While poke comps thrive in the rhythmic order of continual siege, on the opposite end of the spectrum, dive comps are the monarchs of YOLO engages and chaotic skirmishes. The primary characteristic of a dive comp is strong combat stats – Simply having more muscle than the other team.
Divers tend to be powerful duelists that can take advantage of isolated targets (Rengar, Kha’Zix, Akali, etc.) in scattered skirmishes, which yields tremendous pick potential. Everything about divers is bursty – Their mobility, damage, and crowd control. This helps them quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, make big plays – Catching people out, making ganks happen, and winning all-in 1v1’s.
Dive Comp Characteristics
Because their all-ins are so strong, divers tend to lack in ranged harass, which leads them to either go all in or stay out of range. This means that in order to make trades, they must commit to an all-in and choose wisely when to disengage from them. If they are too passive, they will get harassed down, while if they are too aggressive, they will find themselves getting kited into minion waves, turrets, and counter-ganks.
Often, divers will only have offensive mobility (e.g. Warwick, Diana, Leona), which makes it even more important to find the right opportunities to go in and requires them to monitor distance between themselves and opponents carefully when not engaged in a brawl.
This tendency for dueling means mechanical skill and evaluating power levels are the most important skills to possess in a dive comp, because it leads to outplaying opponents and only engaging winning duels.
Because dive comps are more suited to killing champions than objectives, they need to play to that strength by getting kills and then shoring up that weakness by taking objectives while the enemy defense-men are dead. Dive champions’ all-in, high mobility nature makes them especially susceptible to snowballing, whether that’s ahead or behind.
This inherent snowball-ability allows them to easily dive towers once they gain a small lead, which makes them extremely difficult to deal with. When they are able to execute such dives, going for the final push on the tower they just dove is the preferred objective, while jungle picks are good for securing buffs and river picks are good for getting Dragon/Baron. In other words, after you make the first hit, grab the closest objective and get out.
Because divers want to be creating fights whenever possible (much like a poke comp wants to always be whittling down turrets whenever possible), vision control is paramount. Seeing where people are traveling allows dive teams to make picks and avoid counter-gank traps.
Manipulating Fog of War is key to a successful dive comp, because establishing superior vision control means transitioning around the map for picks, and forcing face checks are key strategies. That means controlling vision in the enemy jungle when ahead, or own jungle when behind, is paramount.
Due to divers innate strength at skirmishes, taking the initiative in gaining vision is exponentially stronger than waiting to ward after opponents have already made their moves. Establishing vision control before the enemy does allows divers to both force and predict face checks, which in turn, creates fights that they should win.
Fizz is the quintessential diver and finding wayward squishies in a dark jungle, roaming for ganks, as well as setting up those in his own lane, and outplaying 1v1s – Is his M.O.
He specializes in strong burst to assassinate targets, with enough sustained damage to maintain being a threat between cooldowns, which, combined with his multiple forms of mobility, make him great not just in the scenarios above, but also for when Fizz dives through an enemy team to reach his target, nuke them, and get out.
What sets him apart from others in his class is his pole hop dodge that allows him to swap turret aggro, which greatly increases tower dive potential. Keep in mind, revive passives also do this excellently.
Here are some strong dive comp champions:
Dive comps eat poke comps for breakfast because divers can force action at a moment’s notice, and pokers need time to make things happen. There is some room for outplay with a poke comp’s disengage but it’s typically outclassed by the dive comp’s engage and requires the dive comp to make serious mistakes.
Keep in mind the quintessential champs – Fizz vs. Nidalee will go in favor of the Fizz 99% of the time because he can close the distance adequately and overpower her without exposing himself to serious risk.
Dive comps also beat split push comps, because their ability to win duels is unparalleled, and splitting up a team is only going to create more picks/duels. Even the more teamfight-oriented divers, like Amumu, have ways of dealing with splitters they can’t duel (such as clearing waves quickly and indefinitely).
For this reason, dive comps are often able to create a makeshift split push when they need to, which will outfight a true split comp.
Dive comps like to pick apart divided teams and usually have strong laning that gets them ahead early and leads to enemy despair. They key to overcoming this is grouping together and working to win teamfights, avoiding situations where people are on their own waiting to be picked off.
Eventually, opportunities will arise, and team plays will beat individual ones. At the same time, it’s never too late for people to get themselves caught out, and a pick comp can still find their comebacks against a disorganized team.
Special Thanks To: shuyan, for her epic Splash Art talents, and Sam for his amazing in-art graphics