Area of Effect in League of Legends

Many people playing L O L (League of Legends) do not understand the sheer importance of AOE damage and spells. Do to this, many of the champions that have AOE abilities are not balanced and as a result the smart players that realize this can take advantage of the fact that those champions will simply win more games. For example, Ziggs right now is a champion that has massive amounts of AOE damage. He can clear a wave in 1-2 spells that are on less than 10 second cool-downs. This makes him not only a huge threat in team-fights because he damages multiple members of your team at once, but he can also make you have to turret dive to take a turret because he can easily clear the entire wave of minions at any time. Trundle on the other hand cannot clear a wave to save his life and also can’t do AOE damage to anyone on a team so his damage output in fights and utility are just not a present in those settings. In this article I am going to discuss my favorite AOE champions, the role they can play in the game, and describe the overall importance and use of AOE in L O L. There are strengths and weaknesses in general for AOE champions so I will go over what is general in general and what is specific to each champion in their own champion heading. For example, all AOE champions are better served fighting in groups because they can apply more damage in those settings than in a 1v1 situation. First I am going to start by going over the champions and their sweet area of effect spells, then I will move on to general statements, and finally to close things a conclusion.

Why AOE is Strong in General

League of Legends has a very diverse champion pool with over 100 champions to choose from, thousands of different team compositions that are effective, and even different ways to build each champion. Out of those possibilities, taking the standard way to build each champion (if they are ability power based building AP and if attack damage building AD) I have found that AOE champions bring the most to a composition. When you think about your last 5 losses, it was usually either one of 3 reasons. 1. Your team was just awful and kept feeding lane or getting caught out of position. 2. Your team did not have the required CC to keep a fed champion who does not deal AOE damage in most cases from decimating your team. 3. Your team was stronger but when you grouped up their high amount of AOE damage made you lose the fights easily. I have already went over the importance of crowd control, and there is nothing you can do when paired up with garbage players who feed and walk out of position except follow them and try to tell them how to adjust their play. This leaves AOE as the other main source of losses.

In order to reduce your losses from AOE champions the best thing to do is to play them or know how to counter them. This way you can hopefully win either way. Remember though, it is harder to counter an AOE champion than it is to play one, so just keep that in mind. This is because there are so many times in L O L when your team is practically forced to group up in order to take an objective. Dragon, Baron, Inner Turrets, Inhibitors, are all examples of these times. It is in these spots where the AOE champion is going to really have that extra utility that can win his team the game and you will notice that the times when he is attacking your base or going for an objective these are also group situations and so again the AOE player has a massive advantage.

Champions I Consider to Be AOE

I like area of effect champions because they really rock out in team fights and they also can clear waves so have a lot of defensive utility. In this case, if you are losing they allow you time to come back and if you are winning assuming you stay grouped they make it really hard for the opposing team to get back into the game. Here is a list of my favorite ones and what they bring to the table in games:

