The Two Types of Gamers (Honers vs. Innovators) -

The Two Types of Gamers (Honers vs. Innovators)

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Richard Garfield on honers, innovators, and champions:
Chess En Passant Rule:
Magnus Carlsen’s insane memory:
Korean Goinmul reference:
Jwong vs Roundhouse $10,000 MvC2 money match:
Tominaga Touch of Death:
Ryan Hart beasting with parry:
Ono on Third Strike execution gap:
Ono on turn-based Street Fighter 4:
If you don’t know, you gotta get hit:
Bobby Fischer interview on Johnny Carson:
Fischer Random Chess (Chess960):
Monopoly Rules Everyone Gets Wrong:
Jiyuna’s Request:
Atlantic article about Bobby Fischer:
Zain vs Mango Summit 2021 Grand Finals:
The Mind Behind Dark Souls:
Most Expensive Chess Set:

BGM in order:

Tekken 5: DR – Festival (Twist & Scream)
Tekken 5 – Moonlit Wilderness
Samurai Shodown (2019) – French Lady
Stronghold – Under and Old Tree
Starcraft – Terran Theme
Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike – Makoto Theme
Street Fighter 3: 2nd Impact – Alex Theme
John Harrison with the Wichita State University – Vivaldi Four Seasons Winter
Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike – Intro
Marvel vs Capcom 2 – Clock Tower Stage
Tekken 3 – Kuma Theme
Tekken 7 – Poolside Remix
Rising Thunder – Edge Theme
Gerald Lee – Dreamland


  1. I want to be a honer, I love the idea of getting really really good at a few things and seeing tangible progress in those things, but I experience burnout wayyyy too easily. it sucks

  2. This was a great Video Essay! Fortnite comes to mind, theres lots of Honers [tournament players] and Innovators with the Custom gamemodes involved which there are MANY and very creative

  3. I never go learn combos, because I feel (for me) combos stops me to think about a strategy and makes me a copying machine.
    My friend instead, when he starts liking a game, the first thing he does is checking the combos on the internet.

    So everytime we play against each other, it's like a super battle honer vs innovatori, and I should say it's quite a balanced match full of tension.

    Obviously tho, if I stop playing the game for just a while, he improves much more and I fall way behind.

    It's like….when we start a new game, I best him, because of my natural mind set of using the game rules in ways that others do not think about.
    But as the time pass, as he learns all the rules and combos, he's the one who best me.

  4. This analysis applies to the submission wrestling/Brazilian JiuJitsu meta as much as it applies to esports and gaming actually. It’s real interesting.

    I would consider myself and any John Danaher students and nuthuggers to basically be stereotypical honers. We’re all working real hard to make sure the most high percentage moves of the sport are the ones at which we’re most proficient.

    Of course we have individual preferences and natural predilections towards certain techniques in the opening and mid game, but there’s a really limited number of endgames we’re looking for and god save you if we get to one of them (cross ashi, the back or juji gatame are my favourite flavours of endgame for instance)

    Then there’s the 10th planet approach. They’re essentially innovators and bringing in new tech to the sport. They pioneered the cross body ride (twister and truck) and were doing (non ashi garami based) leglocks from there before leglocks were cool. They added some really interesting moves to half guard with their interest in the scorpion/lockdown. The dead orchard is their thing.

    At the highest levels of competition, the aware honer is the best though. 10p guys do okay, but the real meat and potatoes is undeniably in the Danaher camp. The king honer wins everything.
    I’m of course talking about Gordon Ryan. No one else is as good at honing as he is.
    But him and John also spend their time looking at innovators to figure out what the next thing they should be honing is. I think if you’re not doing that as a honer you’re lazy.

