Monday, September 25, 2017

Dungeon Defense gets worse the longer you dwell on it

So my friend Eric linked me Dungeon Defense as he had basically exhausted every Japanese reincarnation/summoning/other world game-related LN/WN available (we now call these stories "reincarnies" because we are terrible people) and was looking at the Korean ones.

Dungeon Defense is not a "reincarnie," instead it is a "game-world summoning" like Log Horizon and the like.  That being said...well the tone of the piece is something else. I'd say it's decently written, and the translation is pretty good, it kept me reading all the chapters that were currently available.

That being said, while the story may be easy to read and well-constructed, the themes of the work really start breaking down in consistency the longer you dwell on them. There's lots to go over here (all spoilers), but let's start at the biggest ones that started gnawing at me from the inside out after time to ponder them.

1. Karl Marx.
Karl Marx you say? I thought this wasn't philosophy class. But no, Karl Marx plays a big part in this work. Anyone who has reached Volume 3 Chapter 6 and has read Laura De Farnese's (the pure Aryan psychopath little girl molded in the MC's image) war speech and has the most basic of classic literature knowledge should be able to figure this out. The speech starts out with the words:
Oh, humankind, listen. All of history until now has been the history of class strife.
Its opening is literally lifted from the Communist Manifesto, word for word. The entire speech is being broadcast to both demons (the MC is a demon lord in this world) and humans as an announcement of hostilities; the intent is to destabilize the rigid class structure of the human world, delegitimize the main icon of humanity, the princess of the Empire and the only threat to the MC, and have the humans fight among themselves. I'll admit this was a pretty exciting moment on first pass-through, the entire chapter is a summation of the MC's ethos and his reasoning surrounding the speech. However, the longer I thought, the more I realized this moment was patently absurd. If the aliens in the movie Independence Day broadcast the struggles of the working class before vaporizing the White House, would we think "yeah, those aliens have a point." If I discuss Islam's treatment of women before I bomb a market in Afghanistan, do you think the natives would think, "well yeah he has a point." Have you ever talked to a mainlander about China's lack of human rights and had them go "yeah you have a point?" In any time in human history, is that how humans react to something that is alien or the other when confronted with their own situations? And yet I'm supposed to buy the fact that a small girl raised by demons on a loudspeaker (that no one can see is human so even that effect is lost) spouting Marx before going to war is going to undermine the morale of a human army? Give humans some credit for tribal deflection, and give me a fucking break. Especially in a feudal society where the means of production aren't quite owned by the proletariat yet, it's a simple us vs them in this conflict. Speaking of which, that title the MC has, the King of Peasants. If you think about it seriously, why does he have this title? What did he do to deserve this title? Does he have any common ground with the human peasantry he wishes to sway with this speech? Let's go over his interactions with human peasantry:
We asked each other in a nonchalant tone.
“How many people have you killed today?”
“I wonder. I think I’ve burned around 30.”
“This kid. You’re still completely wet behind the ears, aren’t you? I’ve burned 70 people today alone.”
“Sure. Good for you.”
That was our way of greeting one another.
Ok grimdark edgelord Trogdor, congratulations on burninating the countryside. I hope whatever deep lesson you hoped to impart on the deceased peasants made them see the righteousness of the class struggle. Ok let's see if you have any other interaction that makes you worthy of that title:
“Do not become obsessed with pillaging! Kill them if you wish to take their lives, but do not waste your energy in slaughter. We do not have the time to rape so manage your lower bodies fairly. Burn all the human towns and turn those villagers into the homeless.”
Truly the understanding one. So if sympathizing with the human peasantry is nonexistent, what about the demon side? Strangely enough, there is very little mention of demon peasantry at all in this world. While there's a lot of mention of human peasants suffering under demons and nobles, the casual slaughter of human peasants everywhere (tons by the MC), there's almost no mention of demon farmers, villagers, peasants et. al suffering under humans or demon nobles or even existing in this universe. Except three. What are those three cases?
1. 50 200 year old nymphomaniac witches each with the individual firepower of probably a WW2 era bomber, part of MC's harem.
2. A little girl who happens to be a pure evil NPC with hacked stats and a military genius, technically a human, part of MC's "harem."
3. An evil office lady, part of MC's harem.
Let's disregard the first two cases because it is quite impossible to take them seriously as "peasantry;" it's actually an insult to peasants everywhere. The evil office lady is an interesting case, as she is the closest the narrative ever shows to a demon peasant. Cursed by ignoble birth, she used her own ability to rise up to respectable evil office lady status, honestly her origin story would be filled with more risk and harrowing situations than the MC ever experiences in this entire story, and at the end what happens? It all gets crushed swiftly and simply by a cheater who knows future game events. There's no finesse, no cleverness, it's just pure "I have tomorrow's newspaper for the next ten years" and that's it for our OL. So yeah, our MC has absolutely no standing in reciting Marx to humans, demons, or anyone with half a brain. Donald Trump has done more for the lower class than the so called King of Peasants, and he got elected instead of being born a demon lord!

