The Power of Influence

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Power of Influence
How Newer Players With Limited Card Pools Can Win Multiplayer Games





The Influence for This Article
A Wizard Did It
After reading this article it's apparently obvious to me that there's not enough information out there to help a newer player with a small card pool win a multiplayer game every now and then. As such, I'd like to take this opportunity to shed some insights on the subject. To give everyone out there an idea, I've been playing multiplayer Magic for the past 12 or so years. I'm a bit of specialist in that sense. I've played in various metas of various sizes (ranging from 4-9 players) during this period and let's just say that I've played with my fair share of newbies . Because of this I consider myself to be more than qualified to assist newer players with relative small collections in accomplishing a feat that may currently feel overwhelming and improbable; beating stronger players with deeper pockets and card-pools. Throughout this article I'll reference Wizard's on multiple occasions so you best give it a quick one-over before trekking onward. Some of my comments or statements may be somewhat lost on you otherwise. Besides, as critical as I'm going to be about it it's still probably worth your time to read it.

My motto? No lotto!
Before we begin, let's clear the air about a sensitive topic. Anyone *can* win a game of multiplayer Magic. The guy playing a deck of pure Islands deck could, in theory, somehow win a game. It's possible. That doesn't mean that it's probable though. This is what I disliked most about the Wizards article that I linked in the intro and what inevitably prompted me to write this article. It's a technical truth in the same way that it's technically true that anyone who purchases a lottery ticket can win the lottery. As long as you play the game there's a chance (no matter how slim) that you'll win it all. The advice proposed in the aforementioned article, in my mind, is basically telling you to play the lottery. You already are. It doesn't need to be restated to you. What the article should have explained to you (in my mind) is methods to achieve victories at a significantly more probably rate. Nevertheless, the first disclaimer that we need to address is that there's no magical solution out there that will guarantee victories for you. They don't exist. Magic may not be a "pay to win" game but it's pretty damn close. People with more money and better collections than you have a big advantage and nothing will ever change that. Still, what I can offer you is advice that has a reasonable chance of significantly improving your current overall win % (assuming that you're still a fledgling to the game obviously). I do not believe that the aforementioned article will. Don't relegate yourself to playing the lottery. You can aspire for better than that. No, you should aspire for better than that. Still, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's briefly analyze why "guile" and other personal qualities have little value in real-world multiplayer Magic games. It wouldn't be fair to criticism the article without defending my claims after all.

Power Overwhelming
Guile (and other other personal qualities that you possess) cannot physically manifest in a game to overcome raw statistical power. That is, you cannot use guile or cunning or wit to attack a 3/3 in to a 4/4 and win. Magic is a game of hard numbers and so personal traits can only ever have so much of an impact on the outcome of the match. This isn't chess. This isn't poker. People are not working with the same resources and utilizing them differently. If my decks have cards such as Boros Reckoner and Phyrexian Obliterator and yours are filled with Warpath Ghouls and Hill Giants then all of the guile in the world isn't going to save you. I have superior resources and even if I utilize mine incorrectly and you wield yours correctly I'm still a huge favorite to win. As I've previously alluded to, Magic isn't a strict "pay to win" game but it's pretty damn close. People who make significant investments in the game have enormous advantages over people who don't because cards that cost more money do more for the same amount of mana. This inevitably leaves qualities such as intellect, cunning, guile, etc. as little more than fluffy nonsense terms that won't significantly sway things over way or another when you're just starting out. Even if we assume that your opponents don't possess any of these qualities it doesn't change the fact that their cards have better numbers for less mana. Still, let's discuss the sheer absurdity of this assumption in the first place.

Plato vs Homer... Simpson
Your opponents aren't always idiots. I'm a smart person and I play magic. I know plenty of other smart people who play magic. I bet you do too. Heck, they're probably some of the smartest people that you know. Do you really think that you can easily out-guile, outwit, outsmart, and out-think those people? Do you think that you could outsmart ME? Ha! Don't make me laugh you mere mortal. All kidding aside, aren't you being a tad presumptuous at that point? I mean, why can't your opponents be just as smart or possibly smarter, more cunning, etc. than you? Let's get back to reality for a second. People who make significant monetary investments into Magic are often people who enjoy mental exercises, employing strategic solutions to problems and who just plain take pleasure at putting their mind to work. What this means is that your opponents probably aren't going to be brain-dead morons that they're often portrayed as who'll fall for every trick in the book. This is why articles that praise the merits of "outwitting" or "out-thinking" your adversaries irk me. You can puff up your chest and feign strength all you want but at the end of the day that doesn't work against intelligent people. They can sniff the obvious traps out and they also know how to call bad bluffs. Any strategy that relies on you outwitting or outplaying these kinds of people is probably just a pipe-dream and little else. I realize how conceited that sounds but I mean I don't think that it's an unrealistic statement to make. You're the newb and they're the experienced pros with better cards. Anyone who's played the game for any length of time is going to be able to see through your petty ruses and crush you with raw power and experience. This transcends Magic and encompasses virtually any strategic game/exercise in existence. You're likely severely underestimating your foes (or overestimating your own abilities) if you assume that you can accomplish otherwise. With that out of the way, let's further explore why the "lay low and pounce with guile" strategy isn't a particularly compelling one to employ.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Kitten
Laying low and pouncing at the very end is basically the best strategy for everyone to pursue. Take it from someone who's almost always going to be the best player at the table; it's exactly what I'm going to try and do too. Unless your deck outclasses the rest of the field by a significantly margin then it rarely-if-ever makes sense to attract a lot of attention to yourself. I mean, what benefit is there to being a focus target? None. What this means is that better players than you (with much more powerful decks) are going to be employing this strategy as well. I too want to innocuously tip-toe my way to the end with a weak player and crush him or her with my superior cards and play skill. It's an easy win for me and I'm never going to be too proud to take it. Now, some of you might be thinking "yeah but I'll win that duel some % of the time... right?" Yeah, you will, in the same way that some % of people will win the lottery each year. It's possible that your bad, inconsistent deck could beat my powerful, consistent one that's probably worth 20 times more than yours is. It's not even close to being probable though. I will beat you 90% of the time (if not more) and bear in mind that you'll only make it to the finals once every eight games or something (these numbers are clearly fabricated but they're not completely unrealistic). In a 5 player game that gives you an overall win % of 1.25% in a world where the average overall win % would be 20%. That's pathetic. No one should ever be content with such a trivial success rate. You can do better than that. I know from first-hand experience that you can significantly improve that number if you put some effort in to it. Allow me to show you how.

The Influence of Your Cards
Foundation; More Than Make-Up
I think that the best piece of advice to extract from the original article is that winning games starts at deckbuilding. Building stronger Magic the Gathering decks is the best way to increase their competitiveness after all.
The premise of this section is that A) you're probably not using the best cards in your pool, B) you're probably not maximizing their value even if you are and C) in time you'll find yourself working with a team and you'll need something that you can contribute. I know that you're not an expert at evaluating cards yet and it would be completely unreasonable for anyone to assume otherwise. Still, I can give you some specific and useful advice that should be easy to apply. Since this article is aimed at new players with smaller card-pools, I'll try and cover the basics while being as specific as possible. Everyone started somewhere and everyone (myself included) sucked at building decks initially. As such I'll briefly cover some tips and tricks to building better brews. This won't be a comprehensive guide or anything but it will touch on a lot of important subjects. Your cards can have a bigger impact than they're currently having and I'll do my best to oversee the shift.

Stop Hitting Yourself
The first thing that's going to happen is that you're going to start building 60 card decks with 24 or more lands. BUSTED! Look buddy, I've heard it all. "No, our games are slow so it's ok if I run 75 cards." "Oh I want protection against mill." "20 lands works fine for me, I don't need more." "I've never had a problem with my deck so what's the big deal?" Save it. Your empty words are inexcusable self-justifications that are hindering your ability to succeed. I don't care what your reasoning is because it's wrong. You do not play with enough lands. Period. Your decks have too many cards. Period. This isn't a discussion topic. There's not going to be a back-and-forth debate. You're not some special flower who knows more than the experts. You're wrong. Stop being wrong. Until you accept this as an absolute truth then I promise you that you'll continue to flounder and fail. Everyone around you plays 60 cards decks with reasonable land counts for a reason. It wins games. If you legitimately want to improve then you're going to have to start following in their footsteps. I don't want to article to get bogged down in math so I'll keep this simple and clear. Decks with 24 or more lands are going to consistently hit their 4th land drop on turn 4 and have a decent shot at making it to numbers such as 6. What this means is that you'll actually be able to play a game of Magic the Gathering. How many games have sat around doing nothing because you had 3 lands in play and a hand full of 5+ mana spells? It's probably a lot isn't it? Don't sit around while other people do cool things. Play your powerful spells as well. With respect to playing 60 cards, the logic is simple. First of all, you will not get milled out in a normal game. No deck takes 60 turns to win (not even your bad ones). Playing 60 cards ensures that you'll see your best cards as frequently as possible to ensure a consistent performance. It also helps to keeps variance in check but I mean that's a bit of an advanced subject so I think that I'll leave it at that. The main point that I want to drive home is that your deck doesn't have that many fantastic cards just yet and the worst thing that you could possibly do is hinder your chances of seeing them every game.

