Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

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Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Kenny on Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:35 pm

So I know that the majority of us feel that we're pretty alright at this game, and often times feel like we may be at points where we don't have much room to grow, but I for one, have found several short comings in my play, and would like some advice on how to improve.

1. The biggest mistake I ever make often involves mana. I find myself more often than not making my misplays on the most simple of concepts. I start thinking about turns three to four and zone out on turn one. This leads to me misplaying lands. I'm currently piloting a UW Haunted Humans deck, and it's amazing to me how often I play my lands wrong. It's as simple as my opening hand being Seachrome Coast, Glacial Fortress, Moorland Haunt, and me blazing out of the gates turn one with a Seachrome thinking that the turn one play is always going to be right. However, it's often the case that when it comes to tempo (a key concept that I'm just getting myself into), that playing that Glacial Fortress tapped and leading with two creatures, or even a Grand Abolisher may very well be the right move. Because as the game progresses a turn three Mirran Crusader leading into a turn four Angelic Destiny is the stones, but by playing my mana wrong, and not having double white (or in some decks double x) I ruin myself for the long haul, or for the most aggressive steadfast plays.

2. The next thing I'm very guilty of is overextending. Part of being an aggro player is knowing when to hold your cards, and when to call your opponent's bluff (or lack thereof). Most times a board sweeper when you have no backup plan, or you're simply out of steam (overextending's definition) you may as well scoop, because there's not a whole lot of coming back from being silly. But again, this is one of my weaknesses that I'm working on, and would like help on kind of knowing when to, and when not to, keep the pressure on, and when to take a step back and let the game progress. All that being said I know the basics of overextending, it just happens to be one of my weakest areas of the game.

3. I have a terrible poker face. It may come from the fact that I playtest with people I'm familiar with, and that leads me to carry my mannerisms into competitive play, but regardless of who you play with or what situation you're in; your body language can lose games, as easily as win them for you. Mine just seems to be the former, as when I'm flooded, I show that I'm being flooded, rather than keeping my composure and keeping my nose to the grindstone so to speak.

So, there they are. I find those to be my weakest areas of play and would like to hear how some of you deal with the pressures of being a competent magic player. It's not always easy to admit what we're bad at, because by nature we're not very good at it, but if you never admit where you're weakest; how can you expect to ever become stronger in those areas? Thanks for reading! Hope to hear some opinions on this.
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Nate on Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:02 pm

I was reading Next Level Magic that Angry sent me, and it goes on about how if you address your weaknesses as a player and are really open with them, you are then able to rectify them and improve. I think it is cool you are doing that! Maybe we can get more people to as well.

As for advice.
1. I just came up with a rule of thumb to play any ETB tapped lands first. While that is not ALWAYS the best line of play, I think it has worked out fairly well overall. I could see where if you have some sick early aggression, you might want to play an early untapped land. Just take careful consideration with your opening hand. You really have a lot of time! So don't feel rushed.

2. Overextending was a huge issue with me at first. I learned that, really with any deck, keep things simple. If you have a Doomed Traveler and a Mirran Crusader out and you go into t4 ready to play a Hero of Bladehold, stop and look at your board. Are you safe on board? Those two cards apply considerable force and they don't need the Hero to help them. The way I look at it is, if my current creatures are enough to apply pressure to my opponent, I don't need to commit any more to the board. If I am failing to commit enough pressure, What is the cheapest way I can do so, without setting myself up for a blowout? If you are having trouble assessing what card is the best play, then let's playtest a bit and I can help you out if you want. Sorry if this is a bit confusing, I am just typing out my thoughts as they come to me!

3. This is somewhere I have trouble with as well, unfortunately.

So I guess I will follow this up with my own downfalls as a player!

1. Stress. This goes with my poker-face problems. When I am stressed, I show it, and I show it big time. It affects my play style and my general attitude and can even carry over into my other matches. It is a huge problem and I am trying to work on it.

2. I often overlook simple victory paths when my opponent is pressuring me. Just this past Friday, I was so occupied by my opponent's three Skaab Ruinators that I failed to see I could have milled him out for the victory. I instead wasted all of my mana on draw spells hoping to get some removal. I didn't, and subsequently lost that game.

3. I scoop WAY too often. This is something I am getting better at, but I still am far from beating it. I get too stressed at something my opponent is doing or if I draw terrible cards or if my opponent makes an awesome play, I get strong urges to just quit that match. When we play tested last, I scooped to Tenzin multiple times due to early Distresses and Despises. I am fairly certain that if I kept playing I would at least still had a chance at winning, even if he stripped me of something good.

