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League of Legends is one of the most popular games and esports on the planet for a reason. After ten years, the acclaimed game now offers over 150 unique characters to choose from.
New players may get overwhelmed by the number of champions and struggle to select which ones to spend their Blue Essence on. Still, thankfully the game has a free champion rotation system that allows players to test new champions without buying them.
Bottom Line Up Front
Free rotation is a system that allows players to choose from several champions free for that week. The rotation comes every Tuesday and usually features a healthy mix of both roles and overall champion archetypes. New players can and should utilize the system as best as possible to practice different roles and champions to find out what works for them.
In my guide, players will learn how the system works and what they need to do to get the best use out of free rotation.
Why Was Free Rotation Implemented
Free rotation was implemented so that players would be able to learn new champions. This allows players to make more informed choices when spending their RP and Blue Essence, which is especially helpful for new players given how large the roster is.
Players should remember that free rotation was implemented for practice and exploration, which is one of the reasons it isn’t active in ranked. Nobody wants to play ranked with a player who is testing out a new free champion for the very first time.
How Does Free Rotation Work?
Free rotation is automatically active in champion select for unranked games. Players may notice that some champion icons in champion select have a small blue circle with a picture of an unlocked lock in the top righthand corner. This mark means the champion is free to play that week.
Players will have access to around 10% of the roster on a given week. As of this article, there are 159 champions. This means riot has 16 total champions each week in the free rotation.
Free Champion Breakdown
Riot always does their best to keep each role well represented in the free rotation. Players can expect at least two champions frequently found in all five roles somewhere in the rotation.
Champion archetypes are another thing considered when selecting the free champions of the week. Some mid laners are mages, while others are fighters and assassins. For example, the rotation on the second week of May 2022 featured both the melee fighter Yasuo and the control mage Neeko to give laners some variety. The same is true in the top lane, where the fighter Wukong and roaming marksman Quinn were featured.
Players should familiarize themselves with the common archetypes within each role to better understand Riot’s logic behind rotation:
- Top Lane: tanks, fighters, marksman
- Jungle: tanks, fighters, assassins
- Mid Lane: mages, assassins, fighters
- Bot Lane: marksman, mages
- Support: tanks, enchanters, mages
There are, of course, many exceptions to each rule. However, these are the most common champion archetypes found in each role. Bot laners will discover they have the most rigid champion pools to work with. Most players will want the bot laner to stick almost exclusively with the marksman offered.
How Do I See What Each Free Rotation Champion Does?
Knowing the different roles and champion archetypes is no good if the player doesn’t know what roles the new champions they’ve found even do. Fortunately, finding out what champions do and how their abilities work is easy.
On the righthand side of the home menu in the “Overview” section, players will see a button that says “Free Champion Rotation.” Clicking this button will take them to a list of every current free rotation champion. Clicking on any of those champions will allow the player to see the champion’s overview, abilities, and all available skins.
After players have a basic understanding of the champion’s abilities, it’s recommended that they play around with them a bit in the practice tool before going into a game. It helps to further understand each ability before rushing into a game with other players. Knowing what the abilities do is easy, but knowing how to execute them is when it gets tricky.
How Do I Best Use The Free Champion Rotation System?
League of Legends is a competitive game, and new players looking to improve should use this system to the best of their ability. The system gives players a way to quickly experiment with every role, which is important for new players.
When I started playing League of Legends, I quickly gravitated to the support role because I didn’t think I would be good at last-hitting minions. After playing support for nearly a year, a new champion at the time named Neeko was released. After trying Neeko, a mid-lane champion, for just a few games, I decided that my best (and favorite) role was actually mid lane and I’ve been playing the role ever since.
If I had properly taken advantage of the free rotation system and experimented, I could have stumbled upon a mid-lane mage similar to Neeko sooner, like Orianna. If that had happened, I would have climbed faster and spent less time on a role that I later learned wasn’t for me. These days, support is my second least played role.
For players not to make the same mistake, it’s important to at least experiment with all five roles. Each role has something unique and exciting about it that draws different players and different strengths and weaknesses. For example:
- Top: Best lane to snowball leads due to the isolation and size of the lane, but the hardest lane to impact on the rest of the map in the early game.
- Jungle: Best at creating early game impact across the map, but it can be difficult to snowball their own leads if their laners don’t roam for them.
- Mid: The jack of all trades role. Ability to roam and impact other lanes, snowball, and solo carry the late game with damage. Just not as well as other roles.
