I found the reason Refess is so weak!

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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Grain » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:39 pm

Logress wrote:Whatever the case, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and start playing Refess. I might come back here with some good ideas, or I might make a total fool out of myself. That is always an option. If that happens, I'll be the first in line to complain to the Japanese.


Gaogailgirl has been too busy to be consulted?

Perhaps with all those avatar requests?
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Logress » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:33 am

So I wrote this last night when I was out of my mind tired, and I'm not sure how much sense it makes, but this was my impression of a Refess tank deck at oh god AM in the morning. I threw out some of these ideas yesterday in the forums as they developed. I guess the basic thing I got out of it was that with the other 3 spheres, the standard deck builds need to be designed to win. Once you can do that constantly, you work on tweaking things so you stop your opponent from stopping your win. With a Refess tank deck, your build needs to be designed to draw. Once you can do that consistently, you work on tweaking things so you can win. The benefit is that your opponent is always trying to stop you from winning, but he usually isn't trying to stop you from drawing, so there's actually less resistance to the first part. Anyway, here is my post...



Okay, remember my last post? At this point I'm pretty sure the Japanese do have an extra brain lobe for playing Refess, and that lobe is filled with... patience. So much patience that it's really not a compliment anymore. It's actually kind of scary.

I've completed my first day of Refess, and I fought all day with a pure Refess tank deck, slow as slow can be. It was quite a learning experience. Ironically, after all this talk my first 4 out of 5 battles were against fellow Refess players. Then, I started hitting the Lawtia, nothing but Lawtia. It took a lot of long, harsh beat-downs, but I think I got the hang of it. As has been said before, the Refess tank deck is a stalemate deck. I tried a lot of variations, but I found that the only way I could make it work was a really perverse way of thinking: Stalemates are a good thing. Barely surviving is a good thing. I know it's been said that a lot of times it seems like if you play Refess perfectly you stalemate, and if you slip up you lose. Well, I've fought a lot of Lawtia variants now, a Eskatia Night deck, a bunch of double LeBeaus, a triple LeBeau, a few Zugataroza LeBeaus, and a SP drainer. I'm pretty sure if your deck is put together right and you don't give in to restlessness or the temptation to burn SP before the endgame, then you can put yourself in a situation where if you are unlucky you Draw and if you're lucky you win -- At least against Lawtia. Maybe Gowen will teach me some new lessons tomorrow.
Anyway, let me explain how the winning happened to me. I found I could get to an endgame setup fairly easily. I'd have Phoenix, an SP generator, and if I was lucky, maybe one other card. I often put LeBeau's soul skill on my Phoenix, for a huge number since almost everything else in my deck has been clobbered and the Cemetery is about full. Since at one point I usually can get two big guys out, a Sphinx and a Zagar for example, I usually also have a good buffer of SP from when they got clobbered like everything else. Since until now I've just been tanking, my enemy usually has way more units on the field then he's used to. Maybe he's gotten a LeBeau or two off, but he usually has a ton of Shades and other things out that can't really hurt me. Remember, I have an SP generator and a buffer of SP, so even without LeBeau (because he could always Dispel, or use Assassin's soul skill, or do some kind of Returning thing -- oh yea, and to deal with this situation you need a buffer of LP at the end because while you're replacing your Phoenix he'll beat the crap out of you) the Phoenix takes a long time to take down. I find that two Phoenixes out helps, because his damage gets randomly split between them, it takes longer to take them down. Once I'm in this position, I start attacking. 30 Damage isn't much, and it bounces off his high DF guys, but if it hits Eskatia, Annarose, a Shade or a Magic Doll then you might do some LP damage. Keep in mind, the less Soul Skills you've triggered the better at this point, since 90% of Soul Skills won't bother the Phoenix much but they play hell with your standard tanks, by not setting them off you've forced your enemy to take a lot longer to get to this point in the game then they'd like. So, by now you're probably thinking that if your enemy has as many units on the field as I'm describing, and he's set off a bunch of LeBeau's soul skills, then isn't this just gambling? What are your chances of really being effective? Keep in mind you'll be doing this for 10 rounds or more. You'll hit something eventually, right? Well, there are a few ways to improve your odds. First, if you can safely have two Phoenixes out, that doubles your chances. Second, and the Japanese players told me to try this one, try putting two Magic Weapon cards in your deck. In the end game 1 or 2 SP for Gowen won't matter so much, and if you get your Phoenix's attack up to 50 or 70 in the situation I'm describing, then your enemy is going to have some serious problems. But, I know what you're thinking. To play this way, you've already let your enemy set off a whole bunch of LeBeau Soul Skills. What good is 70 damage going to do? Actually, a whole lot. You see, since you're pretty much getting smacked around the whole game until now, you've sent very little to the Cemetery on your enemy's side. However, he's probably been in a hurry to set off his LeBeau's so he's probably not revived a few guys to force them to go off. This means he's got a lot less in the Cemetery than you're used to seeing, and 70 damage just might be enough. And if you can't win? Then you stalemate, which kind of has to be okay with you to play this way. The secret really is to never burn your SP away. Slow the enemy down, collect SP, and don't be tempted to use any Grimoire or high SP cost abilities until the end game, and then only use them at a rate so that you won't deplete your reserves before turn 30. Now, there is a question of how victories actually come about using this strategy. Basically, if your enemy's killable units are greater or less than his remaining life points when you enter the end game, then I'd say you've got an even chance of winning by the numbers. In reality, most Lawtia players have no patience, and they look at the board, and then they either make a risky move (like pulling out an Assassin when they don't really have the SP to support it) which probably increases your chances of winning (while also adding a certain possibility of losing as well), or they just give up because they don't want to go through the effort of fighting you to a draw. I'm not sure how I feel about winning like that. I'm pretty sure it's not fun, although I do kind of like seeing if I'm lucky enough to win at "Kill the Shade in the Endgame." All said and done, I think it's possible to build a streamlined end game Refess tank deck (but it has to be streamlined) that will get you say, 20% wins, 5% losses, and 75% Draws against Lawtia players who are equal in skill to you. That's a great win ratio, but boy is it a lot of work -- and humbling, basically you succeed by letting them beat you senseless for half an hour.
Anyway, that's what I've learned from my first day. My guess is most high level Refess players already have figured this much out and decided that spending 30+ minutes on every match was making your head explode, and have been trying to find an alternate ever since. Well, I have a few different things I'd like to try (oh, dear god, I hope there is a different way to play Refess), but for now I'm going to see how this strategy plays out against Falkow and Gowen.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Logress » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:48 am