2. Inconsistent shift in tone
There's a pretty big change in tone from Volume 1 to Volume 2 that put off a lot of readers and made a lot of them drop the work. The most common defense I hear is that it is showing the MC's descent into madness. While that may be so, I venture it's more a product of the author's trouble in deciding what he wants the tone to be. If this is grim darklord fantasy, fine. If this is a snarky hero/demon lord summoning in the guise of video game mechanics, fine. But because so many of the MC's early achievements were accomplished through reading a lore wiki and playing a video game while staying home, it's really hard to consolidate the silliness of those explanations with all the dark fantasy penis waving that comes later. I'd say the Go match with the human princess as a means of negotiation represents the pinnacle of this, as the two later casually murder and scalp their hostage exchanges moments afterwards. For all the attempts to make the world not a game, it still ends up being one and the author seems unwilling or unable to totally remove these shackles.

3. Lack of tension
I have friends who read trashy reincarnation light novels, and they understand they are trash. But they will continue to read at least until "the reveal." The reveal in a reincarnation light novel is generally where some reincarnated salaryman or dragon or gamer or slime shows off to the "real fantasy world" his "true" worth and lays the smackdown on some poor noble/demon/boss/not slime/unpleasant townsperson through some combination of superpowers/knowledge/luck/author intervention/video game tutorials. It's usually a satisfying tale of comeuppance that is hard to repeat successfully multiple times, as quite honestly if you fuck up someone famous, people take notice and stop thinking you're harmless. Pitiful fantasy power figure idiots constantly underestimating the MC as the underdog is a quickly exhausted trope, especially if the MC's first accomplishment destroys the natural order of how things are run in the world. In the case of Dungeon Defense's MC, the tension leaves so quickly after the first encounter that it's hard to remember it ever existed in these later volumes. Every immediate encounter after the first is solved through the idiotic "I know the future of this video game" trope, and by the time we actually hit conflicts that might move beyond Gamefaqs BBS spoilers, the feeling of vulnerability has long been left wanting. It is quite impossible for me at this point in time to feel any sort of tension, worry, empathy, understanding, or care for the MC's "trials," because none of them are taken seriously, least of all by the MC himself. The war negotiations with the humans is a game of Go. The threat to haul him before demon court is a self-requested Xanatos "gambit" that he shows no concern about and that has all the finesse of a super obvious all-in in Texas Hold'em. The mechanics of the "war" he's conducting with the humans is teaching his little Nazi girl Age of Empires.
But so what, right? Usually in overpowered hero stories (OPM is a fine example of this), the tension then shifts to the hero's companions, who might be more relatable, more vulnerable, and more deserving of concern than the hero himself. Unfortunately, this fails again, as the hero's companions consist solely of his sexual fantasies of unrelateable psychopath females that were listed earlier: The 50 nympho witches, his adopted Nazi daughter NPC, and his evil OL significant other. (soon to include his undead loli lover and stackrack nice demoness). So with all the tension absent in the work, what are we left with? An extremely shallow male power/sexual fantasy that sets up easy pins and knocks them down quickly and repeatedly as its narrative goals.

That's it for now, this post was in draft form for way too long I needed to end it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mafia theory: Reveal on lynch or not?

So one of the things we do every year when we go up to Rochester to lose in waifu card games is play Mafia. For those who are unfamiliar, I am linking the video above for reference. Mafia has a million variations, and a million house rules and roles, ranging from the core (detective/cop, doctor), to the utterly bizarre (zombie witchdoctor). Around September of this year, a clown named forte randomly reminded me mafia exists, and linked me to Dota 2 players playing it, using a specific ruleset. Now I do not play Dota 2, nor do I know any of the personalities present in these games, but the ruleset was something that really interested me, as I felt our Rochester games over the years had been rather lacking. The ruleset we had played with for three years was: randomized amount of mafia (2-3), randomized amount of cop/doctor/vigilante (0-1 of each), first phase is day (no lynch to start off), and role reveal on death. The ruleset used by the Dota 2 crew was vastly different: 15 players, 3 mafia, 1 nerfed parity detective (detective points to a user first night and receives no information, on the second night, he points to someone else and is told if this person is the same or different alignment than the first person, and so on), 1 doctor (can't protect same person twice in a row), 1 vigilante (can use one bullet during night), 2 mafia kill power when 3 mafia are alive, 1 kill power when 2 or less, and no role reveal on death. The games themselves were sort of lopsided though and really exposed the difference in abilities, it didn't really influence me until someone pointed me to Ryuzilla's channel, where my eyes were really opened to what "high level" Mafia is like. That being said there is always an imbalance in ability in players, and Mafia is no exception. You can't always have 15 players, and you can't always have super logical people who remember everything, or even people who want to engage during the game (lurkers.)

That being said, I came to Rochester with a single goal for our group sessions, and that was to get the "no reveal on death" rule instated. More than any other house rule (constant numbers, nerfing the cop, night before day, 2 kill power, etc. etc.) I felt this rule needed to be tried out in our games, as it has a huge and I would say positive effect on how the game is played. Before Nationals I would constantly complain about how the ruleset we had supremely favored town and yet our town was miserably bad and lost constantly, quite a few players just did not engage and there were tons of games where the people left could not figure out obvious logic paths. I have since revised my opinion, our townies weren't absolutely terrible per se, rather it is the gametype of role reveal on death that promotes lazy townie play. Thus people would ignore really obvious tells and game logic frequently because of the wealth of accurate information.

