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Kennon

Regional Melee

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ccgtrader99 said:

 

Maybe its just me, but 99 percent of the community seems more interested in Joust reports, decklists and even FFG has Joust finals on the web, so do a slew of other sites and metas. Melee is lacking in that regard. We can agree on that right?

Lets assume that both formats are equal skill in deckbuilding and playing. So why does it seem that the competitive community as a whole (even hardcore Melee folks) seem to prefer following the evolution of Joust? Is it maybe possible that its tougher to succeed in Joust with consistency? Is it more fun to watch? Is is a representation that the competitive community prefers Joust?

 

Popularity breeds popularity, ask Apple / MTG / WoW. However, directly equating popularity with merit… that's a whole different thing.

~Think of it this way, right now you're the Joust-equivalent of an MTG player attacking AGoT and saying that AGoT is a worse game than MTG, since there's a huge lot more interest in MTG and much better written content. "All those plots suck, random mana locations filling 33% of your deck and games too often getting decided by random resource chokes is much better! Just look at the number of players who play on MTG Online!"

Oh, and the Melee was also broadcasted by FFG, same as Joust, but I think the last few minutes caused it to be not put up permanently.

But yeah, you do have a point with Melee not being as popular as Joust. 

~And I'm completely sure that it getting repeatedly attacked by Joust-players (from various angles) could have no correlation on this whatsoever. It's not like smear-campaigns ever reduce popularity, eh?

EDIT: Wouldn't "less randomness in Joust" make it easier to succeed consistently in Joust (if you're a good player), on pure theory? ;) Fun to watch is probably true, since Melee games tend to be a bit too long for casual viewing. 

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WWDrakey said:

EDIT: Wouldn't "less randomness in Joust" make it easier to succeed consistently in Joust (if you're a good player), on pure theory? ;) Fun to watch is probably true, since Melee games tend to be a bit too long for casual viewing. 

DING DING DING!!!!

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!

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~How many repeat champions do we have in joust while the LCG has been around? since thats the same amount time melee has been played competitively. Currently both formats in this timeline are without repeat champions ;)

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I like melee, and when played "semi-competitively" with friends, this format is extremely fun. In fact, when played with a bunch of very competitive players at a tournament, for example in a top 16 table at GenCon, it can be very fun. The format can be dynamic, engaging and full of surprises.

That said, most of the competitive melee games I've played have been boring and frustrating, even when I win them. I think the following statement captures my feeling:

ccgtrader99 said:

This enviroment has most games ending 3-4 plots in. Wow.

This environment is populated more heavily by casual players, therefore the skill level and competition in my mind is lower.

This environment has a great deal of king making, new tourney rules or not.

This enviroment has inherent randomness (same table meta mates, bounty hunting well known players, personal grudges, getting bad draws and becoming a punching bag)

This environment has scoring rules that reward people for not winning.

For a control player like myself, the higher degree of randomness paired with fewer plots and more casual players typically make this format less fun in competitive settings. And a big contributor to the boringness of melee is the lack of control elements.

I believe FFG has a (unintentional) bias against control-style builds in melee. I admit that some of this is inherent in the format. One control player typically cannot control three rush players. More to the point, awarding 2nd, 3rd, and 4th based on who has the most power disproportionately disadvantages control builds (even if it seems like the only fair way to determine 2nd, 3rd, and 4th). Also, because the game is typically over after fewer rounds, the control player has less time to go through the typical stages of (1) setup the control mechanics, (2) establish control, and finally (3) begin claiming power.

FFG's recent actions have further disadvantaged control builds in melee. FFG's most recent ruling seems to forbid players from working together to control their opponents. Although every rush deck is able to play basically how they are designed, control decks are left in a pergutory-like place where they are allowed to work the mechanics of their own deck but not allowed to actually try to control their foes through coordination with other control players. For the record, I agree that it's a big NPE when metamates sit down at the same table, and all of them have control decks that are seemingly designed to work together. But the result of these rulings is that it's very difficult to take a melee deck to a tournament and do well without raising red flags of collusion or king-making, especially if you also happen to be at a table with a metamate.

The net impact of all the rules and card design is a format that rewards a very specific style of play that is very different and much more prone to randomness than 1v1. If melee is regarded in contempt by many competitive players, it is no surprise. The format is completely different from joust, but lauded by FFG is a format that has equal standing.

One final note on why skilled joust players do well in melee. Some of the comments suggest this is evidence that melee involves skill. While I don't deny it does, the type of skill required in melee is something altogether different. The reasons why good players do well in both formats are: (1) they are more familiar with the cards and the metagame, and so they know what to anticipate; (2) they typically play regularly and playtest in advance of large tournaments; and (3) they spend significant time refining their deck lists. None of these points have to do with player skill, per se, but all of them have to do with experience and familiarity with the cards. In short, the best players aren't always the most skilled, but rather have the most experience.

 

 

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Twn2dn all the points you underlined have to do with player skill. Skill is something that grows through use, pratice, experiance and study. Only talent (a marked innate ability) does not grow.

 

Skill is defined by most major dictionary sites as: the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: Carpentry was one of his many skills.

 

So the only way a player could get more skilled would be by playing lots (practice) etc….  I would argue that if a skilled player meets anohter player that has practiced more, knows more about the meta and has spent more time on his deck and then loses to him. He or she has infact just lost to a more skilled player.

