Coaching to Gold: Winning with Splitpushing

by theScore Staff Aug 25 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

If there’s one skill that sums up solo queue mentality, it’s the idea of the “1v9”. The theory and necessity that suggests that individuals have to carry games on their own, because they are the only reliable piece to succeed across all games they play. This mentality is often wrong, and even the best 1v9 attempts need the help of teammates to either be creators of space or full distractions for the one to succeed.

As League of Legends evolves into more of a team-oriented game, the 1v9 mentality must make way for something that is more team-focused. However, the one action you can do that preserves the positive aspects of this mentality is splitpushing. While this action is something conducted alone, it is often a team-wide strategy that requires intricate knowledge and team coordination. Here’s where to start as the splitpusher and on a team with a splitpusher.

Winning as the splitpusher

If you are the one splitpushing, the first step is obviously to bring Teleport. This means you are playing a solo lane like mid or top. If you are not playing a solo lane, try to avoid being a splitpusher. Teleport is immensely useful in your goal of being the primary sidelane pressure point on your team, because you need it to mitigate possible collapses. As noted before, crucial teleports can help save and win games just as frequently as splitpushing.

When splitpushing in solo queue, one of the chief ways in which your splitpushing can be effective in the mid to later stages of the game is communication. Good splitpushing relies on a core understanding of vision in enemy jungle spots. Use the opportunity to chat with teammates on where you’d need help with vision in order to be safe and avoid collapses. Potential cover through picks that can help collapse onto the isolated 1v1 you are seeking as a splitpusher to turn it into a 2v1 can also be very helpful. As a result, co-ordinating with picks such as Rengar, Talon, Galio, Shen or other champions with global abilities and quick rotations can serve to benefit your splitpush.

It's worth having a basic understanding of wave management in your arsenal. Effectively manipulating waves can allow you to create multiple pressure points on the map.

Basically, there are certain flashpoints where minion waves are likely to meet one another. If those waves meet on your side of the map, your spawned waves will join a fight earlier, meaning that that wave will eventually push in your favor baring interference. Doing this means that you can build up a wave that must be answered by the enemy, lest they miss crucial gold and experience. This allows you to go to another lane and add your own pressure. Try utilizing this tactic in an area with less vision, and split on the side with more vision for you.

Winning as the group

If your team has a splitpusher, your job with the rest of your team is to try to accommodate that person as much as possible, since they are a win condition. Try to secure vision on the side they are pushing, but avoid situations that are a detriment to the rest of your team. You don't necessarily need to sacrifice gold and experience to protect your splitpusher — as long as you communicate when they are in danger through pings and chat, it should be okay.

If you are not splitpushing, communicate your plans to assist the split push with your team, take control of portions of the map, or disengage together if a fight breaks out. In most circumstances, you do not want to fight a 5v4 where you're severely disadvantaged.

Co-ordinating what disengage tools you have as a team is incredibly important, as is keeping mid priority. The priority of minions marching up mid lane will allow more immediate pressure onto the enemy team, and force them into defense instead of chasing your splitpusher. Minions also grant vision, giving your splitpusher more information.

If your splitpusher gets collapsed on, make sure you utilize the space they create through their distraction of multiple members to create a numbers advantage at key objectives on the opposite side of the map. This requires liberal use of pings and chat as well to declare your intentions. Make sure the space they create is put to good use and that the time is not spent arguing or yelling about the potential death of your splitpusher. Even with that death, something great can be gained, such as a Dragon, Baron, Tower or won teamfight from a numbers advantage.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.