After months of anxious waiting and lots of rumors and expectations it is finally here, Dominion has arrived! And with Dominion a new feeling of awesomeness competition and intense gaming has been awakened once again. After having my couple of first games in this new battlefield I can gladly say that the wait was worth it. Dominion is a beautiful well designed map that brings a complete new experience to the millions of fans of League of Legends. But, after almost a week since the release, it is quite obvious that MOST players don't have an idea of what they are doing. Running around like crazy, gathering at all the wrong places, diving turrets like there's no tomorrow, it is a real headache to play solo during these first days. So after lots of bad experiences with random teammates I decided to present to you the Dominion Set of General Guides. These guides are meant to help define the first set of basic strategies in the current metagame of Dominion. This guide is champion independent which means that applies to any champion. I hope you like it.
Summoner's Rift = SR
The 5 towers of Dominion will be referred as:
Top = The windmill
Bot = Your bottom tower, the first tower you encounter when you take the bottom exit of your base.
Mid = Your mid tower, the first tower you encounter when you take the top exit of your base.
EBot = Enemy bottom tower
EMid = Enemy mid tower
Dominion for Dummies
Basic strategies of Dominion
The guidelines are written as simple as possible to make it easier to remember in game.
Go 4-0-1, Do Not Stop for Mid
The first strategy in Dominion is the 4-0-1 starting formation. This means that when the gate opens at 1:20, 4 people rush to get top and 1 goes bot. At this point most people don't understand this strategy and go 3-1-1 caping mid on their way top. This strategy only works if the other team is also going 3-1-1 or the worse 2-1-2 or some other horrible thing I can't bear to imagine. But, if the enemy team decides to go 4-0-1 and your team doesn't, then you will go into a 3v4 fight at top which you are guaranteed to lose and easy give away the top turret. All 4 players should run straight to top, do not stop for mid.
HINT: Always remember that you achieve level 4 during the first fight at top, be ready to use that skill point as soon as you get it, the extra skill may become the key to winning or losing the fight.
So, what happens to mid? It is a big mistake when the bot player leaves the lane and goes for mid after capping bot, leaving the enemy at EBot farm minions freely. At this early stage of the game it is very hard for a solo player to deal with a big wave of minions plus an enemy player. The minions hit hard and can really withstand some damage. The bot player is supposed to stay at bot and push or defend the lane, we will explain more of this position later, but for now bot players please don't go for mid because you are ruining things. Mid will still be neutral and if you won the top you will end up with 3 captured turrets, 2 pushed lanes and a big early advantage.
Then, who gets mid? After winning the top fight and capping the turret, the player or players that need to go to base instead walk back to cap mid, then b to base, the other players at top push the top minions and go back to defend top when enemies get too close for comfort.
HINT: Hiding inside the brush above the top turret is a great way to defend, just wait until the enemy starts capping and gank the heck out of him or her.
In case the top fight was lost (because other team also went 4-0-1), the first player to respawn will be getting mid on his way top with plenty of time. In case one of them tries to get your mid while you are fighting at top, means you will be going 3v4 at top getting an easy win, then you can go gank that poor foolish soul roaming around alone in your neighborhood without your authorization.
Summary: Go 4-0-1, do not stop for mid, win top then go back for mid, bot do not leave bot, defend top until ready to push.
Minions will help you cap much much faster, it's true
There it is looking at me, the top turret, so lonely, the perfect time to go for it. Minions fighting in the exact center of the lane, no teammates around to help me, what should I do? I know, I will run straight to the tower and cap it, I will be a hero, I will save the day as fast as I can! Wrong! While this actually might work, it is not the fastest and most efficient way to cap a turret. I've seen countless people just ignore a huge wave of friendly minions fighting just beside the enemy turret and go alone to cap the turret instead of taking a few seconds to clear the way for minions as a result caping extremely faster and earning some gold in the process (and yes every single gold is important even in Dominion). Minions are there for a couple of reasons, caping is one of the most important of those reasons, take advantage of it. But what if the minions are at the center or farther away from the enemy turret? No matter the position of the minions in the lane, if you are alone or with someone, pushing the minions is the right way to go and if more people help, the faster it gets.
I've seen minions neutralize a turret by themselves even after I had to retreat. Just yesterday I pushed bot lane so hard that the big wave of minions neutralized the turret even with 2 enemy players trying to stop them. This means that there were 2 enemies gathered at EBot (this is bad for them and is explained more in the next guideline) and they lost it! Minions are very useful, do not underestimate them. Together we are strong! Power to the minions!
Summary: In most cases farming minions will be faster and more efficient than going straight for cap, if teammates help farming is even faster.
Do not gather at bot, it's a trap!
Bot is a very interesting place, I'm still figuring out a lot of things about this area, but what I already know is that it can become a dangerous trap where you might get in and never get out. At some point of the game the enemy will try to get bot. Some people might argue that you should go and defend the base with all you got. This might end up in a neverending fight at bot with their minions pushing and neutralizing the turret and people respawning like crazy interrupting each other during caping and all this going on while your points go down. Fighting for bot simply takes too long. I believe that as soon as you identify that they are ganking bot, 2 or 3 players should go straight to EMid. Getting EMid will almost guarantee getting top as a result because of 2 waves of minions coming from both sides and also because the enemies respawning HAVE to stop to take EMid. Also, enemies at bot might have to retreat to get back EMid.
So what happens to bot? After getting bot, the enemies will be forced to leave it almost immediately because of many reasons. The first reason is because your team is capping the other bases, the second reason is because bot is a High Danger Area for them (because its too close to your base), and the more time they spend there, the closer they are to dying.
