Flattening the Curve

SWCCG game play discussion.
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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Echo Base Trooper »

BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 7:17 pm
Ok - but we are on set 13 now 6 years after the reset and a lot of objectives haven’t had any attention at all. I am not sure why the compass points to what Disney is doing vs what the community would like / needs. We don’t need to do arts and crafts for hours when we have a lot of cards already made that just need a couple helpers like when the original V card set came out with just 6 cards in 2001.
What specific objective(s) do you want helpers for?


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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by imrahil327 »

BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 7:17 pm
I am not sure why the compass points to what Disney is doing vs what the community would like / needs.
This feels like a false dichotomy, or misleading at least. I don't think it's fair to set it up as the community saying "We only want the same decks we've always played helped" and the PC saying "No, we are only going to put out cards based on the new stuff"- both sides are much closer to the middle than this, and neither side is a monolith with a singular opinion. We do have a player survey coming out some time fairly soon, and we look forward to hearing feedback on this and other issues in that form as well.
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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by BButter19 »

It should be obvious what objectives have had attention and haven’t. The proof is what are in the virtual sets and what isn’t.

It is not a misleading statement because again the proof is what are in the virtual sets. There are a significant amount of cards not being used that are both decipher AND virtual. We could be utilizing an already available huge resource base but the decks that have seen the majority of resources spent on them recently are based on the Disney Star Wars content. It seems like a wasted opportunity. Strong foundation = strong future.

Greater diversity of decks in tournaments = more fun.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Echo Base Trooper »

BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:15 pm
It should be obvious what objectives have had attention and haven’t. The proof is what are in the virtual sets and what isn’t.
That's why I asked the question. I don't think you know what is in the virtual sets because almost every single Decipher objective has a helper in the current virtual cards. Are you hoping to be able to play operatives or something?
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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by stimpy »

There’s also some decipher objectives that in my opinion should be forever unplayable, or completely redone via virtual objective. Dbo and rtp come to mind

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Re: Flattening the Curve

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arebelspy wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I'd be curious to hear from the current d&d members, in an official capacity, on how many decks they're targeting to be viable. Just a number (or small range) would be sufficient, unless you want to add commentary.

1-3?
3-5?
5+?
Other?
Who all is on D&D anyways? I'd be curious too to see their responses. I also noticed we have no formal lists of who is in charge of what, but perhaps I can't find it? Meaning a list of all people and their names and positions like Marketing Director and Playtesting and D&D etc.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by The_Emp »

Echo Base Trooper wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:20 pm
BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:15 pm
It should be obvious what objectives have had attention and haven’t. The proof is what are in the virtual sets and what isn’t.
That's why I asked the question. I don't think you know what is in the virtual sets because almost every single Decipher objective has a helper in the current virtual cards. Are you hoping to be able to play operatives or something?
Adam aren't you the best person to answer your question?
I can understand BButter19's remarks, I think it should be obvious to anyone with just with casual observation, but I would rather have stats to look at.
Does anyone already have the stats on decks played for each of the past in person majors? Also GEMP and OCS playoffs and tournaments should tell us alot.
How many people are actually playing: Hidden Base, DBO, City In the Clouds, Agents in the Court, Imperial Occupation, DS & LS Combat, My Kind of Scum, MBO, Rebel Strike Team, Rescue the Princess, Twin Suns?
I'm going to guess in competitive games, these decks make up, what 5-10% of decks played in the last couple years between ALL of them?

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Re: Flattening the Curve

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stimpy wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:54 pm
There’s also some decipher objectives that in my opinion should be forever unplayable, or completely redone via virtual objective. Dbo and rtp come to mind
I'd give it more hope then that, especially given they are non-existent now. If we balance them by buffing them but not to the point of making them too powerful then they become another potential deck to play and be competitive with.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by The_Emp »

BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:15 pm
It should be obvious what objectives have had attention and haven’t. The proof is what are in the virtual sets and what isn’t.

