Analyzing Win Conditions
In order to understand what the win conditions of your team composition is, firstly we need to know what this term even means. I give credit to MonteChristo for this term, and it essentially is the series of steps needed to win the game. While the end goal is destroying the enemy nexus, there are a plethora of ways to achieve this goal.
1. Splitpushing: Done with an incredibly strong champion such as Jax or Zed, these champions go into a sidelane, most commonly bottom as it is farthest away from Baron. They obviously then push until 2nd tier or even inhib turret, killing anyone 1v1. But there is more to this than just walking bottom and pushing, something that is lost to many players, and that is warding.
The yellow circles represent areas that should be warded so as to prevent being swarmed by multiple enemy champions. This is both an individual and team effort. The team should facilitate the splitpusher by drawing as many members towards a completely different side of the map, *cough cough Baron* is a prime area. By constantly baiting the enemy either way, there is no clear way to take, as sending someone to deal with the splitpusher leads to either a death or baron taken. Shen is perhaps the most infamous of this "lose-lose" scenario, he will either take a turret and possibly an inhib, or he will TP away to his team and win a fight or take baron. The quintessential clip for me is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNW5JGGCPyk, where Shen just toys around with Fizz, keeping him interested long enough but never within range. Royal Club (or SHRC now) are masters of Baron and Dragon, as characteristic of their region, and played the game out beautifully.
2. TeamFighting: Perhaps the most spectacular method of winning from a viewer's perspective, it is not the most strategically clever, but it certainly has it merits. And after all, who doesn't like a wonderful chaining of CC and AOE damage?
For insane teamfighting, one should watch Samsung Blue but I want to do this clip. I confess I was inspired by watching Thorin's video(Right here), and so I must give credit where credit is due. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjuIRKMYEIw
At 39 minutes, Gambit are in a losing game. Being against a fed Kassadin and well farmed Renekton, the game looks bleak. This game has it all however, Diamond on Lee Sin, Genja on a safe ADC, Eddy on Thresh, Alex Ich on Kha, and the Swaglord Darien on a tank-constantly being caught out. Kha sees Kassadin use his R to merely farm a wave, and so he pounces. Lee Sin and Kha manage to kill Kassadin, while the rest of Gambit kill off Elise and Renekton, while blowing Annie's Flash. Jinx has no ultimate and so the game is swept on it's heels after Gambit miraculously win a fight 3-0 while down 3k gold.
But the excitement does not stop there, Gambit then wins another massive fight at 44 minutes. With Baron buff expiring seconds before, KT engage, with Kassadin instantly deleting Lucian. Yet Gambit somehow manage to get a clean ace with Lucian being their only casualty. I have more to talk about for team fighting, which I will address later in the article, but I might write an article specifically dedicated to teamfights and highlighting some incredible team fighting, and situations where it could have been played out much better.
3. Winions: While certainly a more cheesy way to win a game, it is arguably the most strategically in depth. Teams famous for winions or their wave control are Najin White Shield and CJ Blaze. The manipulation of the enemy minion waves is a delicate art that is not well known to many. By killing the caster minions and leaving the wave after that, it will slowly pile up to be a massive wave of allied minions who, if not checked, can destroy turret or inhibs in a matter of seconds. I choose to highlight this method, as I believe with the new Baron buff and reworked Banner of Command, that winions will become a much more viable and widely used method of winning the game. I sadly do not have clips, but I do not think they are needed in this section. The real concept to understand here is that these teams that have insane macromanage in such a micro thing like minion health are really a complete step ahead of the enemy. How can you win a game when your sidelanes are constantly pushed? Korean teams are in particular masters of this, so if you want to learn more about wave management, I would watch some VODs.
4. Skirmishing: Taking early fights with picks that have great early and mid game power spikes. Common champions for this are Corki, Thresh,Irelia and Jarvan. This kind of game is aggressive, where kills spill over and a great early game lead develops, taking the first dragon is paramount for the extra 6% stats. A great game to highlight this is KTA vs SSB, where the picks of Riven and Kha have snowballed incredibly hard. By not committing to a full teamfight, where the CC and AOE damage of SSB could turn the tides and instead fighting in small groups of 2 or 3-KTA is able to get a massive early lead. However, they do not fully use their team comp, and instead teamfight Samsung Blue-the best teamfighting team in Korea- and lose. This is a case where had KTA had not snowballed hard enough to simply overwhelm Blue with sheer stats, as long as Mundo getting incredibly tanky. Their win conditions were not played out as well, albeit Blue wouldn't simply let KTA keep splitpushing due to Mundo having TP over the ignite Riven. Had Riven taken teleport and still be able to solo Mundo, the game could have been very different but Blue were masters of strategy and abused the Riven's lack of Teleport. As a quick sidenote, snowballing is much harder now without Dragon giving global gold for each of it's deaths. Rather the 1st and 5th time taken are the most desired traits for teams that want to skirmish constantly around the map, but these picks are still incredibly strong for snowballing mid game teamfights. Well Played shows how powerful early snowballing can be, Irelia has been maxing E for even more gank potential, Rengar has been ganking nonstop, and all of this culminates into a Tristana who has lategame items at the midgame point. She is even able to solo Zed out. SHRC knew that they had a good lanegame with Zilean and Tristiana, but in spectatuclar fashion get a massive global lead across all lanes. The best moment of the game is the play at bottom, when Rengar ganks, Ryze TP's and dies. TSM committed so many summoners and champions in that area, only to all die-which basically sealed the midgame for SHRC. Uz1 slacks domestically, but he is a monster at worlds and SHRC manage to seal the game in short fashion after some incredible mechanics from SHRC.
