Skillshot vs. Targeted Abilities

In League of Legends and other MOBA games (and in lots of other games that aren’t MOBAs), there are targeted abilities and skillshots. Targeted abilities, naturally, target minions or champions and are guaranteed to hit once they’re cast. Skillshots, on the other hand, have no target and require some skill (hence the name) to line up and time right to get a hit. Skillshots come in two flavors: line and point. Line skillshots fire from your character to wherever your cursor is at the time of launch whereas point skillshots appear at your cursor’s position. Targeted abilities are easier to land but skillshots are WAY more impressive! While this article will mainly use League of Legends as an example, the same ideas can be applied to any other game requiring you to hit skillshots.

Learn Your Hitboxes

Hitboxes are used as part of the collision detection algorithm in video games. They are invisible zones around the character model which trigger additional events or sequences when hit by something like a spell or projectile. In FPS games, character models are surrounded by many hitboxes of various shapes and sizes so the game can tell precisely which body part was hit and act accordingly. In League of Legends (LoL) though, each unit is surrounded by a single circular hitbox that detects when a skillshot hits them. A champion’s hitbox does not encompass just their visible body. In fact, due to the 2D nature of LoL and the circular nature of the hitbox geometry, the hitbox extends a fractional amount around the champion in places and sometimes excludes obvious body parts. Champion hitboxes usually include part of their shadows as do some skillshot projectiles. So when aiming skillshots: don’t aim solely at the character model, but more precisely at the character’s feet (aim for the shadow on floating characters). Generally speaking, that’s where parts of the model’s shadow are included in their hitbox and represents the hitbox center more or less. This becomes imperative when fighting against champions with odd character models like Vel’Koz; besides floating, his flailing outer tentacles aren’t actually contained within his hitbox making him more of a challenge to hit. Hitboxes for champions in LoL come in three sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. Champions like Kennen or Annie use the small hitbox making them harder to hit with skillshots. Champions like Gragas or Cho’Gath use the large hitbox and therefor have a larger target area to hit. All other champions use the medium hitbox. Minions have their own hitbox which is generally a bit smaller than those used for champions.

Lead the Way

Skillshots take time to get to their final destination so you’re going to need to lead your targets. This is an aspect of skillshots that benefits from a lot of practice since each skillshot has a different speed and range. Load a custom map and try landing shots on moving minions or enemy bots. If you’re new to skillshots you’re probably be better off disabling smart cast as you will be able to see the trajectory, range, and width of the skillshot allowing you to plan each one more precisely.

Here are a few additional pointers to help you land those impressive skillshots:

Study Your Opponent – Skillshots aren’t called that because they’re easy. You need to lead your target to hit them so you need to have a sixth sense for what they’re going to do next. This comes with practice, observation, and a little intuition. Before firing your first skillshot of the match, study your enemy and watch how they move and react to attacks. Do they always juke in one direction? Do they use an ability to jump away predictably? It helps if you’ve played they champion that your opponent is using to understand their game play mechanics a bit more. Knowing your opponent and how the react to different situations will allow you to place that skillshot right where they are going to be and they won’t see it coming!

Be In Position – When firing off a skillshot be aware of the enemy’s position. In between the tower and the wall is a great spot to catch an enemy because there is very little room to dodge left or right. Another thing to watch for is minions. A lot of skillshots will hit minions so make sure the path to the target is clear or your shot may be intercepted by a minion before its intended target.

Use Snares/Stuns First – If the champion you are playing has a snare or stun ability in addition to the skillshot, use that first and make your life a lot easier. Hold’em in place and hit’em with a skillshot!

Learning how to skillshot effectively can really make a huge difference in your overall game performance and besides that, landing a wicked skillshot is just really satisfying! With some patience and practice you’ll find yourself hitting more and more.

Has this helped you? Have something to add?

Please comment below if you have any other suggestions regarding improving at hitting skillshots.