  • Amumu – Amumu is a sad mummy who is not so sad when it comes to team fights because 90% of his damage is AOE. His ultimate can stun the entire enemy team for 2 seconds and that is a game changer in most fights. Locking down the enemy while also providing some damage against every opposing champion in the fight is a huge asset for a team to have, Amumu can do just that. He can also run around tanking damage and crying all over the place dealing even more AOE damage to the champions directly around him. Sure Amumu is terrible in a 1v1 situation, but his team fight presence is fantastic and because of this he is one of the strongest junglers in the game at present time.
  • Annie – Annie is a cute little girl who deals mad damage when she unleashes her bear Tibbers (yep the same Tibbers as my screen name). She has a stun that can become AOE if attached to an AOE spell she casts. Her damage is mostly AOE and she burns everything up pretty well. It is this type of mass damage that can turn the tides in a fight. For example, when enemies group up around Baron and you are able to stun them all by dropping Tibbers and then flame them all that leaves the whole enemy team at like half health and your team as well as yourself haven’t even taken any damage yet. This is something that Annie can do in fights and it is a huge asset. She can also clear waves decently with her flame.
  • Brand – I love Brand. He has the best set of taunt, laugh, and joke I have seen in all of L O L and his dance is pretty cool too. Those non-gameplay related treats aside, Brand also dishes out some pretty serious AOE damage. He can melt a minion wave in one Q, he can use his ultimate to send a fireball bouncing all over your team dealing tons of damage and literally setting people ablaze, and he can also stun (although this is not AOE). Overall Brand is a very solid AOE champion and because he is not entirely AOE he can also do pretty decent damage in a 1v1 or 2v2 setting. Personally I see brand best suited for 2v2 engages which is why contrary to the current meta I have been playing him as a support champion. I find that the damage and utility he can provide as a support are fantastic and although he has no reliable stun, he has damage to make up for it and can still build somewhat tank like to soak up some damage.
  • Fiddlesticks – This crazy scarecrow can deal ridiculous amounts of AOE damage to your team if you step in the wrong place at the wrong time. His silence is AOE in a way because it bounces around and damages + silences your team, and his Ultimate is god tier for AOE. I am certain it is the strongest AOE damage ability in the entire game and he can literally if he has some items either kill or bring your entire team to a quarter of their health with one Ultimate. The best and most annoying item on Fiddlesticks is Zhonya’s hourglass because once he uses his Ultimate he can freeze in the middle of your team and the damage is still going but he is untouchable. Fiddle sticks ultimate is hard to land, but when you do it is so rewarding that it can turn even a game you are 10 kills behind into a win for your team. Just writing this is making me want to play him now. Just remember though, his ultimate is not always up, and it is a hit or miss move. If you blow it you are pretty out of luck and in terrible shape.
  • Galio – Galio is one of the most underrated AOE champions in my opinion. He has a move similar to Amumu’s where he can taunt the entire enemy team and dish out nice damage to all of them. This provides amazing CC as well as some decent starting damage in a fight. I find Galio not to be a huge damage source in fights necessarily because most of the time he is built to tank damage, but his entire kit is AOE and he should not be taken lightly. He can blow up a minion wave in 2 spells, he can damage an entire team and CC them with his ultimate, and he can tank well. These tools make Galio a force to be reckoned with and I feel like most people just don’t realize how strong he can be. I myself am interested in looking more into his strengths and if I can figure out a place to put him in a composition that works in lane then I will use him more. His one downside is he is a strange champ to place in most comps.
  • Gragas – Gragas is one of the most broken strong champions right now. He can clear a wave in one Q, he is somewhat of a tank, yet he still deals sick damage in fights and can decimate your team with his Q and Ultimate in seconds. He also has some decent CC coming from his body slam and Ultimate, so he is all around a solid champion. He lanes well with natural sustain of both life and mana coming from his passive and ability to drink from his barrel for mana. I like to pick or ban Gragas because he is so powerful. The best part about him is that he can fit into like 80% of team compositions very well and still operate at a very high level of success. I feel like his best composition has to be a poke comp though because he has anti-initiate capabilities with his Ultimate, as well as amazing AOE poke damage and range. Throw him on a team with a Janna support and I wish any team trying to engage on you good luck.
  • Hecarim – Hecarim is a really strong AOE champion that most people don’t even consider as an AOE pick. He is a very strong tank in fights because he has a ton of sustain and deals AOE damage all over the palce with his Ultimate, W, and Q spells. He can clear waves as a result of his W and Q, and he can also chase down enemies pretty easily because of his speed boost and Ultimate gap closer that fears a giant radius. Overall I like Hecarim a lot and feel like he has few weaknesses. He can even do decently in a 1v1 considering that he is mostly AOE damage.
  • Heimerdinger – We cannot forget about the Dinger of course. Heimerdinger is a disgustingly strong AOE pick because he has turrets he lays all over the place that fire constantly during a team fight, he can also fire an AOE grenade and rockets at multiple champions at a time in fights. Heimer’s kit is well designed for team fights because he is constantly putting out damage even when he isn’t necessarily anywhere near you in a fight. He can be running around in the back line and still damaging everyone because the range of his spells and the fact that the turrets he sets up will keep firing until you can kill them so long as he is around. I love the rework they did to Heimer and being able to lay 3 turrets now is incredibly powerful. I have a feeling that Heimerdinger is going to be a top pick sometime in the not so distant future as soon as Ziggs and Gragas get the nerfs that they so desperately need!
