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DJ Hedgehog's Mushin No Shin: Part 1, Tournament Day!


#1

Originally published at: http://stimhack.com/dj-hedgehogs-mushin-no-shin-part-1-tournament-day/

Discuss the latest StimHack article by @DJhedgehog here.


#2

Tilt is often the difference at the highest level. As weird as it sounds, often times the more confident player will win, even a slight misjudgment or mistake is the difference between wins and losses. I see it all the time, good player gets puts under pressure and logic and reasoning (even to a slight degree) go out the window.


#3

Another thing I’ve seen players doing is getting overly excited/agitated at game results or plays. Not trying to rain on anyone’s parade and say this game isn’t exciting, or games aren’t emotionally involving, but I try to cultivate an even keel, especially when playing tournaments. Making logical decisions is important, there are so many traps that involve bad emotional habits… avoiding HQ for example, because it doesn’t “feel” as good as running R&D, or trying to disrupt the Corp to stop them from winning (it feels bad when they win) when you should just go for the jugular and try to win yourself. Sometimes the right play isn’t the glamorous one that will make a good story later. Sometimes it’s not just about shaking off a loss, but also about not letting a win get you overly excited and feeling invincible.


#4

Good content, but it was honestly weird how hard you worked to make the whole samurai thing work. I felt like the poker comparison was way more applicable… Anyways:

I’m not sure I agree completely with the claim that no one can “read” an opponent. While it’s best to keep your thoughts on the play, patterns definitely emerge (and, can be faked!) that can be used to your advantage. As the poster above points out, emotional plays are often suboptimal and recognizing that pattern in an opponent early on can be exploited very easily.

Also, a tip for the non-socially-inept: poker face isn’t always the way to go. Experienced actors/liars can get a lot of milage (in swiss; elimination is a different story often) out of feigned confidence or despair. I’ll often be all smiles and chatty with onlookers if it helps me avoid showing that I hate the cards in my hands or the ice on my servers.


#5

I really enjoyed the samurai comparison, i think it was very appropriate.
If you practice martial arts, you can understand things with your whole being more so than if you are “just” a card player.

On the other hand i too think reading an opponent can work pretty well. I think it should be integrated to the mushin no shin. It is part of the mind of the opponent alongside guessing his deck and having played against it already.


#6

[quote=“Nordrunner, post:2, topic:1833,
full:true”]

Tilt is often the difference at the highest level. As weird as it sounds, often times the more
confident player will win, even a slight misjudgment or mistake is the
difference between wins and losses. I
see it all the time, good player gets puts under pressure and logic and
reasoning (even to a slight degree) go out the window.

[/quote]

I definitely agree with this, and it goes hand in hand with “Mushin”.
Doesn’t matter how good you are at the game if playing in a competitive setting
puts you on tilt. I would say the measure of a truly good player is how long
they can maintain “Mushin”.

Underestimating your opponent is the quickest way to fail. I
would have made top 8 at nationals this year had I not been overconfident. I
had 6 points and he had 0, and he ended up winning with 7 agenda points. I took
for granted that I would win and that led me to defeat.

[quote=“voltorocks, post:4, topic:1833,
full:true”]

Good content, but it was honestly weird how hard you worked
to make the whole samurai thing work. I felt like the poker comparison was way
more applicable… Anyways:

I’m not sure I agree completely with the claim that no one
can “read” an opponent. While it’s best to keep your thoughts on the
play, patterns definitely emerge (and, can be faked!) that can be used to your
advantage. As the poster above points out, emotional plays are often suboptimal
and recognizing that pattern in an opponent early on can be exploited very
easily.

Also, a tip for the non-socially-inept: poker face isn’t
always the way to go. Experienced actors/liars can get a lot of milage (in
swiss; elimination is a different story often) out of feigned confidence or
despair. I’ll often be all smiles and chatty with onlookers if it helps me
avoid showing that I hate the cards in my hands or the ice on my servers.