Put another way, I argue that role reveal on death promotes a playstyle where most town do not care about being alive (besides power roles). How many times had I heard "fine lynch me and you'll see" used as a rebuttal against any and all arguments in the previous sessions? People flat out disregarded what other people said, if two people had a disagreement you just lynched them both. Words lost meaning when people flipped over their cards, usually in anger or resignation, after all, the more perfect information the easier for the town right? Players who actually wanted to live (mafia, people trying to solve the game themselves, power roles), would generally just lurk, why risk anything when your lynching is greeted by the majority as perfect useful information. Absent from all these sessions was a simple concept that I saw in Ryuzilla's games, that is, reading a player as strongly town is as useful as reading a player as strongly mafia. Because of how the mathematics of the game works, if you are sure of more than half of the players's specific status as town, the mafia will lose by simple elimination. But that never happened, basically because it's really easy to just say garbage when you know flipping your card will tell your alignment. As such, people had a super laissez-faire attitude and were killed off constantly for jokes, it didn't matter the logic, just kill Keith lol and prove he's town.

No reveal on death changes this. You still have a source of near-perfect information, in 99% of cases when someone dies during the night, they were town. But during the day, lynching someone just for jokes or because he was loud is a terrible idea now, as you are uncertain to their status. You lynch someone not because you want to find out what he was but rather because you believe the game will progress better toward your goal (whatever it is) without them.  This forces everyone to step up their play as now bad town are an actual liability and easy to lynch.  In full reveal, building a worldview is almost trivial if you pay attention and somehow last to the end, as you will know the full status of every single person who died before you, whether by town or by mafia. The challenge is pretending you are dumb enough to not get killed either by bad town or mafia before then. Any conversation movers risk getting lynched just to figure out their alignment.  In no reveal, since only night kills are confirmed town, people must actually talk to each other, convince each other, and remember what was said to make any progress at all. I can't just kill off Comic because he tries to direct the flow of the conversation, find out he is town, and then use the knowledge of who voted for him to make a judgement, because technically lynching anyone for information is beneficial for town in all reveal. There's no concept of "keeping good town" around since a good town is just as good as a dead town on role reveal. One more thing as well, reveal on lynch makes it absolutely impossible for mafia to claim any power role. Power roles are really crazy when used properly, they are the fastest way to mathematically solve a mafia game. Detective is obvious, and for the doctor, every successful save is actually perfect information of a player's status as town, combine both of these and it becomes frighteningly easy to hit the 50%+ mark for guaranteed town win. Even in no reveal claiming a power role as mafia is ridiculously hard, but in all reveal it's a completely worthless move since you just lynch power role claimers (or who they accuse) after they make claims to verify their status.

Anyway I don't know if this will convince anyone, it didn't convince Moku, I had to wait till he had a headache, vote in the measure into the first game, then vote it again into the second game when he joined, before he saw how it changed how our players behaved and our sessions ran. Many agreed that the mafia games this year were much better than previous years.  Who knows, maybe once everyone's town game gets really good, we can start introducing more of the balance changes designed to nerf townie power.

tl;dr reveal on death promotes on average suicidal sloppy play, every terrible lynch still provides perfect information that overwhelmingly benefits town, little value in keeping strong town reads alive, strong players either gladly kill themselves thinking the rest of the town can do math (spoilers they can't a lot of the time), or lurk for as long as they can trying to solve the game looking at interactions before they inevitably get noticed by mafia doing the same thing, player disinterest is high because oftentimes the player's death is more useful than anything the player actually argues or says aka "just kill me and see"

WGP 2016 LCQ and Nationals 11/12-11/13

Oh man an update after more than a year, I always start with great motivation to do these things and then promptly forget. Hence the huge not post that was 2015. I just remembered that I played Zaelar's KOF (If you are from NYC you know this bearded hat dude) first round after dodging him for half a year at my house sessions because I hate playing him, ate 2 soul two turns in a row and proceeded to go on tilt for the entire rest of LCQ before coming out at like 18th place. Not expecting to play the next day I showed up without showering and learned that like 10 people had dropped out and that with Julian/Angelofsol dropping out of the tourney to do homework I had actually qualified as the last person in Nationals. What a circus. I did reasonably well (4-1?) until my last match where I disqualified myself out of disgust. Played compass on last 3 cards of deck, forgot it was a brainstorm and put the cards into waiting room (no climaxes), opponent let it pass since I was about to die...until I triple cancelled after refresh. At that point I was just like fuck it and resigned.

Anyway, 2016. This year I used Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Minami/Uzuki/Anya/Anzu. Why not TP? Well it's objectively better, and Rin's cool, but I basically played R/B CG since last year (it was the deck I used in free fight after I lost in Nats last year.) Back then I used Minami/Miku cause I didn't like Ranko's climax, and switching to Duki didn't feel too much different. I made TP for setrajonas instead.

Once again cockblocked in Boston (it was on the same day as the NYC quals and since we have friends and jiro ramen in Boston we went there) by pair down and Carl's mafia I get to go through LCQ again. I wasn't planning writeups so I forgot names and turn orders.

Game 1: vs Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Krone
The CG variant I knew the least of, so I had to look at some of the cards. Friendly chap with a distinct hat and fashion sense. He didn't get Mishiro until level 3. I don't remember much about this game except the triple Fumika (my main Derestage SSR) full field combo at the end threatening a potential 15 damage back into my deck. However, the timing was off and I had a waiting room of 4 climaxes and 6 other cards, so I only added 6 cards back in before I cancelled and killed him. All in all, the finisher feels way too dependent on things that are beyond the player's control.

