Weiss Wednesday – The Two-Step Approach to Damage

This article is rated Experience Level 7.  This article is perfect for budding tournament players that wish to understand more about doing well in tournaments and increasing their win rate.

It’s too easy to slip into bad habits while playing Weiss Schwarz.  Putting a Climax into stock before resolving its effect, playing a Backup every single time you can win a battle utilizing it, putting cards into Clock before knowing whether they’re damage or not.  In fact, I bet that by the time a typical player has had a few tournaments under their belt and won a few games, their focus shifts from winning the game to winning the turn.  And while none of these errors are heavily egregious on their own, a combination of them can spell long-term disaster for a budding tournament player.

Everything in the game of Weiss Schwarz can be idealized with two steps.  From damage to cards in hand to managing your stock, everything has a two step approach.  Now, keep in mind I did say idealized.  Not everything in a game is going to right, but if you try and stick as close as you can to the mantras, you’ll find yourself in a position to win much more often than before.  There’ll be less blowouts and more close games, and those games are the ones that feel the best.

The biggest concept that this covers is battling an opponent at each Level, which is why I’m covering it first.  The two steps are rather straightforward, but I’m going to be going in-depth as to why each of those steps is important, and why they should be the focal point of the game.  For this concept, the following are the two steps you should try to adhere to as the game progresses:

1 – Try to make your opponent last only two turns at each Level.
2 – Try to aim for 3 damage early and 2 damage late with every attack.

This provides you with a platform where you’re not overextending and yet not allowing your opponent to accrue resources by stalling at specific levels, especially levels where that player’s deck is particularly strong at.

Alright, let’s break down these points as best as we can.

1) Try to make your opponent last only two turns at each Level.

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, but in general, if you can power through their early Levels you can make it difficult to come back and win. This in and of itself is a two-step approach, as for each Level you need to set up the damage to push them to the next Level.  During a game, it’s important to recognize your safety damage zones.  Given your hand, field, and matchup, each range will vary, but the general target will be to hit them to 5 damage at each Level.  Why is this important?

Level 0
Since, at Level 0, almost every player will utilize Clock themselves to draw more, stranding them at Level 0 gives you more control over what you can do to them during your next turn.  If your opponent is particularly slow at Leveling you up, or you got hit to Level 1 early, then you can utilize this time to speed up or slow down your game as necessary.

Level 1
When your opponent is at Level 1, in almost every deck, the majority of a deck is now playable.  Your opponent has a wide range of potential strategies available to them when discounting what series or archetypes they’re running.  Limiting the amount of time a player stands here limits how much stock and hand they can generate.  This is the typical Level for a player to play a full field, and also utilize abilities to generate hand.

Level 2
Players take one of three approaches at this Level.
– Letting their Level 0s and 1s tide them over until they reach Level 3.
– Putting down an early Level 3 or two and letting that wall off opposing attacks until Level 3.
– Playing Level 2s that help set up or defeat opposing Level 3s.
No matter the approach, however, it is all about set up, and disrupting that set up is ideal.

Level 3
Keeping an opponent at Level 3 allows them to utilize their most punishing damage combos or healing effects, and if you’re not at Level 3 (which usually means you won’t die during their next turn) it’s very likely you can’t remove their Units, which can drain you of hand size and make you ill-prepared for the upcoming Level.  Finish an opponent quickly (but properly) before they can punish you.

Of course, if a series has a well-known self-clock effect that is played, then at Level 0 4 damage is where you want them to be at.  As an ideal, here’s how the first couple turns play out for your damage.

Hit them to 0/2 on your first turn, then hit them to 0/5 (or 0/4).  On your next turn, if you’re at Level 0, hit them to 1/2, and if you’re at Level 1, hit them to 1/4.  Regardless, aim to hit them to at least 1/6, but ideally around 2/1 the next turn.  At that point, they should be close to if not already refreshing, so aim for 2/5 if they haven’t refreshed yet or 2/4 if they have.  Finally, get them to 3/0.  At this point, it’ll depend on what kind of damage options you have, but at the very least make sure to hit them to 3/4 or 3/5 to make recovering difficult.

There’s bound to be a glaring question here: what do I do when I’m behind or ahead in damage?  Well, that’s actually going to be covered in a different article in the future, but in general, remember that the you should always strive for the ideal.  If you’re behind, it usually depends on how your deck is structured, but in most cases you may just want to stop clocking and start focusing on walling or clearing as much as possible from your opponent’s field.  -1 soul effects and high amounts of healing help massively here.  If you’re ahead, recognize that it can take one lump of damage to even the playing field, so play defensively and don’t use too many resources.  Remember that your general power will be weaker than your opponent’s if they’re far behind in damage, so make sure you don’t give them an easy out to their ideal damage numbers.

