Role vs Position

Bot Lane Ziggs

While I am very critical of the weak state of supports and think the concept of supports needs to be reworked if Riot does not want Auto-fill to be a synonym of Support, I think ADC is one of the most misunderstood roles in the game. Worse yet in my experience I find ADC players are just as misguided on their position and role as outsiders are. I largely blame Riot for creating confusionĀ  around the role by enforcing the meta too strongly.

Today I want to explore your Role vs your Position in league of legends and why it is important to be able to distinguish the two.

Role vs Position

For the sake of this post ill be distinguishing and defining role and position.

Position:- The area of the map that is designated to you at the start of the game. Officially the terms now are Top, Jungle, Middle, Bottom lane and Support.

Role:- Role your what you do for the team. Are you a damage dealer, a tank, a flanker, engage, peeler, split pusher etc.

For example: Zed may usually be a mid laner but can very commonly be a split pusher. While split pushing is most commonly associated with top laners and Zed can actually also play top lane his most common position is middle while a common role he plays in the mid to late game is a split pusher.

For another quick example, note that I refer to ADC as a role, not a position in the opening paragraph. This is because ADC is NOT a position. The position is titled Bot lane. Regardless of your sentiment to other champions playing roles other than ADC in the Bot lane, you must be able to understand this fact.

Role and Position evolve across the duration of a match. Role becomes far more important and volatile as the match continues while Position becomes less important.

Note* Do not mix my usage of Position with positioning. Your positioning always matters.

Why does it matter?

It matters because while many players already understand what position means, roles are less clear. People too often permanently tie a role to a position. When players do this they often form strong opinions of how the position and role should be played. This closes their mind to other strategies, leading them to be more toxic to players who do not share their views. Further it means they are less prepared when playing against different picks and strategies than they are used to. Simply put, players will never be as good as they can be if they cant understand the two.

The most common misunderstanding would be ADC and bot lane. What is important to understand is the purpose of an ADC in bot lane and what role it provides for the team. If you can understand that and the nature of bot lane, any pick that brings similar strengths to the team can replace the ADC.

Ziggs is the best example right now. Ziggs provides sustained, ranged, safe magic damage, siege and wave clear. What is the difference between him and an ADC? He has higher mana dependence and low physical damage. If his power curve is suitable for the team and bottom lane then there is no reason not to pick him. Ziggs can successfully bot lane and though he can not ‘ADC’ he can fill the role of a wave clearer, sieger, and sustained DPSer. Physical damage is really not a requirement.

Ziggs fills very similar roles to the ADC and and has no major inherit weakness in the bot lane role. Because of this, he is a strong pick. I personally hold the opinion that most long range mages can fill bot lane to a degree. It all depends on match up.


Position and Role are not the same thing. Position has more to do with the location of the map you are expected to start out on and control. Role has more to do with what functions you provide beyond just the position you fill. Are you a split pusher, tank, engage, disengage or siege tool etc.

Understanding the difference will help you be prepared on the rift for allies and enemies that seek to mix and match roles with positions.


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