[center]!!! IMPORTANT !!!
THERE IS A NEW VERSION OF THIS GUIDE!
READ IT HERE: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2244698[/center]
This guide is aimed at the Dominion player looking to get to higher Elo. It assumes you know the basics. If you don't know the basics of Dominion, check out Nekrogen's guide: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...php?p=17877990
Note: This guide is being rewritten at the moment to encompass even more information and the updated version will be a new thread itself. ETA: Soon(tm).
Hello, I am Sauron, team captain of Point Defense [+5]: a team that has placed first in the NESL Dominion tournaments many times. Before Dominion ratings were hidden on March 20, 2012, I was first on the ladder with 2654 reported rating and with a +577 win difference (~76% win/loss ratio).
With the removal of hidden Dominion ratings, the ladder is much less important to climb. However, you might garner some interesting hints and tips from this guide to improve your play. The guide will also be applicable to Ranked Dominion, which will come out sometime after the sun implodes upon itself (Soon™).
My solo queues are usually 90 minutes long unless other high solo queuers join in to make it shorter (Thanks CarnivaL and Jjaja), and my premade queues are anywhere from 20-70 minutes. In premades, I typically gain 1-3 rating per win and lose over 25 per loss, so in order to break even in premades I need to win an absurd amount of matches. In solo queue, I only need to win about 66% of my matches.
So! Thus begins the guide!
1). What is high Elo, exactly?
There's a lot of different ways to judge what bracket constitutes high Elo and what brackets don't. Pick one method from the list:
-A rating above 2000 before ratings were hidden.
-You haven't had an intentional leaver in over 50 games.
-You start seeing the same hundred or so people over and over.
-You get matched against big-name premades when they're practicing for tournaments.
2). Bring me Solo Queue and the WookieeCookie
Solo/duo queue gains are much higher and losses are much lower than premades. A top premade might gain 1-3 elo per win, but lose 25+ on a single loss. That basically means they need to win 10 or so games to make up for a single loss. When you're 2500 rating, you need to win a staggering amount of games to make up for one loss. What's the chance of one of you having internet issues out of 10 games?
You can get to #1 rating with a low win difference, such as +100. For #1 rating, that's pretty low. If you were to 5-man it from your starting rating, you would easily need much higher than a +400 win difference. The average person's best bet is to just mix the two, but if you're particularly skilled then you'll want to stick to solo/duo. I personally solo'd to 2200, premaded to 2400, then solo'd to my current rating.
One of the best ways to get into Dominion is to watch streams for it. It is easier to see the big picture and to criticize someone else's play than your own: use this to your advantage. Watch for mistakes and watch their consequences -- as a viewer you do not need to concern yourself with fast-paced action and can more easily learn right strategy from wrong.
Streamers will typically bump their threads in the Dominion forum when they start streaming, but many will forget to do so. Just do a search on the Dominion forum for "stream" and you'll find most of them.
One thing I'd like to mention is that when you get to high Elo, you're going to find that the player pool has reduced drastically. You'll begin seeing the same people over and over. If you got to this Elo range by being a jerk to others or adding people just to dodge them, you're going to have a reputation for it.
3). What's the Secret to Winning Solo Queue?
Its not a secret, or at least it shouldn't be: you have to be a positive player. Got a teammate or someone who's feeding badly? Instead of harassing them about it, you should try to help them do what they're doing, or guide them otherwise. Teammate having lots of bad positioning? Just use a ping or two. Enemy assassin simply destroying you? Chances are they're simply taking advantage of your mistakes and are willing to point them out after the match, so don't rage at them.
Here are some examples:
Situation: Teammate goes to their bot because they keep losing top, but he made it obvious to the enemy.
Bad response: Continue going top, or go bot as well.
Good response: Go through their jungle to harass and delay people that follow him.
Situation: Teammate pushing top minions because he keeps dying.
Bad response: "Go do something useful."
Good response: Neutralize their mid so one or two enemies recall from top in confusion.
Situation: Teammate keeps attacking Shaco clone.
Bad response: "Look at his feet for buffs"
Good response: *Pings real Shaco in fights*
Situation: Matchmaking pits solo versus premade.
Bad response: Yell in all chat about how unfair it is.
Good response: The premade is probably partial and willing to talk strategy after the match.
Situation: You're losing the game and there's no way to turn it around.
Bad response: Feed or troll to hurry it up, or just go afk.
Good response: Maximize your score for the lulz. Buy some defensive items. You never know!
Situation: You're losing the game for reasons beyond your control.
Bad response: Blame Matchmaking.
Good response: Blame Nekrogen!
Not every game can be won no matter how positive you are. There will be losses sometimes. Remember to be friendly and not rage, and your enemies might send an invite or two your way. As long as you find a way to have fun, you win.
4). Improvement on Builds and Setups
Plenty of tips here. Let's start with Runes:
At the very least you will want to use your two supplied rune pages for physical champs and magic champs. As you get more pages, you can setup more customized pages such as regen/tank pages for Udyr, energy pages for ninjas, or mana pages for Ryze. See below for a quick overview on a generic lategame carry page:
Rune choices are fairly straightforward: You begin at level 3 so flat runes are only worth it if their break-even level is 11 or higher, and even then you might still want scaling runes. Penetration runes will work well with flat penetration or % reduction builds, health seals are very generic and can go on any champion, and scaling magic resist glyphs are also quite popular. Quintessences, or "black" runes as they are called in the game files, are up to you but penetration and movespeed are both universal and strong for Dominion.