4. I justify my sloppy plays too much. I am trying to play tighter but, again, stress makes me do stupid things.

I would love to hear what you all have to say about these, and I would appreciate any advice you can give. I think we can all elevate our playing capabilities by helping each other out through our weaknesses!
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Jason-admin on Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:12 pm

thought i'd have some fun with this post

My biggest flaws in playing magic are:

1) I assume 99% of the moves my opponent makes are bad ones. This is everything from MD and SB card choices, to how they commit to the board, or try to bait counter spells, etc.

2) in line with #1, i always underestimate my opponents. rarely do I believe the person sitting across from me is better than me. "I beat me, not my opponent" is my usual mentality

3) under commit to the board, Do to years of getting blown out by WoG, DoJ, Damnation, Black Sun zenith, Akroma's Vengence, Starstorm, etc I've become scarred to lay down threats till both players hands are almost depleted. A good example of this is last GPT in the quater finals my oppenents board state is:
*1/1 white spirit token, and a Grand abolisher with a sword of war and peace on it and two honor of the pure He is at 6life

*I on the other hand have elesh norn, and snap caster on the field with Grave titan in hand and two other cards and im at 6life as well.

Now because of my fear that he will blow me out if i play grave titan with a mana leak i instead swing with the snapcaster to put him to two and pass turn to play a more complicated move of snapcaster into a used gftt...yet as im reminded Abolisher pervents that move and he swings and ends the match. All i had to do was lay down a Grave Titan and the most he coulda done to me was 5 damage...alowing me to swing back with a 8/8, (3) 4/4, and a 4/7...but i messed it all up because i feared getting blown out by a mana leak....which to find out he only runs two of them -.-

anyways felt those are my big three; weather they make sense or not i don't know but its how i understand the game.

as far as you two go:

@kenny
1) before the game starts always ask yourself how are you getting to T4, if it doesn't make sense then ship the hand, also practice hands are always a good way. learn what comnations of cards make a good winnable hand. For example for my u/w human deck i've been writing hands i would and would not keep such as:

Seachrome coast, plains, moorland haunt, doomed travler, giest of stait taft, honor of the pure, dismember

That hand is highly awesome and one i would like to see in 80% of games but with just a few changes we have to mull it

glacial fortress, glacial fortress, moorland haunt, rest the same = horrible land vs. most decks, throughs off my curve, and makes me play a turn behind of where i want to be, this hand while borderline keepable on the play is auto ship if on the drawl.

Anyways the point being, its not so much a land issue, as it is just a lack of planning how your hand curves out, you should always be able to have a plan in your opening hand, if not ship it.

2) to prevent overextending in an deck, classify all your creatures into (my system) lacky or end game and, unless you know they have no board sweepers, no two end game creatures should ever hit the board. For example, playing solar flare i see way to many times in the u/b control match up play t9 grave titan, t10 grave titan than i wrath and they cry, you should never need two grave titans, unless your opponent has two grave titans, so that they are committing the same amount of resources if they destroy the field. on the other hand, having 2-4 snapcaster on the field is largely pointless and only matters in a handful of games.

point: know which creatures get you where, lackeys are usually fine to run out, many times their purpose is to die, i.e. solemn simulacrum, on the other hand your end gamers should not need an army behind them, that's why they are the end game creatures

3) as far as your poker face, idk gl with that one, i just always try to keep my mind on the board state and seems to keep my face neutral.

@nate
1 &2) Stress is due imo to two things in magic 1) no confidence and 2) over thinking. If you always believe your going to make the wrong play, you will be stressed, and you will over think trying to figure out the correct play, even if it is sitting in front of your face. I could be wrong but thats how it seems to me.

3) NEVER SCOOP. Reasons 1) learn and 2) weird things happen. I hate people who drop early from a tournament because they went 0-2, every round you play, every hand you see, and every situation you overcome is something to pull away from an event, or round, or game. learn from them even if you are behind, figure out why you are behind and make the change. Drives me nuts when people say " im tired of losing" and you ask them "why do you lose" if they reply with "i don't know" i just want to hit them upside the head. if you cannot figure out why you lost than do not get mad next time you lose, and the next, and the time after that. second, you never know when your gonna pull out a lucky come from behind win. therefore never scoop a game or tournament.

