A Guide to Global and Semi-Global Ultimates in League of Legends
Mon 14th Sep 2020 - 11:14pm
Perhaps the most potent abilities in League of Legends are the Ultimates which not only pose a threat to the opposing laner but also put pressure on other lanes simply by existing. These Ultimates, colloquially called Global and Semi-Global Ultimates, thus prove to be powerful whether they are used to obtain kills or held to force the enemy into playing more safely than they might prefer to. This guide will explore the many different categories that these Ultimates fall into, along with how to use them effectively, how to play around them when an ally has one, and how to play against an enemy with one.
In short, a Global Ultimate is an Ultimate ability which can be used regardless of any distance between the user and their target. These Ultimates come in two forms: Global Fixed Teleports and Global Projectiles
Global Fixed Teleport
Example Champions: Shen
This category is limited in the sense that only one champion has an Ultimate with this much potential: Shen. Shen’s ability to teleport anywhere on Summoner’s Rift so long as there is an ally present makes him a potent split pusher, as he can always be present in teamfights while also donating a sizable shield to one of his allies.
How to Use Effectively: Shen players will get the most out of their Ultimate by using it one of two ways. The first is to use it offensively in conjunction with an ally. If your team has an Assassin, Diver, or Juggernaut, Shen can support them through aiding their engage by offering them a shield and an ally who can also easily access the backline. Alternatively, using Shen’s Ultimate to defend a frail Mage or Marksman is a completely valid move, and can often allow your ally to achieve their maximum damage potential.
How to Play Around: If you have a Shen player on your team, make sure to communicate with them about when you might need their aid. This will help the Shen player be more aware of opportunities to help you that they otherwise might have not noticed. Furthermore, when the Shen player has their Ultimate up, make sure to play in a way that lets them use their Ultimate to its fullest potential by engaging or baiting an opponent into engaging.
How to Play Against: When the enemy team has a Shen, make sure to remember that after they hit Level 6, their Ultimate can always turn the tide of a fight. Unless the Shen player has used their Ultimate recently, make sure to assume that any fight against the enemy will contain one more opponent than is immediately apparent.
Example Champions: Ashe, Draven, Ezreal, and Jinx
These Ultimates, primarily held by Marksmen, allow them to affect fights across the map by sending in a projectile which does damage and sometimes applies crowd control.
How to Use Effectively: Perhaps the most important thing to remember about sending a projectile across the map is to aim where opponent is going, not where they currently are. These Ultimates tend to be high-risk, high-reward based upon the fact that they are difficult to land, so hitting at least one enemy is crucial.
How to Play Around: When an ally has one of these Ultimates, make sure to force enemies into where the ability is headed. By either forcing an enemy to move themselves into the path of the Ultimate, or by holding them in place so that the Ultimate hits them, you ensure that your team gets the most value out of a Global Projectile.
How to Play Against: When you know that an enemy has a Global Projectile available, make sure to always be checking the map and ensure that you are aware of your surroundings. Once you’ve done this, the best way to dodge one of these is to remember to move perpendicularly to where the Ultimate is heading, rather than in line with it. Trying to outrun the Ultimate by flashing away from it, yet remaining in its path, effectively does nothing. Instead, by moving perpendicular to the Ultimate, you ensure that it will never hit you.
The key difference between Global and Semi-Global Ultimates is that where Global Ultimates have unlimited range, Semi-Global Ultimates have limited range yet still cover a large portion of the map. Semi-Global Ultimates fall into a handful of categories, including Fixed and Free Teleports, Charges, and Projectiles.
Semi-Global Fixed Teleports
Example Champion: Galio
Similarly to above, there is only one champion who has a Semi-Global Fixed Teleport: Galio. Galio’s Ultimate, like Shen’s, allows him to appear at an ally’s location, however Galio applies damage resistance to that ally and knocks up enemies around them.
How to Use Effectively: While the advice given about Shen’s Ultimate mostly applies here, something to particularly remember about Galio is that his damage resistance is most noticeable against champions who deal primarily magic damage. While this doesn’t mean much if you’re using it offensively to aid an engage, this does limit its defensive utility.
How to Play Around: Building off of the previous section, the best way to utilize Galio’s Ultimate is to compound upon an already strong engage. If you know that your team has a Galio player when drafting champions, perhaps try to pick a champion with a strong engage and remind Galio to combo with you. In general, having a Galio player on your team should mean that you play more boldly when this Ultimate is up.
How to Play Against: Since Galio’s Ultimate has much greater offensive potential than Shen’s, it is important to treat it as an offensive threat rather than something that will be used for defensive utility. This means that you should avoid clumping together with your team when you group up for teamfights, as that is when Galio’s Ulimate is the most potent. Otherwise, remember that if used defensively, Galio’s Ultimate can give the enemy team a player advantage.
Semi-Global Free Teleports
Example Champions: Pantheon, Ryze, and Twisted Fate
Unlike the previous type of Ultimate, which required a target, these Ultimates teleport the champion freely around the map with a limited range.
How to Use Effectively: To get the most out of these Ultimates, it is important to let your teammates know that you plan on using it to roam to their lane. Either telling them that you plan on ganking for them or pinging lots just before you plan on using it will make sure that your allies can capitalize on your Ultimate. Also remember that in sticky situations, you can use these Ultimates to escape, starting their long cooldown timer but potentially saving you from dying.
How to Play Around: Assuming that your teammates are communicating effectively, you should make sure to work with them when they use their Ultimate on your lane. Even if you feel it inopportune, sometimes an imperfect plan which is collectively fueled is better than a perfect plan that you’ll never have the opportunity to utilize. Obviously, you should assess the risks and help at your own discretion, but remember that once your teammate uses their Semi-Global Free Teleport, it’ll go on cooldown for a sizable amount of time.
