What Does “Snowballing” Mean in Gaming?


Snowballing in gaming refers to the phenomenon where a player or team turns a small advantage into a progressively larger one, often leading to a dominant position that is difficult for opponents to overcome. It is a crucial concept in competitive gaming, emphasizing the importance of early game strategies and momentum.

In the intricate world of gaming, terminology evolves as rapidly as the games themselves. One term that stands out in its importance, particularly in competitive gaming, is “snowballing”. This article delves into the concept of snowballing, exploring its definition, usage, and strategic implications in various games.

What Does Snowballing Mean in Gaming?

Snowballing in gaming refers to a situation where a player or team gradually gains a significant advantage, often from a small lead, that becomes increasingly difficult for the opponents to counter. This concept is akin to a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering more snow and momentum as it goes.

Examples in Sentences

  • “Once their mid-laner got the first kill, he started snowballing out of control.”
  • “Our team needs to prevent snowballing by controlling the early game objectives.”

Similar Terms

  • Momentum: Building up a strategic or psychological advantage.
  • Scaling: Gradual increase in power or effectiveness over time.
  • Domino Effect: A chain reaction where one event sets off a series of similar events.
  • Runaway Lead: An advantage that becomes insurmountable.


Snowballing is pronounced as [snoh-baw-ling].

Origin of the Term

The term ‘snowballing’ likely originated from the visual and physical concept of a snowball rolling down a snowy hill, gaining size and speed. In gaming, it metaphorically represents a similar accumulation of advantages.

“Snowballing” Popularity According to Google Trends

The the below graph from Google Trends highlights the popularity of the term “Snowballing” since 2019:

Snowballing in Different Games

League of Legends

In MOBA games like League of Legends, snowballing is often seen when a player gains early kills and leverages that lead to dominate the game.

Dota 2

Similar to League of Legends, Dota 2 sees snowballing when a hero builds a lead through kills or farm, becoming significantly stronger than the enemy heroes.

Real-Time Strategy Games

In RTS games, snowballing can occur when a player gains a slight resource advantage and uses it to overwhelm the opponent.

Strategic Importance of Snowballing

Understanding and utilizing snowballing is crucial in competitive gaming. It involves leveraging early game advantages to secure victory. Conversely, preventing the enemy from snowballing is just as critical.

Factors Contributing to Snowballing

Several factors can contribute to snowballing in games:

  • Early Aggression: Securing early kills or objectives.
  • Resource Management: Efficiently gathering and utilizing in-game resources.
  • Map Control: Controlling significant areas of the game map.
  • Psychological Pressure: Intimidating or demoralizing opponents.

Managing Snowballing

Effective strategies to manage snowballing include:

  • Early Game Defense: Focusing on defense and avoiding early losses.
  • Resource Denial: Preventing opponents from accessing key resources.
  • Team Coordination: Collaborating effectively as a team to counter the opponent’s strategies.


Snowballing is a fundamental concept in gaming that describes how small advantages can accumulate into a decisive lead. Recognizing and either executing or countering snowballing strategies is key to success in many competitive games.

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