Cheater Recall: One Strategy for Lane Domination

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29 July 2020

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If you’ve never heard of Cheater Recall or you’ve only heard about it but are looking for more details on what it is and how to do it, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe you’ve been doing it for a while but didn’t know it had a name. This, relatively new League of Legends wave manipulation strategy comes with one goal only: dominating the lane. The Cheater Recall technique was coined by the equally controversial and popular LCK commentator, Nick “LS” De Cesare. It soon became highly popular, especially with high ELO players. 

The Definition

Cheater Recall can be defined as a wave manipulation technique used in the early laning phase. Mostly done in the side lanes for the first three waves, it relies on gaining a huge minion majority and then crashing it by rapidly clearing the enemy’s cannon wave by their turret. If you did it correctly, everyone should be able to come back to lane with no experience loss. 

In other words, Cheater Recall can be explained as recalling on the third minion wave to enable a purchase that will secure you an advantage in your lane. 

Creator Explanation

Who is better at explaining a strategy than its creator?

Creator Explanation
Image via Gamepedia

In LS’s explanation, Cheater Recall means the following:

Typically crashing third, sometimes the fourth wave with such a sizeable minion wave that it allows you to get a recall off for free and come back with an item and then arrive at the lane being in a very good spot. 

If you manage to do it while also simultaneously having traded with your opponents prior to recalling, you basically just win the lane phase. There is nothing they can do, especially if they don’t have TP.

The fourth wave crash is usually if you mess up the third wave crash. It’s different from slow pushing. 

Cheater Recall Step by Step Guide

Now that you know what Cheater Recall is, it’s time to learn how to do it properly. First off, when you decide you want to do perform it, you have to know where the enemy jungler is. Not knowing the jungler’s position might expose you to an early enemy gank. 

As we’ve already mentioned, there are mostly three waves to manipulate.

First wave

With the arrival of the first minion wave, start pushing slowly (not fully) towards your opponent’s tower. While doing so, your wave has to stay healthier than the other one.

Knowing the location of the enemy jungler will help you anticipate potential ganks. If there’s any chance a gank might be approaching, you can always use a ward to be sure. 

Second wave

At the moment the second wave comes, the minions should be located around the lane center. Hitting the first creep in the second wave should help you level up before the opponent. This way, you will be able to play more aggressively. You will then be able to harass the enemy if they try to come near to farm. 

Third wave

The goal by clearing the third wave is simple: killing all the minions as quickly as possible, including cannon creeps. For most champions, this wave is extremely difficult to push, since the cannon is very tanky. Time is the key here. Since it will take a lot of time for the opponent to push your cannon wave, you are able to use this time to base, buy items and return to your lane. After you’re done clearing the enemy minions, it is important that your creeps go under the enemy tower.

Then. it’s time to recall. It doesn’t matter if you skipped a few minions. You should still have about 400 gold. When you come back to lane, you have a significant advantage over your opponent. 

This pattern will reset after the cannon, making the next wave number 1 again. 

Third wave
Image via Dignitas

How to Counter a Cheater Recall

When successfully performing Cheater Recall, that will result in a number of benefits. That includes:

  • Your health and mana levels
  • You have control over the wave
  • Purchasing an extra item

But, when doing it, you have to know what to expect from the enemy. How can the enemy react to your Cheater Recall? They will have difficulties matching your recall since the wave with a cannon minion is pushed towards their tower. By the time they clear it, the wave will be towards your tower, and you will be able to set up a freeze. The enemy then has two options:

  • Staying in lane and directing the large wave towards your tower 
  • Recalling and returning to lane with gold and experience losses

With the opponent being low level and without access to all his spells and mana, you are coming back to your lane with minimal losses. This way you are back to your lane with purchased items, without using your cooldowns or losing your creeps or gold. Of course, you can lose one or two creeps, but not a lot. 

Choose an item your champion needs, whether it’s a Long Sword, Doran’s Blade, Doran’s Ring, sustain items, health potions or wards. Any of these will be a huge advantage later on. Even if the enemy has Teleport and decides to use it to stop you from freezing, he still has one Summoner Spell less than you, since you did not use your Teleport to return to lane. 

Of course, the opponent can counter Cheater Recall. The best way to do so is by stopping it before it begins. That means stopping them from getting the initial push advantage. Another way to stop them is by stopping the enemy’s recall. That can be done if the opponent has a long range ability. Finally, the enemy can pull the third way from hitting their tower, risking losing health. 

Top, Mid or Bot? 

The best place to try out the Cheater Recall strategy is top lane. Since this is a 1v1 lane with both champions mostly using Teleport, getting an extra item is equal to winning the matchup. 

Bot lane is also a good place for this strategy, but since it’s mostly a 2v2 situation, you will have to coordinate with your lane partner and make sure no one stays behind. 

The shortest lane on the map, mid lane, is the hardest place to try this strategy out. Another flaw to the plan here is that so many mid lane champions are mages. Their AoE abilities can be used to negate your pushes in the first and second wave. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but it’s definitely riskier. 

When it comes to champions that may have some advantages for this strategy, those would be the ones with a good wave clear. Such champions include Twisted Fate, Ziggs, Xerath or Vel’Koz. 

Always keep in mind that wave control goes beyond just shoving and freezing. Just like these, the Cheater Recall strategy is nothing revolutionary, but a tool to help you create lane advantage. It is far away from a perfect move, but if done correctly, you will thank yourself later in the game.

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