I should not have been anywhere the Blue Buff, but in Solo Queue you always have to put the team first – that’s what a good support does. My team just happened to consist of an Amumu, so I knew that an invade was a very real possibility. As it would turn out, an invasion was the least of my worries.
My champion, Zyra, had barely put her roots down near our Blue Buff when I first saw our Zed venture up into the other team’s jungle. Ok, I thought, he’s just going to take a quick look around and come back. Nope, before I could say anything, he had decided to face check up into the bush below the other team’s Red Buff. I’m not sure if any of us wanted him to find someone there…but he did.
I know what you are thinking, and I was thinking the same thing. The other team was probably getting ready to invade, and Zed had just found them all in sitting in their bush. I feared the worst, but instead watched as my top laner came face to face with the enemy top laner, a Xin Zhao. “Oh thank goodness,” I remember thinking. “Now Zed can just trade damage and walk away.” Well he did trade damage, but he did not walk away.
Zed had decided that he was going to fight this Xin to the death, and Xin had the exact same thoughts. I would like to tell you that I was busy trying to calculate who would win this fight. The truth is that I was just watching the duel in stunned silence, along with probably everyone else in the game. What snapped me hard out of that silence was when I realized that Zed was not going to win the fight, and he was not going to run.
A level one Zyra without boots does not run very fast, but i willed my champion north towards the battle. Just as Xin struck the death blow on my ally, I flashed into the bush and landed my snare. Xin Flashed away as my snare expired, but as I watched with baited breath, my last auto attack chased after him for the kill. Situation saved.
You would think I would have felt happy; I just remember feeling relief. Solo Queue is a delicate balance of egos and momentum. A First Blood given up for nothing can easily create the kind of doubts and unhappiness that would lose a lane, and ultimately the game. By picking up the kill, and getting my fallen comrade an assist, I maintained that delicate balance. I made sure Zed could declare “worth” and move on with his game. A game we would later win.
Next time you’re sitting around, waiting for minions to spawn, remember to keep your eyes on what your teammates are getting up to. Who knows, maybe you will also be called upon to make a sudden play. A little bit of map awareness, combined with a good Flash and an OK skill shot, can easily mean the difference between suffering defeat and averting a crisis.