Letters from the Editors Desk: A Tale of Three Players; Timmy, Johnny, Spike: Who Are They?
Editors note: Sometimes anonymous articles get sent to us via email at email@example.com, and they tend make it to the site after a few revisions. However with anonymous articles its a little harder to communicate editorial changes. We have made a few edits to this article for clarity and grammatical sake, but we are presenting the submitted article it in it’s entirety.
We all play Vanguard for different reasons, and show our love for the game in different ways. After many years of people enjoying trading card games, the different ways of enjoying a card game have been boiled down to three major psycho-graphic profiles, or more simply “player types”. The player types have their own nicknames too: Timmy, Johnny, and Spike. (The feminine names for these are Tammy, Jenny, and, er, Spike. Spike is pretty gender-neutral when you think about it.) But what the heck do those even mean? Buckle in if you’re not familiar with them already.
Who are they?
The Timmy is the hype train. They are defined by their love for utilizing bombastic units and effects, the social interactions with the games, and variance leading to different and unpredictable outcomes. Timmies are possibly the most pleased audience when it comes to the presence of triggers in the game. They get excited over new cards, new strategies, new ways to play Vanguard. They express love for the game by simply jumping in and slamming down their favorite units with friends. Timmies are very visceral players when compared to the other two player profiles.
The Johnny is the brewer. They are enthralled by how cards interact with each other, leading them to try and perform the best combos using those cards. They are idea-driven players, sometimes going out of their way to try and make any card work just to say they could. Many even see their deck construction as a form of self-expression and uniqueness, leading to them using more offbeat card choices. They express their love for the game by combing through the whole card-pool, always searching, always yearning to find the gem that others overlooked. They’re always trying to find ways to play that other players, and sometimes even the developers, didn’t see possible.
The Spike is the gladiator. Domination is the name of the game. They want to show how good they are. They express their love for the game by trying to show off just how great Vanguard is at the highest level of play. They internalize game rules, floor rules, and card interactions. They pick their decks based on what will perform the best. They love the rush of outplaying their opponent and positioning themselves for victory. They evaluate every new spoiler. They evaluate the current format to see what they should plan on playing against. Most of all, they evaluate themselves to see how they can improve.
It can’t be that binary, right?
Having defined player profiles is cool and all, but really, no one is rarely that rigid in their mindset. Players exhibit traits from all three categories at varying levels, and I’d argue most people exhibit two dominant player types with hints of the third.
A Timmy/Spike finds the balance between playing the units they love versus playing a deck that’ll get them results. They are more likely to play a (debatable) Tier 2 deck like Dragonic Vanquisher, cause they’ll take the hit to win percentage consistency to play their more favorite card. Sometimes, a Timmyspike’s favorite unit also happens to be Tier 1, like Chronojet Dragon in G-era or Ezel in previous Premium metas, so playing Tier 1 is just the cherry on top for them to slam jam their favorite units in competitions. Though, if their favorite units are at best rouge tier, they will just suck it up and, I dunno, randomly top with Maelstrom in BRO or something. (Shoutouts to Kazge!) A Timmyspike is defined by deliberately making some competitive concessions to stick to what they know and love best, with concrete reasons on why their favorite units have competitive niches as to not be left in the dust. Unless they love Bermuda Triangle. In that case, they didn’t have to make any concessions at all. (It’s all just a pile of goodstuffs.)
A Johnny/Spike is more likely to play a “rouge” tier deck, because rouge decks either aren’t as solved as Tier 1 & 2 decks, they want to show how one can win with originality, or they feel like their rouge pick is gonna flip the meta on its head due to being well positioned against common strategies. They take the “wanna break the meta” side of Spikes and “wanna break the game” side of Johnnies and turn it up to eleven. A Johnnyspike will play a Tier 1 deck if they’re confident that their extra spicy tech or different game plan will give them an edge over others. Otherwise, they might avoid Tier 1 for the sake of dodging mirror matches that can feel a bit coinflip-y, like opting to play the Melody Plon deck over Melody, which is a proven deck but doesn’t have as high of a power ceiling. A Johnnyspike is defined by being the most big-brained mofo in the room. Or, at the very least thinking they are.
