Out of date! I will be adding a new classification system in addition to the aggregate score in the weeks to come. Sorry for disappearing and thanks for the support, as always.
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My core belief is that saying “X champion is OP,” or “Y champion is UP” is inherently meaningless unless there is some justification in terms of the context in which that champion is played. Furthermore, we need to consider the meta within which that champion and role reside – obviously, as Dominion has not been extensively fleshed out, this is indeterminate right now and highly subject to changes. Superficially, what I will attempt here is to provide the adequate justifications for different champions based upon the roles they play effectively. The deeper purpose, though, is to stir up more relevant and constructive conversation so that the community can understand Dominion from an entirely different mindset not used in SR.
As a brief introduction, you will notice that I am not a particularly illustrious ranked player. I have not been playing this game as long as many of you, although I did grow up on DotA and have been playing since 5.84c, which I believe is the last version created by Guinsoo. The extent of my competitive experience comes from DotA open leagues – I am not a professional player, nor do I claim to be. So why should you believe me? Honest answer: you shouldn’t have to. Use your best discretion after reviewing the evidence and reasoning, and mold that constructively for your play.
I. The Dominion Mindset
A. The biggest change in Dominion is the win condition – you must hold more Capture Points (CP) than the opponent team, until the opponent’s Nexus drains to 0 health. Please keep the win condition in mind while reading this, and actually playing the game. The same can be said for SR, but that is not the emphasis here.
As a result, Kill:Death ratio, minion kills, and to a limited extent, objective points, should not be the primary focus of your play. Treat these metrics only as auxiliary elements to your objective, and aim to gather them only if they are conducive to your team winning the game.
So why is K:D more or less irrelevant in this game mode? First of all, champion bounty is greatly reduced to a base of 100 gold, which is the same amount awarded to taking a CP. Second, passive XP and gold gain prevent “denying” an enemy champion. Everyone is going to get “farmed,” everyone will be able to complete their core build and be a threat. Finally, killing enemy champions stop awarding nexus damage after a certain point (150?), thus making it an inefficient use of time. This is not to say, however, that killing champions should be altogether avoided. The benefits of doing so are fairly obvious – assaulting points becomes easier, and well, skirmishes are simply unavoidable. The point is, playing solely for K:D is a poor mindset to have, as it is in SR. K:D is not even a good measurement of contribution.
B. Champions also have different roles in Dominion, since the Laning Phase is removed. Mid- and late-game are also changed drastically, since farming is basically a non-issue. That means that while you will not be able to deny a carry his or her farm, your whole team will have enough gold to accrue items that prevent carries from snowballing uncontrollably (as frequently happens in SR). Specific roles such as pushers, tanks, and carries, are also reinvented in the Dominion context. These roles below will be used as my criteria for categorizing champions later on.
Attacker – Ability to assault a point. Qualities that make an attacker successful include those such as potent poking abilities, ability to displace defenders, ability to tank turrets, ability to quickly push a lane, and high burst damage.
Defender – Ability to defend a point. Qualities that make a defender successful include those such as tankiness, AoE abilities on a short cooldown, CC abilities, and long range.
Utility – http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...1286491&page=7
There has been some confusion about what Utility refers to in the context of Dominion. Briefly, it refers to characteristics/abilities that contribute to team scoring directly or indirectly, that do not take the form of assaulting or defending a Capture Point. See post for more details.
A general term I’m using for champions that perform roles that do not directly include assaulting or defender a turret. For example, mobility is a great example of utility that is not required to be a successful attacker or defender. Global presence is another premium. The ability to perform “swing” roles is also grouped here – that is, intercepting enemy champions before they can attack or defend a point, or merely being able to defend two CP’s at once.
These roles are not mutually exclusive, but rather are different dimensions portraying the strengths and weaknesses of a champion. Different roles will be emphasized both within and among games – strong defenders often have to go on the offensive, and vice versa. Even the slowest champion may see a window to backdoor a CP and opt to take that. The playstyle is meant to be fluid, and understanding how each champion performs in these different dimensions
C. Personal Score
TL;DR - Section is out of date. Good job Riot. However, original point still stands - don't play for personal score, keep the team's victory in mind.
