Complains about losing in limited

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There's been a lot of talk lately about losing in limited and blaming on everything from random chance, the shuffler being cursed, Gatecrash/RTR being a bad set, bad players top decking...etc, etc.

Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
There's been a lot of talk lately about losing in limited and blaming on everything from random chance, the shuffler being cursed, Gatecrash/RTR being a bad set, bad players top decking...etc, etc.

Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?



I've won the last three tournaments I've entered in MtGO, and all of the game losses have still been due to mana issues. Just like they were earlier in the set when I was going 2-1 on average. Once you've been playing for any resonable length of time, it's difficult to come up with play mistakes that are more damaging than:

A) Not playing anything at all for a number of early turns, due to mana short -or-
B) Playing significantly less spells than your opponent, due to mana flood

If avoiding mana short/flood were a learnable skill, it would be, by far, the most helpful skill for all non-novice players to focus on.
There's been a lot of talk lately about losing in limited and blaming on everything from random chance, the shuffler being cursed, Gatecrash/RTR being a bad set, bad players top decking...etc, etc.

Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?



I'm willing to accept this as a possibility, which is the exact reason why I posted my sealed pool and asked people to construct it for me, to see if I made a terrible job of it. Only 1 person has done so (rstnme) and he built it exactly how I did, except 1 card deviation.

I'd be very curious to see your build of my sealed pool.

As for play mistakes, the games consisted of mulligans and landscrew (and one landflood), there were very little spells involved to make a mistake with.
Actually I posted a different build but just for the sake of fun. 
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
There's been a lot of talk lately about losing in limited and blaming on everything from random chance, the shuffler being cursed, Gatecrash/RTR being a bad set, bad players top decking...etc, etc.

Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?



I'm willing to accept this as a possibility, which is the exact reason why I posted my sealed pool and asked people to construct it for me, to see if I made a terrible job of it. Only 1 person has done so (rstnme) and he built it exactly how I did, except 1 card deviation.

I'd be very curious to see your build of my sealed pool.

As for play mistakes, the games consisted of mulligans and landscrew (and one landflood), there were very little spells involved to make a mistake with.



What were your matches and what was that deviation? Just curious.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

There's been a lot of talk lately about losing in limited and blaming on everything from random chance, the shuffler being cursed, Gatecrash/RTR being a bad set, bad players top decking...etc, etc.

Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?



I'm willing to accept this as a possibility, which is the exact reason why I posted my sealed pool and asked people to construct it for me, to see if I made a terrible job of it. Only 1 person has done so (rstnme) and he built it exactly how I did, except 1 card deviation.

I'd be very curious to see your build of my sealed pool.

As for play mistakes, the games consisted of mulligans and landscrew (and one landflood), there were very little spells involved to make a mistake with.



What were your matches and what was that deviation? Just curious.



I had in gift of orzhova instead of foundry street denizen


Could it be that some of you are losing for other reasons, like...I don't know, making mistakes?



Well, last FNM was a massive loss for me due to a combination of horrendous luck and equally horrendous mistakes.

Then again, usually I do quite well in drafts and although I rarely win the night, I haven't gone more than 1 match loss until last week.  (Due to variable sizes, my records goes from 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 or 3-0, 4-0, etc). 

Not to say my match losses were strictly luck based.  Some were, as I was forced to mulled down to five and in one case four as my starting hands were completely unworkable for the environment (Which, incidentally was the theme of the night for me and one of the store owners, who had a killer Simic deck going on that he just couldn't get to work).  Some weren't, as I didn't mull hands I probably should have, or vice versa, I know on more than one occason I burned up removal on creatures I shouldn't have, I didn't sideboard properly in others.  It was just a rough nigh all around for me, as my head wasn't in the game and I just couldn't catch a break.  Compounding factors and all that. 

That said, I don't gripe about it.  If you play every week, or in my case a couple times a week, it's just bound to happen where you hit a bad-luck night.  Compound said bad luck with bad play and not having your mind in the game and I ended with the worst record I've had since I came back to the game at an extremely craptacular 1-4.

