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TitaniumChopstick

Hard Countering Your Local Playgroup

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Alright, so before we get started I just want to say that no matter your opinions on this topic, please keep any comments you make polite and respectful.

 

The purpose of this thread is simply to spread awareness of a problem in the community that has, in my opinion, been steadilly growing more recurrent of late. That is, seeing what you opponent has out on the table and reassembling you squad and/or changing it entirely in the hopes of wiping them off the table as quickly and by as big a margin possible. Obviously, this isn't really a problem in the tournament scene because squads are submitted in advance, so I'm mostly wanting to address a problem with the casual scene.

More and more I see/hear conversations between players involving something along the lines of "I hate playing against X at my local store so how should I attempt to beat it?" followed up by "well, if you see X being set up across from you, just bring Y to hard counter it and nobody will fly X again". This has happened to me on several occasions, where Ive been setting up a squad to play and my opponent is blatently assembing something to counter me after seeing what Ive brought. This has also happened to several of my friends who used to play X-Wing before being turned off by said antics at different stores. To anyone who does this, keep in mind that it is generally quite obvious to any experienced player when you build specifically to counter them and it can turn a local group toxic quickly if left unchecked. Fortunately, my own frustrations haven't come close to forcing me to find a new playgroup yet as I generally win most of the times this happens anyway. I feel this problem can be solved quite quickly as long as we as a community accept that this is unacceptable behavior. I love X-Wing and would hate to see this become a more widespread problem than it already is. So please, if you see this happening say something and have it stopped. 

 

Thanks! :)

Edited by TitaniumChopstick

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Definitely sounds like something that would suck. I guess I'm fortunate not to have to deal with that sort of thing. The folks that I play with at my FLGS are usually either practicing and refining what they want to run in tournaments or putting something that looked fun on the tables for a laid back game. If someone was going to run a hard counter to a squad someone else was playing I'd like to think that'd they'd be open about their intentions and make sure the other player was cool with it. 

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You probably are just too good for this playgroup if they're building desperately to counter you and still loose. I would treat this as a challange and switch lists often.

From my personal experience, existence of counters keeps meta from going wild. And i have nothing against countering a local player, i often do. But i do it with intention of him finally changing a list i got sick of after x matches. Some people just let things get too stale and i like to mix things up, so i bring up counter and see with what will they come next time. This war of changing lists keeps the game interesting for me. (And i didnt buy stuff for like 1000$ to fly brobots all the time :P)

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13 minutes ago, Zura said:

You probably are just too good for this playgroup if they're building desperately to counter you and still loose. I would treat this as a challange and switch lists often.

From my personal experience, existence of counters keeps meta from going wild. And i have nothing against countering a local player, i often do. But i do it with intention of him finally changing a list i got sick of after x matches. Some people just let things get too stale and i like to mix things up, so i bring up counter and see with what will they come next time. This war of changing lists keeps the game interesting for me. (And i didnt buy stuff for like 1000$ to fly brobots all the time :P)

Yeah, I try to fly a new list almost every week just to try and avoid this situation altogether, but that isn't always possible when I'm doing prep for various tournaments and such. I also have no problem with local players trying to counter each other as long as there is proper communication. It's mostly just the being sneaky and trying to assemble squads to counter me without my knowledge that irritates me.  

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When you're doing tournament prep I'd say you probably want to try and be a little selective about your choice of opponent (if you have that luxury).

I mean: The people who are deliberately going to bring a hard counter to what they saw you play most recently are probably not the best practice... Although if your tournament squad has a hard counter (and the counter isn't a complete rogue list) then I'd say that's either something you need to figure out how to beat or it's a black mark against your squad.

 

In the context of casual games I usually go for the blind setup; if my opponent has obviously not assembled their squad yet I will choose mine and gather all the relevant bits for it, but not reveal them to my opponent until they are done picking their squad. That solves the problem on that one.

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2 hours ago, WWHSD said:

Definitely sounds like something that would suck. I guess I'm fortunate not to have to deal with that sort of thing. The folks that I play with at my FLGS are usually either practicing and refining what they want to run in tournaments or putting something that looked fun on the tables for a laid back game. If someone was going to run a hard counter to a squad someone else was playing I'd like to think that'd they'd be open about their intentions and make sure the other player was cool with it. 

This is mostly how my local group works too. I bring 3 lists most times (5 Kihracx, plus a fun-but-slightly-silly-list, and either a serious list or something that looks good on paper to try out) and often ask my opponents which they'd like to face.