Speaking of which,

2) Try to aim for 3 damage early, and 2 damage late with every attack.

Statistically speaking, if we’re looking for anything higher than a 50% chance of hitting, then 3 damage works great until the first turn after your opponent refreshes (on average). Of course, knowing the exact amount of damage you want to hit would normally be fine, but there are finnicky things like climaxes in hand, soul triggers, and open slots that tend to change our soul damage when we don’t want them to.  As such, sticking to attacks that swing for 2-3 early and 1-2 late are very good.  By that measure, of course, early damage is much more important.

Dynamics within a game change, and it’s possible to end up ahead or behind by a significant amount when it comes to damage.  That doesn’t mean it’s time to stop focusing on those numbers; after all, the ideal numbers for damage are still the same. When you’re behind, however, the numerically average damage isn’t going to be good enough to catch up unless you cancel a few attacks in a row.  As such, it’s better to start aiming for just slightly above a 50% hit rate at this point.  You’ll skirt the damage line but at the very least you’ll be going for a balance between damage and accuracy instead of a completely wild series of attacks that have a lower chance of hitting.  Likewise, when you’re ahead you can afford to slow down the damage, as accuracy is a lot more important.  You can continue to keep pressure, but one swing back you don’t cancel and you’re back on even ground in damage.  To utilize your lead, aim for high-accuracy attacks, like those that have an 80% or higher chance of hitting.  This allows you to not waste resources that you could use later on in the game.

Now, admittedly, 50% and 80% are rather arbitrary numbers, and not everyone can calculate the expected percentages of attacks in a matter of seconds mid-game.  As such, here’s a simplified and mostly accurate damage swing list you should aim for at specific points in the game:

(Opp is at) Level 0
Ahead – 1, (1 if there’s two Units to defeat)
Even – 1, (2 if you’re ready for Level 1)
Behind – 2, 2, (1 if you’re at Level 1)

(Opp is at) Level 1
Ahead – 1, 2, 2
Even – 2, 3, 2
Behind – 3, 3, 3

(Opp is at) Level 2
Ahead – 2, 1, 1
Even – 2, 2, 2
Behind – 2, 2, 3

(Opp is at) Level 3
Ahead – 1, 1, 1
Even – 2, 2, 1
Behind – 2, 2, 2

The order of the attacks can matter but in general you want to aim for those damage numbers at those points in the game.  The grand majority of players are unsure on what to do when they’re behind in damage, and as such this can help steady their game.  As mentioned earlier, I will be covering this topic before the end of the year, so I plan to go into this in more detail, but the information provided above should suffice for now.

Ultimately, what makes these two steps important is the fact that for many players, they provide a goal or a target.  It not only makes them more focused, but then able to then focus on the extraneous things, like climaxes in Waiting Room, what set an opponent is using, what archetype an opponent is using, hand size, stock gain, and others that are usually emphasized by other players ahead of this topic. Instead of taking a huge leap from the get go, start small and work your way from there.  Before a goal can be “Win the game”, you have to put yourself in a position to win the game.  Here’s one of those that can help.

~thenightsshadow, quickly finishing this up from the Philippines

Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 3 – Disfia and Overtrance)

==This Article is rated Gate 2.  While mainly for a bit of knowledge, this level of article is intended to help one draw information from areas that are limited in scope and help out both beginners and intermediates in understanding the game.==

Please Note:
All images are ©bushiroad All Rights Reserved.

Hi everyone, thenightsshadow here.  In this article I finish with the decklists we continued covering last time.  In case you missed the first article, in every booster box there’s a pamphlet that gives six introductory decks at the back of it.  There’s a sort of summary of the deck on the pamphlet, but it doesn’t really teach you how to play the deck or what cards you want to play with.  So, if you have cards in hand to make the deck, but are unsure on how to play it, just keep reading and you’ll find my thoughts on how to play each deck.

In this article, I cover the Disfia deck and the Overtrance deck.

I’ll cover each deck in its own section, so feel free to follow me after the jump and head over to the deck that interests you the most. Each section will be broken down into the following:

– A quick summary of the gameplay style.

– Level 1 cards

– Level 2 cards

– Level 3 cards

– Level 4 cards

– General Tips on playing the deck

Continue reading Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 3 – Disfia and Overtrance)

Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 2 – Aoi and Monolium)

==This Article is rated Gate 2.  While mainly for a bit of knowledge, this level of article is intended to help one draw information from areas that are limited in scope and help out both beginners and intermediates in understanding the game.==

Please Note:
All images are ©bushiroad All Rights Reserved.

Hi everyone, thenightsshadow here.  In this article I continue on with the decklists we began to cover last time.  In case you missed the previous article, in every booster box there’s a pamphlet that gives six introductory decks at the back of it.  There’s a sort of summary of the deck on the pamphlet, but it doesn’t really teach you how to play the deck or what cards you want to play with.  So, if you have cards in hand to make the deck, but are unsure on how to play it, just keep reading and you’ll find my thoughts on how to play each deck.

