So, real talk. I'm writing this off of the top of my head kind of as a draft so I hope you guys can understand where I'm coming from on this one.
Over the years, I've played a lot of fighting games. That's the mind set I use to approach anything competitive cause it's how I learned it growing up and it's what I'm comfortable with. But there's something that I noticed a lot of people don't really do in Naruto that people seem to do in fighters and that's practice. Why?
I mean, when I first started this game, I played religiously with my buddy Zounder. Now a days, I find myself practicing less and less which is strange, but I intend to fix that come the Georgia Shonen Jump. Where did I get the idea that practicing wasn't that integral to the game?
In Fighting Games, the basic things you need to work on are:
-Knowing the Matchup
You could say that basically the same thing applies to Naruto:
-Playing Your Cards Well with no Misplays
-Bluffing/Reading your opponent
-Knowing what cards to play and when. Also what to sideboard
It's not so different when you look at it, so why should the concept of practicing be so different?
I see people just write down a deck list and just think about the weak links in the deck and come up with scenarios via theorycrafting/brainstorming. Then they talk to others about the fears they have, then reformulate the list and doing it over and over again. And that's apparently how they arrive at the deck. Or they take someone else's deck and just netdeck it and they're good to go.
I don't think that cuts it anymore though. I know people will get "salty" over simply losing with a "netdeck" and wonder how the hell it won anything in the first place.
Practice does some pretty important things for you:
-1. You understand the card choices in the deck since you yourself built it. Even if you didn't build it, it may take dozens of games for you to arrive at why certain cards are in the build. There have been a lot of questionable "one of"'s in people's decks from time to time and people don't really understand it until they actually play the deck. Commonly understood ones are things like Dosu in Joe's 2007 Sannin winning build but that's only after light was shed on it by other players.
-2. You can weed out the stuff that hasn't been working for you that seemed good in theory. Pressing from this past set is notorious for this. Everyone thought it'd be pretty awesome since it's 2 stellar effects (One Morning and Temari & Kankuro) one one card but it doesn't always pan out this way.
-3. Changing commonly accepted answers for ones that better suit your play style. Granted, I think Yakumo is a great card but it doesn't suit the style of deck I'm trying to play or how I want to approach a given matchup so I opted not to play it. Some people might find this strange but lots of practice with the Set 16 metagame showed me that I could accomplish the same goals through other means while still covering up holes for matchups that either my deck isn't suited to deal with or I myself as a player have very little experience. Even Saul doesn't play Tobi in some of his decks for one reason or another. If you're seeing results with what works for you, why change?
-4. Knowing the right moves. If you've only played the Monowater matchup once before and I've played the Monowater matchup at least two hundred times in practice, which one of us do you think is going to be more likely to win? I'm going to be more confident in the matchup overall and be more comfortable with it. I'll probably make less misplays since I've weeded all of those tiny/colossal errors in play testing. I'll know when to hold cards back in anticipation for a counter. I'll know when to rush. I'll know when to be conservative. Rather than being on tilt I'll be thinking "Oh it's just like everytime I've played against Nick." Hell, in some cases the practice deck might actually be better than the deck you're playing against, giving you another booster shot. You're also likely to sideboard better cards
-5. Improved concentration. After not playing for 2 weeks, if you're going into a tournament early in the morning, you'll most likely be dazed and confused for the first couple of moves until you get your bearings again. This could lead to a suboptimal start, poor decisions in say, discarding cards with Tobi, etc. etc. It doesn't happen to everyone but if you've been playing hundreds of games with the same deck, you better believe you'll be more focused and prepared since your body and mind are so used to it.
But again, what do I know? Maybe it's just me. Practice is extremely important to me as it's how I learn what's right and what's wrong for me. Some of you may find you pick up things quickly with only 2 or maybe 3 games. Maybe none at all. I learn through dozens upon dozens of games though. Regardless, I hope you all remember the importance of practicing.
Labels: random, tsu