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[Dominion Guide] How to Dominate: Basic Gameflow, Strategy and Champion Roles

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Surgeon General Shen's Health Warning: The guide below applies to BASIC gameplay. Premades and high ELOs and pros can break the rules with fancy stuff like teamcomps based entirely around Nidalee. Or BigFatJiJi. Or something.

Nurse Akali's Warning: Huge wall of text inc. Skip to TLDR if you have ADHD.


Part the First: Understanding Basic Gameflow

The Crystal Scar map where Dominion takes place has been cunningly designed. It has a basic mechanical gameflow which is like a current on a river. You can swim against it -- but it's hard work. Swim with it and it's easier.

A. Your Home Points vs Their Home Points

The two points nearest your base (your "bottom" and "mid" ie. the Boneyard + Drill or Refinery + Quarry) are your home points.

The two nearest their base are theirs.

It's very difficult to hold the enemy's home points for long, because they reinforce closer to them when dying. If you have a massive 5v5 at an enemy home point and 3 die on each side, their 3 will come back faster. Which means your remaining 2 are pretty much screwed.

B. The Windmill (that's "top", dawg)

The Windmill is equidistant between both sides. That means it's the most contested.

Disabuse the other team of any notion that it belongs to them. It is YOURS. Feel free to say "MY WINDMILL" in /all everytime you successfully defend it, so that they get the message.

The Windmill plus your two home points form the "magic three" needed to zap their Nexus with strong summoner magic for the win.

C. Bottom is a Sucker Play

History time.

Q: Why did Napoleon and Hitler both lose?

A: Because they kept feeding troops into "the meatgrinder" of Russia.

Q: What did they achieve by sending troops there?

A: Absolutely nothing. Russia chewed them up. Why? Because Russia is closer to Russia, than either France or Germany. So their men got there faster. Duh.

Bottom in Dominion is a little like that. There is an endless tug-of-war of minions pushing back and forth between the two bottom points. It also seems to be the most direct way of attacking.

"Respawn -- charge bottom!!1one!" Don't do it man. Just don't. It's a sucker play. Even if you can take their bottom, you can't hold it long.

Generally, you should have just one strong Defender/pusher holding bottom (see below). The rest of your team has better things to do. Like take the Windmill.


Part the Second: Basic Strategy FTW

The basic principles below come from the basic gameflow of the map. Ignore them at your peril.

A. Take the Windmill!

This should be a no-brainer. You need to hold three points to win, and the Windmill is the easiest to hold after your 2 home points. Taking this is your absolute priority once you control your home points.

In general, at the start, a strong Defender should head to take bottom, and the weakest champ should take mid and rush to top. The other three champs should race to the Windmill faster than Blitz reaching to smack Twitch's ratty tail (go by the speed boost between mid and top, which is fastest).

B. Hold your points!

Let's see. It's "capture and hold", not "capture and run around the map chasing the enemy like a headless chicken". It's a real effort to retake a defended Windmill if you lose it, and your Nexus is bleeding faster than one of Vlad's dinner guests every second they hold it. Don't walk away and give it up for nothing, unless you enjoy eating tower blasts to the face.

Holding points is also generally more efficient than taking points. The tower helps you when holding, and you can get interrupted while taking.

Your team should generally have one full-time Defender at the Windmill (see Basic Champion Roles, below) and another one at your bottom point.

C. Raid enemy home points, don't hold them!

A raid is when a bunch of Special Forces dudes do a lightning strike at enemy territory. They know they can't hold it long, so they run like little girls at the first sign of trouble.

The same concept applies to the enemy home points. Take 'em, but run at the first sign of something that can smack you into the ground. I promise you, if you stand and have a big teamfight here, you'll get stomped, lose the point, AND lose the next point too.

D. Don't overextend!

So, you're sitting at the Windmill and hold both your home points. It's GG if you keep these three, but your lil' fingers are getting itchy.

By all means push the minion wave or raid the enemy home points to show them who's boss of this map. But keep in mind the mantra that Shi-Fu Master Yi teaches to all his students:

"Defending my points, Master Yi,
Is better than raiding enemy points, certainly"

That means, be ready to fall back to defend your points. OR you could always prepare a <sadface> , <facepalm> and <sorry Shi-Fu I screwed up> chat macro for when you overextend, get ganked, and lose the Windmill. GG dude.

E. Avoid meaningless fights in the jungle

Dominion isn't Summoner's Rift. Kills don't mean too much, unless they're directly related to capturing and holding points.

Sure, their Nexus takes a small hit for kills, but it's only the same amount as when you hold 3 points for 2 seconds. And after a certain point, kills don't directly damage the Nexus at all.

Don't fight and risk dying for nothing. Even chasing for the kill can sometimes be bad, if you give up a capture opportunity or lose a point because you weren't there to defend it.

