The Roshan Toss #14 – Killer Tofu (And who are the Beets?)

Posted: August 19, 2011 by kingofgob in General

The hot topic this week here at NoELO is defense, so I’m going to throw in my two cents on the subject so you can hear another side of the argument and decide what you think for yourself.  First I definitely suggest reading both Qwerthy’s and ATenThirtyOne’s because they both make good points, but I definitely disagree with the sentiment that defense=losing.  I contend that good defense leads to wins.

A few years back I was an avid Magic: The Gathering player and I would often (and still do) read articles on Magic theory.  It was during this time Magic author, Mike Flores, wrote one of the most influential articles in Magic history titled Who’s the Beatdown.  Since its writing it has become a staple text for magic theory.  I suggest if you have any knowledge of Magic at all you should go search this article up and give it a look see, it has relevance in almost any competitive game.  His major point was that in any given match someone must assume the aggressive beatdown role and someone must take the more defensive control role.  He famously said “Misassignment of Role=Game Loss.”  This paradigm has since been molded and shaped to be applied in all sorts of situations involving the game.

This is the kind of analysis that I would like to use for a game like LoL.  LoL is a game that constantly changes within the 30-60 minute span that comprise the average game.  A question that you should always be asking yourself is “Who’s the beatdown?”  The criterion for this may be as simple as what hero am I playing; if I am playing LeBlanc or Urgot and I’m solo mid against and Ashe or Corki I am probably the beatdown so I should do my best to harass and put the onus on my opponent to do something before I take over the lane.  Sometimes your role is decided by lane comp, if you’re 1v2ing a lane you’re probably playing the control role.  Let’s say you’re playing Malz, usually a beatdown hero, but you’re in a lane against a Veigar, or any similar mage killer, then you’re probably going to have to play back a little bit and wait for your opportunity to strike.  Your role may be determined by the current game state, let’s say you’re laning mid as the Malz from before with your first tower down. You just sent your opponent in lane back so you think “Great, now is my time to be the beatdown and take his tower down.”  Normally this would be the correct course of action until you realize both top and bot just went mia.  The playing defense=game loss theory would say screw it, I can’t just sit back and play defense, I need to get the tower.  Using that logic you’d be dead to the incoming Teemo and Trynd after 2 or 3 tower hits.  The correct play is to reevaluate your role, “I was the beatdown, but they’re mia so now I’m going to be careful and take the control role.”  You laugh at the Trynd and Teemo who think they were going to get an easy kill.

Now this isn’t to say the above is law and that the 1v2 is always the control or that LeBlanc is always the beatdown.  For instance, the 1v2 can be a tough lane but a good Nidalee can harass the hell out of a group of careless laning partners.  One or two good spears and you can start to take control of the lane.  You force a recall and suddenly you’ve become the beats for a short time until it’s 1v2 again.  You’re a Malz who wants to take down mid tower with a bunch missing, but this time your jungle Shaco is doing a great job warding the hell out of the map.  You suddenly can seize the beatdown role without worry because you see the gank coming and know exactly how long you have to take down the tower.  Even better not only do you know you can get the tower but you see the ww is coming at half health and you correctly diagnose that you are the beatdown and meet him midway down river to combo him out by surprise.  He incorrectly thought he was beatdown, sneakily walking down river, and he was unprepared for the more aggressive ambush.

On a higher level teams as a whole need to constantly evaluate who’s who.  In general the classic team comp of Tanks + Carries is usually the control in the mid game and beatdown in the late game while the team of Midrange Bruiser + Tanky Dps is the beatdown early to mid game.  Misassignment of these roles can often lead to game losses.  If your team is full of Mordes and Shacos and you have a chance to put the enemy team on their heels early please do so.  This is a situation where you should play a little more fast and loose.  Tower dive to finish up a kill.  Attempt a dragon maybe without full coverage.  You need to be the beatdown.  The other team probably scales better than you do.  If you see an opportunity to take a tower/kill a hero/get a dragon or anything else that helps you stay ahead and win, do so. Conversely if your team is the Tank/Carry team and you see an opportunity to initiate, please only do so if you know your team has the clear advantage, and before you do so ask yourself “Are we the beatdown?”  If you’re thinking about rocket grabbing an enemy Katarina you better be sure your team is ready to fight if the enemy team decides to use your pull as their initiate.

So this article turned out much longer than I thought and I still could write more so next week I’ll continue on the “who’s the beatdown” question and who knows maybe I’ll make a series of articles.  There are infinite possible situations that can occur throughout any given game of LoL and everyone of them should be approached with the question “Who is the beatdown?”

So you tell me guys, “who is the beats? Ee Ah Ee Oh” (Remember the Beets from Doug?)


Bonus Section: If you don’t have wards, you don’t get to ping baron.

  1. I really like this article – it gives some good examples of when to put pressure on and when not to. But I really do think it’s in a different vein than atenthirtyone’s original article. I think that article really makes the case for not just having your whole team defending one tower or even the whole team splitting to sit by their own towers. Plus the keywords were “(only) defending” i.e. not split pushing, not pressuring, not ganking. I personally do hate sitting under my team’s tower as a group of five defending; they can poke your tower little by little if you do nothing to change the balance.

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