• AlphonZeus

Burnout and What You Can Do About It

Hello and Good day once more! I am the AlphonZeus of Team Gradelock and Team Vision, back again with another article, this time on Vanguard burnout. Vision has provided you with great quality content from information about upcoming sets and meta shifts to competitive mentalities, but today we approach a different subject, one that permeates every single person involved in a hobby: burnout. There are many different factors that can contribute to burnout, so not all cases point to a single factor as the reason. This article will provide an overview of different types of burnout I have seen and experienced before as well as ways to tackle it when you choose to.

To begin, burnout eventually affects everyone. After going to your weekly tournaments, traveling to different regionals, playtesting with your decks, you get tired of the same thing. The same passion that you had waned over time, and it felt more like a job than an adventure. The hard truth is that your passion for the game will be tested over time. How long can you sit there each time your opponent sacks you or you fail to g-assist into your grade 2? Each loss and frustration builds up to the point where you cannot think of a way to smile when playing the game. It hurts, and this burnout takes many different forms.

The first form is wallet fatigue/burnout. Back in the original days in Descent of the King of Knights and Onslaught of Dragon Souls (The very first Set 1 and 2 respectively), the gap between these sets were quite substantial. Set 1 launched on December 10, 2011 internationally in English and Set 2 on March 10, 2012. That gap is three months. The next set that launched was Set 6, Breaker of Limits, on May 19, 2012. Then the Cavalry of Black Steel, the first extra booster in the English format, launched on July 7, 2012. The reason for giving these dates is the fact that we had a few months in between each set release. It was similar to Magic: the Gathering’s current standard release sets, spread out every season.

Looking at today’s release schedule, there has been a release almost every single month. Looking at Vilest Deletor (V-Set 4), that launched on March 22, 2019, the next set release was the extra booster Primary Melody, which launched on May 17, 2019. The next set: another extra booster in Light of Salvation, Logic of Destruction, which launched on June 7, 2019. The extra booster streak continues in The Heroic Evolution, which launched on July 19, 2019. A fourth extra booster in a row in My Glorious Justice launched August 9, 2019. The streak continues on in the same month, but with a regular booster set in V-Set 5’s Aerial Steed Liberation that launched on August 30, 2019. Finally, the support continues on in V-Set 6’s Phantasmal Steed Restoration that launched on September 27, 2019, Extra Booster 9’s The Raging Tactics that launched in October, and the latest booster set to release at the time of this article’s publication in V-Set 7’s Infinideity Cradle that launched on November 22, 2019.

The key factor distinguishing the original sets launching and this latest batch of sets this year is that the clan number jumped highly from back then. Although there were 8 different clans supported in the original Set 1, there are now 26 different clans (excluding BREAKERZ, TachiVan, Etranger, The Mask Collection, and Union Verse) to play from. However, even if some sets focused on different clans, there were still clans that had more than 1 set of support throughout the past several months this year, such as any of the three Paladin clans and Star Gate clans like Link Joker and Nova Grapplers.

If you play one of these mentioned clans, you would have to check what you really needed from that set, determine if you should be a different variant of your clan, and also playtest the new support to see if that deck fits your playstyle. This generates wallet fatigue because you would have to invest money (and ultimately time) into preparing for tournaments, protecting your cards’ conditions, and establishing your game plan against a wide variety of opponents. Of course, there are always budget ways to approach this game, but if you are interested in competing at higher levels, there are some hurdles you would have to jump through to play against more expensive meta decks that makeup a good portion or majority of the turnout. Some of these hurdles can be removed if you have a consistent group of comrades and allies, but there are also some players that do not have easy access to local communities to build those relationships further. When you think about it, any hobby would cost money, and when sets are released every single month, that gets to be a money sink into that preparation.

The second type of burnout is competitor burnout. For these players, they find it exhausting to review research on each set’s release every month, and then playtest against those clans consistently. In a game like Cardfight!! Vanguard, no single game may be exactly the same, but you then notice the patterns and game plans each clan presents. You then keep on playtesting because you want to see if there is anything different that an opponent would do. All of this takes a toll when shenanigans are in play such as trigger sacking, gradelock, and bad draws. The triggers offset a lot of bad draws, but this factor is not something to rely on completely unless you have a clan that helps to manipulate the triggers you check (like Oracle Think Tank), or grants you more chances to check triggers (like restanding Vanguards, or units that grant additional drive checks to Vanguards).

In a playgroup, you get to see this manifest in the players that you play with. There will always be bad weeks, months, even years. However, this does not mean that it will continue to be bad. Everyone in a particular playgroup has a limit of how much burnout they can take before they would take different action. You also should recognize the amount of burnout you would undergo, because once it takes hold of you or your fellow playtest allies, it is a negative vibe that the entire group feels.

No one wants to be that person that would send these negative vibes out, but ultimately this is a healthy part of adventuring through the hobby. The best thing that you can do is to respect their decision to alter the way they approach the game. Whether they want to take a hard break from playing the game, explore a different hobby that may not be as costly, or just travel less to events, these options taken will help give their mind a break and hopefully will have them come back refreshed. Some options that players have taken is to explore a different hobby outside of trading card games entirely, or to play a different trading card game on the side if they still want to be in the same category.

When it comes to recovering from burnout, I find this part to be the most important. This period of time determines how you either return to the hobby or just move on. At this junction, there are many different options that you have available. For example, when I feel wallet or competitor burnout, I would check in with a different card game or hobby. It’s more of what do I want to do with my money after I save, invest, and pay bills. Everyone has their career they are working towards, and their respective expenses of day-to-day living. So, spending time and money in a particular hobby is an important break from normal life.

Burnout recovery by looking into different hobbies is my best suggestion. I separate hobbies into three different categories: one to keep you in shape, one to make you money, and one to keep you creative. When it comes to Cardfight!! Vanguard, it can either be one to make me money or one to keep me creative. When I notice that it is not fulfilling either of those because of my burnout, I would stop and check what else can I do with my time. One particular hobby that I found to keep myself creative is painting. I’m doing something different with my hands besides shuffling and playing cards, and it triggers an emotion in my brain like some sort of therapy.

Soon after I explore that hobby, then there comes the “feeling.” This feeling is more like a yearning to get back into the Cardfight!! Vanguard. There were times that I felt so comfortable painting that I would not have minded to continue doing so. However, there were times that I wanted to come back, and always had my social media at the ready that would showcase new cards to enter the game. I would not go into much theorizing about what the card can do for a clan, just what the card does on its own. This feeling soon develops in me to make that return in refreshing fashion with a more positive mindset because at that point, I want to play again. I want to once more swing my Vanguards in and make those magic numbers once more. I want to build and draft lists and research into optimizing my deck for tournament play. That fire has been reignited just because I took that break.

This method has worked for me over the past seven years I played this game. Anyone can use this method to recover from burnout, but it is not for everyone. Some folks see burnout differently and some do not recover the same way that I do. The article was written because I wanted to address the issue of burnout in case you or a friend that you know is going through that same ordeal. However, there is a way out of it, and if it not the one that I have advised here, there is a way that you could figure it out. I just simply wanted to provide an idea to get your brain going on determining what you can personally do about it. It does not have to be exactly what I advised here. In fact, it could be something completely different from mine. I am just here to get the ball moving. And it is up to you to determine your recovery from burnout now or in the future.

That is all I have to say about this article, so I hope that you have enjoyed it and keep supporting Vision. Feel free to comment your critique, and I wish you well.

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