A newbie's guide to everything Dominion
For players who are new to Dominion, or just haven't given it a good chance yet, I have created this small guide in hopes of possibly fueling your desire to play this awesome game mode. If you have any questions regarding the current meta, strategies, champion composition or bottom lane (not great with toplane stuff), please feel free to ask away and I will answer as soon as I can. A quick quote before we get started relating to why we like Dominion (in a nutshell):
People often come into Dominion and ask: "What are the roles you have to play in Dominon? What should I do?". I would say there are less roles as there are "strategies" which is inherently obvious considering it is a capture and hold game. The most popular strategy is 1 person goes bottom lane for the majority of the game, 3 people immediately go top point after the gates open, and 1 person captures middle point and goes top afterwards to assist the 3 up there. The person that captures mid should either have the ability to get to top fairly quickly after capture, or lack inherent poking potential (which would otherwise be useful top right away). The initial fight for windmill is rather important because whoever controls that will theoretically be able to hold 3 points for a good chunk of the game. Bottom lane is the pushing lane, and as such you should either bring a strong duelist bottom to force your opponent to back off (so you can push), or bring a strong pusher to force a neutralize on their bottom point. The reason you have a strong bottom laner is because if someone from top is forced to come down and take care of you 1v2, then top lane will be at an advantage. This is the most popular strategy.
Mixing it up
Other strategies include 3 top (1 mid 2 top) and 2 bot initially, assuming that the second person bot can stop the enemy from capturing their point in the first place (blitz, rammus, skarner, etc. with ghost can do this). This strategy will forfeit windmill but usually guarantee their bottom point, which can work against less aware opponents. Another strategy could be to go 3 top, 1 bot and 1 directly for their mid, but this usually isn't recommended because they'll just come down and kill you and you gotta start from your mid point when your team respawns. There are theoretically endless strategies for starting off the game, but 4 top and 1 bot is the current meta.
Roles and composition
In terms of champion composition, it really doesn't matter a whole lot who everyone takes, just as long as you have a strong pusher for bottom and maybe some good CC for the fight at windmill. Also be sure to balance out the damage in your team, so if there is too much AP, grab AD, and vice versa. Another good role to have on the team would be the "roamer", which is similar to a roamer in SR, but with the exception that you are in charge of taking advantage of holes in their defenses, be it bottom lane is low HP or their middle point is completely undefended. Each champion on your team should have some way of defending points, but a strong defender for top lane (and bottom lane) is usually recommended. Another really handy role for top lane would be the dislocator/tank, who works in much the same way as SR but sort of goes together with the whole defender idea. Having someone on the team to force people off of your damage dealers and squishies will go a long way for the whole game.
The common misconception of Dominion is that it is not balanced because some champions are way overpowered and some champions are way underpowered. While I agree that some champions are easier to roll face with than others, and some champions are easier to do badly with than others, I strongly believe that player skill is the number 1 dominating factor when it comes to harnessing a champion. THAT SAID, I think draft mode is a perfectly legitimate way to avoid those champions that are easier to roll face with, and I will go over some common bans and reasonings here. Generally, you want to keep your bottom lane as clean as possible, meaning no champs that easily push AND harass without fear of being counter harassed. Also, you want to avoid champions who synergize well with the map as a whole and can take advantage of the fast xp + money gains. After you've played a few games and notice who else is being banned at your elo, you can sort of get a sense as to who are the important bans yourself. Communicating with teammates is important too because you don't want to ban a champion they want to pick, and you want to ban champions that are counters to who they want to pick (or if they don't feel like talking you can always ban who your champion's counters are in combination to the following). Here are popular bans at my level:
Kassadin. His ability to build straight CDR and mana to deal rediculous damage with his ultimate makes him very scary, not to mention the fact that he can leap ANY wall in the map.
Urgot. There aren't many Urgot players in Dominion, but those who do play him will most likely win for 1 reason: He is an absolute PAIN to deal with bottom lane. He has very little pushing power, but the exception to this rule is that 1 landed noxian grenade can ultimately mean over half of your health. Some may argue that you can dodge his grenades, but even if he lands 1/8 grenades in lane, you're going to be forced to back off and allow him to push (slowly, but surely). I ban this champion whenever I can, but he isn't as big a problem as Yorick in my opinion.