Of course, if you're trying to capture a defended point, it's excellent if the enemy WANTS to fight away from their tower...

F. Know when to break the rules!

Sometimes the enemy leaves their home points completely open so that you extend and take them safely. Or is so weak that you can sit on their home points long enough to win. Or a five-man teamfight at their bottom is the right move, to finish that quest.

Sometimes you just gotta throw the rulebook out the window. But remember: not understanding basic gameflow = noob. Knowing when to break the rules = pro.


Part the Third: Basic Champion Roles

Your basic team setup should be 2 Defenders, 2-3 Roamers, and 0-1 Capturers.

A. Defenders

A Defender is a champ that can easily hold a point vs. one enemy, sometimes hold vs. two enemies, and not explode instantly vs. three or more enemies. Characteristics: tanky, AE damage, CC. They are the unsung heroes, often with the lowest scores and most boring job. But, good Defenders win games, every bit as much as that 22-5-10 roaming Akali.

One Defender should sit at the Windmill, and the other at your bottom point. They can push the minions toward the enemy point when safe (which will be either the enemy mid or bottom). If the entire enemy team is clearly elsewhere, they can rush and take the enemy point. Heime, Galio, Alistar and Malzahar are examples of excellent pushing Defenders.

Summoner spells: Ghost (to fall back safely when overextended). Garrison (to defend, your main job). Take the Reinforce mastery in the Defence tree for extra QQ.

Items: Generally, tank items. But not if you're Heime. Like, duh.

B. Capturer

Your team's Capturer will be very mobile, with a defence and escape mechanism like stealth or Master Yi's ult. Rammus, Evelynn and Master Yi are good examples.

Their job is to cap points nonstop, including raiding ("backdooring&quot the enemy's two home points and being an all round PITA. You'll know you're doing your job well when you get "OMG Yi run like a sissy everytime" and "Rammus noobsauce OP champ <nerdrage>" in /allchat.

Use the speedbuffs to move around the map and the brush to hide when needed. Walk through the jungle and not in lanes where the other team can see you on their minimap. Often you'll only neutralise a point before the enemy reaches you and it's time to run -- that's still PITA-worthy.

Avoid fighting unless absolutely necessary, since you're not itemised to fight, and will sometimes be under-levelled.

Summoner spells: Ghost/Cleanse/Exhaust

Items: Priscilla's Blessing (get this ASAP after Boots of Speed), Boots of Mobility, Zeal to Phantom Dancer x however many floats your boat, Quicksilver Sash

C. Roamers

A good Roamer is mobile, tough, can win 1v1 fights, and has a speed buff or gap closer. Good examples are Garen, Xin Zhao, Poppy, Jax, Tryndamere, Shaco, Jarvan and Akali. Long-range interrupts can also be useful, such as Lux and Ezreal.

Your job as a Roamer is 1. Take the Windmill 2. Help defend top, mid or bottom as needed and 3. Raid the enemy's home points if you have no Capturer. Roamers are good candidates for taking the Storm Shield buff in the middle.

An excellent place to base yourself is in the bushes near speedboosts (Thanks to Danmal, MinuCelsius and KimKelley for this tip). This places you in the fog of war where the enemy can't see you, and gives you the speed to either raid, gank, or rush to defend once enemies reveal themselves.

Summoner spells: Ghost, Exhaust, Ignite

Items: Damage items, maybe some tank items. One can get Priscilla's Blessing if your team has no dedicated Capturer.


TLDR: Take and hold the two points nearest your base + Windmill = Win

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Senior Member


amazing guide, I support everything said here and wish everyone will learn this soon.

some things I want to add is quest points, always have someone defend it, and if your gonna take their home point, take the quest point. nothings more sweeter than denying them the quest and taking a chunk of their nexus out, and not to mention a sweet damage buff for the entire team.

and another interesting note, if you do happen to lose the windmill, and they have their 2 home points, your best bet is to take their mid. taking their mid will allow it to spawn 2 sets of minions to head down to both areas. just more units for distractions, and if your able to push both sides, well then you just sandwiched your win. though they'll be able to take it back quickly, but if they do, just more time for you to take the windmill. win - win if you ask me

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Senior Member


Yessir. Basic strategy. I havent found a game where both teams knew this strategy. Usually, Dominion it just queuing up and winning/losing based on people that understand these concepts.

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Senior Member


Trundle makes a good defender I use both garrison and ghost.

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Senior Member


good ****.

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In short. Constantly cap and play with a brain.

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Senior Member


I really like the guide, but I would add a couple of roles:

Initiator: The Initiator is the first player onto an enemy node. Unlike the Roamers and the Cappers, he's built for survival, not speed or damage. Initiators also ideally have abilities that help disable enemy Defenders. Initiators generally focus on pushing the "front line" toward the current target enemy node. Examples: Alistar, Blitzcrank, Galio, Maokai.