- Bot: Generally, bot laners have the highest possible damage output in team fights. However, sharing XP with the support and often not building defensive items make bot laners especially squishy and sometimes under-leveled. Hence, their positioning has to be perfect.
- Support: Supports don’t need to farm, meaning they can have an incredible map impact without needing to do camps like jungles. However, having the lowest economy will hinder their ability to “solo carry” games if they’re the only player ahead.
As important as experimenting with new roles is, players should also take advantage of trying new champions in their main role with free champion rotation. Players can learn from both playing similar champions and champions with completely opposite styles from their main. It may help an Ahri player’s understanding of a ranged vs melee fighter matchup if they try out the Yasuo or Yone side of the game a few times.
Additional Tips on Using Free Rotation
- Play the champions you struggle against: Don’t understand how Aphelios guns work? Confused why that Irelia solo killed you one minute and looked useless the next? Die ten times to Katarina in lane? See if the champion is in free rotation! If they’re there, trying them out could better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- Laners, practice the pathing of different junglers: The jungler will be the character (outside of lane opponents) that laners interact with the most. This is true both for your ally jungler and the enemy jungler. Learning more about what times junglers finish clearing camps will be key to understanding your own ally and enemy jungler gank patterns in the future.
- Bot and Support players, try the champions you don’t like laning with: Bot and Support players are well known for bickering. Most of them have champions they absolutely dislike the other party playing. Some supports hate when the bot laner picks mages instead of marksmen. Many bot laners prefer enchanters or engage supports over the opposite option. Trying out those hated picks can be key to understanding why the lane partner picks them and when they can be good.
- Try making plays you’ve seen other players make: enamored with Lee Sin’s infamous kick-flash or “InSec” plays? Saw a Thresh perfectly predict a Flash or other movement ability? If that champion is in free rotation, give those plays a shot yourself! Making crazy plays like that in ranked for the first time isn’t recommended, so the draft pick is a perfect time to see if you can do those fancy plays yourself.
When Should Free Champion Rotation Be Used Less?
Free champion rotation allows newer players to experiment in ways that they couldn’t without spending money or grinding tons of blue essence. These are ways for players to become better at the game. Unfortunately, players can only become so good at the game when playing draft or blind pick.
Most coaches at any level diamond or higher will tell players that to genuinely improve, they need to play ranked and focus on a pool of one to five (sometimes one to two from stricter points of view) champions. This is because players at all ranks typically play differently in ranked than they do in draft pick. It can be challenging to climb and perform well on a champion without a consistent amount of games played.
Therefore, if an experienced player who has found their favorite role and champions is looking to take the next step, it may be time to switch from draft pick and start spamming those ranked games.
However, even if a player has reached that highly competitive stage in their league journey, draft pick with friends is still an enjoyable way to spend time. In those instances, players should feel free to experiment with the free rotation system again. There’s always something new and exciting that can be picked up by exploring.
Question: How do I find free rotation?
Answer: The week’s free rotation can be found by clicking “Free Champion Rotation” on the top right of the client’s home page under the “overview” section.
Question: What champions are available for free rotation?
Answer: Any champion that hasn’t been released within three weeks is eligible for free rotation. New champions are kept out of the rotation pool in the first few weeks to reward players who bought the champion on release.
Question: How many champions are in free rotation?
Answer: Riot tries to put approximately 10% of the roster up for free rotation. As of May 9th, 2022, there are 159 champions, meaning there are currently 16 champions available in free rotation. This number will grow as the roster expands.
Question: Can I play free rotation champions in ranked?
Answer: Free rotation is for a draft pick and blind pick only; ranked flex and ranked solo/duo players will only be able to use champions they’ve purchased.
Free Champion Rotation Guide: Summary
Free champion rotation is a system Riot implemented primarily to allow newer players to test out champions they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Free champions are excluded from ranked for important reasons. That means that players are free to take risks and learn to get better in the safety of draft pick where they can’t lose LP.
Players should do their best to take advantage of the free champion rotation early on in their League careers. The best way to do this is by testing out every role and archetype of champion in the game to figure out what style they prefer as a League player.
Eventually, it will be time for more competitive players to “leave the nest” and focus their attention on ranked solo/duo. Hopefully, the free champion rotation will have done its job when that time comes, and players will have a champion and role that they’re genuinely passionate about and feel comfortable climbing with.