Ranked Teams Composition(s) #1: Basic Agro
I am finally here with the first ranked teams composition guide. There had been a lot going on in both League and Smash so I decided to wait a bit before typing but now that everything is settling down for a bit I decided to use this time to start up the first team composition I want to write about. For the first composition I’m not just going to relegate it too the same 5 champions I will talk about some flex picks. This will probably be one of the less detailed team compositions because the nature of this composition is to just be as agro as possible. It is all about the back line dive and nuking the enemy team because of this one dimensional style there will be less to go over but it will be have flexible champion picks because of its simplicity. In the previous ranked teams article I compared it to face hunter so that should give a good idea of how simple it is.
First off I would recommend this composition for new or low elo teams because it is extremely simple in both strategy and play. The main objective of this composition is to run down the other team and steamroll fights and skirmishes. You want to burst down the enemy team’s carry champions immediately so champions like Annie who can burst and engage are strong in this type of composition. Then instead of a top tank champion we run a top laner that can split push and look for solo plays to add more pressure on the other team. This hyper aggression style is strong in lower elo because players in low elo tend to lack game knowledge and/or mechanics to counter all the pressure. Lastly in terms on communication this team composition mostly requires basic communication skills since it is not very intensive composition compared to something like a poke composition.
Staring with bans there aren’t too many flex bans you can do currently with Darius, Mordekaiser, Skarner, and Garen being super annoying. If you are blue side you can force the other team into banning the bruisers so you don’t have to as often. If you do have some free bans you should ban champions like Kalista, Alistar, and Azir because the idea is to ban things that can stop your engage or champions that would save the enemy team. If you look at these champions Kalista can hop around making it hard to lock her down and she can save her support, Alistar ultimate makes him a tank with damage reduction, and Azir ultimate stops engages pretty hard especially in the jungle with his ultimate. Other possible bans can be Gragas, Rumble, and Shen. The general rule is if you feel a champion is going to hinder your progress because you can’t deal with it then you should ban that champion howver the same goes if you feel like you can deal with a champion. For example Skarner may be annoying but if you communicate well you can avoid him so he can’t gank any lanes and now you have an extra ban.
These champion picks can flex pretty easily because of the face roll style the composition is going for. With this style of composition being beginner friendly there will be a variety of champions. The only issue in picks is that the jungle tends to be more restricted in picks.
Preferred: (Early) Olaf, Renekton, Riven / (Late) Jax, Irelia, Hecarim / (Other) Gnar
All these top laners all have ways of getting to the back line and can doing damage while having tank stats for the most part. The one exception to this is Riven but she has so much power early and mobility that she makes the cut. Olaf and Renekton have strong early pressure and can become tanks but late game their damage tends to fall off. Riven has strong early game as well but struggles in certain tank match ups and requires a good bit of skill. Then Jax, Ireila, and Hecarim are very strong late game but have weak early games. These three serve as insurance in case the game does go late you have some type of late game threat so you don’t lose to scaling. Late game tops most likely will need jungle pressure to help them through the early stages of the game so they don’t fall too far behind. The reason I have Gnar in other is because he requires teams with better communication than beginner teams to know when to engage while having a player that knows how to manage Mega Gnar. Gnar tends to be strong in all stages in the game as he has good damage and has strong tank stats in mega form. In late game if he doesn’t have mega for a fight he is rather squishy which brings more importance to managing the Gnar bar. If you aren’t a beginner team I would run him and if your team lacks communication look for an easier pick.
Mentions: Jarvan 4th, Darius, Malphite
The reason I don’t list J4 is because I find him as a weaker version of Olaf or Riven with damage/tank and full damage. He also heavily relies on the knock up for assassinations. I thought about Darius is so strong right now but he lacks a way to jump on the back line. Sivir does help this issue but other champions can dive so much easier while also being a bruiser. Malphite is a straight up tank and can be worth running in certain scenarios but I find it hard to find reasons why he stronger than most picks. His engage is nice but you’ll have other forms of engage within the team and you want more bruiser styled champions to keep damage going.
