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Hordeoverseer

Is game result determined by match-up?

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So this came up a few times when I talk to my friends who quit the game and I feel rather obligated to get to the bottom of this with some more opinions. Generally, the consensus is that if two equal players play against each other, the match up is determined by what clans they play. Let's take an extreme example and say someone chooses to play Crane honour rocket into old Scorpion SH, that would be 'impossible' for the former. Their hyperbole aside, let's say impossible is 20/80.

 

Is there potentially some truth to that?

Edited by Hordeoverseer

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53 minutes ago, Hordeoverseer said:

So this came up a few times when I talk to my friends who quit the game and I feel rather obligated to get to the bottom of this with some more opinions. Generally, the consensus is that if two equal players play against each other, the match up is determined by what clans they play. Let's take an extreme example and say someone chooses to play Crane honour rocket into old Scorpion SH, that would be 'impossible' for the former. Their hyperbole aside, let's say impossible is 20/80.

 

Is there potentially some truth to that?

To an extent yes, but it is more a question of relative power level of card pool and archetypes I think. 

Scorpion control is just one of the strongest deck archetypes in the field at the moment, as Kotei results from this year made painfully evident.  Part of that is that the decks that should be a natural counter to them (swarm military and low bid honor decks) just haven't been given the tools to compete.  We're starting to see a turn around on that front with the new Lion and Unicorn Strongholds but both clans were still in need of several pieces that are only now starting to come out.

As to the Honor Rocket, the deck doesn't really exist yet as the closest way to achieve it would be a Way of the Chrysanthemum play, and its frankly too unreliable and leaves you so starved for conflict hand support that its hard to get yourself over the finish line after it.

As the card pool deepens we should see the viability of other decks come up but yes for now the top of the tiers would be Scorpion and Crane control, Dragon Towers and just on the verge would be Phoenix Spellslingers. 

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In old5R or new5R?

Very much so in Old5R, basically throughout its entirely life. At the game's healthiest, there would be the Rock-Paper-Scissors of Honor - Military - Jank (Military beat honor rocket, Jank beat military, Honor beat jank). Usually, it was two competitive decks, with the third semi-competitive removing the others which could threaten the two top tier decks.

In new5R, in my experience, a LOT of this game comes down to player skill. A master piloting a deck they know as well as they know your deck will beat the greatest deck in the world, piloted by a neophyte, with some variance for card draw and interaction. However, if we are dealing with players of equal skill? It does not STRICTLY come down to the decks they are playing, though that is absolutely what it looks like right now.

So in the words of Reverend Lovejoy, "The short answer is yes with an if, the longer answer is no with a but."

The more indepth answer is that we are still dealing with a VERY SHALLOW CARD POOL, which means we really have very limited options in how a given faction plays. We have 11 Strongholds spread across 7 factions. Of these 11 Strongholds, only 2 filled out a theme to their faction, while the other 2 expanded their existing options. It matters less the type of deck your opponent plays, than the type of deck YOU play. As @Schmoozies points out above, some factions just have really good decks right now (Dragon, Scorpion, Crane) while others do not (Unicorn, Lion).

But player skill still means a LOT.

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I don't think clan match ups are too important.  What decks are facing each other certainly matter and some clans do not have the same tools as others so you can end up with a back deck match up, but, the clans themselves do not necessarily have a "predator/prey" hierarchy.

An example would be Unicorn not having any sort of attachment removal, as well as having a couple very key uniques with abilities you need to have.  Do this leads you to the choice of Dragon for your conflict splash. While this combination of cards does not have the same economic advantage as say Unicorn with Crab splash, it does cover some holes up for certain types of decks you will face.  

It you don't run into the decks you were preparing to face, then you end up having a less than optimal deck.

I think the issue the game faces is that one clan has all the tools that are commonly successful and the others are playing catch up.  Some are closer than others but everyone is essentially chassing one clan.

How everyone goes about beating that one clan will open up holes in their deck that other decks can exploit.  You overload on attachment hate and you crumble to an event heavy deck.  You don't put enough in and a big unit rolls you.   It's a delicate balance.

I'm not sure it's a big "problem" to have a top clan to shoot for. I am certain that the lack of card utility, raw draw power, and/or card selection across the majority of the clans is the issue.

The most successful clans have this, the least successful clans do not.  While it would be rather silly to have all clans have the same things, something does need to happen to bring this into balance.

The longer is it perceived to be "Scorpion then everyone else" the worse it is for the health of the game, regardless of it being true or not.

It seems like the game is turning the corner, but, the big box and the next couple clan packs will be very important to keep people in the game.  Story alone is not enough.

The new Unicorn stronghold looks like it could shake things up in a serious way.  Generating 10 fate a turn is going to be an interesting puzzle for everyone to solve.