It is not a misleading statement because again the proof is what are in the virtual sets. There are a significant amount of cards not being used that are both decipher AND virtual. We could be utilizing an already available huge resource base but the decks that have seen the majority of resources spent on them recently are based on the Disney Star Wars content. It seems like a wasted opportunity. Strong foundation = strong future.

Greater diversity of decks in tournaments = more fun.
Yeah I think it's pretty obvious after so many years and so many virtual sets that there a few decks that D&D focuses on to be top tier. If they did release a card or cards for lower end decks the magnitude of improvement for the lower tier decks wasn't large enough to make it relevant. Not sure why we continue to leave them down and buff other ones that are already towards or at the top of the curve?
I think it all comes down to mindset is what I'm starting to discover. Some people view balance as setting just a couple viable decks and reducing down the variables that could make them potentially lose to another creatively made deck, so that they have the same match ups and cards over and over again.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by TacoBill »

The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 10:19 pm
arebelspy wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I'd be curious to hear from the current d&d members, in an official capacity, on how many decks they're targeting to be viable. Just a number (or small range) would be sufficient, unless you want to add commentary.

1-3?
3-5?
5+?
Other?
Who all is on D&D anyways? I'd be curious too to see their responses. I also noticed we have no formal lists of who is in charge of what, but perhaps I can't find it? Meaning a list of all people and their names and positions like Marketing Director and Playtesting and D&D etc.
It doesn't exist. I asked about it but never got an answer.
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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by The_Emp »

arebelspy wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 10:26 am
rhendon wrote:If that is the field, then 2 things.

1. That is a poorly designed field and we should look at why the meta has ended up that way. We should rethink our way of designing decks and the processes in place for them because we should not end up in a meta like that. The goal should be everything near the 50/50 mark + or - a few.
I don't know if it's a poorly designed field, or just an artifact that some decks will always rise to the top, and some decks will always have better or worse matches.

And maybe they won't. That is a nice goal/dream, but the question more is how feasible is that.

I think if you could achieve that, Hunter would be happy, cause skill would play a huge role, and matchup randomness wouldn't happen.

Instead I think he's arguing that isn't a feasible (or even possible) goal.

Idk how feasible/possible it is, but I do know the more decks you add, the less feasible it becomes, just to the exponential mathematics of combinations. So at what number of decks is it still (roughly) feasible? It's interesting to speculate.
I agree it is interesting to speculate, but how much validity is there to this? Do we really think trying to narrow our customizable card game down to a Chess-like level is the only way to be 'competitive' and the only way to 'display skill'? How is eliminating as many potential deck match ups and variety and creativity as possible considered competitive? That's why you compete, it's the challenge of it.
Why is it competitive to reduce down your risk of loss by giving an excuse that you can't win if you face too many different types of opponents? That to me sounds like players are trying to insulate their chances of losing by power creeping just a few decks and letting all the rest fall so far behind that there isn't a competitive chance you can win if you play any other deck.
That is opposite of competition.
This is so backwards it does not make any sense to me. Part of the skill is in deck building, after all it is a Customizable Card game, and how you play and how you make decisions against different deck match ups. Whether you deploy or deploy, play an interrupt or not, chose to forfeit a character or lose to overflow etc
We are downplaying decision making and how important it is and using the excuse it becomes like Rock Paper Scissors if it's not a Chess like format.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

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TacoBill wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 10:52 pm
The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 10:19 pm
arebelspy wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I'd be curious to hear from the current d&d members, in an official capacity, on how many decks they're targeting to be viable. Just a number (or small range) would be sufficient, unless you want to add commentary.

1-3?
3-5?
5+?
Other?
Who all is on D&D anyways? I'd be curious too to see their responses. I also noticed we have no formal lists of who is in charge of what, but perhaps I can't find it? Meaning a list of all people and their names and positions like Marketing Director and Playtesting and D&D etc.
It doesn't exist. I asked about it but never got an answer.
Really? I thought I was just bad at looking at the main page. We don't honestly have a listing of all the positions where people volunteer with their names and contact numbers?
I know I sometimes see titles next to names, but nothing is compiled in one central area?

