The Mini map, the Rear-view Mirror of League of Legends
The concept of map awareness is mainly linked to the search for information. The more information you have the more able you will be to take informed decisions.
The mini map is situated on the bottom right of your screen. If you are starting League of Legends and that your habits and not too strong I advise you to switch it to the bottom left (you can do this in the options). The reason for that is that for the vast majority of people your left eye is dominant. This is why on most games (like Starcraft 2) for instance the mini map is placed on the left. Don’t worry though, if your mini map is on the right it not a big handicap.
The mini map shows everything that is visible. Everything that is in the fog of war is invisible except the neutral monsters of the jungle.
Eye glance in the rear view mirror
Looking at the mini map is closely related to looking in the interior rear view mirror while driving. It is something to do regularly, try to force yourself to check it every 10 seconds. After some time it will become an automatism. But this is not enough. Alike looking in the rear view mirror of a car you need to use the information you get. You have 2 main piece of information you need to look at:
The position of the junglers
Firstly you need to keep constant track of the position of your jungler. You probably have already played jungle and have your bot lane surprised to see you here. Using pings is useful in this situation but not always enough. Other possible situation, the jungler indicated that he is going to gank your lane, but then changes his mind without saying anything. This happens quite often and the laner not noticing it engages alone and gets killed. As a general rule you need to follow your jungler’s path, then you know if you can play more aggressive if your jungler is near or more defensive if he is far away.
Most players know how to follow the path of their own jungler, but have a hard time with the enemy jungler. Though it is crucial! When the enemy jungler shows up on the map you ought to notice him. Typical case at low elo: the bot lane makes the double kill on the opposing bot lane but doesn’t have much health left, they decide to recall instead of destroying the turret. If they had better map awareness they would have noticed that the jungler was top 10 seconds ago, that the enemy top just backed and that enemy midlaner was on his lane (+ the support and adc are dead), they could have destroyed the turret without any risk.
The situation in other lanes
You also need to look at the situation of the other lanes when you look at the mini map. For instance if the enemy jungler is between top and mid lane, that you are the mid lane player and are pushed to the turret while your top laner keeps pushing his lane there are strong odds that you are not at risk and that the enemy jungler will gank top lane. In this case, let yourself get pushed and warn your team mates of what is probably coming his way.
When you have some time (when you are coming back to lane for instance), don’t hesitate to look at other lanes where action is happening instead of looking at your lane where nothing is happening. Again, the goal is to obtain as much information as you can.
It is even more important as a jungler. When you are travelling in the jungle or are killing jungle monsters you need to look the more you can at other lanes. To have the information on a flash on cooldown can be crucial.
Blind people don’t drive
In the same fashion, you can have the best map awareness in the world it is worth nothing if the map is black. The remedy : more and more wards. Each time you back, whatever your position may be (a bit less mandatory for ADCs) buy 1 or 2 wards. Also think about using your trinket when it is off cooldown!
De la même manière vous pouvez avoir la meilleure map awareness au monde, si la mini map est noire cela ne sert à rien. Et pour remédier à cela, encore et toujours des wards. A chaque back, quelle que soit votre position (cela est moins impératif pour les ADC) achetez 1 ou 2 wards. Pensez aussi à utiliser votre trinket dès qu’il n’est plus sous cooldown!