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Thread: #18: A Practical Guide to Open Wolfing (by Mantichora)

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    #18: A Practical Guide to Open Wolfing (by Mantichora)

    Article #18: A Practical Guide to Open Wolfing
    Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lynch Villagers
    - written by Mantichora

    Mafia is a team game: the key to winning is utilizing all members of your faction. Mafia is a social game: the key to winning is exploitation. Mafia is a hidden information game: the key to winning is using the flow of information. These three ends may be achieved through the singular conceptual means of control. Control your allies, control your enemies, and control the dissemination of information.

    A game of mafia is a tug-of-war. You stand on one side, leader of the Mafia, attempting to take down the Town. You must stop the Town from banding together because they can and will overpower you if given half a chance. While your enemies have you greatly outnumbered, you begin with an informational advantage.


    Asserting Control Over the Mafia

    You open your role PM.

    Mafia Goon”.

    Your eyes drift down to your partners. The resident D1 lynch; the guy who, yesterday, was unbanned after “unspecified CoC violations”; and someone with 3 total posts named “SuccDragon” who does not even have a profile picture. In that moment you consider just subbing out. This cannot be worth it. Glancing at your inbox you cringe as you see a series of PMs from a Flake Moderator inquiring about your recent string of substitutions. You remember that you are on your final warning. Do you risk it? Is a three months signup ban worth dodging this trainwreck?

    To take your mind off things you open up Thingyman’s The Art of Power Wolfing when SuccDragon slides into your DMs. “Where are you?” they inquire. You are decided. No one could convince you to play this game.

    You begin writing a detailed private message to the host about how your dog is on fire and you will, although it breaks your heart, have to be replaced. Half done, you drop your phone into the workplace toilet for the fourth time that week when it navigates itself to something you have never seen before: Mantichora’s Practical Guide to Open Wolfing. Perhaps that living legend of a mafia player could salvage this game for you? You ask yourself, “What would Mantichora do?”


    The number one most important thing you should do when you rand mafia is to create a Mafia Discord group, or some other form of instant-messaging. The instantaneous communication, combined with the more intimate setting of an IM client is essential to turning a random of assortment of players into a Wolfpack. Some game hosts will create a Mafia Chat for your team to use. Do not use it. You want your chat to be someplace that belongs to you and your team. You want to be able to edit it freely and have complete control to customize it depending on your needs at the time. If the host tells you not to do that, whine at them until they give you administrator powers of the chat. Pictured below is a screenshot of a good mafia chat:

    Once all members of your team have joined the chat, just start talking to each other. Get to know them because you are stuck with them for the coming days, weeks, or months. Talking it out with your team serves two purposes. First, it allows you to measure up your partners. How skilled are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How long have they been playing? Etcetera. Secondly, it allows you and the team to bond. Time and time again, the best performing packs are the ones who consist of people who actually like each other. Try and find that common ground and not only will you maximize your odds of winning, but you will also have a great time doing it. Here is a quick and dirty list of things to start doing.
    1. Ask your partners who they know in this game. Who are they friends with? Who do they dislike? What players do they consider good or threats? What players do they consider weak or assets? By knowing all of this going into the game it will allow you to predict how your partners will interact with other players before the game even starts.
    2. Add a music bot to the chat. One of the best ways to get to know someone is to see what kind of music they listen to. Some of the best times you can have in a wolf chat is you and your partners sitting in a voice chat, listening to some chill music, and just talking about anything. Raise team morale, have a fun time, and maybe find some new music to listen to.
    3. Make sure everyone is on the same page as far as roles go. Ideally, everyone knows and understands what roles each other member of the team has, and know their order of importance. If someone has a killing role, for example, they become a VIP that must be protected. If everyone is on the same page coordination becomes easier and there will be fewer mixups down the line.
    4. Be as inclusive as possible. Whether someone is considered a Titan or a fish, new player or a veteran, it does not matter. Talk to everyone, get everyone talking, and make sure everyone is as included as possible. Good ideas can come from anyone, and no one wants to feel ignored.
    5. Have fun. Win or lose, you are playing a game and you are here to have a good time. If everyone is having a good time, it means you are less likely to have a mishap in the private chat. Raging occuring in chat at your teammates can be a game losing hit to morale. In a similar way, never talk about concession. Keep the fire hot until the game ends. Tell yourself, "We might be losing badly, we have almost no chance of winning, but if we somehow pull out a win here we will become legends." Just ask Thingyman about the time he won 1vs16 as mafia.