Warwick. I've always known this guy has been very powerful because Mailius used to play him extremely efficiently (then he quit because Ranked was taking too long lol). Lots of the people at my elo are using WW as a tanky AP lifestealer, and he ends up becoming unkillable and deals more damage than he should. Recent buffs have pushed him way over the edge damagewise and is becoming a much more common ban.
Wukong. While I used to stuff this guy into the "tanky derps" category under uncommon bans, he's recently become a very high priority ban. The main reason for this is his Q reduces so much armor that it doesn't even matter if your whole team is tanky DPS, they will all do tons of damage simply due to Wukong's Q. His Ult also synergizes a little too well with his Q, which is probably the main reason for the ban. He's a very well rounded champ that excels at everything to do with tanky derps, a very solid ban.
Lulu. Lulu can build pretty much whatever she wants + CDR and she becomes an enormous pain simply from her skillset. She gives true heals, hard CC, slows and easy vision.. what's not to like here? If you want a further explanation as to why she's so strong on Dominion, either refer to Mad Suppordle (The main instigator of this annoying yordle in Dominion) or Sauron.
Jayce. Incredibly strong poke, versatile, and scales ridiculously well with AD. Has the ability to engage/disengage with easy and can unload a boatload of damage without much risk to himself.
Nunu. Nunu is sort of like Udyr in that he's next to impossible to kick out of bottom lane and does more up-front damage to champions than Udyr, making him very hard to deal with. With the right build, he can heal himself from nothing to full with a single consume and with the same items stick onto you like glue for massive solo damage or an incredibly easy gank.
Some uncommon, but useful bans:
Riven/Pantheon/Jarvan. Heavy damage semi-tanky DPS champs are very good top lane, no question.
Darius. His whole kit is very strong as it is, but the real deal breaker here is his refreshing ult. Most argue that you can kite him, which is true in Summoners Rift, but the close quarters of Dominion allow for him to easily E people into him and dunk them one by one.
Ryze. This 1 is kind of my fault. In the wrong hands he is just a mediocre damage dealer that gets wrecked by CC and better players. In the right hands he deals immense damage while becoming very tanky, which is a problem for everyone. His range is also good enough to be a very good bottom lane pick, and he builds up tear fairly easily there too.
Jax. His damage output and gap closing make him very dangerous 1v1 and is very difficult to escape. Can also be built slightly tanky to become a real tanky DPS terror.
LeBlanc. Has actually been banned quite a bit lately. Her ability to completely shut down any squishy on a regular basis allows her to snowball out of control more so than other assassins. Usually isn't a problem against tanky DPS teamcomps, but if you know your team is going to be quite squish you should ban her.
Ezreal. I've seen an ezreal get a pentakill in dominion once... which shouldnt happen. EVER. He deals great damage and has a great positioning tool. His ultimate is a reason to go Hybrid, or even AP on him just because of the damage potential.
Talon. AD burster with a silence; a mage's worst nightmare in Dominion.
Vayne. The walls are abundant in Dominion, allowing for this AD carry to have her way with any 1 person on your team. She isn't Poppy territory, but she sure does hurt.
Kogmaw. Not really an issue early game, but once he has his build going he becomes an immense annoyance to your whole team. His %health damage can melt your tanks and squishies alike, plus he can EASILY stop a channel with his ultimate from a very safe distance. Once he gets frozen mallet/trinity force he comes a force to be reckoned with. Less of a picked ban now due to the respawn timer starting after his passive finishes, which really hurt him.
Cassiopeia. Fairly good in the right hands. The main issue with her lies in the fact that she has very few counters due to her ability to free spam. Once she gets spellvamp she is almost impossible to 1v1. She's pretty weak against 2+ people alone with her ult down unless she's really fed.
Maokai. A very stable champion anywhere on the map. Excellent initiator/tank for top if you need some more AP and a very solid choice for botlane due to his lane clear and easy poke.