In this article, I cover the Aoi deck and the Monolium deck.

I’ll cover each deck in its own section, so feel free to follow me after the jump and head over to the deck that interests you the most. Each section will be broken down into the following:

– A quick summary of the gameplay style.

– Level 1 cards

– Level 2 cards

– Level 3 cards

– Level 4 cards

– General Tips on playing the deck

Continue reading Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 2 – Aoi and Monolium)

Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 1 – Chloe and Tamaki)

==This Article is rated Gate 2.  While mainly for a bit of knowledge, this level of article is intended to help one draw information from areas that are limited in scope and help out both beginners and intermediates in understanding the game.==

Please Note:
All images are ©bushiroad All Rights Reserved.

Hi everyone, thenightsshadow here.  This is (hopefully) going to be the first of many Luck and Logic articles on this blog.  I struggled for a while on what to write about, especially because I do better teaching games in person.  As you can see from the title, I ended up deciding on the deck lists included with each Booster Box.  There’s a sort of summary of the deck on the pamphlet, but it doesn’t really teach you how to play the deck or what cards you want to play with.  So, if you have cards in hand to make the deck, but are unsure on how to play it, just keep reading and you’ll find my thoughts on how to play each deck.

In this article, I cover the Chloe deck and the Tamaki deck.

 

I’ll cover each deck in its own section, so feel free to follow me after the jump and head over to the deck that interests you the most. Each section will be broken down into the following:

 

– A quick summary of the gameplay style.

– Level 1 cards

– Level 2 cards

– Level 3 cards

– Level 4 cards

– General Tips on playing the deck

 

Continue reading Luck & Logic – Breaking Down the Introductory Deck Lists (Part 1 – Chloe and Tamaki)

Preparing for the World Championships – My ENG Weiss Decks

For some of you who don’t know, there’s been a lot of talk this week about the Bushiroad World Championships.  While the dates aren’t officially public on their website, by checking out their Event Page on the games’ respective Facebook Pages you can see exactly when they are.

As such, I’d like to begin the process of preparing for the World Championships.  Problem is, I don’t know what series to write about.  So, here’s the deal.  Follow after the jump to see my decks, and comment either on this post or on the deck itself if you want to see me feature that set on the first week of prep.  If you have any questions about the deck list, leave them here or there too!

As always, thanks for being a reader of our community, and let’s dive into the Championships prepared.

Continue reading Preparing for the World Championships – My ENG Weiss Decks

Weiss Wednesday – Filtering the Lens of Analysis

Today’s article is rated Experience Level 3.  This article is perfect for those that recognize their status as a beginner and want to learn how to become a better player.

 

I will admit, today’s topic came by chance.  It has been a few days since I last felt like writing, and while I’m glad to have another writer on the team I felt it was time to write again.  So, two days ago, I asked a couple of groups for a Weiss topic.  Nearly everyone online at the time piped in asking for a specific deck tech or set review.  From Triad Primus, reviewing the newest Illya set, and figuring out how CANAAN works, to CLANNAD’s new look, Railgun’s woes, and figuring out how best to abuse the Shirou/Rin/Saber Fate/ deck, there were a lot of topics to comb over.  But with the exception of two suggestions, everything was about a set or deck.  It reminded me of a glaring problem I had had for a while now, and as such I’m deciding to cover it today.

So why is it that people like deck techs or set reviews?  I could just say tl;dr: they’re lazy, end of story, but that’s not necessarily accurate.  They definitely are quicker than just checking the set or deck out yourself, especially if you want to cut the chaff of the non-winning deck techs, but at the same time, they’re also quite informative for their length.  Good deck techs are a frame into the builder’s mind, and many times they’re referenced with reasons for utilizing certain cards.  (I did a deck tech last week for Buddyfight for another channel, so I’m definitely not immune to it.)  Likewise, for set reviews, there are the contextual aspects of it, like a card being compared to other cards within its own set, but some groups do a great job of putting a card in context to the other sets currently out, and how it fits in that setting.  (I was part of TopTierTears’ To Love-Ru 2nd set review, so I can’t say I haven’t done this either.)  Unfortunately, the reason I abhor deck techs or set reviews in general, and why I won’t be featuring any in the content I release on this website is that it produces poor habits in the players who use it.

