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Subject: Evaluating Whizzard rss

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Matthew Gagan
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I play with Whizzard quite a bit and have since he came out.

I'm not a top tier player and I won't say he is or has been stronger than Reina or Noise across different metas or periods since he came out, only that I prefer playing with him.

But the thing I see over and over again when people debate which identity would be better for a given Anarch deck that I don't understand is how much emphasis critics place only on how many or how few credits Whizzard did or did not save them across a given game or across a tournament.

It's harder to evaluate but to me Whizzard is not about how many credits I was able to save, but how disruptive he was relative to other identities and when/whether I was able to save those credits and trash a particular card at a particular moment in the game.

To say saving only "X" credits per game is bad is to me like arguing that a agenda that costs 4 to score is only one more than 3 and therefore almost as good.

Whizzard is like a 7-footer who can't pass, dribble or shoot particularly well but is still a great asset on the court because of what he does to the other team's game plan.

Yes, Reina and Noise are disruptive, but are they really that much more disruptive than Whizzard and conversely, are there as many decks they just absolutely shut down the way Whizzard does?

I've never seen a corp player grimace when dropping Noise or Reina on to the table the way I've seen them do when setting Whizzard out.

Maybe my meta and all those games where I just steamroll the corp are skewing my perspective, but I think the argument about Whizzard as an ID that only saves you "X" credits wants more reflection.
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Ian Neufeld
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Whizzard's value is in the kind of decks he is disruptive to. His three free credits for trashing cards makes him great at targeting NBN decks (notably because of San-San City Grid) and HB decks (Adonis Campaign and Eve Campaign).

However, Jinteki decks usually consist of a lot of free-to-trash traps, with few other trashable cards. Likewise, Weyland decks are usually driven by economy, and unless we get a card that reads "Operations are considered to have a trash cost of 3", Whizzard's credits don't do anything.

This is summarizing a point that I ran into on another thread, but: depending on the deck you are playing against, Whizzard might as well be a blank identity card. His value is not in how he combos with his own cards, but in the opponents he faces.



The value of Whizzard's identity depends heavily on the current Meta. If the Meta contains a lot of Corporation decks which are asset-laden, where Whizzard's credits can be spent to great effect, then Whizzard has a lot of great value.

But, if you want to play this game at one step ahead of your opponent, then design your deck to counter the kinds of decks that the Whizzard identity is poor against. If you're already going to be strong against Asset economy by virtue of your identity, design the rest of your deck to counter an Operation economy.



Suggested reading: Yomi Layer 3: Knowing the Mind of the Opponent
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Michael Redston
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Whizzard is almost never blank anymore. At the very least, he can trash Jackson for free, and almost all competitive deck run Jackson.

Also once we get Donut Whizzard's stock would surely rise.
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Fredrik Zetterman
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As kroen said, most decks these days run 2-3 Jacksons, so currently Whizzard ability sees some use in most metas. However, if your opponents runs Weyland, odds are that the only assets you'll see are Snare! and JH.

But if the corp is built for asset-spamming, Whizzard is really, really strong. Even to the point where you can trash unrezzed Eves just to deny corps the opportunity to get money. Unrezzed SanSans can also be trashed without too much effort, and he saves a couple of bucks against Ash. The list goes on.

Unlike Reina, which is quite OK against most decks(corp decks with not ICE isn't that common after all), Whizzards ability can be seen as more binary. Maybe it doesn't help you at all. Maybe it let's you win games almost by that ability alone.

As for how viable Whizzard is, I've now managed to win no less than three Store Championships with him as my runner. And sure, I've had my share of lucky wins against people, but some opponents Whizzard just tears apart himself.
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Benjamin W.
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I think a lot of the time it depends what the bad matchups are for your deck. I built an anarch deck that did well in some matchups, but struggled against NBN fast advance- I just didn't have the economy to keep trashing san sans. So I switched to Whizzard and did better- I came fourth in a 56 player store championship running whizzard. In some matchups his ability is blank, but in the matchups my deck was otherwise weak against, he was amazing.

Whizzard is a meta call. It depends on how prevalent decks are where his ability is relevant, but even more importantly it depends what decks your anarch deck is strong/weak against. If your deck would destroy HB and NBN even if it were Reina or Noise, then you ought to switch, but if it has trouble with those matchups, then give him a try.
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Nephtys Nephtys
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I believe Whizzard is currently the strongest Anarch, and is continuing to get better.

