TaKtiX: Jeremiah Uselton

Malexin has been playing CCGs for a long time. At GenCon Indy 2004 he slew the Warlord Madusan Lord Raath. Since then he has been involved in promoting standards of play within the Warlord community, working as a commentator, tournament organiser and occasional ambassador.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tournament Advice Part IV: The 5P Maxim

I'm going to begin this post with a little bit of history about myself and my introduction to the 5P Maxim.

The 5P Maxim is something I was introduced to in little league baseball. The baseball league I played in held most all of its games at a centralized complex surrounded by a few baseball fields. Because of the schedule of the league almost every team could be found at the complex on any given game night. As one of the players on the team that had a good understanding of the strategy behind the game of baseball, myself along with several other players would often be found watching our league opponents and scouting them for future games, all at the behest of our coach. By the time playoffs rolled around we'd compiled a composite batting order, hitting tendancies, fielding tendancies and a bunch of other useful information on our opponents. We ended up winning the league that year, and a lot of our success had to do with our advanced preparation.

The 5P Maxim can simply be restated as Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. When preparing for a tournament take this one piece of advice to heart, because more often than not it will save you a lot of trouble during the tournament. At its heart this maxim signifies that the prepared succeed and the ill-prepared will falter.

Now onto the meat and potatoes, or rather how the 5P Maxim applies to warlord. Sit and watch some of the better players of the game long enough and you'll come to the stark realization that they instinctively know what's in their opponent's deck, without having prior knowledge. They'll successfully navigate through the actions their opponents are taking to prevent them from winning, as if they knew they were coming. Why is this? Because they did know exactly what their opponent needed to do to defeat them.

It all starts weeks before your tournament. As a player you have to sit down and objectively evaluate the current meta-game. Often times for faction loyalists this will mean abandoning your faction temporarily while you at least familiarize yourself with the actual playstyle of another faction. You'll notice that the best players rarely play the same deck in back to back tournament because they'll stay ahead of the curve by switching decks. Take Jay Rosenberg for example he's played in four different conquest events this year placing 5th, 1st, 1st and 1st. He's done so with 4 different decks, in an era when dwarves typically aren't regarded as being at the height of the power curve. Those placings came with Nitesh Imaran, Tavis Jape, Priam Ironsoul and Durin Kortouched respectively. What you'll see is that as a player Jay and other top notch players are able to evaluate the meta-game and take advantage of what the average player will be playing. What this part of preparation does is give you a familiarity with the meta-game and what to expect during both the swiss rounds and the elim rounds.

The next step of this is applying the preparation to the deck you decide to play. There's a certain amount of meta for the environment that a deck can afford to run without losing efficiency, although this depends on the warlord and the prevalence of discard for effect mechanics in your deck. You'll often notice that in top player's decks a bad hand is an extreme rarity, this is because the deck has been playtested through and through and is probably boardering on its efficient frontier of possible results give the deck construction restrictions. The player has tuned the deck so much that the range of average hands is over a much wider region of possible draws than most of their opponent's decks. All this results in a deck that provides a close to possible, the same results game after game, with as little intereference from the opponent as possible.

So take this in mind when preparing for your next tournament,

Good Gaming,

Jeremiah

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