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Beyond the Wall, Season 2 Episode 33

Beyond the Wall Podcast Istaril Darknoj LittleC (Sigh) AGOT

Click here for the podcast.

Something special! In this episode, we go over the news (as usual), but then we bring on the instigator of the latest thrones 'scandal', Seth "Little C" (is that just "c"?) to talk about competitive players, competitive decks, and competitive play in general. A few minutes in, we get interrupted by another very special guest. This one is structured a little differently, but was a blast to record! We close off with our usual closing comments, promoting a new segment and the upcoming Greek Nationals.

Relevant links:
-The decklist comments we refer to (a few times).

Errata:
-None (yet).

As the cast is an "enhanced" podcast in m4a format, you may have to download it rather than use the default in-browser player. Subscribe using our RSS feed, or by looking us up on Itunes.

For questions or comments, contact us by email, or on facebook.
  • fauxintel likes this


51 Comments

@Seth, you said on the cast that publishing decks will only help great players beat you and bad players won't listen anyway. I would like to disagree with this statement. I know I am not a great player but I would argue that I am not a bad player either. I can't speak for others but for me seeing championship decks and using them as a template for the decks I've played have greatly improved my game. I used to build trash decks until I joined the greater community and I saw what a good deck looks like. I don't really have a meta to build with down here in Florida so I need to look at what the best decks are on Agotcards.org to stay competitive. Champions posting winning decks have taken me from a mediocre player to a fairly decent player. 

    • JackCade, Jensen22 and fauxintel like this

It looks like with 2.0 we might actually build a strong Florida community. My hope is that we can use the team model that DC has establish to become competition for the rest of you. 

    • fauxintel likes this
Little kid cards, haha. Key word: cards. We are all grown up little kids playing a card game. Chill out, ya'll.

I don't really like the Hivemind mentality of DC, personally. But they get results, so power to them.

Simoni - you're my boy, but the trash talking will continue.  

 

You're better at a table than I am, than almost anyone, but, real fast, remind me how many of the cuts you made without Corey's decks?  Right, 0.

 

And in fairness, little kid cards should have won Noj Joust in 2014 and did win Batalla this year.  Someone else will chime in with other huge tourney's it won.  They're cards that depend on the deck (some decks they roll in) and the meta (specifically thinking of Bara 222 meta), which DC avoids and can because of 5-6 people playing one deck.  That doesn't make them bad cards, and I am a big believer in there being good and bad cards.

 

The trash talking is fine---we do that plenty in person too =]

 

My lengthy post was trying to explain my philosophy of the game--you can disagree with the philosophy and continue running decks with low card advantage + fear et al.  We have one world championship left, and just like all the world championships that have come before it--a deck with the 242 will not win, I am calling that now.  Erick is like noj--they both almost won a major tournament with some tempo cards in their deck.

 

I fundamentally do not believe in tempo cards.  I call them 'little kid cards' that is just a euphemism. Obviously, when I go to tournaments everyone is playing their tempo cards trying to own me.  They are beating me down constantly, and I feel it is my job to weather the storm of these ridiculous tempo cards and come out with a plot 8 victory.

 

I think what I would like to see--and this goes back to me posting lists and helping the community in 2.0--is more tournament games where I get to play against players who are trying to play the beautiful game--and not just crush me with dry season and other tempo stuff.

 

I will do this in 2.0--the only problem is, I will have to wait a year for 2.0 to get more meaningful because right now their are not enough cards for my liking.--although I hear good things about the game!

    • PulseGlazer, 14Shirt and fauxintel like this

I just want to throw out there that Search and Detain is a tempo card by my usual understanding of the term.

 

Actually, I believe you could argue that the 2/1/1 Waste Their Time is, which was in a winning deck was as well.

    • fauxintel likes this

Search and detain is not a tempo card--you use it to save your meera when your opponent is trying to get you with valar, for example.  (when they weren't both restricted)

 

Search and Detain is a control card, when properly used. And it is so good, that it can be played in other ways--it is just versatile.

    • fauxintel likes this

I'm generally coming from the sorts of terminology as they've been applied to Magic: the Gathering over the years, as that's the card that I played most prior to AGOT and it generally sets the tone for this type of thing. A nice synopsis of tempo as seen in MtG can be found here

 

Under those types of criteria, I would say that Search and Detain falls under a combination of mana destruction and punishing headlines with a touch of extra turns. 

