What is zoning?
Your zone is the area you are able to control with your champion. Zoning is the act of controlling your enemy's positioning and/or making them afraid of entering your zone. Zoning occurs when you push enemies back from minions by making them fear your zone. This is benificial because they will have a much harder time funding items mid- and late-game due to not being able to last hit minions for gold. Additionally, by pushing enemy champions far back enough, you can even deny them experience from dying minions. Both of these things together can be extremely advantageous throughout the game, as your opponents can be both undergeared and underleveled.
How can I zone?
Successful zoning requires your opponents to be afraid of being inside your zone. There are several ways to do this, some of them include: putting out more damage than them 1-on-1, hiding in the brushes, and making them fear a gank (either from a jungler or fellow laner that can travel quickly). Some tactics are more effective than others and combining them can be very effective. 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 brushes, your zone covers virtually the entire lane, as your enemies don't know what part of the brush you are in.
Certain champions are better at zoning than others, and certain combinations can be very effective. For example,is an excellent zoner. His has a moderate range and it slows, preventing enemy escape for a few seconds. His makes it even more difficult to escape him with its Knock-Up. All this combined with decent damage output and a fellow laner can quickly take out an enemy. All this makes Xin a very proficient zoner. Coupling him with a can almost assure a kill with proper coordination. However, note that most ranged champions have the advantage in zoning over melee champions.
You can also zone by gradually shifting their movement from one side of a lane to another. This can be useful when setting up a gank. For example, if you are on the Blue Team (bottom left of map) and in bottom lane, your jungler will more than likely be coming from the river during a gank and will typically hide in the brush to wait for the right moment to strike. To increase the chances of successfully ganking a squishy or low health enemy, moving your champion to the right side of the lane can force the enemy to go to the other side, near the river. This makes it much easier for the ganker to get the jump on the enemy.
Crowd control and high damage output are the main components of zoning. Sustainability in the lane can also be very beneficial. Some potentially strong zoners are listed with explanations:
- : Blitzcrank is an excellent zoner in a duo lane, especially when paired with a heavy damage-dealer. While his zoning relies on , and is therefore blocked by minions.
- : Caitlyn is a excellent zoner in any lane. Her main zoning technique is laying , discouraging the enemy from utilizing brush/limiting their movement. If they do step on one, you can repeatedly autoattack for significant damage.If you charge up the threat of the nuke will push most champions back. does massive amounts of damage if it hits.
- : Cassiopeia is a very powerful zoner in any lane. Her is enormously strong for harrasment. Also, if either or hit, her zoning capability becomes more powerful due to her spammable .
- : Jax is a very effective zoner with his + combo.
- : Karthus is a great zoner. His zoning capabilty is great when duo laning, but is best in a solo lane, where he can spam his on the opposing champion and deal double damage if the enemy is alone.
- : LeBlanc is an extremely effective zoner in any lane. Her combined with another spell can put out incredible damage. The slow/snare from can prevent enemies from escaping on top of providing even more damage. When she acquires and , her zoning potential increases even more.
- : Lux's zones best in a duo lane with a champion that can take advantage of her CC's. The slow from is decent, and its damage is fairly good. The snare from is her primary advantage in zoning when paired with a high-damage teammate. Her CC allows high damaging teammate to put out more damage due to enemies not being able to get away.
- : Singed's gives him a great deal of zoning potential, but he lacks in a solo lane. His makes it difficult to get away if it is placed well, and his can put out steady damage at its higher levels.
- : has a moderate range and is one of the best stuns in the game, and his heal can keep him and his teammate alive for quite a long time. By himself, his zoning ability isn't so great. But when put with a champion with high early game damage, he can be very good at it.
- : Her Range over time allow her poke Champs, her passive makes her a strong pusher while the active can shut dow champs like or and thanks to her and she is a really hard target to gank.
- : Urgot is one of the best zoners in the game. He shines best in a 1v1 lane, where he can abuse the massive range on his locked-on following a . The enormous range of this combo essentially guarantees that he will be able to use the entire combo while being relatively safe from retaliation.
- : As explained above, his damage combined with his CC makes him an excellent laner, as his charge outranges a lot of champion skills and almost all auto attacks.