  • Karthus – Karthus is really in need of a buff in my opinion because his Ultimate really doesn’t do the sick AOE damage that it used to anymore. I used to main Karthus back in season 2 and I loved how he could impact fights so greatly just be being around to do AOE damage to everyone and then once he died could cast his Ultimate while un-targetable to finish off the enemy team. He has a kit that is fantastic for team fights, but I feel like his damage has been crippled so badly that people can now heal through most of his spells with life steal and so the ADC tends to run around tearing people apart in a lot of Karthus fights I have seen due to his lack of burst damage. Champions like Gragas and Ziggs don’t have this problem because if an ADC gets near them it is only a matter of seconds before BOOM! They are a dead ADC from the burst they can put into them. Karthus has other strengths, but that weakness is a pretty bad one to have in my opinion and that is why I stopped playing Karthus.
  • Katarina – Katerina is a good AOE champion who lacks range, but if she gets into the middle of a squishy team without too much CC to stop her ultimate hot DAMN! The damage she puts out is ridiculous. She can hit all 5 champions of your team with 2k damage and then get resets to do it all over again until every single person on your team is dead. I love Katarina in games where the enemy lacks CC, but when they have it you go in, get stunned, and die without doing so much as 500 damage. This is the reason Katarina is an extremely niche pick. She is only to be chosen when the enemy team has taken practically no forms of hard CC and as a result have no way to be able to disrupt your Ultimate. Kat is very simple, go in once the enemy team has blown their CC and mess up their entire team getting reset after reset until they all die.
  • Kennen – Kennen is an AOE champion who relies almost entirely on his Ultimate. He is a lot like fiddlesticks in that if you lane a good Ultimate with Zhonya’s he will really damage the enemy team pretty well, but if you blow your Ultimate and miss the enemy team or it is down your team is really left in a bad spot and most likely you end up losing the fight pretty badly. Kennen has the amazing ability to lighting rush which gives him tons of speed and allows him to run from enemies, chase enemies, or get into proper position to use his Ultimate pretty easily. He is a good pick for AOE comps, but because of his strange play-style and lack of AOE poke, he does not fit into a lot of compositions as well as some of the top tier AOE champions would like of course Ziggs and Gragas.
  • Lissandra – I personally don’t have a ton of experience with Lissandra. I have only played her a handful of times, but from the times I have player her, and the times I have seen others play her, I’ve noticed she has some very nice AOE spells. She can initiate fights pretty well, kill minion waves pretty easily, and do some decent damage in the process. I don’t love Lissandra as much as other AOE casters, but she does have her place so I thought I should at least mention her in the list since she is indeed an AOE champion and can have a large impact on team fights.
  • Lux – Every single ability Lux has is AOE. She can shield multiple people in a fight, she can snare two people, she can damage and slow your entire team, and light them up with her Ultimate dealing some pretty nice damage. Lux is an incredibly strong poke champion with nice CC abilities to keep champions from engaging on your team. I love lux as a mid or support in poke compositions or even AOE comps because she has a very nice kit for wave clearing, poking, and crowd controlling. She is high level, play, her main weakness is that she doesn’t provide a lot of 1v1 damage, and her kit is entirely dependent on skill shots. If you miss them you will surely lose.
  • Malphite – Malphite has one of the best Ultimates in the game. He can knock up an entire enemy team and then once they land he can apply his ground slam to damage them further and dramatically slower their attack speeds. I love Malphite as a top laner or support for AOE comps that do not rely heavily on poke because he can’t really poke. He does amazing on hard engage compositions such as Malphite support with a Kennen top or some other form of AOE damage/CC coming in to follow him up and kill the enemy team. Malphite does not provide tons of sustained AOE damage, but he does have AOE and so is a very useful pick in AOE burst compositions or any comp where you need some strong AOE/CC but do not require too much extra damage.
  • Maokai – Maokai is mostly AOE. His Q is great for poke and harass, he can heal in fights very rapidly from his passive, and his Ultimate is sick strong for team fighting. He can reduce the damage your entire team takes by 20% and then blow up everyone in the giant circle of it for some decent damage thereafter. I like Maokai a lot, but most people can’t figure out a good way to apply him to a team. This is because he really is a team player champion. He cannot do things by himself very well and so he is going to rely heavily on proper team communication as well as champions that will allow him to fully utilize his kit. Since this is not often a guarantee in solo-que, I will tend to stay away from Maokai.
  • Orianna – Orianna is one of the strongest AP middle lane champions right now. As of last year she was the strongest, but now she has been overtaken by Gragas and Ziggs. Her AOE damage is strong, she has some nice CC, and her shield with speed-boost is a great tool for keeping herself and other teammates such as your ADC alive in fights. She can lane well because she has good harass, is hard to kill because of her shield, and she can last hit minions super easy + poke you even with auto-attacks that deal some nice damage. She can clear minion waves exceptionally fast, and so she is great for defending your turrets, and if the enemy ever steps out of position one quick Ultimate can lead to a decisively won team fight for your team.
