In solo queue, the average player will forfeit between 15-20% of their games. This means that 30-40% of their losses are from surrendering. If your goal is to climb the ranked ladder, how often should you surrender? When should you surrender? Is surrendering even worth it in the first place?
Let's break it down.
The Cost of Losing
For those who actively grind ranked, it's important to understand the true cost of losing a game. When you play a game, it will either result in a win or loss; +25 or -25. If you were at 100 LP, you'll either end up with 75 or 125, a 50 LP difference.
Note: For simplicity, this article will assume a normal MMR (+25/-25). Even if your gains are different, the advice still applies.
This becomes very clear once you start deciding how many games you'll play before you start playing (a habit which I greatly encourage). Let's say you ran a set of 10 games and went 5W-5L; a net +0 LP. When you reflect on those 5 losses, winning just one of them would change the net gain to +50.
I know this seems obvious, but it's a concept that's very easy to lose sight of in practice. When in the midst of a ranked game (especially while on a losing streak), frustration and tilt make it difficult to see this games' spot in the bigger picture.
So with that out of the way, let's explore the cost of surrendering. We can do a few simple calculations to find a rough estimate of the time saved vs LP lost.
As I said earlier, 30-40% of the average players' losses are by forfeit. For sake of argument, I'll estimate that each surrender saves around 7-9 minutes and that the average player's threshold for surrendering is when their chances of winning fall below 20%. With these numbers, you'll find that:
- An average of 10 LP is being lost per forfeit (20% chance of gaining +50 LP)
- Around 15% of total games are being forfeit
- A block of 10 games would on average save 12 minutes in exchange for 15 LP
If you couldn't already tell, this is an awful deal. Even if you correct for shaky assumptions (such as assuming the odds of winning on every ff is 20%), you'll still be losing a lot of LP for a comparatively small amount of time.
This gets even worse when you factor in tilt, since emotions make it harder to accurately discern what the chances of winning are. It's very common for tilted players to give up on 30-40% chance games by misreading them as 10-20% ones.
Is it ever worth it?
Now that I've laid out the LP costs to surrendering, it might seem like there's never any reason to ff. However, this is only on paper. In practice, there are a few key benefits to forfeiting:
- Having more control over the game. Extreme comebacks (10-15% chance wins) happen due to the enemy team messing up badly, which is basically random. Some players will opt to surrender these games and start a new one where they don't have to rely on chance. I personally don't, but I still think it's a valid reason.
- Preserves mental. As much as I advocate for improving your mental as a player, everyone has their limits. Surrendering to preserve mental is particularly relevant in bad team environments where players are being toxic with no sign of stopping.
- Saves time when done accurately (ex: your team has already given up, and hostaging will only tilt them further). Knowing when it's doomed takes experience, but is beneficial if you've developed good senses.
For me, surrendering is most of the time a matter of my teams' mental states rather than the state of the game. My threshold for surrendering is at around 10% chance. At this range, whether I ff or not relies solely on whether or not I can convince the team to play it out.
Regardless of what type of player you are, I find it important to understand your criteria for surrendering ahead of time. Having a set policy helps a lot when you're tilted, and has stopped me from making reckless decisions countless times.
If you've read my other non-Ivern post, you'll know that I enjoy the mental element of solo queue. Having the option to surrender in League is cool because it adds an alternate win condition of draining the enemy teams' mental while keeping your team sane. I do admit that I'm kind of a weirdo for liking it LOL.
Surrendering as an option in League has always been an interesting game design choice. Players will argue that it's necessary to have it in a game like League, but many MOBAs like DOTA work fine without the option at all. Whether you agree with its existence or not, it's important to view it like any other mechanic: something that can be optimized. Use it right and you'll be given more wins from surrenders than you give away.
Anyways, that's it for me. Thanks for reading!