Since that last post stirred more sleeping lions than I expected, I feel it’s only right if I responded to some of them in a timely fashion. These are some of the choice pickings from various forums that have been brought to my attention. Everything will remain at least somewhat anonymous, even if I address anyone specifically.
Yes, I’m ‘cherry-picking’. I am not, however, cherry picking responses I can easily rebut, or responses that agree with my article wholeheartedly. That would go against the entire purpose of this post. I am not going to respond to anything that either my skill article or the actual article itself already addressed, unless there is a valid rebuttal to my points. Please feel free to call me out if you feel there is an argument I missed, and I will do my best to respond to them.
Before I go any further, I want to extend a public apology to anyone who was offended by the post, especially any contributors or stakeholders of 9th Cx. Calling any specific site out was not, and will never be, my intention. Creating rifts in the community is petty and unjustified. To those who rightly pointed out my lack of insight concerning my fellow contributors’ content, you are correct, I didn’t look through all of the content that is currently on show, and I merely skimmed the more recent pickings. You are right to feel affronted, because I really didn’t do as much research as I probably should’ve, but that was a product of me not having much time before work buried me for the better part of two months. Again, that is all my fault and I apologise. I do not, however, retract the statement about the greater community mostly lacking quality content.
I would also like to ask 9thCx to clean up their site’s presentation a bit. In doing actual research for this paragraph, I found the site difficult to navigate, as articles come up completely uncut, making it difficult to cycle to the next one. Additionally, establishing a system where specific contributors can post under their own profiles, as well as a more visible tag system (ie. listed on the homepage or in the categories seen on the top menu bar) would improve the browsing experience, because I had to jump through several hoops to get anywhere but the most recent 5 articles. I ended up using Google as an impromptu search function, so if someone who can make a difference is reading, I’ve said my piece.
To the chap who said that I wrote an article purely to poo-poo his deck – I am sorry you feel that way. Not much I can do about it. In my defence, I personally feel that I have never talked about a deck purely to criticise it, with the exception of that one guy’s LB Twins deck in the Osaka WGP. I somewhat doubt you are that guy.
To those people who continue to claim there is no meta in WS, that’s just not right. The metagame is defined by the people who come together and compete. There is competition, so there is a metagame. Those are the simple facts of it all. Perhaps you are referring to ‘meta decks’, or ‘tiers’. Those also exist. It is a simple fact of life that nothing is equal, and even if there are many viable things, there will always be specific things that competitive players favour, as they will win them the highest percentage of games.
Finally, to all those people who read through my article, period. Regardless of whether you liked or disliked it, I am happy you did so, because it means you actually care about this game to some degree. Please continue to foster that passion. We all need a hobby.
Most of the strategy in Weiss does seem to come from the deck building, though. Once you’re going, the strategy is a little bare, outside of knowing when to brainstorm your ass off to refresh, when to blow stock because climaxes are tied up, etc.
I maintain that the difference between merely ‘good’ players and truly great players comes from a refusal to accept this. The examples you listed are extremely, extremely basic. It’s like saying that all you need in MtG is the knowledge of when to cast spells, and when to turn creatures sideways. Yes, deckbuilding is a huge part of the game, as it is in every TCG, CCG and LCG. However, there is a lot more to it than just that. The difference an experienced player can glean from a given gamestate is dimensions apart from an inexperienced player, even those who think they’ve got WS down. I guarantee you that you don’t have WS down. Tiny optimisations regarding every play, every attack order, every choice made – they are what would separate the good from the great if WS had a proper competitive system and enough competitive players to populate it.
Regarding competitions, my personal opinion is that since the way the game is made is like this, its target audience is also already fixed, it is difficult, and not really a good idea to force the game into something more competitive than its current state. Other card games want to be competitive, but sadly, the creators of the game deem it not to be so. (…) A finer equilibrium can be reached, but it’s probably not going to happen unless the Japanese players riot. The game system is suited towards them after-all, and there hasn’t been mass quitting yet so far to signify a need for change.