Game 2: vs Titan zipline, Danielle
I'm somewhat aware of what Titan does, however the player looked familiar and I thought I had met her at Nats two years ago playing Phantom, as she was from the Indiana/Illinois crew. I was wrong however, as she wasn't present two years ago. Either way, not a good game for her. Ramming supports at 0 left weak bodies at 1 and generally hemorrhaging field everywhere as well as triggering up a storm, I believe I was L2-3 when she was at L3-5 or 6. She does finally get some hits in at the end with Mikasa and a 5 hit from zipline Levi's 2nd attack while I'm at 3-1 with 5 cards left in my deck scares the shit out of me since I miscounted my climaxes and thought I was out, but I do cancel and end the game.

Game 3: vs Osomatsu R/G, from Seattle
What a fun set. That's all I felt playing against this nonsense. The first card he played was the P4 protag which threw me off. "Who the hell is that?" Anyway, he knew what my deck did while I wasn't sure what his did, but initial discard of Karamatsu gave an idea. Level 1 was one of the funniest experiences I have had, as he played a single copy of anti-Cost 0 and level 0s that would always die/trade. As I actually had Everyone's Leader and 3 Minami in hand I kept trying to bait him by playing level 0s and yet he somehow kept managing to clear them and his own field at the same time, leaving the Jyushimatsu as the only card on his field. This went on for like three turns until I had to give up on comboing and just played for damage. I remember getting an early play Rin for level 3 and he didn't have anti-level stuff ready, which was lucky for me, but I was pretty scared about his level 3. Choromatsu and Karamatsu came down but he didn't have Hedgehog's Dilemma for the combo so Choro just kicked -4500 Rin into my clock. On my turn I believe I had a scrub/Anzu/Uzuki vs empty/Choro/Kara, I almost ran Uzuki into Choro before asking the opponent if the clock kick was persistent (it was) thank god for that or I'm pretty sure I would have lost. Anyway I actually win off Uzuki's final restand, I think he still had quite a few climaxes left so it was pretty lucky for me.

Game 4: vs Milky Holmes
At this point my friend Ken running Abyssal is also 3-0, and given our group's penchant for team-killing I'm sort of expecting to run into him. One thing about our playgroup is that while we all meet at my house, it's only because I am in the "middle" of everyone else distance-wise. If regional seeding is ever implemented (I feel sorry for the two Londoners who had to play each other first round) it will help us not a bit, the people I drove up with this time came from Delaware, NJ, NY, PA, and we stayed with a bunch of MA. Chalk it up to FGC ties. Anyway, I don't draw Ken, but Milky Holmes. I'm actually somewhat aware of what modern Milky does (clock swap 3k counters everywhere), as I ran into Milky last year in NYC, so I know to mentally add 3000 to everything starting at level 1. However I am totally NOT aware that Milky has gotten even more cards to help their nonsense, specifically a whole shitload of Elly. Anyway this game is like a combo video for Milky Holmes. I triple Minami and climax and then realize that even with the +2K from reversing the level 0 on the right the middle alternate art Elly is 10500 and the left one is 10000 and I can't get over either of them with the other Minamis. Akatsuki Elly is some stupid nonsense where every counter he gets cards, and then he taps two chars and swaps and gets more cards on his turn. Tri-Ascend gives him one bazillion clean stock. Despite all this and bad cancels (no chance to early play just get hit to 3) I still manage to make it a game with a bazillion level 3 healers vs 18 or so clean stock. My field is actually too high for him to get over at level 3 but he has so many resources that he drops two restand Ellys and a third red level 3 that I don't remember, suicides the Ellys in (I cancel) and then they all restand and I explode to more attacks. Sure wish I had a stockbomb right around now... Although it didn't come up I like his single bounce tech for certain matchups.

Game 5: vs Triad Primus
Ken's 4-0 at this point so no more teamkills, everyone else is in the shadow realm. I notice his name on the bottom of my opponent's slip, and so I know with certainty that I am fighting Triad Primus, a deck I made for someone else. Ironically enough, the guy I'm playing is actually just borrowing the deck from a friend, he wanted to play Puyo but his blobs got held up in the middle of no where on the way to Vancouver. He has these really cool Granblue Fantasy Rin sleeves though. Anyway, I know exactly what is coming, this matchup sort of sucks because their early plays will always be bigger, their level 1 will always be bigger, their level 3 is always easier, etc. etc. Going into this game I actually keep a Mayu and two level 0s because I'm pretty sure he has Anzu as well for more stable early play. At first I felt I had a rough time climax wise but I noticed he didn't have Nao at level 0 so it wasn't as bad as I thought. While his deck did normal Triad Primus-y things...I felt that he was milling without really needing to a lot of the time. There were a lot of Rins into Rins into Arisu, that type of thing. As a Minami player maybe I'm the last person to say this but I really felt that he got himself into really bad cancel/climax situations with all the milling he was doing. He early plays Rin first and knows to attack with it first before I counter it away on his second attack, I get Anzu into Rin shortly after and get to chill at 2 a little longer while he goes into 3 with quite a few climaxes out. His level 3 lacks double attack climax combos and he doesn't cancel.