To be honest, summoner spells are very much opinion based so what I say here is without a doubt biased in some form. With that said, I feel there are some great summoner spells for certain positions, and some other summoner spells that I don't see often but can be good if used correctly. The number of possible summoner combinations are virtually limitless, so I'll just go through them 1 by 1:
Revive. A very solid summoner spell for those who know when to use it. The number of revives on a team can make or break the windmill fight, making it one of the best summoners for Dominion. Great for those clutch saves and de-channels. Make sure to take the mastery for it.
Ignite/Exhaust. Depends on who your playing, but all of them are viable.
Promote. This is a great spell against weak single target damage enemies, because if they allow the promoted minion to push the lane, they will lose their point no question. The cooldown is a little too long, so it doesn't see as much usage nowadays.
Garrison. Good in the hands of a tank or tanky DPS who is willing to dive the point. Also good in clutch point saving situations.
Heal. Good on supports. Can be very useful for securing early top fights.
Clairvoyance. Very handy in high elo Dominion where premades are dominant. Some teams (like ours), like to deviate from the traditional 4 top 1 bot starting from time to time, and other teams use clairvoyance to make sure they can launch a counter initiative if necessary. Clairvoyance is also good for forcing enemies out of their traditional ambush spots, allowing for safe passage. This summoner spell takes some finesse to use correctly and effectively.
Flash. Since the nerf I've found this to be relatively subpar, but it still works on a lot of champs that just need to close the gap a little bit to get the kill.
Ghost. This spell was extremely common before revive started getting exposure. Now it's mainly used on champs that need kiting to be effective (i.e. Cait, Ashe, etc.).
Cleanse. Excellent for champs who get shut down hard by CC, like Tryndamere, Kat, etc. I like to take this bottom with Ryze a lot too.
Smite. Don't take this. You might as well take promote. If you aren't lvl 8 however, then go ahead XD. It doesn't completely kill a promoted minion anyways, so it isn't all that useful even if the CD is lower. The only real use I can see with this is vs. Heimerdinger or AD Malzahar (lol).
Clarity. Never see it. There's passive mana regen anyways!
How to react
Now the above pointers will help you for the start of the game, but the rest of the game is almost entirely situational. Sometimes it's better to just defend "your 3 points", which includes the 2 points closest to your spawn and windmill, and sometimes it makes more sense to force their bottom point (which is surprisingly easy to hold with some champions) because there is no chance of taking their top point back. If you notice their whole team is in 1 location, then go to the opposite side of the map and spread out your captures! There is no reason to be clumped up in this game mode simply because there are too many points to hold, and 5 people capping a single point is stupid and useless (unless the game depends on that single point). If they are clumped up like that then you can potentially 4 cap them in the time that they are forcing their way onto that 1 hard to capture point. Being aware of your enemy's location, spawn timers, items, etc. is fundamental to your team's success. If you feel that your bottom laner is in a bit of a pickle, you can usually just stick with him and force a 2v2 bottom, which works better than some might think. Obtaining the enemy's bottom point is really useful for the team as a whole.
In terms of when to back off and when to keep capping a point is entirely dependent on your current position and power level. If you've managed to neutralize their point but have very low health and see 2 enemies coming your way, then the right thing to do is to back off, even if they aren't very high in health either. However, if it's just you and one enemy, you'll need to evaluate how well you can handle them and act accordingly. Neutralizing a point in Dominion is still very good for your team, so don't be afraid to back off. Dying pointlessly is extremely detrimental to your team, so keep this in mind when you're on their side of the field. Think of it this way: if you are the only person dead, then the game is now effectively a 4v5 in their favour until you respawn. Now think of the consequences of having a leaver on your team. Yeah. Of course, being new to the game mode you will make plenty of mistakes, and so will your allies, but keeping this in mind and following through with it will do wonders for your win rate.
Tips: Clicking the turret will stop it from shooting. Once the turret is neutral it reveals invisible champions for both sides. You can click on a turret to stop all enemies on the point from channeling (make good use of this fact!). You can recall on a speedshrine to get a speedboost when you leave the summoner platform, but be cautious when you do this.
If you really think you have what it takes to carry your team to victory, this is the role that most easily accomplishes that. Your job is not to "afk farm". No sir. Your job is split up into these objectives:
-Push the minion wave, last hitting is secondary. Use your high damage spells on the big minion and AoEs on the minion wave to push it.
