If you’re taking lots of tournament losses or want to learn how to break your a Magic Online losing streak, this article is for you. Taking these steps towards improving your game can benefit any Magic player – not only those getting back into competitive Magic tournament play after years of not playing.
Admit You Have a Problem
So, it’s happening…you decided to play a brand new limited format, or to jump back into Magic Online after years of not playing. You bought into a bunch of product and played a lot of tournaments…but…you’re losing…bad. You’re getting chumped by a bunch of n00b scrubs with their sucky cards, and your rating is tanked. You’re so pissed that you’re thinking about quitting Magic forever, but you KNOW you aren’t a bad player and you don’t REALLY want to quit… so what can you do? How can you break out of this losing streak and get into a winning streak?
Take a Good Hard Look
You have to understand that Magic is not quite like riding a bicycle…if you take years off of playing, you WILL get rusty. New sets are released often and introduce new mechanics you may not know your way around. Rules can change, the game client can change, etc. Even if you used to 3-0 a bunch of tournaments way back when, you likely won’t do that now in a new unfamiliar format.
Magic Online attracts a lot of skilled players from around the world, and a lot of them might not have ever taken a break like you did. You may have used to be a shark, but you’re a guppy again swimming with the sharks! Let me say that I speak from experience. I’ve been an on and off MTG player (paper and MTGO) since Revised was released. Most recently I was able to 3-0 very consistently back in the time of M14, as well as win several local paper limited tournaments (drafts, prereleases).
Now I’m back at it after a 2 year break. I jumped into Shadows Over Innistrad/Eldritch Moon limited and well, I had my ass handed to me. It’s a humbling yet frustrating experience, but I’m making good progress and increasing my wins using the following steps. Anyone looking to improve at Magic can and probably should take the following steps.
Tip One Towards Winning More Magic Games – Review Your Past Games
Though it may feel this way, it’s just not possible that all your opponents are “getting lucky” against you. Somethings up, and you need to get to the bottom of what that might be. One great thing about Magic Online over paper MTG is that it allows you to replay your past games. So you are going to want to look at those games and take some notes. Look closely for any glaring play mistakes, or patterns you can see between the games.
Just make a text file and type up some notes as you watch. Be humble…own up to your bad plays. Learn from them so you can avoid the same mistakes from here on out. You can look at the games you won, but really it’s the ones you lost that you want to learn from, because in some (not all) cases you might have won if you played just a little differently.
Match Replays – Tips for Watching MTGO Replays
These are the things you want to make notes about so you can learn.
Keep in mind you are troubleshooting your gameplay here.
* How did you lose this game? Was it one specific card? What was their deck archetype?
* Did you have anything in the sideboard that might have helped?
* Was this a very close game? Did you fail to attack or block properly? If they had 1 life when they won, can you spot where you could have done that 1 damage?
* Did you fall into a common or uncommon trick more than once that may have cost you the game? From now on try to play around that card.
* If you got “mana screwed” did you play too many colors? Did you add enough lands to the deck? Did you add too many high cost cards? Or can you honestly blame “the shuffler”?
* Who won the tournament? What did their deck look like when you played them? Compare that to your deck. If there’s a pattern, maybe you should try leaning more towards the archetypes that win more often.
* If it looks like you keep playing the same type of deck in a format and keep losing, maybe it’s just not a great deck to play, isn’t powerful enough compared to other popular decks. Don’t force yourself to play a bad archetype.
Tip Two Towards Winning More Magic Games – Study Buddy!
* Read MTG strategy articles, watch pro tour videos, look for pros tips, opinions, and advice. Learn what cards and decks are good in that format, and play that.
* Join some MTG related forums and read some posts. Ask for help, deck critiques, play tips and other advice on the forums. People love to talk (and brag) sometimes they are even right!
Tip Three Towards Winning More Magic Games – Practice Makes Perfect!
Use draftsim or other practice draft sites, especially ones that suggest picks with card ratings. These are great for training! Compare what you picked in your MTGO drafts to the cards being highly suggested by draftsim. This has really helped me learn to make better draft picks in the new formats.
Play More FREE (or Cheap) Magic!
If you are losing a lot try to play it as inexpensively as you can for a while, until you feel you have improved. Try some phantom tournaments on MTGO, play a video game version like Magic Duels, practice playing paper with friends, or other ways to play that won’t cost you lots of tix when you lose. Once you get a feel for the format you want to play, then you can jump back into the shark tank of MTGO competitive tournament play.