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Astech

A Note On Fair Games And Hard Counters

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I just finished playing the most one-sided game I've ever witnessed on Vassal. I dropped into the room which my opponent had created and spawned my list - LW + Glitter + Countermeasures + Prockets + HLC Dash, paired with a Proton Bombing Crimson Specialist.

I then took a look at my opponent's list, and he was flying 8 Z-95s, four with Tracer missiles. Wow.

My opening line was "Wow, this is a nasty match up. Are you okay playing against my list, or would you prefer I flew something else?" [paraphrased, but only a little] He was fine with playing against it, perhaps not quite aware what was about to happen...

After the bomber wiped out three Z-95s at once on the third combat round (would have been 4, but one had already died) my opponent conceded and immediately left the game. Rage quitting, I assume. I had yet to take a single point of damage, and was in line to bomb his other four Z-95s unavoidably next round, and kill them all the round after that with the fourth bomb.

This has left me in a bit of a strange state. On the one hand, my opponent very clearly said he was okay with it, but his rage quit leads me to believe otherwise. So what could I have done? Change my list anyway? Fly in a stupid way to make it a closer game? There's no good option here that will give both parties a good game, once lists have been spawned (or in a tournament setting, the pairing determined). My list isn't particularly fierce, although I stand by it when compared to meta lists. My opponent certainly wasn't building his list to lose.

In a game as vast as X-wing, I think it's very difficult avoid designing hard-counters into the fringes of the game. So naturally they're going to pop up here and there, and often in settings where lists can't be swapped out or altered on the fly. What does this community think about what the protocol should be, when this kind of circumstance arrives; where the outcome of a game is an absolutely forgone conclusion before the first rock is placed?

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1 hour ago, Astech said:

I just finished playing the most one-sided game I've ever witnessed on Vassal. I dropped into the room which my opponent had created and spawned my list - LW + Glitter + Countermeasures + Prockets + HLC Dash, paired with a Proton Bombing Crimson Specialist.

I then took a look at my opponent's list, and he was flying 8 Z-95s, four with Tracer missiles. Wow.

My opening line was "Wow, this is a nasty match up. Are you okay playing against my list, or would you prefer I flew something else?" [paraphrased, but only a little] He was fine with playing against it, perhaps not quite aware what was about to happen...

After the bomber wiped out three Z-95s at once on the third combat round (would have been 4, but one had already died) my opponent conceded and immediately left the game. Rage quitting, I assume. I had yet to take a single point of damage, and was in line to bomb his other four Z-95s unavoidably next round, and kill them all the round after that with the fourth bomb.

This has left me in a bit of a strange state. On the one hand, my opponent very clearly said he was okay with it, but his rage quit leads me to believe otherwise. So what could I have done? Change my list anyway? Fly in a stupid way to make it a closer game? There's no good option here that will give both parties a good game, once lists have been spawned (or in a tournament setting, the pairing determined). My list isn't particularly fierce, although I stand by it when compared to meta lists. My opponent certainly wasn't building his list to lose.

In a game as vast as X-wing, I think it's very difficult avoid designing hard-counters into the fringes of the game. So naturally they're going to pop up here and there, and often in settings where lists can't be swapped out or altered on the fly. What does this community think about what the protocol should be, when this kind of circumstance arrives; where the outcome of a game is an absolutely forgone conclusion before the first rock is placed?

You wiped out 3 ships with one bomb?  Then wash, rinse and repeat?

Maybe he should have been flying his list differently; I know that he probably needs to focus fire while swarming, but if that is going to get you slaughtered, he needs to fly differently.  Break up his fighters and/or concentrate on 1 ship at a time.

I don't know what to tell you TBH, because I don't play that way (100/6).  OTOH, when I am trying to come up with my missions, sometimes they are wholly imbalanced and 10 minutes in we restart thanks to wholesale slaughter.  That would have been one option, in fact: when you nailed the first 3 Zs, hit restart and he can try flying his list differently.

The goal of the game is to have fun.  Learning what doesn't work can be fun as well, as long as winning isn't the only thing you come to the table for.  And if the game is a wreck, concede and start over.  It happens, and you should look at it as "how to I make this NOT happen next game."  In a game as vast as X-Wing, there are always options.