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I faced this a LOT with 40k.  So what I did was build a fake list or outright lie that I'm fielding one faction, then rock up with a different faction. I've gone so far as to put my fake list on the table and clandestinely set up the real list.  In this case, a player might think they're facing Thug Life TLTs and then BAM, Palp Aces enters the table. 

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1 hour ago, Xerandar said:

I faced this a LOT with 40k.  So what I did was build a fake list or outright lie that I'm fielding one faction, then rock up with a different faction. I've gone so far as to put my fake list on the table and clandestinely set up the real list.  In this case, a player might think they're facing Thug Life TLTs and then BAM, Palp Aces enters the table. 

What a joy it is to play X-Wing.

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You could always suggest a hangar bay type format. Each of you present 2 lists and secretly choose which 1 to fly.

I had the same issue of playing hard counters, and I have a local meta of just me and my son. The way we play now is after one of us loses three times in a row with the same list, you are allowed to hard counter the winning list.

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this is part of the reason i bring somewhat random lists, i rarely play the same list multiple days unless im using it in a tourney (local or not) or as of late im trying to figure a ship out and on-paper theorycrafting isnt working. Theres only...probably 3-4 players in the area that are casually good enough to play on my level without bringing out the big guns so i tend to avoid abusing ship + player behaviors in my favor (i'll plan things out thinking how this guy usually plays but i wont list build against him for instance).

Unless youre prepping for a tourny i never understood the die-hard must win no matter how mentality in casual play. I have ridiculously more fun playing SFs, Strikers, Decis, or solo Defenders than i do Palpaces or Palpdefenders.

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6 hours ago, TitaniumChopstick said:

Yeah, I try to fly a new list almost every week just to try and avoid this situation altogether, but that isn't always possible when I'm doing prep for various tournaments and such. I also have no problem with local players trying to counter each other as long as there is proper communication. It's mostly just the being sneaky and trying to assemble squads to counter me without my knowledge that irritates me.  

Not saying it is a nice way to play, but if you are getting ready for a tournament, isn't a hard counter to your list exactly what you need to make the list better?

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9 hours ago, TitaniumChopstick said:

Fortunately, my own frustrations haven't come close to forcing me to find a new playgroup yet as I generally win most of the times this happens anyway. 

So you had me up until this part.. if you had lost those matches, you would be soured by it? This part I don't get. When I take time away from my wife and kids to go play these games or go fishing or go to the gym or whatever activity I plan on doing that day, I do so to make sure I enjoy the whole experience, not just the result. If I get skunked the day of fishing wasn't a waste because I enjoyed the experience, if I lose my match I don't get upset because I enjoyed the experience. What can sour that experience though is an arrogant opponent or someone who pulled antics like this anyway. So just because you won it doesn't mean the rest of the people did, I would be careful how you approach this game and even life with that attitude as you are setting yourself up for an imminent fall. Enjoy the journey not just the destination!

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Had that issue myself at my FLGS, but list Changelings usually don't stay to long to the game due to frustration.

 

Honestly, i really don't care if ppl change lists after they have seen mine , " go ahead , change it " .

If u play tournaments u will face such a wide field of lists ,so its good to play against as much variations as possible , imo .

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Fortunately, I've noticed that the guys that do that aren't very good with their lists so even if they have a hard counter it is winnable, I'm actually more frustrated with the guys that bring the same list for like 4 months straight when there isn't a tournament to practice for (its not an unbeatable list, or one requiring a hard counter) I just find those games stale and repetitive

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Gah, winnings that important?  I mean, I've seen it a *little* in the group I play but nothing like whats being described.  I don't see how it helps for tournament prep as you can't switch your list when you see your opponents and honestly, I'd feel it took out a lot of what might go into winning.  I mean I guess if you like to count the notches on your gun and don't care where they came from, more power to you.  I guess?

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12 minutes ago, Gundog8324 said:

Fortunately, I've noticed that the guys that do that aren't very good with their lists so even if they have a hard counter it is winnable, I'm actually more frustrated with the guys that bring the same list for like 4 months straight when there isn't a tournament to practice for (its not an unbeatable list, or one requiring a hard counter) I just find those games stale and repetitive

 

I did this when I first started playing more to get a feel for the game and make reactions and choices more streamlined.  It did help, though I haven't flown a TIE Advanced since then :D

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2 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

Not saying it is a nice way to play, but if you are getting ready for a tournament, isn't a hard counter to your list exactly what you need to make the list better?

As long as the hard counter is otherwise viable...

A lot of the time these "hard counter" lists are great against one particular cross-section of builds, but really really poor against pretty much anything else. This is doubly so if the list is assembled on the fly right before the game.