4) kinda of intune with #3, don't justify the play, but figure out what would of made the play better, even sometimes when you make a play its not a bad play but there was a better one to be made.

anyways hope that helps and have fun reading a wall of text. affraid


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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Kenny on Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:55 pm

I would have never thought of my mana issue really being an issue with me not knowing when to ship a hand. However, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. I'm often times too narrow minded and keep a hand hoping it will "get there". So I start myself at a disadvantage just because I like my curve up until turn three; while I have no idea what may happen turns 4-7. My overextending issue has actually, believe it or not, become much less of a problem in recent weeks. Turns out acknowledging a weakness can in fact turn it into a strength. I tend to play very tight and follow the simplest route to victory these days. But, to be fair, I tend to stray from the plan e.g. playing Angelic Destiny over Hero of Bladehold etc, when my whole line of play was to curve out with Hero in the first place. And my poker face has sense gotten better after listening to some advice from Lady Gaga, they can't read my poker face now. Har.
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Andy on Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:43 am

My Flaws there are so many but if we are just talking about Magic then I still have to many. Lets see my biggest one is:

1) I am a lazy Magic Player. I really do keep a crappy hand cause i don't want to shuffle again. This blows me so many games its sicking. It also stops me from building better sideboards. Game after game I play and I calculate what every card my 75 can handle yet when I make a decision I don't change the deck to make it better. And of course I get mad at myself when I play the next week and if I would of made the changes I would of more and likely won more matches. This also means that I don't make a lot of decks and I hate taking them apart. This never really bothered until recently cause I'm getting more competitive and building decks to play and play against is huge in stepping up your game. I know how to fix these problems but like I said I'm Lazy so who knows when Ill fix them.

2) I should scoop more often. Now I know Jason Says to "Never Scoop" and in game three or sometimes game two he is right but here me out. Now in game one you should realize that you and your opponent are feeling each other out. The next two games are where it counts. If your opponent has you controlled are out agroed you should scoop the first game so he doesn't know what to expect from your deck. You know what his deck can do now sideboard right and take him down the next two games. This works really well against those players who are over confident. Never scoop on game three Jason's advice is sound on that. Not giving your opponent to much information helps you make key plays and keeps your opponent guessing.

At Kenny your land issue I would be repeating Jason and Nate. Basically I just focus on my next five plays and see how my opening hand makes these go. Its key to know what your game plan is and make sure your lands can pull that off. As far as your poker face goes your a friendly and nice guy. Try to be that guy when you play your opponents. You can be yourself make a friend and relax. Work on that and the pokerface won't be needed cause you well be relaxed and your opponent won't know what to expect.

At Nate you are a strong and creative player i really mean this. Your confidence is a personal issue that should be kept out of the game. Focus check your boards, if you lose learn why, and most importantly have fun its a !@#$%^& game. Improve and don't stress. I'm a lazy player but if put in half the effort you do into building and playing decks I would be a much better player. I can and do learn a lot from you. You make me think good tech and creative plays. You make the game fun for me when your not in "AFI mode" you know what i mean. Just keep that in mind I hope it helps.

At Jason stop thinking your better than everyone else go into the game thinking they can beat you and prove to yourself that they can't. Stop the other way of thinking. Now your way of thinking makes me a better player cause when I play you your so confident that when I do beat you it shows and boost my confidence greatly. So thanks for that. I know that's not your intention. I know you like to win but as I told Nate Its just a game remember that. Relax a little. Really work on that and then maybe you treat every opponent equal and you won't beat yourself but realize that your opponent is a threat and handle them proper. You play tight and yes I agree most of your losses are to your own miss plays but don't sell your opponents short they are there to win and you are in their way. I hope this helps.

Like I said I have lots of flaws but I don't won't to list them all cause I'm lazy. Ill will list more later cause this game is all about growing with it. If any of you feel i left anything out or want to comment on my listed flaws please do I am always willing to learn and like hearing what people have to say. Just don't be so mean I'm sensitive (another flaw of mine). Cool
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  AngryJason on Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 am

Andy wrote:My Flaws there are so many but if we are just talking about Magic then I still have to many. Lets see my biggest one is:


At Nate you are a strong and creative player i really mean this. Your confidence is a personal issue that should be kept out of the game. Focus check your boards, if you lose learn why, and most importantly have fun its a !@#$%^& game. Improve and don't stress. I'm a lazy player but if put in half the effort you do into building and playing decks I would be a much better player. I can and do learn a lot from you. You make me think good tech and creative plays. You make the game fun for me when your not in "AFI mode" you know what i mean. Just keep that in mind I hope it helps.

