Poke Compositions in League of Legends
Tue 2nd Jan 2018 - 8:14pm
Poke compositions have been a staple in League of Legends since its birth and its strength has varied greatly over the seasons and patches. Currently, the poke composition is making a comeback for numerous reasons. Although poke compositions can be extremely powerful, they are not easy to execute and usually require a lot of team coordination and a knowledge of your win condition to succeed. In this guide, I’ll explain why poke compositions are making a comeback, good champions to run in the composition, and how to successfully execute the composition to lead you to a win.
Why Are Poke Compositions Making a Comeback?
The New Rune System
In two words: Arcane Comet. Arcane Comet is an extremely powerful Keystone in the Sorcery Tree, that fires a Comet at an enemy champion when they are hit by an ability after a brief delay. Not only does the Comet do quite a bit of damage that scales off of both AP and AD, hitting more abilities on champions reduces the cooldown of the Comet. Although Summon Aery used to be the go-to Keystone to take in the Sorcery Tree, the nerf to that Keystone has seen an extreme rise in the Arcane Comet Keystone.
Arcane Comet is not the only rune that is making poke compositions, and more specifically, poke champions strong right now. Scorch, a Slot 3 Rune in the Sorcery Tree, deals damage based on level after a champion is hit by an ability. This synergizes very well with Arcane Comet, as both of their cooldowns are the same, being 20 seconds at the start and they both proc off of abilities. Although Scorch was recently nerfed, it’s still proving to be the best rune to take as Waterwalking is too niche and Gathering Storm is too slow in the current metagame.
Another rune in the Sorcery Tree that is proving very effective for poke champions is Manaflow Band, that when active, refunds 8% of your missing mana. This Rune is very effective because it allows those mana hungry poke champs to cast more and more spells that can push champions out of the lane.
Finally, another rune worth mentioning is the rune ‘Coup de Grace’ in the Precision Tree. Currently, a lot of champions are running the Precision Tree as their Secondary Tree because of the power of Triumph and Coup de Grace. Coup de Grace is effective for poke champions because it increases champions damage when attacking a champion low on health. This causes chip damage to be even more powerful because if poke damage does land, low health champions will be forced to back, or be even more in danger because of the increased damage they will take.
Champions to Run in a Poke Composition
Poke compositions need two things to succeed: actual poke and disengage. Poke champions are self-explanatory and disengage is required to prevent teamfights from breaking out: a poke comps worst nightmare. Poke champions are easy to get onto quickly, so disengage champs are extremely good in resetting fights and reestablishing a siege instead of a fight.
Jayce: The Defender of Tomorrow is one of the first class Top Laners in the game currently, for very good reasons. His damage is absurd, and he has arguably one of the best laning phases in the Top Lane. Additionally, if he gets ahead, he can scale superbly into the later stages of the game with his high burst and poke damage. And this is what Jayce brings to the composition. Firstly, Jayce brings a dominant laning phase into a team comp that does not have the best laning phase champions or champions that end up getting countered fairly easily. Furthermore, Jayce also brings excellent poking in the mid to late game, and an E-Q combo on a squishy target can massively chunk their health bar. Jayce players must be cautious however, as he is one of the riskier picks. He is very easy to gank as his kit offers him little defensive tools, and shutting him down means that he cannot scale out of lane and will be fairly useless as the game continues.
Ornn: One of the best characters in the game can find a spot in this kind of composition quite easily. Ornn can act like a rock in this type of composition, and can be useful for his insane amount of CC that he has on every single ability. The amount of tankiness Ornn offers makes him difficult to bully out of lane. In the later stages of the game, Ornn’s large lockdown potential makes it difficult for assassins to kill off the squishy poke champions, and also hard for the enemy team to initiate.
Nidalee: Nidalee is one of the best poke champions coming from the Jungle as her Q ability, Javelin Toss, ends up dealing quite a large amount of damage to enemies that increases in its damage the farther it travels. Nidalee also provides burst potential, as her passive applies when she hits her Q or W, which grants Nidalee a large amount of damage to her Q ability in cougar form.
Gragas: The disengage champion of choice for the jungle position is Gragas. With the use of Gragas’s ultimate ability, he can easily push champions away and make sure his team is safe. Not only does he provide disengage, he also provides strong gank potential with his E ability, Body Slam, and provides a large amount of tankiness to a relatively squishy team composition.