Now, GTC hasn't been my favorite set to draft (Its focus on aggro style buids leads to a lack of splashability, and I generally don't enjoy some of the mechanics), but it's not bad.  Just a tad straight forward, and difficult to go off the rails (Even you focus on 3, 4, or 5 color from the get go you are running the risk of unworkable decks if you get cut after you get the main pieces).  It's just kind of boring to me personally at the current rate.  Another issue is that I've been having a hell of a time figuring out signals, which was not nearly a problem in RtR for some reason or another.  And then there is another problem of "Feature of the Week" decks running around, where for some reason or another people bandwagon onto the "strong" deck (Early on it was Boros, then moved to Orzhov, then bizarrely Simic had its day with 20 out of 32 people drafting it in one night).  Creates rather stale games for me when I run against effectively the same deck continuously in a night.

So to say that no loss can be due to luck is not entirely true.  I've personally had a few occasions where for some reason or another I can't mull into even a half-decent starting hand, and I've seen some players just .  This, however, is the exception.  Usually a single mull gets me there.

My experience has been that half-decent players generally don't have chronic "bad luck".  It can happen, and occasionally does, but this as said is the exception.
Mathematically, all players should lose at least 20% of their games due to variance.  Assume both players have roughly equal decks (i.e,. in a draft one of you didn't get squeezed and make a complete hash of it, and neither of you got fed the nuts) and make the same number of grotesque misplays.

This number is just from typical mulligan rates with any 17 land limited deck and the card advantage it gives the opponent.  Plus flood screw/rates on a good starting hand.

Note that some of your wins/losses due to varience will be hard to detect because the other guy flood/screws too.   Like if you have a perfect curve hand and your opponent mulls to 5 and gets screwed.  You don't get 2 wins for that!
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
People like to complain. I certainly do. I usually don't use those excuses for why I lose games. Here are my top five reasons why I lose games.

#1 facing people of about equal skill with about equal quality of decks. I don't always win equal matches what a shocker!

#2 Me deciding to try out some limited jank halfway through a draft. Ex. Was passed two Phylactery Liches in M13 and decided to just pick up artifacts and black cards of any quality so I could play mono black. Ex 2. Picked up a Borborygmos Enraged pack 3 pick 1 and got passed an Unexpected Results next pack took it and played a 4 ruination wurm, Borborygmos Enraged unexpected Results deck. Ex. 3 splashed Boros Reckoner and Lazav in a simic deck off of a 1 of Realmwright. All obviously bad ideas that cost me games.

#3 playing a guild or strategy that doesn't suit my style of playing or that I'm unfamiliar with. Such as trying izzet in RTR and getting my only 0-3 of the set and probably my only 0-3 in the last 100 times I've drafted. 

#4 bombs that my deck can't beat. Yeah I'm not going to be able to beat that turn 2 pack rat every game.

#5 Mana/mulligan issues. Such as keeping a 2 land hand going second and missing my land drop on turns 3 and 4. Or having to mulligan down to 5 and then keeping a mediocre-bad hand. 

Most of the time when I lose it's my fault. Some of the time  I lose to opponents  having stupid high quality bombs or amazing starting hands(maybe 5 % of my losses). Probably about 10% of my losses could be contributed to mana/mulligan issues. Probably like 25% for me doing something stupid like #3 or #2, play mistakes, or deciding to keep sketchy starting hands. The last 60% is just facing good players with good decks. Not really anything for me to complain about if I think about it. I'll still complain though cause I'm a magic player.


"This list much made Niche barf a lil' in his mouth, so I can be proud of that." -rstnme

Certainly the overall skill of a player is going to be a factor in how often mana/mulligan issues are involved in their losses. The higher percentage of games that you win under neutral conditions, the higher percentage of losses are going to come from games in which you are handicap in some way. When I used to play in weekly drafts at my LGS, I topped out with a Limited Rating of 1950. There was only one other active player at the store who had a Limited Rating over 1900. So unless I was playing that person, it was a pretty fair bet that 'playing a player of equal skill' didn't enter into things. If you can beat your opponents the vast majority of time in even games (games where you and your opponent hit the same number of land drops and draw the same number of spells), the majority of your losses are going to have to come in games where that does not happen. Where you are either handicap by the number of lands or spells that you draw relative to your opponent, or handicap from the start via Mulligan.