Where's Waldo?
Ok, you're now willing to build real decks with realistic card numbers (it's not a question; it's a statement). That still doesn't help you much does it? Your collection may not be amazing but it's still too big for you and you probably can't evaluate a card properly just yet right? Don't worry, it's fine. I'll do my best to guide you. First of all, you'll want to play with as many of your bombs as you possibly can. It's hard to explain what exactly a "bomb" is but it basically means "a really good card." You can probably already single yours out since they tend to be rares with high mana costs and I mean it doesn't take much to pick them out in a lineup. If nothing else you can ask your friends if you have any but I mean they're not very hard to spot normally. Your bombs are best bets with respect to actually winning the game and so you should never be shy about fielding them. A 5/6 flier for 6 still kills anyone in 4 hits and it doesn't matter how much better he is at the game than you are after all. Still, that's all obvious. You probably already knew that. Let's talk about things that are less obvious. The next thing that you want to look for are globally destructive and scaling cards. Globally destructive cards are just that, global and destructive. That is, they negatively affect everyone. Think Earthquake. These cards are awesome because more people means more targets so a decent spell can suddenly become amazing when it's hitting 5 or more players and/or their creatures or whatever. Even though these kinds of cards may seem scary since they usually negatively affect you, you should still feel confident about running them. Remember, your cards are worse than those of the other players. Playing a Chain Reaction, even if it nukes your own team, is probably fine because your team probably wasn't very scary anyways. Next we'll cover scaling cards. You should almost always play cards that increase in power as your number of opponents increases. Look at Syndic of Tithes. Cute little 2/2 for 2 right? Well, hey, Extort is pretty good if it hits 5 people isn't it? That's a 10 point life (you gain 5 life, 5 other players lose 1 life) swing for 1 mana every time you cast a spell! That's nuts! What about Lurking Predators? A chance at a free creature every time an opponent casts a spell? Sign me up! How about Wight of Precinct Six? That's a sick 2 drop! These kinds of cards are your life-savers and they can legitimately win games if left unchecked. Anything that says "each opponent," "for each opponent," "whenever an opponent," "number of creatures your opponents control," etc. should probably be windmill-slammed in to your decks. These are all mindlessly powerful types of cards that win games. Play them. Moving on, you'll want to look for anything that's durable or recurrable. Durability could mean protection (Blood Baron of Vizkopa, indestructibility (Tajic, Blade of the Legion), regeneration (Mortivore) or even untargetability (Thrun, the Last Troll). Cards such as these are resistant to removal and powerful in combat which will give you an edge in long, grindy games. Recursive creatures are similar but tend to be things like Rot Farm Skeleton that can be "bought back" as required. Again, the idea here is that you'll always have action if you have some of these in your list. Finally, look for cards with persistent effects. Pestilence is a good example. You can activate it as much as you want so it's a great mana sink at any stage of the game. Any card with an activated ability (Olivia Voldaren), or even one that just triggers every turn (Plague Spitter) is probably going to be a solid inclusion.

What Not To Wear
Ok, I've gone over the basics of the kinds of cards that you should be playing with. Let's briefly analyze cards to avoid. First of all, it's important to remember that multiplayer games have multiple opponents. Seems silly but it should significantly improve your deckbuilding. For example, everyone in the world will tell you to run Duress in your Black duel decks. It's a no-brainer. Want to know a horrendous multiplayer card? Duress. 1-for-1 trades are fine in duels because you usually come out ahead on mana/tempo or because it enables you to stifle their gameplan. This doesn't happen in multiplayer. When you Duress Bob you are both down a card, you're down mana, and every other player is now ahead. 2 players are down resources and it didn't cost them anything after all. Value! This is why you should always be weary of spells that just trade 1-for-1. Counters, spot removal, discard, land destruction, all of it is significantly weaker when you're dealing with multiple opponents. Now, you're going to run spot removal. I can't stop you from doing that. Still, I'm going to strongly encourage you to avoid running 1-for-1 spells that don't affect the board. Spot removal, at the very least, kills a 5/5 that's attacking you. Things like discard, land destruction, counterspells, etc. don't. If you play with them then you will probably struggle to win. Now, you will probably have plenty of spells that don't fall in to these categories. You can still probably apply the same logic to them though. If a card is at best a 1-for-1 and if it doesn't affect the board then it's probably not very good. Pump spells (Giant Growth), lifegain (Angel's Mercy), protection effects (Stave Off), rituals (Dark Ritual) and more are all examples of fairly weak cards that you probably shouldn't run if you can afford not to. Another general rule is to avoid Auras. Some exceptions such as Rancor and Unflinching Courage exist but in general you'll just get blown out by removal and eat 2-for-1s all day every day. Don't run them unless you have it on good authority that your particular Aura is "worth the risk." With respect to creatures, again, we need to keep the player count in the back of our minds. You cannot aggro a multiplayer table out of the game so it's kind of pointless to play a deck with a bunch aggressive early drops. At best you kill one player and lose but more realistically you just lose. I generally advocate avoiding 1 drops since they have small bodies and weak abilities (in general, this isn't a hard rule) and I also caution against loading up your decks with weak 2 drops. If we're talking about Scavenging Ooze or Wight of Precinct Six, sure. Those kinds of cards are fine. If we're talking about Elvish Warriors then you're going to struggle in the mid-to-late game. The basic idea here is to play as much "fat" as possible. Play greedy and avoid loading up on early drops if you can (every meta is different) so that you can rip decently-sized bodies throughout the game. As another general rule of thumb is to avoid playing vanilla creature (that is, creatures with no abilities) since you don't want cards that are worthless once the body becomes irrelevant. Centaur Courser may be a 3/3 for 3 but I mean he's going to be worthless the second that people have 4/4s. Dark Imposter may not be the biggest creature ever printed but at least he can still do something on turn 6 when people have big blockers at their disposal. Think big, think late, think versatile.

Sherlock Does it Again
"Geez Tich, you must be some kind of deckbuilding genius. Look at you telling people to play their bombs and to avoid playing obviously bad cards. Yeah, your insights are sooooooo valuable." /sarcasm. Yeah, I get it. Even you, as a newb, have probably figured most of this stuff out already. Still, I'm doing my best here, I don't know why you feel the need to put me down ;~;. I forgive you though. Let's try and cover some things that are less obvious. First of all, I strong advocate playing 4 or so card advantage/draw spells. You know that Blast of genius that you opened? Get that in your deck. Why? Because it finds you your good cards. Your bombs, your global spells, your scaling spells, etc. will all win you games. A random Welkin Tern will not. When you're filling your deck out do your best to get some draw spells in there (if you have some) instead of tossing in some marginal creatures or spells. Staff of Nin may not be very fast but it's still better than a Grizzly Bears or whatever so you may as well play it to dig for your Kalonian Behemoth. Your average card quality is low so you're much better off finding your best stuff and leaning on those cards to win you games. On that note, run a bit of ramp if you have some. "A bit" could be anywhere from 4-6 cards but I mean 4 is a great place to start. You don't need a full playset of anything so I mean if you own 2x Orzhov Keyrune and 2x Orzhov Signet or something then that's perfectly fine. Why is ramp is important? Well, for the same reason that draw is. Most of your cards probably suck so you may as well focus your efforts on casting your best ones. Your best spells are probably expensive though and getting the mana to cast them is always going to be a challenge. Still, decks with draw spells and ramp can consistently find and cast powerful cards and that's probably going to be your best bet to steal a game every now and then. Anyone can cast an Insurrection and win, even you. For the record, I can already smell your tears of disgust. "24-26 lands AND 4 ramp spells. You want me to play a deck with 30 sources of mana? Are you insane? What about my cool spells!?!? I hate you Tich (ノಥ益ಥ)ノ ┻━┻ ." Ok, let's all calm down and take a deep breath. ┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ). Better? I get it. I was the same newbie player with a 73 card deck that had 21 lands. Spells are cool and lands suck. I know. We all know. Still, this is what real Magic looks like. I have seen countless newbs sit around doing nothing because they have 3 lands in play and a hand full of Magmatic Forces. The ratio between loses to mana screw and mana flood isn't even close. It's something like 9:1 in favor of screw. Do yourself a favor and play decks that have lands, ramp and draw spells. That way you have a good chance of hitting steady streams of lands and spells and a good chance of both finding and casting your best stuff. If you're seriously looking to win significantly more games than you currently are then this is probably the best course of action for you to take.

The Influence of Your Actions
If Not Guile, Then What?
Look pal, you spent the first 30 minutes of this lecture talking about how money wins games of Magic then spent the next 45 on building decks with our puny collections. What the heck is wrong with you you hypocritical jerk? No one told me that being a teacher was going to be this hard . I'm getting to the important part, just bear with me for a little longer. First we need to discuss the history of Magic up until this point.

... kidding!

Alright, I know what you're all here for. Hardcore nudity! No, wait, that's wrong. Sorry, we're on the Internet, I kind of forgot that this wasn't porn related. Anyways, what you're still waiting for is a legitimate way to win games even if your card pool isn't the best. I've come out and said that laying low and pouncing sucks. I stand by it. What, then, is my alternative solution? Patience my young apprentice!

Bound by Duty
I'm going to assume that you've played Magic with your playgroup a few times by now. You're a smart person with a head on his or her shoulders and so you probably have a bit of a vibe on who the top dogs are. If you don't, hey, that's fine too. You'll get there soon enough. The point is that you probably know who the best players with the best collections are already. They probably win more than their fair share of games and they probably play cards that make you foam at the mouth. I'm going to tell you something right now and it's probably the most important lines of text in this entire article. I'm even going to bold them for you. You have a duty as a competitor to actively try and defeat the strongest players at some point every session before they assert their dominance or eliminate too many of your potential allies. If you make no moves against them then you will never experience a steady stream success and/or consistently taste victory. You will just lose. This is both saying and not saying a lot of things at the same time. First of all, if you lay low and do nothing then you will continue to (almost) never win. That is a promise, a guarantee... heck, it's my pact with you. Yes, I am that confident about it. You are not in a position to play for the ultra-late game against the best players. Your deck just isn't that good. Playing the back 9 against Tiger Woods isn't going to magically be easy. You're going to get crushed over and over and that's assuming you even make it that far on a regular basis to begin with (spoiler alert: you won't). Don't let anything or anyone trick you into thinking otherwise. However, I am not saying that you need to try and take control of the game for its entire duration. Is that clear? I am in no way telling you to try and pull all the strings in an attempt to mastermind something grandiose. That type of play-style doesn't appeal to most people. I'm aware of this. You just want to have fun playing with your friends, your boyfriend, your family, etc. That is fine. I will never try and take that away from you. Still, I firmly believe that you have a duty to the other competitors to take action against the favorites at some point during a match before they lock the game in their favor. You owe it to everyone else who's trying to win to actively try and win yourself. Get that? A-C-T-I-V-E. I.e the opposite passive. Make a move before it's too late or you'll never achieve the success that you seek.