Also, the Japanese did an extensive statistical analysis on our game as it stands, analyzing patterns among "beginners" "normals" and "high level" players popularity of starting decks through what decks stick through the game, wins and losses, etc. Really they crunched an enormous amount of numbers, I kind of feel bad about how much work they put into it. They even analyzed every deck in the game right now. Basically, they said the Spheres go from Gowen, to Lawtia, to Falkow to Refess in terms of popularity, but the actual numerical difference between each is very small. They agree that some tweaks might help things, and they're pretty sure they can smooth everything out in the near future without any real "nerfing."
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby DanTheTimid » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:22 pm

Logress wrote:They agree that some tweaks might help things, and they're pretty sure they can smooth everything out in the near future without any real "nerfing."


Wait, so your saying some small balance changes ARE coming? What does "they can smooth everything out in the near future" mean? Regardless thank you very much again for putting in all this effort to look into this matter.

I'll say this much, games are supposed to be fun, and if a clan's only viable strategy is one that's neither fun for the player or his opponents, just a really long, boring, and tedious stall with hopes to draw fest, something definitely is needed to be done.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Grain » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:43 pm

DanTheTimid wrote:
Logress wrote:They agree that some tweaks might help things, and they're pretty sure they can smooth everything out in the near future without any real "nerfing."


Wait, so your saying some small balance changes ARE coming? What does "they can smooth everything out in the near future" mean? Regardless thank you very much again for putting in all this effort to look into this matter.

I'll say this much, games are supposed to be fun, and if a clan's only viable strategy is one that's neither fun for the player or his opponents, just a really long, boring, and tedious stall with hopes to draw fest, something definitely is needed to be done.


These changes have probably already happened on the Japanese servers.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Chronomaster » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:48 pm

Logress wrote::blogblogblog:

Logress of the Future wrote:Day 12 of the Refess test blog:
euheuehehahahAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA.

The Refess man, the Refess. They're getting into my head, MAN, like Big Brother. They just stand there, MAN, just waiting and watching and waiting. IT'S FREEKIN' ME OUT MAN.