It's actually kind of fun, looking back on those old tournament results. I came back into playing Magic in 2009, and in my first Limited tournament I went 1-2-1. Next one was 2-2. The one after that was 3-1. Then for the next six drafts I either went undefeated (some with draws), or the only match loss was against the one 1900+ player at the store. Sometimes I miss playing at my LGS, the average player was so awful you could win a high percentage of games even when you hit mana issues or were forced to mulligan.
Godzilla vs Megatron
Alien vs Predator
UA vs SB

I'm getting my popcorn.
I hate dogs.
It's OK to complain every once in a while about some random thing, it's only human nature but to constantly complain about things that can't be controlled and never talk about mistakes that CAN be controlled is....well I guess that's also a very human trait, but it's not very conducive to this forum or to improving anything.

I'll give a personal example, a few weeks ago I had a torrid streak of 9 straight match victories spanning four different, consecutive FNM's. But there was one big mistake during the win streak that could have cost me a match, it did cost me a game.

First I'll tell you what my excuse could have been. I could have told myself that I made the mistake because the cards are in Chinese and even though my Chinese is pretty good, the rules text and way of writing with uncommon words makes it hard for even native (non-magic players) Chinese speakers to understand.

Anywho, I have a crazy powerful Orzhov deck and I'm in game one on the draw versus a good Boros deck. I'm down on creature count the whole game but using Vizkopa Guildmage to give my chump blockers life link is keeping me in the game. Finally my opponent is very low on life and swings in full bore, I have to chump with all my creatures except my guildmage to stay alive. He then drops Wojek Halberdiers onto the field and passes turn.

He's at two life...I have seven lands! I failed to remember that activating both abilities of the guildmage on itself would win REGARDLESS of him blocking or not. It was a pretty simple mistake and it felt pretty embarrassing to be shown this immediately after resigning.

Why am I telling you this? Because that misplay made me dedicate more energy to keep in mind, during the match what my creatures and cards in hand can do.

As said, it would have been easy to chalk it up to not being able to read the card (so not often looing at the text), when I play with english cards, especially in limited, I often read the cards abilities over and over when I'm waiting for my opponent to do something, I read his cards too!

That's my two cents, worry more about what you can control...I know, I know, you never make mistakes. Then my advice is play people that are at a level where these trivialities are the last thing on your mind.

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
I remember my finals match of the RtR release, having that 8/8 Guardian token on the battlefield....... and I populated my 3/3 Centaur token like 4 times over four turns instead. So many bewildered looks. I lost that game, but ended up winning the match to take the release.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Some mistakes I realize right away, some take me a while, and I am sure there are several other mistakes I make that I may never realize.  The most recent one was learning how retrace works, and that its not like flashback where I have to exile it after one use.

With that said, how much can I learn from mistakes when keeping a 3 land hand and then after 10+ turns losing because I never drew the 4th?  It must be a mistake somewhere in there because recently I've hit a string for a few weeks now where I will regularly either never see the 4th land or not see it until its too late.  Either that or the only spells I see are the ones in my starting hand +1 extra I happened to draw.  There have been several drafts where I can't draw a 4th land and then the next game in the round can't draw a spell.  What is the lesson for that?  Is it to draft mono 2 drops that are also mana-sinks and resistant to removal?
Some mistakes I realize right away, some take me a while, and I am sure there are several other mistakes I make that I may never realize.  The most recent one was learning how retrace works, and that its not like flashback where I have to exile it after one use.

With that said, how much can I learn from mistakes when keeping a 3 land hand and then after 10+ turns losing because I never drew the 4th?  It must be a mistake somewhere in there because recently I've hit a string for a few weeks now where I will regularly either never see the 4th land or not see it until its too late.  Either that or the only spells I see are the ones in my starting hand +1 extra I happened to draw.  There have been several drafts where I can't draw a 4th land and then the next game in the round can't draw a spell.  What is the lesson for that?  Is it to draft mono 2 drops that are also mana-sinks and resistant to removal?



