Winning is for Losers…

I am a firm believer that a player can only improve his or her skills when regularly challenged by other players of similar skill level.  If you want to become a better player, find players as close as possible to your skill level and play against them as often as you can.  Not only are those close games more interesting and fun to play no matter if you win or lose, but you are likely to learn much more if you are challenged as a player.  Do not get discouraged by the games you lose.  There is nothing wrong with losing unless you do not learn something from the loss.  The most important thing is that you must divorce yourself from the emotions of the lost game and consider what happened objectively.  Emotional responses to a loss (or win for that matter) will seriously hinder your growth as a player because it obscures the reasons for your loss.  You are more likely to learn something new and grow as a player from a loss than you are from a win, but you must be able to identify what went wrong so you can attempt to correct it in future games.  Here are some simple things I do after losing a game which I find help me to improve my game.

  • Never write a loss off to cards you did or did not draw, good or bad luck, or any other outside influence beyond your control.  Certainly these factor into a game’s outcome, but never think of them as the sole reason for your loss.  Own your loss and take it as an opportunity to learn something new.  Think back on the game you just played while it is fresh in your mind and try to objectively consider what caused the loss.  Believing it was luck or any other outside factor that caused your loss will not help you to win your next game if there is something fundamentally wrong with your deck or the decisions you make in the course of a game.
  • Use your opponent as a resource for instant feedback about your deck and the decisions you made.  Ask your opponent about key points in the game when you played a card, performed an action, or made any decision you were not sure about, especially any action you may have identified as a possible cause for your loss.  If it was a good decision, knowing you made the right decision will give you confidence for the next time a similar decision is required.  If you did not make the best decision getting advice from your opponent may help you to make a better decision next time you find yourself in a similar situation.
  • Isolate the decisions you made, the cards you did or did not draw, the strategies your opponent used against you, and any feedback you may have received from your opponent and make notes (mental or written) about these things to review later.  One game is not enough to make an immediate decision to change your deck or your strategy, so collecting information to be used later is of vital importance.  After several games you will be in a better place to make good decisions about changes to the deck or the decisions you make as a player.  This is when the notes you have made will play an important role in improving your deck and your strategy.  Look for things in your list which occur repeatedly such as defending against the wrong attack, not having enough battle actions, or having too much or too little gold.  When you see the same cause for a loss in multiple games, it is a good indication of that particular aspect of your deck or strategy needing a little more attention.  Adjust accordingly and repeat the process.

Always strive to improve your deck and your play even if it is by the slightest of margins and you will find those close games you lose start getting a lot closer, you may even win a few.  Just remember, in many ways games that you lose are more valuable than games that you win, so revel in those defeats and cherish them for the gift that they are!

This entry was posted in Table Talk. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Winning is for Losers…

  1. PJ says:

    I really like this advice. Application can get complicated depending on the situation, but nonetheless, it’s a good start into transforming your way of thinking, turning losses into small, but meaningful victories.

    What kind if advice would you give regarding “coping” with an NPE? For instance, losing to a wide range of Clans/Players, running an over-abundance of control in the current environment!?

  2. DDreischmeyer says:

    Well, the term NPE does get thrown around a lot more than it should IMO. Most decks have decks or strategies which are difficult to overcome. If any particular play experience is positive or negative however is largely up to you to decide. Sure it isn’t much fun to lose, but if you put up a good fight and didn’t manage to win, I wouldn’t call that an NPE. The only true NPE I believe exists is when you were a non-participant in the game, which I think is a position some control decks do manage to put their opponents in if they are allowed to do so, but the same can be said about a lot of decks on optimal draws and/or poor matches between decks. Ask a control player if they think facing off against breeder is a particularly positive play experience or if a Crab Berserker player finds Chi death decks to be a positive or negative play experience, or how fun it is for an enlightenment player to square off against a dedicated dueling deck. The key is to have a plan in place before you find yourself sitting across from a bad match so that when the time comes you have relevant actions and are able to participate in the game. Identifying a problem early and quickly enacting an existing plan to address it should help tremendously to overcome the feeling that you were not a participant in the game. Often this means ‘meta’ cards, but it could also mean the pace at which you play the game, how aggressively you flush your dynasty looking for specific cards, how often and with how many units you attack or defend, and any number of other decisions that can be made in the course of a game. Keep a positive attitude, pay attention to the game, and remember that even if you lose, if you learned something from the loss you took something very valuable away from the game which will help next time.

Leave a Reply