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Dec 3, 2013

Playing Similar Roles to Maximize Win Percentage

Earlier today my friend and I discussed Season 4 strategies for gaining Elo. Personally, I think I'll be maining support, specifically Taric until they nerf him.

My friend on the other hand, said he'll main jungle and ad carry (marksmen).

When I heard this I actually became very confused and asked why? Jungle and AD Carry are polar opposites when it comes to the skills necessary to play either one...

Obviously you won't always be able to get the role that you want in solo queue, so being able to play more than one will increase your chances of winning.

This got me to thinking, which two combinations of "roles" will optimize one's performance? It's obvious that to get better at the game, we as players need to improve our skills necessary to perform each role, and the fewer roles we play, the faster we'll improve and climb the ladder! 

Let's check out what I came up with:

Roles that go well together: 
  • Support/AP Mid
  • Marksman/Bruiser Top
  • Bruiser Top/Jungle
  • Support/Jungle
  • Jungle/Assassin Mid
Roles that don't really mesh:
  • Jungle + AD Carry
  • Support + Top Bruiser
Role Combination 1: Support/AP Mid
Overlapping Skills: Spell Combos, Skillshots, Burst Knowledge, Fast reflexes, Positioning for Survivability, Similar champions

I feel like this first role combination is ideal, since a lot of popular supports today such as Annie, Zyra, Thresh, Blitzcrank, etc. all involve the skills above. Not only that, but some supports like Annie or Zyra are actually the exact same champions that head mid as well.

For those of you that want some professional proof, just ask Reginald how often Xpecial beats him mid.

Pew pew spells!

Role Combination 2: Marksmen/Bruiser Top
Overlapping Skills: (Lots of) Farming, Poking, Animation Cancelling

I think this combination also works well, especially if you're playing a champion top like Jax, Tryndamere, Riven, or Nasus. 

The reason for this is that since these champions are very auto attack reliant, so having the ability to attack + move is extremely important. Also, squishier champions like Riven and Tryndamere have always been an extreme favorite of AD carry mains simply because they're all squishy and are reliant on outplaying the enemy opponents.

Role Combination 3: Jungle/Bruiser Top
Overlapping Skills: Peeling/Carry killing/Dive initiating decision skills, Similar champions

These two roles are very similar as well, such as when you're playing Jarvan IV, Malphite, or Lee Sin. These champions tend to make judgement calls based on how tanky they think they are and what their team needs them to do for maximum success. As a result, I think these two go hand in hand when developing the skills necessary for both.

Sometimes, being too afraid to dive an enemy team can be just as disastrous as a failed dive attempt. As a result, other roles may not have the same type of game knowledge that comes with playing countless games in this niche job. 

Role Combination 4: Support/Jungle
Overlapping Skills: Map control, Map awareness, Play-making

There's a reason most of the plays on a pro team are made by the support or jungle, mainly because they don't have to concentrate on last hitting minions while simultaneously being on the constant lookout of the enemy team suddenly engaging. 

As a result of this, they're responsible for watching the map and understanding the flow of the game. Because of this, not only is their map awareness generally better, it HAS to be better in order to make a significant impact from this role. They understand when a lane looks vulnerable to a gank, and also know ideal warding locations and areas a jungler could sneak through.

Be ready for anything...

Role Combination 5: Jungle/Assassin Mid
Overlapping Skills: Burst knowledge, target priority, combo ability

When I think of this role I think of champions like Shaco, Evelynn, and Talon. While these specific champions won't be good in both roles, players who use these champs know when ideal moments to attack appear and ideal gank angles to take down squishy high priority targets.

They also understand when they're in danger and how to get out of danger appropriately. In addition, they also have a much stronger sense of when it's appropriate to sacrifice oneself to take down a super fed enemy, something marksmen don't have the luxury of doing since ad carries usually don't have that level of burst/mobility, and ARE the high priority targets most of the time.

Role Combination 6: Jungle/Marksmen
I don't think these mesh.

When you think about it, one is a tanky bruiser that never CSes and exists to soak damage and CC, and one is a squishy champion whose primary purpose is to CS, generally lacks CC, and focuses down any target they can find.

I could be a marksman if I tried...

Role Combination 7: Support/Top Bruiser
I don't think these mesh.

Other than Taric/Leona, who generally do the same job as a bruiser in a teamfight, common supports like Janna and Sona shouldn't be played anything like Bruisers and focus on poke/hit-and-run strategies. As a result, they tend to rely on a completely different skillset/playstyle and have drastically different roles in the game.