    The first most important rule of wolfing is to never give in, never surrender, and to put the team's needs above your own survival.

    Asserting Control Over Town and the Information Flow

    Quote Originally Posted by Mafia Host Role PM
    You win when you overpower the town and eliminate any other evil faction(s) in the game.
    Your win condition is succinctly put when considered in the context of a two faction game. You win when you overpower the town. The key word here is "overpower". Your aim is to not only eliminate the town, but to take away what it wants. You are supposed to take what the town has and use it against itself in order to defeat it. You must guide the town down a path of self-destruction.

    Post more.

    This entire section can be summarized simply by the two words, "post more". Post about anything. Post about everything. It does not matter whatsoever what you are posting about. Take the average of post counts of the top four posters and add ten. That is how many posts you should have at the end of the day. Every post you make is a post that is not made by a member of the town. By posting anything whatsoever you are disrupting the natural discourse of the town. Anything not posted by a townsperson is a post that is not furthering the town's win condition. Just keep posting, and posting, and posting until the day ends. Then wake up the next day and do it again. Keep doing it every day until you die.

    Post in the thread, post in your private chat, post in any neighbor chats or the like you might have. Just keep talking about anything and everything.

    It is a common misconception that anything put into a game thread, by nature of being posted into the game, gives insight into the game thereby furthering the town's win condition. This is false. The town only has one forum of discourse available in a normal game. You, as mafia, filling that forum with your own voice are furthering the win condition by overpowering the town's voice.

    You might be sitting there saying, "it isn't that easy, I don't know how to post. I don't know what to say, and I always stumble over my words." Part of the beauty of forum mafia is the impersonal nature of the game. You are on the internet, and on the internet you do not have to be yourself.
    1. Fake content isn't. You cannot fake content, because to be "content" it has to be something real and tangible from the thread. Express your real thoughts wherever possible, and try not to overthink things. If you have nothing to say, find something to say. Open up an ISO selected at random. Begin skimming it, looking for posts that stand out to you. When you have something ask yourself, "What does this post make me feel? Why does it make me feel that?" You now have something to say.
    2. Constantly ask questions. "Why do you have that read?" "What made you change your mind?" "Why are you voting who you are?" These types of questions are extremely easy to ask as either alignment. Follow up every single question with a response, that way you are showing that you are actually thinking about the posts you are making. People find this to look townie.
    3. The biggest piece of information a town can obtain is the death of a mafia. Do your best to keep your partners alive whenever possible. If saving your partner is impossible, control the way they go down. Make sure town gets as little information as possible or make catching your partner a painful lose-lose situation. Claiming a PR before you die is good to do, for example. If you can out the town counterpart on your way down, it means your death was not for nothing.
    4. Be confident. People love confidence, and it makes them want to listen to you. State things with conviction. This goes hand-in-hand with never showing fear. Confident, fearless people have nothing to hide. Just be sure not to come off as arrogant. If you can walk this balance, you will be better equipped to influence people.
    5. Have fun. Post funny pictures, make jokes, be friendly. This is a game, and everyone in the game is here to have fun. If you act like a fun, likable person, people might think twice about killing you. No reason to make unnecessary enemies. In this way, if you have no response to something or someone, just hit them with a funny gif. Memes disarm people in a weird, roundabout way. If you frustrate someone with comedy, when the rage dies down, they chuckle and laugh with you. Memes are the bread and butter of an open wolf.



    One of the most crucial decisions you will have to make in a close game as mafia is choosing whether or not to bus. Never let fear dictate your choices. In general, busing is a highly polarized strategy. It is often said that you should never bus. This is an overgeneralization. You should try your absolute hardest to avoid busing whenever possible. There will always be times where a slot is unsalvageable and will go down no matter what. What matters most is limiting how much town is getting from this dying mafia.