Game 6: vs Symphogear
Probably the closest to a "bad game" I had for LCQ. I had cards to play and all and don't quite remember the early game and all besides Shibiki, but it was in no way terrible until I think mid level 1. With 3 or so climaxes left in 10-12 cards or so I expected to cancel around mid level 2 and then be able to Anzu it up. Instead a large chunk stuck and I found myself at 2-6 with definite two climaxes left in like a 3-4 card deck. Not willing to clock into climaxes and level 3 I'm more or less forced to play Anzu then brainstorm into refresh. Maybe not the right decision in hindsight but I couldn't really think of a better path forward. I never really recover and just eat straight damage at level 3 from Maria.

Ken's at 5-1 but not top 8 apparently until 3 people fail deck check (lol) so he gets in at 7th. As for me, I lost to 1st place and someone 5-1 who lost to 1st place so I'm 9th by strength of schedule (after all the deck check failures get sorted out, this includes the Symphogear player I just lost to RIP)  Zaelar (KOF beard hat man) is also 4-2 but is quite far down strength of schedule wise and is told to show up to Nats without high hopes.

Usually regardless of LCQ shenanigans (after the first year Boston regional I've always had to qualify through LCQ) I do the best among our group in Nationals. That totally didn't happen this year. The games will be short. Zaelar actually gets into Nationals with his strength of schedule but is totally not feeling it and declines the position even though he is present at the store.

Game 1: vs Blue Snake Cat thing Monogatari, Tim?
I'm somewhat familiar with meta Monogatari (fat face Mayoi) but am totally unfamiliar with what blue does. It actually doesn't matter though. Rin whiffs (no blue characters) and Minami manages to mill 3 climaxes and a character. I emphasize the 3 climaxes to my opponent because I'm pretty sure what is about to happen, having played Zaelar enough times. Sure enough I am 2-souled into oblivion next turn. The rest of the game is trying to equalize damage but it never happens, he quad cancels the last turn as well.

Game 2: vs Triad Primus
A NYC face that was unfamiliar to me, he said he was a relatively new player. Either way this was a Triad Primus combo movie and shows why Minami/good stuff has a hard ass time against them. He basically gets everything he needs, his cheap level 1 field is hard to consistently climb over without comboing, his Anzu is fatter cause of the global level support, as is his Rin, he doesn't even need to level counter my early plays just kill them with the +2500, I find it really hard to maintain any field whatsoever. The only saving grace is he doesn't have the climax to hit me 5 times but I have an empty field and less than 3 climaxes anyway on the final turn at 3-6. It's here where he does a potentially DQable misplay, as after brainstorming once, he plays another Karen and Nao in front and brainstorms again without the stock to do so. He flips over the last 3 cards of his library and reveals two climaxes before he realizes what he's done. I think the rules state here that because he gained information that could affect his play (trigger order) it would have been a game loss. To his credit he offers to immediately scoop but I feel this would be akin to taking a game from someone who paused during the super animation of a kill combo. I let him turn his library back over and lose as expected.

Shortest Nat run I've had in the four years I've been there, oh well. Ken gets into top cut with a 4-1 record and proceeds to misplay level 1 and not put green in his clock to play Hoppous, what a clown. At least he did really well this time, I always said he should use better decks than Miku. Alex gets into top cut with 3-2 because of some wack ass rule where your strength of schedule is determined by how well-represented your set is in top cut, as Alex is playing Shiyoko which is represented by a whopping zero other players he slides in and keeps the meme alive. Hyeon returned from Korea (forced army?) and qualified in LCQ with 5-1 before making top cut as well for Nationals. However, his first game apparently was the worst game of Weiss ever played, lasting 6 minutes. (9 level 3s and 8 climaxes pass through his hand, clock pass until lose) He reminds me to pick up European fleet though, as I had sort of chilled on the Kancolle after Abyssal.  All in all, a pretty good year, I played against a lot of different sets that I wanted to, didn't misplay to the point of DQing myself, and got to actually eat on time on the day of Nationals in exchange for 0-2.

Next post is on what really made the weekend for me though, mafia lol.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Examu Cup 2015 Aquapazza brackets

It's that time again where I, as one of the last three remaining people in the entire USA who cares about Aquapazza, (shoutouts to Lark and Ernest, the two others) go over the Examu Cup 2015 Aquapazza brackets.  Due to DFC and Nitro+ blasters, this year feels sort of light compared to last year. There's a lot of lesser-known players, and quite a few glaring omissions in the 24 teams lined up for AP this year. No mercy for the clowns using aliases, everyone gets twitter linked if I can figure out who they are. I'll try my best to give breakdowns, but these are my own opinions, so if your name is nobi and you are the only match I get wrong first round brackets cause I overestimate kaiser don't laugh at me ok. Also, assists are switchable, but when I list them at all I will usually list the assist the player is most comfortable with.

1. 6/20(土) 東京 中野TRF qualified at Nakano TRF in Tokyo
Team: 軸中心 Jikuchu Shin (the name of a sadlife tapestry store) 
Player: 藤真拓哉(環) AKA 萌えの伝道師/Moeden/Moe Missionary Tamaki/Ulthury
Player: 珈琲貴族(トウカ) AKA 暁/Akatsuki Touka/Rina
2. 5/30(土) 神奈川 タイトーステーション横浜西口五番街 qualified at Taito Station Yokohama 5 in Kanagawa
Team: チャリで来た!The Bicycle has come! (some silly meme from a print club with 4 boys posing)
Player: 殿下@茅ヶ崎トウカ(トウカ) denka Touka/Yuma
Player: みゅう(このみ) myuu Konomi/Yuma
Analysis: Right off the bat we have some annoying team of aliases that I could only figure out by comparing photographs and using Google. Sorry Akatsuki, Denka wins.

