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The Misconception of "Meta"

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The Misconception of "Meta"

Post by Niko327 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:27 pm

"I hate meta! they ruin the game!"

I look at that statement and I go "O.o?" It's a nonsensical statement. People who don't truly know what the term "meta" means or were too lazy to bother looking it up use it to refer to the top tier decks in the format, or usually the top 32 YCS winning decks. That is incorrect and honestly one of the dumbest statements a player could make, but it's accepted because SO MANY PEOPLE use it. If you didn't realize, when you are using the term "meta," you are shortening the actual term "metagame" and that's all you are doing. "Metadecks" is not a term and is contradicting by nature. Let me tell you why.

First of all, I wish to give credit to Al-Bhed from WDA for this article because I am using his article as a reference. It also is where I found the MTG link.

Now what is the metagame? Even though this definition isn't quite spot on, it will give an idea of what we refer to when using the term:
"Metagaming is used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game that goes above a given set of rules or beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. You could also think of it as the game universe outside of the game itself. In short, it's the use of outside information or knowledge that is used inside the game to determine how a player plays, what a player plays, or why a player will or will not play the cards he has."

The definition isn't exactly spot on, but it gives a very broad and general idea of what the term means. On an old academy of mine I was introduced to this article on the metagame done for Magic The Gathering. It may not be the same card game, but the metagame is a definition used for any TCG and works the same throughout. The article gives a very good insight as to what it truly means to play meta so I suggest giving it a read: [Only admins are allowed to see this link]

"The metagame in yugioh would be the decks our opponents would use and the chances for them appearing, and again that is a very broad and wrong term in ways but we'll just use it here, for the more extensive understanding read the above linked article. It is based on the fact that our opponents are humans who will use a deck of cards as well, which deck of cards will probably be made for winning, so we would need to make sure it would not achieve its purpose using the additional information that they will attemp to win in a specific way, therefore we need to be predicting what they will use and define the metagame."

So defining the meta means to think, predict, and possibly manipulate your opponent's moves in a way. When we define the current meta, we should be thinking about Dino Rabbits, Inzektors, Chaos Dragons, and Wind-Ups at the least in the TCG. To use the metagame, we play certain cards in our decks to counteract those popular decks like Effect Veiler, Maxx "C", Fiendish Chain, Bottomless Trap Hole, etc. We also have a side deck that is the best example of someone using the metagame to their advantage. It defines the predictions we make about the current meta, and how and when we play those certain cards to stop our opponents is the way we manipulate their plays. If we can predict when our opponent is going to drop Lightpulsar Dragon or REDMD, then we can set up for a counter for those plays like XYZing into Steelswarm Roach that turn.

The meta isn't what defines a deck, it is the decks and how we use them that defines the meta. Now that we defined the function of the term "metagame," hopefully now you can see that the term "metadeck" is a contradiction; it's the opposite function of the term. The term you are looking for when referring to Yugioh is either "Overused decks" or "Top Tier decks."

Even though metadecks do not exist, Anti-meta decks do. "To explain, there are decks who base their entire strategy, or the majority of it, to countering other popular strategies, meaning they do heavy metagaming since instead of using a specific strategy they use a counter one according to the metagaming predictions. Those decks take information based on the "metagame" or "meta" and "anti" it, earning the name "anti-meta". It should be noted that an anti-meta deck can be part of the top tier as well, becoming part of the meta."

When someone says "I hate the meta!", it's like saying "I hate having to think!" because that's really what using the meta is. Without metagaming, you'd be going into a game of Yugioh blindly without any idea of what your opponent is using, nor caring, and trying to play out your deck like your sitting across from a parrot. It is almost essential to being a good yugioh player to be using the meta because without it, you'll always be recklessly playing cards without thinking about your opponent's responses to those cards. Not only that, you will most likely have no responses to what your opponent plays since you just imagined you'd be playing a game like solitare, huh?

