Sure, a beefy K/D/A might make you look like a challenger player, but if you want to truly become a challenger player? You’re going to need to brush up on your CSing.
If you can’t CS properly, you’ll fall behind in levels, gold, and won’t be able to make a genuine impact in your games. You’ll also be giving your opponent full control over the lane (and in turn, the match’s outcome).
This guide will discuss what CSing is, the value of minions, and, more importantly, how exactly to CS like a pro — and no, you won’t have to sacrifice your soul to Devil Teemo.
What is CSing and Why Is It Important to Master?
CSing, also known as farming, is the act of executing (last-hitting) minions and epic monsters to gain gold and experience. CSing is one of the most vital skills to master in League of Legends, especially if you’re hoping to climb the ranked ladder. If you can outfarm your enemies, you’ll always be at a gold and level advantage, both of which can help you apply pressure, secure kills, and take down objectives. Being able to farm effectively also allows you to control the minion waves (more on this later).
Despite common misconception, giving up a whole minion wave for the chance to shut down an enemy is rarely worth your while. A minion wave is guaranteed income if you manage to last hit them all. A kill, on the other hand, isn’t guaranteed income; your target can potentially escape or kill you instead. Unlike minions, a champion’s kill bounty can also heavily fluctuate in value. An enemy with 5 consecutive deaths is actually worth less (110 gold) than a minion wave. Which brings us nicely on to our next point:
The Different Types of Minions and Their Value
There are four types of minions in the game — Melee, Caster, Siege, and Super – each unique in stats and gold value. In a single wave, you can net up to around 125 to 195 gold, depending on the stage of the match. Siege and Super minions are worth the most and should be prioritized over other types of minions.
Melee minions have high defensive stats but low AD. They position at the front of the wave.
- Gold Value: 21 gold
Experience Granted: 60 solo experience, (when only one player is in the area), 75 shared experience (split between multiple allies)
- Base Health: 477
- Attack Style: Close combat with 1.25 attack speed. Deals 12 to 80 attack damage, depending on the stage of the game
- Spawn Time: Three Melee minions spawn per wave
Caster minions are squishy but deal a lot of damage. They keep to the back of the wave.
- Gold Value: 14 gold
- Experience Granted: 29 solo experience, 37 shared experience
- Base Health: 296
- Attack Style: Ranged with 0.667 attack speed. Deals 24 to 120 attack damage
- Spawn Time: Three Caster minions spawn per wave
Siege (Cannon) Minions
Siege minions have the best of both worlds: they’re tanky and deal hefty damage. They’re also significantly higher in gold value.
- Gold Value: 60 to 90 gold. Before the 14-minute mark, the mid lane Siege minion’s gold value is reduced by 10
- Experience Granted: 93 XP solo experience, 116 shared experience
- Base Health: 912
- Attack Style: Ranged with 1.00 attack speed. Deals 41 to 10039 attack damage
- Spawn Time: A Siege minion spawns once every three waves before 15 minutes, then once every two waves until 25 minutes. After the 25 minute mark, the Siege minion will spawn in every wave
Super minions are essentially Siege minions, but x100 more powerful. They only spawn when an inhibitor is down. Left to their own devices, Super minions can push out a lane, destroy turrets, and even take down the Nexus.
- Gold Value: 60 to 90 gold
- Experience Granted: 93 solo experience, 116 shared experience
- Base Health: 1600
- Attack Style: Close combat with 0.85 attack speed. Deals 230 to 1225 attack damage
- Spawn Time: Spawns in a lane when an inhibitor has been destroyed. Continues to spawn in every wave until the inhibitor respawns
- Unique Active: Empowers nearby minions with a buff that grants 35 armor and 35 magic resistance
What Is A Good CS Score in LoL?
You ultimately need to CS better than the average player in your elo. Below Silver, a good CS score would be considered 5 to 6 CS per minute, while in Gold and Platinum you should be aiming for at least 7 per minute. High elo players can consistently reach 8 to 10 CS per minute.
How to CS Like a Pro — Top Tips and Tricks for Any Elo
CSing is no easy feat, but the tips and tricks below can help you k hone your skills and
Practice Last-Hitting Before A Match
You wouldn’t enter a marathon without first honing your muscles, stamina, and running technique, and the same principle applies to LoL. Before a competitive match, you should open up the practice tool and spend around 10 minutes last-hitting minion waves. Pay attention to each minion’s health bar, how much damage your auto-attacks do, and how minions target each other.