Noise is already in the hole due to his clear counters, which nearly every deck plays.
Reina's power is nice, but well... the real taxing comes from Xanadu/Rook, which any Anarch can pack. Like Whizzard.
Whizzard is really good against the current meta, which every deck is expected to have Jackson, and over 2/3rds of the best archtypes of corp run multiple recurring SanSans. Being able to punch out Ash, JH, Adonises, Hokusais, SanSans, and EVEs for dirt cheap or free is an extremely powerful ability.

The only Corp type that doesn't try to run these assets as a key part of their plan are Weyland Rush and Big Ice types, which are probably your hardest matchup.
 
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Yi Sheng Siow
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risk: blank ID.
reward: crushes asset-based play.
consistency: low.

evaluation: poor.
 
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Hans Otterson
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As others have said, I've found it's really a meta call. Being able to keep those 40-card TWIY* decks from installing their SanSan naked is amazing. Facing Weyland Scorch combo decks sucks (but then it always does; I seem to have a weird blindspot when it comes to Weyland).

I think the new Anarch hotness will be a deck with 3x Siphon (of course) 3x Fall Guy, Joshua B., DLR, Parasite. The guy who won the Rainy Day Games SC today ran something like this, but with Reina (I've run Whizzard-Siphon/DLR/Joshua B. before, but without the Fall Guys and Parasites).

Whether Whizzard or Reina is better for this remains to be seen.
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Beyer
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People seem very focused on milling with Whizzard. Why?
I'm genuinely curious. Milling is a cool mechanic, but in game-terms what does it actually do? Is the fear of milling really stronger than the effect? If you rely on milling, what else do you build into your deck to scout what you're milling away? Do you just blind-mill and hope for the best? Do you have an actual game plan that sets up milling before you start grinding away are you high on anecdotal evidence of 'that one time' where something cool happened? Do you keep a list of all the times you milled and the corp drew exactly what he/she needed (and TOLD you so you could take notes)?
I have a feeling that milling's efficiency is due to strong cognitive bias, because we all know when it works, but the corp does not tell us when it doesn't!

I started playing Whizzard as a denial-type runner, because derp derp 3 free thrash credits, but in time I found that it's much better to just leave his denial ability as is and then build a deck that something else entirely. You can really branch out with your tricks and I feel that Whizzard can play all over the board with impunity, but people seem hell-bent on milling and destroying cards with him and I'm wondering whether
1) This group-think causes Whizzard to perform worse than he potentially can
or
2) What glaringly obvious effect of all that excessive milling, imping and other denial I'm missing since I haven't experienced it as a very effective tactic overall.

To elaborate on 2) above.
I think that Corps have so much money and so many ways to play from archives now that focusing on milling is just going to stall the game at best. Unless you get lucky enough to hit all the key recursion cards and then all the economy cards I don't see the major effect of milling. Keyhole is an exception because the card scouts what you're milling away first, which is the only way to mill if you want a positive net effect. Random milling is not beneficial, only targeted milling is, because you need to make an informed decision on what you're really denying the corp of.

The thing about milling is that if a card allows you to mill the top card from R&D and you don't know in advance what that card is, the milling effect might as well read:
random milling wrote:
Shuffle R&D. Trash the bottom card from R&D. Shuffle R&D.

Does that seem like a beneficial effect to you?
Most people would say no, that seems weird, but it is exactly what any non-targeted milling does. R&D is randomized. Milling the top card is equal to milling any random card from wherever. It's a misdirecting notion that the top card is somehow more valuable than the card that is second from the top. Anyone who either knows statistics or computer programming can calculate or simulate the effect of random milling and it's a dead tie, a straight 50/50 when random milling is effective in removing a card of value from the corp as opposed to when that mill exposes a beneficial card to the corp. Targeted milling is completely different. Indexing, Keyhole and all the interface cards along with Medium/Nerve agent help you see the card you remove from the game. There is NO comparison between the two modes of attack, the two modes being targeted versus random milling. One is a calculated surgical strike, the other is a roll of 4+ on a d6 whether it's effective or detrimental.

Now when you start removing targeted cards, you force the corp to play those recursion cards very quickly, which is good, but I honestly don't get the impression that very many people build that targeting into their mill-decks. Prove me wrong please. Tell me why you, personally, love milling so much; because I don't get it.

Note: in the manner of what is fun, milling is the best! I honestly love. The feeling of grinding away just to grind away to see if you can scare the corp into doing silly things is great fun. In terms of effectiveness, it's a wash.

Edit: Yes, we're talking about Whizzard, but somehow milling always comes up as a topic when Whizzard is mentioned, as as I said above, I think the idea of random milling as a viable strategy is hurting Whizzard's performance across the board so I'm sort-of-but-hopefully-not-really derailing the topic a bit to pick your minds on this.
 