Preferred: Evelynn, Elise, Gragas
Jungle does not get to much diversity in pick style because of how the composition works. These jungle champions are preferred because they all give strong early pressure. This composition really needs early jungle pressure because it helps snowball lanes and helps any losing lanes or lanes in danger of falling behind. Your kills will transition into objectives and team fights later into the game so you want to build up as much gold/item advantage before the first team fight. In my opinion Evelynn has the most pressure because of her passive I prefer her to the other two because of this but Elise and Gragas are both viable. Gragas has the engage/disengage and peel later on and Elise has that pick and damage throughout the game. One thing you want to do with all three of these champions is to get sight stone as it helps keep vision control for your team.
Now Pantheon does have a strong early jungle presence as well with his critical strikes and stun but the main issue is he can fall behind fairly easily. Once Pantheon falls behind he becomes fairly useless and it can also be a struggle for this champion to catch up. I decided to mention him because the jungle pool is really narrow for this composition to just give an idea of what other jungle champions you can look at if you don’t play the three mentioned previously.
Preferred: Annie, Syndra, Viktor, Orianna, Leblanc, Twisted
If your team is lacking engage from jungle, top, or support you may want to pick up Annie because of her area of effect engage. Annie can flex to support as well if you don’t want to run her mid. For the most part all these mid laners listed have area of effect damage with high burst potential. When you combine these four with someone like Sivir or Talisman they can get their burst onto the enemy backline. Each of these mid has their own strength and weakness so you will have to pick your own posion. Annie strong engage and aoe damage but lack clear compared to other mids, Syndra has a strong lane and his single target burst but is immobile, Vitkor has strong damage with some mobility but has some mana issues, and Orianna has a high skill cap with damage but her ultimate is hard to set up along and requires some help from the team. I personally would try and get Annie or Viktor. Now I have Leblanc and Twisted Fate here instead of other assassins because they have a good mix of area of effect and single target damage. Leblanc and Twisted Fate do struggle against tanks or high peel teams but they can make quick work of squishy targets. Twisted Fate’s ultimate also makes it very easy to roam to side lanes since you can teleport as large distance.
Mentions: Lissandra, Brand, and other assassins
Lissandra has some decent engage but her burst is not as high as other mid laner and using her ultimate on herself just kills the damage per second in fights. Brand is a good in lower elo but as you get higher up he becomes more combo reliant. His ultimate with bonces does a lot of damage but as you get higher up I would not pick him. The issue with assassins that that they are more single target focused but this composition is more about bursting the back line assassins can still do work in lower elo so I wouldn’t hesitate pick any type of assassin but I feel control mages are strong in this meta. Then bruisers can give assassins a hard time because of the mix of damage and tank if a bruiser gets ahead or the assassin gets behind. Champions like Katarina can easily be crowd controlled and you don’t want your damage dying early on. Mid lane is pretty flexible lower elo so you can feel free to experiment with mid a bit.
Preferred: Sivir, Kalista / (Lesser two) Ashe, Jinx
Sivir is the go to pick for a steamroll composition like this. Her ultimate just gives so much engage potential and all you need to do is get to level six and not lose lane. Combined with someone like Olaf or Annie you just stick to the enemy team and can get the back line extremely easily if they have no disengage. Then there is Kalista who is one of the strongest marksmen as her rend gives her a lot of damage is hard to lock down. Her ultimate also helps with engaging the enemy because you can throw your support into the enemy team or you can pull back your support to save them. If you don’t get Sivir or Kalista you probably want your support to pick up Talisman or Righteous Glory to help out the team’s engage. The lesser two picks are Ashe and Jinx. In a way they are like choosing a part of Sivir and giving up something else. Ashe has engage potential with her ultimate and has some nice lane control but is immobile. On the other hand Jinx has range with her rockets and can reset off kills but she lack anyway to help the team engage.
Tristana does have really good siege but her bomb is single target and to make the most use out of it she need to be able to hit someone multiple times. When you look at Jinx and Sivir they all have more reliant ways of getting splash damage in team fights while still having some siege power.
