Essential Magic Articles


How to Stop Losing

by Malvar


You make yourself lose

This is the one people just attribute to bad luck, but people do it a lot more than you might imagine. It's easy to say that a loss was just "bad luck", because it makes us feel better as players. Well I've got news for you all. Feeling better about your "bad luck" isn't going to make you a better magic player. This is the one category I feel most differentiates the good players from the mediocre players, and it's the easiest area to improve your game.

I could just use the words of the illustrious governor of California and say, "STOP WHINING!" but I think I can offer more help than a movie quote. The fact is that we will always make mistakes; the trick is being able to differentiate a mistake from a play that was correct given the information that was available at the time.

Ways to recognize that you're making yourself lose:
1.) Your opening hand or mulligan does not help you win the game.
2.) You cannot predict with some accuracy what your opponent is going to do.
3.) You are playing as if you already have the game won or lost.

Mulligans are an easy scapegoat for making you lose. Now I'm not going to go into a big explanation of when to mulligan (there have been several articles written on the subject over the life of Magic) because I don't feel that it benefits my article. I do however believe that learning to identify a bad mulligan decision vs. an unlucky draw is a key to determine where you can improve your game. If you are making the right mulligans and still losing because of the draw, then there's not much you can improve in that area.

Predicting your opponent's plays comes through experience and is the one you have to work the hardest towards. Knowing your opponent's deck and game plan is far more important than knowing your opponent's play style, and I dare say one of the main reasons I win or lose a Magic tournament. The tournaments I do well at are usually the ones I have the most time to prepare for. If I know the decks that are going to be in the field and how they are going to try to beat me, I am better able to predict what my opponent will try to do in a given situation and, in turn, make better plays and avoid running out of gas.

If you don't care about winning a game of Magic, you are not a fun opponent. Part of the joy of playing Magic is the challenge you offer. Have you ever played against someone who played like they didn't care if they won or lost? Have you ever played that way? Not too much fun is it? They also seem to make tons of play mistakes because they aren't focused. That's the kind of player you become when you think nothing you can do will win you the match. You might as well extend your hand and go grab a burger. That's all I have to say about that.

Last edited 9/17/2007 11:42:56 AM Page 6 of 7  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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