Examining the Pick Comp
Fri 16th Aug 2013 - 5:39pm
Recently in Korea, during OGN Champions, a playstyle has emerged that drew my interest being referred to as a Pick Comp. In the hands of an organized team, a Pick Comp is beautiful to watch, and extremely deadly to play against.
Here we see KT Bullets amazing catching power, as they pounce on enemies that never see it coming. This is the power of a Pick Comp.
The basic idea of a Pick Comp, is to have a highly mobile team that excels at making small quick skirmishes happen. Champions with high mobility, burst damage, catching power, and stealth, all fit right in on a Pick Comp. Champions like Evenlynn, Twisted Fate, Twitch, Ahri, Nocturne, and Shen are just a few examples of great champions for this comp.
This pick comp follows a strategy that relies heavily on positioning and map control. A pick comp looks for fights that they can start by catching their enemy offguard. They do this by warding the enemy jungle, abusing their catching power, and having a huge map presence. They look for players who are out of position or seperated from their team mates. Against a pick comp you may think you're safe just casually farming a lane, when suddenly an Evelynn and Shen show up out of nowhere and you've been caught in a fight you can't win.
And while a Pick Comp excels at skirmishing and assassinating seperated enemies, that's not to say they cannot teamfight. Like the name says, they just need a pick, they'll be looking for any opening they can get onto the enemy's back line. If a pick comp lands one Ahri Charm, one Sona Crescendo, or get just one opening onto that enemy AD Carry, they can all jump in to assassinate key members of the enemy team, and mop up when the damage threats are dead.
What does it take to make a Pick Comp work?
Teamwork: The teamwork and communication displayed by the top Korean teams is amazing. If they see an opportunity, they make a call, and they move as one to make a play happen. If they see an enemy out of position, they all act as one and go in.
Wards: You've probably heard a hundred times how smart it is to ward. Well it's unbelievable but teams like KT Rolster Bullets take it to the next level. In recent tournament level play, KT Bullet's team had every member buying Sight Wards, and every member buying Vision Wards. Their complete vision, and denial of enemy vision, gave them domination over every inch of the map.
Mobility, Burst, and Crowd Control. While I highlighted a few champions, you may find many others that work just as well or better. The important thing is to be able to cause a ton of pressure onto the map, and always be ready to jump in to pick off unsuspecting enemies.
How to Counter a Pick Comp?
Right now a Pick Comp may sound terrifying, but like anything, it has it's weaknesses.
Grouping: Well we know Pick Comps excel at small skirmishes, so don't let them catch you in one. If you group as 5 for objectives, and protect your carries, the pick comp will have a much harder time doing what they want to do.
Keep Ward Control: If the enemy team is denying you vision, and setting up camp in your jungle, things will start to go downhill for your team very quickly. Try to your best keep vision on the map, and eyes on the enemy champions.
Don't Panic: Champions that excel in pick comps, aren't usually the best poke and siege champions. If you are getting picked off every time you try to split push, and losing control of your jungle, you can keep your towers alive by clearing waves, and just wait for the right opening to choose your own fights.
I feel like the Pick Comp is the culmination of understanding map control and positioning, and it's something Korean teams do so well. By watching them play for just 5 minutes you can tell how smart and skilled these players are. I'm excited to see what happens at the World Championships, where different regions with different playstyles collide, and what type of play we will see when the best teams from around the world go head to head.