There is no reason why you can’t push a game towards being more competitive, even as you angle the game towards your intended audience. Bushiroad provides a variety of formats with which you can both compete and show your devotion to your set – Trio Cup and Title Cup both exist to meet those demands. I also believe that there are a significant number of older players who are just giving up for various reasons. Most of these reasons relate to the fact that the prevailing competitive mindset in Japan (and elsewhere) is that sets that haven’t had an update since Kantai Collection’s first booster are simply unable to compete. There have been tweets around how decks without an Azusa clone cannot compete. Various countries in South-east Asia are slowly slipping away from Bushiroad as a company, choosing to specifically order only Vanguard. The playerbase is being affected, even as it grows in size and strength. It’s at this point that people have to decide what they want the game to be, and that’s part of why I chose to publish that article now.
Points 1 and 2 are entirely contradictory. You can’t say that “the game’s target audience is not competitive card game players” (which is super-true) and then turn around in the next breath and say “anime fans have redefined the goal of Weiss Schwarz.” The goal of WS from Bushi’s perspective is to create a TCG for casuals. You can play anything competitively, of course (Smash Bros comes to mind, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to play it competitively, but more power to you if you do). Everything about this game, from its best of one format, to the general lack of tournament support, reinforces the notion of WS as a casual game. Blaming people for reading the signals they’re given is ultimately counterproductive, IMO. Is it more skillful than people give it credit for often? Yes, it is. Is it AS skillful as others want to claim? I would say no.
Regarding the idea of Points 1 and 2 contradicting each other: I write this with the assumption that the goal of a cardgame is to win that cardgame. Regardless of your stance, a game is created to be played and won. You can argue that games are made to help people be entertained, to showcase the creator’s passion, or to help people express themselves, but none of that refutes the point that games will eventually have a winner, and that winning feels great. You are correct in saying you could infer that Bushiroad didn’t care to help this game competitively. However, if Bushiroad really didn’t intend for us to specifically aim for winning, they would not provide competitive support at all. There would be no WGPs, no Springfests, no Worlds. If you’ve ever had a Bushiroad representative at your regionals, they always tell you to strive to win and represent your country. The goal of WS is to win, and that is why people are unhappy when they lose. This is simply an undeniable fact. My second point hinges on the fact that victory is no longer the goal for many people, which goes against the basic tenant of the social construct we refer to as a game.
Also, there is no benefit in saying a game has a skill cap. Let’s take that example of Smash Bros. Did you know that this 15-year-old game is still having tech exposed? That the tiers are still shifting? That top players are finding new technology to trump each other with, day by day? If the players of Smash Bros Melee had decided that there was a skill cap, the game would be dead. And yet, it isn’t. It thrives, because it has a community willing to go the damn distance.
” Yes, the game is swingy. It’s very difficult to put up consistent results, …” – A competitive card game SHOULD NOT have any of these elements.
This is a pretty silly statement. Do you really think that MtG, Yugioh, Pokemon or Netrunner aren’t swingy cardgames? Do you not understand the value of a good topdeck in those games? Do you not realise that cardgames sell themselves off the thrill you get when luck swings your way? It’s absolutely laughable to imply that competitive cardgames aren’t swingy. In fact, just at this last World Cup, I can already think of 3 instances where a topdeck completely swung the game, and in one Top 8 instance, won the game right before the other deck did.
Now, regarding that other point. Do you think that it’s easy to put up consistent results in a competitive cardgame? Do you realise that a depressingly large number of consistent placers in Yugioh get penalised for cheating? Do you understand how difficult it is to get into the MtG Hall of Fame? Do you realise that topping 5 free-entry tournaments over the span of 10 years is a notable achievement? You need to have some perspective about things. Approaching the debate with the notion that competitive cardgames are super-good at showing skill, player preparation and insight is silly, and it’s even sillier to say that WS isn’t a viable competitive game because it doesn’t reach these standards. The ‘top decks’ coming out of the last 3 Pro Tours were never the winners, and often weren’t even in the finals. Depending on who you listen to, the best decks sometimes failed to cut.
writes article arguing that WS should be treated as a skill game
>last line of said article is “May your opponents always eat those 5s.”
