Here here, I can't allow this yeast to be bad mouthed; it's probably my favorite!
Just teasing - but I do love this yeast. I've probably made 15 lagers with it in the past three years, and the only time I faced any challenges with it was once when it arrived frozen solid. It thawed and still made some very good beers.
I routinely smack the pack six hours or so in advance and pitch it direct to 45 degree wort. Yup, I'm a radical, a yeast outlaw, but that's typically to a 2.5 gallon 1.045 starter extract beer, so there's not a lot of investment in it. I harvest the yeast from there and use standard pitching rates. I've not had a problem with this yeast in any of those cases.
Supposedly, this is the same yeast as WL820. There, I will not argue with you. I've had many issues getting that yeast going, with or without starters.
One interesting thing I find with this yeast is that the start of the keg has an amazing full malt flavor, regardless of whether I'm predominantly using pils, vienna, or munich malt. Then after a gallon or two, that big malt flavor diminishes somewhat. I'd love to know what that's about; perhaps it's the flavor of the yeast cells themselves. I find that possibility intriguing, considering what yeast typically tastes like.