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 Fire Emblem Drafting Explained

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PostSubject: Fire Emblem Drafting Explained   Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:31 pm

Heavily ripped off of adapted from Serenes Forest, original thread here

Drafting: What?

The simple, one-line, tl;dr explanation for a draft tourney is thus: A pool of characters is established, several people enter and take turns picking characters, then play through the game with only those characters. There's a wee bit more to it, obviously, but that's the basics.

With the advent of several new types of draft flying out of the woodwork, I'm going to take an aside nice and up here to define a couple things.

In a Standard draft, each person drafts his own team in order. This is typical. EX: I draft my team, Soul drafts his team, Donna drafts her team, and Furetchen drafts his team.
In a SOYO draft, each person drafts somebody ELSE'S team. Fair warning to hosts: don't set players in a SOYO draft to draft for each other or politicking will ensue. GOOD EX: I draft Soul's team, Soul drafts Donna's team, Donna drafts Furetchen's team, and Furetchen drafts my team. BAD EX: I draft Furetchen's team, Soul drafts Donna's team, Donna drafts Soul's team, and Furetchen drafts my team.
In a Knickerbocker draft, each player nominates somebody else from outside the draft to draft for them. EX: Tangerine drafts my team, Spectakitty drafts Soul's team, Obviam drafts Donna's team, and Lumi drafts Furetchen's team.

The Prelude

Let's say my Spanish love, Donna, creates an FE8 draft thread. As the thread creator, several responsibilities are bestowed upon Donna. Primarily, she's supposed to keep the OP updated as the draft progresses before the actual playing starts. Anyway, Donna understands her responsibilities and creates the thread anyway. Donna declares that the pool of characters be split among 4 players, and the game be played on Hard mode. So our intrepid forumites - myself and my good friends Furetchen and Soul - all waltz over into the thread and declare ourselves committed. Everybody's in, and Donna randomizes the drafting order...

Obviously, we're not all Donna. Some of us are Furetchen and Soul, for instance! As a contender, you do have responsibilities too. Also remember, dear Donna, that the thread creator is also a contender and shares those responsibilities. Honestly, these aren't nearly as many as the thread creator's - but the first, and very most important of all - is to be sure that you can finish the draft. As a mediocre player myself, I've only lost two drafts ever. Why? Because nobody else ever finished. So ask yourself: do I have the time and attention span to play this all the way through in a reasonable timeframe?

The Process

Donna's results are me, Soul, herself, Furetchen in that order. As I am myself and therefore not a smart man, I draft Neimi*. Furetchen, far down the line, shakes his fist in mute rage, as I have taken his favorite character out of the pool. Play passes to Soul, who drafts Syrene because he's kooky. Donna then drafts Kyle, and play moves to Furetchen. Furetchen, being at the end of the line, gets to draft twice and picks Franz and Vanessa - then play rolls back to Donna, then Soul, then me twice, then Soul. And around and around it goes until the characters are all gone - or until the teams are equal and there aren't enough characters to make another pass. To remember the order, simply count the number of contestants, say the last number twice, and go back around.

1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3 ...

Obviously, you don't want to hold up the draft. If you're pretty sure you're going to be sleeping or at school or at work when your turn comes up, and you won't be back for a while, you're allowed to implement a contingency plan. This involves - generally - sending a PM to another user with a list of picks. Let's go back to this FE8 draft that's going on. We're early in the draft, and we're waiting for Furetchen to get his double-pick done. Donna knows she'll be in bed like a good girl when Furetchen makes his pick and doesn't want Soul to have to wait. So, Donna sends Soul a PM.
"Hey Soul, bestest buddy old pal, if I'm not around when you're ready to go could you draft Forde for me? If Furetchen takes him then give me Ross, then Duessel. Thanks!
--Donna~"

Generally speaking, I like to send the PM to the person drafting immediately after me. The reasons are many; the person can't shift his picks (soul: ooh, forde's a good idea. yoink!) to block me, and he's the person who would be stuck waiting anyway were I not around. Then, to the example, if Soul shows up before Donna does, he can say "Donna took Forde, and I want Lute." It's generally considered polite to leave a notice in the thread stating you might miss this pick and your second is X, additionally. Finally, I find it's best to, when implementing this plan, have a hierarchy of one plus however many drafters are coming before you. So if you're waiting for two people to draft, have three characters lined up for your second. If you're waiting for the double-pick and two more ...well, at a certain point there's no reason to have a second. This is really only for if you're almost up for picking and won't be ready. Rule of thumb: if there are more than two people between the current status and you, it's not worth it.

* - for God's sake, if you're drafting FE8 don't take Neimi first.

The Pr...uh, Gameplay

Now we move to the gameplay itself. Things lose a lot of structure here; in the previous section, Soul could do absolutely nothing except twiddle his thumbs while he waited his turn. Now he can blaze out with all speed and rush into the game. As the tourney itself loses structure, so too does the expectations. Ostensibly, drafts are about getting the lowest turn count out of the contenders. Honestly, though, it doesn't matter in my experience. You are, however, expected to make semi-regular status updates. This is where the variation comes into play; some people like to leave updates until they've finished several chapters, some people like myself update every chapter's turncount and basic strategy into the thread as they finish it, some people like to do a complete play-by-play, and some ridiculous people named Balcerzak just record the experience and post it to Youtube. For the actual gameplay, you're only allowed to use the characters you drafted, and you take turn penalties if anybody else does something disallowed.

The Variables

Obviously, since Donna has control over her draft, she can impose rules. These can be as ludicrous and far-fetched as she wants, but I'll provide a few common examples here:
* Common Characters: Most, if not all, drafts have a few characters who cannot be drafted because anybody is allowed to use them. This is almost always the main Lord but can often be extended to a game-changer like good old Marcus.
* Prohibited Characters: The corresponding rule to the above. Some characters so thoroughly alter their game that they're not only out of the draft, use of them is prevented. I, personally, have only seen this extended to Seth but who knows?
* And Many More!

Undraftees, too, have different penalties depending on the draft. Generally, use of an undrafted unit (while forced, you shouldn't deploy undrafted units except to recruit) takes its toll in the form of a turn penalty. Since you're going for the lowest turncount in the draft, this is bad. Pay attention to what the OP says undrafted units can and cannot do without taking penalties.
* Meatshielding: This one has a bullet because it's HIGHLY variable and difficult to predict from tourney to tourney. PAY ATTENTION TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE ALLOWED TO MEATSHIELD! If you aren't, you take turn penalties any time an undrafted unit sees any combat, regardless of the outcome.

I said to pay attention to the rules if you're signing up for a draft, but I seem to have forgotten the next most important thing. As the OP: state the rules clearly. If there are common units, make sure that everybody knows exactly who they are and when they're allowed. Keeping a clean post, while optional, is recommendable - but the priority is still to update it, regardless of quality. Spoilered at the bottom is a Generic Ruleset. The Generic Ruleset merely presumes a basic set of rules for the lazy or unmotivated. You may say "using generic rules except X" because they are not all-covering.
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PostSubject: Re: Fire Emblem Drafting Explained   Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:33 pm

Stickied; also, moved and edited the disclaimer.

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