The big thing that stands out on this example page is that one of the marks was removed for a crit chance mark. That's because the crit chance mastery was removed, and Xypherous' RNG redesign is generous when it comes to low chances. It WILL cause crits to happen, sometimes against other champions, which can lead to you winning duels at low levels.
Your rune pages can be called whatever. So long as YOU remember what they are, who cares how confusing they are to others.
And now for Masteries:
You should always have 10 mastery pages ready to use. You should not have duplicate pages, and you should name your pages in a fashion that you can quickly figure out which one to use (Don't tie your mastery pages to specific champions). This allows for customization on the fly with respect to your planned items. Here's a screenshot example of what mine look like:
If you are technically inclined, your masteries are stored in your properties file and can be hexed to have more than 10 pages. Edit: Masteries are serverside now so that's a no-go anymore.
And finally, now for general tips on item builds. I'm not going to go into specific champions, but these are some particularly good builds that can be used across many.
Trinity Force + All defense items:
This works amazingly well on a lot of champions, most notably ones with *cough*broken*cough* abilities, such as Poppy. It can also work very well on champions like Irelia whose abilities generally don't scale.
Stacking life steal:
Sometimes, stacking life steal is the best form of defense. The bonus here is that while vampiric scepters have many upgrades, they also sell back for 70% of their cost should you acquire more gold for better defensive items. This is why they are RAD. Stacking life steal works very well on ranged champions and is in particular an excellent counter to Yorick and other champions that harass at range, lack gap closers, or rely on out-sustain to win.
Frozen Heart vs other armors:
I'll be frank, you want FH on at least one person on the team. The attack speed debuff applies to total AS, not additive AS, meaning it is very effective. The 20% CDR is an excellent boost, and if you specced 9-21-0 as a mage with CDR runes, its the ONLY item you need to hit the cap. I'm not saying the other defense items are bad, but Frozen Heart is REALLY good.
Stacking flat MPen:
This works wonders for burst champions that frequently target carries, as well as magic damage champions with bad ratios (such as Mordekaiser). By penetrating their resists down to effectively zero, you do what is usually a fed burst mage's damage that went straight AP, except that you are tankier but only do this type of damage to squishies. I do not recommend this build for most bottom lane matchups, but it works very well for top lane.
This build is any combination of the items: Trinity, Atma's, Ghostblade, and at least one Executioner's. Rather than going hardcore crit with PD and IE, you can slowly stack it up with items that also have other purposes. It is effective on many melee champions, as it is cheaper and supplies you with actives and leaves room for QSS should you need a hard counter.
5). Improvement on Strategy/Macro
You should glance at your minimap whenever you push a lane, go for a shrine, or approach brush. You should watch your minimap whenever you leave a capped point. You should put your camera over enemies with global ults in other lanes when you're capping a point.
Whenever an enemy is alive but not visible on the map, you need to make rough estimations on where they are or what they would be doing. When many enemies are not visible, it is simply not safe to push, extend, or roam into brush. Sometimes called "dude potential" for however many dudes that might sporadically appear and gank you, Dominion is a much nicer map than the others for predicting enemy movement. Learn to guess what the enemy is doing in fog of war, and never rule out the possibility they're waiting for a facecheck somewhere.
Don't be idle:
Don't sit on points. Go collect health packs or speed shrine, or scout the area briefly. If you absolutely must be near a point for a long period of time, be sure you're in the fog of war and to stay in the fog of war. It creates a "dude potential" for the enemy team as well as sometimes an assumption that you've simply recalled.
Confusion can be an ally:
If there's 3 enemies top and 2 bot, backcapping their mid point could cause 2 enemies to recall or backtrack from wherever they are. Considering how at least one has to stop you, this helps your teammates more often than not -- just be sure to not to get killed, and only neutralize the point if you must leave to save yourself. Some champions a very good at backcapping tactics like this, but try not to become too predictable with champions like Shaco.
Waste no time:
Whenever there is a lull in action anywhere on the map and you don't need to be paying attention to anything, such as leaving your base and walking to a speed shrine, open your shop and ready the next item to buy. This saves you time when you recall next, as you will neither click through menus nor misclick into wrong categories. It also helps if you're running Revive and can't afford to spend any time dead.
Know the timers:
Health packs spawn at 2:00 and respawn every 30 seconds (Thanks AbsolutePK for double-checking). Relic spawns at 3:00 and respawns after 3 minutes. If you're in the area just a few seconds prior, stick around for them!
6). Improvement on Micro
Micro is mostly just experience with your champion, but I will list one thing that can and WILL help you out:
Turn on smartcast for everything: skills, summoner spells, items.
Learn spell ranges by hovering your cursor over skill icons, not by targetting them. Smartcasting cuts down an incredible amount of time spent clicking around. Smartcasting can save you in clutch ability uses and can really improve your play on spammy champions like Cassiopeia. It can ensure you get your spells off the moment you chase an enemy into the brush.
Other wonderous things smartcasting is able to do:
-Graduate from casting school.
-Land ALL your skillshots (while playing a champion with no skillshots).
-Allow you to play Ryze facedown on the keyboard.
-Fire Jarvan's skills so quickly he sometimes misses his own E.
7). Screenshots for Explaining Random Tips
Forcing an advantage:
If one of the teams isn't big on Revive, it is a good idea to start the windmill fight one point down (Point as in your team's score, i.e. 495-496). This will give your team a slight respawn timer advantage, and theirs a disadvantage, in the windmill fight. Simply capping mid from this direction will do this:
Note: The respawn timers are supposed to change for every 100 point difference, however it has been tested and the respawn timers do indeed have a +2/-2 for even a SINGLE point difference. Also, if you get to mid-point early due to champion abilities, it either won't matter or you'll need to wait.