Life of Pi... Errr... Tich
I'm going to share a personal story with everyone. It's relevant so just put up with it. When I first started playing it was with my best friend and my 2 brothers. My best friend had more cards and more experience with the game so initially he beat us all a bunch. Oh how that enraged me. I couldn't beat him with cards but then I realized that I did have my brothers and my desire to win. Huzzah! Every game I would rally them against him and he'd go down first while trying to take me out. He'd usually fail (it was almost always a 3 vs 1 after all) and I'd proceed to win just about every game. Why? I had the second best selection of cards. Go me! Still, my brothers didn't possess the foresight to rally against me after my best friend fell. None of them ever made an active move against me that the other could rally behind. They splintered and fell once I stopped leading them. For the record I would have easily lost every time. I mean, my friend would go all out on me and there's no way that I would have been able to beat 2 decent decks afterwards. Still, that didn't matter, because they would rather do nothing and lose than actively rally against me and win. For a good ~2ish years I basically never lost a game. Hey, I was a 16 year old punk who only cared about winning. Sue me.

Making The Big Plays
Now, that's all well and good, but what's the lesson to be learned here? What can you do to actively win a game? Your deck isn't great and it's so unrealistic in my opinion to assume that you could magnificently outsmart or outplay the other players (I don't mean that maliciously, not even the favorites should think that). What's our option then? Let's revisit my anecdote for a second. What did I do back then to beat the better player with the better cards? What was my big play every game? I'd rally the weak against the strong, become the strong and beat the weak. Hmmm. Seems logical no? I'm going to teach you a mindset and an argument that will appeal to people on a rational and sensible level. Your entire goal should be to go as far as possible with the weakest possible players. I want everyone to think about the following statement:

"X is currently in a dominant position and has won the majority of our previous games. If we don't form a temporary alliance to take X down then (s)he'll probably win the game like (s)he always does. I'd rather duke it out with you Y or you Z than watch either or us lose to X in the end. We stand a much better chance of beating one another than beating X after all."

That's a compelling argument isn't it? It's rational, it's sensible, it's supported by evidence and it appeals to people on a personal level. Why, then, are people so afraid to employ it? Like, this is a perfectly reasonable claim that will appeal to smart, rational people who're trying to win a strategic card game. Got that? You get to interact with strategic, intelligent people on a strategic, intelligent level. None of this "just outplay everyone" crap. Going as far as you possibly can with the weakest possible players is the best way for anyone to maximize his or her overall win % after all. Table talk is a perfectly fair part of the game and like it or not it's always going to happen. It's also by far and away the best means for the weak to rally against the oppressive and its mere existence should ensure that tyrannies rarely establish themselves. No matter how scary the best player is you should be able to handle him or her if you actively work towards it as a team. I'll admit that being forced to team up on people is never ideal but I mean what's the alternative exactly? If Tich wins every damned game on the back on card quality isn't it irrational and illogical to compete with him on that front? If you truly want to start winning your fair share of games then you need to take the people who're winning more than their fair share down a few pegs.

Is The End in Sight?
Now, why did I share that story first? Why am I telling you something that not everyone will feel comfortable doing in practice? Oh ho, you thought I wouldn't account for that, didn't you? You thought that I forgot about how my brothers didn't rally against me even though they easily could have and even though they saw me do it every game. Right? Magician please. I know that not everyone wants to speak up and take a leadership position. I know that some people frown against open alliances. I've played with more newbs than you could possibly imagine. What's the goal then? What's the key the winning? Get to the damn point already! Sorry, but all of this really was necessary. Hopefully it will all be made clear in an instant.

The Big Reveal
Alright, I'm going to tie this all together as best as I possibly can. The reason why I needed to help you as a deckbuilder is because I need you to be able to offer a team "something" at "some point" during a match to take a dominant player out. Even your bad deck will have some ok cards and those ok cards, in conjunction with the ok cards of other players, can beat the powerful cards of the strongest players. Well, not always, but more often than not. You don't have to make big plays against people all game long but you need to be able to offer something impactful eventually and you owe it to everyone else to use that window to try and make something happen with them. Now, let's get back to the idea of going deep with weak players. See, I have a secret to tell you. You only found out about this article because someone with experience linked it for you. That means that he or she has read and he agrees with it. Ho ho, the plot thickens. I get that you may not want to stand out and try and make the big plays yourself all the time. If you do, awesome! If not, that's cool too. My hope is that the semi-experienced player who showed this article to you is also playing with you. Yeah, you can see where this is going. When he or someone else tries to rally the table against the the person who always wins, wanna know what you're going to do? Well, you'll put that ramp and draw to use by playing your best spells to the best of your abilities to try take out the key threat. You will have an active role in it. Having an active role doesn't mean that you have to initiate the damned thing though. It doesn't mean that you have to explicitly join and/or form an alliance either. Following the charge of another player is just as good. In other words, I simply want you to start taking active roles with respect to advancing your position with other relatively weak players. So, what happens when people try and take out the next threat? Do the same thing! Keep taking out the scary players who always win and rally behind the underdogs trying to make something happen. Don't be afraid to try and stage something yourself every now and then either . Its probably best if everyone shares the burden and makes a stand every once and a while. Eventually you'll start making it further and further with people closer to your own level. Those are people who you stand a chance against, especially if they got beaten up a bit along the way. You can't beat Tiger Woods or Roger Federer but you can take a game off of your dad every now and then after all. You're an underdog but not by that much. He's just an old man after all.

Not The Face D:!
Before I wrap this up I want to take a second to champion why this is such an effective tactic. Something that you've probably noticed in your games is that people are basically never gunning for the newbs. Oh, sure, they often lose early on, but it's not like people are going out of their way to take them out. Here's a tip that will hopefully pan out for you at some point. All thing being equal, the pros would rather see you win than another pro. "Wait? What? That can't be right can it? These guys with their big collections... they must all be best buds! Stupid Tich and his lies." No, seriously, good players hate seeing other good players win. Here's our mindset: "I think that I'm the best player at the table. Therefore, if I know that I'm going to lose, it's in my best interest to try and save face. If I go down beating a weak player I will appear to be on his or her level and that will reflect poorly on me. As such, I should target the strongest players who are close to my level before going down. There is less shame in losing to a strong player than appearing to lose to a weaker one. I could even act as though my intention was never to win but to merely take my rival down." Got it? These guys want you to win. If 3 people ally against me I'm going 100% full kamikaze mode against my best friend (the second best player) or my younger brother (who is good at the game now) or whatever to try take him out. Or, in other words, I'm not going after the 2 newbs. I think that you'll find that most players are like me. Help me help you. If you force the best players to kamikaze against each other you make it easy to get ignored and go far with other weak players. Your weakish cards are still brutally effective when the strongest players are firing their best spells at each other after all. Still, if you do nothing then we will crush you every time. I can't drive that point home hard enough. You are not required to take the "bull by the horns" and plot against me all throughout the match but someone at some point has to make a move against me before I seize control of the match and you better be ready and willing to support that player. Get my back against the wall and force me in to that face-saving kamikaze reaction. It's your free ticket to going deep.

The Influence for this Conclusion
Umm... because every post of this magnitude needs to be wrapped up I guess o.O? After reading this I hope that you, as a newer player, can go out there and start winning some games every now and then. I can't promise you your 20% or anything but I know that you can do better than you current 1.25% or what have you. It starts with building better decks so that you can make meaningful contributions to team exercises. While I'm not expecting people to play the role of "mastermind" I personally believe that you owe it to your fellow competitors to take an active role in your matches at some point. Even if you're just following-up on someone else's initiation, that's fine, just know that if if you sit around and do nothing that you'll inevitably lose like you always do. There's a middle-ground between "doing nothing" and "doing everything" that you'll have to strike if ever want to escape that rut that you're in. With any luck the people around you will share the burden because it's always easier to start something new together. Regardless of where you are as a player I hope that you've taken something from this because I truly believe that more players could be winning more games if they took some gradual steps forward. It doesn't have to be a huge, immediate shift but I mean at some point you have to stop letting people like me get away with murder. It's your duty as a competitor to rise up against the strong. Don't let your fellow competitors down.



Comment away boys and girls. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
I wondered if this essay would appear in these forums, too.   The sarcasm might be over the top, but that IS your online persona, so it fits.

The bound in duty section is perhaps my favorite part of the essay, particularly the bit about players need to be ACTIVELY involved in the game.  Even veteran players would do well to remember this tidbit.

Your observation about veteran players often ignoring new players is an accurate one from my assorted metagames, too.  More anecdotal evidence, but it is there.

The emoticons in the "Sherlock Does It Again" portion of the essay look like a cat walked across your keyboard.  They stand out, but not in a good way.  It could just be on these boards, though.

While addresses to your guides are in your sig, you could get away with openly suggesting people read them in regards to building their card collection.  Statistically, some new players will want to improve, and what better way than to buy singles that work?

Cheers!
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
The emoticons in the "Sherlock Does It Again" portion of the essay look like a cat walked across your keyboard.  They stand out, but not in a good way.  It could just be on these boards, though.



Meaning what exactly?
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Regarding the plan of staying low and not being noticed: It's true that it's not particularly smart to just assume one's opponents won't understand what's happening, but it's a good strategy to avoid big power spikes before one can finish the game. It pays to assume everyone at the table is competent, but that fact can be taken advantage of. Everyone might know that a deck using Syndic of tithes is going to gradually eat them, but that doesn't make it the correct target over Blightsteel Colossus. A well-built budget deck often works like this, with no particular 'big play'. It's less a case of assuming bad threat assessment than one of building a deck that's overshadowed by other, more crucial threats.

>Dissing welkin tern


BLASPHEMY!!!


 

HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
Regarding the plan of staying low and not being noticed: It's true that it's not particularly smart to just assume one's opponents won't understand what's happening, but it's a good strategy to avoid big power spikes before one can finish the game. It pays to assume everyone at the table is competent, but that fact can be taken advantage of. Everyone might know that a deck using Syndic of tithes is going to gradually eat them, but that doesn't make it the correct target over Blightsteel Colossus. A well-built budget deck often works like this, with no particular 'big play'. It's less a case of assuming bad threat assessment than one of building a deck that's overshadowed by other, more crucial threats.



I've read this a few times and I still don't understand what your point is. Could you clarify it for me? I don't want to make a reply until I'm clear about what it is that you're trying to argue.


>Dissing welkin tern


BLASPHEMY!!!




