Today, I’m going to be talking about the concept of inevitability, and how you can use it guide your in-game decision making. In games and sports, teams with inevitability have an increased likelihood of winning in the late game. Teams or players can have inevitability because their champions scale better in a given matchup, they’re capable of executing strategies more effectively, or simply because they have greater mental stamina than their opponents. Once you identify whether or not you have late-game inevitability, the next step is adjusting your playstyle accordingly.
Examples of Inevitability Across Games and Sports
• League of Legends: Late game scalers like Fiora and Cassiopeia typically have inevitability over early/mid game champions like Renekton and Ahri.
• Magic: The Gathering TCG: In the classic aggro vs. control matchup, control decks have inevitability against more aggressive decks that often “run out of gas.”
• Baseball: Closing pitchers like Mariano Rivera, who give up very few runs, can give the Yankees inevitability when he takes the mound with a lead.
• Boxing: Boxers with great stamina will win the later rounds of a fight against boxers with poor endurance.
Inevitability is Conditional
First of all, “having” inevitability does not mean you will win every game that goes late, nor does it mean you will even get to late game. That’s all dependent on how well you’ve played your early game. You can’t sacrifice the first two-thirds of a game just because you have good scaling, and you still have to execute your late game strategy, which can be dependent on surviving your early game.
Some games will end before you even get a chance to assemble your late game strategy. Let’s take another look at my previous examples with the conditional nature of inevitability in mind:
• If you lost the game before your comp was able to outscale theirs in League of Legends, it’s because their comp was able to snowball an early lead, or perhaps you didn’t focus enough on your own early game.
• In Magic: the Gathering, if your control deck stabilizes by turn 7, but the aggressive decks keep beating you by turn 6, you need to find ways to survive the early game better.
• The 2000’s era Yankees had to first obtain a lead before handing the game off to Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning to secure wins.
• A boxer’s endurance means nothing if he gives up early rounds, or worse, gets knocked out before reaching his most dominant stage of the game.
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Be Mindful of Inevitability in Your Play
Inevitability might be abstract sounding, but adjusting your play with inevitability in mind can be simple. To play mindfully of this concept, first you need to identify the player who has a tangible advantage in the late game. Let’s pretend I’m stronger in both the early game and mid game, but you’re stronger in the late game. You should always play to your strengths, so if you’re playing a late game scaling champion with inevitability, you’ll want to:
• Accept losses like towers or dragons instead of losing a fight over them.
• Trade objectives whenever possible as long as you’re scaling well and not taking huge losses.
• Survive the early game by playing patiently and defensively–you don’t have to always go for big plays.
• Keep your opponent honest. Collect low-risk and small objectives whenever possible. In League, these are minions, in Magic these can be cards in hand or points of life, in baseball these can be base hit singles, and in boxing these can be jabs. The littlest mistakes by either player can surrender crucial objectives to their opponent.
If I have an advantage in the early and mid game, I’m trying to:
• Make aggressive decisions, contest objectives, and look for fights because my comp is stronger in the early stages of the game.
• Snowball the early game and outscore you early/mid, or go for the knockout and end the game before it gets late.
• Take calculated but necessary risks to make game winning plays, like stealing bases or swinging for home runs, diving in League, or using hidden information to bluff and project strength in card games.
If you’re in a position where you have inevitability, you’re statistically likely to win the late game, and your path to victory might be as simple as surviving and minimizing losses on your journey to the end-game. Passive behavior, however, rarely wins games for anyone. If you excel during the early and mid-game, it’s always your duty to make proactive plays, but even late-game players should always be looking to exploit mistakes. The best players will find ways to win at the first opportunity, even if they have late game inevitability.