With so many champions and item builds, the range of possibilities when creating a League of Legends team is pretty staggering. This has led to a variety of strategies that revolve around a few team concepts which are then tweaked to accommodate specific champions and play styles. Last time I focused on the Poke Comp and I received a request in the comments to take a look the Split Push/Disengage strategy.
Split Push/Disengage (SP/D) has a lot in common with the Poke Comp discussed earlier. Both strategies primarily involve protracted “sieges” around turrets or other objectives. While poke teams are focused on wearing down the enemy team with long range damage, to force them away from the objective or take an unfavorable engagement, SP/D focuses on keeping the entire enemy focused on one objective for as long as possible, so that a second objective can be taken while they’re out of position. The mechanics of this center around the split push tactic. This describes a strong wave-clearing champion in the top or bottom lane pushing minion waves and damaging towers while the members of his team (and the enemy) are grouped up doing something else. Like many aspects of team composition such as hard engages, disengages, and long range poke, split pushing can be utilized by any team comp and is commonly showcased in professional play. However, some champions are better at split pushing than others and it is possible to build your team to optimize the strategy.
This idea of building a team around the split push is the driving design goal of the SP/D comp. The first and most obvious need is to have a strong split pushing champion. This champion should be able to clear minion waves quickly, have good escapes, be very difficult to kill 1v1, and if possible have an ability that can reach across the map. While action is occurring elsewhere, this champion will go to the top or bottom lane and start clearing waves of minions. If left unchecked, the champion and the minions he’s pushing with will take towers. If one enemy peels off there is the possibility of keeping the push going by either killing the defender or forcing them away. If more than one enemy peels off to defend, the champion simply employs his escapes while the rest of his team either takes the objective they were pressuring or wins a 4v3 team fight (and then takes the objective).
The less obvious need is for the other four people on the team to be able to keep five very map-aware opponents fixed on one spot for as long as possible, without being trapped into a 4v5 team fight. That’s easier said than done, but you can make choices to maximize your chances. This is where the disengage part of the title comes into play. Choosing champions with escapes, slows, and high mobility will give your team the ability to kite an engagement. You will stay on the edge, pressuring but never engaging, moving away or knocking enemies back when they try to engage, and preventing your opponents from retreating. Your team wants to maintain the status quo to buy as much time for the split pusher as possible.
Countering a split push is difficult if done right. The key elements of a counter will be mobility skill/item related such as Teleport and Homeguard Boots, as well as having strong chase and assassination champions to run down and duel your split pushing or collapse on your kiting team.
HOW TO BUILD IT
Technically any champion can split push and any champion can try to kite, but some excel at it. I’ll highlight two strong choices for each team role.
Shen: Shen is a god tier split pusher. While he does not clear waves as rapidly as some other potential choices, he has one singular advantage. Shen’s ultimate allows him to teleport to a friendly champion, regardless of their location. Therefore, despite heavy split pushing, you will always be able to team fight with your full five. On top of that he’s a big walking chunk of health and sustain, making him very difficult to 1v1 in both laning and the mid game. As a result, Shen is a near 100% pick/ban in sub-Gold ranked games.
Zed: Zed is a very versatile champion who can mid lane, top lane, and jungle with equal ease, but I’m putting him top because I consider his counterpart Tryndamere a bit better in that role. Zed’s 1v1 is outstanding, featuring an extremely high damage ult and the ability to teleport to his shadow clone to avoid skill shots. The clone itself is also his main wave clearing tool, effectively doubling the effect of his two AoE damage abilities. Zed builds AD which also gives him excellent damage against towers.
Twisted Fate: Who says your split pusher has to be top? Twisted Fate’s abilities and itemization make him truly dangerous in the hands of a skilled player, so much so that high Elo/pro play will often see him banned. While Shen’s ultimate can teleport him directly to a teammate, Twisted Fate’s ultimate can teleport him anywhere within his half-map range, on a fairly low cooldown, while also providing perfect vision of the enemy. This can be used to get from your push to the fight/siege, or to transition instantly from sieging to split pushing. He has excellent wave clear and a lot of versatility with his W, which grants his next auto attack either an AoE damage/slow, massive damage and mana recovery, or a stun. The bonus damage from this also affects turrets, which makes them dead very quickly when combined with items like Lich Bane.
Ahri: The choice of a second mid lane champion was very difficult to settle on, but I decided on Ahri for two main reasons. The first is her ultimate, which gives her effectively three Flashes. If used offensively, they will also deal damage after casting, but they can just as easily be used to run away from an engagement or mixed for both purposes. She doesn’t have a sustained Flash use like Kassidin or even LeBlanc, but when her ult is up she can disengage further and more frequently. The other reason I picked her for this article is her Charm, which is a hybrid stun/taunt rendering the target unable to do anything except walk helplessly toward you. Engaging 4v5 or even 4v4 with this team comp is difficult, but landing an Ahri Charm can be the opening you need.
Nunu: Recent buffs to Nunu have made him as potent a jungler as he already was in lanes. However, Nunu’s main draw for your team will be his utility in team fights. He can spam out a very damaging, very slowing ability which can offer some poke but mostly just keeps people away from you. Additionally, he can increase the move speed of himself and a target for a fairly long duration, which is great for the slow pokes on your team.
Tryndamere: Also in the god tier along with Shen, Tryndamere is one of the single most difficult champions to stop from snowballing. He has a low cooldown wave clearing ability which also acts as a gap closer and, as it happens, allows him to go over walls when cast. He does incredible damage in melee range, can heal himself for big chunks of health while also being able to build lifesteal, and his low cooldown ult literally does not allow him to die for the duration. When Trynd pushes, you can’t be sure if he’ll just spin over the next wall or spin back on top of whoever is chasing him, kill them, and take your tower anyway.
Ezreal: I know it might be cheating to include Ezreal here since I included him in the Poke Comp article, but he’s just good for this kind of ranged fighting; blame Riot, not me. The Blue Ezreal build is the main draw here, as it empowers his long range skill shot with an AoE slow. It also lowers the cooldown on his Flash escape, which is itself lowered by landing skill shots. All told, this makes him a mobile source of AD that can help keep an enemy team at arm’s length.
Tristana: Speaking of range, Tristana has plenty to spare. At level 18 she’s the longest range auto attacker in the game. This makes her a credible threat to towers such that the opposing team will want to close with you to force her away. Her passive on Explosive Shot also makes her a viable split pushing choice if need be. But the main draw here is her other passive. Her Rocket Jump escape gets its cooldown reset after kills and assists. This can be extremely vital in a protracted hit-and-run kiting engagement, allowing her to reposition frequently.
Janna: Janna is in the god tier of disengages. First of all, her passive grants a speed increase to your entire team which helps with split pushing, maintaining position during pressure, and withdrawing from engagements. She has an ability allowing her to knock up multiple targets in a line with a charging activation, making it difficult to predict. But the crowning part of her kit is her ultimate, which heals your team while pushing away all enemies to the edge of its rather large radius. If you get hard engaged by champions like Malphite, Ammumu, Jax, etc., simply Janna ult and run away laughing.
Zyra: While not quite as good as Janna at this particular role, Zyra does see a lot of use in pro play as a disengage support. Her ultimate is a delayed AoE knock up. Because of the delay it’s difficult to use offensively, but once the opposing team has committed it can be quite easy to predict where to use it. She also has a snare skillshot which can be useful either offensively or defensively.
Honorable Mention to Master Yi (Mid, Top, Jungle)
And there you have it. Go forth and win while the other team rages at one another for not going top to stop your split pusher. If there’s other team comps you’d like me to tackle next, leave a comment below.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Alekseyev Karrde.