My dad could beat up your dad. Get dunked kid.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
The emoticons in the "Sherlock Does It Again" portion of the essay look like a cat walked across your keyboard.  They stand out, but not in a good way.  It could just be on these boards, though.



Meaning what exactly?

Meaning change them or delete them.  On the MTGS boards, the emoticons look better. 

Cheers!
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Regarding the plan of staying low and not being noticed: It's true that it's not particularly smart to just assume one's opponents won't understand what's happening, but it's a good strategy to avoid big power spikes before one can finish the game. It pays to assume everyone at the table is competent, but that fact can be taken advantage of. Everyone might know that a deck using Syndic of tithes is going to gradually eat them, but that doesn't make it the correct target over Blightsteel Colossus. A well-built budget deck often works like this, with no particular 'big play'. It's less a case of assuming bad threat assessment than one of building a deck that's overshadowed by other, more crucial threats.



I've read this a few times and I still don't understand what your point is. Could you clarify it for me? I don't want to make a reply until I'm clear about what it is that you're trying to argue.



Yeah, I didn't write it out particularly well. I'm not really opposing the article, just making the point that 'staying under the radar' doesn't necessarily mean 'relying on incorrect threat assessment', which seems to be a fairly common idea. Sometimes people think that laying low in a game means using mind games to trick every other player, but all it really requires is to have the resources to defend oneself while one's opponents are forced to deal with more immediate threats.

I mentioned Syndic of Tithes because Orzhov decks have a lot of tools to pull that strategy off. One of my own more successful decks is Kavu tribal, and it doesn't win through mind games. People just need to kill Verdant Force more than they need to kill Kavu Howler.
Meaning change them or delete them.  On the MTGS boards, the emoticons look better. 



They seem fine to me O.O.


Yeah, I didn't write it out particularly well. I'm not really opposing the article, just making the point that 'staying under the radar' doesn't necessarily mean 'relying on incorrect threat assessment', which seems to be a fairly common idea. Sometimes people think that laying low in a game means using mind games to trick every other player, but all it really requires is to have the resources to defend oneself while one's opponents are forced to deal with more immediate threats.



I see what you're saying but I'm not altogether sure how to respond to it. What you're saying basically agrees with what I'm arguing for after all. If one player has Verdant Force it falls on other people, multiple people, to band together to stop the player from spiralling out of control. I personalyl that you, the guy with the Kavu deck, owes it to the table to contribute in taking that player out. When someone nukes the player's board you should be ready and willing to attack and kill the player if needed before he regains control of the game.

As long as you keep taking stronger players out you can go deep with other people playing "fun" decks. Your cards match up well against their cards and so you stand a good chance of beating them in the end. Kavu aren't amazing but they're not terrible either after all. As long as you help the others take the strong players out then you should experience success with the Kavu deck.

Does that make sense? My argument is basically that if you sit on your little island and do nothing that you'll probably still lose in the end. It takes an alliance of many people to handle the guy slamming Verdant Forces into play and you owe it to everyone else to do your part. People who never act inevitably lose but people who take a stand with the other underdogs can experience non-trivial amounts of success.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
It's been a while since I've seen you on the boards...been on a mission trip lately?    Seriously, jokes aside, it's a different board without you, Artvenn, and CadaverousBloom blowing the decklists up.  Welcome back.  I like the article, though it could probably be boiled down to about 1/10th the size.  Still, good stuff.

I can't say I identify with it too much, I actually hate the "team up" idea, as I'm the one teamed up against in my group.  The odd thing is that what I just said is only a little self-serving, not a lot.  The players in my group are a lot closer in deck power than they tend to think because I build my decks with power levels of the overall group in mind.  I actually think a lot like you on deck building and playing, and you have taught me a lot that I was too lazy over the decades to learn, but I still pull back on a lot of nasty stuff because it would destroy the vibe of the group, and I'm held back at times from really letting loose.  Lately, because I'm the best in-game player (not because my decks are all that much better), the group saves removal back for just me even when there are better targets.  While it is true that you can't win versus four to five players in almost any situation, it doesn't occur to them that they are starting to play against me, instead of playing to win.  I don't like this trend.  I believe you should always play to what is actually happening in any given game, not on what might happen theoretically.  Yeah, if someone goes out on a limb and tries to take over, totally let him have it.  But I'm getting hammered regardless by two or more players at the same time no matter what I'm actually doing or not doing, until I'm annihilated and then they look around, see I'm broken, and so finish me off to "speed the game up", never minding the fact that I'm in the state I am because they just raped me as a group, and so they do it again.  So now I'm hosed in my group.  If I want to win, I either have to spend a @#$@-wad of money to amp the decks to stupid power levels and blow the group up, or else risk not winning at all because they apparently believe they are more inferior than they are (so they play to kill me first instead of playing to win), or else leave the group because they can't keep their priorities straight.  It's one thing to band together at the right moments to win like you are saying, it's something else entirely to start banded together to straight shut out a player from even having any fun.  Although I'm the best in-game player in the group, I couldn't muster a single win the last time we played.  I wasn't having particularly good draws that day and I was still relentlessly pounded.

I tried to hint at that the last time, but all one person would say is I should be honored that I'm always the target, like it's some kind of bloody compliment.  It isn't, it's killing any fun I might have, whether I win or not, and could force me to leave a group I've been playing with for 20+ years.  So if you would add anything to the article from the end of this rant, it would be that beginner players can certainly use what you suggest to improve their odds, but at some point they need to start thinking for themself, and not gang mentality the best player.  Instead, play to what is actually coming out so you keep perspective on what you need to do to individually win.  Each person's win-trigger (what they do and when to pop it off) is equally as important as the win con in your actual deck, and can vastly differ from player to player in the same game.  SO THINK before you just nuke one person for @#$# and giggles.  It actually should serve a purpose that improves your ability to win, or else you're just being a dick head, and some of my friends were serious dick heads last time when it wasn't necessary.

No matter the level you're at, pro or newb or somewhere in between, it is never good form to group choke a player all day long when the cards aren't there to justify it, and is never fun to be on the receiving end of a gang **** that isn't needed.
The intent of this article is to help players who can't compete with your cards beat you anyways. Your experience, if nothing else, proves that the tactic works. I did not write this so that people could beat you once only to have everything go back to normal immediately after. I want you, as the guy who usually wins, to stop winning all the damned time. For the past 20 years you've probably been winning way more than your fair share and that's finally changing. You don't like it, I don't blame you, but it's a good thing in my point of view. You may be unhappy now but they've been unhappy for 20 years so I'm not rushing over to sympathize with you. You deserve to lose the vast majority of your games because the alternative involves you winning  them. There's no middle-ground when it comes to a resource management game such as MTG. Your cards and strategies are better so left to own devices you will reap unbound success. If people can't compete with you on card quality then it has to be on the back of card quantity. You want people to ignore you and "assess the situation themselves" which basically means that you want them to make mistakes and target other people instead of you. That way you can back to winning again. That's not my goal.

With respect to leaving your playgroup, hey, do what you have to do. It's your life and you can pursue your own happiness. What I see is a big fish in a small pond who never moved on and 20 years later it's finally come back to haunt him. It's not realistic to think that you could just magically make new friends and join another one but at the same time it's also clear that your meta has had enough of your dominance and I can't blame them for what they're doing. No matter what you say they probably all win a lot more now and I bet that they have a lot more fun too. If you know that someone is going to win then it often feels pointless to even play because the conclusion is already foregone. It's like watching a movie that you already know the end to. Look atthis from their perspective. You're the top dog and they're the peons. If they play with you and ignore you then 20 years of experience has taught them that you'll dominate. Now they've realized that if they just take you out first then the game opens up for everyone. The choice, then, is between their happiness or yours. They've chosen to maximize the overall happiness for the great number of people. I can't say that I blame them. Can you?

For the record I've experienced the same thing as you. I was the guy who always won for years but I took active steps to change that and now I'm in a position where I'm lucky to take a match every month. People who don't even own Magic cards go deeper than me on a regular basis because I'm the guy who writes all of the MTG articles and so people "better team up on me before it's too late." Still, I think that you'll find that in time you'll stop being a punching bag and start being "one of the guys" again. As long as you keep your decks in check and as long as you stop winning entirely then people will eventually move on. If that's good enough for you, that's fine. If that'll cause you to quit, that's unfortunate but I mean that's fine too. Still, I don't see why it would make sense to fight for you. I mean, it didn't make sense to fight for myself. The person at the very top doesn't need any favors or help. They get there and they stay there for a reason and so it's just completely illogical to ignore them. You can pretend like other people bigger threats but I mean that's probably a lie. I know that I'm still the biggest threat at our games even if my decks aren't filled with infinite combos or whatever. I will win the game if I make it to the final 3. You would too right? I mean, let's call a spade a spade. Your playgroup won't outplay you and they certainly won't beat you with card quality. You've left them with few options and so they're just doing what's necessary. I can personally respect that and that's why I'm still excited to play the game. I want to win but I'm fine with having to earn it.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
I think something should be said about instant-target cards. Like somebody plays a suture priest and immediately becomes the threat...which can be justifiable if you're playing a token deck, but some people have an irrational vendetta against certain cards. My point is that some cards have to be built around properly. How do you think most people would react to you playing a tainted aether? Would they all most likely band together just to kill you off? It's these kinds of "universal" effects newer players need to watch out for. Tainted aether isn't unplayable, but you have to really build around it if you want to survive being the threat.

This may be different, depending on the meta, but most players like to "build-up" or "turtle" until somebody "goes-off," which you've touched on already. I'm really glad that you mentioned the need to basically poke-n-prod the combo players so they don't instantly win. Too many times does this happen in my group.

@ E_K: Most players in my group don't pay attention, and because I'm one of the few people who casts a spell and reads the name and effect out-loud, people only know what I'm doing, and target me because I'm "threatening" (a.k.a. doing stuff). At least your group is playing the game, mine starts up the xbox halfway through.
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
I think something should be said about instant-target cards. Like somebody plays a suture priest and immediately becomes the threat...which can be justifiable if you're playing a token deck, but some people have an irrational vendetta against certain cards.



I don't see how not wanting to lose life every time that I play a spell is irrational. You are passively hurting me and you should be held accountable for your actions. Furthermore, I believe that it's perfectly rational to hate on these kinds of cards if they have a track record of winning/ruining games. Soul Warden on turn 1 has won a lot of people around here entire games since they jump up to 80 life. Why, then, would we not hate on the card in future games? We know what the outcome is otherwise.