If you somehow have this problem over and over than start forcing Boros or Simic low curve...

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
In shadowmoor and DKA drafts?
PanteraCanes it is extremely unlikely to whiff 10 straight DRAWs for a land given a 17 land standard deck.  1 in 1000.
So with real cards you must have badly misshuffled.   Or you dropped a couple lands on the floor.    I mean, if you play enough magic you will certainly hit these 1/1000 shots every so often.

However, it's not that rare (18% on the play, 9.5% on the draw) to have a 3 land hand and NOT draw a 4th by turn 4 (10/11 cards)
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
PanteraCanes it is extremely unlikely to whiff 10 straight DRAWs for a land given a 17 land standard deck.  1 in 1000.
So with real cards you must have badly misshuffled.   Or you dropped a couple lands on the floor.    I mean, if you play enough magic you will certainly hit these 1/1000 shots every so often.

However, it's not that rare (18% on the play, 9.5% on the draw) to have a 3 land hand and NOT draw a 4th by turn 4 (10/11 cards)




Sorry, this is the online client.  Where when you hit these streaks and complain about it its because "variance, the shuffler is not broken and its totally random for this to happen"

In real life, if I have these kind of issues its usually I rushed shuffling.  So now when I have everything done I just start shuffling and probably shuffle for maybe up to half an hour waiting for the round to start etc.
It's OK to complain every once in a while about some random thing, it's only human nature but to constantly complain about things that can't be controlled and never talk about mistakes that CAN be controlled is....well I guess that's also a very human trait, but it's not very conducive to this forum or to improving anything.

I'll give a personal example, a few weeks ago I had a torrid streak of 9 straight match victories spanning four different, consecutive FNM's. But there was one big mistake during the win streak that could have cost me a match, it did cost me a game.



Playing in FNM is much different from playing online. When I first started playing Limited it was in 2009 (I had played Constructed back in 1994-1996 or so) and it took me only two Limited tournaments before I was averaging 3-1 or better. Online just averaging 2-1 or better is challenging. Further, there are a number of mistakes that can be made offline that simply cannot be made playing online, because playing online it prompts you for triggers, asks you whether or not you want to play a spell you cast last turn with Rebound, etc. Playing online you are less likely to see mistakes on either side of the board. In the early rounds of an FNM you will often be playing against opponents who can not consistantly put the game away, even if you miss your third land drop or draw more lands than spells over the course of the game. Playing online you will lose in most mana flood/short scenarios.

Because of all of these factors, the vast majority of losses I've had online have come in games where I've either been mana short, or mana flooded. They aren't games where any mistakes have been made [on my side], because there was no way to play the spells differently than the way I did. In mana short losses I typically have exactly 1, or 0 plays per turn. In mana flood losses the spells played out could have been played out in any order, there are too few of them to make a difference and no way to stall.

Certainly I hit play mistakes from time to time. I recently had a play mistake where I had a Zameck Guildmage in play, a ton of mana and a low cost creature, and somehow managed not to use the +1/+1 ability repeatedly because I clicked on the online interface in the wrong order. But it wasn't a conscious decision not to take the +1/+1 counters, just a misclick. The last game I can remember where I lost and could have made a conscious choice to play the game differently and thus change the game's outcome was the following:

I had out a Rust Scarab, Skarrg Guildmage, Armored Transport, 6 lands in play, in addition to another land and Pit Fight in hand. My opponent had out a Warmind Infantry, 5 lands and 3 cards in hand. I was at 14 life, my opponent was also at 14. He had one more card is his graveyard (due to Madcap Skills) and I was flooded, but not too worried about that because of the Guildmage.

  The obvious play seemed to be, turn one land into a 4/4 creature, and attack with my Scarab, Transport and the land. My opponent would likely block if he had a combat trick (I suspected he was holding Martial Glory) then I could use the Pit Fight in response, and he would be left at 8 life with no creatures left on his side.

Instead of using Martial Glory, he blocked my Scarab and used Furious Resistance. But the Pit Fight plan still worked, so I did that. To which my opponent responded by casting Martial Glory. The net effect of all of this is that my Scarab died, my opponent's Warmind lived, and my land + transport lived and knocked my opponent down to 8.