Making the most of fog of war:
Any time spent in fog of war when preparing for a gank is time you can spend getting closer to them. Here's how to appropriately gank bottom lane:
Always have a battle plan:
Whenever you expose yourself to danger you must have a plan of action should enemies show up. Here's an example of Jarvan in bot lane once he has enough CDR for two Q's to one E:
A lot of people don't use this particular brush correctly. It is very effective, even if you just sit in it to see who is thinking about going top!
Lock a squishy in their base by ganking from here (you'll need CC to stop them from running away):
Ganking overextended botlane:
If you've got a built-in flash you can go around this way if the enemy bot laner is practically on your point:
Hiding stormshield buff:
Especially useful with Pantheon or Nocturne, leave the area by the closest edge and make your move in the fog.
In clutch situations, you can suicide to avoid giving gold to an enemy. This opportunity does not present itself very often, but when it does you need to be decisive about it.
8). Making Balanced Team Compositions
Team comps are fairly straightforward. The most basic functional team will look like:
1 - Bot laner
2 - Phys damagers
2 - Magic damagers
The bot laner can be either damage type, and ideally he will get ganks from a teammate of the opposite damage type.
The roles can be further broken down:
1 - Bot laner
1 - Tanky DPS
1 - Ranged carry
2 - Tanky AP
Additionally, one of the tanky AP champions can be swapped out for a support or a pure tank. Janna is currently the most popular support, but they're all viable. Same goes for the tanks.
Here's some of the roles explained:
The guy that focuses on sustain and typically stays bot all game. Range, pushing power, and some single-target burst are hallmarks for a solid bot laner champion. Some bot laners also do well top lane, and can be swapped if need be. Map awareness is the #1 skill when being the bottom laner. Builds vary greatly per champion.
Examples: Urgot, Yorick, Cassiopeia, Ryze, Jarvan, Maokai, Malzahar, Udyr
Usually melee champions, these guys usually have gap closers and are meant to dive onto someone and cause major problems. Many tanky DPS champs can hold bottom lane fairly well, and while they can initiate a team fight, they usually should wait for a real tank to do it. Tanky DPS champs are typically duelists and the best choices for forcing 1v1's in the jungle. Many tanky DPS champs will go for the Trinity+Atma's route.
Examples: Jax, Jarvan, Pantheon, Wukong, Riven, Irelia, Blitz, Mundo
More or less built how you would expect them. Ranged carries are dangerous to play in Dominion because of the prevalence of gap closers. Ranged carries will typically go the raw PD+IE route with stacked life steal for sustain, and try to use their abilities for regular defense. Distance is very important to them, and are difficult to play well. Aside from Ezreal and Vayne, ranged carries are not frequently seen in high Elo.
Examples: Ezreal, Vayne, Ashe, Graves, Caitlyn
The prevalence of tanky AP builds over the usual SR builds is something that has come from experimentation. Tanky AP simply just does better throughout the game. Depending on who you pick, you might be focusing on CDR over defense, or defense over actual offense. All caster champions can do at least moderately well if built tanky, so don't feel shoehorned into playing Ryze or something.
Examples: Warwick, Kassadin, Poppy, Maokai, Gragas, Soraka
Most of the successful supports I've seen have gone almost pure tank, only sometimes getting auras. Sona might also consider Trinity. You should have no more than two support champions -- it lessens your team's ability to split up. Garrison is very effective on support champions.
Examples: Janna, Taric, Sona, Karma, Lulu
Some tanks can build AP to remain a threat, while others can do Trinity or Atma's. Your job is pretty simple: protect the carries and be the one to take the brunt of CC in fights. Use pings to tell your team to prepare for initiation into fights.
Examples: Leona, Malphite, Rammus, Shen
Only a few casters can afford to go glass cannon builds. They are usually not seen and are champions that have escape abilities or passives that allow them to build that way and still contribute. AP carries must be exceedingly map-aware and very cautious about brush and jungle.
Examples: Leblanc, Nidalee, Fizz, Master Yi
Other team compositions that I've seen work well:
-Four physicals top lane (at least one ranged) that all rush LW and Ghostblade.
-Extremely CC heavy teams using Trinity on all their champs for damage.
-Poke-heavy teams with one tank for sponging CC and to provide vision.
-Global ult teams for their ability to stop captures.
-Trap teams that have lots of vision in the jungle.
-The POOTERSS team (lol).
9). How to be the Bottom Laner
Section pending screenshots.
Anyone who played Twisted Treeline or SR as the solo laners should have a pretty good foot in the door for being the bottom laner in Dominion. The major caveat is that you don't sit around and wait to last hit -- no, the jungle in Dominion is predictable and you can easily cut losses and go back without losing a level or something. Your main objective is to give the enemy bottom laner such difficulty that they have to call at least one of their teammates down to help out, creating an uneven match up top. The easiest way to ensure you get an additional opponent down into bottom lane is to neutralize the enemy capture point.
Ultimately, how you do this depends on your champion. Different champions have different pushing power, dueling strength, escape skills, and sustain. It boils down to one of these methods:
Push really hard:
Champions like Udyr and Malzahar have this method covered well. They excel at pushing minions and this should be used to pile up a giant wave of minions that can then be used to neutralize the enemy point. This strategy will be hindered against enemy pushers and people with Garrison.
Kill the enemy bottom laner:
For the most part you ignore minions when the enemy bottom laner is around, except to last-hit them, and use all your abilities on the other champion. This is a fast way to make the enemy panic and send an additional person bot, but you have to be very careful if the enemy bottom laner is carrying Revive or Exhaust (Constantly watch their death timer).
