Worlds-Level Tactics: The Gank

It’s hard to tune into a League of Legends game without hearing a lot of jargon thrown around: rotation, objective, scaling. In this series, I’ll try to clear up some of the jargon one term at a time, by explaining just what it is and showing how teams execute it in game. Without further ado, let’s get to it. The topic of the hour is one of the most simple – and yet powerful – plays in League of Legends: The Gank.

What exactly is a gank? Basically, it’s going to a different part of the map to catch somebody by surprise and kill them.

The first way to pull off a gank is simplest: walk down the river, get behind your opponent, and attack them. It helps if you can cut off your gank target’s escape route. In this gank, we see that Kha’Zix comes up the river towards Kassadin, while Thresh trails slightly behind, coming up from behind, and cutting off Kassadin’s intended escape.

Lee Sin is an incredibly feared ganker, thanks to the many tools he has to start a gank. Safeguard can be used to close the gap, as can Resonating Strike. On top of that, he has a built-in slow on Cripple and a knockback on Dragon’s Rage. While the “insec” is often thought of as a teamfight move, it can also be used to enable a gank, as in this clip:

Once you’ve ganked a target and know their flash is down, you have a 5 minute window to land easy ganks. Many junglers will consider their job done at this point, but the best junglers will know that a blown flash is an invitation to break out the tent and granola and camp a lane, returning for follow-up ganks:

While most ganks you see are executed simply by walking to another lane, they can often be thwarted by good warding. Champions with teleport abilities (or just teleport) can use their abilities to gank a lane without crossing any wards, thus catching a team more by surprise. Dade is known as one of the best Twisted Fate’s in the world, and he shows us why, picking up 2 kills bot the moment Destiny is back up.

Keeping the pressure on, he goes top the moment Teleport is back up, picking up two more kills.

Technically, both of those ganks are what we call “counter-ganks”, ganking in response to a gank on your own teammates. The benefits of a counter-gank are quite notable: often, the opposing team will be flying headlong into danger, expecting a number’s advantage, and will be caught by surprise by the counter-gank. However, a counter-gank doesn’t have to net a kill. Sometimes, it’s merely enough to avert a gank in process and save a teammate. In this case, Dade ults top and Evelynn and Shyvana back off of Renekton.

Ultimately, there are so many ways to gank that a full list would be exhaustive, but as long as you’re catching your opponents by surprise and forcing them into a situation they weren’t prepared to handle, you end up making an advantage for yourself. What’s your favorite way to gank?

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