The Art of Team Fighting in League of Legends
Wed 11th Mar 2020 - 6:01pm
It’s hard to say if there is anything more satisfying in League of Legends than winning a team fight that decides the pace of the game. However, there are also those team fights where we reflect on what more we could have done as we stare at our grey screen and death timer. While there may not be a surefire way to win every team fight, there are a few tips and tricks to learn that can greatly influence the outcome for the better. Team fights are essential to League of Legends and are a lot of fun, but knowing what to do and who to target in those few seconds can totally decide the fate of your game.
Team fights are pretty easy to understand but hard to master. It doesn’t always have to be a 5v5 either, most fights come in form of skirmishes that can break out at any point in the game. In order to understand team fighting, you first need to know whether the Champion you are playing belongs in the front line, the middle line, or the back line. Knowing this will help bring your true potential in team fights and throughout the game. You then can apply this knowledge into concepts called win conditions that will help make your team fighting swift and efficient.
The front line consists of champions that are built to last and will be positioned in front of the team. The characters are the beefy tanks and juggernauts that are usually found in the Top Lane, Jungle, and Support positions. The goal of the front line is to find and make plays or defend the back line. This could be defined being the boring tank where you just soak damage and do nothing, but the reality is that they play a vital role in protecting the team and making big plays possible. Make sure that when you Tank, you aren't taking damage for free and that you are effectively zoning the enemy team away from your back line. You’re tanky but not invincible.
Great examples of Front-Line Champions are Ornn, Sett, Sion, Amumu, and Leona because of their defensive stats and kits that allow them to make plays on enemies and lock them down. Note that when you make plays with these Champions, you go for the most influential player on the enemy team. That enemy MVP isn’t always the Marksmen or Mage but maybe a farmed Nasus or an annoying Pyke. Always be on the lookout for flanking the enemy and maintaining a strong vision control over where you pick your fights in order to make the target(s) easier to lock down. Knowing these things separates the good front liners from the great front liners and will make playing the beefy tanks a lot more fun to play.
The middle line is a lot more fluid compared to the other roles as it contains Champions who are meant to dive into the enemy Backline but have weaker defensive stats when compared to front liners. Bruisers, Assassins, and overall mobile Champions that can catch others out are ideal here and can also be responsible for starting fights depending on the team you have. Usually these Champions find greater success when it comes to skirmishes or picking off enemies out of position. Remember how the front line is supposed to go for the most influential player? Well the middle line is meant more for targets that can be rushed and killed easily so Mages, Marksmen, and sometimes Enchanter Supports (the characters that the front-liners can’t normally reach). Getting picks from the squishy back line will get you more fed easily and allows much more freedom in your gameplay.
Ideal Champions for this position would consist of Hecarim, Galio, Irelia, Jarvan IV, and Mordekaiser to just name a few. These Champions are great for opening up fights for your team’s back line to clean up without too much of a threat. Understand the Champion that you play as well as your team’s so that your goal in each skirmish and fight is clear. Using Champions like these will make your style be much faster paced as most of them thrive off of that early pressure of killing and snowballing into a monster. Being passive won’t work in the long run.
It takes quick wits and willingness to try new things to pull the middle line off, so think everything through about the enemy team composition. This is the position that should be focused on the win condition for their team the most, since that will be the objective they dive in for most of the time. Be sure to communicate with your team using Smart Pings and Chat as well so you are all on the same page of when you go into fight and who to target first. With no communication, it will be much harder to pull off what you’re trying to accomplish when you make a play.
Last but not least is the back line of the team. This position is filled with all sorts of Champions that put out ton of damage to the enemy or grant buffs to allies. Mages, Marksmen, and Enchanter Supports fall under this category. The goal for those Enchanter Supports are to either peel for the other members of the back line (especially when they are fed) or buff up the front line so that they can accomplish their goals easier. Marksmen and Mages are similar in the sense that they just have to dish out as much damage as possible and take out the biggest threat to themselves. Without this role, the team doesn’t have much sustainable damage to work with in fights so stay alive, and practice patience before you go in guns blazing.
For the back line, the ideal champion pool is pretty black and white compared to the rest of the roles. Some ideal Marksmen consist of Senna, Miss Fortune, Varus, Ezreal, and Caitlyn due to their great range with Auto-Attacks and Abilities. A few good champions for Mages are Syndra, Zoe, Cassiopeia, Lux, and Veigar for basically the same reasons as the Marksmen. Enchanter Support champions like Soraka, Nami, Lulu, Janna, and Karma are all great for their ability to buff or peel for the team whenever needed. Plenty of options and each has their own specific role in each fight, but the recurring theme here for all three styles of champions is staying alive.
If you die as a back liner in a fight, then obviously something went wrong and change needs to happen in order to keep you alive so that your goals can be accomplished and the game can be won. Sometimes that change is how you are playing, but other times it can be how your team is playing, so it is important to once again communicate with the team. If they don’t want to change how they play, it is up to you to play that much harder and smarter to compensate, plain and simple. These are the kind of risks you run playing in the backline.
Alright, a quick recap of what each role should accomplish in team fights.
- Hard engage and lock down the enemy.
- Tank but don’t take damage for free.
- Dive into the enemy Back Line.
- Be bold and have confidence in your game-breaking plays.
- Be fluid in moving from Front Line to Back Line when needed.
- Put out tons of damage.
- Stay alive!
- Keep allies alive and buff them up.
- Peel for the carries.
Other Concepts to Know
So, you have the positioning down, you know your role in each fight, what's left to learn? Well, there’s plenty to learn but there is one thing in particular that can summarize everything else.
Understanding win conditions is crucial to winning team fights, as it points out how your team can actually win a team fight. This is where you need to highlight what your team can do best and then play to that when you fight. It doesn’t matter if you're one of the pros or hardstuck Silver, without knowing your teams win conditions, each fight you take is doomed from the start.
First, know whether or not your team can play the team fighting styles of either front to back or straight up diving the back line. If you have a pretty solid front line and reliable back line damage, then you would play a more front to back style where you just straight up mow down the enemy front line until you get to the enemy back line. Diving the enemy back line is pretty self-explanatory where, if your team has a great dive and quick ways to deal with carries, then this is the win condition to play to.
Summoner's Rift is a big map and the layout provides several great spots for certain champions to excel in fight. There are wide open spaces in Lanes or the River and then there are tight choke points in the Jungle. A champion like Jinx would much prefer the open spaces in Lane so she can move around get as much damage off as possible without the danger of being jumped from a random bush. Champions like Twitch and Gangplank would prefer to take fights in the tight corridors of the Jungle because of their Ultimates being able to hit multiple targets at once. Analyze what your team's abilities can do in order to know where to start fights.
Each champion has an ability that makes them very unique and useful for each type of team. Some abilities are meant for hard engage or disengage while others put out threatening amounts of damage or even just as escape. While Ultimates are the main abilities that come to much with this win condition. Summoner Spells like Teleport and Flash can make or break a fight in terms of how they are started or stopped. Then there are basic abilities like Braum’s Passive or Tahm Kench’s W that are crucial to use or hold on to until the right moment. Always take note of when these abilities are up so that you know your team is ready to take a fight when needed.
Team fighting will always be an essential part of this game no matter what changes come with each patch. While there is no miracle solution to win each fight, these concepts and tactics will help bring the best out of your team fights. Have fun, apply what you’ve learned, and I’ll see you on the Rift!