League of Legends actually used to have more than two maps in the game. Here is an overview of everything there is to know about the current and the past LoL maps.
Summoners Rift is the map most of us associate with League of Legends. The map's creators clearly did an excellent job because it is now the most famous battle arena of any MOBA ever created. The map has existed for over a decade, and many players have come to love this map.
As surprising as it might seem, especially if you aren't a try-hard ARAM player, there are other maps in League of Legends. We looked at League of Legends gameplay to understand the LoL Map situation further, so you don't have to.
What Maps Exist in League of Legends?
Right now, we have two constantly available maps in League of Legends. The most common map is Summoners Rift, which is where players meet head-to-head in a 5v5. It is currently the only map you can play ranked on. The other map constantly available is the Howling Abyss.
The Summoner's Rift is the main map in League of Legends. It has three lanes - the top, mid, and bottom lane. The lanes are where the players start off their game and earn XP to level up. Each lane has an outer and inner turret that keeps the enemy team away from your side of the map and protects your allies.
There are five different roles you can play in Summoner's Rift. Mid and top lane are 1v1 lanes, whereas the bot lane has two roles - the AD carry and support. Besides every lane being filled with a certain amount players, you can also find another role in the map's jungle, namely the jungler role. Each role of the game has different champions made for their role specifically and there is a distinct difference between each of the different roles.
Each team also has a Nexus in its base. If LoL were to be chess, the Nexus would be the king, though maybe more useful. The nexus spawns minions periodically making their way towards each lane, and when you kill an enemy minion, you gain experience and gold.
In League of Legends, you are supposed to kill enemy champions and destroy their turrets until you get to the opposing nexus. Once that is destroyed, you win the game.
The Summoner's Rift Jungle
As already mentioned, there is one more role not located on any of the lanes, but in the map's jungle. The jungle consist of a top and a bottom half, which is related to the top and bot lane. There are also two different sides of the map that are mirrored- the red side and the blue side. The "red side" refers to the nexus in the top right corner, while the "blue side" refers to the nexus in the bottom left corner.
The jungle consists of different neutral monsters that give the champion killing it certain buffs. If you kill a monster like the blue and red buff, you will be rewarded with a buff that lasts for a certain period of time, making you slightly stronger. Here is where the jungler role comes in. It is the junglers' job to clear the jungle and to make their way to the different lanes to assist the laners in getting a kill on their opponents.
One champion often played in the jungle is Olaf. Here is a video on how to counter it:
The middle of the map is split by a river. By this river, you can some of the strongest neutral monsters. On the top half by the river, you can find Baron Nashor - the strongest neutral monster in the game. The Baron does not spawn before twenty minutes, and the team managing to slay the beast gains a powerful buff for a certain duration.
On the bottom half by the river is where the dragons spawn. Similar to the Baron, the dragons have one of the strongest and most useful buffs in LoL. Once you kill a dragon, the whole team gains a buff, which doesn't go away after a certain period. Currently, there are five different elemental dragons in League of Legends - Cloud, Hextech, Ocean, Infernal, and Mountain Dragon. Earlier this year, Riot also created the Chemtech Dragon, which they later decided to disable. Besides the elemental dragons, or "drake", there is one final dragon known as the Elder Dragon, which spawns when one of the teams has slain four elemental dragons.
What is the Elemental Rift
In 2019, Riot Games introduced the elemental Rift, which refers to the landscape in Summoner's Rift changing - depending on which elemental dragon spawns. To understand this a bit better, let's look at the different elemental dragons:
- Infernal Drake
- Cloud Drake
- Ocean Drake
- Mountain Drake
- Hextech Drake
For each elemental dragon slain, the team will gain a buff lasting throughout the game. The first three dragons spawning are completely random, but the following drakes will be the same as the third dragon spawned.
Elemental dragons will continue to spawn until one team has slain four dragons. Once this is achieved, the dragon pit belongs to the Elder Drake. Slaying the Elder Dragon will, similar to the Baron give a short timed, but powerful, buff expiring after a couple of minutes.
Besides influencing the rest of the elemental dragons spawned in a game, the third dragon also influences the map's terrain. These are the different effects every dragon has on the map:
|Cloud Dragon||Grants 7 / 14 / 21 / 28 percent slow resist and out-of-combat bonus movement speed||Cloud Rift creates win currents in the jungle and dragon pit which grants 20% movement speed.|
|Infernal Dragon||Grants 6 / 12 / 18 / 24 percent AD and AP||The Infernal Rift opens up the map around the dragon pit and jungle camps by burning down terrain and brushes.|
|Ocean Dragon||Restores 3 / 6 / 9/ 12 percent missing health every five seconds||The Ocean Rift causes bushes to grow in the jungle and the dragon pit. New Honeyfruit plants as well as puddles which can be used by Waterwalkers also form.|
|Mountain Dragon||Grants 9 / 18 / 27 / 36 percent armor and MR||The Mountain Rift causes additional walls to form around the jungle and dragon pit.|
|Hextech Dragon||Grants 9 / 18 / 27 / 36 ability haste and 9 / 18 / 27 / 36 percent attack speed||When the terrain transforms for the Hextech Drake, pairs of Hex-gates appear across the map which allow champions to quickly travel from one location to the paired counterpart. Hex-gates are activated with a brief channel (that can be interrupted by stuns or damage) before rapidly transporting a player across the map to the corresponding Hex-gate.|
Summoner's Rift Fog of War
Fog of War refers to the parts of the map you cannot see. At the beginning of the game, the enemy side of the map is dark and you don't have any information on what is happening in there. The jungle on the Summoner's Rift is also darkened, and players walking around only have vision in a certain radius around where they are walking. You can counter the Fog of War by placing wards on certain areas of the map, which can deny enemy champions ganking your lane without you knowing.