Can anyone tell us who is on D&D? All I know is Chris Kelly is on it, I think I heard Emil and it appears sac89837 is by his comment. It would be good to know even for PMing.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

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The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 10:29 pm
Echo Base Trooper wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:20 pm
BButter19 wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 9:15 pm
It should be obvious what objectives have had attention and haven’t. The proof is what are in the virtual sets and what isn’t.
That's why I asked the question. I don't think you know what is in the virtual sets because almost every single Decipher objective has a helper in the current virtual cards. Are you hoping to be able to play operatives or something?
Adam aren't you the best person to answer your question?
Actually I think I'm the wrong person to ask about this. According to everyone else, WHAP has been unplayable this entire year. Instead of complaining that the PC is neglecting it, I used it to qualify for the OCS Playoffs.
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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by chriskelly »

The d&d roster is here: viewtopic.php?p=1207687#p1207687

allstarz97 was also added.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Hazardville »

I wanted to chime in on the discussion about Tiers. Coffeepass did ask a similar question in another thread, to which I responded, but I’ll reiterate it here, in no small part because I don’t remember which thread that was. Let me lead with this: I largely agree with Hunter.

Let me explain why.


It’s important to note here that I’m speaking only of the competitive perspective, but if we’re talking about tiers, we’re focusing on the competitive side regardless. Playing off-the-wall casual decks at the kitchen table has no bearing on how the Majors metagame should play out, so I’ll be focusing on the latter for this discussion.

I agree with Hunter’s assertion about competitive games involving multiple characters/decks/etc. with unique abilities, playstyles, and, therefore, strengths and weaknesses. If there is only cosmetic separation between the choices, then sure, everything will even out because there are no practical differences between the available options. But if there are tangible distinctions, the game will naturally separate into tiers, regardless of the intent or actions of the designers, and this kind of stratification is largely unavoidable. Certain strategies will simply have native advantages over others, and the basic structure of the game will favor or disfavor certain options. That is also unavoidable.

If we try to set as our goal a meta in which every deck is 50/50 against every other deck, we are simply setting ourselves up for failure. For one thing, as previously noted, strategic differences will lead to good and bad matchups as a matter of course. Correcting all of those matchups is at best daunting and at worst a fool’s errand. For another, as other games have learned, there is a 0% chance that Design and Playtesting can account for every possible iteration of cards and thus they can’t know precisely what the meta will look like. Attempting to engineer a meta in the way that has been suggested is an utter impossibility for this reason. Some interaction will be missed, some card will prove weaker or stronger than intended, some small percentage edge will be found that was invisible in the dozens of games in playtesting but becomes evident in hundreds or thousands of games in the wild. Once that happens, the entire house of cards falls apart. One deck will rise up and the meta will stratify around decks good against or weak against that deck, then the decks that can tech to find edges against those decks, and so on. D&D can attempt to correct that with errata, but it will simply happen again, and again, ad infinitum. There’s no point in trying to fight it.

Moreover, I also agree with Hunter that, from a competitive standpoint, even if we could do this, it would be a mistake to do so.

Consider: if every deck was engineered by Design to have a 50/50 matchup against every other deck, what’s the point of trying to brew something new? Just to use cards nobody’s used before (nobody, that is, except Design because they must have in order to ensure the meta would be perfectly balanced)? But so what? What if you find a cool new interaction that nobody’s played before? You know going in that Design will simply cut it out from under you if it ends up being strong, and if it’s weak then you just wasted a lot of time and effort when you could have literally played any other deck. Thus, the only real incentive to brew would be to find D&D’s mistakes, which means you’d still be hoping that they failed to create the perfect balance so you could exploit it.

Now consider the alternative: In a world like what Hunter espouses (the world in which we actually live, by the by), there’s a lot of incentive to brew. You might find something that can beat the Big Three decks, in which case you’d have a huge edge in the upcoming tournament you’re preparing for and stand to reap the rewards of your work. You need look no further than the TRM Guts deck that Silverglen and MHT came up with in the last few weeks. Their deck has a huge edge over the Scum and Cloud City decks that have cropped up at the top of the meta recently.

