Friday, March 22, 2013

Timmy-Johnny-Spike and Winning/Losing

The difference between losing and winning:

A bit of information before I start this article. Yes, Lolzor called me writing this article, because it's much easier to write an article about something that happened to me rather than something hypothetical.

I'm sure all of you are aware of the three archetypes in Magic: the Gathering: aggro, control, and combo. Which are respectively aggressive play, passive play, and ingenuity. Of course there exists combinations of these, such as aggro-control, combo-control, and aggro-combo. Each one devolves into a playstyle. Such as aggro-control is mainly about board advantage, killing creatures to allow their dudes to swing in without contest. Combo-control which is about executing a combo, without the off-chance of it being stopped. Typically, it a player plays combo, they play combo-control because it is effectively your only win condition and you are unable to execute it, you chances of winning drop severely. Aggro-combo are mainly about two cards that somehow warped a format all-together. For example: Kiln Fiend and Distortion Strike -- or Squadron Hawks and any of the Swords.

The point of this is to show there are different kinds of types of play. Oddly enough there's really only two kinds of players though. and they have been nicknamed Timmy and Johnny. Timmy likes to play big things that have a real big effect on the game. Johnny is a player who likes the intricacies and interactions between cards. Johnny looks at Timmy like he's a noob and Timmy looks at Jonny like he's a tryhard.

And then there's a third type of player, which has been nicknamed Spike.

Spike plays to win, and only plays to win. Nobody likes spike. Everyone likes to win--it's a good feeling--but nobody wants to play with that guy.

I really don't want to say that MtG is a pay-to-win game, but with how powerful the rarest of cards can be, it's not exactly surprising. I mean, if you run two-colors (the majority of decks) it's almost required you run 4 dual lands, which cost about $10 each--for lands. (Three colors could be up to 12 lands) It's not exactly a newbie friendly environment, but then again, no tournament scene should be.

The only reason I open up with this whole, Timmy--Johnny-Spike thing is because unfortunately I see myself as a Spike. I like winning, and I stry for winning, but at the same time, I like keeping the game relatively fun for others. I'm still a Johnny player since I like card interactions, but I'm not net-decking*. A nice happy medium for me, is EDH--where it is perfectly acceptable to lose, because the majority of players lose. All my powerful cards I still get to play, I still get to make the sickest of combos, but the integrity of the game isn't ruined because the game is still kept in a nice happy medium due to check-and-balances system of simply how many players are in the game.

Back to the article title: the difference between winning and losing. When you win a game. You maybe learned about a two card interaction from your opponent that you successfully dealt with. Or maybe you learned that Piston Sledge could kill the Vault Skirge it was attached to to trigger Morbid. However, when you lose a game, almost the same thing happens. And unless you were mana screwed/flooded, you actually learn more from losing than you do from winning--that is, if you actively learn from it.

Timmy would learn from the game. Maybe instead of playing out his hand and walking into a Day of Judgement he would hold back creatures.
Johnny would learn from the game. Maybe he could learn to take 6-8 points of damage to hold his removal spell for something more important.
Spike would not learn anything from the game. He would copy the deck that beat him.

Another thing to know is that when you are winning a game, literally every card you draw is good. Extra land means you get higher X costs or more powerful spells/creatures. An answer lets you deal with anything that might threaten your win. A creature advances your board position.

But when you are losing, you need a specific answer. Creatures are just blockers, lands are useless, and you are still waiting on the spell for the answer. That Distortion Strike is not very useful now.

And so, because of this, I am replacing about 7 cards in my EDH deck.
Well, thanks for reading.

*net-decking is the act of copying professional players decks because it wins. You didn't have any innovation in it, and are simply copying a player because it wins.

No comments:

Post a Comment