While practicing, make sure to also use champions that you would typically play in ranked. This will allow you to become more familiar with their damage and auto-attack speed.
Once the 10 minutes is up, write down your final CS score in a spreadsheet or diary. Over time, with regular practice, you should start to see an improvement in your CS score. You can then gradually introduce more “variables” in your practice — make it a rule to move constantly while farming and to look at the mini-map every 5 seconds. You can also simulate pressure by adding a bot opponent or asking a friend of the same elo to lane against you.
Don’t Forget To Use Abilities
There are certain situations where it’s extremely difficult to secure minions with auto-attacks; minions can die at the same time, lose health rapidly if they’re being targeted, or be out of your auto-attack range.
Instead of auto-attacks, you can use your abilities to secure these minions. This is especially the case for champions that have long-ranged skillshots or AoE effects, like Ezreal, Xerath, and Ziggs.
Now, while it’s good practice to use abilities to salvage your farm, you should never rely on them. Auto-attacks should be the go-to method, as otherwise you’ll run out of mana and won’t be able to use your abilities to apply pressure or harass the opponent.
Punish Your Enemy
The main goal of CSing is to stay ahead of your lane opponent. While last-hitting effectively will help you achieve this, another strategy is to harass your enemy and whittle down their health bar. Your opponent will eventually be forced to play back or leave lane, giving up their own farm and putting you at a CS advantage.
Whenever your enemy steps forward to last-hit a minion, use an ability or auto-attack to poke them. Make sure to position behind your wave when doing this — or to retreat back quickly — to avoid taking too much damage from enemy minion aggro.
Time Your Recall Properly
A poorly-timed recall can cause you to miss several minions and lose lane pressure. Whenever you’re about to recall, consider the following:
- Do you have enough gold to buy an item? Unless you’re out of mana or low in health, you should wait until you have enough gold to buy an item before backing. You need to be on the map (and a visible threat) for as much time as possible, and recalling unnecessarily will only serve to help the enemy — it gives them an opportunity to farm, roam, or gain an objective.
- Is the next wave going to have a Siege minion? Siege minion waves are tankier and harder to kill than other waves. Recalling just before this wave spawns will help prevent your enemy from pushing out the lane quickly.
- Have you shoved the wave out? Again, this is another measure that’ll slow down your enemy’s attempts to push out the lane.
- Is your jungler trying to take an objective? You shouldn’t back if your jungler is at an objective. Doing so will give up pressure and allow your opponent to rotate and contest it.
Gaining CS After Laning Phase
Once the laning phase is over, it can be easy to tunnel vision on other aspects of the game beyond farming, like teamfighting, getting picks, and securing objectives. Consciously remind yourself to always pick up farm as you rotate around the map – and yes, this includes jungle camps.
You also shouldn’t ARAM it mid and forget about the side lanes. You’ll lose out on valuable farm and any XP and gold gained will be reduced as you’ll be sharing it with all the other players.
How to CS Under Tower in League of Legends
CSing under the tower (turret) is a whole other playing field, but it’s actually easier than it seems. With the right understanding of how much damage a tower deals — and how it chooses its next target — you’ll be securing those minions every time.
How Does A Tower Choose Its Target?
The tower will always attack the first enemy unit that enters its range (750). It will continue to attack this unit until it’s either slain, out of range, or has become untargetable. The tower will then swap to a new target. If there’s multiple enemy units in its range it will choose its target based on the following priority:
- Enemy champions that have attacked ally champions
- Targetable traps
- Pets (like Tibbers and Voidlings)
- Siege minion or Super minion
- Yorick’s Mist walkers
- Melee minion
- Caster minion
- Maiden of the Mist, Yorick’s ultimate
- Enemy champions that haven’t attacked ally champions
How Much Damage Does the Tower Deal to Minions?
You can work out when to last-hit minions based on how many turret shots it takes to kill them.
- Melee Minion: Dies after three tower shots. Let the tower hit the minion twice, then auto-attack the minion to secure it.
- Caster Minion: Dies after two tower shots. If you have a high AD, let the tower hit the minion and then auto-attack to secure it. If you have a low AD, you should also hit the minion once before the turret shot.
- Siege Minion: Dies after eight tower shots. Let the tower hit the minion seven times and then last-hit it once.