With KDA being an inaccurate measure of contribution, that leaves us with the other metric Riot provides: Personal Score. Two kinds of points are awarded - objective score, and combat score.
The first category is fairly straightforward. Capturing points is a large part of the game, and purely performing these roles yields a high number of points. Generally speaking, each champion will receive a fairly steady source of score from Objectives just through the progression of skirmishes. Some players may choose to exclusively play backdooring roles, and seek to wrench CP's away from the enemy team whenever the opportunity presents itself. While some degree of communication and decisionmaking as to when to execute these strategies are required, they are both viable methods of play. Major complaints about the exclusivity of backdoor champions and their inability (or lack of willingness) to participate in team fights, are not a result of the viability of that gameplay method. Rather, it reflects a failure of communication and understanding of objectives. Sometimes, insisting on taking on a team fight may be more deleterious to the team's chance of winning than simply backdooring multiple points at once.
Problems with Objective Score arise because currently, there are no diminishing returns on the score received from neutrallizing, then capturing a point. In other words, 1 champion will receive 40 points for capturing a point from its neutral state. 4 champions will also receive 40 points for performing the same task. The practical consequence of this is something that the average Dominion player will recognize - instead of focusing on small skirmishes, teams will tend to group up into 4v4 team fights over two nodes, while one champion attempts to backdoor. In extreme situations, these turn into 4v5 or 5v5 team fights, while the rest of the nodes are left completely undefended and uncontested. Oftentimes, we will see multiple champions on the same team accrue over 1600 points, but still end up losing the game to a team in which the average score does not exceed 1200.
The problem of score inflation in team-fight scenarios is compounded by the nature of Combat Points, the second scoring category. Points are generally awarded for kills, killing sprees, and shutdowns. However, 30 points are accrued for kills that occur on points, with 10 points subsequently provided for on-point assists. If a majority of the fighting is done on points, not only will the whole team exhibit score inflation from cooperating to capture a point, but it will also see additional score inflation for participating in team fights.
At this point, some of you may be wondering why this is problematic. The answer is simple - the score system more often than not reflects poor gameplay, and reinforces score-based rather than strategic-based thinking. The core issue behind this poor gameplay is a failure to grasp the victory condition in Dominion. Kills are not the determining factor, winning team fights are not the determining factor, and points are not the determining factor - the only win condition in Dominion is to ensure that the enemy Nexus ticks down to 0 health, by controlling more points for a longer period of time. The most important resource to maximize then, should be time - not kills, not score.
Time-based strategies effectively counter clustering strategies. They also perform well against heavy bruiser/duelist teams even while running lower-tier champions. These strategies employ tactics that are not credited in Riot's score system at all. As you will read, Utility is one of the key classifications in determining a champion's tier placement. While utility includes intuitively "useful" abilities such as being able to get around and backdoor quickly, it also includes important swinging offensive/defensive roles and mobility control.
Swinging offense/defense and mobility control receive no formal recognition from the Riot score system, even though they are tactically the most prominent. If Dominion moves towards a more competitive scene, I expect that professional players will have an excellent feel for the amount of time it takes to move between CPs, and the amount of "space" controlled by an enemy team at any given time. This space can simply be represented as the time integral of a champion's movement speed and the frequency that the champion can use movement-enhancing abilities within that time interval, plus the range of interrupting abilities. Due to the fact that map vision in lanes, CP's, and the greater relic area, is granted at all times, control of the jungle lanes between nodes is the single most important factor to controlling space.
Certain champions excel at controlling space, and can restrict enemies from using certain paths, or slowing them down to buy more time for teammates to attain objectives. Champions who can perform swinging defense roles effectively severely limit the usefulness of backdooring champions. The most game-changing plays are almost always ones made by defenders attempting to hold a CP from falling into enemy hands, often in the face of overwhelming odds. Yet a measly 5 points are awarded on a set time interval for standing on a point, while another 20 are awarded for dying. No sort of measurement is made - or is even possible - to account for the strategic edge gained by having one defender hold off multiple champions for the rest of the team.