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@Darknoj: I didn't mean to suggest that melee involves no skill, but rather that it emphasizes a different kind of skill. This is probably a no-brainer, given the obvious impact that social interaction and negotiation has on the outcomes. The common thread, and the reason why "good players" do well at both, has to do with their level of familiarity with the cards, based on their playtesting and following the metagame. While this, strictly speaking, is a piece of what makes a player skilled, I personally don't consider this the only (or even the primary) component. But it is enough to explain why *some* of the same players do well at both melee and joust (though not all).

In any case, I don't mean to get bogged down in semantics here. My main point, and what was overlooked by your post, were the (a) greater degree of uncontrollable factors in determining outcomes (i.e. luck plays a greater role) and (b) the inherent disadvantage to control decks.

For me, and possibly other control-oriented players, competitive melee can be extremely boring but nevertheless a necessary evil to participate in for those who want to do well overall at large events.

 

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I dont mind playing melee at a friends house when we know the game will end with 15 power, my issue with melee is that most games I have seen go to time.  This adds a fold to the game that I dont like, you get ahead or in a spot where you think you can win and now you start to slow play, or even worse you slow play because your in 2nd and then the guy in first slow plays so now we have half the table playing for time and not for the win. So from my stand point I would rather play joust becasue I am half the table and thus can do everything I can to avoid the game going to time.  Not saying we should get rid of the time aspect of the game.

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Twn2dn For interest sake I like to know what component of being skilled you think is the primary component for the most skilled players?



 



When you say luck what do you mean? My cards at a melee game are as randomized as at a joust. My draws are as random. What extra item in melee is their that creates more fluctuation of random chance? Is it the fact that I have more opponents and so the chance that one of them gets the perfect set up for example is increased and therefore luck plays a slightly greater role? If this is what your talking about then yes I agree there is slightly more luck at melee.



 



I think however that many people who do not enjoy melee tend to try and say there is more luck because player x did or did not do y when they should have. Maybe because some one tricked, coworsed or through some other means got them to do something else. This is not luck but rather that a skilled player applying one of his melee skills influenced the other players decision.



 



I also feel that the pacing of the game is so very different that players often feel like it was only due to luck that they lost. “That player was lucky you picked him to go first or I would have won”…”your lucky guy x played a Knigths of the Strom or I would have won before you”…This is not luck but more an additional unknown factors or input. Guy x did not randomly play his KotS he had some plan or wanted that charecture or a million other reasons that are uniquely his….I agree that it makes the game much harder to gage or anticipate but more luck based I am not sure.



 



I have to agree with you that there is a disadvantage to control decks in melee. I would suggest that players who don’t enjoy the types of builds that they would need to play in melee to be competitive and who cant play melee unless they are competitive should not play melee.



 



I think the idea that players have to play melee is a flawed one. If you don’t like the game don’t play. Approach each major event as if there are three distinct competitions; Joust, Melee and Overall. Play in the one or all of them depending on what you enjoy. If you only care about Joust then both the melee title and overall title should mean little to nothing to you. Personaly I would love to see a third type of game get added each year to the competitive scene with it going towards overall too.



 



I personally enjoy melee, and up here in Canada some of are regionals are just melee. In fact I hear people coming down on joust some times saying how its all about finding a broken deck and takes no skill..etc…i tell them the same thing I say to the anty melee guys” just don’t play it”. I honestly would pick joust over melee if I had to only play one at a large event but I know lots of people who would go the other way. Its personal perfrance and I think its great that not only does FFG reward the players that are good at each of the event types but that they reward those that take the time to build the skills need in each as well.



 


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Is melee more "luck" based? Possibly. There certainly are fewer factors you have direct control over (re: what your opponents have in their hands/decks/plot decks). I think the shorter 3-4 plot games that people are complaining about are necessary. Given 2 additional players you're at *least* doubling the time it takes to play any given round, but if you consider the increased size of decision trees you're talking about much longer per round. It's true that over shorter games the odds of small streaks of bad draw/good draw are more likely to infleunce the game.

However, it's worth noting that despite these factors that "increase" randomness in melee, there are more factors you can influence (player behaviour through table talk, title swapping, title picking) where skill is critical. In the end, whether you believe melee is more luck based than Joust depends on whether you think the effect of skill on these additional melee-only factors can offset those that increase randomness.

I think that the fundamental difference between the two styles is that Joust allows for an anticipatory style of play (where you can, to some extent, weigh every card likely to be in an opponent's hand/plot deck and how likely they are to play any given one) which favours control play and is perhaps more intellectual a pursuit, as well as a more visceral head-to-head in which it's easier to gather statistics and write tourney reports, analyze match-ups etc. And we all know we love stats in sports. Melee is a more reactionary game (maybe I'm just not good enough to anticipate 4 player's decks/cards/plots/action, but even if I were, the ability to predict behaviour with confidence decreases significantly), which is a different kind of deck-building and a different approach to play. I like Melee a lot, but I acknowledge that it's a very different game from joust and I don't see why anyone would feel obliged to play one.

The triathlon/overall champion analogy is well-suited - can I really complain that someone won the triathlon despite the fact that I was a better swimmer, or he didn't finish first in any one section? Joust and Melee are two different tests of your knowledge of (similar) rules, the card pool, and your deck-building skills. If they added a builder format, or a civil war format, or a kingsmoot format, or a team-based format, I'd evaluate that format separate from the existing ones and decide whether I like it or not, not complain that a new format some people like is being supported.

 

(On consistancy - Worlds 2012: All four players at the Melee final table made the top16 in Joust. All the players at my Melee top16 table made Top16 in joust, except me)

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