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Dominion Strategy: Defensive Play – StrategyZero
Dec 212011

What can be done to win a match? There are, actually, many ways to collaborate towards a victory. Killing enemies, pushing waves, capturing points, interrupting captures, the list goes on. Despite how varied Dominion is, people tend to think that offensive activity is the only way of producing a victory. Just as important as doing it’s to avoid performing actions that can give the enemy an advantage.

In this article I would like to put on the spotlight defensive play. In other words, to play safe so as to deny the opponent advantages and the chance of exploiting any of the mentioned ways that grant a victory. Aggressive play is all over the place but being reckless can easily cost your team the match. Let’s approach victory from another angle and try to replace risky actions with safer but effective alternatives.

Don’t kill, harass

To kill an enemy incurs the risk of dying and it’s not always clear who will fall. It’s not possible to exactly asses the outcome of a battle, we can only approximate the result. The enemy may survive with just a sliver of health but that is enough to give experience and gold while you are unable to take action. It’s even worse if you are chasing the enemy as the opposing team has full view of your actions and can gank without risk.

League of Legends Swain uses Decrepify on Gragas

Instead of going for the throat you can poke the enemy by making use of range or escape abilities your champion may possess. If that isn’t possible try to attack a little and retreat to a health relic; so that you can recover lost health. Even recalling with mid health is useful as the opponent may stay pushing the wave while you return fully healed and with new items.

Don’t backdoor, push waves

A backdoor is a high risk high reward move. A good backdoor can enable a comeback, a bad timed backdoor can allow the enemy a five-cap. Especially, when in control of the Windmill, the option of further increasing the lead is tempting. However, unless your team proves to be a clearly superior force than the enemy you end up fighting in their own ground, under their own rules.

League of Legends Morgana pushes with Tormented Soil against Ahri

The clear alternative is to let minions neutralize a point. Minions can’t be interrupted and a large wave is difficult to clear in time before they severely lower a point’s health. Moreover, by letting the minions lead you shield yourself from many skill-shots and abilities. In case you are hit a large minion wave will focus the opposing champion, providing a good advantage in offence.

Don’t defend, interrupt

A point left alone is an opportunity to sway the tide of the match. Point defence is essential but so is map awareness. If you stand on a point actively defending you are telling the enemy where you are and what you can do. Being alone on a point, invites two or more enemies to try a tower-dive. When defending a point while outnumbered you may want to stay but due to numbers you won’t be able to delay the capture for long. Usually a death simply gives experience and gold to the enemy while hampering your team’s ability to recapture.

League of Legends Kassadin interrupts Alitar with Null Sphere

Another option to defend a point is to hide in the fog of war behind it or in the fog or bushes near the central walls. Two direct benefits are that the enemy doesn’t know where you are and that you can safely poke enemies to interrupt their captures and escape if needed. Furthermore, by interrupting the enemies you allow time for your teammates to come and help in the defence. Remember that after interrupting a capture the point will fire on the enemy so you can wear the attackers down.

In conclusion

There are many ways of improving survivability and the best ones rely only on what you do or don’t do. It’s important to make the most of opportunities but to actively negate opportunities to the enemy is an advantage. If you don’t die you deny the enemy experience and gold, if you harass and poke the enemy you make them lose life and time. By looking at a match from another perspective it’s possible to counter the enemies strategy and outplay them.

  2 Responses to “Dominion Strategy: Defensive Play”

  1. I had a huge win rate in dominion season 2 when I was playing. Over 300 games.
    I did not use this kind of play style.
    As one player to make the most of you self you want to 1 remove enemies from the field so they can not take objectives, take objectives that require the most time for the enemy to respond to.
    Time makes and breaks dominion.
    Pay attention to how players react. Do not cap a point if it will unite the enemy team. Dividing the enemy team is the most effective way to insure victories.

    Not dying is lets you get a lot more done.


    • The good thing about Dominion is that multiple strategies are valid. Defensive play is strictly for playing safe and so it’s better suited to certain play-styles and champions. This isn’t nor is it intended to be a panacea just one of multiple strategies.

      You give good advice about useful strategies and there’s even more that can be done with them. For instance, it’s possible to unite the enemy team to chase you with a high mobility champion so that you team can get another tower while you provide a diversion. Good teams don’t chase but if it seems like an easy kill many fall prey to their instincts.

      In the end, the flexibility of Dominion ensures that you always have a chance; most of the time at least. Besides, all in all we agree: divide and conquer plus stay alive to fight another day.

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