Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Genius: Black Garnet Player Rankings

I'm back again to do the next in my new series where I rank all things related to The Genius! If you've somehow stumbled across this post without knowing what The Genius is or without seeing every episode of the show through the end of Season 3, don't read the rest of this post, as I will be spoiling a bunch of stuff from the season, as well as from the two previous seasons. If you've never seen the show, or haven't even heard of it, do yourself a huge favor and watch the first episode, which I've embedded below. You won't regret it.

I've already done rankings of the players and Main Matches for Season 1: Rules of the Game & Season 2: Rule Breaker, so if you want to check that out, you can go to the top of the page and click on "The Genius" tab, where you'll find all of my Genius-related content.

Now, time for the same disclaimer I gave last time. My rankings will be explained for each, but the list is a mixture of how good of a player I think they are (in this season) and how much I personally like them. Given that I'm not spoiling anything past Season 3, I'll ask that no one comment any spoilers past season 3 as well, for anyone who has not seen the entire run of the show. So just to reiterate: This list is based on Season 3 only. If any of these players return for subsequent seasons, that's not factored in to this list. OK, no more rambling. Let's just jump into the list!

13) Yongsuk (Lawyer Kang)

I think this might be the only instance of me disliking a Genius player immediately when they're introduced. And it just got worse throughout the season. He immediately came off as abrasive to me. I definitely agreed with Jongbum's initial assessment that he would be similar to Gura, but I also thought he would lean more toward S2 Hweejong. And we basically got both of those. He wasn't quite as aggressive in his gameplay, but he was certainly very abrasive. The worst offense for me was when he went to the death match in episode 2 and threatened everyone to work with him. I admire that he wanted to play the game and play it hard, but overly aggressive players always rub me the wrong way on The Genius. They tend to make the game less fun, and I was rooting for Yongsuk's elimination every single episode because of that. I was really glad to see him out early, and I think his departure was really great for the season overall. 

12) Juri

Basically, I have little to no opinion on Juri. She was there... and then she wasn't. She did have some presence in the first episode, and she did show some solid gameplay in episode 1. I don't think that she should've openly announced "hey I just want to be safe in the middle," but that's certainly exactly where you should want to be. Especially in the first few episodes. She just ran into a lot of bad luck. The decision to switch over to the large alliance to gain safety was definitely a smart one, but she ended up accidentally offending the person who got stuck going to the death match. Overall, although she was the first eliminated, she had a fairly decent showing in the first episode. That being said, when surveying the first eliminees, Juri is probably the weakest. 

11) Sujin

There's a small contingent of Genius fans who seem to really like Sujin... but I just don't see the appeal. For me, she was extremely forgettable. Despite having seemingly negative opinions on Dongmin pre-season, she seemed to gravitate toward him and work with him almost immediately, and was therefore completely overshadowed by him. I've mentioned how unfortunate it is that The Genius seems to cast women who aren't interesting personalities for TV or aren't good strategists (or both). Sujin seemed to be alright at strategy, but she was constantly overshadowed by Dongmin and therefore wasn't ever a focal point for strategy or entertainment. And on top of that, her mistake in the death match that eliminated her is possibly one of the worst moves in the show. Sure, she accidentally bet on the wrong side of the card, but she clearly wasn't paying enough attention to what she was doing and that's just dumb when you're in a death match. Overall, she was really uninteresting for me and I was rooting for her to go from rather early on. 

10) Hweejong

Oh, Hweejong. If you've seen my post ranking the season 2 cast, you'll know that I wasn't a fan of Hweejong, basically for the same reasons I don't like Lawyer Kang (Yongsuk). He was absolutely fantastically hilarious to watch episode 1, but I was very glad to see that he flamed out because of his overly domineering, aggressive gameplay. This season, I thought that Hweejong was much improved from season 2, but he still wasn't anywhere near my favorite. He certainly toned down his gameplay, which I really enjoyed, but I still didn't find him very likable. He tried to suppress his antagonistic gameplay, but ended up coming off as a weak player in the process. Overall, he wasn't a personality that I gravitated toward, and I've never found him to be a strong player.