    Make sure your partner gives as little spew as possible. Talk to your partner, make them aware of the dangers. Do not tell them to go into "anti-spew". Anti-spew is useless. In general, it is possible to identify where about a player goes into anti-spew, allowing for some reads to be made, even if nothing is given after a point. What you should do is drown out the real spew with even more spew.

    Make yourself not partners with as many players as possible, whether they are with you or not. Do not do it all at once, though. Ramp it up. Do not ignore anyone. Make posts at everyone, and talk to those players about things. Ask them about reads, express doubts, shift reads. If you throw spew at every player in the game, people will read your ISO and come away with nothing. This is a high risk strategy, but it can help avoid giving out unnecessary information.

    As the title of this article implies, you are the most likely player to get bused on your team. Remember your win condition. You are here to overpower the town. You do not care about survival. Keep posting, and fighting, and doing anything and everything to turn the town against itself till the moment you die. Be confident. Even if you do not survive, have faith that your team will pull through. Leave with them a legacy, much like a townsperson would post in thread.

    Then go into DVC and continue to troll the dead villagers as relentlessly as possible, and cheer your team on in spirit.




    Summary
    Losing sucks. Losing when you could have done better sucks worse. It is of the utmost importance that you always keep track of your win condition. With you and your team controlling the thread to the best of your abilities, you should be able to subjugate the town and overpower it. Your aim should always be to dominate the town, never allowing them a reprieve.

    I always say, "the madder DVC is at the game, the better you're playing". It is of no importance at all to fool players who are not in the game. If the people in the thread cannot lynch you, then no one can lynch you. Everyone in dead or spectator chat saying you are an obvious wolf or any such variation can pound sand. It is your job to strive towards controlling the game, no matter how subtly or overtly you end up playing it.

    Cliffs:
    1. Post more. Clog up that game thread. Get people complaining about how it is impossible to read everything. The madder they get, the easier the game is.
    2. Respect your fellow mafia. They are your team, the people you are supposed to count on. No matter how bad they are, and no matter how awful their plays are, try to be supportive. You are all in it together and infighting only works against you.
    3. Never give up. In almost any non-trivial gamestate there is buried deep down a line to winning. "Unwinnable" gets thrown around a lot. People call games unwinnable or impossible to make them feel better about losing. You are better than that. Beat the odds or die trying.
    4. The informational advantage your team has at the beginning of the game is your single greatest tool to winning. You already know the alignments of your team, unlike the town. You know who you can trust, unlike the town. Use that information. Insert yourself into the town circle, or batter your head against it until they have to let you in. When you are making hundreds of posts each day phase, making posts that appear to be solving and appear to be forwarding the game, something is bound to give. If they give you any ground at all, even an inch, take it and throw it in the bank. You are going to need it when it comes down to lynching a townie or a partner.
    5. Have fun. Relax. Mafia is a fun game. Post some funny pictures of cats. Just talk to people, make some friends, get to know people. People can sense fear or discomfort. Forget for a second that you are playing a game of mafia, that you are lying to all these people, and just live a bit. It will be worth it.

    Finally, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Go take a walk. Go eat an apple. Get some water. Hydration is key, it keeps your brain working. Listen to some music. Watch a TV show. Do anything but play mafia. Get yourself into a good state of mind so you can come back and completely destroy the town.

    Never, ever forget to meme.
    Last edited by GeneralHankerchief; January 14th, 2019 at 02:49 PM.
    Lenny - Today at 10:08 AM
    Atpg sometimes the paragraphs you write are pretty good


    Looking to waste an afternoon? Vamos Cartagena - Football Manager 2018 AAR (complete!)
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    ༼ つ ;-; ༽つ give smith another day mhsmith0's Avatar Game Manager
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    Then go into DVC and continue to troll the dead villagers as relentlessly as possible, and cheer your team on in spirit.
    The one part of this article I'm good at
    Life is simply unfair... don't you think?
    http://wiki.mafiascum.net/index.php?title=mhsmith0

    BATMAN: Only jugg was the only one we didn’t scum read at least not me

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    Wants It More LanMisa's Avatar
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    Thanks for this great article, Mantichora! Now I really want to wolf with you in a game where I actually can play to my fullest!

