What is Proxy Farming
Proxy farming is clearing an enemy wave behind the enemy turret. This is usually done between the first and second outer turrets on the side lanes, since there is more space to safely farm between the turrets.
By doing this, it forces the opposing laner to make a choice: either receive your minion wave (under the tower or by tanking it so it doesn't hit the tower), or chase you down while you are away from your turret at the cost of potentially losing gold and XP.
Proxy farming can be a great tool for creating lane priority and map pressure in the early-mid game. Not only can it free yourself for roams to other lanes or taking objectives, but it can also draw aggro from the enemy jungle and/or mid laner, allowing your team to potentially take objectives or set up plays on the other side of the map. It can also be used to set up better recalls for yourself, keep your opponent in lane if they are a potential roaming threat, or make the enemy laner lose gold if they struggle to CS under turret.
It's not a strategy without risk however. Done incorrectly, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to getting caught and killed by your enemy laner away from the safety of your own turret, and opening yourself up to ganks from other enemy champs.
Considering this, there are quite a few requirements for a champion to effectively proxy farm:
- A good wave clear. This is clear-cut - you need to be able to clear the minion wave before the enemy laner can reach you or before other enemy champions can respond and roam to kill you.
- Good sustain, since you'll be tanking the enemy minion wave without the buffer of your own minions.
- Very good mobility to escape potential ganks. Movement speed, ability to pass over walls, summoner spells (Ghost/Flash) are all essential.
- And, perhaps the most important thing: strong vision control and map awareness. This needs to be a concious decision and you have to be aware of where people are on the map and how they will respond to you proxy farming. If you do this on autopilot you will end up feeding.
The number of champions who can employ this strategy is limited. Singed is the most popular example of a champ that can utilise proxy farming since his kit is perfect for this. He clears waves quickly with his Poison Trail, can get away easily because of his CC/Ultimate/Ghost, and what is the number one rule of LoL? You don't chase a Singed.
It's not just Singed who can do this however, some toplaners can also fit these criteria, with or without the help of wave clear and lifesteal items like Tiamat and Vampire Sceptre. Examples are Renekton, Tryndamere, Riven, Fiora, Kled, and Camille. When can Proxy Farming be useful?
- Establishing lane priority. Top lane can sometimes feel like one of the least impactful roles espcially if all the action is happening at the other side of the map. Proxy farming allows you to create your own agency on the map by gaining deep vision, roaming to other lanes/objectives, counter jungling, or drawing pressure from other lanes.
- Setting a good recall to reset and buy items (with a small temporary gold lead), without potentially losing minions.
- Snowballing a lead. Some champs are tricky to dive under turret because of their CC and survivabilty even when ahead. Other times, the enemy laner might build armor to counter you in lane and stop you from killing them. Proxying waves can allow you to use your lead to impact other parts of the map.
- Farm safely. This might seem paradoxical, but with some heavy poke matchups, if an opponent hits a power spike or if an enemy top laner gets too ahead, it can be sometimes safer to farm away from them. It can also prevent them from getting plates from your outer turret and snowballing their lead on other lanes.
There are a lot of things to consider when commiting to proxy farming, again it NEEDS to be a concious decision. Because of the greater risk of dying, it takes much more though that standing in the lane and placing the occasional ward in the river bushes.
Here's a checklist of things to consider whether or not proxy farming is the correct action:
Proxying waves after the laning phase
- Do I need to proxy farm? Denying the enemy laner CS/XP through freezing, or slow pushing waves into the enemy turret to set up dives/take tower plating are much safer and consistent ways to snowball a lead and should be the preferred option. Some champs like Nasus or Dr. Mundo may have an easier time farming under turret and all you're achieving is helping them scale. Also, consider what can be done with the lane priority - is it worth the risk of death for something like placing a deep ward?
- Do I know, or do I have a good assumption of where the enemy jungler and mid laner (and potentially support) are? Pay attention to the map and pings, set up deep wards in the enemy jungle at entrances or river, consider objective timers (Is the dragon up? Is my team in a position take advantage if the enemy jungler does come?)
- Am I able to escape if a fight does occur? Have an escape route planned in your head (e.g. head to blast cone or warded bush). Escape abilities like dashes can have long cooldowns in the early levels without cooldown reductions, so take care not to use them freely. Champions with heavy CC might have you stuck away from your lane longer than you anticipated. You may also need to have your summoner spells available.
- Does the enemy team have global ultimates or teleports which can invoke a 2 v 1 scenario? E.g. Pantheon, Galio, TF, Shen
- How mobile is the enemy junglemid laner? Champions like Warwick, Hecarim, Lee Sin, and Talon will be able to reach you quickly and are hard to escape from.
Proxy farming isn't just limited to the laning phase.
For example, a more advanced use of proxying waves is to kill enemy caster minions while leaving the melee minions. Since the enemy wave wlll do less damage to your own minion wave, it creates a 'superwave' of allied minions which can either do massive damage to a T2/T3 tower, or forces an enemy champ to clear the waves. If timed correctly, you can end up with a man advantage for objectives and teamfights, or push two lanes at once by yourself.
Another example which has helped me in some matches is to proxy farm a mid lane wave behind the enemy team while they are ARAMing or sieging a tower. This is especially useful if your team is under major threat of being dove under tower, your team loses in a 5v5 team fight, or if they have baron buff and they are looking to end in only one lane.
I have only just reached Platinum in my first season of ranked playing Tryndamere. Learning how to proxy farm, which at first involved a lot of careless deaths, but then being able to implement it correctly has helped me climb and carry games from the top lane. It's allowed me to snowball and gain leads even in games where my jungler completely ignores the top lane, or when the enemy laner rushed tabis and armor, essentially preventing from killing them (or even outtrading me). I hope this guide helps you climb and teaches you a new option for top lane wave management.