Whereas Dive Comps desire to engage suddenly and with heavy burst, a Peel Comp is designed to back away from such divers, slowly kiting them to death. Peel comps are sometimes called “Hyper-carry Comps,” because hyper-carries benefit most from receiving assistance from teammates in a fight. Peel comps work like a vacuum – Once you go in, you can’t come out. This is because the key characteristic of a peel comp is the ability to kite as a group. Peeling by partially disengaging and using the group’s resources to keep individuals at risk alive and well gives peel comps the ability to drag out and win fights.
Peel Comp Characteristics
Peel comps benefit tremendously from zone control abilities, movement disruption abilities, and long-duration CC (which generally means soft CC, such as slows). For example, Nunu’s ult may render him immobile, but he can speed up his fellow Kog’Maw before using it, and ult to create a massive barrier between Kog and the enemy divers. As soon as they attempt to pass, he ults to create the CC zone (the animation even makes it look like a swirling vacuum), which allows the hypercarry to get more and more damage off safely.
If you have Alistar, Anivia, Draven, or any number of other champions that can disrupt jumps, you can stop those pesky Kha’Zix/Aatrox/Akali jumps mid-flight, serving them up to be eviscerated by a hypercarry, and perhaps locking them up in a Nunu/Galio/Zyra ult.
Some divers are going to get through to the hypercarry, Unstoppable Force got its name for a reason after all, which is why heals and shields are also key abilities in a peel comp, since these comps seek to inflict their damage gradually over time. For this same reason, champions like Soraka, Kayle, and Vlad, who have abilities that get stronger as fights go longer, are nice to have in peel comps where they have more ability to optimize this aspect of their kit.
There’s a lot of latent power waiting to be discovered in peel comps, simply because there are lots of strong abilities that just need to be combined with other strong abilities to shore up each other’s weaknesses. Malzahar ult isn’t viable? Use it to peel for Kog. Nunu’s ult isn’t good for initiations? Use it as a playground for Vayne. Heimerdinger’s turrets need people to walk into them? Use Jinx as bait – I hear she’s tasty.
Playing a peel comp correctly lies in successful positioning and group synergy. Most peel comps sacrifice damage on some champs for supportive utility to help the hypercarry, who in turn sacrifices safety for damage, which makes it clear for the enemy team who they need to focus. Thus, the game quickly becomes about how well divers can get on the hypercarry, and how well they get kited down in response. Peel comps want to create a defensive line that moves in response to their carries, responding to being flanked when needed, so that there is always a physical barrier between the damage and harm, which requires strong map awareness. Once fights start, it’s about creating safe zones for the hypercarry to work from, and danger zones for the enemy team to work through, which requires precise team fight awareness.
It’s difficult to assign quintessential champions for a peel comp, because the roles within are so highly specialized. For carries, I would say Oriana and Kog’Maw are great representatives of their field, because they can both put out hypercarry levels of damage, while also working to provide utility and zone control for creating a vacuum. Nunu and Janna have OP potential, since they can keep a hypercarry safe, create/reinforce a vacuum, and help them multiply their damage to absurd levels. What’s better than one hypercarry? Two hypercarries! Yorick wins the Bruiser role MVP because of his ult, and while I want to say others were close, his ghosts work obscenely well with vacuums, so they really weren’t.
Here are some strong Peel Composition champions:
As you may have noticed, peel comps share many of the characteristics of a poke comp, but differ in the degree of importance those abilities have, and how they come together. While a dive comp should be able to burst through the minimal zone control abilities of a poke comp and lock onto one or two targets, a peel comp’s zone control and CC lock them up more, and losing one or two targets to the burst of a dive comp should come at the same cost to the enemy team while taking more of their resources, which is fine, as long as one of those targets wasn’t the hypercarry. By doing this, peel comps are able to out-sustain the bursty nature of a dive comp. Therefore, while dive comps demolish poke comps, they falter against their cousin, the peel comp.
Peel comps also beat poke comps, because the hypercarry is able to use their team as a meatshield, soaking all the poke into targets that can take it, and oftentimes sustaining it back up afterwards. This allows a peel comp to phalanx their way onto an objective, pull out when they must, sustain up, then rinse and repeat, without the hypercarry ever being in real danger. What’s more, a poke comp has trouble engaging, which means more can be blown just keeping people alive while rushing down a turret (e.g. Lulu or Janna ult), and the just disengaging. If the poke comp overcommits while chasing the peelers, they can more easily be engaged on and will lose the fight.
Peel comps are typically great at farming up and scaling; they can defend for a long time, and engaging them only leads to disaster if they work their comp correctly. Splitting them up then running them around the map while taking their objectives prevents this scaling disaster, as does grouping to pressure an objective, which forces them to either limit farm and fight unfavorable fights, or lose their base. At the same time, losing exterior turrets at some point is somewhat unavoidable when waiting on scaling. It’s all about knowing how much to give up and how often to let things go.
Special Thanks To: shuyan, for her epic Splash Art talents, and Sam for his amazing in-art graphics