I only need point out my 2015 WGP Nationals-winning deck list as an example of this.  Within a day of winning the entire thing, I had so many people asking for my decklist I ran out of phone battery on the way home.  It was posted quite quickly, but to everyone I could I warned that this was not going to be a successful deck if you just copy it and paste it, then play it a few couple times.  Many didn’t heed the warning and copied it straight, only to lose nearly every game they played with it.  It took only one day to get a lot of requests for my deck, and it took only a week to get flood with complaints about how my deck sucked and they don’t believe it won Nationals (despite being up on HotC’s website).  To be fair, the deck didn’t have a deck tech video and people just copied it to try it, but I was never going to do a deck tech video of it because it was not meant for general play.  The same applies to the Worlds decklist, which has had several hundred players testing it.  While I continued to play the Worlds deck for a while after I got back from Japan for personal reasons, it wasn’t a deck I would consider playable in a general tournament.

The main reason is because seeing a decklist and hearing reasons for specific cards can only tell you so much.  It tells you nothing about the style of play the pilot used in each round or situation, the luck factor involved in winning that tournament, or any misplays an opponent might have done.  A set may have (as per the TTT rating system) Good, Playable, and Niche cards, but those Niche cards may be more powerful than the Good cards in certain circumstances or tournament situations.  And it’s really impossible to account for all of that.  That’s why I’d like to advocate a different way of thinking.  Instead of just aiming for winning decks, I’d like both Beginners and Intermediates alike to focus on the foundationals.  And I don’t mean the basic rules, like utilizing [ACT] abilities during the main phase, or Encoring Characters before the Attack Step immediately.  Instead, I mean thing like recognizing your own style of play, what kind of weaknesses and strengths it has, and identifying cards and deckbuilding styles that complement that style.  In the group I lead, there are a few players that I build decks for, including one that rarely builds his own decks and just plays decks I’ve built for him.  But in that group, I learned each player’s tendencies, playstyle, and synergies, and aimed to build a deck for that person to be able to play to their fullest potential in that style.

You can actually look to the demographics in your continent for examples of this.  In North America, there are quite a few diverse groups.  There are some players that spend months preparing for the next major tournament by picking a deck ahead of time, fine-tuning it by facing the most popular decks over and over, and perfecting their play to the point of clockwork.  There are some that focus less on their deck and more on their playing style, aiming to force an opponent to Level 2 before they refresh while avoiding the same fate, believing in the mantra that the player that hits Level 2 before refresh will lose the game.  There are some that believe in revving up before a tournament, in where a player will only play high-level competitive Weiss only the last two weeks leading up to the tournament, so they will reach their highest level of play when it counts the most.  All of these different styles of thought have varying degrees of truth to them, and it’s difficult to discount the style as wrong or invalid without acknowledging that a good portion of their thought is correct.

Surprisingly enough, Weiss isn’t the game that taught me all this.  In fact, Weiss is a game where it is so easy to lose sight of individuality because there are cards that are very powerful and players gravitate to those in a set before all others.  No, it was Luck & Logic, another Bushiroad game.  (Side note, this might be a topic for another article, but it’s very easy to do quite well at a card game if you can play all the other games of that genre that company makes.  If you are serious about improving your player statistics in Bushiroad games, I cannot insist more on playing Future Card Buddyfight, particularly Magic World and Katana World, to improve your deckbuilding skills, and Luck & Logic for identifying your playing styles.)  Luck & Logic, from its very first play, showed me that every loss I took was a direct result of a play I had made at some point during the game that turned the tide.  Each little mistake I made may not have made an impact at that point but caused a ripple effect for later in the game.  It is these moments that cause me to understand that there is not one correct way of playing the game.  This extends all the way to Weiss as well, especially in a game with this much variance.

As I close, it’s important to note that following deck techs and set reviews aren’t wrong at all.  They do heavy work in helping the community, and it’s not my intention to say that they shouldn’t be done.  All I ask is that players who follow them should do so with questions of their own.  “When does this card work well, and how do I use it properly?”, for instance.  And on the flip side, so I cover my bases here, to the content creators, not everyone is at your level, and you shouldn’t make people leap from their level to your level.  Let them make mistakes instead of just flat out telling them of their incorrect ways.  Not everyone aspires to be a top level competitive player, and just because they watch a deck tech or set review does not mean they aim to be that kind of player.  Be the hand that feeds instead of bites.

 

~thenightsshadow, who is starting to piece together a strategy for the English Weiss Format

Prisma☆Illya in the current meta and 3rd-set hypetrain

初めまして、半兵衛です。よろしくお願いします。

With the impending release of a full booster for fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya (fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ)in Weiβ Schwarz (ヴァイスシュヴァルツ), it’s time to take another look at where it stands in the current meta and make predictions.  Prisma☆Illya currently fails to make the cut into the top echelons of neo-standard series due to its limited kit at level 1.  Despite its weak level 1, Prisma☆Illya remains a threat in the tournament scene due to its strong finish.  With a new set to come, Prisma☆Illya players can look forward to having more options instead of being pigeon-holed into Kaleidoscope build or double-attack build. Continue reading Prisma☆Illya in the current meta and 3rd-set hypetrain

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