Food for Thought: Determination

Hey everyone!

So today I wanted to talk about something that I’m sure we’ve all felt at some point or another. Whether it be in this game, another you play, or life in general. We’ve all been in a situation where it feels like everything has gone completely wrong, and no matter what we think we can do, the whole situation is hopeless.

Sometimes the universe just feels like it’s against you, and we feel like the only thing we can do is give into its will over us.

But what I want to talk about today is that things have a way of balancing out in the end. What seems like a hopeless situation could present something that, if capitalized on, can shift the momentum entirely in your favor.

What I’m trying to say is, nothing comes easy, and the best thing you can do for yourself is stay focused and stay determined to win.

Determination in Deck Design

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been in a situation where we were really excited about a deck we built. We put in countless hours theory-crafting the perfect list. We ran all the scenarios in our head and found the perfect 60 cards to sleeve up. We can’t believe no one else has figured this list out yet!

Only to find after several test runs that the deck is a flaming pile of garbage.

Now, a lot of people are likely to take that deck and throw it in the proverbial dumpster. Let it rot in a box and forget they ever thought about it, or piece it apart and skulk in a corner somewhere feeling defeated.

But why? Why is this the natural inclination of players when their pet deck crashes and burns? Now while it might be true that some decks might be a little too ambitious to fit everything they want into one deck, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t learned something incredibly valuable from the experience. Why give up on the dream entirely when you can adapt it to fit in this new found knowledge? Does it feel like a failure to take a step back and think, “Ok, this version was a little too much. But I’ll nail it the next time around!”

As it’s been stated many times before, Rome wasn’t built in a day; so then why do we expect our decks to break these expectations? There is nothing wrong with taking your time and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your deck after testing it. In fact, testing is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. Test it 10, 50, even 100 times. Find where the deck fumbles and learn from these short-comings. As odd as it may sound, poor testing results can sometimes be the best thing you can get when figuring out a new deck. Finding your weaknesses early on in the deck design can help you plan to overcome them well before they present themselves in a tournament environment.

There is nothing wrong with having an idea blow up in your face during testing. What is wrong, however, is disregarding these results and giving up entirely. We all fall down, but we’re not meant to lay on our backs forever. So get up, and give it another try, even if you have to fall a few more times to understand it all.

Determination in Matches

Another thing I’ve seen throughout my experiences with this game, and life in general, is that people are so willing to give in at the first sign of disaster instead of battling through it.

How many times have you been in a game where your opponent, or perhaps you yourself, have said, “Wow! I can’t believe that happened. There’s no way I am winning now. What crappy luck!” This is by far the biggest cop out on your skill as a player you could give into.

The nature of card games is centered around the balance of skill and luck. They play an intricate dance together, and more so in this game than any others I have had the pleasure of playing. The important thing is to stay positive. If your opponent has had a lucky break in a game, the chance of you having the same luck could be found within the next turn, or the next combat, or maybe even the next match.

Giving into negative experiences and chalking them up to “good luck” for your opponent or “poor luck” on your own part is no excuse. If you are not willing to dig in and figure out how to come back from those situations, you will never do well in a competitive setting.

Do not give up on yourself as a skilled tactician. We play these games because at some level we enjoy figuring out the “how do I beat my opponent?” puzzle presented to us. Sometimes that puzzle can present very abstract and odd looking pieces, but it is up to us as intelligent human beings to look at those pieces and fit them together. Maybe you won’t figure it out the first time you see them, but eventually you will see that piece and know exactly where it falls into place; but only through trial and error.

Giving up and admitting defeat will never help you grow, so do yourself the favor and roll with the punches until you hit that moment of clarity that brings the puzzle together.

Determination in Competitive Play

The last thing I wanted to talk about today is this misconception that “Top Tier” players will always do better than you ever could in an event. This concept is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Certainly these higher end players will have a record that shows their skill in the game. And while you might find yourself paired up against someone that has a much higher record than you at the game, don’t forget that this record took time to sculpt.

Think about how much time they have invested in learning their deck, or learning the decks in the current meta, or theory-crafting scenarios that might present themselves at any particular moment in a match. Compare that to your own time spent playing the game. It may not match up equally, but the point is that you should always learn from each experience you have. The higher end players are always reviewing their poor matches in their minds. Figuring out what went wrong in order to prevent it from occurring again in the future, if possible.

You have to be able to adapt to the circumstances in front of you if you hope to succeed at anything in life. Just because you find yourself dwarfed by someone of higher perceived skill does not mean that you can’t be the one to teach them something new. Being good at a card game is a learned skilled. At some point, that higher end player was exactly where you find yourself on the scale of player skill, and lower before that. You have to be willing to take the steps needed to grow as an advanced player, and often this means taking the time to play as much as you can. While you might not be able to do it as frequently as some of the others who play this game, that doesn’t mean that you won’t reach that tier eventually yourself.

All it takes is evaluating each situation that arises within your matches and fluidly adapting around them. Don’t be stagnant in your play approach, and don’t let yourself fall into the logic trap of “they are just better than I am.” These are the tools of your destruction if you let them enter your mind.

“Don’t Fight for Victory…Fight to Improve Yourself.”

Thanks for checking out the post today.

As always, please remember to vote in this week’s TC101 poll. Tuesday’s article will be our first look at the new environment, so let’s start if off properly!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!


About DArtagnanMF

Your Friendly Neighborhood Kreitzman
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