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Competitive indepth proving grounds guide.

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Senior Member


This guide originally was situated in the guide subforum but with the new PG+aram subforum (Thank you riot!!!) ill place it here. Originally made when the proving grounds were released and ongoingly updated the tierlists and made it all easier to find things in it.


-The tier lists are now alphabetical.
-Added quicksearch through brackets.
-Now actively updating after every new champ release.


Search (type the bracket+number to quickfind the respective subject)
[1] composition theory explanation.
[2] tactical explanation.
[3] ban list for draft.
[4] tier list.
[5] Examples of effective comps.
[6] meta, spell and item recommendations.
[7] intermediate strats.
[8] final notes.

Prologue: Hi, im ihaveapotion; i started playing competitive Proving grounds (draft and blind) since the opening of the proving grounds, wich i will from hereon call PG in the guide.
I wanted to make this guide because theres still alot of people who do not understand the optimal strategies, tiers and bans for this mode.
I so far played about 500 draft and over a thousand blind pg matches and as far as i remember havent lost drafts for aslong as i play it competitively.

In draft i main ziggs, fiddlesticks, mf, tresh and ap maokai.

[1]Composition theory explanation:
The most powerful so far is the ranged aoe harass team, this gives you beter cover of multiple health/mana packs and allows you to push deep into the lane wich means if you die you dont lose your tower.
Second would be the sustain team wich should always have 2 ad ranged carries (pref, trist and mf) 2 tanks (taric esp) and a heavy healing support (sona comes to mind), however this team 'will lose against the above due to a lack of advancability, thus being locked.
Whatever you 'should not" pick are cqc champs, champs that need to get close to the enemy team to harass or are full on melee ad carries, they are absolute trash in pg and i will explain more about this through the tier list.

[2]Tactical explanation:

There are two tactical considerations you need to understand in PG, the first is locking and the other is priority, these work in synergy.
locking means you keep the enemy as far as possible in the lane granting your team maximum hp/mp packs to fall back on and preventing the enemy from taking a tower when you lose a teamfight by one or two, this can be done by suiciding when you're low hp so you can repush the enemy back with full hp mp, only do this if your team can hold the enemy however, dont do this unless you can build a core item with the money in bank and 'never at your own turret unless you are completely drained on hp and mana and the enemy camps the hp/mp pack.

priority is about who gets the hp/mp packs, this is about the technical priority of hp vs mp and the practical priority of wich champ in your team has the heaviest most effective harass (preferably aoe).

If you play ahri for instance, pushed all the way to the enemy team's turret.. and your teammate near full hp' ap maokai is empty on mana and burned through his mana pots and you're on low hp and half mana. the hp/mp pack should go to maokai, not you for being low hp.
Priority is set on the strenght to harass, not the time to stay alive. Getting pushed back with low hp is the opposite thing of what you want to happen when you want to win a Proving grounds match. Afterall with the enemy killing you on your tower easily enables them to take the tower.
Killing you close to their tower means before they get to push to your tower you've respawned with full hp and mp and new items if you did it right.

This works both ways, if you want to win be sure to drive the enemy back to their tower with low hp, dont try to kill them at your tower in greed completely draining your own hp and mana levels, you wont take a tower that way unless its lategame and the respawn timers are maxed out. (wich usually doesnt get to happen)
Only kill the enemy team at your tower if thats the only way to keep them from taking it at 'that point, otherwise do as i explained and drive them back in low hp, so you get to take more hp/mp packs and turn the tables.

[3]*must*Banlist with explanation:

1: Jayce. (the current king of proving grounds, allrounder and his range + aoe is like a lux on steroids)
2: Master yi (the current queen of proving grounds, i personally prefer riot to block him in this mode because his refreshing kit makes pentakills a no brainer when only two champs in the enemy team are low. MUST-BAN)
3: Blitzcrank. (you dont want this guy in the game, he is way to hard to burst down and seals the fate of your advance with a single grab)
4: Fiddlesticks. (his E is way to powerful in this tight corridor, and so is his ult, easily placed from a brush near the tower)
5: Nidalee (i dont think i really have to explain this to most but for those that dont know; her Q is considered op in all mid modes)

You may also want to ban the below imba tier champions, i personally select my champions from that list to play competitive PG with because i like to win :P

[4]Tier list: (banlist included)

