Risks of the Wombo-Combo

What every ranked team does is dream up the ultimate “wombo-combo”… it all starts something like this:

“Joe is going to flash in and ultimate, then I’ll throw my ultimate in, and then Tom will clean up with his ultimate.”

What really happens is that Joe burns his ultimate or his flash in a previous engage, you end up dying to focus fire at the start of the engagement, and Tom is back at base buying when the team fight happens.

The absolute best you can probably hope for is to get off the ultimate combination of ultimates once in a game — and if it doesn’t win the game for you, you’ll probably be very sad.

Rather than trying to design a team around a single fight and moment in time that may never happen, try to pick champs that have good synergy together and can play off each other in multiple ways without their ultimates, so that they work together well in every skirmish — even when their ultimates and summoner spells are down.

How many times this week did you throw out the Gragas ultimate for Yasuou, only to have him miss his ultimate. Probably every time you tried. In my opinion, you’d be much better off mixing Cho’gath with Yasuou for more consistent knock up and a tank to offset the squishiness of your damage dealer, if that’s the sort of synergy you were going for.  Even this example involves one ultimate, which is weaker than a synergy that doesn’t require any ultimate. For example, Oriana’s ball riding on a Wukong is good as a shield and getting off the dissidence is great — and if either of them ultimate, well, that’s even better. That’s a synergy that gets better with ultimates, but doesn’t require ultimates. Heck, Lulu and Wukong do the same thing with a shield and movement buff. Ultimates are optionally great.

The essence of synergy is the amplification of each other’s powers both directions.

The Oriana and Wukong example has a strong synergy because Wukong can deliver the ball very accurately and quickly, helping Oriana as much as himself. Similarly, Wukong (or similar champion) can bring in Pix for Lulu for a high-percentage-shot glitter lance.

Dreams of the ultimate wobmo-combos are cool and you’ll talk about them for weeks when you pull them off, but they don’t create very reliable compositions that win consistently. You’ll win more games, especially in low elo, by picking champions with strong early games and that have some basic synergy with other champions in your team.

I guess I should talk about late scaling champions briefly.

Late scaling champions are so much fun, and can win games in Bronze V because nobody is trying to finish the game fast enough to stop you from getting to late game. However, as you break out of Bronze, you’ll find that people are better about taking objectives and it’s hard to get back into the game if your champion doesn’t peak in power until level 18 and they are winning by level 15. The current meta is to pick strong early game champions to quickly get towers and dragon to build a gold lead that compensates for worse scaling — then win before the poor scaling matters.  You can thank Taipei Assassins (Season 2 world champions and the innovators of this style that took the world a whole season to fully adopt.)

Staple examples of early game champions are: top-lane Renekton, jungle Lee Sin, ADC Caitlyn, and mid-lane Lulu. (We don’t usually have to worry about supports that scale into the late game, as that’s usually not a consideration due to their gold constraints.)


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