Specialists or Miscellaneous?

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Couch's Kingbird
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Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by Couch's Kingbird » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:54 pm

Is it better to have a team of players that know miscellaneous facts or a team of players which are each an expert in certain topics (e.g. history, science, etc.)?
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sbfromcopley
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by sbfromcopley » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:05 pm

This question has been asked a few times before. What you are basically asking is if a team should have 4 generalists or 4 specialists. I think you should take a look at this post below.

This link addresses the question of whether one very good player carrying a team is better than 4 specialists, a bit different than your question, but there are some good responses in there that I think would answer your question.

viewtopic.php?f=117&t=13050

What you will end up finding when you ask this question to anyone who plays quizbowl is that it is best to have 4 specialists who all play their part. While there are really good teams, like Ladue for example, who are able to place very well due to one or two very dedicated players ( this year they won PACE NSC and got 2nd at HSNCT ) most of the top teams at national tournaments are made up of players who specialize.
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by Auroni » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:02 pm

sbfromcopley wrote: What you will end up finding when you ask this question to anyone who plays quizbowl is that it is best to have 4 specialists who all play their part. While there are really good teams, like Ladue for example, who are able to place very well due to one or two very dedicated players ( this year they won PACE NSC and got 2nd at HSNCT ) most of the top teams at national tournaments are made up of players who specialize.
Even on Ladue, the non-Max players specialize in certain categories that they are routinely expected to get.
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abnormal abdomen
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by abnormal abdomen » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:07 pm

The emphasis on being a specialist is also really important when you look at it from the perspective of a player on a team that has one or two really established players as well. If you know there's a "star" on your team, you can still snag a spot on your A Team by simply focusing on one or two categories and making those your niche. We've heard this time and time again (see Mike Cheyne's post on this here): even your "star" doesn't have everything locked down, and your team will greatly appreciate you being able to reliably fulfill a specific role.
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:07 pm

Yeah no, my teammates are comically underrated because of shadow effect, etc. Even if you've got one fantastic individual player, you still need tons of support to complement you in close games or when you have an off-game. My teammates this year included a fantastic secondary generalist who is a top 5 player in his own right and will shock a bunch of people next year with how good he actually is, and two niche specialists who really did damage when it counted (Jialin had 2 tossups in the HSNCT final, Haohang 2 at NSC, and they combined for 3 at NASAT) --when talking about "one-man teams" you have to bear in mind that stats can be really deceptive: if they're getting about 10 ppg while playing next to people putting up 150+ that means they really really know their stuff.

Re: your original query, obviously specialization is better -- overlap is basically useless (though I like the 2 generalist w/ different focus + 2 specialists model, since it helps with buzzer races, or if the better generalist is having trouble pulling easy/med bonus parts, and so on).
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Al Hirt
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by Al Hirt » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:55 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
Re: your original query, obviously specialization is better -- overlap is basically useless (though I like the 2 generalist w/ different focus + 2 specialists model, since it helps with buzzer races, or if the better generalist is having trouble pulling easy/med bonus parts, and so on).
Do you mean something like a history/geography based generalist, a science/math based generalist, and then specialists on RMP/SS and literature (or a similar form)? Because theoretically that seems like it could be winning strategy considering how much NAQT favors history (not that I'm complaining or anything).
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by vinteuil » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:01 am

EBAcademicTeam wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
Re: your original query, obviously specialization is better -- overlap is basically useless (though I like the 2 generalist w/ different focus + 2 specialists model, since it helps with buzzer races, or if the better generalist is having trouble pulling easy/med bonus parts, and so on).
Do you mean something like a history/geography based generalist, a science/math based generalist, and then specialists on RMP/SS and literature (or a similar form)? Because theoretically that seems like it could be winning strategy considering how much NAQT favors history (not that I'm complaining or anything).
Your model is leaving out fine arts, among other things.
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i never see pigeons in wheeling
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:05 am

EBAcademicTeam wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
Re: your original query, obviously specialization is better -- overlap is basically useless (though I like the 2 generalist w/ different focus + 2 specialists model, since it helps with buzzer races, or if the better generalist is having trouble pulling easy/med bonus parts, and so on).
Do you mean something like a history/geography based generalist, a science/math based generalist, and then specialists on RMP/SS and literature (or a similar form)? Because theoretically that seems like it could be winning strategy considering how much NAQT favors history (not that I'm complaining or anything).
NAQT doesn't actually favor history. Out of the Big 3, it actually puts more weight on science: http://www.naqt.com/hsnct/distribution.jsp.
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Re: Specialists or Miscellaneous?

Post by Al Hirt » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:30 am

perlnerd666 wrote:
EBAcademicTeam wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
Re: your original query, obviously specialization is better -- overlap is basically useless (though I like the 2 generalist w/ different focus + 2 specialists model, since it helps with buzzer races, or if the better generalist is having trouble pulling easy/med bonus parts, and so on).
Do you mean something like a history/geography based generalist, a science/math based generalist, and then specialists on RMP/SS and literature (or a similar form)? Because theoretically that seems like it could be winning strategy considering how much NAQT favors history (not that I'm complaining or anything).
Your model is leaving out fine arts, among other things.
Actually, I should have put fine arts/rmp/ss. My mistake. I've never seen the worth Of specializing in trash, considering the generalists or anyone with decent interest in the world around them can take questions on Johnny Manziel and Radiohead.

In regards to distribution, I have never felt that way in NAQT, but maybe it's because I've had the habit of grouping history/current events/geo into one big cluster. Still, numbers don't lie, so thanks for the information.
Shravan Balaji
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East Brunswick High School '15
University of Pennsylvania '19
NHBB Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

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