Xerath: One of the champions who was helped the most by the new Rune changes, Xerath proves to be one of the most useful poke lane champions in the game. Xerath is a champion who can easily proc both Arcane Comet and Scorch, and also benefits greatly from the mana gained from Manaflow Band. Xerath has always been a perennial poke champion, and with the new Rune changes, this champion is quickly proving to be one of the most useful champions in the game, and is a large reason why the poke composition can be so deadly. The fact that every skill in his kit provides some kind of poke or hard CC makes him one of the best champions to run in this composition.
Corki: Another champion who offers poke/magic damage in the Middle Lane is Corki. Unlike Xerath, Corki does not offer poke damage until level 6 with his ultimate ability. Additionally, Corki didn’t benefit as much from the Runes as Xerath did, not being able to find an extremely valuable Keystone. Despite a list of negatives, Corki offers a very large positive, which would be his consistency. Xerath gets devastated by assassins and champions with hard CC, and usually either wins lane extremely hard or vice versa. Corki on the other hand can at least go even in most matchups, while still dealing a ton of damage after his Trinity Force/Infinity Edge power spike.
Ezreal: One of my personal favorite champions in the game, Ezreal is another long-time poke champion that is making his comeback in the Bottom Lane. Ezreal also benefited from the new Runes changes, as the Keystone Kleptomancy is able to proc immediately if he hits his Q, which allows him to gain a lot more from that Keystone than most. As well, his Q buffs that granted him more damage were also a large benefit that brought him back into relevancy in the Bottom Lane. The ability for Ezreal to spam out his Q ability provides him with some of the most poke in the game, and for this reason, he will always be one of the best poke champions in the game.
Jhin: One of my other personal favorite champions in the game, Jhin provides even longer range poke than Ezreal with the use of his W and R. His W, Deadly Flourish, allows Jhin to root an enemy that has taken damage, which allows for quite a lot of pick potential. His R, Curtain Call, is an extremely long range ability that sees Jhin fire 4 bullets in a cone shape ahead of him. Although not consistent poke damage, the insanely long range and usefulness of his ultimate and W ability makes him a useful addition to this team composition.
Karma: One of the better poke supports, Karma offers a reasonable amount of damage with her Q ability, as well as tons of defensive capabilities with her shield ability on her E. Her laning phase is where she is most oppressive, using her Q to poke and her E to ensure the enemy is not allowed to trade. Out of lane, the use of her ultimate coupled with her E allows Karma to shield the entire team and grant them a short burst of movement speed, making Karma both a good poke and disengage champion.
Janna: Janna is picked in this composition for what she would be picked for in any other composition: disengage. Her shield on E allows her to be quite strong in lane in trades, but she really shines with the rest of her kit. Her Q, Howling Gale, is an amazing CC ability that fires in a straight line and knocks up all in its path. Additionally, her ultimate Monsoon blows enemies away from Janna, and heals allies that stay within the radius. These large, effective, AOE disengage tools make Janna a very useful tool in the poke composition.
How To Execute the Poke Composition
Now that we know why the composition is making a comeback and what to run in it, we can finally learn how to actually play the composition to lead to a victory. In general, the execution of the composition is in the name. You want to get out of the laning phase relatively unscathed, and then use your range advantage to poke down the enemies and successfully push down towers. If this composition is able to get in effective chip damage on the opponents, the towers will fall quickly because enemies will not be able to defend the towers safely.
Although this composition is excellent at taking towers, the team must be careful about neutral objectives. If the poke team can successfully chip down the other team, the poke team can usually obtain the objective. However, if the poke team gets hard engaged and are not able to successfully disengage, the poke composition will almost always lose and give up a free objective.
A big thing to remember about this composition is your win condition. Even if the poke composition is far ahead, and winning fights, trying to engage without first getting poke damage will see the team almost always losing the fight. Before an engage can happen, the team must ensure chip damage is put onto the enemy team.
In conclusion, poke compositions are coming back mostly because of the new Runes that gave them numerous tools to assist them such as Arcane Comet. Additionally, poke compositions require two things: actual poke champions, as well as disengage champions such as Gragas or Janna. Finally, in order to execute the composition successfully, you must play around taking enemy towers and not fully engaging fights until the enemy team has been chipped down enough. Although this composition is often misplayed, as long as you follow your win condition and stick to it, this composition can easy win games in a coordinated team environment!
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