 

While Fear of Winter could somewhat fall under the extra turn heading, I think that the decktypes that feature it most heavily the last several years have fallen more under the Aggro or Aggro/Control decktypes, which leads me to believe that it is more of an aggro card.

    • fauxintel likes this
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PulseGlazer
Sep 22 2015 09:02 PM

Simoni - if you want a beautiful game that grows, post deck lists.  Ta da, like magic, you'll have a faster growing meta and better game.

 

Further, like, maybe you want good games, but DC doesn't at all.  Erick's main complaint on the cast is when other people have his decks, even old out of date ones, they can beat him.  Well, yeah, then he has to get better and read the meta better and overall find better decks and ideas.  It pushes not only the meta, but you guys as players to make a more "beautiful game."  

 

Instead, we get sad trolling by your meta, most of whom don't realize that the glory rightly is all Corey's.

    • fauxintel likes this

I love me tempo cards and if you think they can not be used to come back you are playing them wrong. The key is to play decks that don't have to have those plots go off to win. I agree with simoni with the idea that using them as a crutch is not a good idea. ... ps: simoni i have a similiar record as you in major events so what does that mean? we are both right. ;)

    • kungpao, PulseGlazer and fauxintel like this

1. I knew I loved you the moment I met you, Tom!

 

2. I'm glad Erick came on - it's so much easier to have a snake in plain sight than hiding in the weeds.

 

3. Differing approaches and game plans are all well and good until they involve breaking the tournament rules (and to a lesser extent, obvious poor sportsmanship that makes FFG have to write rules like "you have to try to win the game"). DC's hard work, dedication, and skill should make them the pinnacle that every meta strives towards. Instead, the "win at all costs" mentality leads to cheating, tarnishing all the actual positives they bring to the community.

 

*There are plenty of examples that support my claims - Erick was nice enough to list a few in the cast.

 

Edit: Same disclaimer as Wamma - generalizations are being made about specific instances of DC shittiness. ~Like 2.5 guys there are OK... 

    • Deathjester26, Kennon, JackCade and 2 others like this
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scantrell24
Sep 23 2015 10:24 AM

So around 27 minutes in, Seth mentions that his ideal game is decided by player skill.... right after they discussed how the DC meta shares details of opponent's decks during tournaments. Anyone else see the disconnect here?

 

Approaching the event as a team by preparing together and celebrating each other's victories is great, but sharing deck/strategy information crosses that line in my opinion. Now I know this approach is disturbingly commonplace (DC aren't the only ones who do it), but it hurts the integrity of the game in my opinion, and it should be addressed in the tournament rules (but isn't yet). 

    • taider54 likes this

Approaching the event as a team by preparing together and celebrating each other's victories is great, but sharing deck/strategy information crosses that line in my opinion. Now I know this approach is disturbingly commonplace (DC aren't the only ones who do it), but it hurts the integrity of the game in my opinion, and it should be addressed in the tournament rules (but isn't yet). 

 

It's too bad that it helps you combat that deck should you encounter it.  When I went to Worlds in 2013, I found it to be pretty exciting to learn about Greg's Greyjoy char lite deck and getting a gist as to how it functioned.  Generally, learning about cool and clever decks is fun for me considering I'm not nearly as competitive as a lot of the best players. 

 

"Hey, did you hear about so-and-so's deck?  The combos are very clever and it's something very unique."

 

If there was a way that we could share this information generically and it didn't give away strategy that helps you beat it, it would keep those fun conversations and updates intact.  I don't know if there's a way to do both very easily though.

    • samuellinde and fauxintel like this

I don't understand... The Annals of Castle Black is still pinned to the top of the forums and actually loads data?

 

#wastinggoogledrivespace

Still relevant.

 

#worlds2015 #bestmetaever

    • PulseGlazer, majormarkd and fauxintel like this
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ScionMattly
Sep 23 2015 08:18 PM

Whole cast left an awful taste in my mouth, blegh. Hopefully there's something more palatable next week.

    • PulseGlazer likes this

I love me tempo cards and if you think they can not be used to come back you are playing them wrong. The key is to play decks that don't have to have those plots go off to win. I agree with simoni with the idea that using them as a crutch is not a good idea. ... ps: simoni i have a similiar record as you in major events so what does that mean? we are both right. ;)

 

I think your methodology works just as well in tournaments as mine does.  You know this--we have tested and practiced together many times Noj.  Your tournament record is fantastic and you don't even try as hard as I have, which means you are probably better.  That goes back to the point earlier I have made on your podcast before; that the decks don't matter that much until the cut. 0x, 1x, 3x conclave--who cares. 0x or 1x noyne--whatever..  