It’s also worth remembering that a deck like TRM Guts is only possible because the top of the meta is so clearly defined. For reasons already highlighted by Hunter and others, the wider the meta gets, the harder it is to prepare for an event. If, in addition to the Big Three decks, other varied options were equally viable, it becomes far more difficult to develop an interesting alternative, particularly if the other opposing decks attack from different angles. Basically, any time a techy deck pops up, a stratified metagame is the reason such a deck is found, or indeed the reason it can exist at all. After all, if the meta were truly 50/50 across the board, why would you bother trying to find a secret weapon deck at all? Just play No Idea or Legend or Operatives. They’re all even bets to beat ISB and Court anyway, right?

I do agree with some opposing thoughts echoed by others that encouraging a larger meta might be beneficial. But, on the whole, I don’t believe that the goal of a perfectly balanced metagame is either achievable or even desirable. Design’s goal should be to make fun and interesting cards, rather than to engineer a metagame, fully balanced or otherwise. It’s fine to have secondary goals, such as trying to correct overly powerful cards or even to boost up decks that could use help, but a perfectly balanced metagame would require much more focus than that.
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Re: Flattening the Curve

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chriskelly wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 11:45 pm
The d&d roster is here: viewtopic.php?p=1207687#p1207687

allstarz97 was also added.
Awesome thanks Chris!

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Hunter »

The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 8:14 am
No I think you are misunderstanding me. I think anyone who believes there should either be 1) a few top decks or 2) A lot of top decks, both feel that way because it would be the most fun. I think it'll be less fun with less decks at the top (#2 camp) and you think it'll be less fun with more decks at the top (#1 camp). No biggie and understandable.
Okay. I didn't read your "makes the game less fun" as merely being a statement of your opinion. It came off (to me) as just a statement of fact, so thanks for clarifying.
If I'm on D&D and improve a Mynock up so it sees play 10% of decks instead of 0, then yes I have 'power creeped' but not by much and it didn't change the game much. In fact it added variety and uniqueness and creativity. But if I take a tier 1.5 AOBS that is played often, and add helper effects to it that bump it up to being Tier 1 and played the most often, then in my opinion we have power creeped up that deck even further than all the rest of the decks/cards out there that don't see play. That is a larger power creep. Maybe the card isn't super powerful, but when added into the tier 1.5 objective, it added enough power to distance it even more from the rest of the pack.
That isn't fun to me.
I feel like you should be able to see how easy it is to use this example against you. There were Tier 1 decks. There was a deck (AOBS) that was NOT Tier 1. It received helper effects that added it to the group of Tier 1 decks. Now there are more Tier 1 decks than before. And that's...bad?
That's...not fun to you?
That would seem to run directly contrary to your earlier arguments. Now it sounds like you actually oppose having the group of Tier 1 decks enlarged, UNLESS it isn't just by a few, and instead D&D somehow finds a way to drag ALL of the other decks up to Tier 1 status as well. But I assume that even you would agree that kind of "No Deck Left Behind" policy would not be practical. So when a deck gets "called up" to Tier 1, it does so by leaving the chaff even further behind in the rearview mirror. That is ALWAYS the case.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Hunter »