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    Prison Mike Empoof's Avatar
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    Mantichora is one of the single best and most enjoyable wolf partners I've had the pleasure of playing with.

    Excellent work on the article. Flavorful, elegant, succinct, organized, and practical.

    Would recommend this to any aspiring howlers.

    Voxx GOAT

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    ༼ つ ;-; ༽つ give smith another day mhsmith0's Avatar Game Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by succdragon (#5)
    wtf
    Life is simply unfair... don't you think?
    http://wiki.mafiascum.net/index.php?title=mhsmith0

    BATMAN: Only jugg was the only one we didn’t scum read at least not me

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    Wants It More annulus's Avatar
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    inspiring article. makes me want to play wolf now

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhsmith0 (#2)
    Then go into DVC and continue to troll the dead villagers as relentlessly as possible, and cheer your team on in spirit.
    The one part of this article I'm good at
    You wish you were good at this smith.

    Good article btw which smith just drew to my attention. I think that, when playing Mafia, people often forget just how much they can actually get away with.

    In particular, I like the stuff here about bussing. When to bus and when not to bus is the toughest strategic choice a Mafia has to make. The criteria I use is simply "Would town me vote on this case? Does it actually have a good argument behind it? Is that argument better than the arguments on other players in the game?" It's not a perfect way to make the decision as it can lead to the occasional unnecessary bus but there ya go.

    I loved the tips for how to manage a scumchat, Mafia is a game of psychology after all and managing your teammates is just as important as managing the town.

    Overall I'm not much of a powerwolf. My scum strategy tends to be attempting to replicate my town game as much as possible. It's largely about genuinely trying to analyse and reasonably discuss the arguments of other players and what I think of them. I only really vote for people when I think there's a good argument for voting for them. But powerwolfing, when done well, is a highly effective strategy and I'd recommend it to anyone who has the time to pull it off properly.

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    Wants It More El-ahrairah's Avatar
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    Great article! I've never tried power-wolfing/open-wolfing before. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm going to put this article to use the next time I rand wolf.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralHankerchief (#1)
    [*]Just be sure not to come off as arrogant.
    IMO, this applies equally to Villagers.
    "All the world will be your enemy, Prince With A Thousand Enemies"

    Jackofhearts2005: El analyses every single Achro post and gives the whole thing a massive scumread. Achro replies with one sentence and a frowny face. This game is over.

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    Mantichora's Avatar Game Manager
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    Thanks for the good feedback my dudes. People coming off this article thinking "I want to rand wolf" is about the most I could hope for.

    sjg one very common mantra i used to hear is "you look less scummy than you think", and its totally correct. You can literally get away with murder. 100% right.

    El as far as the arrogance tip goes, its actually pretty funny: basically everything in the article applies to town play as well. Posting lots, projecting confidence, building a villa core, etc. The skill set crossover between mafia and town is a lot more than people expect.

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    Soul Reader sjg11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantichora (#10)

    El as far as the arrogance tip goes, its actually pretty funny: basically everything in the article applies to town play as well. Posting lots, projecting confidence, building a villa core, etc. The skill set crossover between mafia and town is a lot more than people expect.
    I agree with this... to a point. The difference is, obviously, as town you need to actually put townies in your villa core. As scum you just need to put people in who you can justify as being villas. Which is a small, subtle and fundamentally important difference.

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    Mantichora's Avatar Game Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjg11 (#11)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mantichora (#10)

    El as far as the arrogance tip goes, its actually pretty funny: basically everything in the article applies to town play as well. Posting lots, projecting confidence, building a villa core, etc. The skill set crossover between mafia and town is a lot more than people expect.
    I agree with this... to a point. The difference is, obviously, as town you need to actually put townies in your villa core. As scum you just need to put people in who you can justify as being villas. Which is a small, subtle and fundamentally important difference.
    Of course, they have different winconditions after all

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjg11 (#8)
    ...

