What is zoning?

Your zone is the area you control with your champion. Zoning means controlling your enemy's location and pushing them away from minions by making them afraid of entering your zone. This is beneficial because they will not be able to last hit minions, so they will have less gold to buy items later. Additionally, by pushing enemy champions far back enough, you can even deny them experience from dying minions. Achieving this can be extremely advantageous, as your opponents can end up both undergeared and underlevelled.

How can I zone?

There are several ways to scare opponents away from your zone, including:

  • Dealing more damage than they deal to you.
  • Hiding in the bushes and making them fear a gank (either from a jungler or from a fellow laner that travels quickly).

Some tactics are more effective than others. For instance, if your enemy laner knows that you can kill them if you get within range, your zone is limited to the range of your attacks and abilities. But if you are hiding in the bushes, your zone covers virtually the entire lane, as your enemies don't know what bush you are in.

Certain champions are better at zoning than others, and certain combinations can be very effective. Ranged champions typically have an advantage, but melee champions can also be good zoners. For example, Xin Zhao Xin Zhao is an excellent zoner. His Audacious Charge Audacious Charge has a moderate range and it slows, preventing enemy escape for a few seconds. His Three Talon Strike Three Talon Strike makes it even more difficult to escape him with its Knock-Up. Combining this with good damage output and a fellow laner can quickly take out an enemy. All of this makes Xin a very proficient zoner. Coupling him with a Lux Lux with proper coordination can almost assure a kill.

You can also zone by gradually pushing an enemy towards one side of the lane. This can be useful when setting up a gank. For example, junglers will typically try to gank in the bottom lane by hiding in the bush near the river waiting for the right moment to strike. To increase the chances of a successful gank, the bottom laner can stay in the outer edge of the lane to force the enemy laner to go to the inside, near the river bush. This makes it much easier for the jungler to jump on the enemy.

Strong zoners

Crowd control and high damage output are the main traits of strong zoners. For melee champions a gap closer can also be very beneficial. The enemy's sustainability in the lane can be used to counter virtually any harass and allied sustain can be useful to leave the enemy zoned for longer as the enemy will probably have to poke back to regain position in lane. Some potentially strong zoners:

References

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