League of Lessons: Work it harder, make it somewhat better

League of Lessons is a weekly series about learning to play League of Legends after a seven-year absence, trying not to break the Summoner’s Code in Solo Queue, and all the wonderful parts that come along with the journey to Level 30.

This week’s exploits included a 60-minute slugfest, an ADC Yasuo, and an important milestone in my League of Legends leveling journey.

Yas off; #$@&ng Yas off

We need to ban Yasuo. We need to ensure that he can’t be played. But I don’t have a ban, and no one wants to listen to me. He doesn’t get banned.

My ADC locks in Yasuo.

I didn't say anything because I didn't want to immediately poison the well, but I was pretty skeptical. Still, the Summoner's Code, inscribed on tablets of digital gold, presented a shining example that I endeavored to follow. I was asked to play Lulu to combo with the Yasuo but I don't own her; I instead picked up Zyra, figuring that her poke damage, root and knock-up might serve a similar role.

I figured correctly, as our team pulled ahead early and my Yasuo went off, going 19/7/7 including a Triple Kill.

While I’m used to seeing Yasuo players do poorly, this guy was one of the few I had seen that could hold his own. One thing I noted was that Yasuo does very well in situations where he can chase down the enemy team — and that my Rylai’s Crystal Scepter helped to make that a lot easier.

In fairness to the other team, we were laning against a Cho’Gath/Sivir bot lane (seriously) and he seemed to get away with a lot more than he should have against a more… traditional lane.

This doesn't change my opinion on Yasuo. I will always ban him, if given the chance. Maybe even if my teammate is hovering him (sorry, no pickerino).

But it’s nice to know that even with an unconventional pick, there are some people who can use the wind technique to blow away the opposition.

60-Minute Saga

One game I played this week was basically two: a 62-minute marathon that saw us vote on surrendering numerous times. But we refused to give up, even as the opponents' assassin-heavy composition — featuring Zed, Talon and Master Yi — pushed our team to the brink.

After seeing their composition in draft, our team came to a simple conclusion: wait late game and we’ve got this.

But our composition wasn’t exactly that great either — we had a Mid-alee — and getting blown up by Zed and Yi starts to grow boring pretty quickly, even if your team gets an even trade out of the deal.

As Zyra, I placed 35 wards during the game. Later, as my damage had less and less of an impact, I relied more on my root and ultimate to secure kills for my team, often dying to an enemy dive but slowing them down enough for my team to turn it around. I bought Ninja Tabi and a Zhonya’s Hourglass to try to stay alive long enough to use my utility. Ultimately it was our Graves that came through with the hard carry, blowing away opponents en route to a 25/11/19 finish.

After such a long game, it was a relief to win. But more than anything, it reinforced my belief that the surrender vote often starts prematurely.

Level 20 Slog

I finally worked my way through Level 20, and it took a total of 5 hours, 49 minutes and 23 seconds. I went 5-5 during the duration of the level. It was a big jump up in required XP from 19, but I won more games than some previous levels, so it only took 10 games.

From what I’ve seen, the curve flattens out from this point until 30, but it still seems unreasonably long, awkward and tiresome to have this process in the game.

My colleagues and friends have continued to tell me that I should just buy an XP boost and power through to 30 with Twisted Treeline. Some have even mentioned that the game, pre-30, isn’t representative of the larger gameplay experience in League of Legends.

But if that’s true, why are so many things gated behind account level? If I’m not supposed to learn anything of value along the way, why prevent me from having masteries, rune slots and being able to play ranked?

It’s like some kind of Sisyphean nightmare where nothing counts, but it must nonetheless be completed as a matter of course.

I like to think I’ve learned some things about the game so far, but I can’t truly test that analysis until I hit 30. Here’s hoping I didn’t do all this leveling for nothing.

I’m also coming up on my hundredth normal game, and am debating doing something special for that.

The road so far

Stats to-date: 44-50 (46.8%) in normal modes

Top champions so far: Soraka (9-6), Zyra (6-3), Braum (6-4), Alistar (4-3)

Zyra game of the week: 2/2/10

Throw of the week: Malzahar, 0/7/8

Account Level: Finally 21

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