Since badminton switched to 21 points I would think it’s fair to say that the game has become more aggressive, and that players with a more aggressive style have prospered as a result. However, I wonder can one still prosper using a more defensive style? I think it is, but you’d need to have some pretty ridiculous defense because your opponents don’t have the same fitness concerns as the 15 point system presented them with, so they can go full out for a full match pretty much.
Would players like Ardy Wiranata and Han Jian have succeeded at the same level under the 21 point system? They’d probably have to bring out some more aggressive tactics from time to time, but I still think you can play that way and succeed. Here’s my logic on it. You see, now that players are focusing on finishing games much more quickly, their aerobic fitness levels are not going to be as well developed. If you have spectacular retrieval abilities, and even better fitness, you could drag your opponent into a really long match. If they are playing very aggressively they are going to get tired really fast, and a defensive style is much less tiring, believe it or not, than an offensive style.
So, all you need is amazing defense (probably the best actually), and amazing fitness (again, the best), then you can win with a defensive style. What do you think?