A Lesson in Victory from Sun Tzu - Why Team Fights are bad!

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Jagrazor

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Member

03-17-2010

Some of the time.

Let's take a lesson from Sun Tzu:

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Here is my conclusion that I will defend:

1. Most people who play LoL have an idea of what is normal, and they will get very upset if you do anything separate from what is normal.
2. Normal is to lane until about level 7-10 when people start ganking, then to avoid the gank everyone starts team fighting. The best team simply wins these team fights.

The problem with this is sometimes your team isn't built as well for a team fight. Either because you didn't do as well in the "laning phase" or because they have a tank and you don't, or because they have more stuns, etc.

So, simplified, my argument is that sometimes a team fight is suicide and this must be recognized in order to win.

Let's break down Sun Tzu's five essentials for victory

(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

We can't do anything about how the matchmaking system sets up our team, but we can pay attention to how strong the other team is and what they do well. Whenever they are at an advantage we should avoid fighting them. Think about the times that you have had your whole team lined up in front of an enemy tower and they are tower hugging, perhaps they are down one person or maybe two. Sun Tzu would expect the impatient general to attack the tower. The result is usually one or two deaths, a lot of time spent hanging around the tower waiting for a good opportunity and sometimes one of your teammates will "pull the trigger" and start a team fight under the enemies tower at a bad time. This means xp for the enemy, wasted time for you and mixed results on kills and tower destruction.

Here's my suggestion. Keep 2-3 of your teammates at the tower, to "appear" to be ready to attack. Then send out the other 2-3 to the other lanes to push to the other towers. This will result in their team splitting up, possibly getting an easy tower kill or two all while avoiding the waste of time and risks associated with tower diving or team fighting near an enemy tower.

There are a lot of other situations to discuss with just this one essential from Sun Tzu, but its the one teams have problems with the most, imho.

(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.

Here is another essential that would suggest we should think about when to engage, and to potentially engage in a different way depending upon circumstances.

Think about a time when the other team is all alive, very strong and your team is pretty much unable to do anything to stop them. They can barrel through fairly easily even with the defense of your towers. In this case I would suggest thinking about how to strategically use your teammates. If you have a high damage and relatively fast hero like Master Yi or Gankplank, etc. have one of them go down another lane and try to get a really easy turret kill.

In the worst case you will have a turret kill but also lose a turret. After the opposing team has killed one turret they will probably be worried about your solo hero killing their base, so they will either split or all go back to defend. This is when your solo hero needs to recall. If you do it right, and your solo hero has good map sense you will avoid total destruction and potentially avoid any damage while getting a turret kill.

If they react by going to defend right away, another possibility, just have the solo hero recall and you have avoided destruction.

Once they start defending in either case, just send another hero (even the same one) to the 3rd lane to push it hard. You can keep them on the defensive, which puts them at a disadvantage. If they are constantly running around trying to defend, they can't destroy you. As long as your heroes keep evading their direct attacks, you can win. You are making them play your game.

(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.

Sun Tzu is probably pointing out a few things to LoL players.

1. Don't be a ****, always try to be nice to your teammates. Internal anger doesn't win games, it makes victory elusive. Angry people make bad decisions, which is shown in several studies, look them up on pubmed. Angry people have a tendency to care less as well. That's simply my observation.

2. Teams should, as best they can, talk out their plans and agree, or submit to whatever the majority decides. It will cause a lot of frustration if someone is doing something counter or different than the rest of the team. Alternatively everyone can be a little open minded to strategy and just do the "best thing considering what others are doing." I put that into quotes because it's Game Theory. (Not video games... look it up)

3. Public games are probably not going to be able to be smooth because there isn't a common spirit or idea of what is best. Furthermore you just don't trust each other the first time you are playing compared to the level of trust just 2 or 3 games later.

(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

Think back to the example of the strong team running down the center lane, while your team is weak and unable to defend. If you sent out a hero or two to push other lanes and they take the bait, we hope they will split. If they split we can gank one of the groups. If it is done right, you'll obviously set yourself up for about 40-60 seconds of advantage.

So Gank my friends, but Gank intelligently!

(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

I'm pretty sure Sun Tzu is talking about Riot here. So as long as Riot takes care of all the bugs, you can have a good game

Other wisdom we could draw from here is to avoid micromanaging another players character. Warning someone of danger is a good idea, but microing them mid game takes your attention from your hero and it just bothers them from doing their best. Talk out strategy ahead of time or between important points of the game. If your teammate isn't receiving your advice well, just stop giving it and "do the best you can considering what others are doing."

Final Thoughts

Sun Tzu teaches a lot more than these five points.

1. Putting yourself in a position that cannot be attacked (tower hugging, flashing from where the dragon spawns when being chased, attacking the teams weak lanes as they all go down one lane, then recalling before they can get to you)

2. Doing what is unexpected instead of what is expected. (If you are jungling, show yourself in one of the soloers lane, as a result the enemy will be more cautious and probably not try to kill your teammate.)

Perhaps we could talk about those later. Most of these things are easy enough to think about on your own though, just read a good translation of the Art of War, it is very short and will help you think about what is best in War, games like LoL and some real life situations as well.


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Onuma

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Member

03-17-2010

Interesting perspective. I like the fact that you referenced a classic manual of war and utilized it for a game - that's creative.

