ARAM: A Guide to Mastering the Abyss
Introduced as an official supported game mode by Riot in 2012, ARAM has always been a player favourite. Even before its official introduction, ARAM was played in Summoner’s Rift as a custom game mode with player made rules. For players that don’t like the laning phase of normals, or just simply don’t have time for the longer games, the Howling Abyss has been the perfect getaway to just simply go All Random All Mid.
If you didn’t already know, SK League is holding an ARAM tournament this weekend (click here for more details). So in light of this, we should probably give you a few pointers before throwing you out onto the Abyss. Keep in mind that some of the tips will not apply to the tournament however, since there is no rerolling or trading in custom games.
We should probably start from the very beginning, and the most integral part of the game: Champion Select. This two minutes before your game starts can greatly alter the game and its outcome. Which champions should you keep? Which champions should you reroll on sight?
Well first of all, if your random team ends up being either all AD or AP, you should probably do some rerolling. Who should you reroll? Well that depends on a couple of things:
- Are you good at the champion? The champion may be great in ARAM, but you not the greatest at playing that specific character. If this is the case, see if anyone else wants the champion. If not, go ahead and reroll.
- Is the champion viable in ARAM? While the champion may be just fine in normal games, this does not mean they will do well in ARAM. A great example of this is Evelynn. Evelynn is great on the Rift because of the fear she could be anywhere. On Howling Abyss, you know exactly where Evelynn is: somewhere in front of you. I would recommend rerolling Evelynn, unless of course you feel confident that ARAM will not change how good you are with her.
In champion select, you should aim for a versatile team comp for the best results. I recommend trying for two casters (preferably long range), an AD carry, a healer of some kind, and tank or brusier. Of course, your healer will also either be a caster or tank/brusier.
- Casters: Your casters will be your main source of damage at the beginning of the game. With them poking down your enemies, this allows your tanks to eventually initiate for your team.
- AD Carry: Just like in normal games, this guy will be your main source of damage in team fights, as long as he can stay alive. Be sure to build lifesteal for sustain since you can’t go back to base!
Healer: Healers are great in ARAM since you are not able to heal at base. The sustain a healer provides for your team can ultimately win the game. Sona, Soraka and Janna are three great sources of healing in ARAM if you are lucky enough to get them.
- Tank/Brusier: You NEED tanks if you want to win in ARAM. If you don’t have a tank, either reroll or hope that the other team does not have a tank either. If you do not have a tank, then you better win quickly before the other team’s tank has their core items. Tanks may not play a huge role early game, but in late game they are a necessity. An ideal tank for ARAM would be one with good CC, such as Malphite, Blitzcrank, Alistar, or Amumu.
- Assassins: Though not in my number one ideal team, the point of ARAM is that you cannot pick your team. And in the event you get an assassin, that’s great. Assassins can do just as good as other champions, and better if you get the right one. Waiting for the ideal time to strike, assassins excel at assassinating (who knew?) enemies once they can quickly take them down and escape easily.
ARAM Only Items
In order to keep order and balance to ARAM, there are a few items you will find in the shop that are not available in any other game mode. It is important to know what these items are, what they do, and when the right time to buy them is.
- Guardian’s Horn: This item is good on any tank or bruiser champion (I especially like it on Rammus and Hecarim) but can be useful on others as well. Giving you a short burst of speed on a low cooldown, the Guardian’s Horn is great for charging in to initiate fights.
- Orb of Winter: Another tank/brusier item, this item was added to ARAM for a counter against ranged poke champions. Buy this item if the other team has heavy poke. Even if you’re not a tank, this item can be very helpful for sustain.
- Poro-Snax: This item is given to every player as a trinket at the start of every game to feed the little poros scattered throughout the map. While it may at first seem funny and useless to your team’s strategy, it actually has a real use that may come in handy. If you notice, the poros are scared of you and every other champion in the game and when you come close to them they run away. If you are in a bush and a poro comes along, he will immediately turn and run in the other direction, giving away your position to the other team. In order to avoid this, just give the approaching poro your Poro-Snax, and he will love you forever and not give away your position. If you do want to have a little fun with Poro-Snax, try and get all ten players to feed the same poro. The poro will explode, and out will come several more poro in a shower of cuteness!
Since healing at your base is not permitted in ARAM, there are four health relics along the Howling Abyss – two on each side. At 3:00 (Recently updated from 3:10) these health relics will spawn and heal you as well as give you mana upon walking over them and respawn every 40 seconds. Since these relics are one of the only sources of healing in this game mode it is very important to zone your team in way that the other team cannot steal the ones by your turrets, while at the same not foolishly suiciding just to save your relics. It is also important for your casters to get the relics since they will most likely be doing the most damage early on, and will need to replenish their mana often. Coordinate with your team and decide who needs the relics the most at the time.
Once you are in late game, your team may be pushed up to their inhibitor but need to fall back for whatever reason. If this is the case, even if your team is full health be sure to grab the relics just so the other team cannot benefit from them.
Suicide is very common in ARAM due to the (recurring) fact that you cannot go to base to heal or buy items. Though you should try to stay alive as long as possible, there are instances where suiciding is acceptable. The obvious acceptable way of suicide is by execution. If you have aced their team, then you have two options: push as hard as you can or kill yourself under the enemy turret in order to buy your items while not giving the other team a kill. Just don’t throw away a perfect moment to destroy an enemy turret.
Another form of suicide should not be used very often, but is still acceptable at times. If you REALLY need to die because you are brimming with gold and have no items, then you may die to the enemy team. Just be sure to tell your team what you are doing, and that it is not at a bad time. A bad suicide can sometimes give the enemy team the chance they need to push for a turret, or even victory. Use strong judgement when choosing to suicide.
Suiciding in late game is usually used to prepare for team fights. If you or one of your team members is low health before a battle, and their team is freshly spawned and ready to fight, your team might be better off choosing to wait to until you suicide and come back in order to stand a chance in the upcoming team fight.
Who would have known that a completely different game mode had different standards for choosing your summoner spells? While the standard flash is still used by most players, there are a couple of decisions to make while choosing your second spell.
- Mark/Dash: Riot’s featured game mode, Legend of the Poro King introduced an ability to launch a poro at your enemy, and then dash to them if you hit them with it. Seeing that many champions did much better than before with a better engagement tool, it was decided to add Mark/Dash to ARAM as a permanent summoner spell, now throwing snowballs instead of poros. This spell is great for engaging and diving. It is excellent for assassins, bruisers, and champions who are already great at engaging. Mark/Dash is an overall safe pick for many champions.
- Ignite: This spell is occasionally used for assassins and melee fighters, but for the most part it has been replaced by Mark/Dash.
- Heal: Good for ranged, poke champions for mobility and sustain to survive diving.
- Exhaust: Great for countering assassins looking to kill your back line. This summoner spell is a pretty safe pick, especially if your team lacks CC.
- Clarity: Poke champions are usually very reliant on their mana. If you know you are playing a champion that often runs out of mana, clarity is a good pick. This way, you are not taking the health relics just because your mana is low, and your team will greatly appreciate this.
- Cleanse: Probably the least used summoner spell, cleanse is good for low mobility champions with no escape. This way, if they are CC’d, they still have a fighting chance of surviving. Even if your champion has great mobility, this spell is still a good pick against teams with heavy CC.ARAM is great for casual players looking for short games, but don’t let that fool you: This game mode has tons of strategy. From using champion select to the best of your advantage, to knowing all of the unique items and spells there are to choose from, to feeding the cute little poros, knowing these strategies could be the difference you need to come out on top.Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with anything? Be sure to tell us in the comments, or on our Facebook.