Lastly, I might not be you at all.  He might be mad that he realizes his mistakes and in the hot minute loses his cool.  It sound like you were as generous as possible, and I think throwing the game doesn't help you opponent understand how to make his game/list better.

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You did nothing wrong. You gave him an out and he decided not to take it. 

I wouldn't go so far as saying it's an auto-loss either. It's a very tricky fight but a win is possible. Dash can be boxed in and harpooned down and 2 attack ships can actually do something to a bomber. If he can avoid getting multiple Zs protoned a turn, I'd say it's worth playing.

That said, I wouldn't presume it was a rage quit. I certainly might've been, but it could have been a concession after realizing be didn't have a realistic chance. There's no shame in that.

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One of my normal list that I fly is Titled 'Drunken Bombers' at my FLGS. The other week I came across a similar situation with a tie swarm. We played the match but the other guy went down fast and hard when his swarm was chewed up by a bomblet and seismic charge one round after the other. We both agreed that it wasn't a good match up but shook hands afterward and will continue to play against each other.

I know I would rather have my list taken apart by something that looks more like a hard counter than play against some of the top tier meta list. It is also unavoidable. I think this is where good sportsmanship comes into play, learning how to accept a defeat in good graces and not rub a victory in someones face. From the sound of your OP he needs a lil work on that and your already a bit ahead of the curve.

 

Regards

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1 hour ago, Pewpewpew BOOM said:

You should not have won...especially since you brazenly offered to change lists before the game.  I think you might just be a bad person at the core and should seek guidance from a spiritual advisor or life coach.

Wait, what?

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You did nothing wrong, but this another glaring example of the increasing gap between casual lists and meta, or at least very competitive lists.

It wasn't long ago I could win games with just about any decently made janky casual list. Lately...not so much. Going 2-9 in the past couple weeks with a 2 a-wing and 2 b-wing list with almost all the games being lopsided even though I flew well really showed the gap of power. 

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51 minutes ago, markcsoul said:

You did nothing wrong, but this another glaring example of the increasing gap between casual lists and meta, or at least very competitive lists.

It wasn't long ago I could win games with just about any decently made janky casual list. Lately...not so much. Going 2-9 in the past couple weeks with a 2 a-wing and 2 b-wing list with almost all the games being lopsided even though I flew well really showed the gap of power. 

In fairness, his opponent more than likely borrowed that list from Blair Bunke who's been flying it successfully in competition for close to 6 months. 

High skill list? Definitely. Casual? Not really. 

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9 minutes ago, Sekac said:

In fairness, his opponent more than likely borrowed that list from Blair Bunke who's been flying it successfully in competition for close to 6 months. 

High skill list? Definitely. Casual? Not really. 

This was a 8 z95 list with zero poons. Blair has 7 with some poons.

First list is definetly less competitive than the second.

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18 minutes ago, Sekac said:

In fairness, his opponent more than likely borrowed that list from Blair Bunke who's been flying it successfully in competition for close to 6 months. 

 

7 minutes ago, markcsoul said:

This was a 8 z95 list with zero poons. Blair has 7 with some poons.

First list is definetly less competitive than the second.

These were both my thoughts as well.  I play against a new guy who has obviously drawn inspiration from netlists.  But then he tweaks them and flies them so badly that they have no tooth.

It's fine if you are doing it for fun, but if you expect a kick ***, it's going to be a rough experience.

Edited by Darth Meanie

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17 minutes ago, markcsoul said:

This was a 8 z95 list with zero poons. Blair has 7 with some poons.

First list is definetly less competitive than the second.

Oh you're totally right. I read the OP just before bed last night. 

In that case, I agree. 

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I'd say avoid dash entirely if you want to avoid skewed matchups, since you're basically going to win unless the opponent has a PS above 7 or a bid or a more obscene turret. Of course, it isn't at all your responsibility to tailor your lists unless you want to. I'm just saying that Dash will lead to said matchups more often than almost any other pilot in the game.

of course, your opponent's Zs have FAR more bad matchups than just dash and/or bombs, so there's not actually anything you could have done in this specific case

 

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6 hours ago, markcsoul said:

You did nothing wrong, but this another glaring example of the increasing gap between casual lists and meta, or at least very competitive lists.

It wasn't long ago I could win games with just about any decently made janky casual list. Lately...not so much. Going 2-9 in the past couple weeks with a 2 a-wing and 2 b-wing list with almost all the games being lopsided even though I flew well really showed the gap of power. 