Zone the crаp out of the opponent:
Champions like Cassiopeia and Karthus can do this really well. You want the enemy laner to be afraid of you and to keep his distance from the minions. Depending on your champion you may have to keep your abilities off cooldown to maintain the zoning. If you are an attacker, use brush to drop minion aggro whenever possible. This will require you to be overextended most of the time and be susceptible to ganks, so you need good map awareness and communication with your team.
Push really hard so you can safely leave the lane:
Easiest to do this with anyone that has escape or mobility skills. Global ults can also help. It is important to act like you're simply going to the health/speed shrines so the enemy bottom laner doesn't realize and ignore the minions to neutralize your point.
Out-sustain the opponent and wait for early-game to pass:
This applies to champions like Ryze, Vladimir, Mordekaiser, and several others who have weak early games and/or are dependent on certain items to be effective. Basically, you just stalemate the lane until you get can the items you need to win the lane using one of the strategies above.
Stalemate the lane all game and use global abilities to support your team:
Soraka and Karthus are easy examples of this, but if for some reason Pantheon, Shen, or TF went bottom lane, they can use their ults when not visible and head back to their lane after helping out. The enemy bottom laner, provided they didn't see you disappear, will often assume you're still in the lane until its too late and you're on your way back.
Call for offensive ganks:
If your team has control of the map and most of the jungle, it is easy to gank someone on their point by just alternating attempted captures to prevent it from firing. If the enemy bottom laner has Garrison, you can also Garrison the point (The turret will have regen and splash damage, but it will also deal reduced damage). Your Garrison will win if the gank is fast enough. Offensive ganks are the fastest way to get the enemy to send at least one additional person bot lane. Be cautious when ganking someone who also has Zhonya's, and you should typically not initiate the gank if you don't know where at least two of the enemy champions are.
10). Summoner Spells aka the Revive Section
Unlike the list of viable champions in Dominion, the list of viable summoner spells is much smaller.
Clairvoyance is occasionally taken on a support champion in lieu of Garrison. It is very useful when team members traverse the jungle, and occasionally allows you to see if the enemy is deciding to rush a different point. It won't see hardly any use when it comes to fights near capture points, but a stalemate bottom laner could also potentially take CV if his map awareness is great enough to follow exactly what his team is doing.
Not necessary. The passive mana regen on Dominion is simply too high.
Cleanse removes a lot of stuff now, though many will argue that simply the damage you take from CC will often not make it worth it. Very useful on ranged carries and melee DPS, and can throw a potential curveball if taken on a bottom laner.
The best "all-around" offensive spell, it reduces damage from autoattacks much more than abilities. One of the reasons why AD casters often supercede autoattackers. Exhaust will almost always be used for the damage reduction in Dominion, and not for chasing. Be sure to prematurely cast this against suppressors such as WW or Malz, if you are going to use it at all against them.
Due to the layout of Dominion, flashing over walls isn't going to completely save you like it can in SR. It has its uses on champions that require certain positioning, and can help squishy champions and initiators quite a bit, but honestly I'd take something else over it unless its a certain champion like Alistar.
Extremely useful spell -- you can defend a point from a huge minion wave, you can dive an enemy champion, you can disrupt a neutralize from a long distance away... very useful to have around 2 Garrisons on your team.
When Dominion was first released, everyone thought Ghost was absolutely necessary. Turns out, it really isn't. You can use it to chase/escape, or you can use it the moment your target gets out of range in a team fight. People underestimate the ability to ignore collision. It will usually lose some of its MS when combined with a speed shrine, due to soft caps.
Actually quite useful in Dominion -- very powerful early on and helps team fights quite a bit.
Useful because of its short cooldown. Ignite helps a lot against popular picks such as Soraka or Derpwick. Its damage is nothing to sneeze at, and it can help a lot against defense stacking targets. You'll want at least one on the team in blind pick.
To be completely honest, if you want pushing or counterpushing power, just get Garrison. After a lot of testing, I believe anything Promote can do, Garrison can do better.
Everybody always wants to ask me why Revive is so important in high Elo. For a bot laner, the reason is simple: you can get right back to your capture point before the enemy can neutralize it, even if you died to a gank.
For a top laner, Revive is more of a list of reasons:
-Very strong in the windmill fight.
-Stronger than Ghost.
-Allows you to distract enemies in a lost team fight by running away from your team.
-Allows you to recover from a bad mistake such as getting bushwhacked.
-No other summoner spell is going to let you get out of ganks anyways, especially vs the meta picks.
-Allows you to maintain a winning game in the face of adjusted respawn timers (in favor of the enemy team).
Overall, the pros of Revive vastly outweigh its single con: long cooldown. Specced Revive is absolutely necessary to have, so be prepared to allocate something to the defensive tree.
The only time this sees use is when you know for sure the enemy bot laner will be Heimer or AD Malz, and even then its a questionable pick.
If your champion scales on AS and AP, by all means, run this over a different offensive spell.
11). Tournaments and Competitive Stuff
TheFeedski hosts weekly tournaments over on http://www.dominatedominion.com. You sign up on the forums and it takes place 7pm CST every Saturday. You can watch the progress of the tournament through TheFeedski's or FourCourtJester's streams:
The tournaments are generally referred to as "DD". My team is usually Point Defense [+5] though we sometimes get away with trolling our team name on the signups.
Speaking of which, dominatedominion.com maintains an LoL chatroom that you can join at any time by just typing in dominatedominion. A lot of players, several hobos, and a few trolls hang out there.