3. 5/2(土) 大阪 KSB2015 qualified at KSB2015 in Osaka
Team: 移動要塞と観覧車 Space Battleship and Ferris Wheel
Player: gamera(ささら) gamera Sasara/Ma-ryan/Llyr
Player: 真田(アロウン) sanada Arawn/Ma-Ryan/Ulthury ...wait, sanada ARAWN? not Tamaki? What is going on?
4. 5/31(日) 愛知 ポート24一社店 qualified at Port 24 in Aichi
Team: まどぶた Madoka pig
Player: ごぼう(カルラ) gobou Karulau/Ma-ryan
Player: 322(環) AKA ミニッツ/mini2 Tamaki/Ulthury
Analysis: A tough one, normally I would easily say gamera's team if sanada was using Tamaki. I'll still say gamera's team but I'm a lot less sure than I normally would be.

5. 7/4(土) 東京 ゲームプラザセントラル八王子店 qualified at Game Plaza Central 8 in Tokyo
Team: q’s@電撃MTG部 q's at Dengeki MTG Division
Player: ジン(千鶴)jin Chizuru/Yu
Player: もりのクマサン(ハクオロ) morikuma Hakuowlo/Ma-ryan
6. 7/5(日) 大阪 KO-HATSU(コーハツ) qualified at KO-HATSU in Osaka
Player: しゃり(このみ) shari Konomi/Yuma/Ma-ryan
Player: こうや(千鶴) kouya Chizuru/Ma-ryan
Analysis: Man, I want kouya to win. He's amazing, he loves the game, for the longest time I said he was equal or just slightly under OZ, but every time I see him in tournament or something he chokes and loses in silly ways. That and morikuma's our boy, so jin/morikuma team, but I wouldn't mind being wrong either way.

7. LCQ1
8. 6/27(土) 富山 アピナ富山南店
Team: 一人組(北陸勢)
Player: 花京院(カルラ) Karulau
Analysis: Solo entry?

9. 6/14(日) 群馬 ザ・サードプラネット高崎店
Team: こみぱ2はよ It's Comic Party 2
Player: カイザー(アロウン) kaiser Arawn/Camyu
Player: CBA(マルチ) CBA Multi/Mizuki
10. 5/24(日) 神奈川 アミューズメントパークジアス上大岡店
Team: q’s@電撃FC部 q's at Dengeki Fighting Climax Division
Player: のび(環) nobi Tamaki/Llyr
Player: OZ(千鶴) OZ Chizuru/Llyr
Analysis: Hahaha not making the same mistake again, although honestly I'd be biased to any team OZ is on anyway. That being said, it is sad to see butter quit Aquapazza to fully focus on trying to beat GO1 in Shana mirrors. :V

11. 6/7(日) 東京 セガワールドアルカス
Team: やけつくいき
Player: ひのエルフ(モルガン) hino elf Morgan/Rina
Player: GJM(ハクオロ) GJM Hakuowlo/Ma-ryan (Oboro? Who's that?)
12. 6/27(土) 福島 スーパービンゴ郡山店
Team: たままる改二
Player: 相田ナコ(環) nako Tamaki/Yuma
Player: 毒アンテナ(マルチ) poison antenna Multi/Yu
Analysis: I will believe in hino elf because he is older than me.

13. 6/20(土) 広島 アミパラ キャッスル店
Team: カープ男子
Player: やな(環) yana Tamaki/Ulthury
Player: ちゃんなご(このみ) nago Konomi/Ma-ryan
14. 5/23(土) 愛知 アーバンスクエア大須店
Team: ゲームスカイアクアパッツァ勢 Game Sky Aquapazza Force
Player: なお(千鶴) nao Chizuru
Player: ナツメ(環) natsume Tamaki
Analysis: nao/natsume team

15. LCQ 2
16. 6/13(土) 福岡 G-stage七隈
Team: 七隈勢です。
Player: まるおさん(モルガン) maruo Morgan
Player: 568(カルラ) 568 Karulau
Analysis: These two literally got a bye last year too, I smell conspiracy!

17. 6/28(日) 大阪 アミューズメントパークエルロフト
Team: 美少女格闘ゲーム bishoujo fighting game
Player: あごうん(アロウン) agoun Arawn/Mizuki
Player: みずちゃま(ハクオロ) mizuchama Hakuowlo
18. 6/6(土) 高知 トイズ帯屋町店
Team: 凹レーション
Player: とみー(マルチ) tomy Multi
Player: ch(トウカ) cho Touka
Analysis: mizuchama's team

19. 5/24(日) 岡山 ファンタジスタ
Team: イーズラフ部 E's Laf division
Player: 湖のイーズラフ仮面(愛佳) uragami Manaka
Player: 火山のイーズラフ仮面(千鶴) yuuji Chizuru
20. 7/5(日) PS3版オンライン予選 qualified online
Player: 鷺ノ宮(環) saginomiya Tamaki
Player: ダイゴ兵(カルラ) daigo hei Karulau
Analysis: Oh this is really unfortunate for our Manaka God lol. Team netplay wins.

