All League of Legends Lanes Explained

Let's go over all the different lanes in League of Legends. Which ones are the most popular on Summoner's Rift?
Summoners Rift season 10
The map is actually pretty nice. | © Riot Games

Say hello to Summoner’s Rift – the one and only significant map left in Riot Games' blockbuster game League of Legends. It has multiple lanes, a jungle and various monsters living on it. Throughout the years the map has received some cosmetic makeovers, a few updates and even whole new jungle creatures.

If you’re just starting out in League of Legends, the multiple terms surrounding the map alone could be overwhelming, which is why we’re going to go over some key terms right now with regard to the multiple lanes and positions that are part of the game. But let’s start off simple, what is Summoner’s Rift even?

Summoner's Rift Lane Overview

As mentioned already, Summoner’s Rift is the main map which League of Legends is based on. This is where most players will spend their time when playing the famous 5-vs-5 MOBA. The map itself is separated into various areas, which players will refer to as lanes. These lanes are divided by a big and scary jungle.

Some players will even choose to wander the darkness, also called the fog-of-war, of the jungle, enjoying the challenge of beating monsters and moving between the multiple lanes on the map. Just watch out that you don’t encounter the enemy jungler too early, but we will get to the nitty-gritty details regarding the various roles another time.

Aside from the jungle, we’ve already mentioned that there are lanes on the map as well. The top lane, the mid lane and the bot lane. These lead from your own base, which you must protect, to the enemy base, which you’re trying to overtake. In simple terms, League of Legends is nothing more than a virtual, magical version of capture the flag.

So let’s get down to the lanes and check them out in great detail.

Different Lanes Lo L
The icons for the different roles in the lanes. | © Riot Games

What Different Lanes Exist in LoL

Okay, we’re going to sound like a broken record. Three lanes exist in League of Legends. These three lanes are where most of the action will take place in League of Legends. You’ll be fighting enemy champions, engaging in team fights, and doing as much damage as possible. The only one who isn’t constantly in a lane is the jungler, or the support.

First, we’re going to go over the lanes and their positions. Why are they called that way and what purpose do they hold?

The Top Lane

The top lane is situated in the top part of the map. Whether you are on blue side – the side where you base is on the bottom left – or the red side – where your base is in the top right corner of the map – doesn’t matter. This lane will always be at the top of the map.

Top Lane minions
Minions fighting in the top lane. | © Riot Games

Players in the top lane often refer to it as an island, since the champions get the least amount of help from other lanes throughout the game. Therefore, top laners are frequently neglected and left to their own devices. Sad, right?

Sidenote, if you’re playing Wild Rift, which is Riot Games' mobile version of League of Legends by Riot Games, you won’t refer to the top lane as such, but rather the baron lane. Since the game is on mobile, the viewpoint changes when players are selected for red side. Then the lane is at the bottom of the map. Therefore, Wild Rift players will call it the Baron lane, since Baron Nashor, a big jungle monster, resides close to the lane.

The Jungle

Talking about the jungle, we’ll quickly go over the ‘jungle lane’. This, of course, isn’t a typical lane like the others, but the area between the lanes. In the jungle there are various neutral objectives, also known as monsters, which players can kill to gain buffs, experience, and gold.

Players can gain buffs by killing the Red Brambleback and the Blue Sentinel, most well-known as Red and Blue Buff. Dragons will also give players lasting buffs, while the Baron empowers teams that slay this huge monster. The smaller creatures merely give gold and experience. Now, it’s time for a League of Legends fun fact – this is the part where you all cheer. Nashor, from Baron Nashor is actually an anagram for Roshan, who is the most powerful neutral creep in Dota.

The Mid Lane

The mid lane is the shortest lane in all of League of Legends. It is the one that goes straight from the allied Nexus to the enemy base and Nexus. Most often, players will use mages on this lane.

Ahri is one of the most well-known mid lane champions. | © Riot Games

This lane also encourages players to roam the map. Mid laners can quickly make their way to the bot and top lane or help out the jungler by taking the blue buff for themselves. In low elo games, players from other lanes will typically end up in the mid lane by the end of the game, forgetting that the top and bot lane even exist, all five players squishing onto the mid lane to defend or attack.

The Bot Lane

This lane is the mirrored image of the top lane, only at the bottom of the map. Ahead of Season 10, Riot also added in new alcoves to the bot lane, as in the top lane, for more interactive gameplay. Players can run away and hide in these alcoves, unlike before.

Bot Lane Alcove
The bot lane alcove was introduced before season 10! | © Riot Games

The bot lane is different from the top lane though, in that it is usually inhabited by a pair of players, the ADC and Support to start off the game. The lane is also close to the dragon and the team which manages to get priority in lane, will be able to get dragon buffs ahead of their enemies.

In Riot Games' mobile game Wild Rift, this lane is also not called bot lane, but rather Dragon lane because of the close proximity to the dragons. So, if you’ve got a friend who only plays Wild Rift, make sure to use those terms that the normie can understand.

What is the Base?

At the end of the lanes there is a base. The blue base is on the bottom left, while the red base is on the top right of the map. The main point of League of Legends is to destroy the opposing team's base and have their Nexus explode. The base is filled with five towers, as well as Inhibitors.

What is an Inhibitor?

Inhibitors are giant gemstones which sit in your base, and you must defend. If the opposing team destroys one of the three Inhibitors, then huge minions will spawn in their own base and make their way towards the enemy base. These super minions, as they are called, are more durable and more powerful. Killing them will also give you more gold, though.

There are three Inhibitors in your base, each defended by one Inhibitor tower. These are the last line of defense before the opposing team will march towards your Nexus towers and your Nexus to win the game.

Nexus towers
This is what you'll want to take down to get the victory. | © Riot Games

What is the Nexus?

The Nexus is the most important part of the base. This is what you're going to want to defend with your life at all costs. All three lanes come together at the base and enemies will swarm it to try and destroy the Nexus. The giant crystal is defended by two more towers, but the moment they're destroyed it's basically light's out. So, make sure you defend your Nexus!

Which Is The Most Popular Lane In League?

A few years ago, Riot released the data of the most played roles in League of Legends, and it was revealed that most players prefer the mid lane. This means, that there are many more players who queue up for the mid lane position than any other lane in the game.

The second most played lane is the bot lane. Players want to deal damage, and they want to make their enemies afraid, hence why these two roles are the most popular, making them the most populated lanes. If you main either of these roles, you’ll likely know the pain of being autofilled jungle at least once or twice.

Which Lane Is The Easiest?

Whether you find a lane easy or hard depends on your style of play. While one person could find it extremely easy to last hit and gain an advantage by killing multiple minions, another person could think that is much more difficult and prefer a team oriented laning phase.

But, many players do think that playing in the top lane is easier than playing in the mid lane for example. The top lane is a much slower lane, and as mentioned before players are often left alone by their own jungler and the enemy jungler, ending in a valiant 1-vs-1 duel, while the mid lane will have to watch out for constant ganks.

Whether this means that playing top lane is easier can be debated, though. Players will have to test out the different lanes and practice their preferred roles before deciding whether a lane can be described as easy.