When Should You Surrender in League of Legends?

League of Legends has attracted players of any kind, from the casual, normal queue players to the hardcore rank climbers. In the latter case, the ranked queue is their battlefield, fighting against people of your level and competing to show who’s better. However, there are instances that you feel like giving up and admitting that you are indeed a worse player. League of Legends offers you an option to end the game prematurely, surrendering the win to the enemy. However, when should you do so?

Disclaimer: Don’t Surrender

As a disclaimer, we would like to encourage you never to surrender. An average player playing with average players in ranked games will have almost no objectively good reason to forfeit the game. Unless you are pressed for time and have real-life emergencies to attend to, you lose so much in surrendering, including a chance to win through a big comeback or a lesson to learn from the game. 

However, we recognize that there are situations where a surrender vote is worth it, may it be due to a big gold lead that is practically impossible to overcome or an uncooperative team that has been tilting at some point in the game. We’ll be laying out some situations where you might want to consider surrendering.

r/theydidthemath in Summoner School

Someone did an amazing job quantifying the probabilities and considerations to justify a surrender in an LP maximization setting. If you are playing for LP, there are factors in the game that you can look into if you are trying to consider surrendering.

The basic premise considers your chances of winning the current game and estimation of winning your next game and the time it takes for both games to achieve that win. Suppose the chance of winning your current game after an estimated time when your team gains the advantage to do so is lower than queuing and getting a chance of winning your next game. In that case, it is feasible for you to surrender to maximize your time in gaining LP. 

To understand your odds of winning your current game, you can refer to in-game factors like the gold deficit. The gold difference can be estimated through CS of all players, turrets, and kills, as well as objectives. The higher your gold deficit; that is, the more CS, turrets, and kills your enemy team has over yours, the time required to win the game increases, as you will have to accumulate the deficit first before gaining a sizable advantage to win the game. A higher gold deficit also lowers your team’s chance of winning overall since the winning team can take their advantage straight to your nexus.

To know your odds of winning your next game, you can look into your win rate and average game times. If you have a positive win rate (above 50%) and your usual game times (including queue times) are shorter than the expected end time of your current game, then you will want to consider surrendering ONLY if you have a massive gold deficit of above 10k gold.

However, you have to understand that even the math tells you not to surrender. According to the Reddit post, the chances of winning a game if your team has a gold deficit of less than 10k gold in 20 minutes are still considerably high. Accruing a 10k gold deficit is already pretty rare; that’s a difference of around 12 kills, four turrets, and 150 CS, which is only realistic if you are getting hard-stomped by smurfs. 

Additionally, as the game time increases, the time it takes to win also decreases, showing that playing out even five more minutes can still cause a sliver of hope to show and turn that hopeless game into a comeback. The factors needed for the equation in this section, specifically gold lead, matter less in longer game times, where everything can become a coin flip, from teamfights or even 1v1s. 

Also read: Hardest Mid Laners in League of Legends

The Qualitative Measures

Of course, the math above only talks about statistics. There are a lot of qualitative factors in play in a game of League of Legends that numbers don’t tell the entire story.

First of all, there are team drafts. The math above does not consider the type of composition that each team has. Maybe the team with the current advantage is an early game team, which is supposed to dominate early games and maybe stomp your team hard. However, your team is a better scaling composition, and your late-game carry is about to go online with their core items. At this point, it is still worth it to play out the game and win through sheer scaling. There are also teams with massive outplay or teamfight potentials, which can significantly tip the scales and cause you to win the skirmish and the game.

The ego boost that the enemy team gains because of the gold lead may cause them to make mistakes, especially in low elo. You can turn around the battle through large shutdowns, or clutch baron and dragon steals with a more calculated play. The game has a lot of mechanics in place to help out a losing team, giving a fighting chance for each losing player to come out better than the enemy. 

Additionally, the math is only for maximizing LP gains. Ranked queues are a great place to improve yourself as a player, and surrendering doesn’t allow you to learn from the experience. Learning to play from behind and building up your champion to advantage after losing the laning phase are important aspects of gameplay that every player should know. Like anything in life, losses are great learning experiences, and you should maximize them by seeing how you can improve in each situation. 

You should note that there are indeed win conditions that you need to fulfill or check to know that a game is winnable. If your win condition fails (e.g., a Kayle that is not scaling, the elder dragon is already taken by the enemy), then your chances of winning might get slimmer. If you cannot keep your win conditions, then it might be right to surrender already. 

Then there are also player factors. It is not uncommon to see players that have been inting since the start of the game. It is also not rare to find players that may not listen to team callouts or players that consistently make bad calls and plays. Having these players on your team can severely reduce your chances of winning the game, maybe even actively preventing you from winning at all. Calling a surrender vote can be necessary to avoid wasting your time.

There might also be times when your mental state is already detrimental to your gameplay, making you perform worse. If the current game is already taking a toll on your emotional state and tilting you hard, then it might be wise to call a surrender vote. This is to preserve your calm state so that it will not carry over to the next game or end the gaming session early and take a break.

Also read: Hardest ADCs in League of Legends

Surrender as a Last Resort

Surrendering is often not the best option whenever you’re at a disadvantage. League of Legends has many euphoric moments where a great outplay or a perfect engage throws all gold differences and wins you the game right away. If you do end up losing, then take the game as a learning experience and understand how you can prevent yourself from actually reaching that point or how to accrue an advantage from behind. 

However, real-life emergencies and uncooperative teammates may prove to make the win hard to get, and maybe at that point, you will want to surrender instead. If you start to tilt and lose focus from the game, you might want to call it quits and try to go into another game or take a break altogether.

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