What was your setup?  Might be able to tweak it to make it reasonable.

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On 3/24/2018 at 7:45 AM, Astech said:

So what could I have done?


There's nothing that can or needs to be done.  Most people realize that match-up plays a huge role in X-Wing, and part of deciding on a tournament list is making informed decisions based upon what you expect the meta to include, and what lists you want an innate advantage against and what lists you are okay losing to should you pair against them.

X-Wing is like 60% match-up, 20% dice, and 20% in-game decisions, give or take.  Players of tournaments who expect to get randomly paired for their games either accept this aspect of the game or they usually quit and move on to something else.  It's a lesson about X-Wing everyone learns at some point.

In casual X-Wing, players need to coordinate with themselves before a game about what lists they'll play if they want an evenly matched pairing.  Otherwise, they just have to accept that some match-ups might be really easy and some might be really hard, but even those games can be learning opportunities (if, for no one other lesson, than to reveal how bad of a weakness List A has against List B, for instance).
 

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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15 hours ago, Scopes said:

He quit? Yeesh. What a bunch of wusses we've become as a race. 

 

He conceded, which is pretty standard practice in all sorts of competitive venues when one side has a clear and undisputed advantage where the writing is on the wall.  What's someone supposed to do, sit there and suffer through another 10-30 minutes of that digital Vassal match where both players know is utterly futile and pointless because one side will inevitably table the other in a few more rounds?  In Chess it's considered bad sportsmanship to not concede when it's clear one side will inevitably win.  Do you think the human race is full of wusses when a rec-league Softball Match gets called  early because one team is up 34 runs to 0 after the 3rd Inning? 

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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23 hours ago, ficklegreendice said:

of course, your opponent's Zs have FAR more bad matchups than just dash and/or bombs, so there's not actually anything you could have done in this specific case


Well, the Z-Swarm doesn't fare that badly, and I suspect this player was probably net-decking the same Z-Swarm list that just won a huge European tournament a couple weeks ago.

That being said, it's the sort of list you have to know how to use, ie: against a lot of match-ups you have to willing to fortress / infinite-KTurn so that the opponent is forced to come to you or else go up against a 12-14 Die Final Salvo.  When you aren't willing to do that... yea it's easy for the Z-Swarm to get really wrecked.

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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4 hours ago, AllWingsStandyingBy said:

X-Wing is like 60% match-up, 20% dice, and 20% in-game decisions, give or take.  Players of tournaments who expect to get randomly paired for their games either accept this aspect of the game or they usually quit and move on to something else.  It's a lesson about X-Wing everyone learns at some point.

I question this breakdown. Even a hard-counter underdog list can turn an upset if the overdog is piloted by someone who is truly hopeless and makes literally all the wrong decisions.

This breakdown also suggests that the best players in the world and the worst, if given the same list to play and a similar pool of opponents and opposing lists, should see results within about 20% of one another in the long run (since dice will average out).  That seems questionable.  I'd judge that in-game decisions are significantly more important than your estimate.

********

On the original subject: I think you did everything you could.  You cannot force someone to accept your offer, and it would be condescending and insulting to deliberately play poorly.  Nasty wins just leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

 

Edited by fiesta0618

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1 hour ago, fiesta0618 said:

I question this breakdown. Even a hard-counter underdog list can turn an upset if the overdog is piloted by someone who is truly hopeless and makes literally all the wrong decisions.

 

I mean, of course this is true.  If someone flies a ship off the board or parks their ship on asteroids accidentally, yea the best list in the game won't help them much.  My 60/20/20 break-down is assuming that the players are reasonably competent.   As long as both players are competent enough to not fly ships off boards, park accidentally on asteroids, or make puzzling moves that give up their attack opportunities pointlessly, I think match-up plays an increasingly influential role in determining outcome. 

I'm friends with some die-hard Warhammer Fantasy players, and they used to always ruminate on the fact that, in their opinion, the game was about 80% List / 20% On-Table Decisions, whereas they speculated that an ideal game would probably be closer to 80% Decisions / 20% List (to leave room for force-construction to play a role).  So maybe X-Wing isn't as bad as some of the other big games out there, but I think it'd be pretty naively optimistic to assume that match-up doesn't play a huge role in X-Wing games.

 

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