[Ed. note: This post represents Derrick's latest attempt to explain American politics through Starcraft. It is not to be confused with his attempts to explain American politics through Dawn of War, or Patrick's attempt to explain it through World of Warcraft.)
It doesn't take a genius to know what the hell is going on with the [GOP] clain. One faction is (reluctantly) pleased enough with its prohibitive frontrunner, MidClassMitt. They feel that while he may be somewhat flawed as a person and as a player, he has the skills and drive to represent them and beat Obama. And god damn it, that's good enough. Another faction though, somewhat led by a small but loud group of disruptive assholes (who don't even post on [GOP]'s forums, choosing instead to congregate on the #GOP IRC channel and just bitch bitch bitch all day long), has been going fishing for anybody, anybody, who can provide a challenge (credible or not). But why? Who gives a shit? Clan Tag is Clan Tag right? INCORRECT.
As usual, my disclosure of bias and basic Starcraft housekeeping: I hate Rick Santorum with a bone-deep passion that I only really reserve for the later-era Star Wars movies and the current Chinese fashion trend of wearing thick plastic glasses frame with no god damn lenses. AT LEAST DWAYNE WADE HAS THE DECENCY TO PUT LENSES IN HIS FAKE GLASSES. GRRRRR. Anyway….
A candidate's campaign, like Starcraft, consists of two very important and equal parts (DAH-DUN). Macro is the candidate's economy, the worker units collecting ore and gas. It is the lifeblood of every candidate's campaign. Macro is basically "dicking around in your base". How well can you get your buildings up making troops? How strong is your funding? Have you secured enough big ticket donors? Are you well defended against raids? You can't win a high level match on macro alone, but you sure as hell can lose one. Micro is your actual army, and what you do with it. Do you have the ground troops to make the door-to-door calls, the ad buys, and all that other stuff? It's critical in the early stages of the Primaries, where funds are somewhat limited. Each decision carries more weight.
The [GOP] has a very specific playstyle that it has become known for. While [DEM] tends to be this weird mash of douchey styles that varies wildly with each individual member, [GOP] has maintained a sense of discipline that really should be admired. It gives a clarity of message; you generally know what flavor of chips you're getting. So [GOP] always has a very strong interest in presenting a candidate who plays a certain way. GENERALLY, the [GOP] has been the champion of the RUSH tactic. Hit their economy early in the game, crippling the opponent. Then just mop them up, because they can't defend. We mentioned this before in previous articles. The problem with the RUSH tactic is that if it fails, that is if the other player pushes you back and you haven't done any damage to his economy… you're in a massive hole. So Economy Management is a critical skill for all [GOP] players; they often end up touting their Economy Management skills in the forums. But for the most part, [GOP] wins quickly and efficiently. (Quick note: [DEM]'s tend to "boom", which puts less emphasis on early attacks and instead requires you to make big investments in base infrastructure so you can throw out big units in the future. Economy Management is also ludicrously important for [DEM]'s, but they're terrible at it). So [GOP] always, ALWAYS, insists on a tried and true RUSH specialist for the epic matchup.
So what's the problem with MidClassMitt? He's got the tag, he rushes, right? He has good Macro too. The problem though, is that he's been all over the place, even moving away from the "all-rush all-the-time" strategy. And in times like this, where a contentious but usually respectful rivalry has degenerated into asinine bullshit, that dog won't hunt. If you want to be the [GOP] champ, you better damn well RUSH early and press. Want to early expand? FUCK YOU. Grab a few unit upgrades? FUCK YOU. But you can build all the workers you want, because you need to stimulate the economy.
Plus, and this is a big one, MidClassMitt is a bit of a doucher in the forums. Everyone is distrustful of a candidate who wants it a little TOO badly. And he's just too damn calculating. Everything he says is done with the intention of getting maximum forum support, with all the grace and tact of a hippopotamus attacking a fat American tourist in a canoe. But hey, he's not the only player in the upcoming FFA. Let's review the players.
We're going to review candidates along two lines, their "Game Ability" and "Forum Appeal". "Game Ability" is obvious; that particular player's ability to win the FFA that determines the [GOP] champ… AND that player's ability to win the 2v2 against Obama for the Most Thankless Job on the Planet. "Forum Appeal" is that nebulous thing that simply measures how excited are the [GOP] rank and file are about the candidate? Will they be willing to get into an internet fight in the comments section of a medium size group blog?
Despite the negatives outlined above, still the strongest player to take Obama out. I mean at least he was IN the last primarys. Plus he has the strongest Macro, and Macro rules the Primaries. Game Ability: POTENT. Forum Appeal: THBBBBBBBT.
Strengths: Strong Econ. And um… good hair?
Weaknesses: May be a robot. Running Windows NT.
The latest in a long line of #GOP favorites. Is a master at Theorycraft; talking about Starcraft strategy in the forums but never actually PLAYING it. Was known for a great series of games against [DEM]SlickWillie but ultimately was pantsed so bad by him that he resigned in disgrace. Game Ability: Maybe good, likely mediocre. Forum Appeal: Has his supporters but a lot of very loud detractors.
