This guide is aimed at the Dominion player looking to improve their play and increase their numbers. 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
Greetings, I am Sauron, the founder of the now defunct Point Defense [+5]: a competitive team that placed first in the NESL and DD Dominion tournaments many times. I am currently a player on the competitive team Feel The Vibe [FTV] For regular games, I almost always solo queue and hover around a +780 win difference, and lolmatches.com has me frozen in first place on the unofficial ladder worldwide at 2796 personal rating (peaking at 2818). Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I know my stuff and this guide is reliable and you can use it to slice bread and bake cookies.
Okay enough about me, let's get started on Dominion!
Originally Posted by Last updated: 03/28/13
-Corrected a few things that still referred to S2 things, updated some builds, added Quinn.
(To jump to a subsection, use Ctrl+F and copy+paste the section number on the left. Typing them won't work.)
Section 1, Introduction and General Information (this post)
(1–1). What is Elo, "high Elo", and how matchmaking seems to work
(1–2). The Dominion meta, how to pick roles, bans and summoner spells
(1–3). The top lane, a quick how–to guide for dummies
(1–4). The bottom lane, a quick how–to guide for dummies
Section 2, General Improvements You Can Make: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...1#post25671621
(2–1). Attitude makes everything, or social situations you can improve
(2–2). General improvements to your runes and masteries
(2–3). General improvements to your item builds
(2–4). General improvements to your macro and map awareness
Section 3, Strategies and Pathing on Dominion: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...9#post25671629
(3–1). Typical strategies, movements, and pairing
(3–2). Fog of War and team fights
(3–3). Additional bottom lane strategies
(3–4). Champions that can hop walls, where can and can't they go
Section 4, Champion Discussion and Strategy, A–F: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...6#post25671646
(4–1). Ahri through Ashe
(4–2). Blitzcrank and Brand
(4–3). Caitlyn through Corki
(4–4). Darius through Draven
(4–5). Elise through Ezreal
(4–6). Fiddlesticks through Fizz
Section 5, Champion Discussion and Strategy, G–K: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...7#post25671667
(5–1). Galio through Graves
(5–2). Hecarim and Heimerdinger
(5–4). Janna through Jayce
(5–5). Karma through Kog'Maw
Section 6, Champion Discussion and Strategy, L-N: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...1#post25671681
(6–1). LeBlanc through Lux
(6–2). Malphite through Morgana
(6–3). Nami through Nunu
Section 7, Champion Discussion and Strategy, O-S: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...9#post25671699
(7–1). Olaf and Orianna
(7–2). Pantheon and Poppy
(7–4). Rammus through Ryze
(7–5). Sejuani through Syndra
Section 8, Champion Discussion and Strategy, T–Z: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...3#post25671713
(8–1). Talon through Twitch
(8–2). Udyr and Urgot
(8–3). Varus through Volibear
(8–4). Warwick and Wukong
(8–5). Xerath and Xin Zhao
(8–7). Zac through Zyra
Section 9, Competitive Coverage, Streams, and Miscellaneous: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...5#post25671725
(9–1). TheFeedski's DominateDominion.com, social gatherings, and DD tournaments
(9–2). Dominion player streams that can be viewed at any time
(9–3). Former NESL Dominion tournaments and Gandair's records
(9–4). My champion and item tier lists for Dominion, because why not
(9–5). Math! Which runes are the best and at what point?
(9–6). Dominion term glossary
Section 10, About the author: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...7#post25671737
Thus begins the guide!
