The Art of Peeling: Tools of the Trade (Part 1)

The Art of Peeling, or being a bodyguard, is a very important notion that needs to be learned by players especially those who prefer to play tanks and support champions. It has become even more important as the tank meta is here and Riot intends for it to stay. I've seen teams with multiple tanks all focus on trying to initiate or kill the enemy team and they leave their soft carries behind only for them to get sniped and killed because they have no bodyguards. I've seen players who have an idea on how to peel but do not know how to do it properly so they tend to fail in their attempts. This is what encouraged me to make a series on peeling. I am making this a two part series with one part detailing what makes an ability a strong peeling tool and the other detailing how to actually go about peeling.


The truth of the matter is that most champions can peel but the effectiveness of each champion varies depending on the strength of their abilities. You don't have to be a tank or a support to become a bodyguard but it is much more common for that subtype of champions to excel in this. The three governing factors of peeling tools are immediacy, frequency and intensity. Basically how fast it is, how often can it be deployed and how powerful it is. Abilities can be strong in one factor and weak in the others, strong in more than one factor, average in all, basically most tools in the game are versatile.


As already stated, immediacy is how fast a champion's ability can take effect. You can have the most powerful crowd control in the game but if it takes ten seconds to activate then it is pretty useless for defensive matters. Often times the fastest forms of crowd control are hindered by factors such as range weaknesses, longer cooldowns or are skillshots that can miss. This makes it so the tool is best used as a reactionary tool rather than as one you toss haphazardly to hinder the enemy.


A good example is Warwick's ultimate. It can be used as a peeling tool but it has a long cooldown and can be quite risky yet it immediately halts whatever threat you needed to be stopped. If a Katarina were to blink into your team and start her ultimate, Warwick's own ultimate could be used as an immediate answer to it. However, if a champion like Master Yi was simply running to your teammates, Warwick's ultimate could be considered a waste if there were other tools available as Yi may not be an immediate threat. Essentially, immediate tools are best used to stop or hinder the most important threat before it can deal damage.


Plenty of abilities in the game actually have a variance in immediacy. Basically, crowd control is pretty fast at close range since most take effect as soon as they hit the target. This is crowd control that often has to leave directly from the champion itself. Abilities like this are actually weaker at a range but far stronger when used at point blank range. A good example of this is Nautilus's ultimate. At long range it takes quite awhile for it to become effective and the target can actually do plenty of things to react to it and make it even weaker but at melee range it is basically an instant knock up. Tools that suffer from this can often be padded by using flash in conjunction to them as you can flash closer to the target or within range to make your ability instant.


In short, immediacy is how fast a tool comes into effect and these abilities are better used to react to an immediate threat. Just having one immediate ability does not make a good bodyguard though but its that the tool can be used if you are in dire need of subduing a target.

Frequency, as it should be obvious with the name, is how much a tool can be spammed. These abilities are often weakened by high costs, by being skillshots or by having a weaker effect. Even so, the ability to reapply these conditions onto a target is what makes these abilities effective despite shortcomings. This makes it so the tools with higher frequency can be used on multiple targets over the course of the fight and allow the bodyguard to be more adaptable as focus targets change throughout the fight.


A good example of a high frequency peeling tool is Dr. Mundo's Cleaver. It can be spammed mercilessly and essentially keep a target slowed until Mundo misses or the opponent dodges it or someone else blocks it. If need be, Mundo could use his cleaver on one target then he and his teammate can reposition and then use it on a different target.


High frequency abilities can also be used to bait out the enemy's mobility spells and almost recklessly be used at times of low threat. For instance, a high frequency slow would hinder an enemy's ability to either run away from you or attack the teammate you are guarding. They may use a gap closer to try to avoid the slow or mitigate it as a result of the hindrance but leave themselves completely open to stronger forms of crowd control.


In essence, high frequency tools can be spammed near recklessly but often have plenty of weaknesses associated with them. They are often best used over other abilities in times of lesser threat and can be used to bait out key abilities from opponents.


Intensity tends to be subjective to the conditions of the game. Some crowd control spells are incredibly powerful and can shutdown targets hard. The issue is that a lot of these abilities are dependent on who the target is and their timing. Often times these abilities come with a huge cooldown, are ultimates, are not universally strong on all targets or require some form of setup.


A good example of an intense peeling tool is, once again, Warwick's ultimate. It locks down a target for quite some time but it leaves Warwick vulnerable and his suppression can be stopped by any form of hard crowd control even immediately. Cho'Gath's Feral Scream offers a long duration silence and can utterly shutdown caster champions but may do nothing versus champions not overly reliant on abilities or those who have already used their abilities. Malphite's Ground Slam can utterly demolish the attack speed of champions but that doesn't do anything to caster type champions.


Intense abilities are often best used only when you have the key targets in range or as a last resort. If you use the ability in an inopportune time, your opponents will figure that is the best time to gun for your teammates. Maximizing the potential of the ability is crucial and takes patience if the ability isn't spammable.


Basically, intense peeling tools are often riddled with situational variables or are high risk that they usage may not always be considered reliable. They are, however, the abilities most likely to utterly shut down a target and make it easy to protect a teammate and even kill the assailant.

As it was said earlier, there are plenty of abilities that encompass more than just one factor and tap into each one to a certain degree. Most abilities can be used to peel but it is important to identify which ones are better to use in which situation or in what order. The concept of how to actually peel will be covered in part two so stay tuned.


Follow me on twitter or facebook and check out my stream!



  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Clear All Quotes