My point is that some cards have to be built around properly. How do you think most people would react to you playing a tainted aether? Would they all most likely band together just to kill you off? It's these kinds of "universal" effects newer players need to watch out for. Tainted aether isn't unplayable, but you have to really build around it if you want to survive being the threat.



What are you arguing for here exactly? New players with small collections can't support niche cards very easily and they'll usually stuggle to defeat people who can field decks that support powerful cards. This is why they need to rely on card quantity and not synergistic quality.

This may be different, depending on the meta, but most players like to "build-up" or "turtle" until somebody "goes-off," which you've touched on already. I'm really glad that you mentioned the need to basically poke-n-prod the combo players so they don't instantly win. Too many times does this happen in my group.



Exactly. It needs to stop. Doing nothing is not a sound strategy. It doesn't win you games if your decks aren't powerful.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
I would argue that players should not just knee jerk and swing at alpha dog, not because it's me but because it's lazy.  I've spent the time to learn about the rules, the stack timing, and the other mechanics.  I survey what's going on, assess the flow of the game and make the most sound choice for myself even if it means ignoring a person who has it in for me in a given game.  If I do it, is it really too much to ask other people to play less lazy?  It's not like I'm being a hypocrite.  I have won more than my share over time, but I earned those wins.

Now, if it were only newbs at the table, I could accept it.  I get it for that given scenario.  I'll happily chalk it up to teaching them the ropes.  Hell, I'll even help them kill me to teach them better play strategies.  That's just who I am and I love it when people catch on fire about this game like I have.  But when the folks all opposite of me have similarly powered decks, and 15+ years of their own experience in 2/3 of the cases, it moves into the realm of a dick move.  If you are not playing to win and make decisions to hose someone that would have been better used on a different card/player for your own benefit then why are you even there?  Are you there simply to ruin my night? It's even worse when someone pulls out a deck specifically to hose you with things like targeted land destruct, but has no win con in it and no way of even "lucking" into a win.  We only play every three months or so because of our busy family lives, so if I get dicked over in just one night it can be 6+ months until I can see a win.  It just makes that kind of irresposible play sting all the more.   I'd say I probably won't engender any sympathy given the article you wrote, but I have a very legitimate beef in my opinion.

I'm not saying I have to win any games at all in a Magic night.  If the cards aren't there or someone is simply hitting on all cylinders with a great run of cards, then I am happy for them and I still have fun AND I AM THE FIRST ONE TO CONGRATULATE THEM FOR WELL-PLAYED MOVE.  But when you are having an off night (and they know it because they know I don't bluff), and they still annihilate me anyway when that's not even close to the best move, that's just not cool.  And when they do it all day long, that is really not cool.

In the past, I played with 12+ decks and didn't hesitate to blow up my collection with a tectonic upheaval in decklists to stay a step ahead and zig when they zag.  I never rested on my laurels which is partly why I've won more.  Here's the rub.  I can no longer afford to do that. I have a wife and kid, and the budget isn't there.  I've nuked 2/3 of my decks to have trade bait for future adjustments, but I've never had a large collection to begin with.  It's always been about my decks.  I've accepted that I have to come down to a lower level, I just hope they realize that and adjust accordingly.  I start to conclude by saying that there is a fine line between banding together as a LEGITIMATE strategy and straight up being a dick and it's easy to cross before you even realize it.  I believe it's ludicrous to think that you have a right to play lazy and still win as much as the guy that outworks you, outstudies you, and frankly outplays you.  Ganging up when your budget is the same, your years in the game is the same, and when your decks are the same is just plain wrong.  It's lazy.
Nice post Tich.
Haven't seen you round here for a while.

 
No matter the level you're at, pro or newb or somewhere in between, it is never good form to group choke a player all day long when the cards aren't there to justify it, and is never fun to be on the receiving end of a gang **** that isn't needed.



Fair enough.
But....
Should I be playing "Ï win!" combo, I expect to get targeted HARD. 
But if not - yeah that gets old pretty quick.
I usually bring change decks every game when I'm copping target-status. 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />

Yeah, I didn't write it out particularly well. I'm not really opposing the article, just making the point that 'staying under the radar' doesn't necessarily mean 'relying on incorrect threat assessment', which seems to be a fairly common idea. Sometimes people think that laying low in a game means using mind games to trick every other player, but all it really requires is to have the resources to defend oneself while one's opponents are forced to deal with more immediate threats.



I see what you're saying but I'm not altogether sure how to respond to it. What you're saying basically agrees with what I'm arguing for after all. If one player has Verdant Force it falls on other people, multiple people, to band together to stop the player from spiralling out of control. I personalyl that you, the guy with the Kavu deck, owes it to the table to contribute in taking that player out. When someone nukes the player's board you should be ready and willing to attack and kill the player if needed before he regains control of the game.

As long as you keep taking stronger players out you can go deep with other people playing "fun" decks. Your cards match up well against their cards and so you stand a good chance of beating them in the end. Kavu aren't amazing but they're not terrible either after all. As long as you help the others take the strong players out then you should experience success with the Kavu deck.

Does that make sense? My argument is basically that if you sit on your little island and do nothing that you'll probably still lose in the end. It takes an alliance of many people to handle the guy slamming Verdant Forces into play and you owe it to everyone else to do your part. People who never act inevitably lose but people who take a stand with the other underdogs can experience non-trivial amounts of success.



Yeah, as I say I'm not in disagreement. I'm just going on a tangent that touches on the topic. I wouldn't frame it in the socially-conscious terms of 'owing it to the table', but it's in a deck's own interest to ensure that an opponent doesn't go off, and to cooperate with others if that's what they need to do.

My initial point was just that in discussions of newbie deckbuilding, 'flying under the radar' generally gets a bad rap because it's generally taken to mean 'putting together a combo and hoping nobody notices' (which we do see an awful lot in these forums). But on a higher level, there's an entire, successful style of multiplayer strategy that relies on threat management over raw power or open politicking, and that's the point on the spectrum where budget decks often lie. Again, not arguing on any particular point you've made, just going on a tangent that's relevant to the subject matter.

Elder_Kraken: Well I sympathise. Or, well, I mean I don't feel your pain (I am awful at the game and haven't played for about 2 1/2 years anyway), but it sounds like your group are, well, jerks. Maybe take a little time out and let them find someone else to kill? Maybe if the focus is off you, someone sle can become 'the threat'. But then, if you're meeting that infrequently, I guess a couple of sessions off would have you not playing for a year.
This may be different, depending on the meta, but most players like to "build-up" or "turtle" until somebody "goes-off," which you've touched on already. I'm really glad that you mentioned the need to basically poke-n-prod the combo players so they don't instantly win. Too many times does this happen in my group.



Exactly. It needs to stop. Doing nothing is not a sound strategy. It doesn't win you games if your decks aren't powerful.



Just want to poke in here for some questions and comments about "turtleing" in games.

What do people here suggest to help making people stop turteling?  At my school club, our playgroup likes doing that a lot.  The first few turns, hey, whatever, I can see why you didn't want to swing with your 2/2 to be smaked in the face by the next 5 players 1/1s and 2/2s because you left yourself open. No problem.

Turn 4-5?  I want to start trying to win: I got my stuff, and I'm ready to roll.  I attack.  First response: "WHY ME?!" It's gotten to the point where 3 of my friends have "passive" decks that win by sitting there: hissing miasmas, batwing brumes, and agent of masks and just waiting.  Either this, or sphere of safetys with 30 pacifism effects plus lands, then hope to draw their 1 evasive creature

How can I get my friends to stop doing this?  They feel magic isn't fun if they don't get their "deck to work".

I'm also asking because when they do turtle, and games come to a "stalemate", it makes newer, lesser skilled players in the club feel like they'd never win a game anyways.

Our group used to turtle every game, and each game took like 2-3 hours.  We solved that in two ways.  First, someone started using evasive creatures and pumping them with what was available at the time (auras because equipment wasn't around).  Second, we all started packing nukes.  As soon as things started to turtle...BOOM!  The mad scramble to re-load always ended up with several people dying.  As a result years down the road, say if I have a less than great hand and hold my punches, people immediately assume I'm turtleing and attack me to speed the game, only partly because I'm the "threat".  There is also a sense that a patient deck is suspicious and so aggro decks are very prevalent, as are decks that actively do something, like my drain deck, or someone else's extortion deck.  more recently, decks that use graveyard recursion to generate CA without burning a lot of cards (ala Recurring Nightmare) have come under serious fire.  Our meta changes over time on what people react to, bit it is fairly consistent that a person who isn't expending resources is automatically under suspicion and draws heat.  going back to turtle busting, though, there are so many sweepers now that exist that I have a hard time believing that turtleing is even possible anymore.
I think it's important to note that my rant went off target AGAIN of what Tich was getting at.  To get back to it, I like his suggestions on deck improvements.  I do not, in any way, agree with the gang up mentality he's promoting for several reasons.

1. In a stable group that has experienced players, they should be stepping the new players along so that they get strategy and play help.  It's a big, complicated game, and takes some time to master.  In my own group, we have a couple of new players, and I do everything I can to help them both learn the difference between an OK play, a good play, and the play that will put them in the best position they can with their limited resources, even if that move hoses me over.  I'll even have them back-up moves to nuke me if it makes sense.  I'm not out to hoard over my experience...rather I want to see them be able to play competitively as soon as they can (and after they have a bit of time to improve their deck list, too, because Tich is right that there is a lot of moneyball played in Magic).
2. Gang-style beatdowns have no honor, and nothing to be happy about at the end of the day.  The experienced player is like Bruce Lee.  He's a stud, he has the moves and the skill to take anyone down.  In the movies, he can beat five guys with bats without breaking a sweat.  In real life, though, five gangsters with bats kill Bruce Lee EVERY fight, every day, and twice on Sunday.  There is no skill involved.  Swing with enough bats, and something will always connect.  No player regardless of skill level should have to try and thread that assault just to win out.  New players can certainly try to get some wins by cherry picking a natural situation when it comes up if they have decks built like Tich has suggested.  There is actually no need for them to form a coaltion that has a target on one person from the start.  Again, no skill, no chances = no actual victory that is worthwhile.  It's cowardly and lowest-common-denominator.
3. If, and I stress "if", the person needs to have coalitions to get the hang of the game, it should be in a situation where the game is a designated learning situation, so that the veteran is in teacher mode, and it becomes a challenge that can be looked forward to.  But game after game of warding off those bats is just a kill joy.  Any lazy butt can get enough other lazy butts together to beat any player, so there is no merit to that win.  Such group situations should have a lifespan, therefore, like a year at most, and not all day everyday.
4. Too much can be too good of a thing.  I had to endure two years of hard time as we taught my best friend's youngest brother as he learned to read by learning Magic.  My friend built him a suicide red deck to teach him with.  Well, it so happened this kid adored me, his "uncle Ken", and he showed his adoration by attacking me relentlessly all game, every game.  I usually beat him, but was always so wounded by the time I dispatched him that the others would just cherry pick me to death, and I rarely if ever won.  This went on for two years.  That was only one player.  More dog piling with more players is just not necessary.