The next turn my opponent played a Wojek Halberdier and then Massive Raid to kill off my guildmage. I drew lands from that point forward, which means my opponent came away with the win.

So even though there was a conscious play decision that turned out to be wrong, it was still the correct decision based on the information I had (I hadn't seen Furious Resistance at that point) and the game only worked out to be a loss because of the massive mana flooding I hit. And the massive mana flooding was only a serious issue because my opponent was able to kill off the guildmage that would have made use of that mana.

The majority of my online tournaments end in either a 3-0 record, or a 2-1 record with two mana issue losses in the same round. Mana issues and mulligans keep the game from being masterable by setting an upper limit on how well you can do. Regardless of how well you are as a drafter and player there are still going to be upwards of 20% of games that are unwinnable due to mana issues alone. I'd prefer to see this barrier removed, games are always more fun when they are masterable.
games are always more fun when they are masterable.



I have been playing all kinds of games from the basic to the ridiculously baroque for over 30 years and I totally 100% disagree.  Play Go or Chess. 
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
games are always more fun when they are masterable.



I have been playing all kinds of games from the basic to the ridiculously baroque for over 30 years and I totally 100% disagree.  Play Go or Chess. 



Or Deity level Civilization, right? Dark Souls?

When I say masterable I mean that an expert player has the potential to dominate less experienced opponents. Chess and Go are both good examples, but there are plenty more. The same principles apply to video game design. People are ultimately happier playing games of skill, with just enough luck to keep the play varied and interesting. It's why Settlers of Catan is a better game than Candyland, why Carcassone is a better game than Chutes and Ladders. It's why Agricola is a better board game than pretty much everything. Every game of Carcassone, Settlers and Agricola will be different from every other game, and yet skilled players can still master the game and dominate less skilled players. There is an empasis on skill over luck, and thus a consistant reward for players improving their skill. This is a very basic principle of good game design.
Settlers is kinda boring because there are only like 3 basic strategies and almost zero player interaction.  It's also kinda random what with the die rolling and all.  Optimal plays are practically algorithmic in nature.  It's better than Tailsman I guess.    Playing tournament settlers would be like playing tournament tiddlywinks.  There is plenty of skill involved there, but so what?  It's just not very interesting.

But your whole analogy is out of whack.  Candyland and Chutes and ladders aren't even really games, there are no actual decisions to be made AT ALL.  Simple boardgames like Settlers have decisions but they are pretty obviously optimal ones 99% of the time.  Carrcassone is a little better because there are 4-5 ways to score.  Agricola I've never played, but I hear it's good.

MTG is a much better game than Settlers because your opponent can actually THWART you.  I would say it's better than Carcassone, too.

If you like longer, masterable, not-very-random board games try Advanced Civilization - the inspiration for the computer game.
Or Titan.  THAT is a hard game, and it has fists full of dice.  Very popular with the MIT/CalTech crowd in the 90s.  I just played a more german style game called "Dos Rios" that was pretty good... lots of pre-planning and screwing the other dudes (literally!  becaus you are caballeros!)

 
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
No player interaction in Settlers of Catan?? 

Buy some expansions... or just trade...
When I say masterable I mean that an expert player has the potential to dominate less experienced opponents.

You said yourself in this very thread that you do in fact dominate lesser opponents to the point that when you played at your LGS you always won or lost to the other good guy. I would say that's a pretty good level of mastery.

When I say masterable I mean that an expert player has the potential to dominate less experienced opponents.

You said yourself in this very thread that you do in fact dominate lesser opponents to the point that when you played at your LGS you always won or lost to the other good guy. I would say that's a pretty good level of mastery.




That's true, I suppose, but I'd like to be able to do that online as well.

Perhaps Fantasy Baseball is the best representation of the skill/luck interaction that works best. Certainly you can win or lose based on chance (key injuries, speculative picks, etc) but overall its the same guys winning every year, and those guys are winning because they are the most active and know the most about baseball. There is just enough luck so that you can't say who's going to win at the beginning of the year, but if you are a good player, you can consistantly expect to end up in the top 4 at the end of the year.