This was probably not clever of me, but I do want to maintain the viewpoint that WS has a significant luck component, just like every other cardgame out there.
The game was always meant to be a casual game.
I did say I wasn’t going to address any points that my previous articles already did, but this one still pisses me off. Read point #4 here if you want to see how I would rebut this. Other games that were ‘designed to be casual’ include Magic: the Gathering, Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U, and basically every sport.
I’d say one problem I don’t believe was covered in the article is the RNG reliance of Weiss as a game, if you damage check climaxes you win if you don’t you lose. That being said it doesn’t make the game very appealing on a competitive level if a person can buy two starter decks shuffle them together and win a regional vs designed and developed decks just because they can damage check a climax.
If you draw lands and spells you win, if you don’t you lose. There’s really not that much difference between being completely mana-screwed and skipping Level 1, down to the notion of being able to mount a comeback if your opponent doesn’t punish you. The only difference between the way climaxes are stacked and the way lands and spells are stacked is that you see your climaxes sooner, and you also see your opponent’s climaxes, allowing you to moan about your opponent having ‘better’ luck than you.
Also, nobody in a serious competitive environment can shuffle two trial decks together and win a regionals. That’s a stupid joke that has no actual leg to stand on, and the Disgaea trial deck doesn’t count, especially since the pilots of those trial decks were all confirmed as skilled players anyway. If that does somehow happen, it’s because the equivalent of today’s Owen Turtenwald descended upon a 1996 pre-release in the middle of Siberia.
Weiss Schwarz wasn’t created to be a competitive card game, but an entertainment card game. Its core gameplay mechanic reflects so. I am not talking about those heal loops, or those abilities, yea looks cool and “technical”, I am talking about the very core and basic ground-level gameplay mechanic, where you turn your things side way, and your opponent practically have to accept damage, that pushes the game towards the end.
The idea that you can make it so that doesn’t happen is the core element of Weiss Schwarz. Improving compression and making it so your attacks are more likely to hit is the fundamental part of Weiss Schwarz that makes it so interesting to optimise. You can easily build a deck in a way to stop your opponent achieving their optimal series of attacks while optimising your own. An example is using the Dragon Strike counter in Index, or choosing to play runners and bombs over other Level 0s in order to minimise the likelihood of on-reverse climax combos hitting you. Yes, damage keeps coming through, but it’s really not common to have a ridiculous amount of damage come through without you expecting it to. Seasoned players develop the ability to estimate when damage will come through, and good players will play as many ways to mitigate damage as possible. If Hearthstone can manage to be ‘competitive’ and ‘esports’, then WS clearly has a leg to stand on.
No matter how high the skill ceiling is, how skillful you are, your worse enemy is always the game mechanics.
You know what else is a game mechanic? Drawing random cards off the top of your deck. If your draws are terrible, it doesn’t matter what the game is or how good you are – you will lose. That’s just a part of the game. That’s just a part of every cardgame. You can’t seriously tell me that the inability to mitigate damage (ie. be forced to reveal topdecks until you hit climaxes) and the inability to control your draws (ie. be forced to topdeck until you hit gas/lands) are incomparable. They both work off the top of your deck. They are both integral to the gameplay mechanics of the card game. Neither is controlled by the player, and both are affected by deckbuilding skill and gameplay decisions.
Legally manipulating luck is a much more common skill than in any other card game.
I would like to bring attention to this little point, because it’s very true. An extremely notable parallel is not cracking fetchlands to heighten the chance of drawing those lands, or cracking them in order to not draw those lands.
