Monday, April 28, 2014

What makes people hate the meta?

I've had this post sitting in my drafts for at least three months now waiting to be actually written, but I think recent events in the game make this topic more relevant now than it might've been in the past few months. So, here we go!

Right now it seems that the recent release of Dragons of Legend has propelled the most infamous meta strategy of 2013, Dragon Rulers, back to the top tables at high-level events. Dragon Rulers at their prime were perhaps the most powerful deck this game has ever witnessed so far, and as such, the deck has seen quite a bit of hate in its time. But what exactly makes people hate the meta, anyways?

There are probably a lot of different ways to answer this question and this answer is only my opinion. But I believe the answer starts with our personalities and how they relate to the game.

I think it's safe to say that every person prefers some decks over others, and from those preferences you can usually begin to draw some conclusions about that person's favored style of play based on what those decks have in common. From there, there are usually a couple of decks that are extremely close to a person's heart at any given time, which are their favorite decks.

But what does that have to do with the meta? Well, in a card game with literally hundreds of different deck strategies to choose from and only a tiny percentage of those being relevant to the meta at any given time, I think that the vast majority of players have a favorite deck that usually isn't part of the meta at any given time. And if a deck isn't part of the meta, that typically (but not always) means that meta decks are in some way stronger or better than it, or are at least capable of beating it often.

(There also seems to be a lower average chance of a person's favorite deck being a meta deck in the first place, partly because a deck being part of the current meta means that several people are usually going to be playing it at the time. And for some reason, many Yugioh players tend to like decks a little bit less if we don't feel like they're unique to us.)

Yugioh isn't really that much fun when you lose, and I think it hurts to lose even more when you're beaten while playing a deck that really matters to you as an individual. So, I think the answer to the question is this: Many players dislike the meta because the existence of meta decks usually makes it harder for them to win while playing the decks that they genuinely love, creating pressure to make them play decks that simply win the game more often.

For example, my favorite deck is Steelswarm. I don't have to dig too deeply into my mind to realize that being unable to spend more time playing Steelswarm is really irritating, because if I did, I would almost certainly lose games more often than I do now since the deck is far removed from the current meta. So, in order to avoid the loss of fun that would come with losing, I instead choose the loss of fun that comes with spending most of my time with other decks that I might not like as much, but that are more powerful. The crazy thing is that no matter which one you choose, you're still losing something either way. So we're constantly being put in a lose-lose situation, and that fundamentally annoys us.

So that's my basic explanation for why Yugioh players hate meta decks! Do you have a different way of explaining it? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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