Then, who gets bot? The first person to respawn and find bot alone or with only 1 enemy defending, should go for it, the next one to respawn should help finish the job. After that, the bot player returns to his position. The rest should go for top or where needed.
Basically, you should almost never go bot after leaving the base. For example, you get your chance to get the super buff at the center of the map. During channeling you see that the enemies are ganking bot. You decide that with the new found powers that you got you will save the day once again by going there and making enemy heads roll all around the place. Wrong again! You should try capping EMid and anyone available should help you. Why? because it is the farthest tower from bot besides top.
Then, why not go directly for top? Because, capping Emid will make minions spawn toward top making it easier to get, also it makes your enemies center their attention on getting back EMid. To put it simply, capping EMid at the right time will end up in a 2 turret special for your team.
As a general rule, there should never be more than 2 people at bot at any time, unless you have the advantage in turrets. Still, there should never be 5 people at bot unless there are 5 enemies at bot and you got the advantage in turrets. Players respawning should be the ones recapping bot.
Finally, you apply the inverse of all of the above for your enemies. If they are gathering at EBot, then things are looking good for you, try to keep them trapped in there as long as possible.
Summary: Do not make a big deal out of bot or you will be trapped, counter by taking EMid with some teammates, do not go for bot if you are already out of the base, they will leave bot after taking it if you cap their bases.
New Summoner Spells
Promote: Promotes the nearest allied super minion to an anti-Turret Cannon, healing it, granting bonus stats, and causing it to grant the caster gold for its kills.
About Promote, I'm having a lot of fun with it. I don't know if it is really a super awesome spell, but it sure feels good. The use of Promote is pretty obvious, Promote is a tool for pushing lanes. Therefore, the best person to have Promote in the team is the bot player. He or she will be the first one to get a chance to use it, because the first minions that spawns, comes out of the bot lane.
How should I use Promote? It may be obvious but, still I feel I must briefly explain for everyone, just in case. When people start to understand the format, bot will probably become a 1v1 lane similar to top lane in Summoner's Rift(SR) (which suggests that champions that are good at solo top at SR, might be good at solo bot, or maybe not). If your opponent at bot doesn't have Promote or Smite, things may get easier for you. But either way, the basic strategy is very simple: let your super minion take as much damage as possible before casting Promote on it. The rest is up to you, just be smart and cautious when pushing or defending your lane, choose your battles wisely.
Anyone else should use Promote? At this point it may be good to have at least 1 more Promote in the team. This Promote is meant to be used early for pushing the top lane while your teammates respawn from the initial battle and walk all the way back to top for the much needed help defending. The problem with this strategy is that nothing can guarantee that the player with Promote at top will be alive at the end of the fight. Then I wouldn't recommend you getting Promote if you are going top unless you are tank or you are pretty confident you won't die and still be useful in the first fight. Later on Promote becomes a great tool that helps you quickly push a lane and cap a tower when you find yourself alone.
Summary: Promote is best suited for the bot player. Promote is a fun pushing tool that can be useful in a well coordinated team strategy.
[b Garrison:[/b] Allied Turret: Grants massive regeneration and attack speed 8 seconds. Enemy Turret: Reduces damage by 80% for 8 seconds.
I still haven't tried Garrison so I will not write much about it for now. Looks like another tool for the bot player. Some people say it's awesome, it probably is.
The next observation comes from my friend Porgy. I find it has a big strategic value which many people might have missed as I did.
If you look at both exits of your base(and your opponent's base of course) you will see that the road that leads straight into the jungle is covered by the Fog of War. Still not ringing a bell? It means that when you exit your base, if you keep walking straight the enemies will not be able to see you in the minimap! This leads to a lot of successful ganks of course.
For example: You just re-spawned. On your way to the top exit of your base you see Evelyn trying to cap mid. As soon as you exit your base, you immediately turn your way top and chase Evelyn away from mid saving the day. This may be wrong or may be right depending of how advanced is Eve into capping the current turret. If you feel like you have enough time, you should keep walking straight into the jungle, go around into an unsuspecting Eve and gank the heck out or her. Your damage plus the turret's damage will be more than enough burst to leave Evelyn a bad taste of her own medicine.
Get the healing buffs They are all over the map, they are in super safe places, but still some people seem to be missing them. After every fight, take a few seconds to grab those little red crosses near you in the map. They spawn fairly fast and can really help you keep fighting.
Careful with the speed buffs Sometimes you need it, sometimes you don't. There will be times when it will be much safer to walk through the open lane. Speed buffs are placed in dangerous places, not watching your step may get you ganked. Use your best judgement.
Some important times
1:20 - Gate opens, do not waste a single more second inside the base.
3:00 - Spawns the super buff at the center of the map, get it if you can but be extra careful, this may cost you your life.
Dominion is a well designed map with lots of strategies hidden within its gameplay. For now we are only discovering the tip of the iceberg. The metagame will change according to the itself. This means that the 4-0-1 strategy is meant to beat all other basic strategic starting formations like 3-1-1, 5-0-0, 2-2-1, 2-1-2, 4-1-0, 1-0-4, 0-1-4, 1-2-2, 1-1-3 or 0-0-5. But, some advanced formations may emerge to counter it. For example: some teams may work on an early gank on EBot and freely giving away top at the start, assigning the bot player to cap the mid instead of bot at the start. Forcing an early enemy gathering on EBot which means early trouble for them. Then everyone returns to the standard 4-0-1 formation. For now the basic strategy will be more than enough, because most teams you encounter will be running around doing random stuff.
This guide is far from finished but still it covers a few important points that may not be obvious for everyone. There is still much to be learned and discussed and with time I hope we get to it. For now I can't continue writing because to be sincere I have a situation going on, I need Dominion! Hope you enjoyed. Cya at the battlefields.
To be continued...