Situational Preferred: (Tank) Alistar, Nautilus, Leona / (Mage) Annie
I put three tank supports because they have their own tools to engage. Alistar has his combo, Nautilus can hook and use his ultimate, and all of Leona’s kit is based on engaging the enemy. This also helps make up for the tank aspect of the team if you’re lacking one from top or jungle because each of these tank support has ways of boosting their survivals. Next is Annie she is squishier than the tanks but her ultimate with Talisman still lets her engage but you give a tank for more lane pressure early. I prefer to have tank support because of the mix of engage and it takes more time to kill them. I would only take Annie in the support role if you aren’t comfortable having her mid or you want a stronger early bot lane.
Mentions: Thresh, Braum, Sona, Karma
Thresh is more of skill based support and does a bit off everything but doesn’t have a large amount of engage. His ultimate gives good zone control and disengage and his hook is only form of engage combined with box. Other supports are just easier to engage with. Now Braum is a top tier support but he is more of block damage and reengage style of support but that isn’t what this composition wants so he really isn’t a strong pick for this type of aggressive style. Sona is like Annie where she can poke and use her ultimate for engage but she is even squishier. She doesn’t have a strong shield or a stun as accessible as Annie and that makes her so much easier to kill so she isn’t worth running. Once her ultimate is down it is very hard for her to do anything at all. Karma has a lot of poke and can speed people for engages. The problem I have with this champion is that she doesn’t have any reliable crowd control. Her snare takes time to activate and in this composition you want to have engage potential. Her early game lane phase is not enough to make me believe that she is viable over other picks
IV EARLY GAME / LANE
Your level one start depends on how you drafted your team because it will decide if you invade or not. If you have multiple forms of crowd control like Annie’s stun into Nautilus’ hook or Elise’s snare you can look to invade and try to snowball before lane phase. If you are lacking crowd control early you can still try for summoner spells but if their level one is stronger than your team’s level one don’t invade and set up defensive wards along the jungle entrances. If you notice the enemy team trying to invade you can either move to your towers for safety or stack a brush and see if you can surprise them and turn the invade around.
For lane phase the game is pretty standard with possible lane roaming. Early on it is mostly just communicating with the jungle about wards, timing summoner spells, and telling enemy movements. The most important thing about lane phase is making sure no one falls behind. Late game tops get some leeway with this since they aren’t strong early but you still want them reasonably close to the other top lane. Any lane that is struggling should get help from the jungler whenever possible but if the top lane is super far behind there may not be any point in helping it. If the enemy Jax is 5/0 against a Renekton then there is no saving that lane. At that point the jungle should look to create advantages in the other lanes that are even or winning to match the lead.
A big reason why I don’t like having anyone fall behind early is not because of the lack of comeback potential. This composition does have some comeback potential if you can catch someone out with an ultimate from Ashe, Nautilus, or Annie. The big reason is that I highly value roaming with this type of snowball composition. For example if you can roam from mid to either top or bot lane to get some type of kill advantage can make a lane become out of control. Annie roaming bot lane and getting two kills that go either to her or Sivir starts creating a gold advantage and you can look to take an objective as well. You can decide whether you want to try for dragon or take tower both having their own advantages. Tower are more early gold and dragons set up that fifth dragon win condition and additional scaling. Even if you can’t pick much off the kills you can still look to roam again. Roaming just becomes so strong as well because the enemy team might burn summoner spells as well so you can just start creating these advantages. The one thing you have to be careful of is the return to lane for the one roaming if you walk back up you could get cut off or the enemy jungler decides to gank your lane if you used summoner spells in the bot lane. There is also a possibility of a counter gank when roam so if you see the enemy jungler just pull back if don’t think you can win a fair fight or can’t get the initial kill.
Early game you’re going to need to buy wards to use along with your trinket. You want to have vision if you are going to roam to a different lane so you can if you will get countered by the enemy jungler. It also helps to see when you can pressure your lane solo because if you know the enemy jungler has backed to base or is on the other side of them you are free to play aggressive. For most early wards warding in the river is fine deep wards on jungle camps are also really strong if you get an opportunity to ward that deep. I personally like warding the enemy raptor camp as a mid laner as you can see the enemy jungler early. Until you get into the mid game your wards are going to be more defensive than offensive.