Additionally, one of my teammates Nekrogen streams a lot, and almost always during tournaments if you want to watch it from a player's perspective: http://www.own3d.tv/Nekrogen
National E-Sports League (NESL) used to host weekly Dominion tournaments as part of their Go4LoL cup. These happened on Monday 9pm EST. As of the beginning of May 2012 they no longer run these tournaments.
Okay this post is reaching the 30000 character limit, so onto the next section!
Frequent bottom laners:
Cassiopeia, Ezreal, Galio, Gragas*, Heimerdinger, Jarvan*, Kayle, Malzahar, Master Yi, Maokai*, Nasus, Nocturne, Riven, Ryze, Singed, Sivir, Skarner, Soraka, Talon, Teemo*, Udyr, Urgot, Yorick, Ziggs.
Infrequent but also viable bottom laners:
Alistar, Ashe, Caitlyn*, Corki, Graves, Janna, Jax, Karma, Karthus*, Kog'Maw, Lulu, Miss Fortune, Mordekaiser, Olaf, Pantheon*, Rumble, Sion, Shen, Shyvana, Vayne, Vladimir, Wukong, Xin Zhao.
Anyone in regular text can go bot or top at the start of the game.
Anyone in bold text goes bot at the start of the game, no questions asked.
Anyone in italics is someone that should stay in bottom lane unless swapping is absolutely necessary.
Anyone with an asterisk has some ability that allows them to scout the bottom jungle, escape into it, or return to lane quickly.
Anyone with an underline is also a good counterpick champion.
Sauron's Quick List of Common Draft Bans
Sometimes bans will be targetted by teams.
Sometimes bans will be skipped around by the first-pick team so they can get an "OP" champ.
Sometimes bans will be trolled by the last-pick team so they can get two "OP" champs.
Draft mode has long been a series of mindgames in tournaments. In regular play, however, there are some common bans (For good reason).
The "Fearsome Five" bans:
His mobility is far too great for his contributions to tanking, damage, and CC. A lot of people don't know how to use him correctly since he's been on permaban status since Dominion was released, but that doesn't change the fact that this guy needs to stay out of draft mode.
After 6, his mobility becomes almost uncounterable. The main reason why Kassadin is almost always banned, however, is that unlike many other mages he scales very well into the late-game, and combined with that mobility simply makes him very difficult to manage. Like Rammus, not many people play Kassadin well in draft due to frequent banning but that is not a good reason to let this guy go free.
Can go either top or bot, his damage combined with the Crystal Scar Aura effect is just SCARY. Experienced Urgots will often go the standard piecemeal crit build to really output damage in close range -- Urgot is basically the ranged carry of ranged carries. He's tanky, he's damaging, he's got good CC, he's got good range, and his debuffs help his teammates a lot as well. He's been extremely OP on Dominion since it was released and an above average champion for TT, but the SR folks only finally caught on a little while ago that he is an incredibly good champion.
A dedicated bot laner, his harass in the early game is almost unmatched. Although he does eventually get countered badly by ranged carries, he can swap to top by that time. His ult used on an allied Vayne is particularly frightening and he is able to hold a capture point by himself for a very long time. Add that to his usual tanky DPS build with Atma's and a skilled Yorick is simply very hard to deal with. I feel Yorick is the weakest of the five bans here, mostly because he actually has counters.
The new kid on the block, Lulu does far too much of... well... everything. Her cooldowns are short, her abilities are functionally and numerically broken, and she can afford to go almost pure tank which lets her fill three roles for her team all at once. It does take some skill to play her though, but zimike has proven she needs to be on permaban status in tournaments. Fun fact: Lulu is currently demolishing all competition in TT as well, and as soon as the SR slowpokes catch on that Lulu is a free win if she gets money, she will dominate that mode as well (see: Urgot).
The "Other Two" bans:
Called Derpwick by many high Elo players due to his ability to stack defense/CDR and just sit on someone spamming Q until they die. Difficult to deal with as building HP against him is counterproductive while building MR just causes him to hound a different target.
Wukong is in here for several reasons: His Q reduction applies before its damage, his E cooldown is too short, his ult is up in every team fight, and exhaust does not stop him from dealing tons of damage. He is simply one of the best tanky DPS champions for top lane.
Lack of counterplay is why Poppy is banned. If your team is planning to have any squishies, the midget needs to go or their kneecaps will go flying right off.
I don't see this ban hardly at all anymore, but since Urgot is usually banned and he's one of the serious counters to Ryze, this is a common pick for bottom lane. Ryze is one of the mages that typically goes bot lane and gets to scale very well into the lategame.
This is a more common ban in lower rated games where people haven't yet learned his routes through the jungle. Because of that he has some notoreity as a pubstomp champion. Shaco is quickly shut down in high Elo games, mostly due to heightened teamwork and accurate guesses on where he Deceived to.
If your team does not want to deal with global ults, these two are the first to go. Their ability to turn fights into 1v2 and stop captures is very strong.
Most other bans are targetted.
Sauron's List of Commonly Misjudged Champions
Unlike SR or TT, all champions are viable in Dominion. The passive gold and XP gain makes sure of that. However, champions that are balanced around farming minions, such as Veigar, will be at a bit of a disadvantage. That isn't to say they will be bad, as teamfights happen all the time, but they won't be used for the reasons they are picked for in SR.
I am not going to go into all the champions here -- in particular I won't go into the champions that I feel have popular opinion in accordance to their performance or build. Straightforward and strong champions like Talon do not need anything said about them. Champions that are misjudged, mislabeled, or misbuilt are the ones I will discuss in this post.