9) Kyunghoon

My opinion on Kyunghoon was extremely up and down during the two episodes he was there for. I loved his betrayal in episode 1-- I loved that the editing didn't really allude to it beforehand and just surprised us with it when it happened. However, I got curious at one point and ended up looking him up and learning about some of his personal life outside of the game and I was extremely put out. If you're not aware, he allegedly sexually harassed a woman while drunk. So I did a bit of a 180 on him when I learned that about him. That being said, we're mostly talking about him as a player and not as a person. And this season, we really didn't get to see too much of him as a player. He had that really great play in the first episode but he gained a lot of enemies and therefore it was really easy for everyone else to distrust him in the next episode.

8) Junghoon

It's almost impressive how much Junghoon flew under the radar as a player. In the very first episode, he was introduced as someone who had beef with Dongmin, which I thought would be a really compelling storyline to follow... and then it never came up again. He also seems to be one of the more famous people on the cast, as the players all recognize him upon arrival & since he's friends with Dongmin. However, he just doesn't seem to have a very big presence on the screen. This is somewhat contrasted by some fairly decent gameplay from him. He certainly isn't an amazing player by any means... nor is he really necessarily a good player, but he's certainly not bad. He has a few slip-ups (being too obvious with his criminal draw in Episode 2-- way to go, Jungmoon), but he does have a good showing in double sided poker. Overall, he falls somewhere in the middle of this cast because he just doesn't stand out very much. I think that his placement a bit of a testament to my general ambivalence toward several members of this cast-- there are a few I really don't like, several that I really love, and a lot of people somewhere in between.

7) Yeonjoo

One thing that I really enjoyed about this season was that finally we got some women who were interesting players to watch. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that they were very good at the games. And that's certainly the case for Yeonjoo. Overall, I liked her. I thought that she had a fun personality, and was therefore entertaining to watch. But there were so many times that she did well or moved on to the next round solely because of the people she was working with rather than of her own volition. The moment that specifically stands out to me is the Swords & Shields game, where she completely doesn't understand the bluffing aspect, which was essential to succeeding in the game. Her performance in monorail was also a definite weak point, because Dongmin essentially bluffed his way into a win and Yeonjoo completely fell for it. If she'd made the right move there, she could've eliminated Dongmin and changed the entire course of the season. But for some reason, she just wasn't capable of figuring out the right move to make in that moment. 

Moving away from her downfalls in gameplay, however, she did do a good job of aligning with the right people at the right time, which really helped to propel her further in the game. The Constellation Game really stands out to me, because she and Ayoung were between alliances at the beginning. Dongmin wanted them on his side, and Youhyun and Jongbum tried to get them on their side. Yeonjoo ended up picking the right side, and despite completely turning her back on Dongmin she managed to turn it back around in the next episode and work with him again... despite messing up his plans a bit. Overall, she'd definitely never be a real contender to win a season of The Genius, but she's fun to watch and she's a good player in terms of alliances. 

6) Jongbum

Jongbum is another player who edit-wise and personality-wise flies under the radar, but I think that overall, he's a fairly strong player. I think it's unfortunate for Jongbum that he was on a season with a few huge standout personalities who stole a large chunk of the screentime each episode. He has one of the quieter personalities. He comes off as fairly likable, but it's along the lines of people like Kyungran-- he doesn't steal the spotlight, but always seems like an important presence when he's around. While I see Youhyun as the head of the non-Dongmin alliance, I definitely see Jongbum as his right-hand man. He's definitely one of the strongest players strategically, and he and Youhyun put up a really great fight against the dominance of the Hyunmin/Dongmin alliance. Unfortunately, the two of them were just up against (arguably) the two best players in the history of the show, so they didn't stand too much of a chance. That being said, I do think that he's a fairly solid player and that if you dropped him into seasons 1 or 2, he might shine a little bit more. 

