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 Felidar Sovereign 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:57 am
Posts: 317
Post Re: Felidar Sovereign
Aaron, I'm glad we haven't lost you to computer games. Let me just answer one thing quickly before Tess wakes up andtells me not to waste time on the boards: how to define threats to the board.
In theory, each player should be making that decision for themselves. Everyone may agree, or not depending on the situation, but each person needs to be good enough to define the biggest threat to them and act accordingly. For example, a ginormous Kresh may be a threat to everyone, but then again one person may have a bunch of blockers, a handful of removal or Teferi's moat in play, and be more worried about other things.
In the specific case of a known or suspected fast combo deck (and in EDH there is likely to be just one per table, altho every deck may have various combos built in), assuming perfect information, then each player is likely to define that deck as the greatest threat. Similarly, most of us have seen Sean's merfolk deck create an arbitrarily large number of tokens, and it is the smart play for a deck to either target it immediately or, if you have the cards, identify a tipping point and take action before things become critical (if I have damnations, it's less of a problem. when I played Lorwyn block elves and Sean revealed his merfolk, I had no choice but to target him for elimination from the very beginning - I literally had no defense except a fast beatdown victory).
One of the things that led us here is the occasional situation where everyone agrees that player X is a threat, but without shared information or collusion it is actually worse for player x. For example, you have 2 cats in play and an artifact that lets you tap two creatures to put another creature of the same type into play. You have 40 life and you've posted extensively about winning with Felidar Sovereign, a cat beast. I pass the turn with Terminate mana open to kill FS, but the next player only has Pyrocalsm, so they sweep your cats away. The third player attacks you because you're at 40 life and they've got to attack someone, and the last player destroys your artifact with a Viashino Heretic, both to prevent future surprises and bcos it's the most expensive artifact on the table. Each player is acting according to their own best interests, and the result is that you take a lot of beats in one turn, have your chances of winning significantly reduced, and feel like everyone is "ganging up" on you
In other cases, on person may perceive a threat, try to 'warn' others and create that situation. In the last monogame I played at Shakey's, I played Defiler of SOuls, which made me the biggest threat to all or most other decks and got killed in response. I came back with the same deck but a much slower start, and Stephen persuaded Nigel that I was still the biggest threat and Nigel killed me again before I had any threats or defenses out. Rough beats! Stephen played the political game well (classic Ferrett-style "potential shaping"), and was right that I would threaten everyone soon enough, and could be taken out now at little cost, although without Stephen whispering in his ear I might have survived a little longer.
In a 3-way with you and Peter last year, I was terrified of your Goblins, and tried to get Peter to see the extent of the threat. Peter didn't believe me, and you smashed my monoblue deck. I thought Peter had made a huge mistake, but it turned out he actually won that game. I guess his perception of the threat was different; he acted on the basis of how he perceived the threat and won. Great play, and exactly what I want to see more of at Shakey's.
In short, the more we play and the better we get at threat assessment, the better our games will be, but if your deck is above the curve or a bad matchup for others, then that may well lead to the point where there is one player considered a threat to the entire table. I've never manufactured that situation out of whole cloth, nor, I think, have I ever gone along with the mob when there wasn't a core of truth to the threat perception, but those shared threat perceptions do occur and they are part of the MPM dynamic.

More later, perhaps - it does my heart good to see you still using the word "friend", but if I haven't addressed that issue already, it may take a while to write that up.

Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:31 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:27 am
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Post Re: Felidar Sovereign
aaron.the.relentless wrote:
Kona, what is FT2? Right now I'm playing COD - modern warfare and world at war, Halo 3 (I've never tried it before. Yeah, I know. I'm like 2 years late. I've got Halo ODST on the way though.) and Guitar Hero 5. :D
Team Fortress 2, one of the best online multiplayer shooter experiences available, even if it completely lacks story element.

That's a pretty decent pedigree of shooters you're running there, though. (Halo 3 is worth getting through, if only just to see how they tie everything up at the end... [hint: watch through to the end of the credits for bonus scenes. Also, playing through on Legendary mode unlocks you an extended ending... or do like everyone else and just watch it on youtube if you can't be assed dying a bajillion times to Brutes with 1-hit-kill Gravity Hammers]).

If I could recommend anything else to tack on, Bioshock, Portal, and Fallout 3 may be worth a look, if you're into quality writing and gameplay (Deadspace and FEAR, too, if you like horror), and Left 4 Dead for great online co-op multiplayer gaming (honorable mention goes to Rainbow Six Vegas 2).
*ahem* no, I didn't used to work at EB Games, I don't know what you're talking about.

Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:33 pm

Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:57 am
Posts: 317
Post Re: Felidar Sovereign
aaron.the.relentless wrote:
On a slightly different note, I was surprised to see you present the argument that you should be doing anything to win. This seems like a very precarious double standard to make as a champion of the casual player against one of the spikes in the group...

Well, to me the three axioms of MPM are:
1) Have fun
2) Make the game fun for everyone else
3) Try to win
I don't think you should do anything to win, but it is a strategy game, and I think you should be trying to win. I think that provides a challenge, which is part of the fun, and it also provides an objective to focus your strategy on and a standard by which to evaluate your decision-making. Additionally, we all look at our opponents and try to predict what they will do next, and I think it is impossible to do that without some shared framework such as "what would help him to win the game?"