Amumu (tanky AP):
I've seen CarnivaL run this build a lot, and it is actually surprisingly effective. People are so trained to ignore Amumu as much as possible in fights that they often don't realize that, hey, this guy is actually doing damage to me! He is no bot laner even against supposed countering champs like Yorick, but combined with a ranged carry, tanky AP Amumu does an amazing job of damage as well as keeping teammates clean with his CC.
Suggested setups: MPen, Armor, Health, CDR, scaling MR
It is easy to knock this champion because of low stats and E's passive, but truth be told she's actually quite good. Frost Arrows are incredibly useful in Dominion and she fits the role of ranged carry very nicely. She will wreak havoc on melees that don't have their gap closers up, and she gets to build pure DPS/lifesteal because of it. Don't waste your ult on people that you/your teammates can't reach in the duration of the stun, though.
Suggested setups: 21-0-9 / ArPen, Crit damage (!), Health, Armor, CDR, scaling MR.
This champion isn't a common pick for some reason I am unsure of. She can go top or bot, has an excellent get-away ability, and gets to build pure offense. W and E combined make her very hard to get to, and Q can poke as well as push minions. Her R is decent as a finishing move, but I've also seen it used effectively prior to teamfights starting. Unlike Ashe, Caitlyn should consider getting Phage at some point.
Suggested setups: 21-0-9 / ArPen, Health, Armor, CDR, scaling MR.
Humorously, Dr. Mundo was considered dodge material until Jjaja and MMKH started using him in tournaments and streamed matches. Mundo can either go tank+flat MPen or tanky DPS with a slightly heavier emphasis on AS and tank (and dropping life steal from the standard build). What Mundo brings to the table is unique and decidedly early-game strength, and he works well with a CC team.
Dr. Mundo is a very hard champion to play effectively throughout the whole game. I do not have a suggested mastery/rune setup for him at this time.
Mob mentality has decided that Evelynn is the league's greatest dodge material, but this is nothing more than an SR carry-over. When built the standard piecemeal crit way, Evelynn is actually very dangerous. She is definately at a disadvantage due to the map layout and her base stats, but she excels in ganks and teamfights once a true tank has already initiated and drawn fire.
Suggested setups: 21-0-9 / ArPen, Health, Armor, scaling MR.
Fiddlesticks is at a bit of a disadvantage due to many top Dominion picks being heavy on hard CC. He can do pretty well as tanky AP in a standard team, but he is certainly not a capture point defender. He will not be able to 1v1 the likes of Irelia or Poppy. Fiddlesticks is best picked in draft mode, and typically last if the enemy team would not counter him too hard.
Fiddlesticks can also be built as Crittlesticks and abuse his 3 second fear a lot, but that's more of a somewhat viable joke build.
A surprisingly good bottom laner, his big shortcoming is large mana costs and the cooldown on his ult. Galio is able to clear waves of minions and his slow and ult are great teamfight assets for going top lane. His speed buff rarely amounts to anything except damage, but his shield is decent and he gets some free stats which allow him to allocate his item builds a bit better. A very good counterpick to enemy casters in bot lane.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, Armor, MP5.
Another excellent bottom laner, most people underestimate his capability for a large burst of damage. Usually built as tanky AP -- after doing his ultimate he can use his E to keep up with a fleeing enemy and hit them with additional Q's. Ignite is recommended to add to the underestimated drunken burst. He can also E over the top wall of the lane as an escape, but not over the speed shrine wall.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / MPen, Health, Armor, CDR, scaling MR
When Jarvan was first released, everyone made the mistake of building him as a tank. Absolutely wrong, but because of that, everyone now underestimates this guy's capacity for burst damage. Jarvan is one of the strongest burst melees in the game and can easily prevent enemies from escaping it. I've been running the piecemeal crit build on him since, like, forever -- all of the components of that build are very effective on him, but he will usually need LW in there somewhere. With the ability to do two Q's to one E once he has enough CDR, Jarvan simply cannot be ignored in team fights (if you chose him to go top).
Jarvan was the champion I broke into competitve Dominion with, and prior to my usage of him in tournaments as a serious burst melee, people did not consider him a good pick. He is now sometimes a targetted ban.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / ArPen, Health, CDR, scaling MR
Heimer is an amazing capture point defender when played well, and contrary to popular belief is actually a very strong pick for top lane. His turrets and stun will keep people off his back and off the windmill early in the game, and he can get Rylai's, Zhonya's, and other tank items to become a total nightmare to teams trying to assault the point he's on. Heimer truly excels when he is paired with a teammate that is either damage or tanky damage. Heimer's pick in draft mode can be done early, due to the assumption of many players that he's a pure bot lane champion, which can force a counterpick to him when he will actually not touch bot lane for the entire game.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / MPen, Armor, Health, CDR, scaling MR, AP, scaling AP
Another mob mentality from SR has people thinking Karma is bad. She is not bad in Dominion at all. Karma is a solid support and effective as a tanky AP champion. Karma with Garrison is difficult to dislodge from a capture point, but the same goes for all the other support champions as well.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, Armor, scaling MR
This build is becoming more popular lately, probably because it beats the regular Kassadin build in 1v1 blind pick matches. It focuses on end-game performance and sacrifices much of its mid-game prowess. It is particularly effective in teams of squishies who need a tanky AP capable of soaking some of the CC. ZaberZ originally had a ton of success with the build before his ADD kicked in and he jumped to other champions.
