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As a staple skill for the game, the art of peeling is paramount to the success of your team. With the kind of meta we have nowadays, League of Legends, more than ever before, is heavily team oriented and requires each player in their designated role to be actively helping the team.
This is not to say that the game has not been a team oriented game in previous seasons, of course it has. But with the meta we now have, and especially with solo queue, there is usually far less time to peacefully farm in your lanes, whilst simultaneously attempting to figure out what kind of a player your opposing laner is.
Early objectives such as the first Rift Herald, which first spawns at 8:00, as well as a variety of team buffs that may be obtained from Elemental Dragons has encouraged a hyper-aggressive meta, in which teams are constantly dueling and skirmishing for map control.
The impact of junglers on the tempo of the game has been pivotal over the past few years and tanks have held a respectable position in the meta for quite some time now.
If the decision is made, these are both positions that may require you to act as a peeler for your teammates, so it is important to understand the term if you main one of these roles.
What is peeling?
So, what is peeling in League of Legends? Put simply, peeling is the act of reactively protecting or shielding an ally from damage output from the enemy team. Peeling is the fundamental game mechanic outside of an ally’s own prowess, that sustains them throughout bloody teamfights and ultimately, the entirety of the game.
It is important to always recognize your win potential as a player on any given team. If you do not play a conventional “carry role”, then it is your job to ensure that you are able to identify who your carries are, and do your utmost best to spare their life.
There are different types of peeling and although the term is commonly associated with support players, peeling is something that can be carried out by almost everyone. With the nature of support champions, it just usually means that these champs are typically the best at peeling due to things like heals and shields being built into their kits.
Champions such as Soraka, Lulu, Janna and Sona are just some of the best examples of champions that are considered to be good peelers due to their various healing and shielding abilities.
Lulu is a prime example of a peeling champion in LoL. (Image Credit: Riot Games)
But peeling is not limited to healers and shielders; sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where your support is not present or, your support might have picked an AP damage champ such as Zyra or Brand. These champs are still capable of peeling FYI, but they are not the conventional peeling support picks.
Anyway, in the case that your Soraka or Lulu is dead or absent, as a tankier champion than your ally carry, ADC or mid lane assassin for example, you must do your best to effectively put your body in between theirs and the enemy, using yourself as the “human shield”. We will go into more depth on the ways in which you can peel further down the article.
Different types of peeling
As mentioned already, one of the two most conventional forms of peeling is via a heal. There will be certain champions you can pick, most prominently support champs, who have heals built into their kit.
Champions like Soraka, Sona, Seraphine, Yuumi and Janna all have abilities that offer healing towards themselves, or allies. The healing output towards allies, in some cases, can also be stronger than self-healing for champs like Soraka, for example, who have the option to max their healing ability over their self-healing ability.
You can also buy items that empower your healing and can offer an active heal for allies. These items such as Redemption, Ardent Censer, Forbidden Idol and Mikael’s Blessing are some of the best in this category and are commonly built by support players.
In any case, healing is one of the most simple yet effective ways to peel for your carries. A vigilant healer can entirely shift teamfights and act as the catalyst to their team’s success.
Similarly to healing, shielding is the other most conventional form of peeling, and the easiest to pull off. As with healers, champions that offer shields can do so from the pressing of one button and usage of a single ability.
Champs such as Janna, Karma, Braum and Ivern all have the ability to shield their allies or themselves from significant enemy damage. Healing and shielding often comes synonymously as a lot of champions offer both, hence you will notice items like Redemption, Ardent etc. with stats that buff both healing and shielding power.
Once again, shielding is very easy to pull off and does not require much effort. You just have to push the right button on your keyboard, but the only factor you must be aware of is knowing when to use that ability and working around your cooldowns/your enemy’s cooldowns.
Unless you are playing Ultra Rapid Fire mode or URF, you cannot spam your abilities and must be able to calculate when it is most effective to use them. Shielding your allies/carries at the right time can be the difference between a winning or losing teamfight.
This is another highly effective form of peeling and one that can be the difference maker in teamfights — it should be noted that every way can be utilized as the difference maker in teamfights, it is just down to how you play it!
Whether you’re stunning, slowing, rooting or snaring to keep the enemies at bay, using Crowd Control to peel will prevent your enemies from ever touching your team’s carries. Great examples of champs who have the aptitude to use CC to peel are Thresh and Leona, who have tons of CC built into their kit.
The sole focus of CC induced peeling is to slow the enemy down as much as possible, whilst enabling your allies to have enough time to escape to safety. Sometimes, this may mean you have to sacrifice yourself in order to pull this off but do not worry, that is your job as a peeler!
Offensive peeling - Tanking
With “tanking”, it is pretty much what it says on the tin. We briefly touched on it before, but we’ll go into more detail now. Essentially, you are the shield in this case. As a tanky champ, it is very likely that you have accumulated more HP, armour or magic resist than your team’s ADC/assassin.
When you play a tank, it is your responsibility to act as a front liner, which means you should always be positioned in between the enemy lines and your own. When it comes to peeling as a tank, it just means you are a nuisance for the enemy team and are soaking up as much of their damage as possible, whilst protecting your weaker allies from it.
Unless you are super ahead, you do not need to shoot for the stars as a tank and must recognize that most of your damage will be done by your team’s ADC, jungler or mid laner. As a tank, you also have the option to buy certain items that benefit your whole team, as well as yourself.
A good example of an item that does this very effectively is Locket Of The Iron Solari, which grants you and your nearby allies a shield upon activation.
Offensive peeling - dishing out tons of damage
The last on our list will fall under the subcategory of offensive peeling; as a tank you might position yourself in between your team and the enemy in order to negate damage, but another way of offensively peeling is simply by acting as a carry.
This role is usually for the assassins and jungle champions that get in and out of teamfights very quickly. Effectively, sometimes you may not have time to heal and shield your ally, the heals or shields may not be strong enough and the tank was too slow to react to the enemy assassin that is now diving onto your back line.
In these circumstances, it can sometimes be beneficial to you and your team to execute the damage dealers on the enemy team before they even get the chance to attack yours. Champions like Zed and Ekko are brilliant examples of those who can pull off such manoeuvres, as they can dash out with speed and ease after dealing significant damage.
You may not always get the kill, but just doing enough damage can often be enough to completely put an enemy carry out for the rest of the fight, as they would be too low to re engage otherwise. This particular technique is wholly representative of the notable saying: “the best defense is a good offense”.
With regards to all of the different types of peeling we have discussed, there is one key factor which is universal amongst them, positioning.
Positioning is something that is key for every champion and every role and in the case of peeling, positioning is vital to pulling off the art of peeling successfully. Let’s say you are playing Soraka, for example. There is a high chance that you are not opting to build tanky items and are instead building those that empower your peeling capabilities.
This means that you are considered a “squishy” to the enemy team, meaning that you can be squashed easily due to your low HP, armour and magic resistance. Furthermore, this means you are a target and so you must ensure that you are as far away from the enemy carries as possible.
In order for you to be the best peeler for your allies, it is crucial that you get the balance perfectly between positioning yourself close enough that you can use your abilities on them, as well as ensuring that you are far enough away from the enemy.
Sometimes, this can be hard to do, especially if the enemy composition has more than one assassin, which in this case, means you may opt to build a slightly tankier build to help with survivability. Nevertheless, your positioning is key and this can be improved with regular practise, games in ranked or normal queues.
If you have made it this far, then you should now have a much better understanding of the term “peeling”. Be sure to revisit the page if you need to remind yourself of things but otherwise, get yourself into some games and start protecting your allies!
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