The Surrender Rule: When It’s Okay to /ff

Jul 6, 2016

There are a lot of variables outside of your control in an average game of League of Legends. You can have a heavy influence on the outcome of the game, but you can’t control it completely. Sometimes you make a big misplay that costs your team the game. Other times that mistake is made by a teammate. Most of the time it’s a series of small mistakes made around the map by your team that compound into a loss.

It’s rare that one player can carry a game hard enough to compensate for most of his team losing their individual matchups. This can be frustrating for a lot of people. When it feels like your own team is preventing you from achieving victory things can get ugly. This is what tilt is made of. The key is to always be thinking what can we do to improve our position in the game at this point in time. Like most advice, easier said than done.

It’s Okay to Be Behind

surrender vote
Losing lane doesn’t mean a lost game. If you always surrender every time you find yourself playing from behind you will stunt your growth as a player. Image via Millennium.

When I first started getting into League of Legends I played with a couple of experienced friends. They had a few hundred normal game victories under their belt but very rarely played ranked. I quickly realized that they would instantly trigger the surrender vote at 20 minutes in any game we were behind. If we were behind a few kills at the 20 minute mark you could be guaranteed at least 2 surrender votes would be put in.

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Just because you are behind it doesn’t mean you have lost. Winning a game from behind is one of the single most satisfying things to do in League of Legends. If you forfeit every game where you’re not the favorite to win the game at the 20 minute mark, you’re not going to gain any experience playing from behind. You’re also ruling out any chance of late game scaling, which can be a significant factor in some games.

My friends have gotten much better at playing the game out but I still see this kind of attitude all the time in ranked play. The surrender vote is triggered way too often when the game is still very winnable.

The DNA of a Comeback Capable Team

The players on your team have a large part in determining whether or not you will be able to pull off a seemingly impossible comeback, but it’s not their individual skill that will be the tipping point. The most consistent variable among my recent come from behind victories has been the relatively emotionally stable team chat.

There wasn’t many negative comments directed at each other. There was the occasional “lol” or “sigh” upon teammate death, but nobody started a back and fourth that would have derailed the game. The less your team is fighting with each other, the better you can fight your enemy.

There was no surrender vote spam. In the most recent come from behind win the surrender vote was triggered 3 times. That seems like a lot, but it wasn’t done on cooldown. More importantly nobody argued about the state of the game despite the 3/2 vote. Everybody respected the 2 players who believed the game was still winnable.

Nobody was trying to 1v9. Sometimes you get games where the team synergy just isn’t there. You’re never grouped at the right times, and even when you are your team fighting is completely out of sync. Every player needs to understand their role in filling your team’s win condition if you have any hopes of winning a game from behind.

When It’s Okay to Surrender

Riot pls…

You can’t win them all. There are many situations in which surrendering is the best option so you can move onto the next game and preserve your mental health. Surrendering is probably a good idea in games where your mid laner is sitting in fountain after not getting blue buff while your top laner is chastising your “boosted duo” bottom lane. When you can’t distinguish your allies from your enemies, you should probably surrender.

In terms of actually being behind in-game, I try to play it out as much as I can. Unless the team synergy really isn’t there, or my teammates have clearly given up, the game goes on. If it feels like you’re playing against TSM, you don’t think you can win a team fight under any condition, you have no split push opportunities, and you’ve yet to take down a tower… it might be alright to toss a feeler /ff vote out there…

The bottom line is this: if your group of 5 players is getting along relatively well, you probably have a chance. If you truly don’t believe you can win, trigger the surrender vote, but respect the result. Don’t throw in the towel before the game is over. There is no better feeling in League of Legends then completing a comeback.

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Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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