LoL Guide: Ability Breakdown

Published: Jun 1, 2017 - Last Updated: Feb 29, 2024

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In League of Legends, champions have powerful abilities that they can use to affect the battlefield. Each champion has a kit of five unique abilities. The first one is a passive. The passive takes effect once the game starts and continues working until the very end without any player input.

Next, there are three basic abilities—bound to Q, W, and E hotkeys by default. These abilities are a champion’s bread and butter, primary tools that he’ll be using to turn the tide of battle in his favor. At the game’s start, every champion has one skill point that she can invest into a basic ability of her choosing. As champions level up and gain more skill points, they can either unlock other basic abilities or power up the existing ones.

You can put a maximum of five skill points into any basic ability. However, League of Legends doesn’t allow players to invest all their skill points into a single ability, so you have to level up at least one other spell. That’s why the earliest you can max out any basic ability is level 9.

The final and the most impactful ability is a champion’s ultimate. Ultimates are bound to the R hotkey by default and act as the champion’s trump card—the strongest weapon in his arsenal. Ultimates take up a total of three skill points and can be leveled up at levels 6, 11, and 16.

Ability Traits

Abilities in League of Legends can have one or more of the following traits:

Combat and Utility

Every LoL ability belongs either to the combat or to the utility categories.

Combat abilities deal damage; apply crowd control to the target, thus weakening or outright disabling its fighting capabilities; cast beneficial buffs; or affect your enemies with crippling debuffs.

Utility abilities are a bit more varied. These include blinks and dashes that allow you to rapidly move around the map; healing spells that restore yours our your allies’ health; shields that absorb incoming damage; stealth that makes you invisible, invulnerability that lets you ignore incoming damage; or even untargetability that makes you… well, untargetable to spells and effects.

Skillshots and Point-and-clicks

Most League of Legends abilities are skillshots. Skillshots can take various forms—straight lines, cones, round areas—but the one thing they have in common is that you have to aim them. And naturally, this means that you can miss.

Skillshots create a unique dynamic where you can outplay stronger opponents by dodging their abilities and landing your own. Of course, not everything is a skillshot. There are simpler point-and-click abilities where all you have to do is select a target and press the corresponding hotkey to hit your mark.


Understanding how abilities work is key to success in LoL. Mastering a champion’s kit, keeping track of the enemy cooldowns and using abilities at exactly the right moment is what makes professional players stand above their competition. In the end, victory in League of Legends can be a single well-timed ultimate away.

ESB Staff

Since: August 10, 2015

At we are a group of independent journalists with one big passion: Esports. We've been following the industry and have contributed to its growth since 2015.

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