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Subject: Flatlines & Player Skill: Analysis rss

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Bryan Goodwin
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There's been a lot of discussion recently regarding the relationship between player skill and flatline incidence; I've picked out a couple of relevant questions to examine with OCTGN player data:

* Do flatline victories decrease as runner skill increases?
* Do more flatlines occur when the corp is at match point?

Player skill in this analysis is measured by a calculated Elo rating across the player histories (1500 default). The data set is the 'Competitive' cut of the OCTGN data (details here).

Do flatline victories decrease as runner skill increases?

To examine this one, it helps to start by looking at what happens to all victory rates as runner skill increases:



Unsurprisingly, better runners win a lot more games. Bear in mind that a greater winning % will drive down both Corp Agenda Victories and Flatline Victories.

Here's a summary of game results broken down by Runner skill level:



For the weakest runners, 26% of their games will result in flatlines (4th column). The strongest runners only lose by flatline in 9% of all of their games. It's tempting to call this one solved immediately upon discovering that result, but it isn't the entire picture. When you examine flatline occurrence as a percentage of losses only, they hold very steady, and even indicate that a stronger player may be more susceptible to flatlines. This likely isn't because they become less careful; top runners become better at preventing agenda victories than they do at preventing flatlines.

Here's a chart that illustrates this for the 4 most likely flatline-seeking identities:



Notice again how win % decreases vs stronger runners, but more and more of the Corp wins come from flatline as runner skill increases. (I left NBN off the chart, but someone out there is running a really fast & mean TWIY Scorch deck)


Do more flatlines occur when the corp is at match point?

Being at match point is a very strong theoretical position for a flatline/ambush deck; any install/advance/advanced card could be the game-ending agenda, which puts an enormous pressure on a Runner. But is that the situation for most flatlines? This question can be addressed by checking some summary data:



There's not a huge runner skill effect here. The better runners tend to have achieved a larger advantage before they flatline. Actual end scores are generally very low. Against the best runners:

1.9 average points with a standard deviation of 1.9 means that 50% of games end by flatline before the corp even has 2 points scored. The next 34% of games end with the corp having between 1.9-3.8 points; the upper ends of this group start to tip over into "match point" territory. The next 14% of games end with an average corp score of 4 or greater,and the final 2% with 6 or greater. So at least 1/6 flatlines occur at match point, but generally, most runners are getting fried early.
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spags
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Man, I don't know who you are, or where you came from, but keep up the fantastic work.
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Lysander
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I think the primary reason most flatlines aren't at match point is simply because many of the best flatline decks don't seek to score anything anyways, so it's difficult to draw any other conclusions on match point theory from this data.

And yes, absolutely amazing work. I concur TWIY scorch decks are a huge PITA to play against.
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Joe Bowers
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All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.
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Pedraum
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Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.

I hate to say it, that has everything to do with player skill. A higher skilled player is going to make sure he can beat a Punitive trace before he runs into archives with any facedown cards.

Thanks to the OP, great post!
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Lysander
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Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.


...are you fucking serious?


Tell you what. You analyze the data in such a way that there are absolutely no loopholes or exceptions and report your findings. I'm getting real sick of people thumbing their nose at what little data we're able to get our hands on. I feel like I'm listening to an argument from a Creationist.
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Bryan Blumklotz
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spags wrote:
Man, I don't know who you are, or where you came from, but keep up the fantastic work.

Bryan is one of 5 Bryan/Brians in my local meta. Though I have not had a chance to sit down at the tables with him in a while he is a good player and nice guy. We are blessed with Bryan and Alexfrog doing deep analysis here in Portland, Oregon.

BTW, Spags, congrats on your performance at your last tourney.

Bryan, hope to see you at the Cloud Cap Store Championship tomorrow, otherwise maybe we can catch up at our double Store Championship weekend at the end of the month... or GameStorm.
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Unmeel Banerjea
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Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.

Your first sentence does not logically follow from your second sentence. You are using a very marginal example that you concocted to attempt a strong generalized conclusion.

