The Essence of Split-Pushing
Wed 27th Jun 2012 - 6:51pm
What Exactly IS Split-Pushing?
League of Legends, beneath all of its team fights, objective control, and laning, is all about taking down turrets and destroying the enemy Nexus. Map control, the flow of minions, and towers are vital as time passes, and taking down turrets quickly allows your team to have more extensive map control, and, as a byproduct, more freedom in pursuing objectives such as the dragon or Baron, or stealing enemy buffs.
Split-pushing is a strategy based on this fact, and involves one member of the team shoving his or her lane as quickly as possible, taking down turrets while his or her team sieges a lane.
Why does it work?
If you've ever watched Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) play, you'll know that they love this strategy, and many a game has been won by them even at deficits by applying massive amounts of pressure in two lanes at once. While not every champion and time is suited to split pushing, applying this strategy at key points in the game forces your enemies to make decisions they'd rather not.
They can split up their team and send members to stop your pushing or make a potentially costly hard engagement on your team while you're down a man. Split-pushing works is because it is incredibly difficult to counter. Because there is no surefire way to handle pressure in two lanes at once, a losing team that employs split-pushing creates neutrality and gives their team a chance to catch up while a winning team that employs split-pushing snowballs their lead and builds up a larger gold lead on the enemy team.
Pros and Cons of Split-Pushing:
No strategy is perfect, and split-pushing is no exception. While it is strong, it is hard to implement and difficult to master. Here are some reasons why you should or shouldn't split push.
- With proper wards, allows the pusher to farm well and gain a level advantage quickly
- Killing turrets provides team with global gold and experience
- Forces opponents to engage in a hasty team fight or send members to shove back the pushed lane
- Enhances map control and makes transitions to objectives much more smooth
- Useful whether you are losing or winning the game.
- Team can potentially lose a team fight because you aren't available to provide assistance.
- Lack of map control or mobility can result in frequent deaths and can snowball enemies
- Split pushing when down a member can allow your team to lose more ground and potentially objectives
- Stalls the game and forces it to late game. Can be detrimental if dealing with late game champions such as Vayne or Jax
Although split-pushing seems like a great strategy, the reason why it isn't employed regularly in normal queue is because it typically requires team communication and cooperation. Additionally, split-pushing is most successful when the team composition is built around it, and works much better on certain champions.
Unfortunately, not every champion is fit for split-pushing. While Soraka's bananas are fascinating to observe, she is an example of a champion not particularly suited to split pushing. Champions that excel at split pushing must demonstrate a variety or combination of the following attributes.
- Mobility, stealth, or a built in escape mechanism
- Global ultimates
- AoE farm or quick creep clearing
- Mobility, Stealth, or a built-in Escape Mechanism
Because it is unlikely that the enemy team will let you push forever, you must be prepared for ganks and contests, sometimes by multiple members that want to take advantage of your forward positioning and score a kill. For these reasons, mobility, stealth, or an escape mechanism is a necessity for split pushers. Champions such as Teemo are able to maintain visibility and control of the map with his mushrooms, but is also able to escape with move quickly should that need be.
Champions such as Shaco not only have his clone to provide extra damage, but also has a stealth. This makes it impossible to know the path and direction of his movement unless you have an Oracle's Elixir. Lastly, a champion such as Singed farms creep waves incredibly quickly, but also has a great kit for escape. His sticky adhesive and ult makes it almost impossible to chase down and kill Singed (but you can try).
A steroid is a skill, passive, or item that enhances a champions stats. Steroids can be like Warwick's Hunters Call which grants him incredible attack speed, as does Tristana's rapid fire. This goes on to include a variety of skills, such as Gangplank's Raise Morale or even a champion with Yomuu's Ghostblade. These champions excel at split pushing because they do it so quickly. It allows them to shove a lane and clear minion waves before the enemy team even has a chance to respond and send assistance.
While not a lot of champions have global ultimates, those who do are especially suited to split pushing. This is because it allows them to not only advance a lane, but to provide nearly immediate assistance to the team should they decide to fight or pursue an objective.
Shen, one of the most effective split-pushers, has moderate attack speed, a means of escape, bonus damage in Ki Strike that applies to the turret, and his ult provides utility and transports him to his team thus allowing his team to make advances anywhere on the map without being at a sure disadvantage. Other champions such as Nocturne and Twisted Fate are slightly more limited, but still very useful should their team meet trouble.