Ironically, that's what they try to put my best friend's oldest son up to with his sliver deck.  A lot of my decks used artifacts and enchantments extensively until I made my last changes.  Whenever the Harmonic Sliver comes out, the whole table (and I'm talking everyone) practically screams for him to nuke everything I have, even if they have greater threats on the table.  Again, that is lazy and cowardly, and no newb should aspire to copy mediocrity.  Again, any five schlubs with bats can take down Bruce Lee.  So what's the point?  You want to join the lowest common denominator thug?  Fine, but you won't have my respect.  I'd rather teach his son to make proper decisions with his resources to win on his own merits.  The games are more fun with evenly skilled players than not, and he can feel proud when he makes excellent plays.  When we play Emperor's and he's on my team, I take that as a chance to really give him some concentrated instruction on options and ramifications of those various options, and he seems to be very receptive to that.  The other player, not as much.  She just copies what her husband does, and that usually involves attacking me with a lame excuse of why I should be first, and why that's a compliment.  But I still try to teach her, too.  I probably won't leave the group, as they are practically family, but it irks me that they are training new players to copy their bad tendencies.
Yeah, it's a lot harder to turtle if you blow the turtle to bits. Oblivion Stone, Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, Damnation, All is Dust, Nevinyrral's Disk, even temp solutions like Evacuation or Kederekt Leviathan can shake things up nicely.
IMAGE(http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/225/8/9/bloodgift_demon_sig_banner_by_voidelemental-d46gjhm.jpg)
My point is that some cards have to be built around properly. How do you think most people would react to you playing a tainted aether? Would they all most likely band together just to kill you off? It's these kinds of "universal" effects newer players need to watch out for. Tainted aether isn't unplayable, but you have to really build around it if you want to survive being the threat.



What are you arguing for here exactly? New players with small collections can't support niche cards very easily and they'll usually stuggle to defeat people who can field decks that support powerful cards. This is why they need to rely on card quantity and not synergistic quality.



I know most newbies just throw all of their black cards in a pile with some swamps and call it a deck, and most of those cards are creatures. You've even mentioned how most creatures in a newbie deck can't even compare with those in a finely-tuned deck, and I agree. So how would "quantity" outclass "quality?" A decent token-producing deck can create more token creatures than a newbie-deck can dish out non-creature spells. And synergy does make a deck better. My original point is that new players need to be careful with their card choices so that it doesn't screw them over.

I agree with you about suture priest, though. By itself, it is very annoying and should be killed. But if you play a suture priest that is preventing a player from obtaining infinite 1/1 tokens, and another player kills it because they just don't like it, what's the logic there? 

Soul warden doesn't actively hurt anybody, and because my group likes to turtle, that player is left alone...to gain oodles of life. I've since taken advantage of this fact. ;)
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
@Keino:

It almost sounds like you're asking on the psychology of why people do irrational things in the game.  I'm pretty sure we couldn't give you an answer on that.  The basis for running Suture Priest as a newbie, though, is that it both helps you and hurts your opponent and it's a common.  If they kill it, great, I just drew out some spot removal that isn't going to kill my singleton of that ultra-cool angel I pulled from a pack yesterday.  If they go after me, well, that's a risk to be sure, but it's good enough that I would consider running it anyway.  Packing as many cheap threats into your deck as you can helps you to withstand more veteran players.  I can't think of anyone, though, that will irrationally try to kill you just because you paid for a 2cmc drop that is easily dispatched.  And if they leave it in play?  Well, that can work really well for you.  Either way, not including it because someone might go after it is basically admitting that you're only going to play fluffy, non-threatening (read as non-winning) decks.  I believe like Tich that you should load as many threats into the deck as you can.  To my thinking Suture Priest is a budget global bomb that I can easily get four of for both a low cost creature and powerful effect.

Myself, I kill Soul Warden and others like it when I think it will be a problem, but I usually just let it run.  Life is easily dealt with in late game, when it's not infinite, so I don't worry too much until I feel it's becoming a problem.  It dies when I pop my sweepers anyway.

On turtleing, I'm really shocked that veteran players allow a group to turtle.  It absolutely kills game tempo, and lets people save up their combo pieces for a better time, adding to uncertainty on the flow of the game.  I personally don't particularly care if other people turtle, though, because I pack turtle bombs and some of my decks work better when left alone, but in no way do I intend to start a turtle session, and I don't let it go long in any case.  As an example, my drain deck loves to be left alone, but I don't need that long and my turtle buster, Damnation is just waiting for the Massacre Wurm and Deathgreeter to take over the game, and/or a Bojuka Bog ready to drop to shut down graveyard hijinks from the biggest reanimation threat.  In most cases, turtleing only favors the veterans who can take advantage of the cold war build up.  So, in my humble opinion, a newb should build as many global threats into the deck as they can along the lines of what Tich suggested, and avoid turtling at all costs.  Cheap cards and $1 crap rares like Savage Twister, Infest, or even the occassional Flamebreak style card is a new player's friend, because it just shuts down so many advanced things like the currently-loved token decks, and they give early game protection to them, too.  Sweepers that target artifacts and enchantments are also really smart, because a lot of veterans build decks that utilize them extensively trusting that people aren't going to waste deck space on these sweepers.  They're cheap, and can really disrupt patient, turtle decks, but also thwart aggro decks that pile on the auras and equipment on cheap drops.

I can't say enough that I love the deck suggestions that Tich put forward.  It is solid, solid, solid.  There are so many budget global effects of every type that a new player can easily nuke just about anything that won't also hose him (although starting over isn't always a bad idea if the game's already out of control), and one card can ease having to draw five or six to deal with a pack of threats.  Add that into a deck that is drawing more cards than usual, and they can win out with quantity over quality.  A great budget sweeper for black that works even against things like Phyrexian Obliterator, or Thrun, or (insert your favorite beater creature) is Black Sun's Zenith, as you can get copies for $2 each online.  That's easily affordable on even a high schooler's budget.  Add in a playset of Exsanguinate and Syphon Mind, and you've got global protection galore, card draw, and global drain for little to nothing.  A second color gives anti-artifact and enchantment sweeping.  Why would anyone want to turtle with so much cheap stuff available?  Since an advanced player can put a budget MP deck together, why shouldn't the new player?  If the example list above also put in the Suture Priest, with white as the 2nd color, the new player can put together a pretty stiff, but totally budget drain/extortion deck that fears no artifact/enchantment control deck.  That will be just as competitive as most other players and is easy to pull off.  The secondary card market is truly a great way to even the card pool because the sites have multiples of the cheap cards a new player would want.  Cards which are no longer in Standard tend to plummet, and so they are not out of the question in many cases.  What once was $10, can go to $2, and so forth and so on, and side-steps your local store selection and avoids buying boxes and boxes of boosters just to end up with a smattering of what they want.

This is another reason why I don't really believe a new player needs to pack together to beat the veteran.  The internet has made getting the needed cards so easy and cheap that there is no reason why a new player can't put together one or two solid decks in just a couple of months time.  And the more mistakes they make in a game (especially if the veterans help them analyze those errors), the faster they learn.  Just my two cents.

I might just put the example I pulled out of my hiney above into a new deck for my son instead of a R/G creature deck to teach him with.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />1. In a stable group that has experienced players, they should be stepping the new players along so that they get strategy and play help.  It's a big, complicated game, and takes some time to master.  In my own group, we have a couple of new players, and I do everything I can to help them both learn the difference between an OK play, a good play, and the play that will put them in the best position they can with their limited resources, even if that move hoses me over.  I'll even have them back-up moves to nuke me if it makes sense.  I'm not out to hoard over my experience...rather I want to see them be able to play competitively as soon as they can (and after they have a bit of time to improve their deck list, too, because Tich is right that there is a lot of moneyball played in Magic).



This isn't really an argument against what I'm proposing because they can both be done simultaneously. You can guide people along as they learn the ropes in addition to having them team up against you. The reality is that your help alone will not accomplish much and that newer players tend to win roughly 0% of the games. Unless drastic steps are taken to guide them then it's improbable for them to ever "earn" a win through skill and proper play.

2. Gang-style beatdowns have no honor, and nothing to be happy about at the end of the day.  The experienced player is like Bruce Lee.  He's a stud, he has the moves and the skill to take anyone down.  In the movies, he can beat five guys with bats without breaking a sweat.  In real life, though, five gangsters with bats kill Bruce Lee EVERY fight, every day, and twice on Sunday.  There is no skill involved.  Swing with enough bats, and something will always connect.  No player regardless of skill level should have to try and thread that assault just to win out.  New players can certainly try to get some wins by cherry picking a natural situation when it comes up if they have decks built like Tich has suggested.  There is actually no need for them to form a coaltion that has a target on one person from the start.  Again, no skill, no chances = no actual victory that is worthwhile.  It's cowardly and lowest-common-denominator.



You're not looking at it from the weak player's perspective. What's the point in fighting Bruce Lee one on one? How is losing horribly fun? You say that my strategy has "nothing to be happy about" but I couldn't disagree less. Fighting Bruce lee "honorably" is complete suicide that virtually cannot end well for his opposition. You will lose and you will feel bad about it. Beating Bruce Lee, on the other hand, is an amazing feeling. It's Bruce ****ing Lee and you just kicked his ass! Who wouldn't brag about that? Here's reality. Even if teaming up on the champ isn't "honorable" that doesn't actually matter because honor is a fluffy nonsense term that means different things to different people. What we do know is that success makes people happy so anything that can help an average Joe best a known pro is probably going to create happiness for someone.