A Timmy/Johnny is a diehard for their archetype. Sometimes they will pick the most offbeat unit and fanboy for it to the moon and back. Most times, they have been playing their favorite deck for so long that they have tried every different variation conceivable. Some days Spike Bros players play Hellhard Eight turbo with Baromagnes, other times they swap units in their deck and go for pure aggro. They will take Eugene and lab the hell out of it. They see the limitless potential in Zorga, going back and forth in their mind on the ratio of Order cards in their deck. Depending on how well waves of support might treat them, they might stick by their Tier 3 deck, or wake up to see it putting up great numbers. Regardless, a Timmyjohnny is defined by not just loving their decks, but mastering them. They probably framed their Clan Leader cards on the wall, if they ever earned any.
Sometimes they don’t always see eye to eye..
Sometimes, friction happens between the three player types. Mainly due to some players ignoring or invalidating the ways that the other player types experience the game. Sometimes, a lot of the head butting can be remediated by reminding people that the player types actually have more in common than written definitions suggest.
In defense of Timmy: This next segment’s gonna be pretty simple. Don’t be pretentious or condescending to Timmies. Timmes are sometimes seen as the uber-casual, players that just don’t know any better and might not even know how their cards work. There is a time and place to be serious, but a Spike coming down on a Timmy for playing Flagberg at a 8-man locals where the prize is 4 packs seems just a little bit extra for no reason. Vanguard is fun, no matter if you won or lost. High-stakes and the highest tier decks aren’t requirements for Vanguard to be fun. Johnnies might look at Timmies and see them as simplistic, but Johnnies forget: Timmies enjoy exploring the card pool too. Timmies like cool shit. They will bounce around archetypes. They will experiment and see what archetypes they want to stick with. Just as Spikes need to let Timmies come to competitive aspects of the game on their own terms, Johnnies need to accept that Timmies will explore the cardpool at their own pace.
In defense of Johnny: Spikes want to break past their own limits and achieve personal greatness, but they need to remember that Johnnies are trying to break the game’s limits. A Johnny can as easily break apart a format as a Spike player can. So no, that pile of jank is not an utter waste of time. It’s a source of hidden potential. Johnnies still wanna see success with their builds too; they’re just willing to break more eggs to make more omelets than the average Spike who values hard data and results. Johnnies can get flack from Timmies for being too durdly at times and for their combos taking too long. Sit down and enjoy the show, you might learn something. Just as Timmies like to play their amazing Dragonic Overlord deck, you can’t act annoyed while a Johnny plays their meticulously-labbed, amazing Zorga deck.
In defense of Spike: For those who’ve ever said “I’d rather have fun than win”, I have to ask: when did those things become mutually exclusive? Why is winning not fun? Why is outplaying and outmaneuvering your opponent not fun? Winning the game is enjoyable. The rulebook says “get the opponent to 6 damage and win,” not “roleplay as your favorite anime character.” Spike players experience many hype moments. Timmies need to remember that, yes, there is nothing inherently soul-sucking about playing with the goal to win. Timmies are defined by being hype trains, but Spikes do in fact feel something when they play the game too. No, playing Vanguard is not all business for them. Timmies love gathering and playing the game with friends, but what do you think Spike players are doing while they’re grinding tournaments? They’re making connections. They’re making new rivals and friends. They’re cheering on others as they climb through quarterfinals and semifinals. Competition is exciting and hype. In this age of streams, content creators, and BRO, Spikes are tuned in to see what’s doing well, what’s not, and see the stories unfold as familiar names and upstart challengers duke it out. Some Johnnies deem Spikes as unoriginal, which is too much of a blanket statement. The beginner Spike is gonna do deck research, see what people have succeeded with, and then copy those decks. The intermediate and advanced Spikes, however, will have to tweak and tune their decks depending on the meta. Spikes do in fact have to innovate and think outside the box to see success. In Standard’s set 3 meta, we’ve seen Gravidia evolve into a much more aggro list utilizing Shadow Army Tokens, a build that Maxime Solemn took to Top 8 during BRO. Johnnies also need to accept that you aren’t selling your soul to play Luard or other established Tier 1 decks. Johnnies pride themselves on self-expression through their decks, but you know what’s another way to stand out amongst other players? Being more skilled than them. Having your name immortalized, posted at the top of a pristine decklist. Spikes often see competition as a way to stand out and be unique.
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