21. 6/7(日) 大阪 アテナ日本橋
Team: ひとり
Player: おっぱい(このみ) oppai Konomi/Ma-ryan
Player: BYU(環) BYU Tamaki
22. 6/21(日) 東京 東京レジャーランド秋葉原店
Team: 大佐邸
Player: 来栖川 和人(千鶴) Kurusuga Kazuto Chizuru
Player: イズミ(モルガン) izumi Morgan/Rathty
Analysis: I'm sorry I actually don't know much about any of these players, and I am choosing team BYU just because I've seen his name before.

23. 6/28(日) 鹿児島 アミューズメント・リバティー
Team: 鹿児島リバティ
Player: 地方パンピーP(オボロ)AKA PEKE Oboro
Player: リバティー社員やくも(このみ) yakumo Konomi
24. 6/13(土) 埼玉 ビデオゲームミュージアムロボット深谷店
Team: 真・弾幕結界
Player: くにお(リアンノン) kunio Riannon
Player: おいも(愛佳) oimo Manaka
Analysis: Super Riannon Time all the way

22 Teams (2 last chance), 1 single player team
8 Tamaki
6 Chizuru
5 Konomi
4 Karulau
3 Touka
3 Morgan
3 Hakuowlo
3 Arawn
3 Multi 
2 Manaka
1 Riannon
1 Oboro
1 Sasara

So despite losing 16 spots and some shuffling and departing of old names, the character distribution is still more or less the same as last year. I guess the biggest change is the Touka culling, which honestly I am not surprised about in the slightest. That being said, I guess it's time to address some notable gaps. First off, butter Konomi...the ever present era of OZ and butter has ended because of Shana mirrors. I'm not bitter, really. Second, because of butter's disappearance, nobi has joined OZ, and key has no teammate. I hope it's just that and that he'll make LCQ with someone. Third, GO1 and KOG, always a staple to play every single freaking game in existence, are missing (because they are going to EVO I can't believe I forgot since I'm going too :V). Finally, takakun and nao (katakana nao, not hiragana nao) both seem to have moved on to Nitro+, or maybe they couldn't qualify...but nao was an extremely strong Touka, one of the best...

Edit: So actually looking at some of the qualifiers (a lot of them have helpful brackets), I see Key and Butter entered a qualifier! And they 568's team! Who then lost to hinoelf and GJM lol. The tourney winner comments actually have hinoelf thanking 568 and maruo for their hard work. But that means we'll probably see Key and Butter in LCQ at least, which I'm thankful for.

Double Edit: Lark suggested I do a full bracket since Japan seems to "enjoy" my "rigorous scientific analyses"...but honestly without knowing the LCQ it's sort of hard. Like if key/butter show up in a bracket that just ruins half if not all the predictions for that I'm going to EVO so it's not like I will be keeping that up to date either.

EVO Edit: My flight is in a couple hours and I am very tired but this is my full bracket prediction. There's a lot more guesswork put into these than round 1, maybe I can do a thorough analysis at EVO, just right now, too tired. Also, a huge disclaimer is if butter/Key team is one of the two LCQ. If they are in bracket 1, I would have them win every match and win the bracket but still get third overall. If they are in bracket 2, I would have them win until they get to nobi/OZ.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

That time again where I make brackets/information for games no one plays, this will be for D-1 Ultimate Climax Blade, which is the second National Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Tournament.
Qualifiers were held over a two month period, special qualifier spots will be explained.

1/31 Game Party Japan 2015 Qualifiers:
1st Place: とも (tomo) Akira
2nd Place: ししど (shishido) Kirito
2/1 Club Sega Shinjuku Nishiguchi:
AK Shana
2/7 Namba Hills:
〇 Kuroyukihime
2/7 Sega World Narita:
OZ Rentarou
2/8 Sega World Shizuoka:
SAT Kirito
2/8 Hyper Messe:
矢吹可奈 (Yabuki Kana aka Idolmaster! Million Live character) Tomoka
2/8 Nagoya Leisureland Sasashima:
サクラバ (Sakuraba) Rentarou
2/11 Game Corner Tobu:
jin Asuna
2/14 a-cho:
安原絵麻 (Yasuhara Ema aka Shirobako character) Mikoto
2/14 Sega World Kurashiki:
hana Rentarou
2/14 Sega Akihabara Building 1:
rei Shana
2/15 Sega Namba Avion:
GO1 Shana
2/15 Sega Hiwada:
niga Kirino
2/21 Sannomiya Sanx:
batta Shana
2/21 High-tech Sega Niihama:
湊未来 (Mirai Minyato) Kirino
2/22 Amipara Technoland:
adder Taiga
2/22 The 3rd Planet OZ Hamamatsu:
gosyo Mikoto
2/28 GAME SILK HAT Kawasaki Dice:
mel Asuna
2/28 High-tech Sega Toyota:
kyamei Akira
2/28 Sega Ikebukuro GiGO:
星空さんちの凛ちゃん (Hoshizora sanchi no Rin chan aka Love Live character) Tomoka
3/7 Pink Panther Tsukuba:
KOA Asuna
3/8 Sega Kagurazaka:
加藤恵 (Katou Megumi aka Saekano character) Kirino
3/14 Club Sega Nagoya Fushimi:
SEL Kuroyukihime
3/21 Dinos Park Sapporo:
うあったー (uatta-) Taiga
3/28 G-COM Wajiro:
隆 Miyuki
4/11 Sega Fukui:
4/11 PS3 Netplay Qualifier:
4/26 Cosplay Qualifier:
4/26 Last Chance Qualifier:
Hydra GP Ranbat Qualifier:
Last year's Champion seed:
はま~ (hama~) Tomoka

