JP Aggregate FAQ

Last Updated: 1/5/2017

What Is the JP Aggregate Leader List?
What Is the Best Way to Use This Information?
Do You Like Tier Lists?
Why Make an Aggregate List?
What Is Each Site’s Grading Criteria?
Why Is Card X Ranked Lower or Higher Than Card Y?
How Are the Aggregate Tiers Calculated?
When Determining a Card’s Score for the Aggregate, How Do I Normalize Scores Across Each Site?
What Influence Do You Have on the Results?
Can You Directly Control Where a Given Card Is Graded?
Why Don’t You Publish the Aggregate Scores?
Why Don’t You Publish the Aggregate Tier Breakpoints?
There Is an Error In the List!
I Found a Good List!

What Is the JP Aggregate Leader List?

It’s basically an average of the tier lists compiled by Japanese gaming sites (as of 1/5/17, this includes Game8, GameWith, AppMedia, and Altema). I run an external script that scrapes the tier data, calculates an aggregate tier list and spits out the HTML that I copy and paste into WordPress (since I’m too cheap to buy real hosting to make a fancy WordPress plugin). I then comment on changes I find intriguing and respond to reader questions.

What Is the Best Way to Use This Information?

I want to stress that this list is simply a tool. It’s not the end all be all of PAD. I really only see two scenarios for its use:

  1. You’re a PAD noob. Use this as a way to learn which cards you have that are considered the best, try to formulate some teams on your own, then take what you learned to one of the many PAD communities and try to verify your findings. In the context of your own box, tier lists mean little so just use it as a starting point. There are many people willing to help you make teams.
  2. You’re a PAD veteran. You agree and/or disagree with some rankings. Try to determine why your opinions differ and use that to hopefully learn more about the game.

Do You Like Tier Lists?

I think they’re a useful tool, but the divisiveness is unavoidable as people generally fail to distinguish between the “objective” opinions of the JP sites from what is subjectively good for them and their specific situation. Too many people take rankings personally. So, yes and no.

Why Make an Aggregate List?

In the early days of this blog, I focused on the Game8 list exclusively. It became frustrating analyzing this list because a) it was impossible to know exactly why a card showed movement and b) it was impossible to tell if a card didn’t show movement due to negligence or because it really didn’t warrant any. On top of this frustration, it was extremely time consuming to update the list manually every week.

I was ready to kill the post series altogether, but was convinced otherwise due to readers’ requests. I decided to write a script to generate the posts and in the process decided I should pull in the data from other tier lists to make an aggregate list. The idea was that working with an “average” would hopefully smooth over some of the outliers from a single list.

Of course, the JP tier lists have improved significantly over time — in timeliness, accuracy and in explaining their changes — but I feel the aggregate is still valuable if only for delivering information quickly and concisely.

What Is Each Site’s Grading Criteria?

Each site generally lists their criteria, but the most common ones are:

  • Assuming access to all cards and the ability to tailor them to the situation, can you clear the most extreme of endgame content?
  • How consistently can you clear such content?
    • How difficult is the puzzling?
  • How fast can you clear such content?

There are plenty of exceptions. Basically there are no hard and fast rules and lists sometimes break their own (like sometimes they’ll list team accessibility as a pro or con even though no card limitations are generally assumed). It’s far from a science, but I think the more reputable sites get it right more often than not.

Also keep in mind that these lists sometimes run user polls and can change rankings based on the results.

Why Is Card X Ranked Lower or Higher Than Card Y?

That’s just the way they have it graded. If you’d like to discuss the difference, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer.

One thing to keep in mind is that the difference between each tier is rather small, so it’s not as big a snub to be in a lower tier as one might think.

How Are the Aggregate Tiers Calculated?

For each JP list, each card that appears in it is assigned a score based on the tier it’s in. The scores for each card are then averaged over all sites which are then used to sort each card into the aggregate tiers.

When Determining a Card’s Score for the Aggregate, How Do I Normalize Scores Across Each Site?

The per-site scores range from 1 to 0 and are linearly proportional the number of tiers. The top tier of each list will always be a 1. Each subsequent tier will generally have a linear distribution down to 0. For example, if a list had three tiers S, A and B, the individual list scores would be something like:

Site Scoring Example #1
Tier Score
S 1.00
A 0.67
B 0.33
N/A 0.00

The major exceptions are for lists where the lowest tier is below what is covered by others anrd/or the granularities are not the same. I could just omit low-end tiers, but I want to include all scores where possible. In this case, I’ll shift the scaling for the other lists to compensate. For example, where Site 2 covers a lower tier of cards than Site 1:

Site Scoring Example #2
Site 1 Site 2
Tier Score Tier Score
S 1.00 S 1.00
A 0.75 A 0.75
B 0.50 B 0.50
N/A 0.00 C 0.25
N/A 0.00

I haven’t had to adjust for different granularities in a long time and I try to avoid it where possible. Over time, the three base sites — Game8, GameWith and AppMedia — all tended to the same granularity which helped. I’m also attempting to include more tier lists which will also decrease the need for such adjustments.

What Influence Do You Have on the Results?

I try to have as little influence as possible on the outcome, but in order to create the aggregate I unfortunately need to have at least a little bit of involvement.

As explained in the previous section, I have to adjust the per-site scores in order to create a meaningful average. I also determine the breakpoints for each tier in the aggregate. I try to be as “fair” as possible, but, of course, what one thinks is fair differs from person to person. As such, I avoid tweaking values as much as possible so at the very least it won’t appear that I’m making changes to suit my tastes.

Can You Directly Control Where a Given Card Is Graded?

No.

Well, technically yes, but there are no provisions in the script to do so and it would be a pain in the ass to do manually while maintaining the appearance of consistency and fairness. And, I’ll be honest, I could care less where a specific card is ranked. I’d say you just have to trust me, but if you really wanted to reverse engineer my algorithm and see for yourself it probably wouldn’t be too difficult.

Why Don’t You Publish the Aggregate Scores?

If I published individual scores and sorted the tiers based on them, then this would be a ranking list, not a tier list. I think the value of a tier list is that an approximate value is good enough when it comes to PAD since it’s nigh impossible to objectively determine the order between two very close cards since a wide variety of players value a wide variety of qualities. I mean, there’s already enough contention between cards in different tiers.

So far, I think this method has been working so I’ll stick with it.

Why Don’t You Publish the Aggregate Tier Breakpoints?

Since I don’t publish individual scores, there’s not much point to be honest. You’ll just have to take my word that I’m not tweaking the breakpoints in between posts (for what reason, I can’t imagine).

However, even if I did, the aggregate is just for convenience and if it really matters to you, you can follow the links to the source lists and decide for yourself.

There Is an Error in the List!

Please let me know of any errors in the comments. The script is far from perfect and errors frequently arise due to the lists constantly changing their formats. Thank you!

I Found a Good List!

I’m always looking for a good list to add to the aggregate. Please let me know of any in the comments. The basic requirement is that is has to be updated at least once a month and that the information can be retrieved and parsed via curl request.

As of 1/5/2017, I’m looking into KamiGame. I’m also looking for a replacement for Pad-Plus’s popular leader list.

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