While this sounds easy in theory, it isn’t always going to be this simple in practice. You’ll also have to dodge your opponent’s harass and, depending on the state of the wave, minions might enter into turret range without being at full health. You can use your abilities in situations like this to secure minions.
You can also prepare minions by attacking them in advance. For example, if a minion is at 80% health, you can whittle down its health bar to the point where it can tank a turret shot and leave enough health for you to easily last-hit it. You’ll have to set this in place before the turret hits the minion, so make sure to familiarize yourself with a turret’s target priority (see above).
Wave Management: Slow Pushing, Freezing, and Fast Pushing Explained
Wave management is the strategy of manipulating minion waves so that they end up in a position that puts you at an advantage. If you can control the waves, you’ll have an easier time farming, applying pressure, and keeping your lane opponent at bay.
There are three main wave management strategies: freezing, slow pushing, and fast pushing. Each has their own benefits and is better suited to certain situations. You will also need to master different CSing techniques.
Slow Pushing — Turret Destroying
A slow push occurs when a player has slightly more minions on their side of the map. When done correctly, slow pushing causes the minion waves to group up and form into one big wave that can deal hefty damage, apply pressure, and take turrets quickly.
- Setting up a slow push: You need to maintain a minion advantage over your opponent. The easiest way to achieve this is to kill all the Caster minions in the enemy wave — and the Siege minion if it has spawned — while also making sure not to attack the Melee minions (only last-hit them). For a slow push to work, you need to have a 4 to 5 minion advantage if the wave is positioned on your opponent’s side of the map, or a 2 to 3 minion advantage if the wave is on your side.
- When should you slow push: A slow push applies pressure in the lane without you needing to be present. So, it’s ideal in situations where you want to roam around the map, whether to help out other lanes, invade the enemy’s jungle, or secure objectives. You can also set up a slow push in the later stages of the game when you want to recall to buy items. It will apply pressure upon your opponent’s towers while keeping your own towers protected.
Fast Pushing — Immediate Pressure
Fast pushing is pretty self-explanatory — it involves pushing out the minion waves as quickly as possible so that they crash into the enemy’s turret. It’s extremely easy to do and generates immediate pressure.
- Setting up a fast push: Use your auto-attacks and abilities, especially AoE attacks, to clear the enemy minion waves fast.
- When should you fast push: Fast pushing is useful in various situations. You can fast push to gain an early level advantage, to stop an enemy’s recall, to minimize the risks involved with a dive, and to break a freeze. You can also fast push against champions that struggle to farm under tower to deny them CS. Fast-pushing is particularly effective when your jungler is taking a nearby objective; your opponent won’t be able to leave the lane without sacrificing a lot of CS and XP.
Freezing — Totally Oppressive
Freezing involves keeping the minion waves at a position in the lane that keeps you safe but puts your opponent in harm’s way.
- Setting up a freeze: Freezing is trickier than other wave management techniques. It involves keeping a close eye on how much damage the enemy is dealing to your minions, and then matching that damage; if your opponent uses their abilities to try and fast push, you need to use your abilities and ensure you target the same type and amount of minions. Last-hitting the minions at the start of the laning phase can make it easier to establish a freeze later on. Usually, you’ll want to freeze the minion wave when it is near your tower, but not within actual tower range. There’s a lot more that goes into freezing – your opponent must also have a slight Caster minion advantage, with the exact amount depending on where you want to set up the freeze — but we can’t cover it all here. Skill Capped has a great video guide that discusses the more intricate aspects of how to freeze in League.
- When should you freeze: You should freeze the lane when you want to deny the enemy experience and CS; in a freeze position, your opponent has no choice but to overextend and risk dying to farm. Another good time to freeze the lane is if your opponent has lane priority (e.g. ahead in kills or the enemy jungler is nearby), as it allows you to farm safely under your turret. Avoid freezing the lane if you’re up against a champion that excels at roaming. In this position, you won’t be able to contest them if they leave the lane.
CSing Like A Pro
Having a high CS — and being able to control the minion waves — is sure to help you ace your games. With proper CSing techniques, you’ll be able to gain a huge gold and level advantage over your opponents, as well as create gamechanging pressure. CSing is hard to master, but with dedication, practice, and by using our tips and tricks above, you’ll be seeing improvements in no time. As Taric always says, “the climb may be long, but the view is worth it.”