The Myth of OM (a guide/essay on winning a losing game)
The Myth of OM
It seems to be that in nearly every pub DotA, LoL, or HoN game that "OM" is regarded as some sort of Power Word: Win. Much like "Shazam!" merely saying "OM" somehow turns your team into this invincible pushing force where five minutes ago, half the team just got raped by a gank. All it takes is for your team to be severely disadvantaged for someone to finally say "OM", get everyone to join in the middle of the lane, and then invariably die once they push past the first tower and the entire enemy team comes out of the jungle, fed and ready.
In a MOBA-type game, the term "OM" comes from the daddy of all MOBA games, DotA. In DotA, -om (or "only-mid") was a game mode where only the middle lane of the map spawned any creep, forcing all players to crowd into the same lane from the start of the game. This usually led to a very early team clash and very fast pushing. When spammed into team chat however, "OM" usually means "everyone gather in middle lane, and let's push".
Maybe it's because a majority of games are won by a strong 5-man push down mid-lane, but people seem to think that going "om" is guaranteed victory. And yet, in almost all games, a losing team will call "om" and then proceed to be destroyed utterly and without mercy by the enemy team, who then calls their own "om" and wins the game.
As a matter of fact, "om" is just about the dumbest thing a team can ever do when losing, and this is for a number of reasons:
1. You're behind on levels, because of ganking, and will continue to be low on levels because you're splitting lane experience five ways.
2. You're behind on money, because of ganking, and will continue to be low on money because you?re splitting lane gold five ways.
3. You are visible to the enemy thanks to their creep.
4. Most likely, you'll be fighting in the enemy's territory, right next to their towers, after they spring the ambush and come out of the jungle.
Why again are you calling "om"?
"OM" comes from a mentality common in consecutive gank victims where they think to avoid dying any more by staying with the team. They think to themselves, "we just need to win a clash and that'll turn the game around". That's just ******ed.
There's a reaction in Starcraft that's very similar to DotA's "om". In Starcraft, a player who gets harassed early will think to just gather all of his troops and go all-in on the opponent. This almost always fails (watch some Day9). A player who commits to early harassment is sacrificing economy to earlier troop production. You, who were harassed will be low on troops but ahead on economy. If you bite back, what you're doing is furthering your troop disadvantage. The wise thing to do is to sit back, build up and instead further your economy advantage.
In the same way, when an enemy team in a MOBA game starts to gank your guys with all five of their people, they're sacrificing the gold and experience stability of staying in their lanes. When you try and force a clash when you're already behind on power, you're just allowing their early game gamble to pay off.
Think of Starcraft. So you've just respawned with your lane-mate after having been murdered in your lane by all five of the enemy's heroes. Don't you dare call "om". What is the better thing to do? Go back to your lane and make up for lost farming time.
People are afraid of doing this because they think, "they ganked me once, they'll just gank me again". The correct way to think is, "they ganked me once, now I know better". It is impossible to be ganked as long as you keep your cool and not be the tremendous idiot you could have been. Don't push past the river! Tower-hug! Ward your jungle! These are the very basic strategies of uphill lane control which people have conveniently forgotten.
If you just stay in your lane and play very safe, you'll find the gold and experience without dying adds up. The enemy team on the other hand has been waiting in the bushes this entire time for you to leave your tower, which you didn't. That was a whole five minutes of them gaining zero experience and gold and arguing over who should tank your tower, while you and your allies had lanes free to farm up some gold for your core items. Always remember that games are turned around most effectively by playing safe, not by gambling a pentakill for the enemy team.
Once the enemy realizes they can't gank you, they'll just return to their lanes and everything will be back to normal. It may not seem like it, having zero kills and a few deaths, but you and your enemy are more even in gold and experience than you think. Victory is measured in gold and experience! Even the kill scores are not as important as the gold and experience gained from those kills, and the subsequent free lanes they provided.
When things are a bit more even, maybe then your own team can do some ganking of your own and the tables will have truly turned. Hopefully, the enemy team might even make the mistake you almost made and go "om". By that point, it's a simple matter of setting up an ambush and smashing them against your tower. Then simply call your own "om" and win the game or build a tremendous lead.
See, "om" is a potent weapon but only when used correctly. It should never be used when your team and the enemy team are even in numbers gold and experience, assuming ceteris paribus for the skill levels of course. It's even worse if you use it when your team is behind and you are a moron for thinking that it might work. Why risk it? "OM" is most powerful when your team is ahead and the enemy can do little to stop it:
1. 1. Use "om" when you've just won a clash, or a significant part of the enemy team is dead. Their feeder being dead is not the same as their tank being dead-- it should be obvious which death counts towards going "om".
2. 2. Also go "om" when enemy key skills are on cooldown, and yours aren't. This is a bit trickier to time, but most players with even a little experience can usually have a feel for how long, say, an Epicenter takes before it's ready to rape the team again.
3. 3. When you have built a significant lead in items and experience, go ahead and "om" for the win. A significant advantage is when you've been winning team clashes with ease, your carry is fairly imba, and the team is on high health and mana. This might not be the case until late in the game but it pays to be patient. Remember, you're fighting under enemy towers and even a team that's ahead can die if they make the slightest mistake.
If you're playing to win the game- and who isn't- you have to play carefully, logically, and patiently. Sometimes sitting back in your lane doesn't feel very effective because it's not exciting and you're not getting kills but it really does pay off. Get the kills later when you've got the money to. The way to win is not to try and win right away, but simply to continually increase your chance of winning until victory is sure. Build advantage first, and only then push.