    In particular, I like the stuff here about bussing. When to bus and when not to bus is the toughest strategic choice a Mafia has to make. The criteria I use is simply "Would town me vote on this case? Does it actually have a good argument behind it? Is that argument better than the arguments on other players in the game?"
    ...

    (and then I try to bus but smith pulls our hydra account vote onto yet another achievable mislynch wagon en route to the sweep)

    Life is simply unfair... don't you think?
    http://wiki.mafiascum.net/index.php?title=mhsmith0

    BATMAN: Only jugg was the only one we didn’t scum read at least not me

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    Wants It More RadiantCowbells's Avatar
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    this is probably the best guide to wolfing that i've ever seen

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    Wants It More RadiantCowbells's Avatar
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    it does a fantastic job of capturing not the technicalities of trying to be a literally god wolf but at the mundanities that turn a terrible or mediocre wolf player into a pretty good wolf player

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadiantCowbells (#15)
    it does a fantastic job of capturing not the technicalities of trying to be a literally god wolf but at the mundanities that turn a terrible or mediocre wolf player into a pretty good wolf player
    welcome back kitty
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    I thought succdragon was a made-up name for the article xD

    Great article ~ I'll most certainly need this since the other two times that I was wolf I had both a low post count and great partners.

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    This article was perfectly timed. Helped me embrace straight up driving the mislynch through.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mhsmith0 (#2)
    Then go into DVC and continue to troll the dead villagers as relentlessly as possible, and cheer your team on in spirit.
    The one part of this article I'm good at
    are you good enough to make a villager this mad though?

    Quote Originally Posted by mhsmith0 (#23779)
    @wolfy
    fwiw
    lolcatting when you're an outed wolf and at least you can get some joy out of it is socially acceptable
    lolcatting when you're a wolf who's at or very near endgame/mech lock win in VERY small doses is socially acceptable
    dragging your balls over the thread is obnoxious and not socially acceptable, unless you're the sort of person who's just consistently trash as wolf and you're celebrating because you feel like you'll never do it again
    does that help?
    :P

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    Is there a guide to lolcatting

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    Mantichora's Avatar Game Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubtingThomas (#20)
    Is there a guide to lolcatting
    The section of the guide that refers to what to do while going down somewhat applies to lolcatting. When you are completely outed and believed to be, beyond a shadow of a doubt, mafia, you have two options: first, stop posting all together. Boring option. Second, lolcat. When lolcatting you have two options. You either want to debase the discussion in thread, or you want to take as much attention as possible. To achieve the first option, you want to successfully bait people into engaging you, and get them to discuss useless stuff. You don't want to be too overt, cause otherwise people are just going to block you and no one will see your memes. Get people talking to you to waste time.

    The second involves just being funny. Post funny memes, make funny jokes and just post a bunch. Be funny. Do whatever you want, but get people to play along.

    The distinction between the two options is somewhat subtle. Both involve commanding attention and trying to take the village away from actually solving the game. The former involves trying to turn the discussion towards counterproductive ends (such as aidsing up the thread after being outed), while the latter is wasting time by getting people into that joke-y/RVS-y mood. Make the sub-game of talking to an outed wolf more enjoyable than the game itself. To that end, I believe it is better to strive towards the latter. Taking enjoyment out of the game just isn't fun, and fun is important.

    tl;dr just be funny LUL

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    GOAT Tier DoubtingThomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantichora (#21)
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubtingThomas (#20)
    Is there a guide to lolcatting
    The section of the guide that refers to what to do while going down somewhat applies to lolcatting. When you are completely outed and believed to be, beyond a shadow of a doubt, mafia, you have two options: first, stop posting all together. Boring option. Second, lolcat. When lolcatting you have two options. You either want to debase the discussion in thread, or you want to take as much attention as possible. To achieve the first option, you want to successfully bait people into engaging you, and get them to discuss useless stuff. You don't want to be too overt, cause otherwise people are just going to block you and no one will see your memes. Get people talking to you to waste time.