Don't play for KDA ratios. Don't play for personal score. To truly show one's worth as a good Dominion player, you must win. Communicate with the team, direct them to undefended CPs. Tell them to avoid pyrrhic fights. Cut off enemies in the jungle attempting to interrupt capturing. Move on to the next CP to pressure it instead of sticking around to help capture a point that your teammates are already in the process of securing. Think strategically, and outside the box. This will open up a dimension of Dominion that was never seen in SR.
The categories I will be using for Tier Classification are Attack, Defense, and Utility. These will be based on a 5-point scale. For the most part, higher aggregate score will lead to better performance on the tier list. This is not necessarily true though, because some champions perform so well in one dimension that it warrants a higher positioning regardless of overall score.
Methodology: The aggregate score of attack, defense, and utility is roughly an estimate of where a particular character stands in terms of overall tier rankings. This is finally adjusted by my own personal reasoning, and is by no means perfect. I will continue updating this as I see appropriate and hope that it becomes a tool to further understanding and discussion. The notation I will be using is (A/D/U), for Attack, Defense, and Utility. Keep in mind that Attack and Defense are considered in terms of on-point combat, with up to 1 additional point awarded in the appropriate category for adeptness in off-point combat and random skirmishes. Adeptness in mid-map combat and general map control is awarded in the Utility category. Champions are addressed in alphabetical order until I have enough data to rank them within each category.
Tier I (12+): In alphabetical order (as much as possible)
Anivia (4/5/3) - Primary Role: Defender - High DPS output per rotation with AoE crowd control. Easily pushes and drastically slows down pushes. Wall can be very disruptive if used properly, and egg is situationally strong.
Gangplank (5/2/4) - Primary Role: Fighter - Global presence, great scaling into late game, supports his team, and can break CC's. Despite nerfs to Raise Morale, Gangplank still wields 6 guns and still should not max Q last.
Heimerdinger (3/5/4) - Primary Role: Pusher/Defender - Turrets. Micro-Rockets scale very well and have a massive range. The stun/blind from Concussive Grenade gives him good utility in team fights as well.
Janna (4/4/4) - Primary Role: Support - Janna's unique passive makes her contribute even without being in fights. A combination of strong CC and defensive options make her a very valuable asset to a team that works well with her abilities.
Jax* (5/2/4) - Primary Role: Duellist - High mobility, semi-reliable AoE stun, and natural tankiness without having to itemize heavily for MR, and high damage output allow Jax to remain strong even after Gunblade nerfs, though not to the extent he was before.
Kassadin (4/4/4) - Primary Role: Disruptor - Despite the recent nerf to his mobility, Kassadin is still extremely viable in just about every aspect of the game.
Kog'maw* (5/4/3) - Primary Role: Fighter - Kog'maw has been hit with a chain of nerfs recently, but he remains one of the most solid ranged AD's. Reducing ambient XP growth and the range on Bio-Arcane barrage has greatly reduced his ability to snowball early on.
LeBlanc (5/3/4) - Primary Role: Disruptor - Easily has one of the strongest kits out of all the AP casters, with significant CC capabilities and unrivaled burst with the addition of new masteries.
Pantheon (5/3/4) - Primary Role: Duellist/Fighter - After recent buffs, Pantheon is definitely one of the stronger duellists right now. Near-global presence is a significant advantage.
Poppy (5/2/4) - Primary Role: Duellist - Poppy's snowballing abilities have been nerfed a bit, but she still remains one of the strongest champions for diving and anti-carrying.
Rammus (3/4/5) - Primary Role: OK. - The hubbub about Rammus has seemingly died down with the removal of Priscilla's, but he still enjoys the ability to gain AD for fairly standard itemizing. He is still an amazing and versatile disruptor, because no matter how prepared you are for him, 800 MS is 800 MS.
Riven (4/4/4) - Primary Role: Fighter - A combination of high mobility, high sustained AoE damage, and incredible AD scaling.
Shaco (4/4/4) - Primary Role: Disruptor - I hate playing against him. He's incredibly slippery and versatile, but also able to do important team roles such as sending in his Hallucinate to initiate a dive.
Soraka (3/4/5) - Primary Role: OP Support.
Wukong* (5/3/3) - In addition to how well he scales, he is very mobile and boasts one of the most disruptive ultimates in the game.
