Counter Strategies

Bu1_f50IgAAOcBaOk, so let’s be honest: games aren’t always well balanced. Even if the developers try their hardest, something is always going to be more powerful than everything else. And that’s fine. It makes things exciting, and it gives people something to strive to beat.

If you feel like you’re either above using “overpowered” things (which is silly. pride hurts, friend), or you’re not comfortable with using that thing (which makes more sense), then no problem. There’s more than one way to beat the best, and it doesn’t always involving copying them.

A counter strategy is simply one which involves thinking of how to defeat an element of a game without using the thing itself directly. It’s foolish to think that by simply picking the powerful feature you’ll be good, because ultimately it can only do so much without being in the hands of a skilled player. Instead, ponder on what else in the game seems viable.

Guilty_Gear_Xrd_SIGN_01

In fighting games, counter picking is a strong part of competitive meta

There’s a belief that using the best feature means that there’s no way of being stopped, but this is incorrect. Sure, it’s difficult to go up against it, but it’s not impossible. Actually, what tends to happen is that players fall into a false sense of security with their position. If they’re rarely challenged, or they get a ton of mileage off of the powerful feature, they might overlook other aspects of the game.

This is where you come in. Experiment with all other aspects of the game and keep in mind this: what’s the 2nd most powerful feature? What has a unique trait, despite its other weaknesses? What is this feature good at, that the most powerful feature can’t do? It’s that mindset which gets you thinking about how to counter not just the features at the top, but the players at the top as well.

Now, we get into a concept known as a hard counter. Just because something is powerful, it doesn’t mean that it’s flawless. Usually, the most powerful feature has a glaring weakness that is rarely exploited. Yes of course, the strongest thing still stomps the rest 7-9 times out of 10, but finding that opening where it falls short, is key.

You sometimes find champions in League of Legends that have just one thing your character can’t deal with

You sometimes find champions in League of Legends that have just one thing your character can’t deal with

Hard counters are a way of completely shutting down the feature, using the strength which your feature has and the opponent’s feature doesn’t. Overall, your feature isn’t all that good, but it excels at one thing, and that one thing can beat even the best.

A counter strategy is not a guaranteed win, and in the end you can only get as much out of it as you put in, where necessary. If you never get the chance to implement your strategy, you’ll fall short despite how hard you try. Also, it’s important not to fully rely on that strategy. Adapt and evolve; sometimes during a match you’ll be forced to break your normal pattern and adjust your movements to deal with how an opponent plays.

To summarize, a counter strategy is your go-to option when it feels like one thing is dominating. It’s not perfect, but it can mean the difference between having a chance to fight back and being completely overwhelmed. You don’t have to fight fire with fire, when you can find the right hose.


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