Try to figure out why this sort of reasoning is bad and wrong.
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Darren Wyatt
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As a long time lurker, first of all thanks OP for posting this. The octgn data is very interesting to me, as I play flatline decks almost exclusively and was debating which deck to bring to store champs.

It's quite alarming to see runner win % shoot up with elo, but I suppose that's an artifact of the game and I probably shouldn't worry about it, considering I don't know my own elo rating. That said, seeing the difference in Overall Win % between Weyland BABW and Jinteki PE at high level being almost non-existent is heartening, even though the more relevant data to me is probably the middle elo bands around 1500 (or even lower, competency bias and all).

That average turns played hovering around 11 and that flatline victories can come before matchpoint merely confirms some anecdotal hunches I had, but the real eye opener is the 80% flatline as wins for Jinteki PE. Next time I can get some games in I'll switch up my plays abit and focus more on the flatline, and see if it affect my W/L ratio.

Again, thanks OP, your data has been of great help.

(With regards to matchpoint theory, sometimes the threat of reaching matchpoint is, hilariously enough, enough psychology to force mistakes, and I do still think that getting to matchpoint is an important goal for flatline decks, albeit one that might have been given too much weight previously)
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Christopher Barnett
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Out of all the flatline analysis (which is fantastic btw), the statistic I find the most interesting is the overall win percentage of jinteki PE vs Weyland BABW at the highest elo.

Only a 2% difference, (smallish sample admittedly) indicates that jinteki isn't significantly worse at the highest skill. This may be because higher elo runners all run plascrete and don't run net shield/feedback filter, bit it is interesting nevertheless.

None of us want jinteki to become an overwhelming force, but I would like to see people considering running anti net damage cards, because it might be a problem otherwise.
 
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David Jackman
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Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.

Ah, the old 'dies to removal' argument.
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Glenn Avery
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Can't wait to see how GRNDL works into this.
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Michael Redston
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Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.
You forgot that it also dies to Doom Blade.
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mathew rynich
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spags wrote:
Man, I don't know who you are, or where you came from, but keep up the fantastic work.

Seriously. Good work dude.

On the subject of flatlining, last night I got that Jinteki PE kill by throwing 2 fetal AI's in the trash before the runner trashed a Braintrust with keyhole. It was the first Agenda the runner saw in the game. Also there was a shock in Archives. Also I had a Punative Counterstrike in my hand. That runner was F-ed.

Before this the runner threw away his plascrete and installed a Dues Ex (but that wasn't going to save him). My smile was too big for my face.

Add: I know it was luck that I got that much set up so quickly. I even had Jackson on the board if I needed him, but it's moments like that that make me love the game.
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mathew rynich
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cardsbydizzle wrote:
Topdecker577 wrote:
All those charts and numbers don't mean anything. If I throw 2 x 3 pt Agendas in archives early in the game, and the runner steals them by via archives Datasucker token run or just to check archives, I'm gonna blast you for 6 or 12 with Punitive Counterstrike(s) and it has nothing to do with a runner's skill.

I hate to say it, that has everything to do with player skill. A higher skilled player is going to make sure he can beat a Punitive trace before he runs into archives with any facedown cards.

Thanks to the OP, great post!

This is definitely true. PC is a game changing card, but it's not impossible to fight. Wait till you can beat the trace or wait until you can actually win off the Archive run thus not giving the corp a chance to PC. Archive running is alot more scary, which is nice. I think that was needed in the game.
 
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Joe Bowers
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12-0 as Corp during my store championships, with 1 win via Agenda. You can force good players into runs they think are good but just get them killed anyways. A few players tried to not run against me and I would just play and score agendas until they had to, often installing and advancing agendas unprotected to force a run so I could kill them next turn. You should watch the Team Covenant store champion finals videos on youtube, it will show the flatline naysayers how good flatline decks can be. Mine is slightly different from Chris's as I diluted by Agenda count by only including 3 pointers to make sure PC's are lethal and make single access runs mostly futile.


