I knew an older gentleman once who would torture non-runout players and lower level runout players alike. He'd just bunt balls around, leaving them tough while positioning his balls for an easy run when he was good and ready to run. He'd make clusters and just refuse to touch them, leaving them for his opponent to break out. His entire game seemed to be organized around the mantra, "I bet you can't run out from here". And he was usually right. He might pick off some of his balls along the way as he massaged the balls around the table and tactically killed his less patient opponents. At the end, he'd have a few hangers and the 8 ball with his opponent in a make a tough run or lose spot. It was very entertaining to watch but not all that fun to play against. He'd routinely destroy guys at 8b that he wouldn't have any shot at all against at 9b.Clusters and messy tables are the equalizer (heh) for me when playing stronger players, at least in our league. In 8-ball, when I play the guys that are much better shooters than me (but not up the level of the top shooters, this doesn't bother those guys), they struggle when the table is a mess. I'll break from the side every time then, cuz it rarely spreads out the table for me. I can work around stuff, and it slows those guys down some.
I think that's part of what draws me to 8-ball more than 9-ball. I enjoy the position play game. Of course, if I could run more balls, more often, I would probably have a different opinion