[box]ggChronicle’s Steve “holyspork” Baumgartner kicks off his ongoing series on team planning with a focus on AoE compositions. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to get the latest League of Legends eSports updates![/box]
There are many different styles of teams that can be built in League of Legends. One strong option available is the area-of-effect (AoE) comp. But even with its inherent strengths, it does have some weaknesses.
AoE teams revolve around one thing: team fights. The goal is to either kill or weaken all or most of the opposing team in a short period of time, by using a combination of AoE disables and high-damage abilities. These teams allow for a very aggressive style of play in the mid game where they can attack objectives and often force the enemy team to give them up by bullying them with team fight potential.
Like any team composition there will be things that will give AoE team comps issues. One of the largest issue is that the composition tends to fight very well together, however, when separated most of the champions tend to have difficulty with one-on-one fighting. The other big problem that AoE team compositions have is being extremely cooldown dependent. They are particularly reliant on their ultimates and abilities in order to fight effectively, meaning that they are very vulnerable once these abilities have been used and are on cooldown.
Drafting an AoE Team:
When drafting an AoE team, the main counter picks are champions with position-altering abilities. Tristana’s ultimate or Alistar headbutt can ruin the best Fiddlestick Crow Storm. The largest two issues for an AoE team are specifically Gragas and Janna. They have the ability to reset a team fight on command. This is a huge issue for AoE teams who are cooldown dependant. Using one or two of these large cooldowns just to have the fight reset can be a game breaker for many AoE teams. The trick is to first pick champions that are versatile and not necessarily AoE comp. Ranged ADs and supports are safe first picks that give you the versatility to change to other team comps if the enemy team decides to choose Janna or Gragas.
Playing an AoE Team:
AoE team comps hit their stride in the mid game as the laning phase end and players begin to group up. One of the challenges facing AoE teams is to force the enemy into a teamfight-centric style. This means that the AoE team should be attempting to force objectives and make the enemy team choose between fighting or losing gold in the form of Dragons, Barons, and towers. Communication between players is also very important. Your team should constantly be talking about the state of cooldowns and where you plan to initiate the next fight. Initiating a fight when even one ultimate is down can cause a team to lose games they should easily win. Communication is also important so that there is as little overlap of disables as possible. Decide an order before team fights of who is going to initiate when. Look for times when opponents are clumped up and easily hit by your strong AoE abilities.
The following video is footage of a team fight in a very narrow stretch of the top jungle where the AoE abilities of Ziggs, Jarvan, Ezreal, and Sona can all be used to their fullest. Another thing to note about this clip is the amount of dialogue that was going on by the AoE team. Nidalee and Jarvan could have disengaged very easily with a pounce and a flag spear in the opposite direction of the fight. Instead, immediately upon seeing the situation Nidalee asked if we were fighting or running. This question was met with immediate replies from Jarvan, Sona, and Ezreal of “I’m here” and Ziggs saying “I’m in range, have ult”. In those two seconds the decision was made by Jarvan to flag spear into the enemies and then use his ultimate to hold them all in place. The Ezreal, Ziggs, and Sona ultimates immediately follow resulting in a trade of four enemies for Jarvan alone. The situation could have gone sour if the team wasn’t as strong with communication and quick decisions. Communication and coordination are the most important aspects of running an AoE team comp because a wasted cooldown on a fight that doesn’t end up happening can result in loss.
Skip to 35:50 in the video to see the action.
The following sections detail some of the champions that can be picked to fill out an AoE team comp. These are by no means all of the potential AoE champions, just some potential selections.
Effective Champions (AP Carry):
Anivia: AoE stun and very good AoE damage if your opponents sit in her ult for a bit. Her wall can also be very beneficial for helping to set up with other AoE abilities.
Ziggs: Very strong AoE on several of his skills and scales hard with AP, making him a solid choice as an AP Carry. The one downside is that he doesn’t have a lot in the way of CC to keep your opponents in other AoE damage.
Morgana: Another very strong choice for an AoE team comp as she brings a fair bit of CC to the table with her ultimate, as well as her tormented soil which lowers magic resist of all enemies standing in it. That is a big deal to AoE team comps since the bulk of their damage tends to be magic.
Effective Champions (Top Lane):
Gangplank: Gangplank works well as a Jungler or as a Top Lane for AoE team comps due to his ultimate. His laning presence is solid and, he can be used as a counter-pick in Top Lane while maintaining the AoE synergy.
Riven: Strong CC and a great AoE ultimate make Riven a great pick for an AoE team comp. Like Gangplank, she also functions as a powerful Top Lane counter-pick.
Malphite: Malphite has always been a very strong choice for AoE heavy teams. One of his biggest draws is that his Groundslam deals damage based on the amount of armor that he has, making him a great choice for a tank that still deals heavy AoE damage.
Effective Champions (Jungle):
Amumu: Strong AoE CC makes Amumu a great pick and probably the best initiator for any AoE team comp.
Fiddlesticks: Fiddlesticks can make any team an AoE team as he deals tons of damage in such a wide area.
Jarvan: Jarvan has a very strong AoE knock up and then his ultimate which can hold many champions in a team’s sights. He doesn’t bring a ton of AoE damage, but he facilitates the damage from other higher damage champions.
Effective Champions (Support):
Sona: Sona brings a lot to AoE team comps. Her bonus stats from her auras can help a team in a variety of ways while grouped up as well as her large area disable ultimate.
Alistar: Solid initiation with headbutt and pulverize make Alistar a solid decision for any AoE team’s Support.
Leona: Leona has a great kit to get to and disrupt an enemy team especially with her decently large area ultimate with its stun and slow.
Effective Champions (AD Carry):
Ezreal: Ezreal can deal some heavy AoE Damage with his ultimate and can use his mobility and range to help pick off stragglers who don’t quite get killed off in the AoE.
Miss Fortune: MF’s ultimate is one of the strongest AoE ultimates available to ranged AD Carries. She also brings an AoE slow and her doubleup to help with bringing down stationary targets caught in other AoE abilities.
Graves: Graves has two very strong AoE damage abilities to help out with this type of composition as well as his dash to help chase down enemies weakened by the AoE damage of his teammates.
- It is not necessary to run all 5 champions as strong AoE choices, 3 or 4 will usually suffice. Other types of champions, especially strong chasers will help the team by being able to run down any that survive the AoE damage from the team fight.
- Always be in communication with teammates about the timing on cooldowns.
- Decide on an ideal order for abilities before a fight begins. For example, Amumu and Galio both go great on an AoE team, but using their ultimates simultaneously is counter-productive (Amumu’s ultimate will keep the enemy team from being able to attack Galio during his ultimate which helps raise his damage, not to mention the potential wasted CC).
- Bully the enemy team and force objectives when your team has more teamfight potential (just be sure to wait for cooldowns when needed).