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Michael Redston
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Well, you can always play Noise/Reina with Scrubber and have the best of both worlds. Also, a single Scrubber isn't a bad inclusion in a criminal deck running Hostage.
 
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Ony Moose
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Stunke wrote:

The thing about milling is that if a card allows you to mill the top card from R&D and you don't know in advance what that card is, the milling effect might as well read:
random milling wrote:
Shuffle R&D. Trash the bottom card from R&D. Shuffle R&D.

Does that seem like a beneficial effect to you?


Yes, that's still an amazing effect. Why? Agendas. Archives. Would you rather run to access R&D 6 times, or mill 6 cards and do 1 archives run? If you have Data-Leak Reveral in play milling the 6 cards will be a lot cheaper than running R&D 6 times!
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Peter O
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Stunke wrote:
People seem very focused on milling with Whizzard. Why?

(rant focused on something no one else had brought up)


I'm assuming you are referring to people not in this thread. Whizzard is used in one of three ways with regard to sending cards from R&D to archives.

1) Whizzard runs R&D (with out without multi access) and trashes anything trashable. Then Whizzard runs again seeing a new card. The point is not to "mill" but to see a new card THIS turn rather than waiting for next turn.

2) Whizzard runs R&D and sends to Archives a card key to the corp strategy, usually either economy or SanSan. Yes the corp may draw another copy from R&D, but the Whizzard player should be focusing.

3) Whizzard runs R&D repeatedly and uses cards like Medium and Demo Run (plus others) to deck the corp. In this usage, the runner doesn't care which cards are being sent to archives, so long as ALL the cards eventually get there. The biggest issue with this deck is that the runner usually wins via points before decking the corp.
 
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Higgs Brozo
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Stunke wrote:
Anyone who either knows statistics or computer programming can calculate or simulate the effect of random milling and it's a dead tie, a straight 50/50 when random milling is effective in removing a card of value from the corp as opposed to when that mill exposes a beneficial card to the corp.


Heh, well, in order to do so, they all assume a model of the game where the corporation's deck is an infinite sequence of integers, "good cards" high integers and "bad cards" low integers, and the corporation's score is the sum of the values of the cards they draw over the course of the game.

I don't think this model tells the whole story re: random milling.

Corporation decks are finite, and random milling preferentially depletes more-common classes of cards, effectively homogenizing the corporation's deck. If the corporation devotes a small-but-significant amount of deck space to a secondary win condition, random milling attacks the primary win condition. If the corporation deck consists of more cards that are good in the early game and fewer cards that are good in the late game, early random milling attacks the corporation's early game.

Of course, whether these effects are good enough to justify the pain in the ass that is getting Data Leak Reversal turned on is a different story.

I sort of think that possibly milling an agenda is so much stronger an effect that it completely dominates the "to mill or not to mill" decision for the runner.
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dan dargenio
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HiggsBrozo wrote:
Stunke wrote:
Anyone who either knows statistics or computer programming can calculate or simulate the effect of random milling and it's a dead tie, a straight 50/50 when random milling is effective in removing a card of value from the corp as opposed to when that mill exposes a beneficial card to the corp.


Heh, well, in order to do so, they all assume a model of the game where the corporation's deck is an infinite sequence of integers, "good cards" high integers and "bad cards" low integers, and the corporation's score is the sum of the values of the cards they draw over the course of the game.

I don't think this model tells the whole story re: random milling.

Corporation decks are finite, and random milling preferentially depletes more-common classes of cards, effectively homogenizing the corporation's deck. If the corporation devotes a small-but-significant amount of deck space to a secondary win condition, random milling attacks the primary win condition. If the corporation deck consists of more cards that are good in the early game and fewer cards that are good in the late game, early random milling attacks the corporation's early game.

Of course, whether these effects are good enough to justify the pain in the ass that is getting Data Leak Reversal turned on is a different story.

I sort of think that possibly milling an agenda is so much stronger an effect that it completely dominates the "to mill or not to mill" decision for the runner.


I always play a lot of trashables in my taxy deck, and I have to say in everything I play but Cerebral Imaging, Whizzard is the last anarch I want to see. I don't play much Anarch, so I don't know if he is objectively best at any given time or anything, but I do know that right now, HB Glacier decks are on the rise, (with Ash and econ assets), and the "best" corp, NBN, is almost always playing 3 SanSan 3 Jackson, and is also often playing some amount of Bernice, Marked, PAD, and Ash. In terms of the abilities' relevance in the meta, I think we're maybe at an all-time high.
 
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Higgs Brozo
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Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to compare Whizzard's and Noise's abilities.

I was merely saying that the possibility of milling an agenda is, IMO, a stronger motive to mill randomly than the possibility of changing the corp's deck composition.
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