  • Rumble – Rumble goes well in any team that is going to allow him to come in for dragon fights. If you plan to group up for turrets, Dragon, Baron, whatever a lot then you will want to go with Rumble because his flame spitter as well as Ultimate provide tons of AOE damage which is great for team fights and other small group engagements. Rumble is capable of holding off an opponent 1v1, but should not be expected to split push because he is best suited in team fight situations. Rumble can lay his Ultimate down in a small corridor and catch an entire enemy team with it pretty much single handedly winning you a fight. This is not that common, but it can happen, and when it does boy is it sweet! I like rumble a lot and think he is both a strong champion in lane as well as in team fights.
  • Sejuani – Sejuani I am not going to talk very much about. I included her in the list because of her Ultimate really. She has an Ultimate that if she uses it properly can freeze up an entire enemy team which is a pretty strong AOE spell to have. She can’t provide sustained damage in AOE form and she cannot clear waves too well, so for these reasons I would say she isn’t a true AOE champion, but she does have that Ultimate, so I wanted to mention her. I am not going to discuss Wukong because he is even less AOE than Sejuani, but he has a sick AOE Ultimate as well.
  • Sion – Sion is AOE due to his shield explosion as his Ultimate. I know his Ultimate doesn’t do AOE damage, but the AOE healing effect can be quite significant in fights. If you get a bunch of highly durable champions in a fight and Sion (especially AD Sion) is in the fight, he can heal your entire team back up to full health in seconds. This makes him a priority target, and if he is also somewhat durable due to having a defensive item or two along with his amazing passive and permanent health gains from killing units, he can be quite a pain to deal with. He can also obviously clear waves quickly with his shield blowing up, so I label him as AOE even though he isn’t a ranged AOE caster like most of these champions are.
  • Sona – Sona is truly an AOE champion. Her Ultimate is an AOE group stun that makes people dance. Her speed boost is AOE, her damaging move is AOE, and her heal is also AOE. She provides buffs to your team in an AOE radius and is very useful as a support. I wouldn’t play Sona as anything but a support because naturally she does better in group settings. Sona is great for keeping your team healed up while waiting for that perfect opportunity to stun an entire enemy team whether in an initiation attempt by your team, or by trying to disengage from an opposing team trying to engage on you. I think Sona is an awesome champion, but you have to keep in mind she is rather squishy, so do not play her anywhere near the front line except when you are going for your Ultimate or you will die so fast it isn’t even funny.
  • Swain – Swain is a highly durable AOE machine because his Ultimate is pretty much always up, he can use it to heal himself for tons of extra life, and he can walk around damaging a few people on the enemy team with it. He has a nice stun that works in a small AOE radius and although some of his moves are single target, I feel he works well in most AOE settings. He can clear waves easily, provide good damage to multiple members of the enemy team, and he is so durable as a result of his Ultimate that at the same time he can walk around and tank lots of damage that would otherwise be applied to squishy targets on your team.
  • Varus – Varus has a nice Q which provides good ranged AOE damage, his slow is also a small circular AOE spell and can do a little damage, but the main reason I listed him was his Ultimate. So few champions in L O L have AOE stuns and roots in this game that I wanted to make note of Varus. His Ultimate will root up to an entire enemy team depending on if you land the skill shot and how far away they are from one another. If they are all clumped up and you lane this, you will root their whole team and this CC is incredibly useful. Miss it and that is another story of course. I think Varus is neat because for an ADC to have this much AOE damage and CC is just a rare thing.
  • Victor – Victor has a few nice AOE spells. I don’t know a ton about Victor since I have only played him like 2 times, but I know he can do some good AOE damage and clear waves etc. So look him up and if you like his kit give him a try. I don’t really think he is that useful compared to most other AP casters, so that is why I haven’t played him much.
  • Zac – Zac is an AOE, tank, CC machine. Zac can provide all sorts of AOE disruption to an enemy team by slowing them and knocking them up a few times. All of his moves are AOE in nature and so he is very useful as a disruptor for AOE teams. His passive is amazing because it allows you to die and then come back to life if your little blobs can survive for a few seconds. This allows for early turret dive ganks and other aggressive plays that you cannot make safely with other champions.
  • Ziggs – Ziggs is the most ridiculously unbalanced AP caster in the game as of now. He can dish out tons of AOE damage, clear waves in seconds, and even use his Ultimate to pick up kills, apply AOE damage, or clear waves of minions from half way across the map! I am so tired of how broken he is that I feel like all of you need play him just to get a feel for it. He is nearly impossible to stop in fights because by the time you kill him even if it is quick he has fired 3-4 AOE spells out and his Ultimate which together do thousands of points of damage to an area. He can also stop you from taking his base easily and counter a siege because he can blow up every minion inside of one second. He is simply too strong and aside from catching him out of position there is really nothing you can do to shut down his damage. He is flat out broken and if you don’t believe me play him and see.
  • Zyra – Zyra is a really cool AOE CC support because she an knock-up an entire enemy team in fights, she can root a few of them to the ground, and she can cast a bunch of plants all over the place to harass you during fights. Zyra is hard to get used to playing, but once you understand her capabilities, as a CC machine, a wave clearer, and of a harasser, she can be put to very good use. I recommend learning her, not only to play her, but to try and deal with others who play her against you since she is so uique.