The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 8:42 am
So using our old example of Street Fighter, let's reduce down the relevant options of all the Street Fighter characters and just power creep Ryu vs Ken, so that we can ensure or protect against the chance of losing against a unique fighter that has an advantage specifically vs Ryu or Ken? You could argue it took plenty of balancing to get to the point where Ryu and Ken were the ultimate fighters that could easily beat all the rest of the fighters, and that the balance in regards to Ryu and Ken were now optimal.
That doesn't sound fun to me. Are we playing Street Fighter or are we playing Ryu vs Ken game?
Oh, the irony of you seeming not to know that in "Street Fighter" the ONLY 2 selectable characters were...Ryu and Ken. lol
But I'll assume you're actually talking about SFII.
I wouldn't advocate for the power creeping of Ryu and Ken. How would I have chosen them as the ones to power creep and put into a tier by themselves? I already specifically said it's perfectly fine for some decks to drop out of the top tier and be replaced by others that climb up. So I wouldn't be picking certain characters (Ryu/Ken or otherwise) to force as the top tier. I would just understand and accept that some characters are in a higher tier than others.
Why would we not improve a Guile for example so that it's competitive? That's just where my logic and thinking goes.
Actually, in the original SFII, I would say that Guile is (by himself) the top tier. He is uniquely devoid of bad matchups.
But that wasn't always the case in later versions of SFII.
SFII's equivalent to the "release of new sets" in SWCCG would be things like the introduction of Championship Edition. And SFII Turbo. And SFII Alpha. In some iterations, certain characters got better. In other iterations, those characters got worse. It wasn't always the same characters on top, nor would I say it needed to be. But just like any other fighting game that has uniqueness among its roster of characters, there were always tiers. There were ALWAYS characters that were utterly helpless in bad matchups against top tier characters.

Now, not EVERY fighting game actually *does* have much uniqueness among its roster of characters. I used the example of DBFZ before. That game has like 40 characters in it. PLENTY of diversity, right? But not really. There's really only like 4 different characters. The 40 characters have different names and different outfits, but they can be neatly divided into not more than 4 different ways that they play. So that's probably the chief complaint, among people who don't like the game: There's no individuality among the cast, everyone plays almost the same. In this game, it's fine if like 20 of the characters are all sitting in the top tier, approximately equal in power with each other. Because it's not really 20 characters, it's TWO. The matchup matrix remains incredibly simple.

In games where there IS uniqueness among the roster of characters, you must NEVER have a ton of characters in the top tier, because it would instantly render the game impossible to play competitively. Games in the Marvel vs. Capcom series have MASSIVE casts of characters, with many of them playing completely differently from each other. The characters have uniqueness, they have personality. When you pick this guy instead of that guy, you need a totally new playstyle. Any even remotely successful game that has these big rosters of distinctive characters (as SWCCG has a big roster of distinctive decktypes) has a very SMALL group of top tier characters, that can be used effectively against almost any other character. And a small group of bottom tier characters, that are useless against almost any other character. In between is a gigantic SEA of RPS. This guy destroys that guy, but can't beat this other guy. This guy stomps that guy, but is dogmeat against that other guy. The matchup matrix is chock-full of hugely lopsided auto-wins/auto-losses. Now, if you took the characters in that vast middle, and increased all of their power levels to where they were now top tier, what would happen? Well, the top tier would now be a gigantic SEA of RPS. The game would cease to be a test of skill. People couldn't play it competitively anymore, and the people who wanted to play a game competitively would abandon that game, and play one where the top tier is small, as is required in a healthy meta.

Huge top tier, all the characters/decks play the same: Okay. Maybe boring to some, but it should work.
Huge top tier, all the characters/decks are unique and distinct: YOUR GAME IS POINTLESS. JUST HAVE A RAFFLE DRAWING.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by The_Emp »

Hazardville wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 11:48 pm
I wanted to chime in on the discussion about Tiers. Coffeepass did ask a similar question in another thread, to which I responded, but I’ll reiterate it here, in no small part because I don’t remember which thread that was. Let me lead with this: I largely agree with Hunter.

Let me explain why.


It’s important to note here that I’m speaking only of the competitive perspective, but if we’re talking about tiers, we’re focusing on the competitive side regardless. Playing off-the-wall casual decks at the kitchen table has no bearing on how the Majors metagame should play out, so I’ll be focusing on the latter for this discussion.