Section 1: Introduction and General Information
(1–1). What is Elo, "high Elo", and how matchmaking seems to work
Elo is a rating system developed for individual players by some dude called Arpad Elo. He made it for the game of Chess (a 1v1 game) but it has been used for matchmaking in many games since then. League of Legends attempts to use Elo ratings for individual players, yet place them in teams. This is both good and bad, but ultimately the positives outweigh the negatives. Normal games in League of Legends hide their Elo ratings, and due to an oversight it used to be possible to retrieve them. Dominion ratings are now unretrievable as of June 20 (Lulu patch) and won't be making a public appearance ever again. However, the lolmatches.com ladder is effectively frozen as far as ratings go (matches and W/L still get uploaded by its client), so if you're curious to see where you or anyone else stands as of that fateful patch, go there. Due to the method that was used to extract player ratings, however, every rating displayed on lolmatches.com will be one match behind the final game played before the 6/20 patch.
Elo ratings typically start from around 1100-1400 depending on your Season One/Two performance or the prompt you answered at summoner creation (if your account is more recent). Someone who never played in Season One/Two will most likely start at 1200. From what I've seen, your first 10 games played are "placement" matches where you generally get placed with other players who haven't played more than 10 games, and your rating changes are triple what they normally would be. After those 10 games (or before, if you were detected as a smurf), you get matched into games normally, and the multiplier for your rating changes slowly goes down to 1x.
As for how matchmaking works, from what I've gathered it first:
1). Looks at your summoner level
2). Looks at your solo or premade status
3). Looks at your Elo rating
Games played and win difference have nothing to do with matchmaking. Win difference does, however, indirectly imply your Elo rating, though it is harder to discern your rating now with it being hidden and all.
The longer the queue goes on, the wider range of others it looks for. If I, with 2800 rating, solo blind queue for my average 120 minutes, I'm probably going to get 1900-2000 rated players on my team. Additionally, one thing I've noticed as I went over 2800 is that my queue times got considerably longer than they were at 2796. I suspect matchmaking works in ranges of 100, but this may have been coincidence.
As for how ratings change, it takes the difference of the average ratings between the teams and uses something around 10 as the baseline change. If both teams are 2200 average but one contains a sneaky Sauron at 2800 rating (and everyone is solo queue), then the victors will get ~10 rating while Sauron gets 6 and the offsetter on the same team gets 14. If the teams are unbalanced for average rating, the higher team gets less rating across the board. If one team has a premade, the rating change across the board for that team also goes down, to a minimum of 0 (you will rarely ever see a gain/loss of 0 though), while if the premade loses the rating change across the board goes up. If both teams have equal number of premaded players, the rating modifiers cancel each other out and you may as well consider it a purely solo queue game.
So, in conclusion, one of the best ways to gain rating is solo/duo queue.
Once you start winning matches and moving up in the wonderful world of Dominion, you might make it into what's dubbed as "high Elo." There is no set range for this, but generally speaking you're in high Elo if:
1). You held a general rating of 2100~2200 or higher before 6/20.
2). You haven't had an intentional leaver in over 50 games.
3). You keep seeing the same players over and over.
4). Queue times are starting to get realllly long.
Additionally, once you get to absurd levels of Elo (2500+), your solo queues will reliably pit you against premades.
The player pool for high Elo Dominion is fairly small, and most players made it there through self-analysis of their gameplay and their general cooperation in teams. Make friends with people, because you'll be seeing them repeatedly!
Note: Riot has officially named their Elo rating as "Matchmaking Rating." MMR is nothing more than a rename -- it still works like Elo does.
(1–2). The Dominion meta, how to pick roles, bans and summoner spells
Dominion was introduced in October 2011, but it wasn't until January that the meta solidified when my previous team, Point Defense, was formed and began dominating the tournaments. With our victories we brought decidedly standard picks/bans, the real roles of some champions, and most notably the Revive meta. We were using Revive before it was cool, and if you hate seeing that spell everywhere you can blame MMKH and me almost entirely for it.
Point Defense removed targetted banning in tournaments and brought in standard bans. This is because we were a team of solo queuers that got together, and regularly played against each other and were always looking to outpick or outsmart. We were also all self-analytical players so we identified the true OP champions a lot sooner than they normally would have been, and started using them in tournaments to force other teams to counter us. We would ban out specific counters to the OPs and eventually, we got these champions to become standard bans and first picks in the Dominion community. If you go back and look at the NESL tournaments from about #11 on (when we officially formed), you can see us running Urgot and tank Kassadin and Trinity/Atma's Yorick and bot lane Jax way earlier than anyone else was.
