Mar 6 2015 - 5:05 pm

Thesis Statement: Understanding Your Win Conditions

Whenever a team builds a composition in League of Legends, the first thing they should be asking themselves is "what is the win conditions of this composition?
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Whenever a team builds a composition in League of Legends, the first thing they should be asking themselves is "what is the win conditions of this composition?" Win conditions are what strategies, power spikes, and objectives should a team utilize to close out the game. Playing to these are important for the obvious reason; if you understand them and pursue them, you increase your likeliness of winning. 

Understanding Compositions

The first step to identifying your win conditions is to look at your champion picks and determine how they synergize with one another. in the example game I use in my video, my team has drafted Lissandra top, Jarvan jungle, Yasuo mid, Graves ADC, and Janna bottom lane.

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This compositions is powerful: it has hard engage with Lissandra and Jarvan, peel with Janna, burst aoe follow up with Graves, and two knockups to set up Yasuo's ultimate. It is also balanced in its power spikes: while J4 and Graves' damage falls off after the mid game, Yasuo's damage spikes as he gets closer to 100% crit chance through items. So in the mid game our team will the powerful team fight from Graves before transitioning to relying on Yasuo.

But teamfighting is not the only thing our composition can do: we can split push to threaten objectives on the map. We want to create pressure - creating pressure keeps the enemy in their base and allows us to take dragons and barons to help mitigate our scaling. 

Before we can splitpush, we need to wait for Yasuo to get Stattik Shiv and Blade of the Ruined King so that he has the lifesteal and crit he needs to duel anyone on the enemy team. Recognizing that with their double AD comp they cannot duel our Yasuo, we continually pull the enemy team's focus back and forth across the map. Even though we begin losing fights at the Baron Pit, Yasuo is given the space he needs to take the enemy's inhibitor. 

We never break from this strategy - not because we are inept at adapting, but because the enemy team has no answer for it. There's no reason to let off the pressure Yasuo provides us and not take objectives, further extending our gold lead and reducing the enemy's chances of winning to nil.

Application

So how can you take this concept and apply it to your own games? For starters, you can try and base your picks around your teammates picks in solo queue to compliment one another and build strong compositions. However, solo queue is a place of infinite variability, so the more reliable place to practice these would be in games with your friends or teammates. 

Talk about what champions everyone can play - as mentioned in Liquid's old but still valid approach, listing off your best champions and seeing what compositions you can create with them gives your team a premeditated approach to drafting. At this point, you should also look (if you are an incredibly serious team) at what champions are within the meta and attempt to learn them all. Not knowing how to play with a Gnar, for example, limits your team and frees up a ban for the enemy team.

Identifying  Win Conditions

Once you have your team drafted, then you can look at how they interact with one another and determine your path to victory. Look at what each of your champions does: how do you want to play the champion in every stage of the game? The answer to that question is the basis of your win condition. For example, take Xerath mid: as a Xerath, you want to play far back and use your immense range to poke the opponent down. So when you contest objectives, you don't want to immediately start fights, but harass using Xerath. 

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You also want to assess what weaknesses your composition has. Xerath is immobile, so if he gets jumped on he has no way of getting the opponent off of him. So to cover that, you should look for a champion who can peel for him. Whether that is a top laner (Maokai, Gnar, Mundo), a support (Janna, Nami) or a jungle (Lee Sin) is up to your team, but this concept of covering one another's weakness is important. As I mentioned in my video example, Yasuo's early game is weak, so our team bases our teamfight around Graves' strong mid game damage before we give all the carry responsibility to Yasuo after his damage surpasess Graves'.

It's important to understand what the enemy's win conditions are so you can play around them as well. Let's go back to the Xerath example: since Xerath wants to poke you down, you should look to engage on him before he has the chance to whittle you down. That's just a basic principle of countering the enemy play - actual games with well rounded comps will provide more dynamic challenges than "just jump on him," but the idea is fundamental.

Conclusion

After identifying what champions your team can play, you should look at what combinations you can create and then identify what each of those champions need to do to achieve victory. If you can identify weaknesses in your own champions and cover them with another champion, you can better round out your composition. After you understand what power spikes you should take advantage of are, when those power spikes will occur, and what the opponent will try to do, you can elevate your own strategical play in League of Legends.

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