Map Awareness is Crucial
Placing wards and having a good awareness of the jungle is an important part of League of Legends. Good ward placement and keeping an eye on the mini-map can change a game drastically because you will always be able to read certain situations the enemies thought you weren't aware of. Placing the right wards contributes to evading ganks, which then again lets you stay in lane for a longer time, gaining more XP and gold. The extra XP and gold gained will help you get an advantage that can secure you winning the game.
The Howling Abyss
The Howling Abyss is the second constant map in League of Legends. This map is used for a specific gameplay mode called ARAM (A Random All Mid) and only contains one lane. In ARAM, you are not allowed to choose which champion you play, but in champ-select, you can swap amongst your teammates and you have up to two charges of re-rolls you can use to get another random champion assigned.
Unlike Summoner's Rift, this map does not allow you to return to base to buy items or to heal up. Only once you have died can you buy items. The map does provide you with health relics that a player can pick up to regain missing health and mana. There is one outer relic for each side of the map spawning at 1:45 and an inner relic spawning at 2:30. Once a relic is taken, it takes 90 seconds to respawn. All Iceborn Champions
The Howling Abyss is located in the Freljord and there used to be a small easter egg when playing ARAM where you could listen to a 1-minute monologue from Lissandra.
All Iceborn ChampionsView Gallery
There are no wards in the Howling Abyss. Instead, every player is provided with certain cookies, or poro snacks, which they can feed to the different poros spread around the map. A poro is a small little fuzzy creature originating from Freljord. If you play the Freljord champion, Braum, in the Howling Abyss and feed the poros with a cookie, they receive a mustache very similar to the champion's mustache.
League of Legends also has the Nexus Blitz map, which is used for the game mode Nexus Blitz. This game mode only lasts for 20 minutes and lets you have a lot of fun trying to destroy the enemy Nexus while doing specific tasks. Each of the different tasks is unique and gives different buffs.
The map was first added in 2018 but was significantly improved when brought back in 2020. Unlike the Howling Abyss and Summoner's Rift, this map is not constantly available but comes back for short periods of time.
Why Doesn't League of Legends Have More Maps?
LoL used to have more than two maps. One map, in particular, made a lot of players disappointed when Riot Games announced it would be removed. This map was the Twisted Treeline.
The Twisted Treeline was a map created for a 3v3 game mode and was the only other map where you could play ranked. Unlike the Summoner's Rift, the Twisted Treeline did not have a mid lane, as the jungle was located in the middle instead. On each of the opposite sides, there were still a bot and a top lane. This layout created another way to view the game and required different strategies compared to the normal game mode.
Another map that used to be a part of the League of Legends client but isn’t anymore was the Crystal Scar map, which was used for the Dominion game mode. This map was created in 2011 and lasted for 5 years, and the game mode allowed players to practice in-game situations where they had to defend a base.
Why was Twisted Treeline Removed?
The game mode allowed players another legitimate way to earn end-of-seasons skins and rank up, but Riot decided it was finally time to remove the 3v3 game mode in 2019. The news disappointed many players, as it was a pretty popular game to play and it had grown a loyal fan base.
Riot stated that the game mode wasn't popular enough to keep having it around and that the map had become a place for bots to level up accounts. These two issues were the reason why players are now left with only two maps.
Why Was Dominion Removed?
The game mode was initially added in the the early stages of LoL and during this time, Riot Games weren't certain on League of legends' identity. Developers thought that Dominion could assist new players in understanding the different mechanics needed for League.
In 2016, Riot decided to let the game mode go and it would, from now on, serve as a short-term game mode, like URF, Ultimate Spellbook, One for All, and Nexus Blitz. Crystal Scar was, therefore, removed from the client.
Will Riot Games Add New Maps?
One should never say never, but it is highly unlikely that Riot will more maps to League of Legends anytime soon. Throughout the years, different game modes and maps have been added to the game and then later turned into a short-duration game.
Riot Games did declare that the Twisted Treeline would be brought back into the game mode rotation, but this still hasn't happened.
Can We Expect Different Map Versions?
Map skins are something Riot Games have experimented with before. During Christmas, the Summoner's Rift used to be changed into a winter wonderland with lots of snow and the baron even wore a Christmas hat. Due to the Elemental Drake changes, however, creating new versions, like a Desert and Battlefield map, is difficult, as the map takes different forms during every game we play. Therefore, it is also unlikely that we get any new map versions in the near future. Here is a look at what Summoner's Rift used to look like during Christmas 2016.
Maps in Other MOBA Games
Riot Games' Wild Rift
Riot Games' mobile version of LoL, Wild Rift, is almost identical to Summoner's Rift. The re-design of the mobile version is very similar to the PC game, but when playing on the phone, the Red Side of the map is flipped.
This leads to the top and bot lane not being a concept anymore. What rRot chose to do, instead, was to make the top lane to the baron lane and the bot lane to the dragon lane. Besides the flipped red side on Wild Rift, there is no difference between the two maps.
The Dota 2 Map
The original creators of League of Legends started off playing Dota, which isn't hard to notice when you compare the Dota 2 map to Riot Games' Summoner's Rift.
Like Summoner's Rift, Dota also has towers that defend enemy champions and a river going through the map splitting red from blue side, but in Dota the different sides have different names. In Dota, the "blue side" is known as "Radiant" while the "red side" is the "Dire".
In Dota's jungle a monster, very similar to the LoL Baron, can be found. The monster is called Roshan and it drops something called the Aegis, which buffs the team.
There are even more similarities between Dota and League of Legends which probably come from the fact that League of Legends creators have a close relationship with the game.