"There's no way to anticipate every danger; you need a backup plan for when things go wrong. Thats why home-court advantage is so important."
In a Real Life Sporting Event
, a Home Team or Home Field Advantage refers to the slight edge given to a team playing on their own turf in a match. This exists because of the subtle differences between various sporting venues and the home team already being accustomed to their own court or field or rink, and also because the crowd at a game will usually overwhelmingly support the home team, thus presenting a psychological advantage. While it can give a slight boost to the home team or bring the away team down by a small margin, usually this is not enough to make much of a difference in the game's outcome.
But, in fiction, something so mundane would be boring or require some over the top effects to work like they want
. So what do you do? It can be as simple as taking the above mentioned subtle differences and making them such large alterations that it throws the away team off completely. Perhaps the psychological advantage is huge, rather than small. Perhaps the game awards points based on popularity. Perhaps the game and field are complex enough that every field is unique (like golf) and deadly (not like golf).
You could set the playing field itself
against them (again, like golf, only it's alive and maybe trying to kill you). All that matters is that whoever is battling on their own turf has a serious advantage that poses a legitimate threat to the other side's winning chances. Often involves Geo Effects
, taking advantage of the terrain.
Of course, this isn't just about sports. If the bad guys attack the hero in his home
, he's bound to have a few tricks up his sleeve
. Even if he doesn't have anything prepared, who knows his home better than he does? Perhaps you're a local hero and everyone supports you, actively or clandestinely, in your fight against the rampaging killbots. Perhaps you're a Physical God
, and your home is literally part of you. Perhaps you can even change the local laws of physics
to confound attackers. The possibilities are endless.
Anime and Manga
- The main thing about being challenged to a parts war in Air Gear is the challenged team know their own territory and can also set traps and use the environment against the opposing team.
- The Unlimited Blade Works spell (and indeed any and all Reality Marbles) of Fate/stay night basically invokes this trope, turning the battlefield into one that's perfect for Archer or Shirou to battle in.
- Fairy Tail has Tenrou Island, the holy land of the eponymous Guild where any mage with the Fairy Tail crest is given a large boost in magic power as long as they're on the island. Well, it WAS that way anyway...
- In YuYu Hakusho, the first of the 4 Sacred Beasts, Genbu, can use his powers over earth to meld with the stone that composes the castle and move freely through it.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, the Melone Base is one for Shoichi and his forces because the base itself is his box weapon and he can rearrange it as he chooses.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers has the Saint Cradle, which gives an edge to the combat cyborgs because they aren't affected by the huge magic dampening field all around the ship.
- In Dragon Ball, Babidi's base can simulate various environments and his henchmen use it to their advantage (although it fails spectacularly when a Heavy Worlder henchman tries increased gravity against Vegeta.)
- Crocodile from One Piece puts his sand powers to best use in the desert of Alabasta. The desert is also where he is least likely to encounter his Kryptonite Factor, water.
- In Bleach, spiritual entities (Soul Reaper, Hollow, Quincy, etc.) are at their most powerful in worlds where reishi (spirit particles) are densest. This means that the spirit worlds of Soul Society and Hueco Mundo are where these beings are at their most powerful.
- Takumi from Initial D has a massive one in the form of Mt Akina. The probable best-known part among non-fans is that Akina has five consecutive hairpin turns, which ordinarily would not allow for recovery. This means Takumi has developed a very rare skill.
- For the Green Lantern comics, the living planet Mogo is a planet sized Home Field Advantage. At least, while it was still alive.
- Played with by Superman and other Kryptonians, who have a Home Field Advantage anywhere near a yellow sun.
- Or technically, an away field advantage, since their own sun was red...
- Some characters have special advantages in the water, such as Tiger Shark and Namor the Submariner in the Marvel Universe and Aquaman in the DC Universe.
- Characters with control over the earth (such as Terra in the DC Universe) are very powerful near the ground and almost helpless when away from it, such as if they're high in the air, in outer space, on the ocean etc.
- In Sandman, the Endless are nearly all-powerful within their own domains, since they also are their own domains. Fortunately, most of them are also big on Sacred Hospitality.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami plays this straight. All Keepers have significant advantages in their own domain. Including, but not limited to: many complex traps, the corruption effect of the Dungeon Hearts, and the ability to cast magic anywhere, instantly. In addition, they basically see and know everything that happens in their own dungeon and can even press the wills of mindless animals into their service, within their zone of influence.