Identity: Weyland: Building a Better World

Cards: 49 / 45
Agenda points: 21 / 20
Influence: 15 / 15

Agenda (7)
1x Executive Retreat
3x Government Contracts
3x The Cleaners

Asset (3)
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Ice (12)
3x Draco
3x Caduceus
3x Ice Wall
3x Shadow

Operation (27)
3x Accelerated Diagnostics ●●●
3x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Green Level Clearance ●●●
3x Hedge Fund
3x Power Shutdown
3x Punitive Counterstrike
3x Restructure
3x SEASource ●●●●●●
3x Scorched Earth
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mathew rynich
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yeah I've seen the power shutdown kill deck in action. Not tried it myself. The fact that it is so effective makes me want to start putting rabbit holes in my deck again. It's been ages since I put rabbit holes in a deck. It would make 3x PC much more fightable.

I know as the runner putting too much defense in can be a bad thing, but I'm pretty sure we are going to see alot of this type of deck in tournaments. If they score 1x Cleaners then Plascrete alone is not going to save you.
 
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David Jackman
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Topdecker577 wrote:
12-0 as Corp during my store championships, with 1 win via Agenda. You can force good players into runs they think are good but just get them killed anyways. A few players tried to not run against me and I would just play and score agendas until they had to, often installing and advancing agendas unprotected to force a run so I could kill them next turn. You should watch the Team Covenant store champion finals videos on youtube, it will show the flatline naysayers how good flatline decks can be. Mine is slightly different from Chris's as I diluted by Agenda count by only including 3 pointers to make sure PC's are lethal and make single access runs mostly futile.

Either way, I think you might be missing the point. No one is saying flatlines are bad. On the contrary, most of the data says that the percentage of losses from flatlines stays fairly constant(or increases) regardless of player skill.

Nothing about this article implies that flatline decks are 'bad.'

I also just won a store championship, and my corp deck flatlined 3/4s of the time. So what?

I dont see how your anecdotal evidence is really relevant at all. We are talking about aggregates here. 100% of the people in the room with me now are named David, but thats not evidence that your name is David.
 
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mathew rynich
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Yeah I think we are getting a bit off subject here. The question is does runner's skill have an effect on flatline percentage? The numbers he's showing is that runner's skill is not that strong a factor. They lose less because they become better at denying corp AP and scoring AP themselves. If the corp gets their kill combo out at the right time they will probably flatline the runner, which makes the game a race (when the runner has high skill). Makes sense that most of the flatlines happen early game. Late game the runners econ and defenses will be set up.

Seems this is true of both Jinteki and Weyland, which is interesting. I was assuming Jinteki's flatline percentage would be way lower considering all the talk on BGG.

What's interesting about LCGs is that collecting stats and drawing conclusions like this is hard since we are constantly trying to hit a moving target because the card pool changes monthly (slightly). Every now and then a Puntative Counterstrike, Plascrete, Jackson Howard .. is going to come out and we need to re-ask the question agian.
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Alex Rockwell
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Thank you so much for doing this research!
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Chris Braithwaite
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Yeah, it's always seemed odd to me that people say flatline victories are less likely against skilled runners; of course they are, victory itself is less likely vs. a skilled runner, that's why we consider her to be skilled in the first place. This is a really good examination of how much flatline victories go down compared to agenda victories as you increase the skill of the runner, and your data suggests that it's basically the same, which makes sense. A good runner tries to minimum all losses, not only one kind of loss. If a run risks a flatline loss, but to not make the run poses a greater risk of losing to agenda score, then a good runner will make that run.

Lysander1 wrote:
I'm getting real sick of people thumbing their nose at what little data we're able to get our hands on. I feel like I'm listening to an argument from a Creationist.

While the argument you were responding to is ridiculous, I don't think it's fair to lump it in with past critiques of statistical analysis as applied to Netrunner. The OP in this thread is orders of magnitude more rigorous and cautious in its conclusions than "Andy wins x% more games on OCTGN, therefore, without any attempt to control for other factors, I conclude that she is the best runner", which was a pretty common position for a while. It isn't Creationistic to be skeptical of such a position.
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Pedraum
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Topdecker577 wrote:
12-0 as Corp during my store championships, with 1 win via Agenda. You can force good players into runs they think are good but just get them killed anyways. A few players tried to not run against me and I would just play and score agendas until they had to, often installing and advancing agendas unprotected to force a run so I could kill them next turn. You should watch the Team Covenant store champion finals videos on youtube, it will show the flatline naysayers how good flatline decks can be. Mine is slightly different from Chris's as I diluted by Agenda count by only including 3 pointers to make sure PC's are lethal and make single access runs mostly futile.