Well, at least you have the patience and drive to do this. I gave up on the LeBeau issue a long time ago (though I'm Gowen so it's all or nothing). It's just disheartening to think that your next ranked game is going to be no different from the last, with people rushing to stack their graveyards and activating LeBeau.

Oh, wait, this was about Refess. Well... uh... keep up the good work!

DanTheTimid wrote:I'll say this much, games are supposed to be fun, and if a clan's only viable strategy is one that's neither fun for the player or his opponents, just a really long, boring, and tedious stall with hopes to draw fest, something definitely is needed to be done.

I will have to disagree with that. Any strategy is a viable strategy, and just because you think drawing out isn't entertaining, doesn't mean that sadistic Refess player doesn't as well.

Though I can understand where here in America it's either WIN OR YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY LOSE. The idea that another path might exist in the land of the free merely gets trounced on the moment you bring it up. It's, what, probably 90+% of people who lack logic and lateral thinking in the grand old US now? I mean, hell, I missed this avenue. I really need to get out of this country before it poisons me further. :V [/politicalagenda]

Ahahaha wordquacker you got me again.
Last edited by Chronomaster on Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby teasel » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:50 pm

I'll say this much, games are supposed to be fun, and if a clan's only viable strategy is one that's neither fun for the player or his opponents, just a really long, boring, and tedious stall with hopes to draw fest, something definitely is needed to be done.

never played against a counter deck in magic uh? :P
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Phades » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:32 pm

Logress wrote: Maybe Gowen will teach me some new lessons tomorrow.
It really depends on the gowen deck and what combos they can put forward. A more advanced Gowen is a beast, but a starter gowen is not even in the same ballpark. I am surprised you didn't mention anything about falkow, since you had experience using it, but from what i experience the slow game with one unit does not work against them due to azure dragon existing, aqua sorceror, insert other return options negating SP springboard, and other options available to all players via SS.

Logress wrote: but he usually has a ton of Shades and other things out that can't really hurt me. Remember, I have an SP generator and a buffer of SP, so even without LeBeau (because he could always Dispel, or use Assassin's soul skill, or do some kind of Returning thing -- oh yea, and to deal with this situation you need a buffer of LP at the end because while you're replacing your Phoenix he'll beat the . out of you) the Phoenix takes a long time to take down. I find that two Phoenixes out helps, because his damage gets randomly split between them, it takes longer to take them down.
Assassin as a soul skill sacrificing a useless shade at this point is the most harmful thing to the phoenix since it is directly to cemetary, do not regenerate, do not collect sp. Although, lawita players that do the 3 shades in the early game tend to be easier to deal with. The ones that save them for mid to late game tend to be more problematic, hence no puffball regeneration periodically. Although the way you say it, it sounds like you somehow accumulated 12~15 sp versus a lawita player while not being zerod out on LP.

Logress wrote: Second, and the Japanese players told me to try this one, try putting two Magic Weapon cards in your deck. In the end game 1 or 2 SP for Gowen won't matter so much, and if you get your Phoenix's attack up to 50 or 70 in the situation I'm describing, then your enemy is going to have some serious problems.
Charge in the instance of being outnumbered like you describe is more bang for the cardfile space and could be put on both phoenix assuming you aren't being threatened, destroyed, or returned.

Logress wrote: In reality, most Lawtia players have no patience, and they look at the board, and then they either make a risky move (like pulling out an Assassin when they don't really have the SP to support it) which probably increases your chances of winning (while also adding a certain possibility of losing as well), or they just give up because they don't want to go through the effort of fighting you to a draw.

I would prefer to assume you are playing a more compotent player mindset focused on what they need to win, opposed to making it short. The ones that attempt to compress everything in the early game can get rolled just by a magic weaponed blitz soldier or combat monk.

Logress wrote: All said and done, I think it's possible to build a streamlined end game Refess tank deck (but it has to be streamlined) that will get you say, 20% wins, 5% losses, and 75% Draws against Lawtia players who are equal in skill to you. That's a great win ratio, but boy is it a lot of work -- and humbling, basically you succeed by letting them beat you senseless for half an hour.
Well the loss ratio isn't bad, but i dont know if i would consider draws a win. For some reason, even under the ideal circumstances, it seems that there is a basic design flaw when the best you anticipate for regularly is a tie, rather than a reasonable chance at winning. Through your description, it sounds like you are running with between 10-12 LP as well, making the actual LP count more important than the actions they trigger.