- In Opening Dangerous Gates, the demon Xiphias Gladius' strength and stamina is constantly replenished as long as he's in the sea, not to mention he has control over water. Unfortunately for him, Harribel easily usurps his control over the sea and then knocks him onto land, making him easy pickings for the heroes.
- At the end of Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger, the American Special Operations team initially slaughters the cartel soldiers sent to kill them. However, the cartel soldiers wise up and start using the familiar terrain to their advantage and turn the tide.
- In Quidditch Through the Ages it's mentioned that this is the reason baskets were banned and standardised iron hoops were brought in to replace them. Before this, Quidditch teams would cheat on their home fields by making their own goalposts too small, while the opposing goals were too large.
- In the Iron Druid Chronicles druids are very Genre Savvy about this. Atticus has some very powerful enemies looking for him so he spent at least a century setting up his defenses. He befriended all the local nature spirits, allied himself with the local vampire lord and the local werewolf pack and put multiple layers of magical and mundane protections on his home and workplace. His ultimate home field advantage comes from an arrangement he has with Morrigan, one of his pantheon's Death Gods. As long as any battle he is in takes place under the jurisdiction of that god, Atticus cannot die in it. Unfortunately his enemy is just as Genre Savvy and goes to extraordinary lengths to nullify all those advantages including making sure that the final battle happens where Morrigan has no jurisdiction and cannot interfere.
- In The Dresden Files novels, every human home has a threshold. Entering it without permission from the home's owner is difficult for supernatural entities. It also makes mortal wizards leave a chunk of their power at the door. The more "lived in" the home, the larger the home field advantage. However, keeping a business in the house, where people are constantly invited in, degrades the power. For this reason, while Harry's threshold was weak, he didn't keep his business there for fear of destroying what he had all together. Also some supernaturals, like The Fair Folk, can bypass the threshold so long as they abide by Sacred Hospitality and not cause the house to be worse off than when they arrived.
- After Turn Coat, Harry has this while on the island Demonreach, due to bonding with the resident Genius Loci.
- The Terrans in the Starcraft Expanded Universe would benefit greatly from this were they not at war with one another. Lampshaded thusly:
The Liberty Manifesto
: "We had the advantages of interior lines of supply (that's military for 'surrounded'
) and familiar terrain (that's military for 'we're fighting them in our own living rooms')..."
- Michael Westen takes advantage of this a number of times on Burn Notice, and often mentions it in his narration.
- In the first season episode Wanted Man, Michael takes advantage of knowing Fiona's home better than an intruder, and waits for him to trip over something Michael tripped over earlier.
- In the first season episode Hard Bargain, Michael takes advantage of the fact that a meeting is in his loft, and so when it goes bad, is able to get his hands on a weapon.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The third season finale was one huge HFA. The mayor is giving the commencement address at Buffy's graduation, which is also where his Ascension is going to occur. In response, the Scoobies organize the entire senior class to fight off the Mayor's vampires and hold the Mayor at bay until Buffy lures him into the library, which they've already filled with explosives. He dies.
- In a sixth season episode, a demon breaks into the Summers home and proceeds to trash it while attempting to kill Buffy. She slowly maneuvers it into the basement where there's less stuff to break, and also a convenient weapon (in the form of Full! Copper! Repipe!).
- The hell mouth gives people living above it superpowers. Demons and other mystical beings are drawn to its energy, and Word of Joss is that Warren was taking advantage of it for his robots and other super science.
- Chuck Bartowski often takes advantage of his knowledge of the Buy More, its employees, and their traditions in order win the day. Occasionally subverted, as when he tried to lock a giant mook in a broken security cage, only to learn that it had been fixed since that morning.
- The Japanese automotive video magazine Best Motoring is known for favoring JDM cars like the Skyline GT-R and Honda NSX over European or American cars. Drivers will routinely shift-miss in circuit battles or not push very hard, to allow the Japanese cars to win. This is also evident in its Spiritual Successor, Best Motor TV.
- Alcyoneus (a character from Greek mythology who also appears in The Son of Neptune) has the ultimate home field advantage - he's immortal while in his homeland.
- The advantage in sports isn't all psychological. Sometimes it's an advantage from familiarity with the field itself, or the training conditions it provides.
- Even a cursory glance at the standings page of any in-season sport quickly reveals just how massive the difference is between records of teams at home (it's not unusual for playoff-caliber NFL teams to run the table at home during the regular season, and the 1986 Boston Celtics hold the NBA record with a record of 40 wins and only one loss at home while going 27-14 on the road.) Rare indeed is the team that is better away.
