I’ve heard casters use the term several times in professional games, but I’m not sure precisely what it means.

  • Tempo is speed. In music it's speed of playing, in LoL I guess it's a speed of gameplay. The faster team ... wins, right? The commentator saying "omg, watch the tempo" refer to how fast someone (a whole team or individual) perform. – Sinatr Mar 20 '18 at 16:02

Similar to other sports, it means the team in the lead needs to keep up the pressure and not let the team defending catch up.

"Keep the tempo up" in regards to LoL generally means engage first, go for global objectives and overall not play passively.

This is because with an early gold lead, your team is generally stronger, so if you keep the tempo going, it's going to generate even more of a lead.

Tempo can also mean a psychological mindset. A team that is behind can "up the tempo" of play, especially when things are going right. A team that is behind can make a huge play and gain tempo off of that. The opposing team can start to think that the other team is better than they are mechanically and globally on the map.

When a team is behind and they make a great play (not just in LoL but other sports) you'll hear there has been a tempo change. The ability to catch up after being behind will often lead to that team winning because they had all the tempo in the remainder of the match.

  • Note that tempo, like in music (which I believe is where the phrase origin came from), can be slow. While I mostly agree with this, I've also heard references to slow tempo so it's not all about winning. – joedragons Mar 19 '18 at 17:55
  • In other words, it's a buzzword for "the team that's winning has more control over the outcome of the match than the losing team". – Mage Xy Mar 19 '18 at 17:55
  • I think rather than physiological mindset you mean a psychological mindset? – Chris Mar 20 '18 at 12:11
  • Great answer, are ‘tempo’ and ‘momentum’ used interchangeably here? – DjangoBlockchain Aug 1 '18 at 13:13
  • @Childishforlife Sometimes they can be, depending on the situation, but most times I do not think so and no not in this answer. – FoxMcCloud Aug 1 '18 at 13:41

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