The old adage rings true. If you frequently put yourself in a position where good luck matters, you will suddenly find yourself with more good luck. Good play rewards you with good luck, as instances of ‘luck’ now become significantly more valuable. An example would be triple triggering non-climaxes at any point. That is actually a significant stroke of luck in today’s meta, as that means your buffer against damage is much higher, if you have built your deck to take advantage of it (hence the high proportion of costless characters and events in the current meta).
The greatest and least explored area is the climax manipulation strategies with cards in deck. No one plays enough to care because of how much uncertainty it brings and inconsistencies as slots dedicated could have been placed elsewhere.
Not really. It’s true that Musashi Kai’s climax combo (and similar ones) are barely ever used, but there are plenty of high level strategies that based on the principle you mentioned. The biggest strength of Girlfriend Beta, Little Busters, To Love-Ru and Symphogear G’s Level 1 combos are the fact that they allow the player to pull non-climaxes from the deck. That’s a huge reason for these decks’ strength in the mid (and subsequently) lategame. The only reason anyone ever ran the Green Level 3 Onodera in Nisekoi is because they occasionally reached a point of invincibility through cancels. See, that’s the issue. People aren’t thinking about why cards are good. They see cards that put more cards in their hand. They see cards which pile stock up for them. They see that these are good gamestates, but they don’t think any deeper. That is what needs to be encouraged for the community to mature.
BO2… is a problem, because then it doesn’t give the loser of G1 any incentive. More specifically, how many Swiss points are you going to give to 0-1? Also, if it’s BO2, then you actually increase the # of people potentially end up with 1 point… which isn’t really a good solution.
Well, if you make it so 0-1 and 1-1 have a point disparity, then there is incentive? You’re not playing for a win/loss at that point, you’re playing for any points at all. Netrunner, as an assymmetrical LCG, is forced to use a sort-of BO2 system and it works fairly well, though they also have an in-game points system that helps.
Someone already suggested it, but using tiebreakers percentages as per any other cardgame would solve a fair few issues. Australia’s WGP uses a tiebreaker system instead of a lottery, even if BO1 is still the Swiss format. This means that going to time is entirely inadvisable and that you should scoop instead of ‘tying’, as that will give you better breakers instead of giving both of you a loss (which is stupid).
Point 5 is laughable.
Foreign, despite the joke status, keeps up CoTD translations.
Plenty of discussions, good and bad, and mostly on track.
Borden is gone, so we don’t need to filter through as much crap.
Foreign, you say?
Just kidding. However, this is exactly the sort of mindset which means WS will never go further than surface level card evaluation. The majority of reactions to CotD in Foreign involve tagging others, spouting about how imba the card is (it’s usually not), spouting about how terrible the series is and how their money is wasted (it usually isn’t), and occasionally an informed post about what the card’s eventual role will be. There is no actual discussion, just meaningless hype and a complete avoidance of real evaluation.
There isn’t really any proper discussion. Every time a tier list or strength chart is posted, it inevitably results in a bunch of people completely dismissing it without reasoning, a bunch of people with token ‘my waifu is bestest’ posts, and a bunch of Singaporeans, Malaysians and Australians shitposting. It’s not the sort of forum that a proper game should or would want to have. No, we’re not quite as bad as Zodiac, but you can be better than diarrhoea and still be a putrid bodily excretion.
Top players don’t even focus on just being better than their opponent in that one round; they focus on playing perfectly to minimize the chances of shit happening, they don’t see their opponent’s power level of 6 and then just decide to stop getting better at 7.
This was part of a pretty good reply, but I felt I needed to expand on a bit of this. Being able to see their opponent as a so-called 6 is an important skill, but what’s more important is being able to take advantage of that weakness. What would a ‘6 player’ do here that a ‘7 player’ might not? Knowing that an opponent is at a specific level and knowing how to manipulate opponents of this calibre is something that more people need to learn how to do, as it really does up the winrate significantly. This is just illustrating one key point of mine – there are a large variety of skills casual WS players never even think of harnessing, because it either ‘isn’t worth the trouble’ or is regarded as unimportant. They are talked about in other cardgames frequently, but never in WS, primarily because the community doesn’t care enough about optimising their competitive ability. I get that, but I think there needs to be more discussion on this front.
