In League of Legends, time is a very important factor. I'm not talking about the time you have to play the game, although we could talk about it on a macro scale and do time-to-IP graphs for their silliness value. Instead, I'm talking about the actual time in-game that you spend accomplishing goals in a given match. In Summoner's Rift, the goal for the first 10 or 15 minutes is to get as much gold and XP as possible. If you can directly deny the enemy time by harassing him out of lane, you're taking away his time, which effectively takes away his gold and XP. As the game progresses, time is still traded for gold, but it's also traded for the other team's time (via teamfights). If your team manages to win a teamfight, the enemy cannot affect the battlefield and your team is free to take objectives.
This week, we're going to talk about time in Dominion. While time is a fairly complicated thing in SR, it is even more complex in Dominion. There are many different things to do with it, and there are no easy decisions about how to spend it. If you're interested in learning more about how to better make those choices, read on!
At its heart, Dominion is a game all about time. In SR, gold, experience, and towers are the main resources that drive the gametype. Dominion has per-second gold generation, and the winning team gets closer to winning with every second that passes. Winning in Dominion is about making better use of your time than your enemies or taking their time away by killing them. You can also spend your time killing minions to make a bigger impact on the game later. There's a lot of nuance in what you can do.
The most important thing you can do with your time in Dominion is find enemy champions and kill them. Eliminating the enemy from the battlefield allows you to take objectives or kill other enemy champions with less difficulty. Although chasing kills is often a bad idea, the goal of eliminating enemy players so they cannot do game-winning things is incredibly vital.
One of the biggest reasons teamfighting is so important is that both you and the enemy player(s) are spending time trying to kill each other. It is not like pushing or backdooring when the enemy is doing something else. The victor of a battle spends the same amount of time fighting but gets to walk away 100 gold richer while the loser spends valuable seconds respawning and still spent the time fighting.
Because of this, it is vital to remember my advice from a couple of months ago: If you're not at an advantage, don't pretend that you are. Losing a teamfight is huge! If you lose a teamfight, your only hope is that the enemy does something foolish with its advantage. If even one person on your team throws her life away, the enemy can push its advantage all over your team's face. It takes incredibly skillful play to overcome superior numbers in League. Don't get into bad situations. Always think about what you're jumping into before you take the dive!
Always seek out advantageous situations. One of the most common situations to happen is getting spotted in the jungle by the enemy. Often your enemy will pursue, especially if he has friends just behind him. If you flee in the direction of reinforcing allies, your team can turn the tables on your pursuer before his friends arrive. If his whole team is behind him, focusing down that one foe before the fight starts will give you a massive advantage in the oncoming teamfight. Smart players will retreat to defend at a turret until their ally respawns, but most people are not that smart, so these fights often end in wipes. Always seek to create these kinds of situations for your team, and don't waste your time engaging if you're not going to force the enemy to respawn or at least retreat.
Unless you are in bottom lane, pushing minion waves is almost universally looked down upon. An entire team pushing is a mistake, to be sure, but a single person pushing is a great thing if she can get away with it without dying.
Why is a team push a mistake in Dominion? Your entire team is slowly following the minion wave when a single champion can quickly clear the enemy minions without assistance. That's a huge waste of time. Several team members can be hiding (see below) to ambush would-be ambushers. Someone could go to gank or backdoor bottom lane. If the capture point is defended (which is probable), your team could also go and use zoning abilities to harass the enemy on its point (ideally from a different direction) so the pusher can advance unmolested. You can also cut off enemies trying to reinforce from the summoner platform or the jungle.
Pushing is great for a solo person because she gets a lot of gold and experience and forces a response from the enemy. The gold gained is 30 per caster minion and 60 per melee minion. That's 120 gold per wave, which is more than a champion kill. I've said it a lot of times now, but it never gets old: Minions give a lot of gold on Dominion.
Enough of a push costs the enemy team its turret; a small push forces a larger time investment from the enemy (with some exceptions like Anivia who are amazing pushers) to clear the wave. Everyone is familiar with how a small minion advantage quickly snowballs; you can do something as simple as kill the caster minions in the lane and it will snowball into a wave that takes most enemy champions a while to clear. Additionally, they have to respond to the wave much later than when you actually kill the caster minions; it's akin to starting a fire and waiting for it to spread. I think Sun Tzu said something about that -- it's costing them time at the same time you're doing something else.
I've talked a bit about backdooring (capturing points behind enemy lines) in previous articles, but I want to recap it a bit. There are good and bad times to backdoor; the best time to backdoor is when there is nothing else you can do and the enemy is elsewhere. Don't backdoor if you need to be in a teamfight, for instance.
The ideal backdoor draws multiple defenders. Even if you fail to get the neut on the point, drawing two opponents and escaping successfully is a net gain for your team. If you die, it's obviously bad, so don't backdoor if you're going to get surrounded with no escape. If you manage to get a neutralized turret, you've bought yourself exactly as much time as the backdoor took to do, but just as with pushing above, they have to neut the point while you can go do something else.
If you manage to cap the turret, your team will probably gain a brief moment of scoring (in most cases) and allows your team to potentially defend it. It's not a good idea to hold a backdoored turret for an extended period unless the enemy team is really bad, but it's also not the best idea to just leave it unless you can trade it for the top turret, which is easier for you to defend. If you are a strong poking champion, you can harass the enemy team members while they try to recapture in order to buy your team more time. If you have the turret, it will also fight for you, which is a tremendous edge.
Ganking bottom lane
I'm not going to go too much into this just because I have covered it in other articles and because the value of ganking the lane is incredibly obvious.
The best time to gank bottom is, as with backdooring, when you aren't needed elsewhere. However, with good coordination, you can time a bottom lane gank to be uncontested. If your teammates know your plans (ideally ping the enemy bottom lane champion so your top allies know you're headed there), they can delay their assault on the enemy top capture point, posturing to be threatening but ready to retreat. Then your gank can go off without a hitch and uncontested, and your team gets the bottom turret for free.
Ganking bottom is a bad idea if the enemy turret is sufficiently pushed. If the enemy is on his turret, a gank will require a turret dive. If you have Garrison or are one of a few champions that can survive under a turret while your opponent scrambles (e.g., Poppy) you can still do it, but I would advise against doing that as a standard tactic (unless, again, you're Poppy).
Winning without fighting or spies or some other Sun Tzu thing
Sometimes there's no clear thing to do at the moment. This often happens when you are in the dark about the enemies' position; you know they're alive but they're in the fog of war and you don't know where. Pressuring the top capture point is the most probable option if it's not yours, but if it is yours, then what do you do?
Scouting the jungle by hiding in brush that overlooks key chokepoints keeps your team apprised about the enemy team members as they move through the jungle. Stealth champions can do one better by scouting brush in dangerous locations; a skillful Twitch player has given me valuable information that we used to set up later ganks on more than one occasion.
Information is king in Dominion. Don't give away your position by sitting idle on the top capture point. If you're going to puppy-guard top (a generally bad idea), do so from the fog of war above the point. A better spot is in the jungle below the point; you can see enemies coming from all sides and can choose to ambush them or retreat to the point or even abandon it to backdoor or gank bottom.
Time is a huge resource in Dominion, and it can be spent in a variety of ways. Be sure to spend yours wisely. Good luck and have fun!
We understand what it's like to climb the skill ladder in League of Legends. The Summoner's Guidebook teaches you the tools you need to get a competitive edge. Whether you're climbing the ranked ladder, playing Draft Dominion, or getting crushed by intermediate bots, every enemy has a weakness. And every Thursday, Patrick Mackey shows how you can improve improve on yours.