Friday, November 9, 2007

On Synergy: Transcending Paper and Glue

Through reading this article, I guarantee that you will win the next game you play.

Just trust me.

I’ll have more on that later. Now it’s time for an article concerning a severely under-discussed topic. That’s right, VacancyMan is finally releasing his secret tech and revealing what is actually the greatest deck to ever grace Standard, if not the entire game of Magic. The deck is perfect – it is simple, it is fast, and it is dominating. Anyone can pick it up and instantly win with it. This is because my secret deck cannot lose, no matter who pilots it. It’s actually quite scary, and I’m warning you: you may never treat Magic the same way afterwards.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
I’m giving you one last chance…
You’re a stubborn one aren’t you?
Here’s the decklist:
4 Sadly, I cannot
4 reveal this deck
4 to you. It would
4 endanger the
4 metagame, not
4 to mention M:tG
3 itself to have a
3 deck that is so
3 insanely powerful
3 at the disposal of
2 every player in
2 the game, from
4 the greenest n00b
4 to the most talented
4 professional. This
4 deck is too
2 powerful for you
2 or anyone else.
4 Do not fret.
4 There is / still
3 much to learn
2 from a deck /
2 that doesn’t exist.
There are many reasons why players can’t simply net-deck the build that won the last Pro Tour and instantaneously become victorious. There are many reasons why no deck is simply the best in anyone’s hands. Magic: the Gathering is a game of both cardboard and contemplation. The relationship a player has with his deck is a major factor in that player’s ability. It decides matches and it decides potential. Now memorize and repeat:
This is my deck. There are many like it but this one is mine. My deck is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my deck is useless. Without my deck I am useless. I must play my deck true. I must play better than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must kill him before he kills me. I will. Before Richard Garfield I swear this creed: my deck and myself are defenders of my rating, we are the masters of my enemy, we are the saviors of my 20 life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but Hasbro’s undermining of its own consumer base. Amen.

(I salute you filthy maggots who got that reference.)

All right, maybe card game enthusiasts aren’t exactly the best to respond to military-style training. However, the intangible mental aspect is just as important in Magic as it is in war. Thus, gaining an edge on the opponent arises from beyond deck construction and direct strategy. They may seem obvious, but these tips are disobeyed all too often:
1: Play with Experience
Whether it be a casual game during school recess, Friday Night Magic, or hardcore PTQ testing, playing with your deck in any way can only help. When you can’t find a game, goldfish! Simply throwing around some cards and noting the notable, whether physically or mentally, will make the difference between a disappointed net-decker and a skilled contender.

2. Play with Focus
A) Play the game. Make it your first, second, and third priorities. When your mind slips, so does your play, and the errors aren’t always blatant. Sometimes you play one inferior two-drop over another, or forget to gain 1 life during your upkeep. Too many people can tell you how such miniscule mistakes can outright lose matches.

B) When online, don’t play in multiple tournaments at the same time. As well as damaging your ability to concentrate, overwhelming yourself with matches is aggravating for your opponents, who must wait for you to handle your extra game(s). It only hurts yourself as well as the league as a whole.

C) Play sober. Use common sense. If you are impaired while playing, you WILL make mistakes that you will regret later. If you really have to get drunk or high, at least don’t simultaneously play Magic (or operate machinery, or drive, or lose control on IRC).

3. Play with Confidence
Just by believing that you will win, you will win more. A negative attitude leads to a loss of mental sharpness, whether consciously or subconsciously. Never give up; never surrender. Be confident that there is a way out of any predicament. Great players always look at every opportunity. Every once in a while they find a way to win one turn before the game shifts out of their favor, or the crazy scheme that wins a seemingly unwinnable game, or even a topdeck Lightning Helix to steal the victory.

As for my guarantee at the introduction, I’m obviously not a prophet or clairvoyant or anything. However, if you believe that you will win, you are more likely to do so. Thus, quite a few of you will win the next game you play. When you do, thank me :P. Try it for every match you play. Though you will not win them all, the confidence boost can be nothing but positive for your game.

*The slashes are there for a reason. It’s a haiku! :)

Every person always has the opportunity to become a better player. Think back to the inevitably many games you have lost. How many of them do you think could have easily gone the other way? Sometimes more than a change of cardboard is needed for Magical success. Never forget where the game is truly played – not on the table, not on the monitor, but in the mind.