Imba tier:
Ashe, Blitzcrank, Fiddlesticks, Gragas, Jayce, Karthus, Katarina, Kennen, Khazix, Kogmaw (AP), Lux, Maokai, Master yi (AP), Nidalee, Sona, Varus, Ziggs.
(Imba tier is for banworthy champs that singlehandedly make the match incredibly hard to win because they either lock up the lane completely in a ranged comp and can dish out infinitely punishing harass)

God tier: Amumu, Anivia, Ezreal, Caitlyn, Corki, Caitlyn, Janna, Kayle, Kogmaw(AD) , Lulu, Miss fortune, Nami, Orianna, Ryze, Rumble, Sivir, Syndra, Tristana, Twitch, Urgot, Vayne, Veigar, Viktor, Xerath, Yorick, ZAC, Zilean, Zyra.
(God tier is for champions that either have insane range, low cd harass, low mana cost harass and are often AOE)

intermediate tier: Annie, Alistar, Ahri, Brand, Cassiopeia, Chogath, Draven, Elise, Graves, Galio, Gangplank, Heimerdinger, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lee sin, Malzahar, Mordekaiser, morgana, Nocturne, nunu, Olaf, Quinn, Shaco (AP), Sejuani, Soraka, Swain, Talon, Taric, Teemo, Tresh, Twisted fate, Singed, Vi, Vladimir, Wukong, Zed.
(Intermediate tier is reserved for champions that have proper harass and/or cc but either on a high cd, high mana cost 'or are focussed mostly on a single target)

Normal tier: Akali, Evelynn, Fiora, Fizz, Hecarim, Irelia, Jarvan IV, Karma, Leona, Malphite, Mundo, Nasus, Nautilus, Pantheon, Poppy, Renekton, Shen, Singed, Sion, Shyvana, Skarner, Trundle, Volibear, Warwick, Xin zhao.
(normal tier is reserved for champs that can still be relatively viable in certain comps because they have either ranged harass or useful CC (knocking/throwing enemies to your team, stuns etc) but have no 'initial usefulness.

Sh!t tier: Darius, Garen, Jax, Rammus, Rengar, Riven, Tryndamere, Udyr.
(sht tier is reserved for champions that add nothing whatsoever in ranged harass when put against a imba or god tier comp because they either get or have to get close to the enemy team to damage them and regardless of their tankyness thus cost you usefulness.)

[5] Examples of effective comps.

What makes a good comp is often synergy between the champs (like how in a sr game a nunu would compliment a kogmaw), but also collective output. The following comps have proven to be a serious hassle to deal with, do mind these are examples and there might be better combinations undiscovered.

Spike poke comp: Nidalee, Lux, Cait, Yi, Jayce. <You will see this comp in competitive proving grounds a LOT and is current meta.>
Club poke comp: Teemo, Veigar, Zed, Nidalee, Cait. <Not as common as above and still seen regularly; will often block you off, have you on spear juke duty while cait and zed freefarm>
Aoe poke comp: Maokai, Jayce, Lux, Mf, Ziggs. <not as often played but very effective in keeping enemies permanently pinned under their tower>
Flat aoe comp: Karthus, Gragas, Fiddle, Kennen, Varus. <Very powerful and very hard to counter mid game>
Sustain comp: Sona, Soraka, Taric, Nidalee, Lulu. <believe it or not this comp can beat the above two>
Lock aoe comp: Zyra, Orianna, Tresh, Katarina, Yi. <impossible to beat lategame, yes really..unless youre bronze 5>
Situational lock comp: Blitz, Tresh, Nautilus, Katarina, Yi. <Depends on the success rate of grabs>

These are some examples, if you have seen a specific comp often, even one that hard counters the meta (and not just once or twice cause the meta playing players did awful, but consistently) please post it in this thread.

[6]Comp meta setup recommendation:
2 ad ranged carries, 2 aoe ranged carries, 1 mildly tanky sustain oriented champ (example: blitzcrank if not banned, Sona, Alistar, Janna, Kayle, Nunu etc) (only for experimentation sake, otherwise its best to follow settled comps unless you figure out a counter)

Summoner spell recommendation:
Barrier and Exhaust for the ad ranged if enemy team has 2 or more ranged ad carries.
Barrier and ignite for the ad ranged if enemy team 2 or more selfsustaining champions (example: mundo + ap yi or warwick + swain)
Barrier and Clarity if you are a ranged aoe spam harasser (example: ziggs, fiddlesticks, Zilean etc)
Barrier and Heal only if everything else is covered.

item recommendation:

Fiendish codex if ranged aoe spam harasser, build into morellonomicon (wrecks sustain champs and helps alot for your harass) next suicide, and start building lucid boots and rabadons, followed by void staff if enemy stacks magic resist, wota if not. (ziggs, zilean)

Catalyst into Roa if you're going for a tanky ap harasser (ap maokai, ap tresh etc)

Phage if tanky adc, built into fozen mallet next suicide, and start building bers boots and sanguine blade, followed by whisper if enemy stacks armor, infinity edge if not.