You’re not forced to try and bluff or coax your opponent into doing something just so you can put your own characters out.
Microoptimizations about attack order aren’t exactly rocket science. The other micro-optimizations fall under the things I stated…
While I may not “have Weiss down” like some seasoned player, I find the condescending way that the response was delivered to be a bit shitty, and also possibly quick to respond without actually thinking fully about what was said, or trying to use context clues from the rest of discussion that was going on.
Actually, coaxing people to put specific cards out or to overplay their hands has been a vital skill for a long, long time. Ever since Persona 3, really. It’s more notable in decks like Disgaea and SAO for relatively obvious reasons, but there is definitely a lot of play to be had when it comes to coaxing out targets for on-reverse effects, or towards making your opponent not play climaxes at specific times, or to have your opponent think X card is no longer useful… the list goes on.
I didn’t link the rest of the post, but it mostly talks about how MtG is super complex (true) and how WS isn’t MtG, so it can’t be in the same dimension of complexity (not true). It makes the incorrect assumption that a lack of interaction belies a lack of skill. Yes, there is less skill involved, because MtG involves a greater amount and variety of skill than basically any two-player game. No, that does not give you free rein to simplify WS in such a manner. In fact, there was one bit where a list of skills in MtG was rattled off, and literally every one had an important equivalent in WS. Timing is obviously important in both games, though WS is far more proactive about making you decide, simply because the game moves faster. Goading the opponent is a skill in literally every cardgame out there, as is bluffing. Neither is any less present in WS. Making someone commit to a climax combo when you have a sac counter in hand. Doing your best to ensure your opponent sees how many copies of antidamage are in the discard. Pokerfacing through a terrible climax screw. Nothing new. Managing mana? In WS you manage every zone on your side of the field. If you’re referring to manabases, colour balancing for 3-colour decks has eerie similarities between WS and Magic, actually. Strategic attacks and blocks? Uh…
Also, to everyone who kept saying I was being condescending – I apologise and will keep it in mind for future posts, but if we could just stop for a moment and consider what it is I’m doing – I’m picking specific rebuttals and critiques directed at my beliefs and aspirations for a game I am passionate about, and I am doing my best to refute them one-by-one. I’m not in a debate, I’m not trying to convince third parties – I am simply refuting points on the Internet because I don’t agree with them, and I’m making it public. That’s a mighty condescending task before any tone is mentioned at all, so honestly, making this a condescension-free post would have been a pretty Herculean task. Oh, and I didn’t spend that much time thinking about my rebuttals, because my points basically remain the same and a lot of disagreement here is because we have completely different assumptions about the game.
It’s not condescending to newer players maybe, but to the older players who debated these points into the ground years ago it feels like someone is trying to sound smart using long settled arguments.
I don’t see how this in any way, shape or form invalidates anything I’ve said. Just because older veteran players have come to a conclusion does not mean points never ever need to be dredged back up again, and especially not when it comes to something that has completely flattened any prospect of a competitive culture. Seniority has no bearing on competitive drive and has only a minor influence on validity of opinions, especially when everyone agreeing with you seems to come from the same place (and possibly community).
If you have something to say that refutes my points, say it. I would absolutely welcome any perspectives from players older than myself, especially if you’ve debated these points into the ground. If you’re tired of discussing a topic that has not been brought up in years, then cool. Don’t discuss it. Just don’t jump in and cry ‘condescension’ when you bring nothing to the table other than vague hints that you’ve done this specific topic to death. It’s actually a bit irritating.
If you have specific queries, complaints or other issues you want to bring up, please feel free to comment, and I will get back to you when time allows. I wasn’t actually kidding about work getting in the way.