I agree with Hunter’s assertion about competitive games involving multiple characters/decks/etc. with unique abilities, playstyles, and, therefore, strengths and weaknesses. If there is only cosmetic separation between the choices, then sure, everything will even out because there are no practical differences between the available options. But if there are tangible distinctions, the game will naturally separate into tiers, regardless of the intent or actions of the designers, and this kind of stratification is largely unavoidable. Certain strategies will simply have native advantages over others, and the basic structure of the game will favor or disfavor certain options. That is also unavoidable.

If we try to set as our goal a meta in which every deck is 50/50 against every other deck, we are simply setting ourselves up for failure. For one thing, as previously noted, strategic differences will lead to good and bad matchups as a matter of course. Correcting all of those matchups is at best daunting and at worst a fool’s errand. For another, as other games have learned, there is a 0% chance that Design and Playtesting can account for every possible iteration of cards and thus they can’t know precisely what the meta will look like. Attempting to engineer a meta in the way that has been suggested is an utter impossibility for this reason. Some interaction will be missed, some card will prove weaker or stronger than intended, some small percentage edge will be found that was invisible in the dozens of games in playtesting but becomes evident in hundreds or thousands of games in the wild. Once that happens, the entire house of cards falls apart. One deck will rise up and the meta will stratify around decks good against or weak against that deck, then the decks that can tech to find edges against those decks, and so on. D&D can attempt to correct that with errata, but it will simply happen again, and again, ad infinitum. There’s no point in trying to fight it.

So I agree with everything you say here. I'm not sure that is what I or others (but they can speak for themselves), are trying to say. What you are describing is reality, it IS the meta. At least to me, I think there is something that is missing. When people talk about the goal of getting decks to 50/50, I don't think they actually believe we can have a perfectly even 50/50 meta - that is impossible just given that the dark and light cards are different from one another even. Rather, when people quote that they are referring to it as an overarching goal to strive for, not an end point, which I would agree is a false utopia. Even if someone focuses on balancing by bringing up lower decks and curbing higher end decks, you are still going to have decks that fall into tiers. That IS the meta, and it will always be happening.
Something I think is interesting is the rate at which the meta defines itself and shifts decks into different tiers. With the theory that Hunter and others adhere to, I think you would have a faster meta shift that categorizes decks into tiers than you would if you had a lot more viable options since it would take longer to determine which decks were better in the first place.
With the meta we have, it's more like we have very clearly defined top tier decks, with the rest way far behind, so things shake up much quicker.
One question we should each ask ourselves is: Do we think a good meta is a changing/evolving meta, or a meta that has mostly set into place and is more fixed as it's not changing by much?
I don't think there is a right or wrong answer there as they are subjective, but a meta that has mostly settled is much more stale to me then a shifting meta where many decks are competing against each other to establish themselves as the best.
So sometimes in our conversations online even peoples 'timing' of the meta makes a difference.

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Re: Flattening the Curve

Post by Hunter »

The_Emp wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 8:42 am
I can understand your point, which I think is a great one, where you want to avoid a "raffle". That seems to be where I am missing what you are saying. Isn't that the risk you take when you play any competitive game, is that someone has a better strategy or skill then you?
No? You aren't able to differentiate between losing a competition against someone who had better strategy or more skill, and losing a raffle drawing? Did you lose the raffle drawing because the winner had more skill? Or was the raffle NOT a test of skill? I explained that in a scenario where everyone is playing 40 different decks that are unique and different but all equal in strength, the game CEASES to be a test of skill. Deckbuilding ability no longer matters. In-game decision making no longer matters. Scheduling luck is king. This is not a healthy environment for a game that anyone wants to play competitively.
I think we can agree upon the premise that, with a raffle scenario you don't want auto losses to specific decks where your decisions and skill did not matter and it just came down to matchups. Likewise, I don't want that same autoloss scenario when I bring my deck and I'm playing against one of the super good top tier decks that, that it also becomes an autoloss.
No one made you bring a bad deck. If you bring a bad deck, someone can look at your deck and say "next time bring a better deck."
If you lose the raffle drawing, no one can look at your raffle ticket and say "next time get a better ticket." You didn't have control over which ticket you received. These situations are not analogous.

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