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Why Dominion is NOT a pubstomp, and why you need to know that.

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CommodoreSkippy

Senior Member

08-05-2012

I see a lot of people call Dominion "not serious", "just a mindless brawl", "for morons", and other stuff like that. I don't just think this isn't true, I know it isn't. That's why I decided to put down some of the nuance behind Dominion that I've come to learn over my many games.

For now, this is about player placement and how extremely significant it is to to Balance of Power between the two Teams. I may continue to update this (with alternative spreads, spreads for the Minority team, how to counter spreads, etc.), or I might just leave it here to collect dust. I don't really know.
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Dominion is a game of properly allocating teammates to the right places at the right time. Any player who walks into a match of Dominion with the mindset of "4 top, 1 bot all game" is ignoring the point of Dominion, and will likely lose.

If you continue to throw your team at an ultra-tight Windmill defense and keep failing, you are doing exactly what the enemy team wants you to do. In that situation, your best bet is to spread the enemy team thin through any means necessary. Once you do, you punch a hole in their weakened defense and claim a 3rd point for yourself.

Look at it this way. Out of the 5 points, the most common situation is that one team (the Majority) has 3 of them and the other (the Minority) has 2. The way to win is to be the Majority team for longer than the other team is. However, with this being the only way to win, it also inherently makes the Majority team more vulnerable. After all, they have 3 points to defend between 5 people, the Minority Team has 2 points between 5. They can't properly defend as well as the Minority Team can, which is the intent. It's designed to give the Minority team a slight edge to become the new Majority by having less to be responsible for. As soon as that happens, that team no longer has that edge and the other team does.
This is the core mechanic behind Dominion's Back-and-Forth gameplay.

Let's look at what I feel are the three most common Majority Team spreads:
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( B: Bot, M: Mid, T: Top, J: Jungle. Bot and Mid refer to the points on your side)

Even Defensive: 1B-2M-2T-0J
The most even spread the Majority Team can have, but it's actually not ideal in most cases. Should the Minority Team concentrate all of their manpower at a single point, they are often able to bulldoze the defense and cap the point. This spread also leaves no room for offense, so you cannot countercap effectively.
Ideally though, having two players at the more vulnerable points means that you can ward off lesser assaults, and hold out long enough when hit hard for the others to come and help. Each grouping is equidistant from each other, so while you are never very near teammates, you are also never too far. Additionally, you cannot be Backdoored.

Reactionary: 1B-0M-3T-1J -or- 1B-0M-2T-2J
I feel this is more common. 3 are in the general vicinity of the hotspot, Windmill, 1 is at bot, and the 1 mystery player is the Vanguard. This player scouts enemy movement in the jungle and interrupts attempted caps at mid or a gang up at bot before the assault gets very far, until help can arrive. They can also countercap if defending is a lost cause and/or they notice the enemy players are too heavily allocated to offense to defend.
This spread is the most vulnerable to backdoors, because most of the defense is as far away from mid as they have any right to be, and anybody leaving top to rush to defend is VERY obvious to see.

Defense through Offense: 1*B-0M-0T-4J
The idea here is to, despite being the Majority, spread the Minority Team too thin for a proper assault by applying overwhelming pressure across the map. Again, the lonely 1 holds the bottom lane, but this isn't always the case, they are certainly able to leave bot briefly to help the team and more often will with this spread than others.
The 4 wandering the map have a high-risk/high-reward job on their hands, since only a single point has any dedicated defense. Their aim is to pre-emptively defend by ambushing in the Jungle and staging Hit-and-Run attacks on enemy points. If they can successfully cap a 4th point, that's all for the better. Unfortunately, they sacrifice the safety and firepower of their Turret, making teamfights more dangerous. There is no chance to hide under the turret and stall via harass, it is do or die.
Since their position is unknown, it's hard for the Minority Team to judge where is best to assault. They might make the right call and hit a point where the Majority team can't rush to very quickly and face little to no resistance, or they might just walk into a trap and find themselves overwhelmed from the Fog of War. They might even take a point only to find themselves being pre-emptively countercapped. This is a really dynamic and hard to call spread.