-Harass and/or kill your lane opponent. Harassment bottom lane leads to zoning which allows you to push more than your opponent because he is.. well.. zoned, and can't push yours. If you manage to actually kill them, then de-aggro yourself from minions and head straight for their point. Unless there is a large number of minions heading towards your point, you should focus on getting that bottom point as much as possible.
-Capturing their bottom point. If you have failed to kill your lane opponent but have been pushing hard, then use your minions to your advantage! let them neutralize the point for you (try to channel if you can, but they probably will de-channel you), and once this is done go up and kill/force back your opponent. Without a turret, he has nothing to help him but his teammates (who may or may not intervene). If you get ganked bottom, handle it as best you can but do your best to live. Don't pursue their point if it's a 1v2 bottom lane and you know you have the disadvantage, just try to defend yours.
-Holding their bottom point. If you have successfully managed to take their bottom point, then you have automatically become an enormous asset to your team because it doesn't matter if they have windmill or not; you have 3 points with the 2 bottom points and mid point alone. Use the fog of war to set up surprise attacks on your lane opponent if they try to retake their point without minions. If you are too low on hp, it is ok to go back, but you should use your discretion. Even if you only have 1/4 life left, you can do a massive amount of damage to them if they try to attack you under the tower (which you control), especially if you have CC. Take advantage of the health relic, and go out with a bang if you know there is no escape. Every second they don't control that point the better it is for your team.
Of course, sometimes you will lose bot. This happens, even to me (I am one of the pioneers of the botlane meta). You're going to need to either call for reinforcements to help retake the point, or push the minions to retake it yourself but this will take longer, especially against good defenders. If you notice that it is only your lane opponent bottom lane, you CAN go for their bottom point forcing their bottom laner to make a choice between your point and theirs, but be careful of ganks, because you will be utterly screwed if you're caught. Consistently losing bottom lane is like consistently losing a solo lane in SR, you should ask for a switch, or make it a 2v2. This is a team game after all.
With experience, you may notice that your champion isn't exactly suited for outpushing or outharassing theirs. In these situations it is sometimes just better to clear the wave as often as possible, and stay away from their bottom laner to avoid dying. This works out if you have a teammate who is willing to gank the lane (because you are holding against a pushed lane), and if you both manage to kill the opposing laner, you can usually get a free point this way. Waiting for a gank, however, may not be practical in solo queue, but it may be the only option if you can't get close to your opponent.
This isn't really my specialty, but I'll give you the basics. You want to hold this point as much as possible, so keep your best defender(s) here. Assaulting it while they control it and have good defenders will spell certain death, so you're gonna need to push the minion wave. Promote helps in these cases and will 90% of the time get the point back. Garrison also helps if you feel that your team has strong tower divers and can get the job done fast.. or if you're building straight tank. If you have assassins on your team, consider putting them around their speed shrine below the top point; this will prevent them from even becoming a problem for your team at top point. Those speed shrines are also good for stopping the enemy from getting the middle buff, your middle point, and top point, so use these to your advantage. Once the fight at top has subsided it is often a good idea to go down and gank bottom lane, especially if your bottom laner isn't doing well, but even if they are you can sometimes kill their bottom laner and take their point as a result (assuming they don't figure this out).
Some additional top lane info by Jpeg:
I’ve attached an image that contains the Crystal Scar map with a bunch of highlighted locations. These locations are tactical points within the FoW that serve different purposes and provide an advantage over your opponent in some way. Here’s what each section means:
-Blue: The spawn ramp FoW. Probably the most overlooked strip of FoW by newbies, which is why I will start here. When you leave your base, you can use these strips to prevent the enemy from knowing which lane you will be going, which can be extremely useful for backcapping, ganking, roaming, you name it. If you do not plan on moving to your mid point or bot point, USE THESE.
-Yellow: The top lane defensive FoW. This is where champions that excel at poking really shine, because if an enemy tries to start capping without minions, you have a great shot at a good percentage of their health bar before they manage to retreat. It is recommended that you stay in this FoW when defending top unless your champ lacks a solid gap closer or poke, because the element of surprise is also very handy here.
