League of Legends is a MOBA or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game.
A MOBA is typically very focused on map control, which is incredibly important in League of Legends. Map control refers to the ability for any given team to exert pressure on, vision, and presence towards multiple different parts of the map at once. It is one of the core skills that a player should be able to do in order to become proficient at League of Legends.
What are Stacks in League of Legends?
A stack is a collection of related items that all have a common theme or purpose. In League of Legends, a Stack is a Summoner Spell Combo that has been used in the same fashion throughout the game, usually repeatedly.
In League of Legends, when you cast Flash at level one and then Ignite immediately after, this is considered a Stack. When Annie, Cassiopeia, and Zyra all hit level 6 and then immediately go for a full-combo team fight that leads to a kill on an enemy champion, this is also considered a Stack.
The Importance of Stacks for Ganking Mid Lane
League of Legends is fundamentally a game based around vision control. This means that players are constantly fighting for vision dominance across Summoner’s Rift, through the use of Control Wards and Vision Wards. If you have vision over the enemy team’s jungle or at least one side of mid lane, it gives your team multiple options to create an advantage over the enemy team. The first, most common option is to use that vision control to set up ganks for your mid laner.
This sounds simple enough but here’s where things get interesting: once you decide to gank mid lane, you’re now committed at least one member of your team (possibly two if they are warding) to that single objective. When you show up to mid, the enemy team now knows where at least two members of your team are currently located. This gives them a lot of time to set up their own counterplay, whether it be moving towards the safety of their tower or warding over different sections of river so they can move about more freely. So what do you need to secure this gank? Vision.
The Importance of Stacks for Invading the Enemy Jungle
This is where I feel the most people are wrong about what a Stack actually constitutes. Many players think that if they hit level 6 and then invade the enemy jungle, they’re “stacking.” Although sometimes this is true, it often times isn’t. If you’re playing a champion like Pantheon and hit level 6, what do you immediately do? You Q to the closest enemy and then E Auto Attack them down. This is not considered a Stack because you only used one spell before Attacking and if someone were to gank mid lane while you were doing this, your mid laner would get very little help since you used two abilities to come out of lane. If you’re playing a champion like Elise and hit level 6, what do you immediately do? You Q over a wall into the enemy’s jungle then immediately begin using E to position yourself for an extremely strong full combo. This is a Stack because you have used two spells before attacking.
If you’re playing a champion like Lee Sin and hit level 6, what do you immediately do? You Q over a wall into the enemy’s jungle, E as you land for an extremely strong full combo that can be followed by W to catch people who flash away then R to disengage. This is a Stack because you have used three spells before attacking. The point of this section was to show that just because you charge at people or invade the enemy jungle right after hitting level 6, it does not mean that this is an automatic Stack . It’s actually more important what order of abilities you use when approaching enemies in the early game.
Stacks are important because they make ganking mid lane extremely easy and it allows you to counter-act their movements to safety. This makes League of Legends a game about denying vision and map awareness while also trying to create opportunities for your team to gain that vision or map awareness to set up objectives like Stacks.