5) Ayoung

While I will forever stand by my assertion that Kyungran is the best (and my personal favorite) female Genius player of all-time, I think that Ayoung is probably the most entertaining female player in the history of the show. However, in the first episode, I was actually kinda rooting against her in favor of Juri. In the show's intro, they displayed each player's different strengths ("intelligences") and I remembered noticing that Ayoung was, with everything averaged out, seemingly the weakest based on just that alone. So, I predicted that she would be the first eliminated, and was rooting for that to happen just to prove myself right. However, after watching the subsequent episodes, I'm so glad that she wasn't the first boot because she brought a ton of entertainment to the season... if only in the form of being constantly yelled at by Dongmin. 

That being said, I definitely wouldn't label her as one of the more strategic players. When we got down to the final six, I think that she and Yeonjoo definitely stood out as the weakest players. Like I mentioned when discussing Yeonjoo, the strongest aspects to their gameplay were definitely their alliances. They did a good job of choosing their allies and moving between groups of people while still maintaining relationships on the other side. But what I really enjoy about Ayoung is her personality. Not only is she extremely entertaining, but I also think that she has the most out-there personality of any female Genius player. She's funny, she's bold, and she's loud. And her constant clumsiness is so unintentionally hilarious but I love every single moment of it. 

4) Yeonseung

In my opinion, Yeonseung is one of the most likable people who's ever played The Genius. This is the first season where they had open auditions for non-celebrities and I feel like Yeonseung is the epitome of the average smart person trying to make their way on this show. He doesn't have a huge personality, but he immediately comes off as smart, strategic, and just an overall good guy. He's not a huge presence at the beginning of the season, but as the season goes on, he starts to play a major role in both the storyline and the gameplay. By the end of the season, I think it would be really hard to dislike him, because he's just such a loyal, trustworthy, likable guy who's also a strong player. 

Also, I just want to mention this-- I'm so glad he got a haircut mid-season. I didn't realize how silly I thought his hair looked until he finally got a haircut. But disregarding that, I feel like Yeonseung just had a really great grasp on the game. He wasn't this amazing powerhouse player, but he had a solid understanding of how things worked and was one of the people who was able to move amongst groups fairly fluidly and therefore he didn't really make any enemies and was mostly able to stay out of the line of fire. He found this really great middle point where he certainly wasn't the weakest, and he also wasn't out in front leading the charge, so he was able to make a deep run into the game while some of the players who were out in front fell before him. 

3) Youhyun

Right off the bat, I want to mention that his name is, in fact, spelled Youhyun and not Yoohyun as BumGod's subtitles claim. He uses Youhyun on all of his social media (or Dennis in the English-speaking world, but it feels weird to call him Dennis on here when using everyone else's Korean names). Anyway, I have to admit, I have a bit of a bias toward Youhyun, because I've loved his non-Genius content. He's friends with an American YouTuber who lives in Korea, and he's appeared on a few of her videos... and he's an absolute delight. He also did an interview with Geniuscast that I really enjoyed as well. Don't get me wrong, I also loved him on the show (I'll get to that in a minute) but I really came to appreciate him even more in the other stuff I've seen him in. He has this really sarcastic, snarky sense of humor, and that's my absolute favorite. He's also has that "I hate people" type of personality, which is another thing that I absolutely love, which makes Youhyun a person that I really connect with personality-wise.

And then we get to his gameplay. I think he really suffers because of the fact that he's on a season with Hyunmin and Dongmin who are absolutely dominant players. He's definitely the best strategic player apart from the two of them, and I really wish we could see him play a season without the two of them on it. He's already a really strong player, so I think that he would shine even more if he could get out of the shadow of the two people who I consider to be the best players in the history of the show. I really like his rather cut-throat approach to most of these games. As much as I hated seeing Hyunmin and Dongmin get iced out in the Constellation game, I did think that it was a really great move on Youhyun's part to unite everyone together for an assured win. And in Fruit Stand, he was the one who was willing to change fruits to get in the way of the other alliance, which was a really great move. Youhyun was constantly willing to play well and play strategically and I really enjoyed that from him. He offered the strongest resistance to the Hyunmin/Dongmin show and that was something that was really compelling to watch. 

