Kill more minions
Ok, maybe it isn't that cut and dry, but that's why no content creators ever tell new players about how important farming properly is. It isn't an attractive answer; it doesn't sell. Youtube is full of videos about quick tricks from challenger players on how to improve, but in practice, they are mostly just useless gimmicks or a high-level concept that the average player won’t be able to implement. I can’t say how many bronze players I've seen who knows how to do every single animation cancel and wallhop on Riven, but get four farm per minute and can't understand why they lose. Today, I’ll remedy that and go into the not so sexy details of how to win the farm game.
To start out, for the absolute beginners, what is farming and why is it so crucial? Farming is the act of applying the killing blow to a minion, gaining a small amount of gold for it. Although every individual minion isn't worth much, it adds up incredibly fast. As of patch 8.7, melee minions are worth 21 gold and caster minions are worth 14. Cannons start out being worth 60, but every cannon is worth four more gold than the one before it. This means that, if you get the last hit on all the minions on a normal wave, the wave will be worth 105 gold. For perspective, a kill is worth about 300 gold on average. This means that three normal waves, 18 minions, is one kill. When cannons are added, since then kills are worth even less compared to farm. By the time mid- to late-game starts, a cannon can be worth almost as much as an entire wave by itself.
Most players know what farm is and why it is important but they just can’t seem to get a good amount of farm-per-minute. “Bronze has more teamfights”, they say, or “I keep getting zoned too hard in lane.” What these statements suggest is that these low-level players have more of a problem understanding wave management and macro play, which is understandable. The decisions a player makes while farming is split into two phases, during laning phase, and after laning phase.
During the Laning phase, the main two reasons people miss their farm are from being zoned off, or from just miss timing. The key to solving both of these problems is, sadly, incredibly boring to hear. You just have to play more games. Most of the time, when a player is getting zoned off of farm and missing minions, t is because they do not understand their matchup. Some matchups, especially in top lane, can be incredibly oppressive, and there is nothing they can do to not miss a lot of farm. In the majority of cases, however, the matchup is completely manageable, or even favorable but players let opponents get the upper hand anyway. Knowing how to play any specific matchup just comes down to character knowledge and how many times you have played that matchup. That being said, even when players do understand their matchups, their strong and weak points in the game relative to their opponents, they don't know how to maximize their advantages and build a farm lead through wave management.
Wave management is the act of deliberately controlling how much extra damage you inflict onto the enemy minion wave in order to control how your minions and enemy minions will interact. As far as farming is concerned, there are two main types of wave management, a freeze, and a shove. Shoving a wave is when you continually auto-attack and inflict damage on enemy minions, making sure to get last hits. This means your minions will survive and the enemy’s won't, moving to the point where the two waves collide closer to the enemy’s tower. This is useful to force your minions under the enemy tower, making it more difficult for the enemy to farm, or, if the enemy isn’t there, killing your own minions so the enemy can’t farm them. Having the minions so far up also buys you time to leave your lane to go back to base, ward, or try for a quick roam to another lane, because it will take longer than normal for the wave to push back to your tower.
Freezing is the opposite of shoving, the goal is to inflict as little damage to the wave as possible, in many cases even waiting until the very last second before a minion dies to farm it. Freezing is all about freezing the wave in place. Because minion waves by themselves will naturally stay at about the same spot, by inflicting minimal damage you maintain the balance and the wave will stay in roughly the same spot. You generally want to freeze a wave just outside the range of your tower. This provides you with safety because you will always be near your tower while farming if the wave is frozen, and it allows you to pressure your opponent if you are ahead. When the wave is frozen at your tower your opponent has to walk far up into the lane, exposing themselves to ganks. You can also position yourself between your opponent and the minions so they can’t farm.
By combining matchup knowledge and wave management, you can build up a very big farm lead during the laning phase, allowing you to go into the mid game with more gold than your opponent and be more impactful than them. Of course, practice is king, and knowing the tactics is very different from understanding how to use them. Once the laning phase is over is when people really start it fall behind on their farm per minute. A lot of players can keep up early on, but find it incredibly difficult to find farm when they are constantly forced to play around objectives and teamfights. The mid and late game can mostly also be categorized into two parts, splitting, and grouping.
If you play jungle or support, I’m not too positive why you are this far into a guide about farming as it's neither of these roles’ jobs to farm, but you should be grouping at almost all times. A few junglers are good split pushers, and when it isn't super late game warding alone as a support is ok, but for the most part, supports and jungelers should be grouped. As far as laners are concerned, if there is a major objective like an infernal dragon, baron, or elder dragon up then any laner without global mobility or teleport should be grouped. Otherwise, laners should be grouped when a fight is expected to break out, but it isn't as necessary. When farming as a group, safety is more important than specifically who gets the gold, because of this, the farm usually goes to whoever has the longest range waveclear. If positioning is less important, the ADC should have priority on the CS and the rest goes to the better scaling solo laner.
Splitting is where map awareness comes into play. Deciding when to split is mostly a matter of map awareness. If there is a major objective up and you don't have a way to get there from the lane you want to split in, then you can't split. If you can, you need to be watching the map as you push the wave, and not be afraid to lose a little farm to help out your team. Split pushing and advanced wave management is a whole other article in and of itself, so right now we are going to keep to the basics of how to catch waves to maximize your farm. When you are deciding where to go to farm for a bit while you wait for an objective to come that requires you to group, look for giant clusters of enemy minions. This sounds incredibly simple, but I can't say how many times I've seen a player turn up the chance to kill three waves worth of minions that have all clumped up on top of each other in order to grab three or four minions in another lane that was pushed toward the enemy already because they wanted extra chip damage on an enemy tower. Until you understand higher levels of split pressure and wave manipulation, just keep it simple and catch the fat waves before they hit your tower, then go back to grouping.
Farming is not exciting, and it is not a quick trick you can implement into your gameplay and see immediate results, but it is the most consistent and effective way to have more gold and carry harder. No one tells you to prioritize it, because that is not what brings in the views, so here I am, telling you the real truth. No amount of mechanical skill or time spent in the practice tool will be able to replace the power you get from solid, boring old fundamentals.