Initiators and Defenders are fairly close in role, but Defenders have better sustainability and damage, while Initiators have better survivability and utility. Some, like Alistar and Renekton, can serve both roles, but some, like Maokai and Blitzcrank are better suited toward Initiator.

Carry: While Carries aren't as important on Dominion as they are in Classic mode, they still have a role. Carries stay behind the Initiator and/or the Roamers, but pack on the firepower when fights at nodes or in the middle heat up. With a good team that keeps them protected, they don't have to build as much toward survival and can focus on damage output. Carries generally focus on pushing toward the "front line" node, winning fights in the middle, and helping back up the Defender on the bottom. Examples: Caitlin, Corki, Kog'maw, Miss Fortune, Ryze, Tristana.

(I realize the viability of a "true" Carry is debatable, but I still think they have a role. While mobility and survivability are solid attributes for Dominion, I don't think they are required, and even Champions who have neither, like Ryze, can do well. But it requires having a good team. Without a good team, a Carry becomes just another Roamer, and as such is likely to end up on the front line of combats and dying a lot. Having a good team that protects them is the key to getting the most out of high damage Champions.)

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Spiffy McBang

Senior Member


I've used Blitz for all my Dom games so far, and I'm still trying to figure out my best role. I mostly use him as a sort of center-field type defender if we have three points: Give a minion push if possible, otherwise sit in the jungle bushes between two nodes and Overdrive to one if it's attacked. But if we have less than that, I can switch to capturer-type play. (I will say that Blitz is a perfect mid to start- Overdrive to mid, cap, Overdrive/ghost/map speed boost to top. You hardly miss any of the fight.)

If built for it, I think he would excel as a raider. The problem is that in solo queue games, 90% of the time the rest of the team has no concept of how to sit still. I've lost my last two games in rather heartbreaking fashion, with our team going on a successful cap frenzy, then failing to fall back and hold any of the gains. This comes after winning three equally tight games in a row when the opposing team suffered from the same problem.

What kills me is that more than once I've been blamed for a loss, either due to my low score (since I don't sit on a point I don't even gain the point defense +5s) or my inability to stop multiple cappers from stealing something. Meanwhile no one says boo to the 5/18 Yi with two Phantom Dancers and other offensive items. "BLITZ USELESS RUNNING AROUND" is a common refrain, and the last complaint was "BLITZ USELESS SO MUCH HP" when two carries thumped my face in. (I build Warmog's, then AP/HP items; when I went straight tank gear I did no damage, so this way I have some basic killing power and almost 5k HP for survivability). And, of course, one time the loss was laid entirely at my fight for constant backdooring, even though it would consistently draw off multiple enemies and the rest of the team just couldn't get any caps during those times.

So, in conclusion, if you have any thoughts towards the, um, "intricacies" of solo play and how you might have to plan on playing in most cases to make up for what your team will probably lack, that would be appreciated.

Also, @Runix: The most insane carry I've seen so far is a Ryze that went 32/4 by starting with strictly defensive items. (I don't remember what they were now, but they weren't AP/def items, they were straight survival.) I was unfortunate enough to encounter him in the one game where I was experimenting with a much more heavily offensive build, which made it considerably worse. But in general the only time I've seen pure offensive builds work on any character, with the possible exception of Heimer, is when the other team has some similarly built champs that can get destroyed easily. Eventually the game comes down to being able to push the opposition off a point, and you are going to need some tankiness for that- poor survivability means that almost any unsuccessful rush, even if you live through it, will require you to go back and heal rather than reset for another run.

In theory they should be able to stay back, but Crystal Scar is much less forgiving to that type of play than SR. With all the rings and holes leading to each, it's simply much easier for an enemy Jax/Trynd/Akali to run around back of your team and blow you up before while you poke at the point.

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some things I want to add is quest points, always have someone defend it, and if your gonna take their home point, take the quest point.

and another interesting note, if you do happen to lose the windmill, and they have their 2 home points, your best bet is to take their mid. taking their mid will allow it to spawn 2 sets of minions to head down to both areas.

Thanks for your kind words.

Both the thoughts you share are excellent. I hadn't thought of raiding the enemy mid to put pressure onto top.

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I really like the guide, but I would add a couple of roles

Thanks for your kind words and your feedback!

I'm currently actively thinking about the roles you've mentioned.

When we lose top, I've had to play in the initiating role on Alistar (Defender). Garrison has helped to reduce the turret's fire.

The carry role is, to my mind, part of the Roamer role.

Maybe I'll include something to that effect in both the role descriptions for Defender and Roamer.