3. If, and I stress "if", the person needs to have coalitions to get the hang of the game, it should be in a situation where the game is a designated learning situation, so that the veteran is in teacher mode, and it becomes a challenge that can be looked forward to.  But game after game of warding off those bats is just a kill joy.  Any lazy butt can get enough other lazy butts together to beat any player, so there is no merit to that win.  Such group situations should have a lifespan, therefore, like a year at most, and not all day everyday.



This, to me, is something that a tyrant would say. "You are allowed to congragate together as I deem fit." Does that not strike you as wrong? Are you not lording over your peers at that point? I basically don't see how a reasonable person could say to his friends and family "I'm going to decide when you people can form alliances." People make fun of me for having a God complex and stuff on these forums all the time but even I'm not that conceited.

4. Too much can be too good of a thing.  I had to endure two years of hard time as we taught my best friend's youngest brother as he learned to read by learning Magic.  My friend built him a suicide red deck to teach him with.  Well, it so happened this kid adored me, his "uncle Ken", and he showed his adoration by attacking me relentlessly all game, every game.  I usually beat him, but was always so wounded by the time I dispatched him that the others would just cherry pick me to death, and I rarely if ever won.  This went on for two years.  That was only one player.  More dog piling with more players is just not necessary.



Rivals, whether we want them or not, are going to manifest themselves from time-to-time. I don't think anyone here will be surprised to hear that I myself have had and still have multiples. All thing beings equal these players target me and if they know that they're going to lose then they kamikaze against me. This is not an excuse to get ignored by others. I know that getting beaten when you're down sucks but people are going to play to win and if that means picking the low-hanging fruit then so be it. You don't deserve to get ignored just because someone tried to take you out. People playing to win should see a strong player in a weak position and make move against him before he can recover. Going deep with weak players is a fantastic way to win games and everyone has to lose before you can win. It just makes sense to punce on every opportunity presented to you to eliminate a key threat.

You want to join the lowest common denominator thug?  Fine, but you won't have my respect.

 

This, again, is where you assign a lot of weight to your approval. Let me make something clear; no one gives a **** if respect how they win or not. Now, I am not saying this to belittle you. What I'm telling you right here and now is something that I've had to tell myself many times. Like, you know me for the same reason that everyone knows me. I'm "that guy" who writes "those guides" on "those forums." People always want me to check their decks, their Cubes, play games with them, whatever. Want to know something though? None of them care about having my approval to win. They just want to beat the champ and it doesn't matter how that's accomplished.

Am I happy to lose? No, never. I want to win. I always do. That being said, I respect when people play to win themselves. You do a lot to create the illusion of parity but I can't help but feel like you earned your reputation somehow. People didn't just wake up one day and beat on the guy who won 20% of the time. You probably built very strong decks that routinely crushed the table or seized control of the game. It's likely that you played these kinds of decks over and over to assert your dominance. I ****ing did too. I was a dumb high-school kid who didn't think that it was problem. When people pick on me now I understand why they do it. I was a big fish in a small pond and people don't want that to return.

Now, let me start by saying that I'm not just gang-banged out of every game. I've taken active steps to reduce my win% and to increase the power level of the decks being played by other people. As such I'm not even a lock to win even when I go deep. Because of this I'm usually seen as "someone to watch out for" but not "someone to kill at all costs." I'm content with that. It's what I deserve and I'm glad that people recognize that.

I'd rather teach his son to make proper decisions with his resources to win on his own merits.



You're not God. You can't make a draft deck filled with Warpath Ghouls beat one of your real decks. No amount of teaching can. Magic is a virtually a "pay-to-win" game and you cannot teach people to overcome the ludicrously unfavorable odds that they'll be facing down. If you somehow can, good on you, I just think that you're once again overestimating your own abilities. I have never seen a weak player take a casual deck built from a small collection and outplay a table to victory. 12 years of Magic and it's never happened. People are either gifted wins or they ride a pain train to the very end and eventually beat someone close to their level as the top dogs are slain for them.

I have one last thing to add. As I alluded to earlier, I'm assuming that you're downplaying your dominance. I too played in a meta with people who had similar (or even better) collections than me. That doesn't mean that I still didn't win most of our games. I don't care how much you invest because there's no way that you're cheaper than me. I rarely buy cards but I made my purchases over 12 years and what I have acquired is powerful. My collection may be worth 1/10th of someone else's but I'm not a collector. I look for strong Black cards, buy those and ignore everything else. I don't spend much but what I do spend money on counts. Remember, I'm the gy who buys a card once and then rotates across all of his decks. I've played the same 4 Phyrexian Arenas in like a thousand different decks. I'm cheaper than anyone on this forum but I found ways to stretch my dollars and over 12 years I've acquired a decent collection of Black playables without spending much.

You could easily be like me. If you have talent and powerful cards then you probably won way too much like I did. Even if people have spent more than you they probably didn't spend it wiser. If your card pool is truly "fine" relatively speaking and if you truly don't deserve to get ganged-up on then you have my sympathies. Still, I'm inclined to believe that you're just another person like me. You're a sharp guy who's smart with money and who can stretch his dollars insanely far if needed. You can also play your cards well and build solid decks that a normal player couldn't compete with. I feel as though people felt your dominance in the same way that they felt mine and they just need some time to get over it. I gave it to mine and things are back to a place where I'm content. A tyrant can't just go silently in the night; they have to be publicly executed in a gigantic spectacle. Everyone has to get involved and make a big deal of it. I can accept that. If you are anything like me then you probably deserve what you're experiencing in the same way that I did. I do think that your situation will improve shortly though. I mean, most people are fairly reasonable individuals at the end of the day.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
That's why new players need to draw up a deck on paper, make proxies, test it, then once everything is working, buy the cards. It's like "measure twice, cut once," only with proxies it's, "play five times, buy once." That way they don't have six large boxes of commons and uncommons that are, by and large, useless.

Also, new players should buy cards online and in bulk. You usually get a discount on large purchases, plus the tax and shipping costs are lower if you just fill in 1 large order. Magic is a "pay-to-win" game, I always knew that growing up with it, so if veterans teach new players to spend their money wisely they'll have more money to afford more powerful cards. Plus, there is no better friend than those that give you money-saving advice.

@Elder Kraken: if you don't like being ganged up on, then play some variant like emperor or star. Or try building a funny deck, like bubbling beebles with stolen identity, not for a competitive deck that wins, but just a really fun deck to play.

My point about suture priest is something we all agree on. If somebody plays a suture priest, it will usually die. Most of the time, that means just attacking that player with anything with 2 or more toughness, which draws unnecessary attention towards that player. Basically, your opponents are going to target you if you play suture priest...unless if you build around it right. I'm not saying "don't play" certain cards, just know when and how playing certain cards is appropriate.
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
That's why new players need to draw up a deck on paper, make proxies, test it, then once everything is working, buy the cards. It's like "measure twice, cut once," only with proxies it's, "play five times, buy once." That way they don't have six large boxes of commons and uncommons that are, by and large, useless.



That's not a practical solution in my opinion. That takes way more time and energy than a typical player is willing to invest in a deck. You are grossly overestimating how much effort people are willing to exert if you believe that they would all adopt that ritual.

Also, new players should buy cards online and in bulk. You usually get a discount on large purchases, plus the tax and shipping costs are lower if you just fill in 1 large order. Magic is a "pay-to-win" game, I always knew that growing up with it, so if veterans teach new players to spend their money wisely they'll have more money to afford more powerful cards. Plus, there is no better friend than those that give you money-saving advice.



You're forgetting that a non-trivial % of MTG players live in countries outside of North America which makes that easier said than done sometimes. There are many players who're relegated to purchasing cards from an LCS with a limited stock. I don't like to assume that everone reading my article is a North American citizen with a credit card.

My point about suture priest is something we all agree on. If somebody plays a suture priest, it will usually die. Most of the time, that means just attacking that player with anything with 2 or more toughness, which draws unnecessary attention towards that player. Basically, your opponents are going to target you if you play suture priest...unless if you build around it right. I'm not saying "don't play" certain cards, just know when and how playing certain cards is appropriate.



I think I get you now. You're basically saying that some people attract too much attention to themselves and thus deservedly get ganged-up on right? Or, in other words, you're saying that sometimes it's better to hold back and/or lead with something weak in order to avoid making yourself a target. As long as your plays aren't obviously strong and annoying without being obviously weak either then you should be fine. Right?

My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies

My point about suture priest is something we all agree on. If somebody plays a suture priest, it will usually die. Most of the time, that means just attacking that player with anything with 2 or more toughness, which draws unnecessary attention towards that player. Basically, your opponents are going to target you if you play suture priest...unless if you build around it right. I'm not saying "don't play" certain cards, just know when and how playing certain cards is appropriate.



I think I get you now. You're basically saying that some people attract too much attention to themselves and thus deservedly get ganged-up on right? Or, in other words, you're saying that sometimes it's better to hold back and/or lead with something weak in order to avoid making yourself a target. As long as your plays aren't obviously strong and annoying without being obviously weak either then you should be fine. Right?



Yes, that is exactly my point.
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
..... a non-trivial % of MTG players live in countries outside of North America which makes that easier said than done sometimes. There are many players who're relegated to purchasing cards from an LCS with a limited stock. I don't like to assume that everone reading my article is a North American citizen with a credit card.



^^^ This.
I'm one of those non-USA citizen's. Wink
I personally buy most of my cards from the USA, simply cos I fed up with poor availability from local sources.
IME, the USA shops I've dealt with, have had very good service, especially should your order go bad.  I had an order with Troll n Toad about a year ago that never arrived. It didn't have a tracking number.  Most online places would say "Tough luck princess", but TnT immediately shipped me a replacement with express post, no questions asked!
I won't forget that, and will always order from them if they have what I'm after. 