    The second involves just being funny. Post funny memes, make funny jokes and just post a bunch. Be funny. Do whatever you want, but get people to play along.

    The distinction between the two options is somewhat subtle. Both involve commanding attention and trying to take the village away from actually solving the game. The former involves trying to turn the discussion towards counterproductive ends (such as aidsing up the thread after being outed), while the latter is wasting time by getting people into that joke-y/RVS-y mood. Make the sub-game of talking to an outed wolf more enjoyable than the game itself. To that end, I believe it is better to strive towards the latter. Taking enjoyment out of the game just isn't fun, and fun is important.

    tl;dr just be funny LUL
    what if you want to lolcat slightly when you are not 100% confirmed outted?

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    Mantichora's Avatar Game Manager
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    That more falls into styling on the village than anything else. Be subtle, don't get caught, and make sure you have plausible deniability.

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    Open wolfing is for certain types of personalities, it's fun and entertaining to see it in others, but it requires a certain level of madness to implement it. Big cojones, major confidence and a few sprinkles of charisma to do it while others are watching with their mouths open.

    I salute those who are willing and capable. I want an article on how to achieve those accurate tonal meme reads

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perplexity (#24)
    I want an article on how to achieve those accurate tonal meme reads
    Step 1:

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    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,723
    Timezone
    UTC-07:00
    Community
    PlayDiplomacy, MafiaScum
    Pronouns
    he/him/his/his/himself
    Gender
    @wolfy I'm good enough to relentlessly troll and $#@!post in DVC WITHOUT making people angry, in fact good enough to make dead villagers at least think about switching sides and rooting for the wolves!
    Life is simply unfair... don't you think?
    http://wiki.mafiascum.net/index.php?title=mhsmith0

    BATMAN: Only jugg was the only one we didn’t scum read at least not me

  27. ISO #27
    Quote Originally Posted by mhsmith0 (#26)
    @wolfy I'm good enough to relentlessly troll and $#@!post in DVC WITHOUT making people angry, in fact good enough to make dead villagers at least think about switching sides and rooting for the wolves!
    Thing I learned from ToS: Making dead villagers root for the wolves is a lot easier for living villagers to do than for dead wolves to do
    Quote Originally Posted by Chemist1422 (#6)
    mfw you accidentally sell your soul for a modpeek
    Quote Originally Posted by Lads (#305)
    God is real, and she is haunting my dreams tonight.

  28. ISO #28
    ༼ つ ;-; ༽つ give smith another day mhsmith0's Avatar Game Manager
    Join Date
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    UTC-07:00
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemist1422 (#27)
    Quote Originally Posted by mhsmith0 (#26)
    @wolfy I'm good enough to relentlessly troll and $#@!post in DVC WITHOUT making people angry, in fact good enough to make dead villagers at least think about switching sides and rooting for the wolves!
    Thing I learned from ToS: Making dead villagers root for the wolves is a lot easier for living villagers to do than for dead wolves to do
    #SlyduckMeme
    Last edited by mhsmith0; January 23rd, 2019 at 11:40 AM.
    Life is simply unfair... don't you think?
    http://wiki.mafiascum.net/index.php?title=mhsmith0

    BATMAN: Only jugg was the only one we didn’t scum read at least not me

  29. ISO #29
    I have been applying concepts from this article and I can see improvements in my own wolf play. Thank you for the article that you shared with me in color wheel! Since reading it I can see a huge difference in how I play as wolf. This article is for any player, no matter how long you've been playing or how good you are. Thank you for writing

  30. ISO #30
    GOAT Tier Phighter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sixers Territory
    Posts
    51,903
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    XHF, MU
    AKA
    Caffrey
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    "Everyone in dead or spectator chat saying you are an obvious wolf or any such variation can pound sand"

    - Amen!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ampharos (#233)
    So here's the deal, Champ.

    1. Phighter's $#@!ing with you.

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Arms Dealer

The Arms Dealer may each night target someone and turn them into a vigilante for the night, making the target kill whoever they use their night action on, if they have one. If the Arms Dealer targets a vigilante, the vigilante will die.