You have some valid points here as well. Though one of the big things to remember is that this game is 5v5, no more and no less -- rage quitters and disconnects aside, of course. There will be times to go all-out and destroy in a team fight, and there will be times you need to divide and conquer, recon your enemy, backdoor, or have someone go solo temporarily for another reason (for example, team splitting for taking down towers)

At any rate, this is not "thinking outside the box" this is more "mastering the box" as some of my buddies are known to say. +1 !


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SmegInThePants

Senior Member

03-17-2010

I love sun tzu!

If only he were alive to see how his knowledge is put to use today . . . in video games. hehe

personally, I would love to see a 5 player free for all game - i.e. no teams. though you will then have the added issue of diplomacy - do I team up w/this guy in a temporary alliance? At which point do I turn on him?


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Franz Josef

Member

03-17-2010

Hell yeah for that! Read this stuff, everybody. it will help you make your teammates much less angry!


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Krath4

Senior Member

03-17-2010

And from then on whenever alot of animals are in one place it's called A ZOO.

...Unless it's a farm!


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AutoSponge

Senior Member

03-17-2010

General Tzu valued information about the field of battle.
- Constantly use the scoreboard to check what your team and the enemy team have purchased.
- Target the enemy heroes to see what buffs they have. Sometimes temporary strength is gained from something other than position.
- Get at least one clairvoyance on the team. Knowing when someone has back up is the difference between face-rolling and omgwtffail.
- Buy wards for key locations, chasing stealthers, to kill enemy wards, and for teleport targets.


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Empyron

Senior Member

03-17-2010

I agree and usually play this way. Especially he who wins knows when to fight and when not to fight. Only problem is that if your whole team goes and fights when they shouldn't, and you manage to survive the fight, they'll yell at you for being a noob and tell you "we lost because of you". Happens all the time to me.

Yeah, I'm really sorry I survived an obvious wipe situation and didn't die and be useless for the next minute like everyone else, my bad.


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EasymodeX

Senior Member

03-17-2010

Quote:
So, simplified, my argument is that sometimes a team fight is suicide and this must be recognized in order to win.
Myopic. The issue is not that your team is too weak for a team fight, the issue is that your method of victory in a team fight is not head-on 5v5.

There are other strategies you can employ to execute a teamfight, but they are still necessary the vast majority of the time.

For example, bait.

Quote:
Then send out the other 2-3 to the other lanes to push to the other towers. This will result in their team splitting up, possibly getting an easy tower kill or two all while avoiding the waste of time and risks associated with tower diving or team fighting near an enemy tower.
Their team won't split up. They'll just dogpile the 2 sods you sent on a suicide mission. In Sun Tzu's world, you couldn't go from 1 objective to another in 20 seconds. In LoL, you can attempt this, but you're only splitting your forces up into a group of 3 (can't push the tower, or their 5man will roll you) and a group of 2 (incoming rolling 5man).

The fundamental problem here is that the 5man can cover both objectives at the same time.

Quote:
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
Here is another essential that would suggest we should think about when to engage, and to potentially engage in a different way depending upon circumstances.
This is correct, in the sense that your "defend a tower while you push another lane" approach is *plausible* in a bottom or top lane tower defense, not mid.

Quote:
Sun Tzu is probably pointing out a few things to LoL players.
1. Don't be a ****, [...]
2. Teams should, as best they can, talk out their plans and agree,[...]
3. Public games are probably not going to be able to be smooth because there isn't a common spirit or idea of what is best.[...]
The lesson from Sun Tzu is stick together and work towards the same objectives at the same time. Don't go off by yourself and solo dragon during midgame while the rest of your team is a man down defending a tower.

If the team objective is the dragon, 5 people are on the dragon. If the team objective is to grab a buff and then camp, 5 people better be assisting on the lizard/golem (and proximate neutrals ), and 5 people should be in the **** bush.

Quote:
(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
So Gank my friends, but Gank intelligently!
Obviously. The entire game is most directly focused on this piece, rather than the rest.

Quote:
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
I'm pretty sure Sun Tzu is talking about Riot here. So as long as Riot takes care of all the bugs, you can have a good game
Riot changes game dynamics like Exec Calling vs. healspam -- the difference between Sun Tzu's world and LoL is that in LoL you can adjust and adapt as necessary. In his world, you'd have to re-train human troops, miraculous re-discover natural resources, find money to pay for **** out of nowhere, and other hassles that we don't face in LoL (re-purchasing runes is a good example of one that does exist, however).


Anyways, all that said, Sun Tzu is a great read. I bought a copy from the National Spy Museum. Fun stuff.


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Jagrazor

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Member

03-17-2010

Good responses.

I think this may have to be a "work in progress." I will get to some edits later today.


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Veraticus

Member

03-17-2010

The one piece of strategy I've learned best from Sun Tzu is to engage only when the odds are in your favor. I'm not advising cowardice here, but always try to stack fights to your advantage:

1. Engage from the brush or lure the enemy into a trap.
2. Pick them off one by one or in unequal number, when you have more than they.
3. If all else fails get your AE stuns off first.

A lot of people try to engage in stand-up team fights or, even worse, one on ones. This is dumb. The point of the game is to win, and the outcome of equally matched fights is always in question. The outcome of a fight where you have a clear advantage is not.


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