General Guide for AOE Champions

I am going to give some general rule of thumbs for playing AOE champions. To counter them you should force them to do the opposite of what I am saying they should be doing in this section. So for example if I say make sure to catch the enemies all in a small area or corridor, you should make sure this will not be the case when you do engage on them. You will want to instead be as split up as you can be. The main thing you need to do as an AOE champion is group up with your team for objectives. If you are off alone in top lane as rumble, you are not going to be doing your team a service since you could be damaging 5 enemies per fight and you are instead either pushing a turret slowly leaving your team to lose a 5v4 fight, or you are fighting 1 person and only damaging 1 person while your team fights a 4v4 that you could have really had an impact in. For this reason grouping up is the absolute most important aspect to playing an AOE champion. So to counter AOE champions obviously do not let them group up when you can.

The other main rule of thumb I have for AOE champions is that you need to stay alive in fights and be damaging the areas that the enemy champions are grouped in when you are able. If you are attacking a lone tank, your team is going to lose. If however, you are attacking a clump of carries or non-tanks, you are providing a huge service to your team and will probably win that fight. Most important though is that you make it out of the fight alive win or lose. If you win, great, you can push towers or whatever, but when you lose if you make it out you can stop the enemy team even if 3 of them are up from instead of taking multiple objectives to instead get nothing! The biggest defensive tool as an AOE champion you will have is your ability to clear minion waves. So make sure you are #1 alive to do this, and #2 that you clear them quickly so that the enemy champions cannot push towers and inhibitors as a result. This will win you many games even if you lose 3 out of 4 fights, if the enemy team can’t take anything important and you can when you win, you will win the game.


AOE champions are very valuable to have on your team in L O L and if you play them properly you will have a much higher chance of winning. Teamwork and grouping together is incredibly important for AOE champions. To counter AOE champions you need to make sure they die in team fights quickly and also take away any chances that they have to work as a team with their teammates. So catch them out of position, split push against them, rush to engage them when they are not setup yet, and ward all over the place so you can see when they make mistakes and are not playing as a team and attack them at those times. AOE champions have been underrated for a long time, and now, in season 4, people are finally starting to realize how powerful they can be.

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