Logress wrote: Anyway, that's what I've learned from my first day. My guess is most high level Refess players already have figured this much out and decided that spending 30+ minutes on every match was making your head explode, and have been trying to find an alternate ever since. Well, I have a few different things I'd like to try (oh, dear god, I hope there is a different way to play Refess), but for now I'm going to see how this strategy plays out against Falkow and Gowen.
Regardless, i respect the effort you are putting into this and i am sure that the resources you have at your disposal is making this an easier process than any player starting out trying to put together a deck that will actually make this work happen in addition to information from the development team as to which angles the deck is "supposed" to work.

For myself personally, i have given up entirely on refress. I have tried many differen things including multi colored solutions for various aspects of the game including the opening where refess tends to just take it in the backside. I have tried sp boosting into units that can actually take a hit and create a working field control and that fails as well. I have even been caught in the buffing cycle of things trying to make a single character stall strategy work, but that has failed as well without additional support. Although, i was doing most of this in the 9-10LP range in different stages, it really didn't seem to matter when I would commonly eat 2-3 iczer attacks in a round or see field wipes and not enough SP to recover. In playing my biggest weakness tends to be when to let go of a unit, but there were plenty of games where it seemed like things were going well only to see them fall apart at the very end. Things that would cause it to fall apart would be puffballs being targeted, high unit sp cost, or well timed sp drain through either return, cemetary, or shade style effects.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby DanTheTimid » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:44 pm

teasel wrote:never played against a counter deck in magic uh? :P


Actually my main type 1.5 deck in magic is a white/blue deck that puts counter spells and swords to plowshares on iscron scepters and then super stalls till I can drop down my big magnificent angels and lay waste to my enemies. There's a difference between stalling a little bit toward a goal, and trying to stall indefinitely so that at worst you suffer a draw, maybe if your lucky your opponent just gives up or you find a way to win. Some stalling is fine, longer games are fine, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed where a player can effectively bore his opponent into submission. Games are supposed to be fun, if they're not, why are you playing them. I'm just glad this game atleast has a turn timer so that a player can eventually get out of a boring match with a draw instead of having to surrender but it does still take quite a long time.

If "incredibly boring 45 minutes stall" is the only way refess can be played effectively (though I'm still not convinced even these pure stall tactics truly are effective, theres just as many ways around Phoenix as there are Zombie Lord if not more) then they really should put a warning label on the refess starter cause I assure you I would not have picked them as my starting clan if I knew their win condition was through making the game so unfun that my opponents can not bare to continue playing me and just gives up.
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Re: I found the reason Refess is so weak!

Postby Phades » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:05 pm

DanTheTimid wrote:
teasel wrote:never played against a counter deck in magic uh? :P


Actually my main type 1.5 deck in magic is a white/blue deck that puts counter spells and swords to plowshares on iscron scepters and then super stalls till I can drop down my big magnificent angels and lay waste to my enemies. There's a difference between stalling a little bit toward a goal, and trying to stall indefinitely so that at worst you suffer a draw, maybe if your lucky your opponent just gives up or you find a way to win. Some stalling is fine, longer games are fine, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed where a player can effectively bore his opponent into submission. Games are supposed to be fun, if they're not, why are you playing them. I'm just glad this game atleast has a turn timer so that a player can eventually get out of a boring match with a draw instead of having to surrender but it does still take quite a long time.

If "incredibly boring 45 minutes stall" is the only way refess can be played effectively (though I'm still not convinced even these pure stall tactics truly are effective, theres just as many ways around Phoenix as there are Zombie Lord if not more) then they really should put a warning label on the refess starter cause I assure you I would not have picked them as my starting clan if I knew their win condition was through making the game so unfun that my opponents can not bare to continue playing me and just gives up.

In MTG i played turbo stasis when it was tournament legal and even mixed in phantasmal and illusionary terrain while phasing out other cards to keep it running, but i got tired of the carrot on the stick mentality of being forced into jumping into the next hoops. There is a very real difference between stalling through passive offense and counter and merely dragging out the game because you can put forward no meaningful offense or disruptive manuvers.
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