LCS Essentials - Compositions: Team Fighting
The first week of LCS is over and congrats to that team that did good and got the towers to win games :D (I’m writing this before the LCS, so whatever, congrats to TSM or something)! I am finally back after a short hiatus and here to discuss particular types of compositions. First, we’re looking at team fighting comps, what they can do, how they work, and how to construct them. We’re about to cover a lot, so pull your handy job notebooks out and get ready! Or just bookmark this for later, whatever, I don’t care...
Fuck the ENTIRE Enemy Team
This is probably the funnest and most satisfying style of play to watch; the Wombo Combo. These are the type of teams that make up all the neat Silver 3 Reddit YouTube videos that everyone upvotes instead of articles like this. The way this comp works is by having ultimates that do massive amounts of CC and/or damage when combined. The goal is to kill the entire enemy team before they can even respond, or at least automatically win a fight through the opponent’s bad positioning. First, let’s look at a few champion combinations that can achieve something like this:
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is an abundance of AOE ultimates that can be combined to devastate the entire enemy team. You can even create entire comps that revolve around ultimates that can damage every opponent at once: Malphite, Nunu, Orianna, Morgana, and Miss Fortune for example.
Now that we know how to make these comps and what their purpose is, let’s look at how to use them (and no I don’t mean “JUST HIT R LOOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLO”). Wombo Combo comps, like the previously mentioned, require at least a few of the enemy players to be grouped close to you. The ideal arena for this is typically in open areas, where you don’t have walls dividing the fight, and can force confrontations; usually around Dragon, Baron, and turrets, AKA anywhere that allows you to push an objective and force a response from a majority, if not all, of the opposing team. Once in these situations, it’s just a matter of Cha-Cha Sliding around the objective until the opponents make a misstep for you to capitalize on.
“If I can just pick one of these comps, push objectives, and kill the enemy team when show up, why doesn’t everyone just pick this and win #Worlds2016?” Well, Jacob, that’s because these compositions have counters that prevent the perfect storm necessary to make them effective. Split push and pick comps are styles that can be used to counter wombo combos. We’ll go into the “meat and potatoes” of those comps later, but they revolve around fighting in the jungle or trading cross-map objectives, both being suboptimal conditions for Wombo Combo comps.
On top of this, there is the issue of lane matchups and damage balance; since the focus is team fighting/ultimate synergy and not laning phase. Let’s look back at our composition I made earlier:
Even though this looks like the scariest team to group against, it’s massively AP based, making this team easy to itemize for. On top of that, let’s look at the lane matchups for each role. Malphite has a weak early game that can be punished fairly hard, Nunu is basically only good at securing neutral monsters and vision, and Morgana’s peel is only good in particular situations and isn’t entirely reliable. Miss Fortune and Orianna are the only two champions that have the potential of holding their own in lane, but lack almost all mobility, aside from their movement speed buffs. This, combined with the AP heavy damage we mentioned earlier, are aspects that can be easily capitalized on by an opponent through a number of options; itemization, champion picks, ganks, you name it. Creating a balanced and effective Wombo Combo team is more difficult than it sounds, so pay close attention to each champion chosen.
The next style we’ll cover is to Wombo Combos, as realist painters are to cameras (PLUS 74 POINTS FOR ART PUNS WOO!!). Area of Effect comps dish out consistent damage, to nearby enemies, ideally whittling down the entire enemy team over time in a more reliable means of damage than wombo combos. Let’s look at a couple picks for each role that fit this style:
Since these compositions thrive through drawn own team fights, having champions that can kite, CC, or influence the positioning of the opponent, is incredibly beneficial. This is why you typically see teams consisting of a control mage, mobile ADC, and the rest of the team picking up the slack on peel and CC. Unlike Wombo Combo comps, AOE teams have a bit more flexibility in where they can fight, since they don’t rely on a split second decision by the team. This also allows them a better chance when up against compositions that counter them.
Speaking of counters, although this team is a more reliable means of team fighting, it is still susceptible to counter play; the biggest being burst damage. Pick, Poke, and Wombo Combo comps (holy shit, say that five times fast while jerking off) are all examples of teams that can dish out massive amounts of damage in a short amount of time, completely negating the pace at which AOE comps like to fight. One small mistake and your ADC gets assassinated by LeBlanc, half your team takes a Varus arrow to the mouth, or Galio and Nunu show you the two rings of Hell that aren’t associated with STDs. Due to this, correct positioning and having adequate vision around fights are especially important when trying to effectively execute this style, especially when you only have ~2 damage sources to rely on.
How Season 5 TSM Should Have Played
The last style we’ll cover is the team with the least amount of carries; that’s right, Protect The *INSERT CARRY POSITION HERE* Comp. The most popular rendition of this fighting style is the “Juggermaw” comp that had Kog’maw, Janna, and Lulu as it’s three major components. Since then, we’ve seen compositions that layered CC, heals, and shields in order to protect hyper carries or even just mechanically gifted players. These types of teams, much like AOE comps, like prolonged team fights and can brawl almost anywhere, as long as the front line is able to slap box the enemy team, while the protected player sits to the side, gets buffed by the support/mid, and murders people from a distance. However, also like the other team fighting comps, this team crumbles against opponents with pick potential, because if the protect player dies, then so does all their damage.
Let’s build a quick composition to see how this still style can be implemented…
Notice how every champion brings something to the table in terms of keeping Vayne alive. Kench’s Devour, Kindred’s ultimate, Lulu’s shield and ultimate, and Poppy’s knock back paired with her dash cancel to stop any gap closers. If executed correctly, Vayne should have free reign to melt everything on the enemy team, with the help of Kindred, which is able to fill the roles of damage dealer and life saver thanks to their kit. The same philosophy can be applied to carry mid laners, although there aren’t many options for supportive ADCs that can help keep them alive; your only major options being Sivir, Urgot, Kindred, Kennen, and Teemo ( ?° ?? ?° ).Teams that prioritize mid lane tend to lean towards Wombo Combo or AOE style comps due to this, but it isn’t entirely impossible to pull off.
DYNAMIC QUEUE HERE WE COME
And those are the basics for understanding how teamfight comps operate. Keep in mind that the lines drawn between these styles are incredibly blurred and can easily be melded to implement aspects of each. Champion pools, individual styles, and composition preferences always need to be taken into account; forcing your ADC into a “Protect The Jinx” comp, when they are infinitely better on champions like Varus, can be a recipe for disaster. Although knowing how to play multiple styles is good, maybe teamfighting isn’t your team’s strength. Good news for you, I’m here for the next few weeks, educating you plebs on team comp basics! So hold onto your butts and put your genitals away, because this ride is about to get bumpy!