- A possibly apocryphal story holds that Green Bay has never lost at home below a certain temperature, and that the Dolphins have never lost at home above a certain temperature.
- Golf is proverbially not against the other players, but against the course. Ergo, if one player knows the course better, he has an advantage.
- Training in the mountains has its advantages. The air is rarefied, so it's harder to breath. Your body produces more blood cells as a result. Thus, when you go down to sea level you're like a Charles Atlas Breather, which can cause problems if your blood becomes too thick, but otherwise you're just better adapted for endurance sports. The inverse is true as well, if you're accustomed to sea level, merely being at a high altitude can be difficult, rarely fatal, and high altitude teams have a definite advantage at home. It's the reason (along with the beautiful weather) why many Olympic swimmers have been known to spend their summers training in sleepy little Flagstaff, Arizona, some seven to eight thousand feet above sea level depending on where in town you are.
- In international sporting events, climates can vary wildly even in the same country. A team unused to say, the sweltering heat and high humidity of the tropics coupled with the constant rains of a monsoon season, would have a distinct disadvantage.
- Baseball. At higher levels of play, home teams try to gain an advantage over visitors by altering the field conditions. For example, if the opposing team has fast base runners the home team will heavily water the infield to slow them down.
- Additionally, outfield fences are not uniform in either their shape or distance from home plate - they only need to be some minimum distance (and even then Boston's Fenway Park, which would otherwise be in violation of these regulations, is grandfathered in due to the park's age). This lets teams tailor their rosters to take advantage of these quirks - Yankee Stadium, for example, has traditionally had a pretty short right field, so lefty power hitters often hit a lot of homers in that directionnote . Incidentally, the Yankees often have a high proportion of power hitters that can hit lefty (either naturally or as a switch-hitter) on their roster.
- Football [soccer] team Hereford United have a pitch which is actually on a slope. The slope is slight and almost un-noticeable - but it is still a slope. Visiting teams unaware of this are frequently disorientated by the behaviour of the ball as they kick it—it will travel faster and further downhill and slower and shorter uphill. This has allowed Hereford to collect the scalps of many fine teams, including Manchester United and Liverpool.
- Football Association rules also dictate the maximum possible length and with of a football field, but allow for variations of plus or minus twenty yards. The lower division side Shrewsbury Town have the longest football pitch in England—it was even larger than the old Wembley Stadium—and its sheer size both disorientates and tires visiting teams.
- In South America, teams situated on the Andes, be it national squads or clubs, are usually feared because the altitude usually hinders team performances. The situation is inverted on away games, as the Andinian teams show their deficiencies on sea level.
- The other wiki tells us that this is considered so important that important games like playoffs or elimination matches are either held at a neutral site, or with multiple games played on both teams' home courts. It also provides numerous examples of the strength of the advantage.
- In international cricket, the pitches are often prepared in such a way as to suit the home team's playstyle. For example, pitches in India and Sri Lanka are spinning pitches, while those in the West Indies are suited to fast bowling.
- The pitch at Lords has a slope (some six feet in height difference across the whole width of the ground). If a bowler is used to it (i.e. plays for Middlesex), it can be used to create deliveries that just can't be bowled anywhere else. If a batsman is used to it, it can create some incredible scoring opportunities playing ground running shots down the slope for four runs.
- Some old news articles mention sports teams win because of a "home hemisphere advantage".
- Sometimes a sport can have a time-zone disadvantage. One factor in why the Los Angeles Kings fairly easily handled the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs was theorized to be the fact that the NHL's Western Conference (which the Kings play in) had cities in four time zones (Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern), while the Eastern Conference only had a single city (Winnipeg) outside the Eastern Time Zone. The Kings were therefore used to playing at very different times when on the road compared to the Devils.note
- In Australia, teams based in the eastern states can be at a significant disadvantage when playing against teams based in Perth, which is two hours behind (or three if it's during daylight saving and they're not from Queensland). The only other major city in a different time zone to the east coast is Adelaide, which is only half an hour behind.
- Some Australian sports competitions also feature a team from New Zealand, which is two hours ahead of the Australian east coast (three hours ahead of Queensland during daylight savings). This puts all Australian teams at a disadvantage. Perth teams have a significantly larger disadvantage as the four- or five-hour time difference is enough to cause jet lag.
- In the National Basketball League, the "Doomsday Double" is when an eastern states team plays a double-header against the Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats. It is exceedingly rare for a team to win both games.