So basically, if there's anything you don't like about Dominion, you can probably blame Point Defense for it. Probably.
Anyways, the Dominion meta is simple at the basic level, mostly because all champions are viable (due to the passive gold gain) and fit into at least one role. Every game will have 4 people that go top at the start, and 1 that goes bot. The breakdown of roles are:
2 - Phys damagers
2 - Magic damagers
1 - Bot laner
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 - Tanky DPS
1 - Ranged carry
1 - AP or Tanky AP
1 - Tanky AP, Tank, or Support
1 - Bot laner
Here's some of the roles explained:
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.
Examples: Blitz, Darius, Irelia, Jax, Jarvan, Pantheon, Riven, Wukong
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 LW+IE route with life steal for sustain, and try to use their abilities for regular defense. Distance is very important to them, and they are difficult to play well. Be cautious in the jungle, and when in doubt take an alternate path.
Examples: Ashe, Caitlyn, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Varus, Vayne
Tanky AP builds was something very prevalent in Season Two, but now it is less frequently seen due to penetration changes. 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: Gragas, Kassadin, Maokai, Poppy, Soraka, Vladimir
Champions that have escape abilities or passives make for very good glass cannons, relying on raw offense stacked with penetration to kill the enemy before their kit is exhausted. AP carries must be exceedingly map-aware and very cautious about brush and jungle.
Examples: Fizz, Leblanc, Master Yi, Nidalee
Some tanks can build BFT or Iceborn Gauntlet to remain a threat, while others can just stack defense with Void Staff and rely on base numbers. 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, Warwick
Most of the successful supports I've seen have gone almost pure tank, only sometimes getting auras. Sona might also consider Iceborn Gauntlet. 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, as is building MPen.
Examples: Janna, Karma, Lulu, Sona, Taric
The player that focuses on sustain and typically stays bot all game unless they need a swap due to the enemy stacking too much defense of one type. 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 top needs a change. Map awareness is the #1 skill when being the bottom laner. Builds vary greatly per champion.
Examples: Cassiopeia, Jarvan, Malzahar, Maokai, Ryze, Udyr, Urgot, Yorick
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).
You can learn more detailed stuff about the Dominion meta by looking through section 3 of this guide.
Now, let's talk bans, fortunately these are simple:
Kassadin, Kha'Zix, Jayce
Wukong, Teemo, Urgot, Lulu, Amumu, Elise
Akali, Darius, Heimerdinger, Rammus, Shaco, Yorick
Kassadin, Kha'Zix, and Jayce should always be banned. Keep them out of Dominion whenever possible.
Optional bans are other annoying and strong champions to fight, and typically the ones you make when you don't know the enemy team.
Lower Elo bans I'm just listing from hearsay, I can understand these champions would "pubstomp" due to snowballing or people not building to counter them.
Anything else is targetted bans when you know the enemy team.
Well, that was that. Let's move onto summoner spells. Unlike the list of champions, however, not every summoner spell is viable:
Can be useful on a carry but it has to compete with Cleanse, Exhaust, and Flash.
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 will see hardly any use when it comes to fights near capture points, but a stalemate bottom laner could also 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 and defensive spell. Exhaust will almost always be used for the damage reduction and attack speed slow in Dominion, and rarely for chasing purposes. 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 it's 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 much like Exhaust. 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.
Removed in Season 3.
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 for movement speed.
-Allows you to distract enemies in a lost team fight by running away from your team (into the enemy's side of the jungle), which can result in a point being successfully held.
-Allows you to recover from a bad mistake such as getting bushwhacked.
-No other summoner spell is going to let you get out of most 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 utility 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 it's a questionable pick.
