Wow there are a lot of replies I missed while I was asleep. To start, again, I appreciate the kindness and offers to help me out that I’m getting, and the general tips. I’m doing my best to articulate my concerns, and avoid being abrasive so that hopefully the feeling is mutual there. I mean it, you’re all good people.
Now for the replies:
This is actually an interesting analogy for the conversation. I’m going to try to work with this for a second. Imagine that you’re a Civilization or Chess Grand Master. Literally the king of pure turn based strategy games (I’m clearly not the subject of this analogy because I suck at both those games). Then one day some troll starts hassling you about how you aren’t “really” good at strategy games because you haven’t reached platinum (or whatever the highest rank is now) in Star Craft.
Intrigued, the guy starts looking into all the units, the building types, how to maximize resource gain, and everything else involved with the grand strategy of a match. They decide to jump into a game, and get absolutely wrecked because all they researched about strategy was absolutely worthless due to the fact that their APM wasn’t high enough to build fast enough to keep pace with their opponent. Before they could even begin to apply the concepts they understand, they have to literally go off into the woods for a year and train like the Karate Kid or something.
Do you think it’s right to judge a strategy game player by standards which involve decidedly non-strategy components as a necessary barrier to entry? I don’t. And if someone interested in grand strategy games (Medieval Total War, Civ, etc.) was having trouble even finding their footing in concepts they understand because they have to pass a reflex test to even play the game properly, I don’t see that criticism is illegitimate. It’s not fair to say that Star Craft has NO strategy, but it is fair to say that the barriers to entry before they can take part in the strategy part of the game they like, are just too high for them to bother.
Let me put this another way. In MtG, I’d start with a deck / archetype / color combination / whatever that I was interested in, read up on “staples” “tech cards” etc. and then I’d play with that deck, knowing what the overall strategy of it is, and tweak it through matches.
Deck type -> tech cards -> proper mechanic execution.
What I’m saying is that this game feels backwards. It feels like:
Mechanics -> tech cards -> supposing you live long enough, on average, to pursue a strategy, maybe think about putting one of those in as an afterthought.
That’s why I’m here asking questions. But it’s a pretty big investment to get ground down for months on end, if you’re wondering if the same rich depth and deck building you’re used to is on the other side of the chasm. Surely you can understand that?
Thank you. Yes, the video replays are dead on, if the bulk of my complaint was 'this game sucks because I’m losing all the time." The response to that, obviously, is “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.
That would be great! I already have to re-jump through a bunch of hoops to submit account deletion documents, and whoever wanted my account decided to comment on my anger issues and vanish, so maybe this is “fate” telling me something. I’ll re-install the game in a bit and add you.
OK, that sounds about how I was understanding it, but people seemed to be alluding more than that. Thanks for the clarification.
Let’s remove the “skill” and “ranking up” factor for just a second. It can feel haphazard when every deck you play and play against feels like a slight flavor variation of the same strategy, and everything seems to to come down to "you didn’t mulligan X right’ or “You didn’t move your minions right”. Things are very clear for me if I can think in terms of “My deck’s strategy was to do X, but on turn Y my opponent did Z that shut me down, so I should look into teching in W to deal with that type of disruption.” That is perfectly understandable. That’s not where I am currently, and so by definition everything is going to feel haphazard.
Right. I guess I’d respond with, “No one (save for pure trolls) would ever think that they’re making the play that’s less likely to result in them coming out ahead.” Which seemed to me that there was a more "objective’ component to the definition. From what others are saying, the objectivity comes from hindsight and aggregates, which rarely helps you in the moment, but it clears things up for me regardless.
Right. This might be why every deck, regardless of proposed “archetype” feels the exact same to play against, or to watch others play. This might be the source of my issue, it certainly is with Shadowverse at the moment.
In Commander, that usually is what the game boils down to. Removal is usually too scarce to deal with all threats from all X players at a table, so people have to make threat management decisions and remove “just the right pieces” to temporarily collapse an opponent’s system so you can eek out an edge. Even MtG standard when I played (Theros-Khans) felt like that. Aggro decks had “a system”, control decks had “a system”. They did a lot of stuff, played a lot of threats, a lot of it could be ignored, given how tight your mana was.
What is important is finding an efficient “wrench” to throw in. For example, you don’t have to Anger of the Gods an aggro player right away. It might be better to put in the 1/5 lifegain animal from Theros to block, bait burn, give life, etc. Wait for them to commit more to board, then board wipe. Then when they’re low on resource, play Resolute Archangel to reset your life to starting, and they’ll usually concede because now the curve is played on your terms.
That “do just enough to shut down your opponent’s system and no more” part of Magic is what I like, and what is definitely missing here. Namely because all systems feel like different flavors of the same thing.
This, I’ve noticed. The tiger has won me infinitely more games than the big hp -> +atk=hp buff combo. One of the last games I played was against an Abyssian who, near the end, just flooded the board with stuff I couldn’t answer. But I was able to smack her for 2 with a nearby minion, play tiger, buff tiger with ability, hit her with tiger, play arclyte regalia, hit her for 4. Just enough to kill her despite her having insane board advantage. This is, in part, why everything in this game feels like a combo piece and it feels so necessary to ensure you have something and your opponents have nothing at all times. Something, even if small, can kill you in a single turn in this game.
But yeah, great analogy and tips. A good way of using this analogy to be clear on my issue is that when the game is balanced around “knife fight mechanics” every deck feels like an aggro deck with combo potential, regardless of archetype.