Enjoying the warm welcome, I see.**
Concerning Dragging:** You prepare for drags by watching their body language. He’s playing the overhead animation and looking down? It’s going to be the (pseudo)instant lookdown overhead, you’ll need fast reflexes to parry that but it’s a simple parry to aim thankfully. He’s overheading but looking all the way up like a limbo dancer? Hold your horses, delay your parry like you would against a feint. To fight the yolo crouch 180 Maul drags where they try to hit you at the very end, you simply just backpedal and make them waste stamina. You’re blind when you’re doing that maneuver (assuming you’re in first person of course) and short weapons like Maul/Double Axe don’t have the range to hit you if you backpedal. Deadliest Warrior has the dynamic damage system you speak of and it does result in lengthier 1v1s, which I actually am a fan of. Trust me though, this game would be very one-dimensional without drags.
Hitboxes/Range Detection: Sorry, this just happens because it’s an online game. Happens all the time in Counter-Strike, www.pwned.nl
Ballerina Vanguards/“Luck”: These guys are more than beatable as MAA (the best 1v1 class) or Knight. If they’re literally just swinging wildly, play defensively at first to let them whiff and waste stamina (sometimes all you have to do is literally just backpedal and watch), then turn on the switch and play aggressive to take advantage of their low stamina and keep on draining it. Learn to delay your parry against drags. Learn their body language to differentiate between drags and accelerated attacks. Don’t be so hasty to parry because they can feint. If they’re stabbing or overheading, that’s a good opportunity to feint sideways -> counterattack of your own if you’re MAA. Even Knights can sprint sidestep a dragged overhead (which you SHOULD do if you see it coming). Use your own feints to counter their own feints. If you’re Knight, simply try to be aggressive, you want to play the Stamina game while they want to kill you before they deplete all their stamina. Attack if they haven’t attacked in a while, don’t let them feint/mindscrew you for free, punish them for it. This isn’t Starcraft Brood War where the better player will win the duel 90% of the time. It’s more like a single life on Super Smash Bros., it’s really anyone’s game. The better player is determined by who wins/contributes more consistently over the course of a game/map.
Headshots: This is for balance reasons. If anything, we need less archer one-shot kills. It’s always preferrable to choose the more fun game design choice over the more realistic one. Plus, for certain loadouts (e.g. Knight with Longsword), aiming for the headshot can be a very integral part of your playstyle while it won’t matter as much on others.
Knights: Yep, the Bearded Axe is supposed to be just that: a faster, but weaker, heavy weapon. The Knight has a bunch of these, actually. However, they tend to be not very draggable and short-ranged, which matters a HELLUVALOT in teamfights with good players. In 1v1s, Vanguard weapons outrange you and, well, Knight 2hs are generally not a great option vs MAAs.
Archer: No one but a few other archers disagrees with you on archer damage.
MAA: Uh, you sure you’re playing on suitable servers? Hitbox and online BS happens, but not that often if you have a stable connection and <50 ping. At any rate, these guys are unanimously considered the best 1v1 class. Their role in a team match is to pick out stragglers, isolated people, just generally dudes who aren’t in the heat of battle/heavily-armored sausage fest of zweis and other various swords.
_“I refuse to use anything I ever find to be overpowered.”
_This mentality is what restricts a lot of players from growing, whether it’s “I’m never going to wavedash cause it’s a stupid exploit Nintendo never intended” or “I’m not going to drag/feint because it’s cheap”. Try to instead accept them as part of the game and use them yourself, you’ll see that the game’s not as one-dimensional with these “exploits” as you think. Well, as an MAA, you won’t have much use for drags (unless you use Dane Axe, drags are awesome with Dane Axe), but feints are very much an important kit in your arsenal. Trust me, don’t feel guilty for using feints. A good player won’t mind and may even see them coming and punish you for it. Chivalry gets very mind-gamey and reflex-intensive if you embrace these humanly impossible body contourtions and cancelled attacks.