How to become a better shotcaller
Disclaimer – During the following days I’ll be launching Raise‘s Kickstarter campaign. I’m overwhelmed with the insane amount of work so this and the following articles will be short ones. I’ll continue with the Org structure article when the insane workload ends (hopefully soon!)
The biggest issue I find in communication is when players think they communicate properly but they don’t. This leads to many conflicts.
A typical scenario is:
- Mid says “X” to his jungler and expects him to do “Y”
- The jungler understood “Z” instead of “X” and doesn’t do “Y”
- Mid, jungler or both die.
- Mid, jungler or both tilt from the face of earth.
Then they analyze the play and both say: “if you would have done this we would have killed them!” “I told you to do X, why didn’t you do it!?”
From my point of view, if you want someone to do something, you need to make sure that he has understood it. So in this case, it’s the fault of the shotcaller.
It could be an issue of game knowledge, matchup understanding, map awareness or bad shotcalling. Usually it’s a combination of a few factors, but the only factor that you 100% control is what you say.
How to become a great shotcaller
The biggest factor in shotcalling is the willingness to do it. Even if you start off being terrible, if you want to improve you’ll put in the effort.
I’ve worked with a few elite shotcallers (Yellowstar or Spirit), a few good ones and many bad ones. They all have different traits but everyone follows the same steps to improve.
It’s a tough and slow process but everyone starts at the beginning.
1. Look for a “mentor”
“Good artists copy, great artists steal” – Pablo Picasso
Mentor is in quotations because he won’t know you are learning from him. Lol is a team game so it’s likely that one of the other 4 players shotcall better than you. He doesn’t have to be great, just better than you. If there’s no one around you that shotcalls better, play with different people until you find him and play with him.
Once you’ve found someone that shotcalls better than you, record the game with Plays.tv or a similar tool. You need to watch the VOD and listen to the communication at the same time.
“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” – Lord Kelvin
Write down every sentence your “mentor” said and analyze it. To analyze it we first need to understand the structure of communication in Lol.
Shotcalling revolves around 4 categories: Giving information, commanding, creating plans and making questions.
1) Give Information
- About yourself: “We have bot priority here” or “I’m on my way”
- About the enemy: “SS here, Karma is at you” or “Karma no flash, no heal”
- About vision: yours “You will get vision around mid soon” or enemies “They warded here again”
2) Command your team
“Go on syndra, go on syndra” or “We walk in bot, we hard commit in bot”
3) Create plans – When they X we Y
“When they overpush just drop a ward here” or “They will clear it but we can contest the vision. We need vision here again, we close the gap and get vision here and make a play for bot tower”
4) Make questions
“Can you catch the wave at tower so I can reset?” or “Do you need reset here?”
Here is an example of how the analysis would look like:
A sentence usually is part of multiple categories. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what goes on which category, the goal of this analysis is to learn.
Once you’ve categorized all sentences look for patterns. Try spotting what communication is inefficient, we can always say more with fewer words.
3. Copy & Repeat
“If they can’t repeat it, they didn’t get it”
Now it’s time to implement what you’ve learnt. Practice, practice and practice. Try integrating the knowledge you’ve acquired and analyze yourself on frequent basis.
Once you feel you’ve learnt all you can from your “mentor” look for another one and repeat the whole process.