Yorick (4/5/3) - Primary Role: Pusher/Fighter - Yorick outsustains most champions when played Bot and is able to bully out a lot of people. Ghost has been nerfed, but is still obscene when cast on allied Vayne.
Tier 2 (11):
Akali- (5/2/4) - Primary Role: Duellist - Nerfs to Gunblade, Akali herself, ambient XP growth, and people figuring out how to build Anti-Invis has just made her not as good anymore. A well-played Akali still hurts like a mother and can snowball, it's just harder now.
Blitzcrank (4/3/4), Caitlyn (4/3/4), Ezreal (3/3/5), Evelynn (4/3/4), Garen (5/4/2), Graves (5/4/2), Irelia (4/4/3), Jarvan IV (4/4/3), Janna (3/4/4), Maokai (3/5/3),
Nocturne (4/3/5) - Primary Role: Duellist/Disruptor - Despite some recent nerfs, Nocturne still is a carry to reckon with and is one of few champions to boast a spell shield. Darkness's versatility is tremendous and should not be underestimated.
Rumble (4/4/3), Ryze (4/5/2), Singed (4/4/3), Skarner (4/4/3), Talon (5/3/3) Twisted Fate (3/4/4), Twitch- (4/4/3), Udyr (4/4/3), Vayne* (5/2/3), Xerath* (4/5/3), Zilean (3/3/5)
Tier 3 (10):
Ashe (3/3/4), Alistar (3/5/2), Amumu+ (4/5/1), Brand (4/4/2), Cassiopeia (4/4/2), Cho'gath (3/5/2), Corki (4/3/3), Gragas (4/4/2)
Karthus- (3/5/5) - Primary Role: Defender/Pusher - Death Defied was indirectly nerfed, so Karthus is no longer as brutal as he was before. With the nerf to Wall of Pain two patches back, he no longer is as significant a threat as before. Nevertheless, his farm is still very strong and will allow him to snowball.
Karma (2/4/4), Kayle (3/3/4),
Kennen (3/4/3) - Primary Role: Fighter - On paper, Kennen sounds amazing. However, I have rarely seen him meet those expectations. A combination of CC-centric teams and the tendency to still have little response to pushes drops him on the tier list.
[b]Lee Sin- (4/3/3) - Primary Role: Duellist/Disruptor - He doesn't seem as ridiculous without wards or jungle minions to jump to. His damage output and mobility are still not to be sneezed at. Malphite (4/4/2), Master Yi (4/2/4), Malzahar (4/4/2), Miss Fortune (4/4/2), Morgana (3/4/3), Nasus+ (3/5/2), Nidalee (2/4/4), Olaf (5/2/2), Sion (4/4/2), Sivir+ (4/4/2), Sona+ (3/3/4)
Swain (4/5/1) - Primary Role: Defender/Fighter - The only knock I have against Swain is his inability to kill minions. Oh, and he's slow. Other than that, he can AoE enemies off a CP for a really long time. Recent mastery buffs has made DFG even more cost efficient and powerful.
Tryndamere (5/2/3) - Primary Role: Duellist - He is your worst nightmare... until your team just kites him or stuns him. The lower availability of lifesteal really affects his ability to stay up, especially with the recent nerf.
Tier 4 (9-):
Dr. Mundo (3/4/2), Katarina (3/3/3), Leona (3/5/1), Mordekaiser- (3/3/3), Orianna (3/4/2), Renekton (4/3/2), Shen (2/3/4), Soraka (2/4/3), Tristana (4/3/2), Urgot (4/3/2), Veigar (3/5/1), Vladimir (3/3/2)
Annie (3/3/2), Fiddlesticks (3/3/2), Galio (2/4/2), Nunu** (2/4/2), Taric (2/4/2), Trundle (4/2/2), Warwick (3/3/3)
I have explanations available for all my choices, and will disclose them as required. Take all of these with a grain of salt – there are many considerations that go into these rankings, and some of these considerations are more important at different points of the game. Some of these rankings also reflect niche positions, and without those general conditions, the champion may not actually perform well (looking at Caitlin here).
