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Why is cheese viewed with disdain? Isn't it just a hyper aggressive style of play? The cheese I am referring to here would be tactics like 6/7 pooling when your opponent fails to wall off, cannon rushing when your opponent fails to spot a scouting probe, proxy pylons and early marine rushes. Most of these are easily preventable (and leave you at a disadvantage) if your opponent is prepared, but if they leave themselves open surely that is their own fault? Most complaints about this feel like sour grapes.

Further to this, can anybody tell me if using such tactics will adversely affect your chances of promotion/demotion?

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I have updated the title to reflect the question as to cheese and ranking - slightly different from the previous question –  tofarr Apr 1 '11 at 14:02
    
This is really tredging on the whole "discussion" territory. As proven by the style of the answers, what constitutes cheese and whether or not it is disdainful is a subjective topic, to which the primary response is opinions, not answers. –  Grace Note Apr 1 '11 at 16:24
    
@Grace I'm very sure we closed a question just like this one before, where I argued in a very long comment thread about how this type of question was inappropriate, but I can't seem to find it now, maybe we deleted it? In either case, I think the president is to close opinion based questions like this. –  tzenes Apr 1 '11 at 16:40
    
@tzenes Yes, we did. You probably do indeed remember this one. So based on how that ended, how this question is currently playing out, and the nature of the main inquiry (asking about people's thoughts of disdain), I'm closing this as argumentative. This question did receive an answer about the rank portion (which was a question on its own right), and it has been accepted as well. –  Grace Note Apr 1 '11 at 16:41
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closed as not constructive by StrixVaria, tzenes, Grace Note Apr 1 '11 at 16:42

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4 Answers

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The only time I would view cheese as distasteful is if there is some game breaking mechanic, where if used, will almost guarantee a victory no matter what the opposition does in attempting to thwart it. For example, in SC1, before it was patched, it was possible to park a seiged tank under a building by forcing it to move under and go into seige mode while the building is landing. This protected the tank from melee very effectively. Exploiting a mechanic such as this would be considered cheese. Putting an early tank on top of a plateau in LT, on the other hand, when the other side has not scouted you and has no counters to it, should not be looked down on.

Most of what you listed I would not consider distasteful, though to a beginner player who have not learned the game it may seem very hard and difficult to defend against and consider it broken or 'cheesy', but over time they will realize that these moves, with proper scouting, leaves the opponent at a serious disadvantage if done properly.

Most complaints about this feel like sour grapes.

That is exactly right.

Further to this, can anybody tell me if using such tactics will adversely affect your chances of promotion/demotion?

Promotion/demotion is solely dependant on the rank of the opponent you are facing and your win/losses. Whatever tactics you use in the match will not affect that.

This does not only apply to SC2 but most games IMO.
This question also has some great answers.

Update I have slightly revised my answer (changes in bold) since I felt, based on the up/down votes on this answer, that I was unclear in my own use of the word cheese interchangeably with the word distasteful.

I do not disagree that those tactics are considered cheesy, but the main point I was trying to say, (rather poorly) is whether or not if they should be viewed with disdain.

I do not view cheesy tactics with disdain since they are a part of any proper strategy and should be a valid play in any competition. Taking an (American) football analogy, a surprise sneak attempt on 4th down, if the other team is not prepared for it, gives you great field advantage. However, even though most teams expect a normal punt, they are typically prepared to defend against the 4th down attempt since it is a valid strategy that can be used in a game.

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I humbly disagree with your definition. Everything the OP listed is generally considered cheese by anyone who refers to cheese. –  Shaun Apr 1 '11 at 16:06
    
I also disagree. The Starcraft community at a whole tends to consider all of those tactics cheese. Does it mean they're bad tactics? No, but they're cheese because they're cheap tactics, and often they don't work at the higher levels. –  Weegee Apr 1 '11 at 16:27
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Cheese is more than just using a game-breaking mechanic to play the game. In fact, when you do that, it's arguably cheating. Although some players will claim it is not cheating if the game lets you do it, playing the game by using a mechanic that is obviously not intended by the game makers is cheating.

Cheese almost exclusively refers to mind-play. Cheese play relies on performing builds or actions that are unexpected and rely almost exclusively on secrecy to be successful. As you stated, cheese is cheese because it's easily thwarted as long as it is detected. If it is not, the success of the strategy is damaging to both the opponent's army and their mind (sometimes sending them on tilt), which is why players like to resort to it.

Idra specifically does not like cheese, although he defines cheese more loosely to include rushes and non-macro-style play. Players like Idra do not like cheese because they believe a game like SC2 should be played as a macro game: you should have the time to expand and build up your respective armies, pick at expansions as you can until you max out supply, then push in for your "final" assault. Cheese-play prevents players from playing SC2 as a macro-style game.

Beyond aiming for a macro game, it's the psychological impact that causes most people to dislike cheese. Not only is the strategy so destructive when successful, but it messes with the mind of the person who fell victim to it because it would have taken a quick scout to see and counter it. Cheese invariably exploits either the lack of skill of your opponent (when playing lower-level opponents who do not know how to combat it or do no scout) or a momentary lapse in skilled players (which will easily anger an otherwise solid player).

As for your ranking, ranking doesn't care about how you won. If you win, your ranking improves. If you lose, it goes down. It's as simple as that.

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Just to emphasize part of yx_'s excellent answer: The ranking system doesn't care how you played. All it knows is that you won or lost. Otherwise, people would be able to manipulate the system.

The only way cheese play will affect your rank will be the degree by which it causes you to win or lose games.

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Cheese strategies are viewed with disdain because...

  • They denies your opponent a proper game. If your opponent isn't a pro-gamer, chances are they're playing for fun. In random team games it's even worse, as you're denying up to 7 others a proper (read: fun) game.

  • They're generally seen as skill free and cheap.

Nothing in SCII annoys me quite as much as a random team with an ally who announces "I'm going 6pool". By the time you've explained that 6 lings can be dealt with easily by workers, that 6 pool is always worse than 7 pool and that a protoss ally can't get an army together in time to help with a 6pool rush, the game's over.

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