The Summoner's Guidebook: Avoiding LoL's wombo combos

Patrick Mackey
P. Mackey|11.15.13

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Avoiding LoL's wombo combos
If you've played League of Legends for while, you've probably been on both ends of a wombo combo. This amusing term describes what happens when two characters combine their simultaneous murdering efforts. You know you've hit with a wombo combo if your opponent dies to your combined assault without ever getting a chance to do anything except die.

In LoL, wombo combos require quite a bit of setup. All participants need to be within striking distance of the enemy, or one of the attackers needs to pull the victim into his friends. Because of the limitations on positioning, most wombo combos are avoidable.

What is a wombo combo?

Typically, a wombo combo is a situation where two or more characters chain their abilities together in such a way that the victim dies with no opportunity for escape. This term applies to any game with team-based combat, though it is especially applicable to MOBAs.

Because League of Legends has a universal escape button in the form of Flash, wombo combos must either CC the enemy for the entire duration of the combo, apply enough slowing power to allow attackers to catch up and continue the combo, or simply strike while the enemy's Flash is down. Of course, the first kind is the kind we think of when we think about wombo combos.

Threat bubbles again

When you're in a situation with multiple enemy threats, it's important to understand how many foes can actually attack you. As I've mentioned before, it is a good idea to visualize abstract threat bubbles emanating from each enemy character and to avoid the areas where those threat bubbles overlap.

Enemy champions can launch targeted attacks from about 700 range units away and skillshot attacks from 900-1100 range units. The 1100 range units is a particularly useful distance to learn because it is just outside the range of most skillshots and the range of most characters' ability to Flash into range for a targeted attack.

In fact, it's important to remember that in the event of a combo starter landing, it is very possible that an enemy may use repositioning tools such as Flash to get into range to link attacks. For instance, if you're laning against Corki and Lux, if Lux lands a Light Binding, Corki can use Valkyrie to close the gap immediately and begin shooting even if he's over 1000 range units away.

It's almost impossible to completely account for enemy mobility. Corki is a good example of a character who can be totally out of range and suddenly be able to confirm for kills. Stealth champions like Evelynn and Twitch can position themselves close to the enemy without being detected, making approaching into the enemy threatened space safer. Fast-moving champions like Singed or Udyr can travel 600+ range units in the duration of a 1.5 second CC in order to link their crowd controls.

By staying mostly outside of the 1100 range threat bubble, you'll find it becomes fairly obvious when an enemy wants to attack. Foes have to move forward to use their skillshots at all, so those skillshots become easily telegraphed. Furthermore, if a combo is dependent on a targeted attack, the enemy has to use Flash to land it, which gives you time to react and eats up the enemy's Flash.

Breaking the combo

Ultimately, this article came about because one of my less-experienced friends kept getting caught in ARAMs without understanding the risks. The other players would navigate a minefield of skillshots, rarely getting hit, while my friend would eat multiple Blitz grabs or Lux bindings, which would inevitably lead to his getting wrecked.

On the other hand, I would occasionally see an opportunity to get hit by Leona's Zenith Blade and let her pull herself into my team, then fall back while my entire team compressed on Leona. If her buddies can't confirm off of her opening, then she's as good as dead. It's very important to be aware of what your team can't finish when throwing out risky openers.

Regardless, breaking combos can save the lives of your team. I recently played a game as Zyra during which, upon seeing an ally get caught by CC, I would throw Grasping Roots with seeds along the path where enemies had to travel to confirm the combo. Unsurprisingly, my snare landed on multiple people and completely shut the enemy team down from attacking.

If you see the opener for a wombo combo land on an ally and you have the ability to peel, you should immediately react and peel the most damaging threat off your friend. It's not about peeling the closest enemy. If Leona goes in, she is dangerous, but unless you hit her in mid-Zenith Blade dash, you are not going to stop her from shutting your friend down for at least two seconds. If you peel off a damage dealer who hasn't yet fired off his skills, you can isolate Leona from her team and limit the damage to only her spells.

Wombo combos are a very important element of LoL, especially in environments with lots of characters present such as teamfights, 3v2 jungler ganks, and of course, ARAM. It's vital that you understand both what to do when allied CC lands (link your CC as tightly as possible!) and how to avoid getting caught by the enemy.

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.
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