To be clear, I don't begrudge people putting their lists together on the fly, but if someone is going to be doing that, and aiming to specifically counter my list, then it doesn't feel like the game has a lot of value.

If somebody pulls out a semi-popular list (or close variation thereof) that my matchup against is bad, then that's fine. Even if they decide on it after having seen my list. It might be a skewed match, but at least it's a skewed match with some relevance from which I can learn something useful.

 

But this all boils down to why I believe that list selection should be done blind for casual games. (unless you have a desire to test a specific matchup and your opponent is okay with it) Call it a gentleman's agreement.

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3 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

Not saying it is a nice way to play, but if you are getting ready for a tournament, isn't a hard counter to your list exactly what you need to make the list better?

Yeah, but I feel there is a difference between Tournament Prep and a casual game. The situation I think Titanium is trying to convey is on the more casual spectrum.

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13 minutes ago, namdoolb said:

As long as the hard counter is otherwise viable...

A lot of the time these "hard counter" lists are great against one particular cross-section of builds, but really really poor against pretty much anything else. This is doubly so if the list is assembled on the fly right before the game.

To be clear, I don't begrudge people putting their lists together on the fly, but if someone is going to be doing that, and aiming to specifically counter my list, then it doesn't feel like the game has a lot of value.

If somebody pulls out a semi-popular list (or close variation thereof) that my matchup against is bad, then that's fine. Even if they decide on it after having seen my list. It might be a skewed match, but at least it's a skewed match with some relevance from which I can learn something useful.

 

But this all boils down to why I believe that list selection should be done blind for casual games. (unless you have a desire to test a specific matchup and your opponent is okay with it) Call it a gentleman's agreement.

Hit the nail right on the head, friend. My opinions exactly.

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IMO phone-  or internet-based squad builders make this a non-issue. Find an opponent to play, agree on a point value, then build/call up your lists discreetly. Once you've both agreed that you're ready to begin setup, reveal your lists and start setting up the game. No one should really ever need to be doing ad hoc squad building immediately prior to the game, anyway. I'm sure I'm not the only one that's constantly geeking out over squad combos in my free time, most of us have several "set" lists ready to go at any time.

The only time I can see this being a problem, and it would really just fall into the category of douchey behavior, is when you know you'll be facing a newer player with limited resources and you know from the get-go that you'll be able to field a squad that he'll have little chance against. The sporting thing there, IMO, is to list-tailor in favor of a balanced game.

Edited by shakedown47

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So what's the difference between "tournament prep" and a standard "casual game" when your opponent doesn't know or care how you are viewing the game?  I'm guessing "prep" means you're just going to use one squadron without any changes until you've determined if you want to use it or not.  Now if there is a cheese counter to that which has no other reason to be played and someone is always using then then I'd be upset assuming we both already knew about it.  If it's just a bad, or even very bad, matchup then I'm thinking you should suck it up and play so you get better at it.

If it's really casual and then they decide to build their squadron after seeing exactly what you're playing what's stopping you from making some changes to your squadron?  Doesn't everyone have squadrons that use at least 2/3 of the same models but where changing one or two ships and perhaps a number of pilots/upgrades will radically alter how a squadron plays? Besides, in casual things like the half MoV for large ships really doesn't mean a thing as there is not true score keeping especially if you play to the end.

 

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I've dealt with this but only with one guy and he is a special case.  He doesn't play competitively because he doesn't like to lose.  For a long time he would ask whom ever he was playing what they were flying and then spend 20 minutes putting together a list.  I believe he has aspergers based on his behavior but I've felt it was appropriate to ask him.

In the last year myself and a few others have spread the word and grew our small group at the FLGS I frequent from 4-5 to 10-12 people so I don't play him as often.  At some point I got to where when he asked what I was playing I would tell him that I had two or three things in mind and I haven't decided but when he was ready I would decide. 

In the last few months myself and others have spoken to him many times about coming up with his list before hand, mostly to save set up time, and he has gotten a bit better about that while having the positive side effect of him not trying to counter build.

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Meh... Everyone has a different way to enjoy playing the game.  And in a "casual setting" then who are you to judge.  If you don't like people seeing your list and then building to counter it, don't show your list beforehand.  Personally, I really don't care - if they think they have a better chance at beating me by playing a list they're unfamiliar with but has a theoretical advantage, then there's no reason for them to complain when they lose :).  Plus, it gives me experience playing against a hard counter list, and what I need to do to be successful, which will end up leading to an advantage if I bring my list to a tourney and encounter a hard counter there.

 

If it's getting out of hand (to the point that its hurting the local scene), you can always use the list escrow thing that Major Juggler has provided for the greater community.

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