One of the things I’ve never really grown to like is the general inflexibility of players in this game. It’s not their fault, per se—the game’s focus on “perform your role better than the enemy is performing theirs” as opposed to focus on playstyles and knowing your opponent’s defined strengths and weaknesses (of which there really aren’t any, considering Riot’s champ design philosophy of “hey let’s give this champ a role and slap some abilities on them that fit that role???? also there’s this cool thing that doesn’t fit let’s slap that on there as well people will love it,”which, again, I am attending to) has somewhat gimped any sort of competitive and intellectual growth within the players, and is also one of the main components of LoL’s ever-increasing stagnancy. The only thing player know or are really expected to know are “we need a top, jungler, support and carry bot, and AP mid” (which, in and of itself, isn’t bad—structure always makes balancing easier, since you aren’t balancing for 6 different metagames, and the definition makes the game more readable and thus easier to get into for new players) and “stick together and try to teamfight.”

One thing I’ve noticed is that last part is clung to by players no matter how badly they’re losing. I’ve been in hundreds of games wherein somebody on our team feeds or their team is more situated to teamfights in general, yet everyone else on my team is all “guys we gotta stick together n teamfight.” It’s all they know, and it’s as sad as seeing a caged animal constantly bash its head against its cage in an attempt to break out. There’s no craftiness, there’s no “maybe I should try a different approach since this one is clearly not working,” it’s just “MAYBE IF WE KEEP ON TRYING THIS IT WILL WORK EVEN THOUGH EACH TIME WE DO IT AND FAIL IT’LL MAKE THE NEXT ONE MORE PAINFUL.”

One thing that I’ve been doing since about 400 games in is winning games by pushing. Way back when I used to solo queue (so approximately 200 games ago), I won about 8/10 of my victories by sneaking around and poking and pushing and taking a tower and recalling to go push the other side while the rest of the enemy team was forced to either clean up my mess or lose an inhibitor. My team reacted the same way every time, “dude stick together we gotta teamfight.” But you know what? Teamfights never happened. Either the enemy team was so caught up scrambling with my backdooring and teleporting ass that they couldn’t form together and go after my team (who would then catch them off-guard and take a few kills before running away), or they went and fought and I took two towers and an inhibitor and recalled as they were forced to stop and chase after me. Sometimes my teammates would understand what was going on, and they’d react to me. They’d fake a mass push top, and when they saw red, they’d retreat while I plowed down bot. The enemy team always stuck together to try to teamfight, but they couldn’t. They eventually would find themselves with super minions dicking around in their base and that’s when we collapsed down on them and won.

This was a similar game. You see that Vayne? 21/6. LeBlanc was useless past 20 minutes (as all LeBlancs are), and Leona couldn’t really do much (certainly not as much as Amumu) because she was, well, Leona. Teamfights were not a thing that could happen, and even while we had an early advantage, we lost every time. What, with all the CC they were packing (Blitz’s knockup, AoE, silence, grab; Lee Sin’s cripple, knockback; Amumu’s stun, ult; Gragas’s ult; Vayne’s knockback), we really couldn’t do much. As far as composition goes, they had much more teamfight power than we did.

This was a premade, of course, so what did I do? “Hey guys distract them while I push top.” At 25 minutes, top was down to its inhibitor. “Fake Baron, getting bot.” Bot’s inhibitor went down at 33, top’s followed soon after. We lost just about every 5v5, and couldn’t really do much until super minions were knocking on their door and knocking hard. But that’s, really, when we upended the entire table, spilling the contents haphazardly on the ground (a metaphor for taking our situation and turning it on our favor; the food in this case belongs to the enemy team, and now they can no longer eat it). The enemy team hadn’t really been paying attention to lanes—and why should they have? You just gotta TEAMFIGHT, man! Just gotta stick together and TEAMFIGHT. If we can win teamfights, then we can win the game! Even after backdooring top, bot, and then teampushing mid, they didn’t respond, they didn’t evolve around us (which is really the essence of any competitive act worth any merit—reacting and counterreacting to your opponent, evolving around them and forcing them to evolve around you until eventually somebody gives in, completely outplayed), and for that, they paid the consequences.

It’s really a sad state of affairs, and hopefully something I can fix. If you want to change a country, first you must change its people!