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 fall around a few team concepts which are then tweaked around for specific champions and play styles. This article is taking a look at my hands down favorite team strategy: the Poke Comp.
At its heart, the Poke Comp is about laying siege. The core of the team is formed around champions with extremely long-range damage abilities supported by long-range crowd control. The crowd control can be stuns but are just as effective being slows, zoning abilities, and placing walls or other path-obstructing barriers.
In terms of execution, the ideal situation for a Poke Comp team is to setup the fight ahead of time, either around an objective or at a tower. Damage dealers begin using their attacks or abilities to wear down the enemy team while the crowd controllers use their stuns, slows, and zoning to make damaging long range skill shots easier to land. The longer the full engagement can be delayed the better, as this allows more of the enemy health to be worn down. If all goes well, enough damage will be dealt to either kill or force back to base opposing champions, opening up a numbers advantage. The enemy is then faced with a choice: stay and fight shorthanded with lower health, or pull back and give up the tower/dragon/baron/inhibitor. Either way, it’s good for you. Rinse and repeat all the way down the lanes, starving your opponents of objectives and map control, right down to the nexus.
In terms of counters, there are three pitfalls to watch out for. The first is falling way behind. If you fall behind in items or levels, the Poke Comp does not have much in the toolkit to help you get back into the game. The damage your long range harassers throw out must be credible for the strategy to work. The second is high amounts of shielding or healing on the enemy team. If your damage doesn’t “stick,” then they will not be forced away from objectives. The final and most dangerous counter is the Hard Engage team composition, which specializes in closing distance with tough attackers and locking your team in place. Without distance the poke comp falls apart and is not as tough as the brawlers sitting on top of them.
HOW TO BUILD IT
There are several viable champions you can base this team concept around. I’ll highlight two strong choices for each team role.
-Jayce: Jayce brings a lot of versatility and utility to a Poke Comp on top of fantastic AoE poke damage. Jayce’s primary mode of attack will be his shock blast, which when shot through his speed gate ability becomes a high velocity skill shot with a mean punch. That speed gate can also act as a disengage mechanic, speeding up the rest of the team while running away from enemy engagement attempts. Finally, in his melee form Jayce can act as a bruiser, cleaning up fights and peeling for your poke champions.
-Nidalee: The Nidalee spear is infamous for its long range and high damage. So much so that you can hear crowds hush every time one of them is launched and then explode with applause or “ohhhhh” as it explodes someone’s health bar. When built as a carry she can throw down these high damage spears at an alarming rate and provide heals for your team to fend off return damage. After the enemy team collapses she can also transform like Jayce and go into melee range to clean up.
-Lux: While Nidalee has spammable poke and a lot of utility coming from her heals, Lux has that poke confined mostly to her ult. However, that ult is devastating and comes with several crowd control abilities. Commonly referred to as The Laser, Lux’s ult is a low cool down long range skill shot which does high damage to everything along the length of the beam. For crowd control she has an AoE slow and a skillshot snare which freezes up to two targets. A full combo from Lux can easily instapop a carry.
–Xerath: Xerath takes more of an artillery bombardment approach to damage. His main threats are a miniaturized version of Lux’s ult (his Q), and his ult, which can be cast three times after activation for long range AoE damage. His W massively improves the ranges of all his abilities and adds more magic penetration. Properly built, his cooldowns are low, his damage is high, and he can wear down entire teams from the safety of the back line.
-Trundle: While not possessing any long range poke of his own, Trundle is a strong jungler with stronger ganks. These ganks can help ensure that you get an early advantage which greatly increases the chances of your poke strategy succeeding. During the actual fight, his pillar ability can obstruct and slow movement on a slow cool down which can make the skill shots of the rest of the team easier to hit.
-Dr. Mundo: Mundo does what he pleases. Conveniently for your team, that’s usually throw lots of cleavers (or championship cups or brief cases). Mundo’s Q is a very long range skill shot which does % health damage. It has a low cooldown and virtually no cost, so you can spam it constantly. Not only is it good guaranteed damage, but it slows the target too, opening them up to further punishment from the other skill shots on your team.
-Ezreal: The range on Ezreal’s Q is long and the cooldown is low. He also has a very strong escape which he can lower the cooldown of by landing Qs. Those features make him quite unique for an AD Carry and a natural fit for a poke team. In particular I’m a fan of the “Blue” Ezreal build for this, which doesn’t put out as much raw damage but strengthens his Q and adds quite a bit of utility in the form of AoE slows.
-Caitlyn: Caitlyn has a relatively long range for an AD champion, which helps her in the Poke Comp, but the main draw is her abilities. The Piltover Peacemaker is an infamously good wave clearing ability because it does potent damage across multiple targets in a line. She can use her traps during turret sieges to temporarily immobilize enemy champions opening them up for easy to hit skill shots. And if someone on the enemy team is taken low, she can finish them off with an Ace in the Hole.
-Sona: Sona has an ability which increases both the AP and AD of champions around her, allowing her to increase the damage of your poke. This ability can also be activated for a long range attack on up to two automatically selected targets. While you don’t have targeting control of this, it’s a decent chunk of damage and is on a low cooldown. Sona also has a good healing ability which can keep your team’s health bars comfortably high while you wear down the enemy. Her ultimate is an area of effect stun suitable for defensive or offensive use, depending on whether you think the time is right to initiate the fight or run away from an unfavorable engagement.
-Soraka: While normally chosen for her healing abilities, I like her in a poke comp for her mana granting ability. She’s like a walking battery, making sure than your carries like Nidalee, Lux, Caitlyn and Xerath never run out of mana when spamming their abilities. This can be particularly important early game to allow those champions to focus on building damage instead of mana.
Taken all together, the Poke Comp is a strong team strategy which rewards teamwork, positioning, skillshots, and patience. While not the most universally successful strategy, I find it one of the most interesting and fun team builds. There’s nothing like shell shocking the enemy so hard they have to walk away from turret after turret or watch their health bars disappear without being able to respond. Go out there and give it a try!
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Alekseyev Karrde.