- The Commonwealth of Nations' own version of the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, has seventeen sports: ten compulsory sportsnote and seven optional sports which the host nation chooses. Cue host nations picking optional sports it knows it can win gold medals in.
- Champions supplement Enemies III: The villain Red Rapier knows he isn't really powerful enough to take on superheroes by himself, so he tries to even the odds by luring them onto his own turf. He tries to trick a hero (or heroes) into entering a building he has filled with tricks and traps.
- Gamma World adventure GW6 Alpha Factor: Jeremiah Coot has filled his base Mindkeep with all sorts of traps, including false vines that cause any opponent who tries to swing on them to fall.
- Paranoia adventure Send in the Clones: In the Absurdly Spacious Sewer where he lives, Zhon-B-VLJ has set up many traps to bedevil anyone who tries to find him. He uses them to herd and capture the PC Troubleshooters.
- Shadowrun Companion: The Home Ground edge gives a character a bonus on using skills on his home turf. This could include the building where the character lives or a computer system with which a decker is very familiar.
- Tir Na Nog: Followers of the Ways and the Paths gain bonuses to magic use if they are within the part of Ireland associated with their Path. For example, followers of the Northern Path (Path of the Warrior) gain a bonus die for magic when in the province of Ulster.
- The Grimoire: Druids gain a bonus to summoning and banishing spirits when within a certain distance of their sacred circle.
- Deckers gain advantages when within computer systems they're authorized to use. Their programs always execute properly, they can gain access anywhere they need to go and they don't have to worry about IC attacking them.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Deities are always more powerful while on their home plane(s) than they are on other planes. For example, in older versions of the rules deities had control over who could cast Wishes on their plane(s).
- In the Ravenloft setting Darklords are extremely powerful and almost undefeatable inside their own domain. In the Masque of the Red Death campaign expansion this applied to the powerful minions of the Red Death when they were in their lairs.
- In Eberron this applies to a number of factions, which helps contribute to the Cold-War-esque stalemate between them:
- Jaela Daran, The Speaker of the Flame, gains a staggering 15 levels while inside Flamekeep (she's normally level 3). The same thing applies to her Evil Counterpart.
- This is said to be the main reason Erandis d'Vol is still alive; while within her sanctum she can perform magical feats of such absurd powernote that even if they know where it is, the more heavyweight factions of the setting don't consider it worth the trouble to attack her.
- The Wardens of the Wood take this to its logical extreme: their leader Oalian is a level 20 druid... but also a tree, making him incapable of leaving his home field at all.
- Most characters in the New World of Darkness can buy some form of "Safehouse" merit. Upgrading the Security rating of the Safehouse penalizes attempts to break in. Most supernatural characters also have abilities that can make attacking a safehouse very difficult, such as Werewolf warding Rituals, Sin-Eater Boneyard Manifestations (which overlap with Field Power Effect), or various Mage tricks (Wards, Bans, spatial distortions, spirit or ghost guardians, Life-altered guard animals, Golems, contingency-triggered spells, etc).
- In the Old World of Darkness, mages could also create a Sanctum where their magick worked better while conflicting paradigms tended to break down.
- Saints Row: The Third contains pure example: Matt Miller, emo-goth-cyberpunk master hacker and boss of his own emo-goth-cyberpunk gang meets protagonist in duel which takes place at Gang's usernet, wchich is actualy a TRON-eque cyberspace. While protagonist advances through the virtual reality, Miller is changing laws of physics to slower his/her advance and is mocking the protagonist with quotes of how he controls the very fabric of this world. In the end, when he meets protagonist at boss fight arena, he takes a form of giant dragon/deamon and stated "Do you understand? I AM A GOD HERE!" Then the protagonist copy/paste his avatar...
- In Freelancer, the Gas Mining Guild's main strategy in the 80 Years War was to lure the Rheinlanders into the Crow Nebula (the GMG's home turf), and then use their detailed knowledge thereof to trick them into explosive gas pockets and radiation fields and so on.
- In Ten Minute Space Strategy, any planet with "ancient defences" trait gives in-battle effectivity bonus to any of your fleets on said planet.
- Sword of the Stars: Fighting in your own system gets you support from defence platforms, planetary surface-to-space missiles and, in the second game, System Defence Boats.
- In Starcraft, the Zerg have the advantage that when they're fighting on creep (the stuff their buildings grow on) their units heal faster.
- In Touhou, native gods (that is, gods workshipped only in a small region) can surpass wide-ranging and high-ranking gods in power as long as they are within their area.