V MID GAME / DRAGONS
Mid game happens once the first outer turrets falls and with the transition into mid game comes more of a rotation based style of play. Once you start getting towers you are going to want to start setting up deep wards in the enemy jungle when possible. It is best to ward with a group so you don’t die if you get caught out of position. You can also look to set up wards when the enemy team is backing. You will be using these wards to keep your split and rotation game strong. If you see five people on a ward your top laner can push for 2nd tier or if you notice two people roaming top you can push mid, bot, or go for dragon and so on. You always want to be doing something on the map because you don’t want to give the enemy team something for free or give them time to catch themselves.
Dragon vision with this composition is easy to defend since you have a lot of engage power. You want to have pink wards in the river to deny enemy vision and use green wards for deep vision. The idea is that the enemy team will have to face check into and all the engage power this team has lets you start fights easily when you see them coming. I would say you want at least 3 vision wards and upgraded sweeper or two for this and use green wards from the sight stone. The mid laner can also help with this depending on which trinket they decided to get and upgraded. If you top laner has teleport active then look to have him split a lane and teleport when necessary. If your lead is not large and/or your top lane teleport is down have him stay with the team but if you have a large enough lead you can possible rush it down before the enemy team shows up. Even if you have a scenario where you can’t get dragon or you can’t get into get vision control you can look to shove down a lane while they are on it and try to get tower gold.
Team fights in the mid game are still the same basic dive the enemy back line. Most low elo teams lack the skill and communication to peel for their carries so it is not super difficult early on ladder. If you can get the initial kill on someone from the back line you will more than likely win a team fight in most scenarios. Whenever you see someone on the other team over extended or split you can look to capitalize on it. You will have to take in factors of how fast the other team get to you position when you make the catch though. Most of all don’t be afraid to use engage for a pick like Sivir’s ultimate because that initial pick will swing the next minute into your favor. If you don’t think you can kill fast enough before you get collapse on then don’t go for it. The priority picks are the squishy champions of the other team there will be few time where the tank is the appropriate catch.
VI LATE GAME / BARON
Now with type of team composition you want to end before late game but if you can’t than you are going to have to play more carefully. Late game is both a blessing and a curse for both teams. At the late game stage one bad team fight can mean an inhibitor, baron, or even the game. You are probably going to need a ward a bit defensively or stay grouped more depending on which side is in control. You want keep track of the enemies items like Hourglass or Banshee’s Veil as these items will influence who you try to engage on. If this composition ever gets a large team fight win most of the time you can just push to win because of the snowball style. One strong engage on the backline can lead to a perfect ace so you can just take the game. Sometimes you may have to peel for the carry champions as well later into the depending on your composition. Peeling is easy in theory but hard to communicate so keep focus on your team and the enemy team not just yourself. Pay attention to the enemy abilities that could crowd control your carries and try to peel if someone gets caught. For the most part though this composition is not big on peeling so there will be times where it is just up for your teammates to dodge abilities.
I decided to put Baron in the late game section because for a newer team this is a throw zone early in the game if you don’t know what you are doing. The usually idea to call for a baron is if you win a team fight significantly but you don’t have a creep wave for towers, or dragon is already down. Baron is also really nice for teams that can team fight but have little siege potential because it helps cover the team’s weakness with stronger minions. Baron control is similar to dragon where you want to have pinks in the river to deny and use green wards in the jungle. On the other hand sneaking baron is a bit tricky because it needs to be at a point where you know the enemy does not have vision because the vision dies off by itself or you have to maneuver around existing wards. A good bit of sneaking a Baron also comes down to instinct. The most comparable thing I can think of is a term used in the Smash Bros competitive scene knows as “reading the player”. Where you realize players’ habits and try to make decisions based on how you think they will react. This type of style of shot calling isn’t as big in League because it is a team game and not one on one but you can still use some elements of reading to your advantage. For how simplistic this composition is I don’t see this skill being used too much since you’re killing them before they react. Learning to make calls based on what your opponent does come with experience so it will be hard to do at first.
Now I know I didn’t go over peeling or communication in this guide to much in this guide besides the super basics. That just stems from the composition and its target audience. I will go into more detail about peeling and communication in the next team composition when I right it because it will be a bit more advance and require some more explanation compared to this one. That does it for this face roll composition. If you have any questions about something you aren’t sure on feel free to message me on twitter.