Why does it work? It works because of two reasons: the ult can be used for damage, and everyone automatically focuses Kassadin in fights anyways. Tank Kassadin is often misjudged as a burst caster and he has the ability to draw CC away from his teammates -- he can ult away if he's taking too much damage. His core build is Tear, Glacial, Odyn's, and Void Staff -- after upgrading Tear and Glacial, the sixth item is up to you.
Tank Kassadin is a very large threat late-game, but will often have to go back for mana.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, scaling CDR. (The CDR cap is hit with just FH)
I don't think its necessary to go in-depth on her, I just feel the need to emphasize: you NEED to build fairly tanky on her! You WILL get targetted by CC!
I occasionally see someone go AP or hybrid on Kayle. This is wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. It is right if you have a computer that goes back in time 12 months. You do not.
All of Kayle's skills complement the ranged carry build of pure offense. The slow from Q and the low cooldown on R allow you to do this. Just remember you need a good amount of CDR to maintain your E in fights, something that Ionian and Ghostblade usually have covered.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / ArPen, Health, Armor, CDR, scaling MR.
This yordle has gotten a lot of flak in high Elo, mostly because of people simply playing him wrong. He is NOT an initiator in this game mode! Kennen is typically built tanky AP but can forgo Zhonya's due to the large areas that team fights take place over. He will need Rylai's, and can be a very difficult champion to chase down or escape from mostly due to his ability to Q into brush. Kennen is most definately a champion for top lane.
I might draw some flak for this myself, but AD Kennen is actually pretty good on this map if he's played cautiously (like any other ranged carry). This is mostly because many of his skills, as well as his autoattack range, suit this type of play and the passive gold gain makes it possible.
This cute little blob is the absolute terror of lategame. If left unattended he will be capable of completely melting anyone in a 1v1. Kog can be built in a number of different ways, but most of his damage will come from his W and in order to make that keep happening you have to be extremely attentive in using your E correctly. That slow, combined with the ability to outrange opponents, can put many enemy champions into a lose-lose situation where they'll be too weak to take you down if they try to get to you, or they'll die if they just try to run. Use the bottlenecks of the maps as much as you can when you E+melt someone.
I can't suggest a setup because he has a ton of different builds that all work.
Leona is a great tank for Dominion. She sticks to someone (Ideally a squishy) and keeps sticking to them, letting her teammates do their job. All of her skills are useful, and she makes great use of Trinity -- a prime example of a champion that can do Trinity and then stack defense. Leona's ult is typically best used when it will stun one champion and slow the other -- don't wait for more to get into range to use it.
She is not horrible when built the tanky DPS route with Trinity and Atma's, but I'd rather be more tanky and to sustain more CC in fights.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, CDR, scaling MR, Movespeed
You don't see too many Luxes (Luci?) in Dominion, but when played correctly can be very effective at giving the enemy team hell. Best played as tanky AP, Lux can easily defend and attack capture points and contribute to team fights. Definately not a duelist no matter her build, however. Kiting is extremely important as Lux. zimike has had much success with Lux in high Elo matches and tournaments.
Suggested setups: MPen, Health, Armor, CDR, scaling AP, Movespeed
A very underrated tank. Does a considerable amount of damage and is a great counter to the prevalence of tanky derps. Even against AD casters Malphite is still very effective. Malphite is primarily built pure tank, but AD and AP do not go wasted on him. An excellent counter to many tankyderps champions like Jax. I HIGHLY recommend Garrison on him.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / ArPen, MPen, Health, CDR, scaling MR.
Sometimes when I encounter newer or lower Dominion players the subject of AD Malzahar gets brought up and people are like "...what?" You see, Malzahar has an unlisted 1.0 AD ratio on his voidlings' attacks. So unlisted, in fact, that it isn't in the tooltip and their stats when clicked upon don't even show it. The build originated in high Elo Dominion but I am unsure of exactly who began it; all I know is that Aparkhurst and mollica are big-time frontrunners of it nowadays.
Why does it work? It works because the voidlings only inherit 2 stats: attack damage and armor penetration. This means that is ALL Malzahar has to build for offense. Unlike other AD champs, he can simply ignore life steal and attack speed and crit chance. All he needs to build is Manamune, Brutalizer, Frozen Heart, Last Whisper, and Odyn's Veil.
While simple to build, AD Malzahar is not easy to play effectively.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / ArPen, scaling AD, Health, CDR, maybe scaling MR.
Master Yi (AD):
Is not a troll pick. I just want to put that out there. If he plays his cards right, he can carry pretty hard.
Master Yi (AP):
Best described as the opportunist of bottom laners, AP Yi whittles his enemy down mostly by random procs on minions. When his enemy is low enough Yi can sometimes go in for the kill, often with Ignite or Deathfire Grasp to help him do this. The nature of Yi's abilities, ranges, and ratios allow him to build glass cannon and stack as much AP as possible. His ult is typically used as an escape ability unless there are two enemies in lane with him and one is low.
AP Yi is a great counter to Heimerdinger, as well as problematic for "range" opponents like Cassiopeia and Karthus. Anyone without a hard CC/Ignite will be at a disadvantage against a well-played AP Yi.
Suggested setups: 21-0-9 / MPen, AP, scaling AP.
Mordekaiser's nerfs have him a difficult early game, but can get going quickly by focusing on flat MPen. Unlike other tanky APs, Mordekaiser doesn't have that great of ratios, meaning he should be focusing on penetrating defenses as much as possible. Mordekaiser's goal is to assassinate the enemy carry in team fights as early as possible for that OP ghost. If they do not have a ranged carry, then go for a melee over a caster.