I think where design is missing the mark is not having any/enough cards that have "either or" effects with good utility or variable costs for variable effects, and more discard for effect cards that make toolbox decks a little less risky.

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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This is how card games work. Deck archetypes have strong and weak matchups, and part of evaluating an environment is determining how popular each archetype is and working out what's the best option to take advantage of that.

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Simple Answers are almost always best..

In GO a 6th Dan vs 4th Dan; much more often than not the 6th Dan will win. If both players played to the best of their ability, however; we know this not to be the case. Even in this match ups the percentage win rate is somewhere in the 60-70% in 6th Dan favor.

To put it in even simpler terms..

"The player who makes the fewest mistakes wins"

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Admittedly, it might be kind of unfair to go "X Clan, Crane Honour Rocket, and random stack of cards can't beat a Scorpion Clan deck, so there's no reason to play this game". I suppose my friend felt the game would be playable if it was entirely fair. They did propose that a sideboard would make the game bearable. I'm a bit skeptical about that, wouldn't Scorpion be able to dump all of their attachment removal for other cards?

There might be a fallacy to think you've played your best game and believe your opponent played less than that yet still beat you. It can happen, as we are playing a card game with random draws and not chess. 

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I have played L5R LCG since its release, regularly. That means I have played easily 250+ games, with more decks than I can honestly recall. And I can confidently say that the number of my games which have been won or lost due SIMPLY to a lucky card at the right time, without any degree of human skill behind it? Is less than a dozen. I've lost games to players expending resources to draw more cards, to get the one card they need in their hand to have an answer to the current game state. This is due, often, to having skillful comfort with your deck, and most decks can be designed to have answers for most situations.

Being said, there are no current situations (for most Clans) where it is simply: "Oh, you're playing Scorpion? *scoop*" Even the Scorpion Clan, which is widely considered the most powerful faction with the best Stronghold in the game? Requires skill to polite, and it still can lose by simply not getting the right cards in its hands at the right time. It is not an unbeatable deck. It's good. It can be punishingly good with the right start, but it is not unbeatable.

And playing against an S-tier Scorpion player with an S-tier Scorpion deck can SEEM pretty unbeatable. It is not. They do not actually have the answer to every situation, they just SEEM like they do because L5R is a game all about making the right decision to not use the right resource at the wrong time. There is a reason that players like Baalthuis, Jakub, and Aneil are that good: practice. Practice, practice, practice.

Now, then there's the problem of playing Unicorn or Lion right now. The Unicorn Clan Dynasty cards are trash, and the Lion Clan just don't have the answers to the current meta. In the competitive scene, you are not going to get far with them. But five out of seven is not bad.

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On 11/29/2018 at 8:19 AM, Hordeoverseer said:

So this came up....

Is there potentially some truth to that?

Most definitely YES. 

May gaming group (5 players total, including me) dropped the game about 4 months after it was released..... the most readily used reasoning was the ease with which a certain 2 Clans (Crab and Scorpion) were wining games versus the other 5. We gave it another shot months later with our own version of multiplayer, with the same results. We are all casual gamers, not too competitive imo. 

I’m the only player left who games, mostly online and a few games at the LGS when I can squeeze in a few matches. 

While the Clans have adjusted a little, the same 2 are still dominating the field, with Crane popping up every now and then. 

My 2 cents. 

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3 hours ago, LordBlunt said:

Most definitely YES. 

May gaming group (5 players total, including me) dropped the game about 4 months after it was released..... the most readily used reasoning was the ease with which a certain 2 Clans (Crab and Scorpion) were wining games versus the other 5. We gave it another shot months later with our own version of multiplayer, with the same results. We are all casual gamers, not too competitive imo. 

I’m the only player left who games, mostly online and a few games at the LGS when I can squeeze in a few matches. 

While the Clans have adjusted a little, the same 2 are still dominating the field, with Crane popping up every now and then. 

My 2 cents. 

Crab are no longer dominating, quite the contrary. Dragon is better than Crab right now. Heck, Unicorn is better than Crab right now. 

I dunno, you can never really predict the outcome of a game just knowing the clans. Look at the win rates and you’ll see that except for a few specific deviations, all clans are moving around 40%-60% in each matchup. I’d say winning 6 of every 10 games is not enough to affirm that the matchup decides the game.

If that was the case, Dragon should’ve won the first Worlds and the final this last Worlds would’ve been Dragon-Scorp, with Scorpion winning.

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Granted FoF still isn't on the RL so it may be affecting the results, but if the bracket I saw was accurate, PAX Unplugged Top 16 includes 6 Scorpion and 6 Crane, along with 2 Dragon, 1 Crab, and 1 Unicorn. So I dunno if matchup is necessarily dependent, but Scorpion sure seems to still be pretty dominant, with Crane (for now) keeping stride. 

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