Without a doubt one of the most famous poke champions, the strategy is to lob some skillshots at the enemy who is near an objective-namely turrets. Picks like Ezreal, Caitlyn, Jayce, Rumble, and Ziggs are just nightmares with poke. The most important thing about pokes comps is to NOT be drawn into a 5v5 fight, rather they have short skirmishes before disengaging and throwing more poke. Warding the team's flanks is mandatory so as to prevent the team from being collapsed upon with no escape routes. Coordinated with buffs such a blue buff for Athene's rush Nidalee, the enemy team is under a constant barrage of skill shots that shred hp from half a screen away.
The yellow circles are areas that should be warded when sieging turrets (black squares) so as to prevent the enemy team's flank. Picks such as Janna are even more highly valued as they have extraordinary disengage via Talisman or Ults should proper warding not be done, or in the case that the enemy team flash engages with Cataclysm, Solar Flare, etc. This style was much more popular in the start of Season Four, but has died down greatly as poke teams who fall behind early cannot do anything as lose the game rather quickly.
Ok, So Now What?
The above concepts of winning the game should now be placed into other games, games where the playing out was not correct or could have been executed much more cleanly. The recent IEM is still fresh in many people's minds, so I will highlight a game from the final. Gambit vs CLG Game 4
1.Taken straight from the game, we can see some things on how the fights should be played out simply by pressing TAB. Firstly, the only member of Gambit to have MR is Lee Sin, and it isn't even a Locket, instead being a Hexdrinker. That is it, no other member has MR, meaning that Ori with her 3 core items should essentially be doing true damage. Secondly, Caitlyn has all 4 core items, with the addition of a QSS for extra safety. Janna has Mikael's and Zeke's, Jax build tanky, and Nunu has Locket. Go watch the game now, fast fowarding if you so choose until the final teamfight.
Gambit knew that if Oriana was left untouched, she would crush their team, and so they focused her heavily-getting her in a Sona ulti, Renekton W stun, and finished off via Graves Ult. With her now out of the picture, the armor stacking was incredibly useful and Gambit closes out the game by being smart about their focus target due to sub optimal itemization. As to what CLG could have done to play the fight better, it is ridiculous to say "Don't get hit by Sona R", but what can be changed is the usage of abilities. Janna should have used every tool in her disposal to save Oriana, ulting away Renekton and disrupting via Q, but she was in base at the time-further complicating the fight. If Ori manages to live, CLG has the advantage now. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but this is just an example of how proper team fighting can over come some absolutely incredibly situations. I chose this situation as it highlights that CLG did not know their own win conditions, a simple press of TAB would show them at Gambit had no MR and so Ori would be their most important member. Failure to play around this knowledge (if they had it) is what truly seperates good teams from great teams. If Faker was put in such a scenario, you can bet your house he would have his entire team peeling for him, as he has insane damage potential. The next clip cannot be more different from this one.
2. A personal favorite of mine, it comes from Masters 2014. Samsung, in typical style, decides to field a rather unusual team to further "style" on the opposition. I could not find a more perfect clip of a team working in perfect unison. The video does the work for me however, so enjoy Samsung team fighting in it's old glory days IM vs. Samsung.
This video shows how clean swept a fight can be if approached and executed properly, it has the wonderful 3 zones of a fight in easily identifiable fashion as well as glorious synchronization between the music and team fighting.
There are many ways to win in League of Legends, yet it seems that many teams always mention "Oh our comp didn't have engage or X or Y" and that is why we lost". There is no need to have engage in a comp, if you can play around it via poke, splitpushing, or just having an insanely snowballed early game.
Hopefully this article has at least reminded readers of crucial League of Legend concepts, as well as provided some great games to rewatch. I will be working on an article that has some of the best executed teamfights, with some brief analysis tagged along. Reminder to follow me on Twitter @SS_Adrian1996 and I will gladly take suggestions for future articles. Thank you for reading.