Strengths: Probably knows the map better than all the players, which is a very potent advantage. Has good ideas, though never truly battle-tested.
Weaknesses: The dude can't even get his name on the damn ballot in VA. Hasn't played seriously in a long time. May end up breaking his back trying to suck his own dick.
The current God-King of #GOP (even the small faction in there that hates Mexicans!). Game Ability: His playstyle is good enough to win him the FFA, but not necessarily the 2v2. Forum Appeal: He has his fans, plus #GOP really really likes him.
Strengths: VERY strong early game. Refreshing candor.
Weaknesses: May be secretly crazy.
A lost prince of #GOP. You remember that one time you got set up with a blind date a month in advance? Once she got back from Texas… MAN you'd be hooking UP. She's so hot. Seriously dude, like a 9… minimum. then you finally meet her and she's fat, hairy, and slightly racist and homophobic? That's how #GOP feels. Probably fun to get drunk with though. Game Ability: The last time a dumbass Texan ran he blew everyone out of the water, so I'm not counting this one out either. Forum Appeal: tepid at best, the WWJD sub-faction will probably like him so that would mean I would IMMEDIATELY hate him.
Strengths: Good Hair, may be able to get the WWJD sub-faction on his side, so you can't count him completely out.
Weaknesses: TheGrinch might have honked the VA ballot because the campaign grew super fast and he wasn't ready for it. This guy didn't get on it because he forgot VA was a state. Is convinced that if we all work for McDonalds everything will be peachy keen.
Reasonable player. If he can win I would be genuinely excited to see him play Obama. But there is aboslutely no chance he can win this. He's got crappy map placement and he is putting WAY too much on gaining control of the New Hampshire expansion, preferring to avoid the first major clash entirely. But if he does win it all, I will eat my lunch. Game Ability: Intriguing. Forum Appeal: Tepid but will probably pick up steam if he starts to win.
Strengths: Great all-around game, adaptable to situations as warranted. Isn't crazy.
Weaknesses: Lack of emphasis on the early game. Probably won't have the resources to compete unless some forum elder like Mc41n gets involved.
Strengths: Just crazy enough to win it.
Weaknesses: That still means she's crazy.
Along with KrazyEyeez389376, is strongly dependent on early game victories (and their associated econ boost) in order to have a prayer. There are many winning issues you can attach yourself to in the FFA. Abortion is an old standby, and the Mexicans can definitely give you some traction. But Gay Marriage is by FAR the worst. It attracts the worst kind of attention, that of incredibly clever and tech savvy gays. In all my years, I've learned that that Gay Community is the gateway to a good chunk of the really "good stuff" in a city. Better food, better fashion (except for the indulgence of Pride Week), and better home decorating. Why piss that off? I hope Santorum loves his wife's cooking, because he ain't eating anywhere nice for the rest of his life. Note: Olive Garden isn't "nice".
And an online tag is a very personal decision. It often comes with some history attached to it. It's your identity in this wild and wooly series of tubes, maybe moreso than your actual name. So why… WHY… did this asshole pick such a DISGUSTING gamertag? SERIOUSLY. Game Ability: Pretty bad. Forum Appeal: none, they actually can't believe he thinks he's a contender.
Strengths: Shameless enough to embarrass himself on national TV
Weaknesses: I will never trust a man who dresses his children like THIS in public.
The Actual Game
It's a 7-playerFFA. The winner gets to pick a partner and face off against Obama in the epic 2v2. So what's going to be important in this game? The Early fights are especially important this time around as several players are going ALL-IN to win those fights. Some people say the early fights are bullshit; we put too much importance on them. I SAY THE OPPOSITE. The early fights are some of the MOST important. They are a measure of a candidates strengths, his skill, his campaign infrastructure. It's all about his opening build. What you make, in what order, when you make it… these are all critical. Just a couple seconds could mean the difference between getting your wall up and watching KrazyEyeez389376's bullshit zergling rush murder your entire economy. But at the same time, you can't put TOO much importance on that first fight. If we did, we'd all be laughing about how Obama destroyed Huckabee instead of that grumpy old dude who's really funny when he's not being a grumpy old dude.
There are several key expansions that the players will jockey over. New Hampshire, Florida, and especially South Carolina are just a handful. I have a feeling that the South Carolina expansion will be a very interesting fight. I think the recap article I write in a few months will be super fun to write if AtlasFan comes out victorious in the first major clash. But one important thing to remember, it's not the best player that wins a FFA, but the last one standing. That person is usually the one who has the strongest econ, or is able to repel all attempts to destroy it. In an FFA, a lot of the macrostrategy goes out the window. As Day9 said, "the best counter to everything is to just build a lot of shit".
As Patrick has already elegantly stated, Obama is weak; he hasn't' even been playing Starcraft. But you know what? Sometimes you don't need to be the best player in order to win. Sometimes you just need to be luckier. And sometimes you just need the right playing partner.
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