[/quote]

I appreciate that you both commented in opposite ways
regarding the Samurai theme. I assure you it wasn’t forced and what was what
gave me the idea in the first place. I don’t take offense that you didn’t like
it and I appreciate any feedback. Thanks to both of you for reading and letting
me know what you thought J

Spags brought up the “reading opponent” part in the
Netrunner Geeks Facebook. I’ll just copy my response here.

“Spags
I tried to make it known that it was my opinion on the subject. I’ve played a
good amount of poker, and getting an idea of how someone plays is a great deal
easier because there are fewer variables. In netrunner, a quick play or a smile
may mean they
just played an agenda, or it could mean they’re ready to midseasons, or it
could mean they want you to run a costly asset, or it could mean they are
agenda flooded. I could go on, but normally the board state is what would allow
you to figure these out more definitively than trying to guess what the smile
meant in the first place.”

“I don’t mean to devalue your
skills with my commentary. My contention is that your knowledge of the game and
board state is what leads to “successful reads” on your opponent.”


#7

In regards to reading your opponent…

It’s worth something, but not as much as some people would have you believe. If your opponent looks frustrated, that is a piece of information that you should take into account when making decisions. How much does it count for though? Without knowing their game plan at the moment, you don’t know WHY they are frustrated. You might have an idea, but is that really reliable? Maybe they are frustrated because they were hoping to draw an Overwriter and kill you, and they missed the obvious win they had in hand. Meanwhile, you assume that they don’t have the win in hand and are frustrated that they didn’t draw a card that they actually do have. I find it better to use information like that as a general feel for the flow of the game. Maybe it’s smarter to take a few small risks in order to put them on the back foot rather than play it too safe. Obviously they are not happy with their hand, and pressure will probably be a good bet. But it was probably the right move anyways, without that little bit of intel.

Look at Mushin No Shin itself. If your opponent plays Hedge Fund and Mushin No Shin turn 1, what do you do? Let’s try to get into his mind. Assume we have no way of bringing him to less than 3 credits, so Overwriter is live. Is he the kind of player who would play Ronin first or Overwriter? If it’s Overwriter, and we don’t run it, does he Mushin a Ronin next, or an Overwriter, or an agenda? Does he assume we will run the second since we didn’t run the first, or does he assume we won’t run the second because we didn’t run the first? If we refuse to run his remotes, does he continue to play out traps assuming eventually we will, or does he play agendas assuming we won’t?

Or look at the Psi game. If the opponent always chooses randomly (rolling a die or some other random determination) and we know this, bidding 0 is always the correct play, as any number gets us the same chance of beating him, and 0 does not tax our credits. But what if the opponent is consciously choosing a number? Two is least favorable for either to choose, but it’s probably the number each side chooses the least, and therefore a better bet if the results of the game are important. If the runner stealing TFP will win them the game, corp is incentivized to choose the safest bet, which is 2, but the runner also knows that the stakes are high and therefore 2 becomes more attractive as a choice, negating most of the reason for the corp to choose it. On the other hand, 0 and 1 are more common choices, and the runner may choose instead to just keep taxing the corp by accessing TFP and letting them waste money while he spends nothing, so choosing 0 is risky too. One is a reasonable middle ground for both sides monetarily, and therefore has risks for the Corp as well.

What information can we use to inform these decisions? If someone choose 0 three times in a row, how likely are they to choose 0 on the 4th decision? Are you willing to bet your entire hand on your ability to read his mind, or the entire game? Put 10 credits in front of you and a friend you know well, and play the psi game with them over and over. Do you think you could win more than 33% of the time?

My point is that games are won by sound tactical and strategic decision making for the most part. My last tournament playing Jinteki, I lost 4 TFP psi games in a row betting random numbers, one in which my opponent randomly rolled for his result as well. Did I fail to “mind game” my opponents properly? I think the more likely explanation is that I could have tightened up my technical play and I also got somewhat unlucky. I don’t think my opponents had a “read” on me.

The other thing to consider is that if you lean on reading your opponent as a strategy, and then you fail to do so, you often give up more than you needed to, and open the door for them to win.

