Teamfighting, part one: elements


If I see that in caps or if I see it a second or third time by the same person on my team, I mute that person. They do not know how to teamfight, and what’s more if you try to explain it to them they just get mad.

For all of you who know that it’s not the AD carry’s job to “focus the other AD carry” and that teamfights don’t really work like that, this one’s for you. If anyone you know doesn’t get what they’re supposed to do in a teamfight, refer them to this article and it’s second part.

What teams are supposed to do in a teamfight

If a team is organized and people know what they are doing, what they end up doing is pretty consistent. Even if there are errors or variations in team comps, the rules of engagement are defined. Of course, every team comp or strategy, every 5v5 will vary slightly, and for some champions even there will be different rules. An example is Kha’Zix. Kha’Zix has a Manamune build that is very pokey, where he focuses on W spam. This is usually for top Kha’Zix. Mid Kha’Zix can go Manamune too, but can also go Last Whisper / Blood Thirster and other damage items without having to get Tear, just focusing on going all-in and eliminating one or two of the enemy team quickly.

So realize that positioning can vary depending on build and role. If you went Locket and Warmog’s first on Xin Zhao, you should probably be initiating. If you went glass cannon (and I don’t know why you would), you’ll need to be more careful about your timing.

Elements of teamfighting


I don’t know where the term “peeling” came from but the description is very apt, so it stuck. If someone is going for your carry, they want to stick to them, and you want to peel them off.  The way you do this is by using your crowd controls moves to prevent someone from getting there. This is almost always a support’s job, but any other position can do it too, even some AD carries. The issue is whether you have the moves to do so.

If a champion has the ability to save his ally’s life through stopping / removing an enemy champion, he can peel. Some abilities are stronger than others. Silence helps but is usually not sufficient. Stuns, knockups, and knockbacks are supreme. Slows are usually good, but those are easier to mitigate.

A champion like Janna or Alistar is a supreme peeler. If someone jumps on your carry, you have the ability to literally stop an enemy in his tracks, saving/prolonging an ally’s life.

Other roles can do this also. Some champions have to decide between peeling or attacking, such as Orianna or Lulu; champions with more decisions like this thus require more skill and understanding to play well. 


Disruption is similar to peeling but is used for a different purpose. Disrupt is when you use a move to disposition or separate entire teams, rather than focusing on protecting someone on your team. Janna’s Whirlwind can do this, but the most obvious examples are Xin Zhao and Gragas’ ult. When you use these, the team splits up and your team immediately has superior positioning.

Other examples include Orianna’s Ult, Janna's Ult, Viktor’s W, Morgana’s ult, Anivia’s wall, and Hecarim’s ult.

Disruption can protect, be crowd control, deal a lot of damage, or be an initiate, but it isn’t about these things, and it doesn’t have to be any of these things, they are incidentally sometimes these things. The core principle of disruption is that it realigns you and your team to being in a better position than the other team.

Diving / Focusing

A popular teamfight action is to try to kill a particular member of the other team. Assassins generally have to do this, such as Akali, Zed, Kha’Zix, or LeBlanc. If you have mostly single-target abilities, that is what you’ll be doing.

Some people make the mistake of doing this when they shouldn’t, or doing it and not knowing when they should switch gears. Think of a bad Olaf. Guy charges non-stop, even when he’s had plenty of notice to find out he won’t survive or get to his target, but he keeps going and being kited to his death.

Some people have to do this. Some people can do this. Do not think everyone is supposed to do this. Do not think you are always supposed to do this with some champions. 


Area of effect abilities tend to be simple. Land the AOE for maximum damage. When Vladimir was more powerful than he is now, he was a simple champion to play for this reason. Make your ult hit all five, don’t die, pool at the right time, spam the rest of your abilities. Same with Karthus and Ziggs. Conceptually, ability use is simple, just act like an ad carry, but positioning and landing the skillshots is the harder part.


Initiating is highly important. Every team needs a good initiate, and every team needs to know what their initiate options are. If people think someone can initiate that shouldn’t or vice-versa, this leads to bad team coordination.

This is why champions with strong initiates tend to be popular and easier to win with in solo queue because the team knows unequivocally that the fight has started and it’s time to follow up. Malphite and Amumu are tanks but they have poor peel. Their strength lies in moves that can cc entire teams and win the fight immediately, and they tend to be great leading abilities because these champs’ teammates know to followup, whereas enemy teams freak out, even if they could survive and then immediately keep the fight up and blow them up.

