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The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 14:27:00

Qi 
Level 55
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Zaeban's king of the 1v1 ladder. I think it'd be fun for him to be challenged a bit more. So here are some tips for anyone playing him (or for anyone who wants to learn how to attempt to follow his strategies to become a better 1v1 player)!

Zaeban's approach is simple yet deadly. Picks, picks, picks:

- Get the first bonus before the enemy does: to do this, Zaeban tends to make combo picks (ie, picks #1 and #2 are a set, #3 and #4 another set, #5 and #6 a third set). I'd guess he makes at least 1 set of combo picks 80-90% of the time, 2+ sets maybe 40-60% of the time, and 3 sets 20-40% of the time.
- Once he gets the first bonus quickly, he tends to get his second bonus quicker than the enemy gets his second bonus: for this, he looks to see which bonus area is positioned in such a way as to allow him to get it quickly. Ideally, this bonus area will be pick #3. If the top two picks are taken, then picks #3 and #4 are a good way to have a backup combo to combat the enemy who is in a bonus adjacent to pick #1 or #2.
- Why it is deadly: Getting two bonuses before you enables Zaeban to approach your likely bonus areas strong. Thus, he tends to arrive on the enemy's doorstep before the enemy has even taken a second bonus! Before any strategic fighting has taken place, you have an enemy with a 11 or 12 bonus and 3-6 standing armies beside you and you only have an 8 or 9 bonus. Good luck winning that game!

How to combat such an approach:

- Neutralize him: take away Zaeban's combo picks by picking them yourself. If you are beside each of his likely combo areas, in all likelihood he will end up with an Impaller-style spread: 3 picks in 3 different areas. No quick bonus, no fast second bonus, no army of 3-7 next to you supported by a bonus of 11-12 on the second or third turn.
- Without the benefit of the blitzkrieg picking and bonus busting approach, a more natural game develops. The game is thus even and you get an equal playing field to combat a good player. Who knows, maybe on such an equal footing you might even have the advantage.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 14:49:26


x 
Level 58
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so, to play like zaeban you have to pick like zaeban, and to beat zeaban you have to pick like zaeban.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 15:06:21

Qi 
Level 55
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to play like zaeban pick like him: yes ('like' just means 'in a way similar to'). picks are 60% of the battle to me (100% according to zaeban).

to beat zaeban, pick like zaeban: not exactly. maybe it'd be better written "to neutralize zaeban to have a chance to play him under circumstances in which he does not have an early and debilitating advantage, pick like him." you still have to outplay him. though he is more human when neutralized.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 15:13:55


x 
Level 58
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so, to play like zaeban you have to pick like zaeban, and to beat zeaban you have to pick like zaeban (and also be a better player than him outside of territory selection).
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 16:37:32

zaeban 
Level 43
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Gui, please keep your secrets to yourself. Now everyone can beat me :)))
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/3/2012 20:03:36


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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this is simply a return to the debate of spread picks vs clustered picks..
ofc' I believe that since 4 army starts that clustered picks have taken the lead, hence Impallers fall from grace.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/4/2012 04:26:20

Qi 
Level 55
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impaller's fall is related to his busy life outside of wl. wait for him to come back. he'll be atop the 1v1 ladder again, though the addition of 5 strong non-members (mian, retro, chris, etc.) and 4-5 new players (v, rubik, etc.) has made the ladder more competitive. it's now harder to be the best when there are more of the best playing. so i doubt imp could keep the #1 spot for a year straight again.

cluster picks can mask inferior ability with a quick start, like how make-up can mask an ugly girl's face from far away.

don't worry zaeban, i only wanted you to have more of a challenge lol. it must be boring winning so much!
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/4/2012 05:54:44


Monsenhor Chacina 
Level 5
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the time i beat zaeban: i never get tired of watching this game :)

http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=1505726
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/4/2012 11:43:33

Qi 
Level 55
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interestingly, monsehnor, you took away his first combo set option and neutralized the second combo set with a counter in w. china.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/4/2012 20:57:04


Monsenhor Chacina 
Level 5
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i like turn 5 of this game :)
a game against zaeban is always dependent on details. he was unable to take antarctica, whereas i got greenland on turn 2. imho, this is where the game was decided.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/11/2012 19:53:00


Angelic Arian 
Level 30
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Just looked at that game link and have a question, when trying to take Antarctica why doesn't Zeaban use 4 armies and guarantee taking it? I know he is trying not to loose his foothold in europe but would 1 army be that crucial in the fight up there? I've seen other top players use 3 armies when they could of used 4. Can anyone figure out this logic?
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/11/2012 20:14:19

Qi 
Level 55
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i don't think it's logic. more like how each individual measures risk each turn under varying circumstances on the board (and given their mood at the moment).

players who like certainty use 4 every time in that situation. players who like to gamble use 3 more often. others who gamble think 70% is a good bet and use 3 more often than 4. those who like certainty but also have a penchant for gambling: harder to predict; mood and game situations might better dictate their moves any given turn.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/13/2012 13:58:27

The Duke of Ben 
Level 55
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I always judge whether to use 3 or 4 on what my alternatives are. If I can try to take a new territory which would make a new bonus achievable the next turn by only using 3, then I might do it. If I really need the troops next round, then I will always use 4, etc.

I guess that there are some people who just like to gamble or always want the sure thing, but I bet most of the good players judge it by board position.
The Zaeban Challenge! Play Like Z (to improve your game) or Beat Z (if you so desire): 1/13/2012 19:15:40


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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generally.. I use 4 if I need to move from that spot next turn, or have enough armies to put them in unneeded spots.. I use 3 when capturing it is non-necessary this turn. like capturing Scandinavia coming in from Sweden, attack finland with 3, and Norway with 4.. because Norway is essential to capturing the bonus the turn after, while Finland is not.
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