When your team groups together and wanders the map, it is sometimes beneficial and sometimes detrimental. When this tactic is viable is an important knowledge to have, and can apply pressure and compound advantage when you’re ahead. However, when it is a bad time to do it or you have no advantage, I like to call it “clump humping.” I derived this from the Dodgeball quip by Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) that the players “look like a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob.”
Well, you do.
Grouping for Objectives
I saw this strategy often in the lower levels when people would state: “the laning phase is over!!!” and roam the map in clumps, like fools. Let us begin with describing the phenomena of group objectives. The current meta, “snowballing meta” as Chaox terms it, is that one team gains advantage in the early game and uses it to catapult into the late game. Their famous “win lane, win game” advice is being shown at work here because winning your lane early brings them to the end game immediately. When you are ahead a few kills and/or a tower, the team can gather and do team objectives uncontested. That is the power of grouping together for an objective: you are each ahead a little, but collectively by a lot. This allows each person who has advantage to counter the disadvantaged person.
Defining Clump Humping
This, however, becomes clump humping when a number of situations arise or are present already. When your team is behind in kills and farm, you’re not in a position to fight the other team. While you shouldn’t let them just take objectives for free and should try to catch someone out of position, you aren’t a mob walking around looking for a fight. When your lanes are being pushed, you are not in a position to be clumped together. If the other team is on equal footing, but you’re at their tower, you should not be there. Wasting time in League of Legends means you’re not getting farm, and getting farm is the most important thing in the game. If your team is pressuring a tower early on as 5 and they have 3 durable champions there and 2 farming, you are putting yourself farther behind for no reason.
When is grouping good?
The negatives of this are easy to see, and timings when you shouldn’t be together are straightforward. If you’re not pushed out, behind or wasting time pressuring something you cannot get, just disperse. The good times to do this are far less clear cut. You want to be roaming the map together doing objectives when you’re at an advantage, have gotten your poking/pushing power and when all of your lanes are pushed out.
Their lanes are pushed back and we’re all full health.
What is Advantage?
So what constitutes and advantage? An advantage is when your laner has a significant amount of farm or kills above their opponent. The level of significance varies between skill levels where a 20 CS lead and an assist in a pro match makes someone ahead, that won’t do the trick for anything else. When you feel that if you had to go toe-to-toe with your laner and could win handily, you have advantage. This advantage needs to be had in at least two lanes if the other two (jungle is a lane) are equal or three if one is failing (mid lane is behind, but bot, top and jungle are ahead). At this point, your power should overwhelm the opponent with proper teamfighting and play. You should push out your lane and gather for an objective quickly, such as pressuring a tower, taking dragon or taking baron.
Another huge source of advantage is positioning of the enemy team and their numbers. If your team shows up in mid to push while their bottom lane is sitting down there farming, you are at a considerable advantage. If your team is five strong at Baron and you see their AD carry is bottom lane, that is a free Baron for your team. This is what makes characters with hard, instant CC such as Sion, Warwick and Skarner extremely dangerous. They can remove someone from the herd who is out of position and the ensuing 5v4 is considerable advantage for your team.
Here we have many advantages, circled in red.
What is Poking/Pushing Power?
What is the poking and pushing power, then? Well some characters really “unlock” at certain levels. If your lane is even or just a little bit behind (say they died once) but have just gotten their manliness (or womanliness, whichever), you can pressure a tower if you feel strong. Take a character like Amumu. He can be very behind in the jungle and underfarmed with bad items, however his ultimate is still god tier initiation, even if their Lee Sin is 2-0 to his 0-2. Characters with game changing ultimate abilities (Galio, Nunu, Amumu, Fiddlesticks, Warwick, etc.) can lead to strong group presence. When I play as Skarner, being ahead or behind doesn’t mean as much because a flash Impale will drop anyone if a group is there. This gives your team the ability to zone, poke and push your way into taking a tower as long as your other towers aren’t being pushed down.
Skarner ultimate, Nidalee Spears and Buckshots are pressuring this tower.
Use Proper Timing
The final time to do this is when all of your lanes are pushed out. Don’t go into the great unknown (fog of war) to farm in enemy territory. Going too deep for now reason will lead to them scoring kills on you. When your lanes are pushed out and jungle is cleared, get together and try to complete an objective. This really isn’t put into effect until the late mid game because the first row of towers can always be safely farmed with proper warding.
We have a teleport if needed and bottom lane has just recalled.
Putting it All Together
Here is a video of properly using advantage and other measures to push your games to the next level. If you’re in solo queue, coordinate with your team and communicate intention to pressure areas when you can. If you do this, you’re going to find yourself winning a lot more games and giving a lot more merit to winning your lane. Until next time…