There's not, for example, a die roll that says you have to skip your first 3 picks for the year. Everyone starts the season on equal footing, so it is the relative skill of the managers that determines the outcome.
When I say masterable I mean that an expert player has the potential to dominate less experienced opponents.

You said yourself in this very thread that you do in fact dominate lesser opponents to the point that when you played at your LGS you always won or lost to the other good guy. I would say that's a pretty good level of mastery.




That's true, I suppose, but I'd like to be able to do that online as well.

Perhaps Fantasy Baseball is the best representation of the skill/luck interaction that works best. Certainly you can win or lose based on chance (key injuries, speculative picks, etc) but overall its the same guys winning every year, and those guys are winning because they are the most active and know the most about baseball. There is just enough luck so that you can't say who's going to win at the beginning of the year, but if you are a good player, you can consistantly expect to end up in the top 4 at the end of the year.

There's not, for example, a die roll that says you have to skip your first 3 picks for the year. Everyone starts the season on equal footing, so it is the relative skill of the managers that determines the outcome.

And I think part of the reason that you can't do it quite as consistently online is because there are a lot more of those top four in their fantasy league type people. When skill level is relatively equal the biggest determining factor is going to be luck. It certainly can be frustrating though, I will give you that. I am one of those guys that has been in the top four of my dynasty league since it's inception, but once you get there it's luck as to who ends up on top. Same thing with Magic, if you are good you can probably go 2-1 or better a majority of the time, but when you are playing equally skilled players it's going to come down to luck more often than not. It's built into the game to be that way.

No player interaction in Settlers of Catan?? 

Buy some expansions... or just trade...



Meh.  But the trading is trivial to evaluate.  Actually, AdvancedCiv has very similar trading mechanic.   And I suppose, yes, you can embargo the leader... but if you are significantly ahead in SoC probably won't matter that much.  I could be wrong though.  It's a fine enough game, I just find it a little boring the 12th or 13th go around.

Never tried the expansions, they probably help.    
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
No player interaction in Settlers of Catan?? 

Buy some expansions... or just trade...



Meh.  But the trading is trivial to evaluate.  Actually, AdvancedCiv has very similar trading mechanic.   And I suppose, yes, you can embargo the leader... but if you are significantly ahead in SoC probably won't matter that much.  I could be wrong though.  It's a fine enough game, I just find it a little boring the 12th or 13th go around.

Never tried the expansions, they probably help.    

The expansions are definitely fun and can add some new dynamics, but overall there are still better games I would rather be playing most of the time. I still play it here and there for something more lowkey with people that aren't as into board gaming though.

If you want to play something strategic and in-depth, there is nothing better than Agricola or Civilization: Through the Ages. But for non-gamers it would probably be best to stick to Power Grid or Ticket to Ride: Europe.
And I think part of the reason that you can't do it quite as consistently online is because there are a lot more of those top four in their fantasy league type people. When skill level is relatively equal the biggest determining factor is going to be luck. It certainly can be frustrating though, I will give you that. I am one of those guys that has been in the top four of my dynasty league since it's inception, but once you get there it's luck as to who ends up on top. Same thing with Magic, if you are good you can probably go 2-1 or better a majority of the time, but when you are playing equally skilled players it's going to come down to luck more often than not. It's built into the game to be that way.



I think the main difference between online and offline magic is that the floor for online players is considerably higher. Even if you did meet a particularly strong player online you wouldn't be able to evaluate that person as being better than you without playing them multiple times, and that's not the nature of online play. But online there are certainly a lot of people (the majority of them) that can put games away if you stumble on mana and they don't. Even if the same people can't win a single game when you hit a normal distribution of lands/spells. That is what makes it frusterating. Offline you can still win with mana issues, and the few players you lose to are at the same skill level you are.
Re: Settlers
for something more lowkey with people that aren't as into board gaming though.