(Note: The numbers aren't hard and fast. People need to travel to heal, buy, scout, or whatever they feel is necessary. The numbers are just basic estimates of the amount of people who are responsible for a location. Not even ON it, just NEAR it.)
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That's just 3 different ways to assign the 5 players of the Majority team, but they all have very distinct strengths and weaknesses. They can, and should, be approached by the Minority Team in different ways. And remember, Dominion is very dynamic, no one spread will be the ideal strategy forever unless the enemy team refuses to learn.
They adapt, You adapt.
Sticking strictly to a "4 top 1 bot all game" meta ignores ALL of this. It reduces you to completely forgoing strategy and relying entirely on combat. I think this is why so many players who don't play Dom or are at Low ELO think the game is just a pubstomp. You might be able to manhandle the enemy so hard their tactics are pointless, but a team that lacks in power but exceeds in Strategy may also render all your strength moot. You can compensate for a lack of one with an abundance of the other, but only so far.

In the end, the team that can best combine Strategy Adaptation and Combative Skill is the team that will win.
That is Dominion.


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NamKim

Senior Member

08-06-2012

The team with less points also have a shorter revival time to give the losing team an extra advantage. This allows for Dominion to have a "comeback factor" which intensify the game near the end since there is a possibility for a comeback.

Also, I think this is the same for every game mode, it is just more obvious in Dominion. The goal of the meta is to somehow get five random people who never met each other and give them a formula they can all follow to maximize the chances of winning. That is why in an already made team, they can do things beyond the meta while still being effective. If these pre-made teams do something outside of the meta, their enemies will be confused and it leaves them temporarily stunned and disorganized.

I will use the "primary field of justice" Summoner's Rift as an example. I was once playing Ryze as mid. I went the jungle to protect my jungler's blue. The enemy team did not try to invade. As soon as I went to my lane, I was immediately ganked by the entire enemy team, which completely caught me by surprise and even with flash, they got first blood. After wards, one of them went top and bot but it was 3v1 in the mid. Since the three had quite a bit of CC, I was really powerless to stop them since I could not get close. My jungler just continued farming since he knew that even if he ganked my lane, he and I would die. I have been in 2v1 situations before but never a 3v1 during the beginning of the game. This confusion left me weak and defenseless and being in the "heat of the moment," I could not formulate a plan [well, now it is fricken obvious what I should do...so give me a break]. But for the most part, people like to stay with the very predictable meta.

While Summoner's Rift may shy way from the "surprise" factor, Dominion embraces it.

So, when you play Dominion, try to be more like The Avengers: a bunch of powerful people that should not get along, but does so to win the bigger fight. Their means of battle are all very different which makes them hard to be countered.

tl;dr: In SR, if something is not going to plan, people panic and this eventually leads to their downfall. Summoner's Rift seems to look down upon this while Dominion embraces this.


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Orphane

Senior Member

08-06-2012

Kind of curious: was this posted in General Discussion first, or did you post it in Dominion to start with?


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CommodoreSkippy

Senior Member

08-06-2012

Actually, no, it wasn't. I know better than to try and put it in GD, even if that's where more people who would benefit from this would be.
Oh Well.

This actually started as a response to the "Nobody should ever try to cap bot" thread, but then it got out of hand and turned into this.


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irott

Senior Member

08-06-2012

Depending on the team comp the Defense through Offense strategy can be the most effective.

I actually find it to be the best way to deal with a jax or a panth. Just bait them into the brush above the stormshields and have your whole team CC them to death then just clean up the rest of the enemy team as they trickle in.

Best time to use it is when you see someone farming/pushing minion waves towards top. Even having one guy top and 3 in the jungle works well.


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