Auto Attack On vs. Off – What’s Better?

Options are always great for the end-user. You see it all the time with the everyday choices we make in real life. Soup or salad? Windows or Mac? Strawberry or chocolate? We encounter daily dilemmas like these in-game too. Which champion do you feel like playing today? There’s one question that’s often overlooked, though. 

Maybe it’s because we already have our set-in-stone preferences. Auto attack on or off? Both carry some distinct advantages that offer something beneficial, depending on the playstyle. So let’s take a look at some of the key distinctions between these two.

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The Importance of APM

There are a couple of things we need to cover before getting into detail with the advantages of both styles. In the gaming community, APM is referred to when people mean actions per minute. Like the name suggests, it is how much you can do with your character in any given minute. This doesn’t only apply for League of Legends, but to most games as well. This is important because it roughly translates to how fast you can react to things happening. 

APM also – again, this is a rough translation – helps you position and dish out spells in an efficient manner, as you’re able to maneuver quickly. Naturally, you’re bound to how quickly your champion moves, but for skillshots and reactive repositioning like dashes and flash, this can be a lifesaver. 

Combo-based champions like Lee Sin also benefit a lot from this compared to more passive heroes. Recently though, League has seen a shift towards rewarding high risk moves in contrast to more passive, point-and-click-style gameplay.

You will often see high level players constantly clicking around compared to lower elo players, even during the laning stage. It’s very similar to keeping your momentum up when you exercise and the adrenaline it gives. It also keeps you mobile, even when you’re under tower just trying to soak up some experience.

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Auto Attack On: For the Majority

If we’re looking at it on paper, it’s safe to say that leaving auto attack on has more advantages than leaving it off, with very little downsides. There are some practical uses as well, which we’ll get into later. The way that auto attack works is, when someone hits you, you automatically retaliate. Because of this, your champion naturally moves towards the source of damage. This can reposition you, so you’ll be forced to either press S to stop or just click around to constantly keep moving. 

This is good for APM for the most part, and generally keeps your opponents guessing where you’ll be, which is a boon especially when your opponents have skill shots. This is invaluable to bot lane players, as it is often more punishing there when you do get caught out due to your predictable movements.

A practical use for auto attack is also to check if the brush is warded. If you’re confused, let me explain. If a brush is warded, it means minions will have vision of you. Walk to the edge of the brush and see if they attack you. The projectiles coming from caster or ranged minions are sometimes difficult to see. If your champion retaliates, it means the brush is warded.

You could make the argument that melee minions naturally walk towards you if they have vision, but during the laning phase, they’re often busy attacking your own minions. This could lead to accidentally pushed lanes and could potentially cause you to lose wave control. It goes without saying that the brush check method should be used situationally. What this means is you shouldn’t overextend, especially when the enemy jungler paths aren’t warded.

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Auto Attack Off: For the Precision Junkies

While leaving auto attack on does indeed have it’s pros, leaving it off may have advantages too, but it’s not for everyone. For one, you won’t have to keep on clicking S everytime something hits you. While this might seem like a disadvantage, it’s useful for the types of players who make calculated, deliberate decisions, especially with regards to positioning. 

Some players feel that auto attack off is better, simply because they want total control of their champion and don’t want said champions doing anything they don’t command them to. In a way, this is a form of training, since it keeps you on your toes. Oftentimes, slight deviations from calculations or muscle memory causes skillshots to miss, and it can be frustrating when you realize it’s because your champion moved from the position you expected him or her in. Because of this, it is situationally good for champions that aren’t too mobile and have skillshots. This prevents you from being put out of position.

Leaving auto attack on may also cause some problems for ambushes. A specific example of this could be Teemo, who – while a mobile champion – still requires you to stand still when outside of a brush. It isn’t an uncommon scenario, but it could still happen in practice. Sometimes just planning an early brush ambush could also be ruined because of auto attack being left on.

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Final Thoughts

In the end, there isn’t really one style that’s objectively better than the other; rather, there is an option that is better suited for what you want to accomplish. You could compare this to driving an automatic vehicle vs. a manually controlled one. The former is a bit more convenient, and you relinquish some control over to the system in exchange for that convenience. 

It works most of the time and it’s one less thing to worry about. The latter gives you more control for precise and premeditated movements. If you’re the type of player who prefers to make use of both advantages and disadvantages, you also have the option of assigning it to a hotkey through your settings tab. 

So what do you think? We’re curious to know which works better for you. Do you think it should be kept on or off? Let us know in the comments below!

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