Start Winning; Stop Whining!

OK, so first up I want to issue an apology for those of you hoping to see an awesome game report or new deck list.  My wife and I are pleased that we can announce the birth of Owen last Monday but it turns out that being a father of two is quite time consuming so I haven’t been able to actually test anything!  Rest assured that my brain is fizzing with plans and ideas for all the games I play so I will return in the near future better and stronger!

Hints at those plans are the Spoils will make a Shocking Reappearance, I’ll be reviewing possibly the biggest card game of 2015/2016 and in a universe of war there will be, well, waaaggh…

So for this week I thought we’d do something serious!  I’m going to write about the importance of learning the game you’re playing rather than just the faction you’ve chosen to play.  “What’s the difference?”  I hear you cry!  Well the difference is that whilst a player can get great results by learning to play his deck really exceptionally a player that takes the time to learn the game will become a better player and have a more enjoyable experience (imo).

Lets look at two players; Kev and Dan.  Kev and Dan are competitive but with very different approaches to winning.  Kev likes to learn the basics then buy himself all the cards or sets he needs to win games whilst Dan prefers to try new stuff and doesn’t mind taking a loss as long as he understands why.  Kev starts out with a massive win margin, learning to play his deck to what he thinks is perfection.  Dan is used to this though and quite quickly begins to reel in some wins with his experiments and learns not just what his cards do but how to use the rules.

What do I mean ‘use the rules’?  Glad you asked; what I mean is that by taking a games’ rules right to the limit you can often get more out of what you’re using.  For example; understanding that you can respond to your opponent paying four to use one of his last two cards as a resource and that by playing Violating Ritual to force him to discard those cards will make him waste the resources lets you get a lot more from your card.  Using Archon’s Terror to rout an army unit after it’s attack was boosted by Catachan Outpost is similarly great.  These ‘two-for-ones’ are the bread and butter of most competitive card gamers repertoires but it’s all too easy to focus on what your cards do and not when you should use them.

Going back to our example Dan will get on better against curveball decks and somebody else’s clever use of a rules loophole than Kev who will fail to understand those and play around them.  Don’t get me wrong; Kev will still put up good numbers in constructed events but in limited tournaments he won’t manage that same percentage.  Dan on the other hand can always practice with a chosen deck to do well at constructed but his knowledge of the game will place him better when he’s drafting or sealed pool building.

So my thought for the week is this: when you start to play a new game take your time, experiment with different things and when you loose think about why.  All too often I hear what I class as excuses and they don’t help you improve your game at all.  Sure some games come down to chance, but if you constantly moan that you “just didn’t have a dude” then perhaps what you mean is “there aren’t enough dudes in my deck”.  Once you understand why you’ve lost you can fix it and start winning instead of whining!

I will be back next week with something exciting and shiny new for your moist eyeballs so stay tuned – Mark

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