 

I keep playing the game the way I like it; you play it the way you like it and we all usually enjoy hanging out after the tournament, (thanks for saving my life after gencon after that carbomb).  I think a little forum 'drama' once in awhile is a good thing for the community--so sorry if it leaves an awful taste in people's mouths--it really isn't the intention. 

    • darknoj, samuellinde, PulseGlazer and 3 others like this

So around 27 minutes in, Seth mentions that his ideal game is decided by player skill.... right after they discussed how the DC meta shares details of opponent's decks during tournaments. Anyone else see the disconnect here?

 

Approaching the event as a team by preparing together and celebrating each other's victories is great, but sharing deck/strategy information crosses that line in my opinion. Now I know this approach is disturbingly commonplace (DC aren't the only ones who do it), but it hurts the integrity of the game in my opinion, and it should be addressed in the tournament rules (but isn't yet). 

 

Scantrell, I have to respectfully but strongly disagree with your take here and your opposition to scouting, more generally. 

 

Team play (or more general discussions throughout the tournament of people's decks) as you describe it only "hurts the integrity of the game" when you view each and every matchup in isolation - a vacuum. Each player should have ZERO information (totally imperfect perfect knowledge)  about their opponent's deck. I'm not sure this is a very good way to think about large scale tournaments. 

 

To me, your perspective cuts against what makes big events both competitive AND fun. It's fun to discuss decks that are doing well with friends and competitors. It is fun to "debrief" with your friends after a game and discuss what went right or wrong in the game and, yes, your opponent's deck. Such discussions make you a better player (your friends or interlocutors notice things you did wrong) and makes the general field stronger. Many other competitive events stream featured games which reveal the cards in that each player in the match has played. Other competitors are allowed to watch these features matches when their own matches are finished. By your standard this "hurts the integrity of the game." Yet, I simply cannot hold to that.

 

Let's puzzle this through with an imaginative example. For sake of argument, let's say that FFG streams a featured match for the joust this year for each round. In round 3, after I'm done with my match and am killing time, I boot up Twitch on my phone and watch the end of the featured match - let's say it's Simoni v. Bruno. While watching, what's sure to be an entertaining game of Thrones, I observe that Simoni is playing Bara Black Sails and has Forgotten Plans in his plot deck along with a few other cards he's playing. In the next round Simoni and I are paired together and I go into the game with this knowledge. 

 

The question is: did I cheat or, put more generally, did my actions "hurt the integrity of the game?" By your standards they certainly did. I would argue not. Deck knowledge has a minimal impact on how a game turns out. Competitive card games are decided by a combination of archetypal match up (Lanni kneel generally beats Bara rush etc.), variance (draw, etc.), and player skill. Indeed, the more players know each others decks the more the game is about skill and less about variance. 

 

Put another way, I would argue that as soon as you flip your house and agenda at the beginning of the first round every single card you play from your deck, in each and every match, is public knowledge. A player is, obviously, not obligated to reveal any further knowledge about their deck to anyone except the TO. Part of the skill of playing in large events is leveraging this public knowledge to your benefit, getting a read of that event's meta. Part of the fun of large events is talking with others about this developing meta. 

 

I'd suggest it is a fool's errand to try to take matches played at big events like Worlds and GenCon in isolation and, particularly, building one's deck around such a consideration. If surprise is one of the primary win conditions of a deck it is not a particularly well built.* A good, or even great, deck should be able to consistently win when my opponent knows zero cards in it or knows the decklist so well that they know that I always run 61 cards (for good luck). 

 

We don't even need go to imaginative examples to show how this is the case. As Jon notes in this week's BtW episode he accidently leaked his decklist to DC but, despite that, he still beat Simoni in swiss. I faced Simoni in the cut and I, generally, knew his deck. Not from scouting but from the fact that there are only so many ways to play Bara TMP and I run a version during the Store Championship. He still smashed me in that game. Match ups, skill, and variance decide games. Scouting really does not "hurt the integrity of the game."

 

---

* When I say surprise I do not mean flipping Valar when my opponent didn't expect it. Rather, surprise in this context means my opponent not expecting me to run X card or Y card. 