AoE farm and Creep Clearing
While not necessary, AoE abilities make split-pushing a lot simpler. Because split-pushers want to push fast and without consequence, it is advantageous to allow allied minions to tank tower shots without having to deal with enemy minions. AoE, which stands for area of effect, describes skills that are able of dealing damage to multiple enemies in a range. Examples of AoE clear include Corki's Missle Barrage, Irelia's Transcendent Blades, and Master Yi's Alpha strike.
Timing and Map Control:
Unfortunately, Split-pushing is not a strategy employed to snowball an early game. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Split-pushing is a stalling strategy that sends the game into overtime, and is only conducted after laning phase ends. As turrets begin to go down as the game progresses, champions begin to roam and team fights begin to occur. It is during this time, that split-pushing occurs, as it cannot be executed to its extent if you are still facing your enemy in lane. Split-pushing requires taking advantage of your laning opponents absence, something that only occurs as teams begin to group up.
Furthermore, map control is always an asset when you engage in this endeavor. Because dying repeatedly and feeding the enemy team should not be a trade for split-pushing, it is necessary to keep a tab on enemy positioning. Always ward the enemy jungle, and be wary of champions such as Twisted Fate and Nocturne that can quickly turn a 1v1 into a 1v2. Never commit yourself to a fight in enemy territory unless you have a very clear advantage over the enemy, or your confidence may be turned against you.
Tips, Tricks, and Conclusion:
Perhaps the most crucial skill in League of Legends is communication, and with that, teamwork. Teamwork is something necessary in applying split-pushing, and as such, excellent team compositions and builds have been used. Let's cover two different ways of designing your team in order to maximize the efficiency of split-pushing.
The Poke Composition
If you've ever watched Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) play, you'll know about their famous poke composition. Why does poking work and what is it? To start, poking is used to describe skills (typically skillshots) that can be used safely at a long distance to damage and whittle down the enemy team at no direct threat to yourself. Poking is an effective strategy when your team sieges a lane because it can clear enemy creep waves quickly and force them to remain at their turret or leave to heal as they slowly succumb to your harassment. This also forces the team to group together and can prevent them from sending members of their team to stop your own push. Either way, poke compositions may be the most effective when combined with split pushing.
This is an excellent example of a poke team. With a blue buff, Twisted Fate regenerates mana quickly enough to throw out Wild Cards constantly. Building ability power, late game Twisted Fate can instantly clear a creep wave and the fact that three cards come out makes it more difficult to dodge. Corki and Nocturne exemplify this. Corki's Rocket Barrage is not only on extremely low cool down, it has a low mana cost and can do significant damage. Nocturne's duskbringer also deals moderate damage and Janna provides support and disengagement based on enemy actions.
While not a true "composition", disengagement describes the ability of certain champions to effectively stop a team fight from progressing to completion by stopping the enemy advance with hard CC or separating the team and creating awkward positioning. Because many teams will attempt to take advantage of the fact that you're down a player, disengagement is an attribute and build method key to maintaining the health of your team while the pusher applies pressure.
This is an example of an incredibly scary disengaging team that can also turn around any fight. Alistar, with his ultimate and headbutt/pulverize, and stop almost all enemy advances and get out by shrugging off damage and CC with his ult.
Anivia's wall can separate the enemy team and instantly cut out crucial players, Tristana can knock back advancing enemies, and Leona can stun multiple enemies with Solar Flare. Additionally, should Anivia, for example, be succesful in cutting off an enemy, this team can easily turn around to capitalize on the split up members to pick off a quick kill.
Summoner Spells and Why I don't take Teleport:
Summoner spells are pretty open for split-pushers. Because split-pushers are usually top lane champions, teleport has surfaced at times as a viable and interesting summoner spell. However, I don't find that its long cooldowns and passive stance makes it quickly outlive its usefulness. First, teleport suggests passivity. Because split-pushing is key to snowball a lead, you want to win your lane.
Teleport invites the enemy to take free shots and harass you because you're preparing to constantly port back to base and come back to lane with teleport. Additionally, offensive teleportation to other lanes to coordinate a gank is a risky manuever that always puts your lane under huge pressure.
While teleport has its use on some champions, I find taking more offensive summoner spells such as ignite or exhaust more useful in coordination with the jungler to get ganks off. Teleports limited capability, passivity, risk, and long cool down all discourage me from using it.