The biggest thing I try to tell my newbie-friends is to split the decks they play for their best cards. 
No sense owning 16 copies of Rhystic Study now is there?  But a lot of us do it, cos we're lazy aren't we?
My decks are always in a state of flux.... 
Now that MTG is exponentially increasing in popularity and price, It's gonna be important to think about the price VS benefit of having multiple sets. 
The biggest thing I try to tell my newbie-friends is to split the decks they play for their best cards. 



Do you mean to take the 4 Rhystic Studys that a player owns and use them in 3 decks? Or do you mean gut the three U/x decks for one good U/x deck or U/x/y deck?

My advice to many new players when they joined my group in college was to have 1 deck. Make it good.  The new players are still learning the game and mechanics/color pie breakdown/strategies and other stuff. I would have them focus on making their main deck good before trying out other stuff. They end up diluting three decks instead of having 1 good deck that can win and borrowing a deck when they get bored.

Note: I lend decks so that people who aren't able to make multiple decks at the moment can play some other stuff or try new archetypes. Or someone can try out an elf deck to see if they like playing it before going to make one.

Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.

 

If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.

The biggest thing I try to tell my newbie-friends is to split the decks they play for their best cards. 



Do you mean to take the 4 Rhystic Studys that a player owns and use them in 3 decks? Or do you mean gut the three U/x decks for one good U/x deck or U/x/y deck?

My advice to many new players when they joined my group in college was to have 1 deck. Make it good.  The new players are still learning the game and mechanics/color pie breakdown/strategies and other stuff. I would have them focus on making their main deck good before trying out other stuff. They end up diluting three decks instead of having 1 good deck that can win and borrowing a deck when they get bored.

Note: I lend decks so that people who aren't able to make multiple decks at the moment can play some other stuff or try new archetypes. Or someone can try out an elf deck to see if they like playing it before going to make one.



I tend to have multiple playsets so I don't have to switch anything out of 1 deck and put them into another, but that's just because I'm lazy. ;)

@Razjah: I can see your point about having 1 good deck as opposed to 3 crappy ones, but playing 1 deck all of the time gets boring. And because most noobs don't have the time and money to invest into many decks, proxying a deck and playing with that before buying anything makes the most sense.

I only lend decks to people I trust. Some magic players are competant, but untrustworthy. Others are decent people, but nine-times-out-of-ten they'll spill their soda all over your cards. And some people are just bad to the core, and will cheat and steal right in front of you.
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
I agree, lending decks can be bad. But we had a "no drinks the table" rule which helped (and helped us see the whole table). Also, I was often playing with 12ish people so I had friends at the other table(s) to keep an eye on my decks. 

My point to getting people to make 1 good deck is that it can help them not get discouraged. Losing is not fun, but having the more experienced players give some compliments on how the deck is coming together and then suggesting a card or two to try out in place of some other cards can be very good for new players.



I am not sure how I feel about proxies. For a couple games, they can be okay. But I have seen people use proxies for a whole semester. Really? Can't start getting any of those cards but you order take out three times a week? This may have been why I mostly gave commons and uncommons as suggestions to new players. I would also tell them, "You really want Rare X, but Uncommon Y can work as you save up for the rares. Then you can make the swap in a month when you have the money."

 

Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.

 

If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.

I too own multiple playsets of some cards, I'm lazy too... like Calming Verse, Sakura-Tribe Elder etc.  Good Cheap staples are always everywhere.
But I'm not saying to have multiple weak decks.  Just to swap cards from deck to deck to save money.

 
I agree, lending decks can be bad. But we had a "no drinks the table" rule which helped (and helped us see the whole table).

I am not sure how I feel about proxies. For a couple games, they can be okay.  



RE: Drinks... yeah.  I feel it. 
I had a set of Ichorid's and some old-school foils completely nuked one night. Some of them survived, but they got a bit scarred!  Still scared to take some out of the sleeve.  Half of that deck is now a rather browny-*coke* colour around the edges, and some of them are pretty impossible to read through the *mud*.  
It's become a bit of an in-joke.  Everytime I'm winning now, someone will start joking and swinging drinks around, "I know, turf your Burbs'n'Coke on his deck, that'll stop him winning!"      These days my group pops a mammoth-sized, fluffy beach towel on the table (or two on big nights), so if there is a spill it doesn't go far.  It's also helped to keep cards in better conditon for the dudes/dudettes who don't use sleeves.

I love proxies. 
I don't care of someone has a half-proxied deck and never changes any of them.  Hurrah for someone else with a high-powered deck to take the target status away from me!!!    I like competition and variation, and don't like stomping a cheap, weak deck because they've got other priorities (ie Life).  
I've got a couple dudes in my group who constantly proxy anything over $3-$5 for their decks, and their decks are always changing.  I dig it.

Our proxy rules are really loose, but you must eventually buy the cards you're proxying (or not if the deck doesn't work out), that's our only rule. So if you make some black lotus proxies, we expect you to buy them or at least own them.


I never had that much of a problem with people spilling their entire drinks on the table. The problem was when they have "consumables" that were messy and their idea of clean was wiping their hands on their pants.

HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
@Keino, Yeah, we're pretty similar with proxy rules, can use but really need to get them sooner than later.  As we're all adults with budgets to allow cards, the group has never really supported proxy cards.

Getting back to some of Tich's comments about my rants earlier, I will say that we'll probably never agree on a lot of this article, and that's OK.  Keino, we do play a lot of Emperor's, and that helps folks with lesser powered decks to have an impact and still get needed support and strategy help, and some badly needed wins for "feeling good".  The trouble largely starts when I'm a wing player, or in FFA, in which I get tagged by multiple people.  Most days it doesn't really bug me too much, for some reason it stuck in my craw the most recent time we got together, though.  It just seemed more intentional than usual.  Ultimately Tich is right that I just have to weather the heat and let the tyrant die so I can continue to play as just one of the guys.  I've carried/pushed/cajoled the group along to improve by upping the ante for enough years now, time to let someone else take the torch or just settle into a more modest approach to the game.  Wins will come (I'm still the best player in the group, and they can't take that away... ) if I stay patient.  I do ultimately like the outcome of group dynamics now...people are coming with better made, more rounded and competitive deck strategies, and that's largely due to me, so I guess I need to live with that and take THAT as the compliment that it is.

i guess I'm curious about two things.
1. Have other groups among the people participating in this thread experienced similar mob reactions to "the threat"?  How did you deal with it if you were the targeted threat?  I'm guessing that most folks on this forum for awhile tend to be better players since we all learn from each other's critiquing?
2. Tich, Is the guy that you used to team up against still playing, or did you drive him to a different group or out of the game altogether?


...and some badly needed wins for "feeling good". 



I think this is a big problem. You don't need to win to feel good. Exploring how you can feel good without winning is significantly more rewarding.

i guess I'm curious about two things.
1. Have other groups among the people participating in this thread experienced similar mob reactions to "the threat"?  How did you deal with it if you were the targeted threat?  I'm guessing that most folks on this forum for awhile tend to be better players since we all learn from each other's critiquing?



Yes. I was recently the threat of the whole table by playing a single maggot carrier. Bear in mind that my group likes to turtle and if you touch them with anything, they're out for blood. I already knew who would win by turn 2 just by figuring out which decks they were playing, so I attacked that player, regardless of the others who were targeting me. I didn't feel bad about it, and I ignored the hoardes of lectures as to why my deck is sooooo bad; I didn't care, I got the ball rolling. 1 player milled me, another player used curses on me, and another just sat there building up. Once I died, the mill and curse players were spent, and the control player (the one I knew would win) swooped in for the win. Them trying to kill me took what would be a two hour game, 20 minutes, which was my goal.

Dealing with being the threat depends on your deck. Don't appear to be so threatening. Have answers in your hand, rather than in play. Get defensive; lifegain and tons of tokens are hard to get around, and maindeck elixir of immortality because the lifegain alone is worth it. Do some control; board wipes can slow players down and be a reset button if things go sour. Ask yourself, "would a single naturalize really **** me right now?" You could also consider if adding more artifact or enchantment destruction would help you. If you get a feel for how a player's deck work in your group, you can anticipate how to deal with them better. I'm not saying add boil just to mess with that one guy, but maybe something more "universal" like wildfire.

HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
Them trying to kill me took what would be a two hour game, 20 minutes, which was my goal.



Sounds like you and I have something in common here. 
When I get targetted by the table I usually go after the one player I know has the best chance (cough cough *extort* cough) will win once they all finish me off....  funny how many times the player hanging back no one has noticed, doin nothing, ends up playing a wipe once everyone spends their hand and goes on to control the tempo there-after.

I've been the threat for a while, sucks but true, but then again I have a way of building decks with combo alt-win cons that can get surprise wins every now and then, so they do have reason to kill me off.   
Besides, gives me time to pour a stiff drink, roll a J and play some geetar.  In my dreams it's because they wanna hear me play more geetar.....
1. Have other groups among the people participating in this thread experienced similar mob reactions to "the threat"?  How did you deal with it if you were the targeted threat?  I'm guessing that most folks on this forum for awhile tend to be better players since we all learn from each other's critiquing?

I have long been the threat, because my regular meta equates age with being good! 

Granted, having played for most of the game, I do have a deep well of cards to choose from (opened from packs, at that), and having the resources, I research cards and decks and then buy singles online (sometimes).  Coupled with the fact that I am a school teacher and my most common meta is composed of recent/current students at my school, there is the thrill of "beating the teacher," something I am sure many have experienced or witnessed, though perhaps not with Magic.

I loan out decks regularly, so often it isn't just me targeted, as much as my decks themselves.  Even when I am out of the game, the players using one of my decks typically get targeted next (we've a number of competent players in my group), so I find solace in the fact that it's my decks and not me, personally.  The phrase, "it's a krichaiushii deck, kill it with fire," is a fairly common one at that table.

My decks and playing have improved immensely over the years, from both these and MTGS forums and from experience.  Tich's and Bl00m's guides have been invaluable, as well.  While my meta rarely visits forums, they have improved immensely through exposure to my decks, to the point where I jokingly refer to a few players as my disciples due to how they build decks and how they play them.  So even big games are often (not always) fast, as turtling is nigh-impossible when I am in the game.

Am I a better player, for it, though?  I think so.    

Do I wanna hear slave play the geetar?  Definitely.

Cheers!
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Sign In to post comments