    • PulseGlazer likes this

Mr Simoni you know i love you and you have told me in person while wearing some horrible head band that my deck was a "little kid deck" so i know you mean it in good fun.

    • PulseGlazer and fauxintel like this

So you don't think that something that gives one player a surreptitious one-sided advantage over another player hurts the integrity of the game?  Would you show your opponent your plot deck before a game?  If we sat down to play a game at a tournament, and I picked up your plot deck and looked through it would you be cool with that?  And if not, would you accept my explanation that "match ups, skills, and variance decide games" and not scouting?

 

To take things to the absolute ridiculous extreme, how would you feel if a player followed you around at a major tournament and wrote down every single card in your plot deck and then posted your entire plot deck on one of the more popular sites or on the skype group during that tournament.  Is that acceptable scouting in your view?

    • Jensen22 likes this

Jack, thanks for the response. I appreciate it, though I do think you slightly misread my position or, more likely, I was not particularly clear.

 

I'm not quite sure how you could read any of my position as endorsing your ability flip through my plot deck without my permission. My plot deck (outside the course of the game) is private information. Just grabbing your opponent's plot deck without their permission is cheating.*

 

To make my position clear: any information revealed in the course of the game - plots, cards played, etc - is public information. Once the game state changes (i.e. we recycle plots) or the game ends all of that information ceases to be public. After a match is over I have no obligation to reveal this information to anyone - besides the TO. During the game, or afterwards, my opponent or any observer is allowed to record any information they see.** They're not allowed to flip through my deck without my permission or steal a decklist from the TO. Or steal my agotcards password and access my decklist. But whatever gets revealed during the course of a match is public and up for discussion and, yes, sharing among players in the tournament.

 

Put simply: I don't care, nor do I think "hurts the integrity of the game," if my opponent runs off to their friends/metamates and tells them I'm running Fear of Winter in plot deck. Or Forgotten Plans. Or Threat From the East. Or Blockade.*** 

 

To take things to the absolute ridiculous extreme, how would you feel if a player followed you around at a major tournament and wrote down every single card in your plot deck and then posted your entire plot deck on one of the more popular sites or on the skype group during that tournament.  Is that acceptable scouting in your view?

 

I would feel quite flattered that someone thought my deck and/or play was valuable enough to the meta to follow around. I would probably tell them they are wasting their time, there are much better players for them to care about. 

 

I might even think they're some sort of journalist/reporter covering the game/tournament.

 

---

* At smaller events, such as store championships, I've shown my plot deck to my opponent after the game and talked about plot choices.

 

** Obviously if someone tells their friend what's in their opponent's hand during the game is cheating.

 

*** I've had the most success in tournaments playing like my opponent knows every card in my plot and draw deck and could be playing around any of my tricks. 

    • PulseGlazer likes this

It's also worth pointing out that since members of the DC meta often play the same deck (to an extent, as discussed with Corey before), this cuts both ways to an extent - other members of the meta may know what you played from their friend, but you probably know what they're playing by virtue of having already played it once.

    • samuellinde and PulseGlazer like this

I think its very interesting on how much or little people think the deck is important in a tournament vs match ups and player skill. For me, and i may have to do a cast on this now, the three of them have very equal weight. Being able to correctly predict or call a meta is an important skill that will help you reduce the number of bad match ups you run into, having a solid deck is worth at least as much as how well you can play imo. In fact i would argue that the better the players are as players the more important the deck is.

 

One of my favorite games i ever played highlights this. It was VS Eric B at his last gencon, the year Alex and i took GJ BS. I out played him at every turn. He had to call the judge over to confirm 2 times that the plays i made where legal and he suffered huge board hits from being out played (a 3 claim mil challenge and he let me into my hold 2 times by mistake). This kept me in the game however, the fact that the deck was a bad match up for me and the fact that his deck was better then the one i was playing in general let him still get the win. Moral of the story Eric called the meta better then i did and Eric built a better deck then me and because of that deserved that win.

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scantrell24
Sep 24 2015 02:22 PM

fauxintel, I can appreciate your argument (though I disagree with it) that scouting games is part of "the fun" of tournaments, so maybe it should be allowed on those grounds.

 

But you cannot possibly argue that scouting doesn't compromise the integrity of games. When one player knows more about his opponent's deck than the other due to shared information between friends, he has an advantage (we can debate how much of an advantage, but it certainly is one). 