Even though you might be good at some strange combination of roles, maining those two roles might not be the best choice if you want to gain MMR fast.

While it's true that by maining two completely different roles you'll become a more versatile and well-rounded player, it also means that it will take someone of a similar skill level far less time to achieve the same win rate if they specialize in one or two similar roles and hone their skills in those areas to perfection.

Agree? Disagree? Think other combinations are better? Comment below!

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  1. I was quite surprised when I read the jungle/support combination. I used to play mainly top and mid before playing ranked more seriously, but due to pick order and other circumstances, started playing support like never did before, and decided to take over the jungle too, and I've had myself some success. Still I'm not totally confident on my skills at all, and losing games really holds me back from playing ranked in a while.
    What's your opinion on this, play mostly ranked games and improve my skills in ranked, or playing normals until I'm more confident on my skills with certain champ and then go ranked?
    Also, is it too harmful for my MMR duo queuing with buddies of lower leagues?

  2. James MitchellDecember 03, 2013

    I stopped reading at nidalee support

  3. SSJSuntasticDecember 03, 2013

    According to Riot, duo queue teams lose games more often than solo queue teams. The algorithm for matching automatically places you against more difficult solo queue opponents, so you will almost always do better solo unless you happen to have great synergy together.

    If you're playing champions you're not comfortable with, then normals are definitely better. However, don't be worried about losing a lot in a row, it's a part of solo queue and happens all the time, even to the best.

  4. SSJSuntasticDecember 03, 2013

    There's a lot of hate on Nidalee support on the internet. I'm sitting at a 57% win rate over hundreds of games in ranked, which is pretty much as high as you can ask for in solo queue.

  5. i go for the Jungle - AP mid combination

  6. SSJSuntasticDecember 03, 2013

    Hope it's going well for you =]

  7. If your serious about gaining ranked elo, you should ONLY play ranked. Normal games are toxic and will make your skills sloppy fast. Nobody wards in normals and they don't care about team synergy. People afk for anything and teams surrender quickly. No one cares in normals and long story short normal games don't help you improve as a player. If your trying a new champion play a couple bot games first to get the feel of their power/moves, then feel free to play them in a ranked game. That's how I ranked up anyway (im plat). Normal games really don't mean anything, i'm serious.

  8. James MitchellDecember 04, 2013

    I actually did read it though the first time :) , but the reason nidalee support gets so much hate is the fact that she as a champion doesn't actually do anything that a support needs to do to be considered a support. She has a single heal, that's it. No CC, no peel at all. But enough on that topic Your article was well written and I hope to see more in the future :)

  9. SSJSuntasticDecember 04, 2013

    Ha, thanks James!

  10. Alessandro StamattoDecember 04, 2013

    Complete agree =)

    Besides, Normal games have 10x more trolls and champion-select leavers. Playing a ranked game is 10x faster/smoother.

    The only reason to play Normal is if you want to play sloppy, or play noncompetitive strategies.

  11. I main support (Janna-taric both are around 63% win rating) and the secondary role I use to take is a (tanky/initiator) jungler. I suck at playing top (except with Yorrick) and adc. Especially, when i'm playing adc it is just pathetic how bad I am. So the support-jungler, but also the support-ap mid fit me very well (funny thing I play sup. ziggs atm and love it)

  12. Mid Jungle and Support my strongest lanes?

    Does that work well..? I play passive poke supports (janna sona)
    poke, bursty mid (Syndra, Ahri, Morgana)
    and tanky junglers (amumu rammus hecarim)

  13. Unless your in bronze or silver like me, games are so similar.

  14. The hate on Nidalee support isnt cause she is a bad support, its cause 99% of ppl that use her as support goes 100% ap carry style and ignore warding ect ect, a nida support that actually does support is damn good imo but very few does just that

  15. Michael ThompsonDecember 04, 2013

    I see your point, but I don't think you're giving support Nid enough credit. Her heal also has an AS steroid and she built-in "wards". And with the new support changes, you can build peel into her. Take Frost Queen's Claim as an example. That 50% slow for 2 seconds could be pretty significant. Additionally, her peel doesn't need to be huge in the early game. As long as there is someone else that can peel in team fights, you should be pretty good. I will say this, though: if there is no one on your team with any significant peel, I'd steer clear of Nid all together.

