Four Reasons You Should Play LoL Dominion Mode

Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley

The images below are clickable for original size.

lol dominion
The general setup for a Dominion game is one going bot and four top

Summoner's Rift is without a doubt League of Legends' most popular map. It is the original game mode and considered the most "official" since it is played in major tournaments and competitive events. That being said, Dominion, which is played on a map named The Crystal Scar, is also a very fun and an often underrated mode to play. There is a growing group of die-hard Dominion fans who have been petitioning Riot to make a ranked Dominion playlist for years. If you are unfamiliar with the mode, here are four reasons you should get into it.

Dominion requires a lot of teamwork

Dominion is an objective-based game mode where teams need to capture and then defend control points. As you can probably already imagine, this requires a lot of teamwork and coordination to determine when you should attack and when you should defend, where to push and where to bait, and what the team composition should look like.

There are five capture points symmetrically spaced around the map. Each team has a middle and bottom point close to their spawn fountain and the fifth point is at the top, equidistant from each team’s base. Each has a nexus with 500 life points. As long as you control at least one more of the capture points than your opponents do (this generally means you have at least three), the enemy team’s nexus will be damaged over time. You can speed up this process by capturing even more control points. For example, having four at the same time instead of just three will damage your opponent’s nexus faster.

lol dominion
Gangplank capturing his team's middle point at the beginning of a game.

A team’s nexus will also be slightly hurt with each death, but this no longer happens when your nexus drops to below 100 life points. This means that you can’t win a game by simply killing enemy champions over and over, you have to actually play the objective. To further emphasis the objective, the amount of gold received by killing enemy champions is reduced in Dominion.

Whereas one fed champion can turn the tides of the entire game on Summoner’s Rift, one person can only do so much on Dominion. No matter how fed a champion is, they will still capture control points at the same rate. It’s not unusual to see players turning in really good performances in terms of K/D/A but still losing the game because their team did not work together as well as the other did. To further balance things out, the team that is currently behind in score will respawn slightly faster. There are a few other stat changes which promote constant battling such as increased mana and energy regeneration and a reduction in self-healing effects.

Dominion is very fast-paced

Summoner's Rift is played in several phases. While there is an "invading phase" during competitive matches, in random normal games online that usually doesn't happen and games begin with the "laning phase" in which you pick a lane and then stick to it with a focus on last-hitting minions to farm gold and level up. The laning phase can get to be very tedious after playing for awhile. Although it takes timing and skill to out-farm your opponent in lane, some people just don't find walking around in circles and last-hitting minions to be fun.

Dominion is fast-paced frenetic action and skips right to team fights. When the game begins, usually at least three players from each side will rush to the top capture point and a team battle will immediately ensue for control of it. The guy who captured each team's middle point will generally run up top to join in the fray as well. This is certainly a lot faster than last hitting minions! Minions don't play as large of a role in Dominion in terms of farming though clearing minion waves can definitely help to capture control points quicker.

lol dominion
Two teams skirmish for the top point at the beginning of a Dominion game.

Another reason Dominion games move faster is because players all start at level three and with a hefty purse of 1,375 gold. Each player also passively gains experience and earn a much higher rate of gold per five seconds. The gap between a fed champion and a struggling champion in terms of items and gold is a lot smaller in Dominion. The recall time has also been reduced by nearly half allowing for more frequent trips back to base to shop.

Bushes don’t play as big of a role as they do on Summoner’s Rift either. It’s not unusual to be ambushed walking through the jungle or ganked from someone waiting in the bushes on Summoner’s Rift. It can be frustrating when you are killed before even having the chance to react. Dominion isn’t like that. Yes there are bushes in the middle of the map, but most of the time people are simply too busy trying to capture or defend points to be wasting time waiting around in the bushes.

Dominion games are quicker

The average Summoner's Rift game can take anywhere from thirty minutes to over an hour. A Dominion game on the other hand will generally be over within twenty minutes. This means that you can play several Dominion games in the time it would take to complete just one Summoner's Rift game. This can be a good thing for several reasons. First, it allows you to have more variety in terms of champions that you play, champions you place against, and items builds you use. It's also good when encountering a toxic player because you aren't stuck in the same game with them for an hour.

More champions are viable

Each champion has a specific role they need to fulfill on Summoner's Rift. For example, some champions must be played mid, others are best in the jungle, and others need to go bottom lane. A tank's job is to tank. The AD carry's job is to get fed, and so on and so forth. On Dominion, almost any champ can fit into any niche. Melee champions are just as good if not better than ranged ones. Tanks are much more valuable on Dominion as well because there are so many team fights; it's good to be able to take a lot of punishment. AD carries are generally very powerful on Summoner's Rift, but are actually one of the least valuable champs in Dominion since they are so squishy.

Dominion is an excellent place to try out new champions that you haven't used before and if you don't like them, no sweat. You aren't stuck playing them for the next forty-five minutes. The game will be over soon! Since you are constantly gaining gold, build order is a little bit less important than it is on Summoner's Rift. You have more freedom to experiment with build orders and final item builds on Dominion.

Dominion is also a good place to test champions since you'll immediately be thrust into team fights testing their full range of abilities and power. You'll hardly ever get poked to death, except maybe when defending a point. Most of the time you'll engage your opponents head-on and that makes for very fun gameplay.

Unfortunately, Dominion does have some balance issues. Champs with extremely high mobility such as Rammus and Kassadin are considered to be some of the most "broken" champions for this game mode. If more people were to start playing Dominion regularly, Riot would be more motivated to fix the issues currently plaguing it and it would be more fun for everybody.

lol dominion
Global ults, such as Gangplank's Cannon Barrage, can help defend control points from afar.

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