2) Dongmin

First, I just want to briefly remind everyone that the picture above depicts Dongmin in the first episode calling Hyunmin an idiot who only knows how to study textbooks. Which is absolutely hilarious after you've seen them form the best alliance in the history of the show and completely dominate the rest of the season. That being said, I absolutely love Dongmin. I think that he's an absolutely elite player, a fantastic personality, and I'd venture to say that he's the best Genius player of all time. The only reason he's not number one on this list is because his alliance partner is also an absolutely elite player... but happens to be my personal favorite Genius player of all time. 

Dongmin absolutely dominates this season, stealing so much of the screentime, as well as dominating the games. He's so much fun to watch, just like Sangmin was in the first two seasons. I know that Dongmin rubs some people the wrong way, and I'm definitely put off by some of the things he's said about women outside of the show, but on The Genius, he shines. The first time I watched the season, I didn't think too much of him as a strategic player for the first few episodes. He seemed to have a rather overbearing style of gameplay, constantly trying to be the leader in whatever situation he was in. I didn't necessarily dislike him, but I'd immediately gravitated toward people like Youhyun and Hyunmin who seemed to be driving the strategic gameplay and who were usually working against Dongmin. 

However, as he began to align himself with Hyunmin, my mind quickly began to change and I began to see him in a completely different light. I mean, his heightened sense of touch is phenomenal, and it's hilarious to watch him try to explain it to everyone else. He's also phenomenal at convincing people to be on his side, which is probably one of his strongest points. He may not always be the one to come up with the best strategic plan, but he's always really great at making a plan come together. And on top of all of his really strong gameplay, he's just such a fun character. I'm convinced that Dongmin is the most gif-able human on the planet because he's constantly reacting in really over-the-top ways and making the most hilarious faces. And it's hard to not enjoy his good luck charm, AKA excitedly yelling at his chingu every time she enters the room. I honestly can't say enough great things about Dongmin.

1) Hyunmin

Oh, Hyunmin (I love that play on his name way too much). As alluded to in my discussion about Dongmin, Hyunmin is my favorite Genius player of all-time. I've mentioned this a few times throughout these posts, but it bears repeating: I absolutely love the big personalities like Sangmin and Dongmin. I think they're so much fun to watch, on top of their great gameplay. However, when it comes to my absolute favorites and to the people that I actually root for, I tend to gravitate toward people that lean toward strategy but have slightly more understated personalities, like Hyunmin and Jinho. Both of them are still great characters and are really fun to watch, but they don't explode onto the screen quite like Dongmin and Sangmin. 

Hyunmin is just an absolute stand-out for me. I'd have to go back through to be sure, but I'd probably say that his gameplay in the Jury Game is the best Main Match gameplay that any person has shown across all four seasons. He played that absolutely masterfully. His gameplay in Chain Auction was also absolutely phenomenal-- right up there with his gameplay in the Jury Game. He consistently proves himself as a force to be reckoned with in every single game he plays. The only real blunder he had here was the Constellation Game, which wasn't even really his fault. He came up with the optimal strategy, but Dongmin refused to listen to him and the two of them were iced out in the process.

In fact, I would say that Hyunmin has exactly one single flaw in his game: Dongmin. That's it. Dongmin, in my opinion, is his sole weakness. For whatever reason, despite his absolutely fantastic gameplay, Hyunmin just couldn't overcome Dongmin. Not only that, but any time that he blundered something, it was because of his attachment to Dongmin. He refused to betray Dongmin, eventually leading to his defeat in the finale. This could also be seen as a weakness in Dongmin's game, except for the fact that Dongmin was able to beat Hyunmin in the end. That being said, I feel like pretty much every single other person who's been on The Genius has much larger holes in their gameplay and I think that Hyunmin stands well above the pack. 

So, those are my rankings of the players on The Genius, Season 3! Next up will be my ranking of the Main Matches of Season 3, so stay tuned for that one. I'm absolutely loving doing these rankings, so expect to see them for quite a while until I eventually run out of Genius-related rankings to do. But that's going to take a little while. Once again, if you haven't checked out my rankings for the players and Main Matches of Seasons 1 & 2, you can do so by going up to the tab that says "The Genius" where you'll find all current Genius-specific content. All Genius posts will be linked on there as soon as they go live, so check back frequently for more content!

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