- In Civilization, Ethiopia's unique rifleman replacement, the Mehal Sefari, becomes more powerful the closer it is to their capital. On top of Ethiopian military units becoming more effective against enemy civilizations with more cities, it can make conventional fights against the Ethiopians a brutal meatgrinder.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic III, each castle has its own native terrain, on which its heroes are more mobile than the enemy heroes.
- The Kua-Toa of Tales From My D&D Campaign are truly amphibious, able to breath air or water with equal ease. This is arguably their biggest single advantage in their war against humanity, for it means that they may attack humanity at will, but we can never attack them back.
- In one episode of Cyberchase, the gang visit Radopolis and compete in a skate-off with the villains, where they are losing at first because the competition rink is different from the practice rink, due to Hacker's villainous meddling.
- Earthbenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender have an advantage when they have access to, well, earth, and the Fire Nation exploited by this creating a prison of an offshore rig made of metal that robbed them off their abilities to bend. Waterbenders also have an advantage at their homes at the polar ice caps and the swamp where there is an abundance of ice, snow, and water to draw from. Fire nation again exploited this by creating prisons where there was limited access towater and the air was kept dry.
- Militaries deliberately take advantage of terrain wherever they are. Nations' borders have historically been drawn by geography determining where it would be too difficult for one side or the other to cross into, take, and hold enemy territory. Usually at rivers and mountains. In campaigns, the home field advantage is based on the fact that the aggressor has to move into hostile territory and then either find supplies (often destroyed by the defender) or bring them in over the long distance from home through said hostile territory, where they could easily be destroyed by the defender.
- One main military strategy that's always been extremely popular is the strategically offensive/tactically defensive campaign: force the enemy on to a battlefield of your choosing and then force them to be the ones making the (costly) initial attack.
- Subverted with the Battle of Hastings. The English were on their home turf facing off against the invading Norman mercenaries and possessed the superior position at the top of Senlac Hill. Not only that, but William's offensive tactics (archer screen softens the English infantry, then his own infantry engages, then his cavalry breaks through and routs them) weren't as effective as he'd hoped, due in part to the English shield wall blunting his archers' effectiveness and the English ranks maintaining strength and cohesion. The Norman charge was thus ineffective and became mired in fighting when the English withstood it (and taking heavy casualties on the way up the hill), forcing him to commit his cavalry sooner than anticipated, which splashed off the English shield wall with minimal impact. The Norman left flank broke and fled, forcing the rest of the Normans into retreat. The English army then began to pursue, only for the Normans to regroup and slaughter most of the knights. With the loss of English cohesion and the successful regroup, the Normans managed to turn the tide and win the day. The English had every advantage and if they hadn't abandoned their superior position to chase the fleeing Normans, they would have won. Never bring foot-soldiers to a horse-race.
- Historians generally agree that the American Revolution was Britain's Vietnam (though they may never use those words). They won most conventional battles, but they had no real hope of winning the war. America was on the other side of the world, meaning they couldn't respond quickly or meaningful to events on the ground, and every victory cost them hearts and minds. Hell, the mere presence of "foreign" troops in the colonies was one of the first causes of the conflict! (See also: virtually every conflict in which an underdog has held off a vastly superior invading army.)
- There are home field disadvantages. If one's own army is invading then the other side's peasants will be the victims of Plunder whereas your own will be safe to provide revenue. Furthermore one's own Puppet States will have no support if they choose to defect whereas the enemy ruler while being invaded will have to deal with this. These were many times in the past a strong consideration before the days of nationalism made the general population identify enough with their government to have a high probability of taking sides with the home team instead of just getting out of the way.
- In Hoplite battles there was a considerable home field advantage simply because a Greek soldier's gear was heavy. Also for a long time most cities were defended only by militia who had to get back to their crops and had a limited interest in politics to say the least.
- Modern military bases can try to be very subtle about this. One of the more advanced tricks of modern security is to arrange the geography of the base so that intruders (not necessarily invading armies, but even individual thieves) are encouraged to take certain paths, thus making them easier to spot by security personnel. This involves building hills, placing trees, etc. and taking advantage of known human proclivities.
- Happened twice in Russia, during Napoleon's invasion and World War II. The Russians choose to dig in, hoping to grind their opponents in a slow war of attrition. The invaders were forced to keep moving with their supply lines stretched thin, and they had to survive the Russian winter which slowed them down, and kill some of their forces, while the Russians were able to regroup and rearm themselves for a counterattack. The only time this didn't work is when the Mongols invaded Russia when it was still a collection of squabbling princedoms.