Don’t Try This at Home: Comps with No Frontline

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Warden Sivir/Nautilus Splash
It's gotta be hot under all that heavy metal armor don't you think?

Riot Jatt recently put out another episode of “The Breakdown”, his signature teamfight-analysis series. In it, SKT is featured playing a team composition with no hard engage and no true frontline. I’m here to tell you that in solo queue below mid diamond, this is an atrocious plan. I’m not saying you can’t win a game with it, but it will be a lot harder, and it will make everyone mad, especially me. Here’s a few reasons that having a frontline (especially a tank toplaner) makes your life a trillion times easier in solo queue:

Baiting Baron is Approximately Impossible Without One

If you can’t start baron without your whole team becoming half health, It’s a lot harder to convince the enemy that they need to check on you while you’re off having a barbecue with scuttle crab. With a frontline, you can ensure that only one member of your team needs to go to half if you decide to go for it. Suddenly, simply sweeping out the river puts an enormous amount of pressure on your opponents. Also, now someone on your team can facecheck bushes lategame without risking being instantly deleted.

It’s Not Even Like Tanks Are Bad In Lane

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate / glorious experience of laning against a competent Maokai, you know what I’m talking about. Tanks are absolutely un-budge-able right now if played properly. By forcing the enemy (who likely picked I don’t know, ignite riven or something) to play a low economy game – pro tip, snowballing against a tank doesn’t work that well – you come into midgame more useful than them. You, as a tank, are totally comfortable just sitting on your CS gold buying cheap tank items – that riven has probably never had fewer than 45 kills by 20 minutes before. She’s got no clue what to do if she can’t stomp lane. Take her out of her comfort zone and watch her start to sweat.

Teamfights Just Got 300% Easier

If you’re ahead and want to fight, now all you have to do is press a button instead of making a complicated play with vision control and coordinated rotations. Also, how do you feel about not just letting enemy assassins walk through 5 people to ult your carry? Two words: Crowd Control. By positioning in between both teams, frontliners protect your carries from the bulk of the damage, allowing them to stay alive and do what they do best – pump out that multiplicative scaling damage. Mmmmmm I do love me some penetration items. Speaking of:

FotM Flat Pen Sucks Vs Resistance Stacking

Yeah you know that Jhin with Spookblade Edge-of-insanity that’s like two-shotting everyone? If you’ve got 200 armor and 3000 health, he doesn’t even tickle with his full combo. It’s almost sad really. Armor is cheap, and comes attached to some seriously fabulous mid game items, like Sunfire Cape, Dead man’s Plate and Iceborn Gauntlet.

Toplaners – Just Come On Man Seriously

The best tanks are in your lane right now. In bottom lane, you get punished unreasonably hard for picking melee supports because of how high range the meta marksmen are. In the jungle, it’s not that they’re bad (in fact there are several playable tanks) but it is that you give up a lot by not going the assassins that are so absurdly strong. The likes of Kha’zix, Rengar and Graves are just horrifically efficient right now. That leaves one lane to pick up the slack, and I’m gonna tell you right now, it ain’t mid.

In Conclusion

The pros are able to go compositions with defined weaknesses and play around them. But, like a painter studying the great masters, you don’t start by copying an abstract piece – you start with the basics. Don’t mess with good practices unless you know how it will affect the way you need to play. So good luck, and please: don’t try this at home.

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Atherton Wing
Atherton Wing is a long time League of Legends player and coach. When not initiating teamfights, he enjoys cooking, writing bulleted lists and composing video game soundtracks.

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