap back into standard lanes.  So to sum up what just happened, during those first few minutes is that the opponent gave up a death, a tower, or both and now must come back to lane with no tower at his back which is a very dangerous thing to have. Bot lane has an item, and a kill advantage over the opposing laner setting up for a much easier laning phase. Also, without a top tower your top laner can shove the lane and then teleport bot. With the Jungler’s help set up a 4v2 or a 5v2 gank, take the tower, and the dragon. Lane swaps turn the game into a game of haves, and have nots with one team having a gold advantage over the team which were forced into these lanes by your early warding which gave you the information necessary to know who was going where. Your team now at best has two towers, a dragon, and five team members looking to push down the mid lane while your opponents try to pick up whatever farm they can making for an easy uncontested siege. So I know what you’re thinking “But what is the mid laner’s job during the lane swap?” The mid laner’s job during the swap can be as simple as don’t feed or it can be the most crucial role of the lane swap. The mid laner at times acts as a road block of sorts trying his best to cut off the enemy team from helping the lane that will be dived upon, but more importantly keeping the enemy mid laner in mid to stop them from helping out his team. This may not seem like it’s any different than what is normally expected from mid laners; however, it is the mid laner’s job to make sure the support from the enemy team is to be slow or nonexistent. This does make the mid laner’s job harder, because in most scenarios mid laners have help from the bot lane or the Jungler. During lane swaps; however, the mid lane may receive little to no help from the team as they are trying to take out objectives. If your mid laner during the swaps pushes out the opposing mid laner he is more than welcome to help the team with the push.  

      Lane swaps may not always be fun to watch as it tends to slow the game down in terms of fighting being concerned, but it makes it so counter picks are not as huge due to the fact that the top, and bot laners wont square off with each other for very long with all of the rotating that they are doing. This opens up champion pools, and doesn’t force laners to have to make certain picks that they are uncomfortable with playing, and maybe Dyrus did not have to die four times in five minutes if they had just had a stronger lane swap. This is a basic rundown of what, and how lane swaps are supposed to work. There is a lot more to discuss when talking about lane swaps like what compositions take advantage of lane swaps, and counters to lane swaps and so on; however, this should be enough to help you understand the core of this early game strategy.

Featured Image provided by Ongamenet

Written by Edgar Rinza

Edited By Williaf


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