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scantrell24
Sep 24 2015 02:40 PM

To me, your perspective cuts against what makes big events both competitive AND fun. It's fun to discuss decks that are doing well with friends and competitors. It is fun to "debrief" with your friends after a game and discuss what went right or wrong in the game and, yes, your opponent's deck. Such discussions make you a better player (your friends or interlocutors notice things you did wrong) and makes the general field stronger. 

 

There's no reason these beneficial discussions can't take place after the tournament. 

 

 

Many other competitive events stream featured games which reveal the cards in that each player in the match has played. Other competitors are allowed to watch these features matches when their own matches are finished. By your standard this "hurts the integrity of the game." Yet, I simply cannot hold to that.

 

 

Who allows other competitors to watch the featured matches? That sounds like it's up to the discretion of individual TO's, and I'm arguing that it shouldn't be - FFG should create a policy that explicitly condemns scouting. During the Worlds 2013 tournament, players with first round byes were told not to watch other matches, so FFG clearly doesn't condone scouting, but they haven't added anything about it to the tournament rules. 

 

Let's puzzle this through with an imaginative example. For sake of argument, let's say that FFG streams a featured match for the joust this year for each round. In round 3, after I'm done with my match and am killing time, I boot up Twitch on my phone and watch the end of the featured match - let's say it's Simoni v. Bruno. While watching, what's sure to be an entertaining game of Thrones, I observe that Simoni is playing Bara Black Sails and has Forgotten Plans in his plot deck along with a few other cards he's playing. In the next round Simoni and I are paired together and I go into the game with this knowledge. 

 

The question is: did I cheat or, put more generally, did my actions "hurt the integrity of the game?" By your standards they certainly did. I would argue not. Deck knowledge has a minimal impact on how a game turns out. Competitive card games are decided by a combination of archetypal match up (Lanni kneel generally beats Bara rush etc.), variance (draw, etc.), and player skill. Indeed, the more players know each others decks the more the game is about skill and less about variance.

 

Here's the crux of our disagreement. 

 

First, even if 90% of the cards in my deck could be guessed pre-setup based on my House card and Agenda, the other 10% are the most important 10% (especially plots). They're what sets my deck apart and could give me an edge over the field - but not if my opponent already knows those cards. 

 

Second, under your tournament scenario, I'm now forced to scout or suffer a competitive disadvantage because "everyone else is doing it". You say the the more knowledge BOTH players have, the less the game is about skill, but I'm taking about a one-sided, unequal situation where player A and his meta have scouted but player B and his meta have refrained. 

    • JackCade likes this

Jack, thanks for the response. I appreciate it, though I do think you slightly misread my position or, more likely, I was not particularly clear.

 

 *SNIP*

 

To make my position clear: any information revealed in the course of the game - plots, cards played, etc - is public information. Once the game state changes (i.e. we recycle plots) or the game ends all of that information ceases to be public. After a match is over I have no obligation to reveal this information to anyone - besides the TO. During the game, or afterwards, my opponent or any observer is allowed to record any information they see.** They're not allowed to flip through my deck without my permission or steal a decklist from the TO. Or steal my agotcards password and access my decklist. But whatever gets revealed during the course of a match is public and up for discussion and, yes, sharing among players in the tournament.

 

Put simply: I don't care, nor do I think "hurts the integrity of the game," if my opponent runs off to their friends/metamates and tells them I'm running Fear of Winter in plot deck. Or Forgotten Plans. Or Threat From the East. Or Blockade.*** 

 

Hey Faux, thank you as well for the response.  I think that the vast majority of players that play in tournaments scout and do what you are suggesting, (i.e. they discuss decks, or components of decks, of other players in the tournament, amongst an informed minority). In fact, I am sure that 90% of players have done that to some extent, maybe even unintentionally.  And to be perfectly frank, I would certainly include myself in that 90%.  

 

The thing is that regardless of what you (or I) *think* or *care for* cheating is clearly defined under the rules.  If you and I are buddies, and we go to a tournament together, and inbetween rounds I tell you, "hey by the way, I got totally hosed by Jimmy's Blockade on turn 1," that potentially creates an unfair advantage.  And it most certainly does if you play Jimmy.  

 

No one may want to hear this, and it may not be popular, but under the rules, team play is cheating.  Scouting is cheating.  Anyone who says otherwise, needs to review the Code of Conduct found here: https://images-cdn.f...t_rules_v55.pdf