Some of the best and most obvious initiates tend to come from junglers such as Xin, Malph, Amumu, Hecarim, Nautilus, Vi, Cho’Gath, Jarvan IV, Mao’Kai, Sejuani, Rammus, Nocturne, Skarner, or Volibear, but other types of champions can do this. Sona, Blitzcrank, Ashe, Annie, Lux, Renekton, Singed, and assassins who position effectively can all initiate.

Sometimes, initiation isn’t obvious and the teams simply gradually collide into each other. It’s important to understand some team compositions necessitate working this way, and everyone needs to be disciplined and tightly wound instead of trying to be bossy about how the initiate works.

This is why strong derp-level jungling can carry queue’d games easily, whereas poor-cc / poor initiate junglers lead to team coordination challenges, especially if top or support didn’t go to the effort of adding cc to make up the deficiency.


Positioning follows two important principles.

• AD Carries and some champions almost always follow the same rule of positioning.

• For all other roles and for other champions, it depends.

All AD carries follow similar principles. Other rules, it depends on the champion. Some champions almost always do the same thing. Some champions have options depending on build or can and must adapt to who the other nine players picked.

I’ll get more into this on Thursday.


Old Man Eyebrows 

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  • #49 Kyosaburo

    So many good info in this article. Looking forward for more. Thanks!

  • #45 Wiltsee

    the adc part is a big deal, and part of the reason why i don't like the role. i don't think the majority of players understand that an adc doesn't need to focus a particular target.

  • #44 genrtul

    This is bookmarkable.

  • #42 tdi293

    I'd just like to say thank you for this article. I was one of those people who always yelled "focus the carry" without knowing any better. This article is a lot of help to me and peeling was something I knew about but rarely did.



  • #38 rararar

    Great article!  It's great to see something like this discussed since some people seem to have different expectations and it's really very crucial for everyone to be on the same page when teamwork is expected to happen. Hope to see more articles like this!

  • #36 tehtwinki

    Again, old man eyebrows displays why I feel he is one of the most informative and un-biased bloggers on this site.

  • #33 Benegesserit

    Riot should post this on their news page as a series of informative articles. I know it makes less sense than a sticky in the appropriate subforum but this needs top visibility.

    Last edited by Benegesserit: 4/10/2013 2:25:38 PM
  • #30 Lezaleas

    nice,article.simple,i even knew all of this,but i will still read it many times more every time i have a doubt.looking forward for more of this

  • #29 Add02

    Good article :)

  • #28 Folfire

    You should talk about Greed, the doom of SoloQ games...

  • #27 Basinator

    I would add ZH for disruption. Not so experienced players don't know what to do vs it and just stand there doing nothing during a TF instead of AAing the closest target.

  • #26 SpiffmeisterZ

    I still find myself wishing I could reach through the screen and confiscate the keyboard of everyone who demands 'FOCUS ADC' and charges in thinking they can just waltz passed a line consisting of champs like Leona/Cho/Malph or flat forgets that Kayle is there to completely negate their all-in burst combo.

    If people can just read the first 1/4 of this and take it to heart it will alleviate so much of my frustration with a good portion of teammates I get.

  • #25 cardmin

    typo? " just focusing on going all-in and eliminating on or two of the enemy team quickly."

  • #39 Chyrnobyl

    of course its a fucking typo


  • #41 cardmin

    thanks - i wasn't sure. i'm glad you could help me understand this article better and in such a positive manner. keep up the good work!

  • #19 synkronized

    About the term Peeling.  I first heard it during WoW arena's heyday.  It literally means peeling an opponent off a target.  Usually applied to saving healers from a snare/stun and subsequent burst combo.

  • #21 Ettentus

    I immediately thought WoW too. But I remember hearing earlier in coordinated fights for Southshore and Tarren Mill.  I wouldn't be surprised if it came from EQ.

  • #37 rararar

    In EQ the term "peel" was used to mean taking aggro from a mob that was focusing someone else, often the person that pulled.  Although it that case it is referring to pve I guess that could be where it originated.

  • #18 Cerbereth

    I am already looking forward to the Thursday article.

  • #17 PalestineBeFree

    Just to clarify O-man...

    When you say someone says "Focus the AD carry" do you mean that they are talking to your teams back line or in general?

    Cuz the way I understand its something like this:-

    AD carry> Focuses who ever is closest to them

    Initiators also should try to disrupt while at the same time diving their back line (not always initiators but whoever is should be diving)

    in addition to that having someone protecting and peeling your back line helps keep them alive

    BUT at the end of the day, the divers/initiators should be focusing the other teams highest threat usually being their ADC or Mid


    Is what I am saying inline with what you are or am I way off and have been failing at team fighting all this time O.o...

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