Playing against Jinteki can be a series of chances for you to misplay and lose the game, but if you don’t misplay, the only way for Jinteki to win is to keep presenting you with 50% chances to lose. The chance that the runner will win more than a couple 50% chances to lose is low. This doesn’t involved mind reading, its simply setting up two decisions, and leaving the rest up to statistics.

Example: Playing as Gabe, against Jinteki. He installs a card in a remote, then Mushins out another card. I play Quality Time, then run the non advanced. It’s psychic field. I lose the psi and my hand. Now I have a 50% choice… the two cases that matter are: the advanced remote is Ronin, in which case I lose if I don’t run it, or it is Cereberal Overwriter, and I lose if I do.

What’s the right decision? Is there something I should base my decision on? I do believe that it’s just a 50/50 shot. That’s the strength of Jinteki… not “tricking” your opponent into doing something stupid (that happens, but it’s not something you can rely on, unless you never play against strong players). When you take away misplays, there is only the 50/50 decision.


#8

It is just that sometimes I “know” that first turn undefended card in a remote is a beal project and not a pad campaign. Or the otherway around.

It works better with players you know well. But other times it works with unownk folks too.

It is like a sixth sense, a specific skill based on reading body language. Most of it is done without you even beeing conscious of it.

Like how many times have i “influenced” my opponent into picking a specific card from my hand when they access Hq… if their mind is elswhere they will pick the card you are giving them…


#9

I think you are confusing good guesses with an ability that you can control…

Noticing patterns and trying to exploit those patterns is one thing, but players will adapt to this, and when they do, you are at a disadvantage for trying to make the “mind game” play again.


#10

I’m not talking about noticing patterns. I’m talking about beeing connected to the situation, to the moment. I’m talking about the mushin no shin. If you are there, then your “intuition” works wonders. But that’s really difficult to achieve.


#11

I agree that being in the moment and using intuition is the essence of a “Mushin No Shin” mindset. I do not believe that when you achieve Mushin you’re able read your opponent any better. Your opponent and their own playstyle, deck choices and idea of pacing. Trying to “get in their head” falls under the “too many mind” of mind of opponent. You stop being in the zone to try and make decisions that aren’t based on the state of the game but instead what you think they think about the state of the game.


#12

“how many times have i “influenced” my opponent into picking a specific card from my hand when they access Hq… if their mind is elswhere they will pick the card you are giving them…”

Sounds like cheating.


#13

I see your point. It’s not fair play from a certain angle. But from a different point of view, it is just one more thing you can try to best your opponent.


#14

But how does one cultivate this skill of “influencing” one’s opponent to pick a certain card? What if they decide to roll a die to determine which card they access?

This is all very wishy washy and unscientific. If you believe you can mind read your opponent, or that some kind of magical intuition guides you to make the right plays, that’s something you’re free to do, but it does everyone else no good unless you can tell us what you did to develop that intuition, or how it guides you to the right plays.


#15

About influencing your opponent to pick a certain card, there is no particular skill.
It is only taking advantage of their possible lack of focus.
If their mind is elswhere when they are about to pick your card you can try it. Say you have two agendas and one Hedge fund. You just stick the hedge fund in the middle and give it to them. The Hedge fund is the easiest to pick, they are distracted, they pick it.

This is just a trick that works sometimes and against certain oppenents. There is nothing you can do if they are focused on what they do.

And for reading your opponent, what can i say… it is just a human skill. Some people are good at calling lies, some are not. Some people are good at telling lies, some are not.

However, i don’t want to start an argument about all this here. We can all see the game from our own perspective and be perfectly fine with that ^^


#16

Do you deliberately try to distract your opponent so they forget to take credits for successful runs with Desperado, too?

The rulebook says the Runner accesses a random card from HQ. Picking a card from the hand is a proxy for that. Neither player should be deliberately trying to violate that rule.


#17

This is why we shuffle the hand before random things are done to it. Or use dice.


#18

That’s right… I guess i have been lacking fair play by doing that. Thanks for making me aware of that ^^


#19

No problem. On the other hand, if you can figure out how to ‘direct’ a runner to pick one remote from several to run, you have my blessing and my admiration!


#20

Well i guess some hypnotic abilities would do ^^