Removed in Season 3.
(1–3). The top lane, a quick how-to guide for dummies
So you want to go top. You pick your champion from the list of roles to fit in with the team. At the start of the match, you're going to want to have the person with the least amount of poke capture the mid point. However, if one of the teams isn't big on Revive then 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 won't matter.
The windmill fight is straightforward and pretty staple across all Elos. The people without Revive are priority targets. If they die, they can't just come right back, and thus should be eliminated first. Higher Elos will favor poke wars while people level from passive xp gain, but ultimately someone will throw the ball and the fight will erupt. Use your Revive to get back into the fight, unless you can't make it there in time, in which case you should wait in the fog for some of them to recall before attempting to harass. If the fight is a complete stomp and one team wins right away, use Revive anyways and immediately gank bot.
When you're ganking bot from the speed shrine, keep this picture in mind -- 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:
Note that this picture also applies to bot laners that camp around the speed shrine and drop down to clear minions.
Alternatively, if your bottom laner is having trouble, you can also gank in this fashion:
It is important to roam and scout the jungle to know where the enemy is, but avoid walking into traps. Long range skillshots and traps are very useful in finding out where the enemy is, and can help set up ad-hoc ganks. Bushwhacking is, like usual, a great way to initiate a gank and you don't need to worry about the brush possibly being warded.
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 going top. You should not attempt Blitz grabs from this bush -- wait until they've walked into it and grab them when they try to escape. Do be mindful that reinforcements could be close by as this is a trafficked part of the jungle:
Not far from those brushes, you can also unexpectedly lock a squishy in their base by ganking from here, but be sure to not gank a tanky DPS on accident:
Additionally you should pick up the storm shield buff whenever you think enemies are not nearby. If an ally moves to it, his teammates should be near or in the brush to the top of it to countergank. The person with the storm shield buff should almost always move out of the revealed area by the closest edge:
(1–4). The bottom lane, a quick how-to guide for dummies
The most important thing is that you must not "dread" being sent to the bot lane. Find a champion you enjoy playing down there. Find a method that you enjoy doing. For me, it's the potential for super-aggressive play that makes me enjoy going bot. Screw the laning rules, this is Dominion! This is bottom lane! I know a way to have fun down here, and I get to have my way with only one opponent down here with me!
Anyways, people who have 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 experience is passive so 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:
Some champions 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. It is straightforward and usually very effective.
Examples: Heimerdinger, Malzahar, Master Yi, Nunu, Singed, Udyr, Yorick
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).
Examples: Diana, Draven, Fiora, Jax, Lee Sin, Syndra, Xin Zhao, Zed
Zone the heck out of the opponent:
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.
Examples: Brand, Cassiopeia, Fiddlesticks, Jayce, Kayle, Soraka, Urgot
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. If possible, you should use your global ability for getting back to bottom lane.
Examples: Kassadin, Nocturne, Pantheon, Shen, Twisted Fate
Out-sustain the opponent and wait for early-game to pass:
You stalemate the lane at your tower until you get can the items you need to win the lane using one of the strategies above. Most pertinent for champions that have low base numbers, low base stats, or rely on certain items.
Examples: Cho'Gath, Mordekaiser, Nasus, Ryze, Veigar, Vladimir
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 it's too late and you're on your way back.
Examples: Ezreal, Karthus, Soraka, Ziggs
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.
In addition to the top methods, some bot laners can clear minions from a good distance away. These champions can also hang around the speed shrine quite a bit, and zone the opponent away from the health pack. This gives much more map awareness against ganks, and should be done versus opponents who won't 1v1 you well up there.
One last thing to note: In the top lane section there's a quip about forcing a point disadvantage to shorten respawn timers in the Windmill fight. Do not do this in bottom lane if any enemy has Ghost. If an enemy is sending a ganker bot right from the start, or if they have a disconnected player and are rushing bot, you will be screwed if you do not have your point capped when they show up.