4 Shana
3 Kirino, Rentarou, Asuna, Tomoka
2 Akira, Kuroyukihime, Kirito, Mikoto, Taiga
1 Miyuki
0 Selvaria, Yukina, Shizuo

So, a more evenly distributed representation this time around, though there still are five spaces left.  That being said, it's worth noting that two of the Shanas were noted character specialists of other characters before switching, batta/butter for Kirino and GO1 for Kirito.  I get the distinct impression from butter's timeline that he switched to Shana because he did not like Kirino vs Rentarou.  I'm surprised at the two Taigas who qualified, also there are a lot of annoying anime waifu aliases as usual.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WGP 2014 Abington, MA - Oct 19, 1:00 PM, Battleground Games and Hobbies

Disclaimer: I waited on this post for super long and I have forgotten a lot of the exact details.
Off to Boston, for FOUR slots vs New York's 2!
Last year, we had trouble getting eight people to even get the four slots (stole a Magic player off the street, gave him a vanilla deck)
This year, twenty four people showed up, including quite a few people from New York qualifier.
In fact I saw two of the people I played in NY, Jonny Li and Leonardo.
Chance of cannibalization was high, since we were bringing EIGHT of us. (Littledagger wasn't playing, and Setrajonas had a trial deck, but Moku, K, AngelofSol, Sumazndude, Comic-z, and I were out for blood)
I was really hoping to dodge all of those guys plus the guys I played from NY.
Game 1: vs Da Capo G Himeno/bodyguard, Ryan G, 1st
Antman continues to enforce his Da Crapo meta on his local scene by donating 9001 Da Crapo decks to all locals without actual decks. However, this deck he donated was actually not all vanillas, but a Himeno/bodyguard deck.  Himeno does this annoying thing where she gets summoned by an event at level 2, summons more clowns from their clock when she climax combos and heals to field and gets around Hibiki/Verniy, and in general gets very annoying.  I remember he did just that at level 2.  I remember I tried to kill Kotori bodyguard off and even though I knew he had a counter I miscalculated (since I wanted to kill Himeno later as well) as counter power stays on the char (especially useful on a bodyguard who stays buffed).  At level 3 he put down the RRR version of the stock replacer but didn't have enough to replace my 8+ non climax stock so thank god for that. If I remember correctly even though his field was pretty big from level 2 onwards I didn't really care as I had a ton of stock, was really compressed, had Junyou, and was just doing damage. I think Kotori was actually still alive at the end of the game when I won.

Game 2: vs Kantai Collection G/Y Shima/Akagi/Musashi, Leonardo F, 1st
Same guy from Flushing, same deck!  I have however opened a slot to put clockcore 1/1 Yahagi in my own deck, and I run a single level counter Zuihou now.  This game if I remember was pretty funny. Leonardo sort of slow plays level 0 and level 1 which I'm not really sure why since those are the easiest parts of the game to play for the G/Y Shimakaze variant in my opinion. Either way, we end up Shimakazeing each other for a while, I remember the damage race is much much closer this time, however two key events happen, which is he clockcores a climax from Yahagi, and his refresh climax is a climax as well. In the end Musashi very nearly ends me and leaves me at 3/6 but I luck out super hard.

Game 3: vs Da Capo Newspaper, Carl G aka Antman, 1st
The man the myth the legend, and also the organizer of last year's Boston quals that called time on Comic-Z and me 10 minutes early!  Since he didn't qualify at Flushing #1, he's forced to play in his own tournament and have an assistant run it instead. He's playing newspaper this time of his bazillion Da Capo decks, and running 3 soul draw 1 climaxes which I honestly had never seen until this match.  This match was wacky.  After the normal storm of Riccas at level one, there wasn't much else coming down.  More or less by level 2 I stopped clocking since I had so much stock and card advantage...however Carl decided to just not take damage for the entire rest of the game using that 2 stock shuffler.  He whiffed his brainstorms multiple times, and then would triple cancel, and this lasted for some comical amount of turns, while I slowly took damage from level 0s ramming into my field.  In the end, I had to try to Akagi force in something like 5 damage and of course it cancelled.  Angelofsol kept saying I had misplayed by playing Akagi and dumping all my stuck (of which there was 12? 13? by then but a couple climaxes in there) but honestly he was just refusing to take any damage anyway, I was probably not killing him that turn but it's not like I had much chance living through that turn as well.

3 rounds was enough to determine top 4 and unfortunately I lose to AngelofSol by .0111  points or w/e according to Swiss rankings. Comic-z, sumazndude and Moku all fail to qualify as well but AngelofSol and K get in at 4th and 1st respectively. Johnny Li also was 2-1 and apparently misplayed very badly against K, he was running Little Busters this time and played his mill 3 counter and put a trigger on their deck counter in the wrong order that would have saved him.  Carl wants a top 3 Da Capo finish (Angel was running DC) so top 4 proceeds to determine final placing.  In the end K forfeits to Angelofsol and so the 1 2 3 Da Crapo result for Boston quals is achieved.  This was really our best chance to qualify and we failed so it is back to Flushing again the next week for another qualifier.