Keep in mind, anecdotal evidence is not particularly useful. Player skill makes a huge difference for public games, and we don't know if there is any established elo for Dominion yet (confirm/deny?). All champions can fill a potential niche, I believe, given some more time to arrange team comps. Lower tier champions do not mean that they are bad - it just reflects their overall potential (hopefully) throughout the course of the match. For example, I gave Veigar a 3/4/1 indication. If, for example, a Veigar finds himself in a game in which his team runs a 3-CP turtle, he may be extremely powerful trapping an enemy Akali in turret range every time she tries to burst him down. This would make him stronger in this instance.
My consideration, however, is that at some point, all characters will be expected to move. Lower utility scores commonly correspond to lower backdoor abilities. But this is not always the case - consider how you can use your skills and movement speed to bring benefit to your team, or to slow down the enemy from reaching their objectives.
* = Placed outside of aggregate score
** = Doubtful ranking, subject to change
+/- = Change in positioning from last update
Bolded champions are the most recently changed!
III. Explanation Links
I will be systemizing this, I'll have to sit down and sift through these 30+ pages to provide the links. So I'll start with fairly controversial positions. Please read my Methodology to better understand my criteria for scoring. Understand that all champions are viable picks in Dominion. Generally speaking, situational usefulness will result in a lower score. Analyses are provided not in a single context such as team fighting ability, dueling ability, or the like. Please consult the first section for the kind of gameplay mindset that I am considering each champion in.
Annie - http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...286491&page=14
-Some scattered commentary on Page 11, 12. In a nutshell, she has decent burst only when Tibbers is up. She is extremely vulnerable to gap closers and burst damage in general. She lacks a ranged poke, is easily CC'd and dived on a turret (assuming no Tibbers), and only achieves full effectiveness if she can hit multiple targets with her ult, which isn't always the case.
Urgot - http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...286491&page=26
IV. Change Log
9/26/11 - Added!
- First wave of changes! Thanks for all the great input.
9/27/11 - Filled in some gaps in uncategorized champions. Please help me with Vlad, Yorick, and Skarner! I'm also looking around for builds that would make support champions more attractive.
- Some small tweaks + errors fixed. Corki moved from T4(4/3/2) to T3(4/3/3). Malphite moved from LT(2/4/1) to T4(3/4/2), assuming Frozen Heart.
- More tweaks. Fixed some errors and moved some champions around in accordance to feedback.
- Veigar moved (LT to T4). Yorick moved (T3 to T2)
9/28/11 - Vayne moved out of aggregate score to T2, from T3. Score is unchanged. Tryndamere tentatively moved down to T2. Miss Fortune to T3 from T4 - strut strut strut.
-Akali moved down to T2 from T1. http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...286491&page=21
-Kog'maw and Zilean get some love.
9/30/11 - Master Yi moved up to T3.
10/1/11 - Soraka bumped back down to T4. She has her strengths but does not match the abilities of comparable T3 champions.
-Udyr raised to T2 from T3, Kassadin raised to T1 from T2, Malphite raised to T3 to T4.
10/2/11 - 20 000 views! Thanks for all the support, feedback, and constructive criticism!
-AP Amumu is being moved up to T3, with a slight tweaking in score.
-Low Tier has temporarily been collapsed into T4. The distinction was small and not particularly meaningful.
10/3/11 - Large section added (2C) to the Dominion Mindset. Contains my analysis of the Riot score system, added due to reader recommendation. Enjoy!
10/8/11 - New patch this week. Xerath has finally been added to T2. Morgana's nerf does not affect her too much. Lee Sin may see a drop in score, since he isn't as threatening and is picked up less.
10/11/11 - Fairly big changes. Check the bolded champions with their accompanying +/-/neutral designations.
10/16/11 - Graves patch will bring some fairly big updates. Ambient experience reduction will scale back a lot of level-dependent champions, and bot lane will (relatively speaking) yield more farm. Mordekaiser has been dropped to T4, and Nasus has been raised to T3.
10/20/11- Graves added to T1. Absurd burst, absurd pushing and defending power, good mobility, better survivability than most ranged AD. I didn't inflate champion scores due to builds suchas Gunblade stacking, and Jax/Akali are still very strong.
12/15/11 - It's been almost two months :O. The normal solo queue hasn't changed much from the look of things, and neither have the premades.