Friday, 23 January 2015

V-Discussion: Commander Laurel, an illusion of strength.

So I said I'd have something to say about the recently revealed Japanese Ban List, and this is it. As a Dimension Police user, my focus should already be clear. As is the obvious salt I feel, but also realization and acceptance come to light as well.

"I only came back, to bid you farewell."
Commander Laurel will be restricted to just ONE copy per deck as of the March 2nd, and by my guess will be Limited in English as of April to. But admitting, there's a a reason he had to go. He provides a free +3 to any given deck he is placed in when combined with Stride. Heck truth be told he can do the same with Metalborg, Sin Buster to, although that is an on-hit skill, it still counts! The point is this, with power creep reaching ever more fearsome heights, this battlefield commander who has stood tall and proud during many battles and multiple wars, must now retire. The common DP Player myself included is guilty of saying the following. "The deck must function well without Laurel." But now we've had our eyes opened. That excuse was denial.

Even as a two card tech, how many times has Commander Laurel turned a game around from a loss to a favorable position for me? More times than I can ever count. In this regard the evidence is clear. Commander Laurel has long been carrying my decks. But recently things got easier for him. For this I must refer to CFA, which I sometimes use to play with friends and acquaintances across long distances. (I don't play Randoms unless they REALLY pester me)

The Perfect Guard G sentinels, which trade being able to defend any unit, for being able to unflip a damage. Make it easier than ever to get Commander Laurel off making him more exploitable than ever.

The point I'm trying to reach, but possibly failing to do so, is that Commander Laurel has been reduced to a crutch for the needy. However, and I will stress this, I still believe that  accusations of him being an auto-win condition are some what over exaggerated, more so out of fear than anything else. It's well deserved though.

Remove Laurel From the deck, and Dimension Police users globally, at least for now, are "crippled", you can't accuse the clan of being under supported either so that's not the problem. So what is the problem, the problem is people.

As humans, and indeed competitive by our nature, once we find something that works, we don't like to change it. For Dimension Police, Commander Laurel is exactly that. As such an over-reliance has formed over time, and with it the inability to operate smoothly without the commander.

To put the problem itself into context there's two things to look at, two separate problems that come together to form even larger issue. The Larger issue ironically enough isn't all that important and anyone who things other wise must be more stubborn than me when I put my foot down, and that takes some doing.


Problem A: Commander Laurel

I'll just lay out the basics. With Stride the Vangaurd will commonly hit for 26000 and that's unboosted. Typical Booster of 5000-7000 pushes that even further into the next stage. (5 Stages), Also note that even just the Cray Elementals with Laurel are a scary combination.

Heat Element, Magnum can attack for 36000 without a boost, and Snow Element, Blizza can reach even further beyond that.

In contrast The Rear Guard Lanes are each typically 9+7 (16000) which is 2 stages, In the past, Laurel was a trade off, miss out on one attack of 2 stages in exchange for hand advantage. Yet ever since Break Rides, this has mattered less and less. But upgrading from a +2 to a +3, that take Laurel over the top. When Dimension Police Vangaurd's can match units like Dragonic Overlord The Re-Birth (or even The Great) advantage gaining when they were never intended to. That presents a problem, especially since they gain advantage by other means to. Then something is wrong.

Of course, those of us using Laurel never thought of it like that.


Problem B: "The Crutch"

I use this analogy because that's what this has become.
D Police have hand problems, this isn't any new realization. But because of this it also means the clan isn't as straight forward to play as people would have you believe, sure it's easier than many. But Commander Laurel eliminates any little skill required and turns the game into auto-pilot from the moment he hits the field, in this regard, he is a crutch for the weaker player of the clan, but for the better players that know what they are doing, this "crutch" can also become an instant win button. But it is wholly dependent on the player.
In either scenario, the player feels crippled with his removal.

The "Good" lose their auto win. The "Poor" loose their come-back level.
In either case, unfair advantage is gained an the player using it either won't notice, or simply won't care. But both cry tears when that exploit is removed.

If you're me and bought a load of Laurel's on the same weekend just before the restriction was announced, you cry harder.

So yes, I'm peeved that I lose out on Laurel, but I also acknowledge I deserve to lose him, his design creates a comfort bubble in which once he is out and in play, you are safe, or atleast buy enough time to strike back. This recurring pattern creates an illusion of power, of strength, of skill, but it's only that, an illusion. Remove the anchor and tear down the illusion, and if you can no longer win, it just show how reliant and weak you are. And reliance/dependence births weakness.