mine). Cool

Tim Tebow is quoted t saying hard work beat talent every time cause hard work never gives up... just made me think of that

PS this thread is like over 100,000 words LOL

PPS i'll answer soon i just really wanna think about it cause i gotta lotta room to improve
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Marcus on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:09 pm

I dont really feel like writing an essay but my biggest flaws in magic are that i sometimes forget "may abilities" like drawing for consecrated sphinx and getting tunnel vision on something i feel is important on the board. Also I have a really tough time against the control mirror. Against aggro all I do is stall and stall and stall till I draw an answer for the threat I am up against. Because playing a control deck, I feel thier is nothing that is played that I just cant answer. But this take on the game does NOT work against the control mirror. I feel that control players have a better understanding of the game and usually it's just me getting out played. Don't get me wrong tho, I feel that I am getting better and better every week.

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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  Nate on Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:48 am

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. This thread is really going somewhere, I think.

@Jason, I stepped up my confidence, and it really helped! I also tried not to over-think and, while I was a whole lot less stressed, I was making a lot of sloppy plays. Where do you usually find your balance? I guess that is kind of a weird question. I will just have to find that myself I suppose.
As far as your block of text goes, I have a few things to say. First off, you are an incredible player. You make tight plays and keep your cool under pressure. You are excellent at building decks, and coming up with cool tech. You have helped me become so much better than I was. HOWEVER, I feel you let this get to your head way too much. Your opponents all have the drive to win, some more than others. Some opponents are genuinely good at making decks and playing them too. I am not sure if you do this as just a way to keep your confidence and your cool, but you might stand a better chance if you are prepared for your opponent to be at the same level you are. Just a thought, I mean no offense.

@Andy Thanks man, I really appreciate hearing that. It means a lot. I am really working hard at keeping myself in check during matches, and I think I am really making some good progress!
I have a few things for you, brah. I know how laziness goes. I can be lazy myself often...so I know you are only going to fix things on your own time, when you feel like it. That being said. FEEL LIKE IT NOW. We are counting on every member of our team to improve, and that includes you as much as it includes Kenny, myself, Jason, and everyone else. Be your best. As far as your #2 goes, I agree and disagree. I think there is a merit in not showing your opponent in everything, but scooping shouldn't be the way you keep your secrets. I think if you just play conservatively, only playing what you NEED to play (especially game one), but still playing it out. Winning game one might not seem like a lot, as sideboards really determine a match, but there is a psychological edge to it. If you win game one, your opponent MUST win the next one. This puts a lot of pressure on them! You could care less! You know? Conservative game 1, then blow them out afterward. Think about it. You saw me playing Tempered Steel vs Esper! I just kept grinding my match up and, as a result, I won a lot of them! I can respect holding out on certain plays because you don't want to reveal too much, but give your opponent credit. They will probably be able to accurately guess the rest of your deck, based on what you play. If you play Phyrexian Crusader and Plague Stinger, and never show me the Skittles and Lashwrithe, I am still going to assume they are in there, you know? Just my thoughts.

Like I said, this is awesome that you are all getting in on this. Marcus and Angry, I can't wait to see a real post from you guys! Hhaa!
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Re: Some of my biggest flaws as a magic player

Post  nick polson on Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:20 pm

I believe that these are some of my biggest flaws as a magic player.

1) I tend to overextend too much. I feel that I can not attack unless my opponent has no creatures or they have only creatures that are too small to trade with my creatures. This causes me to overextend because I just keep putting stuff on the battlefield until they ether run out of creatures or all of their creatures are too small to make a difference. This attitude causes me to often fall victim to sweepers and a depletion of the resources I still have in my deck

2) The second flaw that I have found about myself is that I don't care if my opponent has counter spells or not. I frequently find my self not adjusting to the counter spell threat posed by my opponents. I do not bait out counter spells or even leaving mana up for Mana Leak. This causes me to lose a lot of cards that could potentially help me win the game.

3) The next flaw that I have found is that I keep too many bad hands. I feel that going down to 6 cards is a severe disadvantage for my game especially if I am going second. On the occasion that I do go down to 6 cards I will always keep that hand because I can not, In my mind, justify going down to 5 cards. This, I believe, causes me to loose more games.

I would enjoy some feed back on these problems and any other problems that you feel that I have because I am sure that this is not all of my flaws.

Thanks
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