Managing the Course - When to play aggressively/conservatively?

We recently held a tourney with 35 players and I qualified in the top 16. Papa format finals. I was 4th seed so I was the bus driver in my group. I picked the first game and won it. I picked the second game and came in 3rd. So now going into game 3 it was 5,5,4,0. My mindset was that I just needed to not come in last. I picked CV, a game that I am very familiar with since I own one.

I decided to play conservatively and just go for Strike An Arc and maybe a Ringmaster or two. Locks were set to virtual so Highwire locks were dangerous, and even the Juggler lock release was not too kind. First ball I got a ramp or two then a half ramp went SDTM. Second ball I made some progress on my first Ringmaster during the ball-saver. I kept missing the ramp and accidentally lighting locks. I survived the first lock release but not the second. My third ball went by so fast I don’t even remember what happened. So I finished with 4.5M, came in last, and did not advance.

In hindsight I feel like I should have played more aggressively and just went for Juggler MB and stack it with the 2nd Ringmaster. Anyone have any suggestions or real world experiences when playing conservatively/aggressively made a difference in a match?

If you got 3rd, the other 5 got second, and the 4 got first, you wouldn’t have advanced.

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I never stray from my personal strategy from a game. ball 3 of the finals gets played the same way as a recreational game from a strategic standpoint. i will absolutely turn on the gas and be more aggressive with my saves/shots depending on my opponents though. When i make it to the finals i know that i need to put up larger scores to make it through. so “just get ya one good sparky” of qualifying becomes “just hammer sparky, as many times as you can, dont even look up or try to count how many times youve hit him, its never enough”.

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Unless I’m guaranteed the advance I always play my normal strategy, “now”. I tried to do the conservative route so long when I just needed anything other than last and I almost always got last. Think it’s because I was now playing out of my normal comfort zone as it wasn’t my normal strategy.

The “just don’t finish last” seems like my kryptonite, and probably others. Almost like I’m psyching myself out before I even plunge ball 1. Maybe I should go into last game thinking I’m dead in the water because under those situations it seems I always take 1st or 2nd. So odd hour our brains can work against us.

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I don’t know CV nearly as well as you do, but my temptation would be to play Ringmaster all day as a conservative strategy. Yes, it’s dangerous shots, but you’re going to get one or two of them by just banging away, and that will be more than 5m points.

You’re not the first person I’ve heard say this, but it can’t possibly be correct. Can it? Are you saying you don’t take your opponents scores into consideration, or the current standings of the round? Or maybe you’re just saying that given identical situations in different rounds, you’d play the same way?

it is correct. I try to live by the mantra of “play your game, dont play theirs”. my opponents score isnt mine, so why should i care about it? How many points do i need? as many as i can get. what did player X do? doesnt matter, because im not player X. etc…

I agree that “don’t finish last” is probably a bad mantra to have in your head while you play.

But if your normal strategy on Spider-man is to “start a mode, bring in a MB, and work towards the other without combining them”…then the conservative strategy isn’t “don’t finish last”, but rather: “ignore modes and just start Doc Ock, then stack in Blacksuit if possible”.

Yes, it’s “different” than my normal strategy, but it requires less thinking and is easier to pull off.

Ball 3 on Metallica. You’re player 3 and need to avoid last place. It’s 5m-5m-4m-5m. You have no progress toward Sparky. Be honest: are you actually shooting Sparky in this situation?

Edit: For me, in this example, it wouldn’t matter which game of the series this is: first, last, middle…whatever. It wouldn’t matter what I needed, or how good player 4 was. Wouldn’t matter if it was Pinburgh finals or the first round. I’m taking one or two Piston combos to move into first. If I feel comfortable, I’ll probably shoot some more. Once I’m in a position to win if Player 4 has a bad ball, then I can go forward with my normal strategy.



Well then, you’re a madman. :slight_smile:

till the day i drain :crazy_face:

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The way I feel about it is that being able to change strategies when the situation calls for it, without it affecting your confidence or nerves, is a skill worth developing.


You have no idea! What makes playing against him so fun though as it keeps you on your toes. I know that if I’m player 4 in his group I’m either getting a plunge off on ball 3 or I’m looking for the GC score :slight_smile:


I feel thinking like that is HUGE psychological trouble, but it’s worse if you are not considering all of the outs.

I have a chart of PAPA Finals Outs I developed (I know others have similar things as well).

With 4,2,1,0 format, looking at the 5,5,4,0 column on the third game being tied in the lead with a 5, third place (earning 1 point) is not safe for advancing. In fact I labeled this “crazy town” and “volatile” on my chart. All types of weird stuff can happen.

The only locks for advancement in 5,5,4,0 being a player with a 5 is earning a 4 or 2.

That being said, to your approach question: Everybody has different styles and theories. For me, as player one, I cannot predict what players 2-4 will be able to do. However, if on ball 3 it turns out I am behind, then the first goal has to be catch and at least pass the other players by something. A trivial lead is still a lead.

If I am player one and in the lead going into ball 3, then I know have to apply pressure. Make the other players change their game plan. How I play really depends on how far ahead I think I am.

In any case, I know that no lead is safe. (Thinking BSD at worlds for example). However, if I am never in the lead, then my position relative to that opponent cannot improve; it can only decline based on how the other opponents perform.

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I know it was a poor choice. Especially when I could have picked AC/DC or Maiden. First pick was an especially difficult Transformers LE. Second pick was Wizard on which I had the #1 qualifying score

. I really just needed to play better on Wizard and the 3rd game wouldn’t have mattered. In this Wizard pic I was player one.

You had a plan and you tried your best to execute it, I don’t think you can fault yourself there. As others have pointed out, it wasn’t mathematically sound, but that’s a live and learn thing. But, picking a game because you own one is a double edged sword, and I think I agree with Cayle on this one :slight_smile:

This scenario basically came up yesterday and Ray shot sparky until it killed him


Welp, he’s a man of his word!

If only my previous post had been investigative based trolling! Alas, it was a total coincidence.


This is an actual conversation I had yesterday.

Them: was that your second or third well walker multi ball
Them:you didn’t wanna get a mode goin, or get multipliers?
Me:nah, I’ll be alright.

I got second in a game with snailman and funwbonus (also ethanatx) during the finals.

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