League of Legends

What Does 'Instalock' Mean in League of Legends?

We've put together an in-depth explanation on what it means to "instalock" in League of Legends.
We've put together an in-depth explanation on what it means to "instalock" in League of Legends. / Riot Games

We've put together an in-depth explanation on what it means to "instalock" in League of Legends.

Games and genres with long-running histories tend to accrue plenty of slang concerning in-game behavior—both positive and negative. "Instalock" is one of these terms with a reputation that tends to change depend on who is asked. Below, we've explained everything there is to know about instalocking in League of Legends.

What Does "Instalock" Mean in League of Legends

A player who "instalocks" is one who immediately locks in a specific character upon coming to the character selection screen. They tend to choose this character automatically, regardless of team composition, input from other team members, map choice, or desire of someone else to play the character.

Instalocking prevents another player from picking that character, as well, effectively locking out a superior player from their primary choice.

There are quite a few reasons why one would instalock a character in League. These include:

  • Character is the one they play the best.
  • Character is the one they know inside and out.
  • Character is their favorite.
  • Character is believed to be over-powered in the current patch/meta.
  • They just really want to play this character.
  • They believe they are the best at this character (regardless of evidence to the contrary).

The reputation of instalocking is usually negative—though some players will claim they don't mind or have no opinion. Others have admitted to being guilty of doing it for any of the reasons listed above.

There isn't a surefire way to avoid instalockers in matches, unfortunately. Like matchmaking, the chances of ending up in a lobby with someone who moves to instalock Warwick is entirely random.