How to Play Against: The most important thing to remember if you’re playing against a champion with one of these Ultimates is that they tend have a relatively long channel time and they project where they are going to end up. While it might feel oppressive playing against these champions after they hit Level 6, just remember to play safe and to retreat when you see the Ultimate incoming. Alternatively, if you’re already ahead and want to try your luck, perhaps punish their hubris by winning a disadvantaged fight or by relying on an unexpected countergank.
Example Champions: Kled and Sion
This type of Ultimate could be considered a subset of the Free Teleports, as these Ultimates do allow the champion to travel across the map. However, Charges cannot go over walls and often only travel in a fixed direction, making them less versatile.
How to Use Effectively: To use this type of Ultimate effectively, you must understand the key difference between a Charge and a Teleport: linearity. In a sense, your champion becomes a projectile on a relatively set path towards the enemy team. Thus, it is important to remember what was said earlier about projectiles, particularly the part about aiming where the enemy is going to be rather than where they are. Furthermore, remember that the enemy knows when you activate your Ultimate, so be sure to account for them knowing that you’re coming.
How to Play Around: If an ally Charges into a fight that you are in, remember to play around their existence and the fact that they essentially serve as a projectile. Force the enemy players into a position where your ally can get the most out of their Charge and wait until your ally is there to unload your major abilities. Furthermore, try to play safe until your ally arrives, lest you leave yourself and your ally in disadvantaged positions rather than fighting together.
How to Play Against: When you notice an enemy Charging in, it is perfectly valid to disengage from whatever fighting or farming that you’re doing. You’re under no obligation to fight the Charger or their allies, so if you believe that you’d lose the fight against them, just retreat. Since Charges tend to be unable to cross walls, flashing over a wall is a strong evasion tactic. If you are staying and fighting, particularly with your team, wait until the Charging enemy has stopped and dogpile onto them while they’re ahead of their team.
Example Champions: Aphelios, Bard, Jhin, Nami, and Xerath
This final type of Ultimate is perhaps the most versatile. Barring the fact that these are all projectiles, they share very little in common. Some apply crowd control, some just do tons of damage; some come directly from the champion, some appear as circles on the Rift. Despite this, there are a few things to keep in mind.
How to Use Effectively: As with Global Projectiles, remember to aim where the enemy is going to be rather than where they are. However, since these projectiles have shorter range, you don’t need to account for movement as much as with Global Projectiles since these Ultimates will reach their destination much sooner. Furthermore, remember to utilize the range of these Ultimates in conjunction with the effective range of your champion. You can either get an enemy low and use these as a finisher, or engage with these from a distance while your team goes in, just remember to make sure that you don’t get caught out during the relatively long channel and cast times of these abilities.
How to Play Around: When you see an ally channeling/casting this type of Ultimate, you should either go in with the projectile or defend your ally. In terms of the former, these projectiles will often provide enough damage or crowd control to secure kills so long as you engage in sync with them. Alternatively, ensuring that your ally remains safe when they use one of these abilities is crucial if there is potential for a teamfight afterwards.
How to Play Against: Similarly to Global Projectiles, you should always move perpendicular to the direction that the projectile is coming from rather than in line with it. In the case that more than one projectile is being fired by the Ultimate, strafing effectively is the key to minimizing the damage and crowd control potential of these abilities.
Since there are several exceptions to the rules laid out above, this section will quickly run through some important things to keep in mind when encountering odd cases.
Akali/Warwick: When on the enemy team, these champions can follow you when you cast any form of Teleportation Ultimate. Avoid this by using your Ultimate outside of their vision.
Yuumi: Yuumi can travel with one of her allies when they use a Teleportation Ultimate. If she’s on your team, ensure that she has time to get on you before you teleport away. Otherwise, remember that an incoming Teleporter might be carrying Yuumi with them.
Ekko: In a sense, Ekko can teleport globally with his Ultimate so long as he has been at the desired location in the last four seconds. While this technique is typically used to Recall, buy items, then teleport back to lane, it is important to keep it in mind.
Soraka/Karthus: Soraka’s Ultimate heals her allies globally, and Karthus’ Ultimate damages his enemies globally. When playing with or against a Soraka, remember to account for the additional healing. When playing against a Karthus, remember that being low health can mean dying to an enemy across the map, so Recall and heal often.
Gangplank: Rather than creating a Global Projectile, Gangplank’s Ultimate creates a zone anywhere on the map which does damage and gives his allies a Movement Speed bonus. If you’re playing against a Gangplank, just remember that this zone can be created at any moment and to not fight inside of it if you can avoid it.
Caitlyn/Nautilus: Caitlyn and Nautilus’ Ultimates fire projectiles at a limited range that track the target with unlimited range. This is important to keep in mind so that you don’t waste spells trying to distance yourself from the incoming projectile.
Senna: Senna fires a Global Projectile as her Ultimate which heals allies and damages enemies. While the same rules apply if you’re facing a Senna, just remember that if there’s a Senna on your team to clump up for extra healing, assuming that clumping up will not make you more vulnerable to enemy spells.
Taliyah: Taliyah’s Ultimate is a mix of a Semi-Global Charge, Teleport, and Projectile, since it moves her linearly, but through walls, and leaves a wall in her wake which can be blocked using tools which block other projectiles. While the same rules apply as above, it is difficult to classify this Ultimate as one of the three.
Sylas: Finally, since Sylas can steal any Ultimate that he wants, remember that you need to play around the Ultimates possessed by you and your teammates.
Ultimately, the main takeaway from this guide is that the key to victory is knowledge. Knowing how your champion works, in conjunction with the allied and enemy champions, should provide you with the tools that you need to win your games. Know your team, know the enemy team, and victory should only be a few Ultimates away.