-Green: The bottom lane offensive FoW. These points can be generalized to defending a point too, but I’m going to mainly focus on the offensive (controlling their bottom point) perspective and you can extrapolate the defensive strategies yourself. When a champion begins channelling, they are actually unable to move their champ for a fraction of a second. You can use this time, and the element of surprise from the middle FoW, to walk up to them, combo them, and probably almost kill them. The FoW closest to their spawn is helpful for clearing out incoming creeps and allows you to retreat back to secrecy once an enemy comes at you. If they enter the FoW with you, use either the brush if you have the health to skirmish them or move onto the point and force them to make a move.
-White: The middle lane FoW. Use this FoW for juking if you are assaulting it. They won’t be able to tell if you are going up or down so use this to escape safely. Also useful for defending the point if you’re forced to, but I’m not usually in this situation so I can’t say much on this.
-Red: The Storm Shield FoW. If you don’t plan on getting the Storm Shield but want to pass through the middle area, you should be using this FoW. The less your opponent sees you, the less they can be prepared for what is to come.
-Purple: The top lane reaction FoW. This is a good defensive spot which give you easy access to both mid points and top lane due to the speed shrine. You can use the brushes and FoW here to easily conceal your presence while you wait to see what your opponent has in store, but make sure to act fast! If you know where all of your opponents are or if you don’t control 3 points, you shouldn’t be sitting around this FoW; you should be out there doing something about it.
-Pink: The ganking FoW. From spawn, if you use the spawn ramp FoW, you can use this additional FoW to stealthily reach the speed shrine and their bottom laner. This is very effective if their bottom laner is even slightly overextended in the lane and offers a very good opportunity to cap their point. This FoW is also used in the 2 top 1 mid 2 bot strategy where a speedy champion uses this route to stop the capture of their bottom point in the beginning of the game. As of the last patch, it is now possible to get an effective gank off on their own point, and they won't know about it until it's too late. I've includes arrows as to which routes you can take from the speedshrine to the bottom lane. Keep in mind that you can gank either side of the lane using the speedshrine: if you want to gank your side, hit the speed shrine and double back down to the lane, or if you want to gank their side, go right through the speedshrine and head down to the lane.
You're on your own for this one too. This is honestly where the most skill comes in for Dominion, because you need to control 3 points, and kills aren't going to cut it. Blow your summoners to get that 3rd point if you're losing. Backdoor if you don't have another choice. Defend 3 if you feel you can. Go for a battle royale if both teams control 2. The situations that arise late game are limitless, and honestly what make the game fun. I can't provide any more details than that.
If you still feel unenlightened, feel free to have a look at some of these resources:
-The basic mechanics of Dominion: http://dominion.leagueoflegends.com/overview-dominion
-For more advanced concepts, see Sauron's guide: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2244698
-An excellent discussion on how to build properly in Dominion: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=1545010
-Some additional information about pushing the lane, handy for bottom lane: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=1890276
I hope all this helps. I tried to break it down as best I could so that it doesn't seem as much like a wall of text.
Special thanks goes out to Jpeg for providing better information on top lane than I could ever give. I would also like to thank the various posters in this thread for their contributions and suggestions to make this guide even more useful.
Updated a bit of the information here and added the bans section for those who are worried about the balance of Dominion.
i like this guide a lot--it does a good job covering the most important parts of the most common aspects of dominion, including some 'uncommon' bans that i'm glad you mentioned.
i think the 2-1-2 opening strat is a lot more powerful than you seem to give it credit for, but it's seen way less often so it's not a big deal. ;)
The 2-1-2 strategy is perfectly viable and effective, it just isn't the meta and the after effects would be a little harder for a newer player to deal with (though not hard in practice, people just need to react accordingly). I'm merely trying to paint a picture for newer players of how Dominion is currently set up, that's all; I do not believe the 2-1-2 is a less viable in the slightest.
As a Karthus main, I can say the nerf to his wall really did bad things to his capability to square off against other bot lane champions. I think he's more of a situational ban now.
Good info, but I always ban Rammus simply because he drains all the fun out of the game. :)
Like I said, Rammus is a perfectly legitimate ban, even just for the sake of fun that he'll take away. I don't think he induces more hate than Yorick though :P
As always, well done.
I see a lot of Heimerdinger bans. It would be cool if you could mention him a little.
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