Essential Magic Articles


How to Stop Losing

by Malvar


Opponent makes him/herself win

Okay, I'll admit that this one is a difficult one to avoid. Sometimes your opponent just outplays you, it's a fact of life. The reality is, out of all four ways to lose, this is the least likely to happen in any given game of Magic. However, the odds of you losing a game this way decrease as you become a better player, play with better decks, and become better at analyzing the game state. Sadly, there are no quick fixes for this loss, and the only solution is really to play more Magic. The first step, however is recognizing that this is how you are losing games, and if this is how you are losing, then consider it the best loss you could have had:

Ways to recognize that your opponent is making him/herself win:
1.) They don't care what you are doing. They are not dealing with your threats and are unconcerned with trades or your attempts to stabilize the board.
2.) They have the board locked and it seems like you can never push through.
3.) Your opponent is only using a fraction of the pressure they are capable of, leaving mana open every turn and/or creatures back every turn.

So how do you avoid losing in these situations? Well there's no certain way to get out of them, especially if your cards aren't cooperating, but there are ways you can make your opponent THINK that they have something to fear.

The first step in avoiding the loss is to look at the game state and try to find potential ways to swing it in your favor. For starters, you probably shouldn't be tapping out to play anything unless it's going to swing the game totally in your favor. Try to only play spells that your opponent HAS to deal with and make sure you can play it when your opponent is tapped out, or at a time when you could potentially follow it up with an even better spell. Keep everything else in your hand until it becomes despair time and you're just trying to milk a few extra turns. Cards in your hand have the potential to be anything, while cards on the board are only one thing. So unless the card is feared on the board, it's better left in your hand.

The second step is to make your opponent ask him/herself questions about your hand. A good way to do this (and do not do this in any other losing position) is to try doing something that seems strange. Not just completely random, but just something to get your opponent thinking. Most of the ways that we swing the board in our favor come from small decisions that we make that don't seem totally logical unless another condition exists. An example of this might be through playing a discard spell. If your opponent has a creature, and a removal spell in hand, with a couple creatures already in play...you should make them discard the removal spell, even if you have nothing in hand to deal with the creature. By making the opponent discard their removal spell you are making your opponent think about what's in your hand, and could mean two things:

1.) You have a board clearing effect and want your opponent to over commit.
2.) You have a creature of your own that will change the game state that the removal spell could have dealt with.

So now your opponent is going to have to consider what to do. Do they over commit? Do they worry about what to attack with? What's in your hand? The real goal here is just to buy time. I've had so many games where I've been against the ropes and have had my opponent give me 5, sometimes even 10 extra turns based on making them think I had an out. Sometimes I would actually draw an out, and other times I wouldn't, but the important thing was that I was giving myself the opportunity to win in a losing situation.

Last edited 9/17/2007 11:42:56 AM Page 3 of 7  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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