Mordekaiser is strong in bot lane, but easily countered. He is best picked last in draft mode once you know what the enemy bot laner will be.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Armor, CDR, scaling MR, Movespeed, Spellvamp.
Morgana in bottom lane is primarily done to counterpick someone like Ryze, but she can have pretty good success in top lane. Like in any other mode, landing your binding will be a good way to initiate team fights and her W makes disrupting captures very easy. Her spell vamp passive comes into play quite as bit as well, and her ult makes diving her a dangerous thing. Definately a tanky AP champion.
Unlike in SR, though, I'd prefer to have Morgana simply be very tanky when ulting, rather than go for Zhonya's. Partly because speed shrine can make it harder, but also because you need to fight small skirmishes a lot more.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / MPen, Health, CDR, scaling MR
Even without farming minions, Nasus is still a good counterpick when the enemy has ranged carries or autoattackers in their lineup. Spirit Fire can clear minions and disrupt captures very well, and going very tanky with defense makes him almost untouchable to melee champions. His ult is very situational in a map like this, but Wither will basically act as both FH's and Randuin's debuffs. This makes him a good candidate for piecemealing armor by building items like Atma's or Thornmail or Glacial (and not spending to upgrade).
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / ArPen or MPen, Health, CDR, scaling MR
Nautilus can be a tanky AP, a real tank, or a support. He is an initiator and will go to waste if you stack AP on him like he's a mage. Nautilus goes top lane and attempts to start advantageous team fights as much as possible; it is his job to take as many CC effects and to give as many kills to his teammates as possible. He can do a pretty good job of defending a point by himself, but he really shines when he and a teammate are defending a point against two enemies.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, Armor, CDR scaling MR, Movespeed
Nocturne can actually go bottom lane if he needs to and he's surprisingly effective at it. He can be counterpicked, but ultimately Nocturne is a great contributor to team fights and is usually hard to play against. Can be built tankier than most melee champions due to his free stats on ability usages. Whatever his build, though, Ghostblade is easily among the best items on him.
Suggested setups: 21-9-0 / ArPen, scaling AD, Health, Armor, scaling MR
Back when team [TOEWW] was still around we used to fear this build, popularized by Wawix and later used frequently by zimike in the NESLs. Basically, all Sona really needs for damage is Sheen/Trinity, and can be incredibly effective at soaking up enemies' damage when built as an almost-pure tank. Perhaps with some auras thrown in, Sona will usually get targetted first in team fights because she diarrheas out annoying sound effects and also because, hey, she's a support so she must be squishy! This allows her to just kind of slide around the battlefield as her teammates beat up the enemy carries, completely ignored.
Suggested setups: ArPen, MPen, Health, Armor, scaling MR, Movespeed
I just want to put here that Soraka starting in top lane and eventually swapping to bot is a very effective strategy. Other than that, Soraka is Soraka.
Derpwick builds Sorcs/Mercs, SV, and FH. After that should come Mallet, Abyssal, Guise, or onhit items in whatever order is appropriate for the matchup.
Derpwick is very popular in high Elo and all sorts of builds have been tested on him -- this is the one that has come out on top by far. Just sit on people with low MR and Q them repeatedly -- if they have more HP, its more damage done.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Health, scaling MR.
Not many people realize the glory of Vladimir's E: fewer have tried ranking it first. Vlad's E is crazy damage in the earlygame and combined with the built-in fear of his Q from old times when it was OP, most people simply let Vladimir zone them out. His E will need regen or spell vamp, but Vlad can go bot or top with it ranked early and bypass his normally-weak earlygame problem.
Vladimir has seen the most success in tournaments and high Elo by building the same way as Mordekaiser: tanky with lots of flat MPen. Spell vamp and defense will be a tad more important to Vlad than it is to Morde, and his purpose in team fights is a bit different.
Suggested setups: 9-21-0 / MPen, Armor, CDR, scaling MR, Movespeed, Spellvamp.
That's it for now.
Dear Sauron, how do I get my teammates to cap mid/bot when we lose top instead of throwing themselves on the enemy tower in a 4v4 situation? I try to explain nicely, I'm ignored. I try to bd, I usually get caught after neutralizing it, they kill me 3v1, they then 3man recap it for those delicious Dominion points, then I look top expecting my team to have capped it and they're still farming creeps. What do? How would you keep your cool if you're subsequently labeled as a troll griefer who only bds?
Also, are you me? Some of those responses are exactly what I try to do in those certain situations, and which admittedly make me rage a little when teammates don't do so for me. The 6-step Jarvan example is a bit much for me though, because I tend to just bail and then poke them as they try to recap.
(also a little birdy told me that your queue time goes down dramatically if you queue with lower elo players. Say, someone like a certain person who's losing low elo games like it's going out of style...)
This is probably the best/most informative dominion guide I've read. I'd be lying if I said I didn't learn anything. This should be stickied & added as a link to the guides section of the forums.
I like how you didn't say so and so champ is OP and to just play that and win in blind solo Q *cough*kassadin*cough* and rather talked about strong item choices for different scenarios. I am a little surprised you did not mention P.Blade, phage, atmas (fratmas). Or Brutalizer on AD casters. Hopefully you can add onto that section in the future.
It would be nice to see a section on mobility/map control with sweeper and champions that have map vision, like Maokai's sapplings and J4's flag for example.
Very good post and a lot of valuable information from Sauron, I do hope you make a lot of updates to this.
Yep I always tell my team to do this, stay in jungle even if you have 3 points because people have no idea where you are and its free scouting for your team. Camping in top point behind point fog is useless because if you need to run to your team fighting in the jungle the enemy will see you.
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