I don't put purely griefer cards into my decks, and I consider "To **** with people" to be an inadequate answer to the legitimate question, "why did you do that?" However, I'll play Winter Orb, Pox or Armageddon in some decks if I can build around it to make an effective deck. I will also shelve those decks if they turn out to be too strong/unfun - one of the reasons I want to play Emperor is so that I can play some of my meaner decks in good conscience.

Additionally, I have two decks that are designed NOT to win, bcos while I enjoy finding a way to win against multiple opponents, it is not the only reason I play the game. My concern personally is that there are some players who put winning first, second and third, or for whom winning and having fun are inextricably linked.

aaron.the.relentless wrote:
And finally, but in my opinion most importantly, I am disappointed that you seek to blame the player if a player feels that he is being treated unfairly. It's an extremely glib response to say that you have no control over how one player perceives an outcome, particularly if you were a participant in the event.

Sorry if that came out the wrong way. As I said above, I don't deny that I have a role to play in providing an enjoyable atmosphere for the group as a whole. On the other hand, there is always the role of the subjective, and I can't completely control the subjective elements of another player's perceptions. In this case, you and I clearly perceive what is going on differently. If we can agree on some objective reality, then that's all well and good, but it's not uncommon for two human beings to see the same event and interpret it in different (and even completely incompatible) ways, and nobody can get around that fact.

Let me say again that I don't think there is any meaningful way in which people are ganging up on you, but that is not the same thing as "nobody's trying to kill you". I do think you are probably the most technically proficient player at Shakey's, you obviously have one of the largest card pools in the group (although I just sold two Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, and I still have my playset of Khabal Ghouls, so I am no slouch in that category myself), and you build decks that are flat out dangerous. It is not unreasonable, when considering the intangibles beyond board position, to put a greater weight on the threat that you represent, just as it is not unreasonable to put a higher weighting on me, or to consider Brian's penchant for explosive combos. In that sense, if you were to make a weaker claim, such as "I receive more attention than the average player in the group", then I wouldn't disagree with you. In fact, I would see it as a natural and predictable trend that reflected the distribution of threats.

But you and I both know what the connotations of the phrase "ganging up" mean. I don't see that any of the more negative implications of that phrase apply to Shakey's. I don't think that:
1) There is any personal animosity motivating decisions to attack you
2) You attention you receive is wildly disproportionate to the threat that you represent
3) Your win percentage is unreasonably low
4) People would continue to focus on you when an unambiguously greater threat emerges elsewhere

The first point is key to most situations of really corrosive gang behavior (at least according to Alongi), and I think there's no question about it here. If there was any of that, the reaction would be "Whew, the *******'s gone - it worked!", rather than trying to persuade you to stick with MPM at Shakey's. It's easy to assume that attention correlates with dislike or whatever, but it's always easier to observe actions than motives.

For example, it's no secret that Sean doesn't like me much, and there was one night recently when we played i think 5 games in one night. During those games I went right at him in three of those games, and in another, I deliberately refrained from eliminating your creatures so that you could attack him. Was it because i don't like him? No, it was because the decks he brought to the table were incredibly threatening to the decks I was playing: the infamous goblin deck, the merfolk combo I referred to in an earlier post and a U/B Tron control deck with Spellburst and Teferi. There was only one of those games where I got him to the point where he was not a threat to me (monored deck+slow start+3rd turn Defiler of Souls will do that =D), and in that game I shifted my focus to Stephen, because he was playing white and so, I thought, was more likely to have the removal for my demon. What I'm trying to say is that it is impossible to infer someone's motives for attacking you in isolation from the decks that you and they are playing.

The second point is what I referred to earlier. You build your decks to take control of the game, you make no bones about it, and it would be bad threat assessment for us to not consider that.
Thirdly, you win a bunch of games. In that 9-player we had earlier this summer, your goblin deck sprang into life and only an Oblivion Stone saved us - then your other deck took over and swept the table. However, even if you have a win percentage of 80% against anyone else in duel, the structure of the game, in terms of the number of players, has such a huge effect on the game's outcome that you cannot expect this to carry over into MPM. In 4-player games, 33% is a good win percentage (and more than 50% may be symptomatic of an unbalanced metagame, IMO).

Fourthly, I have never seen a situation where you were targeted at the expense of a clearer present danger. Now, if I oust you and then somebody else takes over the board and kills me, that's different. In fact, that is part of the dynamics of MPM, and the reason I almost never concede. Anyone could come out to win it all, but it is rational to go for the clearest and most immediate threat.

Finally, the Ferrett (attached) told me to take out the player most likely to stage a comeback when you have control of the table. Unfortunately, there are many good reasons to think that you might be that player in many games. In our last game, I would have expected you to have Wrath of God, Damnation and Hallowed Burial in your deck. In the words of Chris Rock - you got ta go!! No offense.

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Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:57 am
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Post Re: Felidar Sovereign
Thanks for your comments, Aaron.

What I have to say is that this thread, which started out as a potentially interesting discussion on a strong-looking card, quickly degenerated into a set of rants/personal attacks. Which is why there was a big difference between my first post here (perhaps rather emotional from a normally diplomatic guy) and the second (in response to Vaso's comments). I'd like to make sure we CAN have some meaningful discussion on these boards, but having fun at the game also surely means respecting others' views and phrasing expressions the right way. I was only chastising in response to a lot of other chastising.

Yes I WAS objecting to the tone of the thread, and if someone directed comments at my posts that way, you wouldn't find me posting much more.

Let's keep our thoughts focused on the game, strategies and play advice.

S ;)

Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:27 pm
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