Hence my point that worrying about 'mastering' it is stupid.  Unless you like lording it over your casual don't game much friends.. 
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
i have found online to be significantly easier than my local game store and if you play swiss than shame on you, thats so easy. 
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
i have found online to be significantly easier than my local game store and if you play swiss than shame on you, thats so easy. 



I played offline long enough ago that they still used the old rating system. I got up to a 1950 Limited Rating after the first GP I played in. Online the highest limited rating I've gotten is 1875. There is no question that the competition online is harder.
Just had a frustrating run at my draft. Completely forgot Incursion Specialist becomes unblockable as well as pumped after my second spell, and that lost me the match. Then I had the luck to go up against a consuming aberration multiple times... that thing's just rude with Gift of Orzhova tacked onto it. Rough night all around, which is good! I was playing loose and sloppy and needed to get smacked a bit to prep for playing tight this weekend. I want to sweep the block's prereleases!

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Just gonna toss this out there for people who are bragging, why not just give out your MODO usernames, and let the record back up your talk?
I am correct in thinking that people can check other people's records on MODO, right? I've only played on there like 4 times, because screw paying for Magic twice.

Anywho, /popcorn 

(at)MrEnglish22

You cannot check others' records any more. Used to be able to, but not any more.
i have found online to be significantly easier than my local game store and if you play swiss than shame on you, thats so easy. 



Swiss is a great format, and a great way to break even for an evening worth of entertainment. Sure, its not as skilled. But you get 3 rounds, and chances are you are going to have at LEAST one good opponent (I actually find that people that are shelling out money online, even in Swiss, are as good if not better than LGS. They aren't the "once a week, FNM crowd"). I don't want to spend $14 and have the chance of only playing one round (whether if be from an legitimate loss, bad match up or mana screw), and I'm sure that there are many here that feel the same way. There's no "shame" in wanting to get your money's worth (and $14 for a couple hours of enterainment isn't exactly cheap in the long run), and bar you, I'm doubting very many of the forum go-ers around here are going to be bragging about their reliable 3-0's and raking in the prize winnings.
It's ideas like "limited is easy" that is detrimental to the community here because limited is actually extremely skill intensive in all aspects. Drafting is extremely difficult and it's just the first part of the format. Constructing your deck properly and actually playing the games are part of the format. 

If winning 8-4's were easy then everybody would win them which is obviously not the case. As somebody who advidly watches MTGO streams, winning consistently is not a given even for top quality players. Limited has much more variance than constructed formats and should not be brushed off as "easy" or "linear".

On top of this there is no reason to look down on other forum members just because you might be better than them. It is not positive for anybody and especially when the sentiment is not warranted. People here are asking real questions because they want real help. "haha I'm better than you" doesn't accomplish anything.  
Just had a frustrating run at my draft. Completely forgot Incursion Specialist becomes unblockable as well as pumped after my second spell, and that lost me the match. Then I had the luck to go up against a consuming aberration multiple times... that thing's just rude with Gift of Orzhova tacked onto it. Rough night all around, which is good! I was playing loose and sloppy and needed to get smacked a bit to prep for playing tight this weekend. I want to sweep the block's prereleases!



Aberration with Gift, sounds like a quick finish!

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Some formats are more skill intensive than others. I've read a formula where it doesn't just compare how often a skilled player would win against an unskilled player, but also how often a skilled player with perfect information would win against a skilled player who has to play normally.

Still, the point is that it is reasonable to have an opinion that one format is less skill intensive than another. Individual evidence probably wouldn't prove it one way or another because the data set is not big enough (you might have just gotten lucky or unlucky five times in a row). But if you collect a lot of data you might be able to make a statement.

The thing about GTC is I've seen just as many reports where people say "the same players seem to win every time" (including my personal experience) as I've seen people say "it all seems to come down to luck".

GTC doesn't have a golden ticket like RTR did and I think it's in the normal range of how skill intensive Wizards likes their sets to be. (Not so much that new players can never win, but not so little that the winner is completely random).


As for swiss, I'll echo what's been said before. I want to play three rounds regardless of how well I do, because playing Magic is fun, and playing more rounds is more fun. If it's easier and therefore I'm more likely to win prizes, that's just a bonus.  
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