Al-Bhed wrote:
Spoiler:
"Have you ever played chess? I have. I am extremely inexperienced in the game however, I used to beat my parents and friends but they sucked just as bad as I did looking back. Well, at a self entertainment level I was good enough, but of course not on a competitive level. The reason is something I understood after I started playing yugioh. I knew it of course before, it is something every human should understand and I would be a complete idiot not to get it, but I was not aware of how to make use of it and I just got a perfect grasp for it with this game.
In chess there are 2 kinds of players, if you wish to seperate them in 2 massive categories by level. 1 is the useless, self entertainment level players, that think chess is solitaire, only caring about their own strategy unless they hear the word "check" or until a piece of theirs is under direct danger, or at least it is painfully obvious something bad will happen.
Then we have the better players, those who realize they are playing against a human opponent, a human opponent that wants to win as much as they do. Every move that human opponent does has a meaning, with every move he is doing he is trying to accomplish something, and by every move of either player the basic strategy is altered immidiatelly to accomodate the factor of the opposition's plan, even if it does not directly endager a piece, in fact it's better never to come to it."

So you're playing Yugioh. Not only that, your opponent is playing Yugioh as well! How about that shit!? They have a deck as well, with a balanced out card count that is meant to bring them to victory. They want to win just as bad as you do, so they're going to run cards that destroy your monsters, wipe out your backrow, and possibly OTK you, just like your awesome HERO spam fusion combo that's supposed to hit them for 11,000 damage. Well guess what? Your opponent Solemn warning'd your miracle fusion! "I hate meta! so cheap!" you say, but why are you blaming them? Because they knew they were playing a 2-player game and they knew you were going to be playing monsters/cards that summon monsters? It isn't their fault that they were prepared and you weren't. That is what we call metagaming. It is the acceptance that the opponent wants to win just as badly as you do and will have a strategy to do achieve it, then will allow you to get the "W" in the end even with that in mind. If you play any type of control-based deck, you don't hate meta, it's actually your forte and main focus to win. So love the metagame because without it, strategy and player skill would have nothing to do with Yugioh. We might as well all be flipping coins for the "W".
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Re: The Misconception of "Meta"

Post by red jester on Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:46 pm

HELL YEA ROCK ON SAMS XD
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Re: The Misconception of "Meta"

Post by vaktaeru on Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:31 am

SO LEGIT!!! just because the cards have effects or advantages that are easy to spot, easy to use, and aren't easy to counter doesn't mean that the cards themselves are "too good," it just means that your strategy, deck, or luck is "too bad." i refuse to accept that any one archetype is made better than any other archetype. every single one is capable of otks, every single one is capable of beating any other. you can't afford to be a sore loser in yugioh, regardless of whether you use the deck that you want to use, whether you draw the cards that you want. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY TO WIN unless you're playing against a perfect exodia deck, the only true metagame deck (i say this because exodia is designed to counter every strategy, therefore unless the opponent goes first, the exodia-user is at the peak of metagaming.). i especially hate the sore losers on duel network, for the sole reason that you have access to ANY AND EVERY CARD EVER MADE, therefore you have no reason NOT to have a perfect deck, "meta equivalent" as i like to call it. so if you don't like meta...GET YOUR GAME ON AND SHOW SOME STRATEGY, LAZY-ASS!!!
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Re: The Misconception of "Meta"

Post by Nietzsche on Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:37 am

So simply put, the metagame is the metagame because that's what decks are popular and considered the most powerful. They get to that level of popularity because they win games. It is a strategic decision to play them, and faulting players for using those decks because of their power is baseless.
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Re: The Misconception of "Meta"

Post by Niko327 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:27 am

Exactly. The metagame is ever-changing, but during a format we see a lot of the same decks because they are the least risky decks to play. Someone was able to see the potential in an archetype, create a well-balanced deck based on that deck that is focused on a win strategy that is easy to pull off without much interruption, and it tops at a popular tourney. What happens next? the less innovative and thoughtful players copy the decklist because it wins easily.

Some people like to think the decks are what win the tourneys, but if you look at the top players in the world... well, how would there be top players in the world of Yugioh if its the decks that win? The people who top in tourneys would be random, but they aren't. Billy Brake has one 2 YCS already, and every other YCS he's been to he makes Top 8. What about Nizar? It isn't by chance, they all just know how to build their decks to maximum potential and they play like a boss.

I'm thinkin about doing a deck building guide for my next article.

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