  5. Just here to say that Mango winning Summit this year was hella satisfying. thanks for including it.

  6. Damn so I have been a weak Honer my whole life? I want to win but I don’t like dealing with older communities

    Then again I’m a medium sized fish in C&C zero hour and yet I considered myself to be a „game enjoyer“ and not a tryhard

  7. I was waiting for a video like this – SO WELL DONE, AWESOME

  8. Coinmurl also seems like.. its just excellent game design.. that you can make such a good game that people still play 100 years later

  9. Honers: you're incompetent and lazy as fuck
    Me: Absolutely. I will find a way to outsmart you without feeling like I'm in school. Sooner or later…

  10. great video. I appreciate any content creator who uses vocabulary to push the thinking into a higher meta level. The idea of honers and innovators is uber-meta. 🙂

  11. Why am I here…. when it comes to gaming the worst games I play are fighting games 😂. Like I’m absolutely ass at them. I just don’t find them fun. Well maybe the new demon slayer but I’m so ass

  12. I would love to know your views on fifa. Anything would be great.

  13. Yeess please Innovation. I like how you draw a healthy boundary with this between two very different play intentions. Also that korrean words for stall water xD

  14. Pretty good job, though I think you overrepresented innovation as the avoidance of grind, when it's more the pursuit of exploration. It's just as easy to find honers who complain about try hards, after all. Try hard innovators certainly exist and arguably are as common as try hard honers. They just are trying hard about different things. A try hard innovator will try a thousand different bizzare approaches to find one where they gain some small material advantage. The ideal player knows when to do each, and how much.

  15. Stale Water ist only toxic to aerobic organisms. Anaerobic organisms need it – and they predate plants.

  16. I think both are bad, if too extreme. There are Games, the perfect playing is unbeatable (often e´leading to boring gameplay) and there are games there special houserules ruin the fun.

  17. Interesting video, a friend one told me "It's like you're playing the game upside down" now I know why

  18. and then there's the perfect balance between the 2, roblox

  19. Killer instinct 2013 is definitely a innovator fighting game. You can make and change combos on the fly and the breaker system always keeps both players engaged

  20. damn that Stonghold music out of nowhere hit me with so much nostalgia

  21. Good discussion! (Have you even wanted to play against innovators, and all you encounter is honers, sticking to a textbook?)

  22. "there are two types of gamers" is neither guess i'm not a gamer after all lol

  23. Also: Shmups, particularly "Danmaku" type! ✈👾 (though that is usually individual records CC, score, speed run, rather than vs play)

  24. This whole video is decimated by the existence of Minecraft.

  25. Do this analysis on dungeons and dragons im sure you’ll find a lot to speak on

  26. man I just do what's fun for me on real games but I do love to try hard casual multiplayer games they never expect it

    but I suppose I'm an innovator I like the risky tactics like trying to ambush or use stealth in games were it's not a thing especially if it involves poorly designed maps and out of bounds travel

  27. I think 'm neither. I'll play for story, or for fun, but I don't practice to get gud. I'm a tourist who wants to visit, not stay. I don't care about anything beyond the minimum to get it done. Probably why I don't play fighters competitively. And I sure as hell don't play pvp games anymore. it's a rat race I learned a decade ago I don't want to be a part of.

  28. to be fair LoL league of legends is the best example of a game that does both honing and innovating, sadly at pro lvl players are more of Honers but the ones that does both wins always

  29. If you play Dark Souls, you can be both!

  30. Turn based street fighter… jesus christ…. that's the most unholy thing i've ever heard.

  31. or you could be leathal league blaze and skip the fighting game issue entirely

  32. so honers are basically more competitive players and innovators are more casual type players, hence making a custom ruleset to play at their level?

  33. i'm like 90% honer. On every game where i have the choice i aim to become a "one trick pony". I don't start innovating until i have a full understanding of what i'm playing.

  34. I think geometry dash is a perfect example of homer/innovater. They ways you can build a level are seemingly endless however the game itself has a massive skill cap.

  35. I love Zelda breath of the wild. There are so many innovations happening even after years of its release and to become a master at innovating and mastering other people’s innovations you have to hone.

  36. The girl in the thumbnail always has a weird looking face

  37. 2 games that I found were a great balance of honing and innovating are battlefield, because you're always playing people with different skills, the maps are big, there are a number of different classes, and if you feel you've honed enough being a foot soldier you can use the vehicles.

    The 2nd is age of empires 2. The maps are randomized to an extent, as well as there being a huge variety of maps, and the different civs vary greatly. There are still enough things that remain constant to make it a perfect place to hone skills.

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