Some adc's however are more useful starting with tear+boots for manamune because they are skill use heavier on the poke side, for instance ashe and varus.

Hypothetically, just as viable is a adc metabuild.. but be aware this mode will force you to spam your abillities at times and noone wants to be oom when it gets crucial, i will still insist manamune.

If you're the sustain then start the same as aoe harasser and after lucidity boots get rylais and then abyssal.

From then on its your call, if you havent already won the match.

[7]Intermediate strategies:

-Sometimes when your team is having serious trouble in taking a tower due to enemies respawning and keeping you at bay, and you're getting drained on hp and mana its sometimes effective to rush through the enemy line toward the top or bottom of the screen in their base.
People who do not play with the knowledge from this guide will often greed over a single kill and come after you with your team able to take a tower. Do note that this is a resort trick and can just as easily fail, then again suicide at the enemy tower is never a bad thing if it gets you your hp/mana back so the world doesnt end if it does.

-Be sure to take all the hp/mana packs if you're being chased down by the enemy team, even if you're full hp/mana because logically it prevents them from healing up.
Also do not forget about the respawns, one of your teammembers walking back a bit to pick up all the respawned packs while the rest of the team continues the harass onslaught is something that you need to do to keep momentum.
When you respawn dont just click on the map to walk back to your team because you will automatically walk over the health.mana packs, first walk a bit towards the middle to prevent picking up healthpacks away from your team that might need it.

-The brush is curved, use this to your advantage at the early phase to dodge skillshots, also if youre a aoe harasser walking on the lower end of the lane and throwing your skillshots into the brush from there is much wiser than doing so from your own brush wich is the hotspot for most people to dump their skillshots in.
No matter how appealing it looks, just dont stand in that brush unless you have a headstart and can position yourself in the enemy side's brush already, if its occupied its better not to and either keep in the curve or not in the brush at all.

-Towers are much more squishie then in regular modes such as Summoners rift, but also regen health much faster. So dont waste time hitting the tower if you cant finish it, instead converse all your harass toward the enemy champs, when they have but one or two left standing its safe to block them off along a minionwave.

-When playing champs with placeable minions or traps such as heimer or maokai you can throw behind a tower by targetting on top of it, this will keep you out of the tower's and gain a bit on your placement range.

So far this is the guide, i might find out new strategies, perhaps even unforseen powerful combination comps that might pull some champions from lower tiers in their synergy, untill then youll have to do your best with as it is.
Thanks for reading and happy victories in proving grounds draft (or blind) !


p.s. : if you are interested in 'seeing how to play proving grounds the competitive way, there are .lrf's for leaguereplay on its respective site, just search on 'ihaveapotion's ziggs PG'

also, if you have questions why certain champs are in certain tiers even though at first sight they might be good champs, im willing to explain individual champ tier decisions if required.

i can understand some people may disagree with certain champs in certain spots..
But this is all based on the most optimal comps by vast experience.

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Senior Member


gay tldr

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Senior Member


Tier list updated/changed.

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Senior Member


Did you think of ap yi in this. A well played one can poke/push incredibly well and his heal offers him extreme sustain. Along with something like Athene's Grail, he has infinite mana and can heal multiple times with his highlander reseting it. Also with cdr his alpha strike is on something like a 6 second cooldown.

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Nea De Penserhir

Senior Member


This is an incredibly long post for saying "Whichever team has more poke / carries wins" =/

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Senior Member


Master yi is a must ban. Played AP, his late game rapes everyone.

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Senior Member


tier list updated.

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Senior Member


currently the tier list is very outdated, i dont know when i will update it but it will happen eventually.


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Junior Member


So, where is ziggs?

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Senior Member


So, where is ziggs?

as you can see in the tierlist he's imba tier. (highest)