Identity: Weyland: Building a Better World

Cards: 49 / 45
Agenda points: 21 / 20
Influence: 15 / 15

Agenda (7)
1x Executive Retreat
3x Government Contracts
3x The Cleaners

Asset (3)
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Ice (12)
3x Draco
3x Caduceus
3x Ice Wall
3x Shadow

Operation (27)
3x Accelerated Diagnostics ●●●
3x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Green Level Clearance ●●●
3x Hedge Fund
3x Power Shutdown
3x Punitive Counterstrike
3x Restructure
3x SEASource ●●●●●●
3x Scorched Earth


Unless you played 12 rounds, I think you mean 6-0 as Corp?

I tried something similar to this, but with 3 Archived Memories also. Make a ton of money & punish the runner with double Power Shutdown or double Punitive when they do actually run.

Curious if you saw Keyhole at all? It simply murdered my deck, which caused me to go back to HB.
 
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mathew rynich
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My guess is match point does not have an affect on flatline percentage because the majority of these deaths were not caused by a trap asset. they were caused by a corp combo kill.

Getting:

Jackson, Accelerated Diag, Power Shutdown
or SEA Source, SE, SE
or 3x/2x PCs

and the money to set it off is what matters. That was counter to my gut reaction, but it makes sense when you think about it.
 
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Lysander
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running_bear wrote:

Lysander1 wrote:
I'm getting real sick of people thumbing their nose at what little data we're able to get our hands on. I feel like I'm listening to an argument from a Creationist.

While the argument you were responding to is ridiculous, I don't think it's fair to lump it in with past critiques of statistical analysis as applied to Netrunner. The OP in this thread is orders of magnitude more rigorous and cautious in its conclusions than "Andy wins x% more games on OCTGN, therefore, without any attempt to control for other factors, I conclude that she is the best runner", which was a pretty common position for a while. It isn't Creationistic to be skeptical of such a position.

That's a fair and valid point. I'm simply glad (and I'm sure you and everyone agrees) that statistical analysis is progressively improving around here, even if the interpretation isn't always unanimous. It was only six months ago that all we had access to was flat OCTGN win rates to make a myriad of assumptions and conclusions.

Edit: which we have db0, the author of this thread, Alexfrog, etc to thank. Honestly, I enjoy a well-written article and analytical discussion almost more than the game itself.
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spags
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Topdecker577 wrote:
12-0 as Corp during my store championships, with 1 win via Agenda. You can force good players into runs they think are good but just get them killed anyways. A few players tried to not run against me and I would just play and score agendas until they had to, often installing and advancing agendas unprotected to force a run so I could kill them next turn. You should watch the Team Covenant store champion finals videos on youtube, it will show the flatline naysayers how good flatline decks can be. Mine is slightly different from Chris's as I diluted by Agenda count by only including 3 pointers to make sure PC's are lethal and make single access runs mostly futile.


Identity: Weyland: Building a Better World

Cards: 49 / 45
Agenda points: 21 / 20
Influence: 15 / 15

Agenda (7)
1x Executive Retreat
3x Government Contracts
3x The Cleaners

Asset (3)
3x Jackson Howard ●●●

Ice (12)
3x Draco
3x Caduceus
3x Ice Wall
3x Shadow

Operation (27)
3x Accelerated Diagnostics ●●●
3x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Green Level Clearance ●●●
3x Hedge Fund
3x Power Shutdown
3x Punitive Counterstrike
3x Restructure
3x SEASource ●●●●●●
3x Scorched Earth

I hate a lot of things in this world, with AndySucker being high on that list.

I hate this more.
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