Essential Magic Articles

How to Stop Losing

by Malvar

You make the opponent win

Here's the most common loss among really good players. It does seem strange that the better the player, the more likely it is that they will make their opponent win, but it all comes down to one thing...ego. If you believe that you are a better player than your opponent, then you will rely on your opponent to make mistakes. Because of this, an opponent who is attentive will be able to take advantage of your false sense of security and use it to win the game.

It's easy to say, "Always believe your opponent will play perfectly," but there is a danger in that. If you think that way, then you put yourself in a situation where the opponent can make you lose, and we've already discussed that scenario. What you should do instead is test the water.

What you are dealing with is a situation where you have a number of uncontrollable variables. You don't know what your opponent has in hand, you don't know how they will block, you don't know how they will attack, etc. What you need to do is to try and create situations where you are in control over as many variables as possible. If you want information on your opponent's do you use your resources to gain that information without compromising your board position? If you want to see if an opponent will make blocking mistakes, test with some creatures you can protect if you need to, or that you don't mind losing. You should try and keep as much of the game under your control as you can before committing to a direction and taking a risk.

The other half of this loss is the situation where you think your opponent already has the game won. They already have a superior board position, and you have no cards available to win the game. You are counting on the opponent making a mistake in order for you to win. What I see countless times is players trying to win quickly before their opponent can finish them off. The danger in this type of thinking is this:

You put the opponent in a situation where they HAVE to win NOW...and they can do it.

If your opponent knows you will win the game the next turn, they are going to do whatever they can to win before you can.
Lots of times when you try to win the damage race with your opponent, you put yourself in a position where you can win on the following attack, but you don't have any answers if your opponent just tries to win right away. So you lose because you've forced your opponent to kill you.

If your opponent has a superior board position, why are you trying to make them kill you quicker?

You should be slowing the game down, not speeding it up. Don't put yourself in a position where your opponent knows you can win, because you're just forcing their hand when you should be building yours up.

Last edited 9/17/2007 11:42:56 AM Page 5 of 7  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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