  16. (strandedon)thewrongbeachDecember 05, 2013

    Bruiser top / Jungle
    just to get to gold and get rewards by the end of the year
    singed, jax, yorick, shyvana and rammus will do :)

  17. AELIASMastersenDecember 05, 2013

    While I agree that gaining mastery (and to a lesser degree proficiency) in the roles of jungler and ADC each require heavy practice in distinct technical skills and thought modes that resemble nothing involved in learning some skillsets of the other, I think I'm also opting to focus on jungle and ADC this ranked season. I feel the diversity in these roles gives players who know how to do both properly an edge.

    If you jungle, you stay in the habit of glancing at the entire map regularly, watching your teammate's CS totals like an anxious mother bear, worrying about Dragon security (10-fold more so this season), and spam-pinging unprotected towers until your teammates start pushing them like TSM.

    If you ADC, you will either pay extra special attention to your mechanics and last hits, times to skirmish and hard engage your lane opponents, enemy jungler position, and to enemy itemization so you can counter-build accordingly, or you will be brutally murdered multiple times in the laning phase and smashed in the late game. Learning each of these roles not only gives you an appreciation for the challenges presented to your teammate in the other role, but it gives you an extra set of secondary priorities which, if kept in mind, will make you a better player. An AD carry with a jungler's map awareness will be a greater help in dragon fights and will take towers more effectively. A jungler who can orb-walk and juke like a Vayne main will raise a good deal more hell in team fights.

    One important skill AD carries and Junglers both need is the ability to balance assistance to your team with your exp gain. Will the rewards of ganking mid be worth the CS you lose in either the jungle or the bot lane? It's a judgment call both roles have to make. Historically junglers have found the tradeoff more worthwhile more often, but in season 4 I feel that the exp value of the jungle and the still-greater value of an early mid turret on a Summoner's Rift now theoretically balanced around smaller gains over a longer round length may somewhat equalize the pros and cons of ganks from either role (I argue the same does not hold true for toplaners because in the meta now a toplaner exists solely to farm and fight mano-a-mano against the enemy toplaner until he hopefully wins first turret around minute 29 and then begins to sow the seeds of chaos by roaming and making lanes more permeable).

    Maybe it's because I'm only in Silver, but I personally want to better understand the mechanics and mindsets required in every role of this game. When I play all-for-one, I'm stunned by how myopic and unversatile many of my teammates are; they don't understand proper builds, let alone champion limitations and weaknesses, nearly as well as even I'm sometimes able to intuit about first/second/fifth time champions I suck with.

    Even in higher-than-silver divisions though, I don't think playing two 'opposite' roles in ranked will necessarily be a bad strategy; You won't lose nearly so big a handle on meta and gameplay changes for that role that way and end up playing archaically in a role you want to try again four months down the road...

  18. I love this web site, but this post wasn't really satisfactory in my opinion...
    Everyone knows that it's quite hard to play the same lane over and over in ranked. People tends to play a significant amount of champion that fits their play style better, sometimes they fit different roles in the game and in my opinion that's fine.
    What i think that keep people from getting higher ELO is the lack of knowledge and the ability to make plays. Knowing only a few champions and role won't bring any benefit besides the fact that you play really well with them (skill wise saying only), knowing that, unless you Stomp really hard your lane and are able to snowball from that. your of lack knowledge won't make you carry the game because of stupid decisions and waste of time.
    I'm at Gold right and what i think it's the biggest problem in this league is what I've mentioned above. Many players in gold are quite good playing with an significant or huge amount of champions, but they keep doing stupid decisions over and over. They don't count cooldowns on summoner spells, Team Fighting changing Ults such as Malphite, Amumu, Sona, Orianna, Wukong and many others.
    I think the most important thing is humility, once you are able to think outside of the box and overthink all your actions in game is what makes you a better player and ELO will come with it.
    That's why playing different roles is important.

    That's my opinion though. PS. Sorry for the crap English

  19. SSJSuntasticDecember 06, 2013

    Your English was fine. It's definitely true that learning every role will eventually make you a stronger and better rounded player, which I do mention at the conclusion. However, a lot of people don't understand why they can't gain Elo as fast as someone else who they feel they understand more and play better than.

    The simple reason is that it's a matter of specialization; while you may play many average level champions and other people may only play one type of champion, as long as they play that champion for the majority of their games, their chance of success increases dramatically.

  20. Denizcan AlacaDecember 09, 2013

    'I don't think these mesh.'
    Im not english so what does it mean actually.

  21. SSJSuntasticDecember 09, 2013

    That's okay, it means they don't fit well together.


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