Magic: the Gathering: A General Analysis

Written by -ReD- on August 01, 2007



Magic: the Gathering: A General Analysis

by -Zeus-

Welcome back, everyone! I am glad you are joining me again for another article. Today, I am analyzing Magic: the Gathering as a whole. Do you ever wonder why some players do better than others? Why do they stand out? Is it experience? Is it natural talent? Or do they know something that the average M:tG player does not know? I will be analyzing certain points to find out that answer. This article will be analyzing the following points:
i. Myth Busting
ii. Efficient Gameplay
iii. Deckbuilding & Play-testing
iv. Tournament Scene
v. Wrap-Up
 
Myth Busting
There are some common misconceptions among players about this game. One of the most important misconceptions involves the judgment of a player’s skill. Many players think that just because they beat someone, that someone is of lower skill or a “noob.” This does not make sense. No one in this game can win every match, which is mostly due to the luck factor in this game, so you can never judge a player skill just because they lost a match. The correct way to judge a player’s skill is HOW he plays the match. If that player plays unnecessarily fast, makes many mistakes, uses rules-lawyering tactics and/or cheats, that player’s skill level probably is not that high. Furthermore, you can probably gauge a player’s skill level by his “playing theory.” “Playing Theory” is the way a player plays and how he thinks/strategize.  But note that just because a player’s playing theory is unorthodox does not mean he has a low skill level. A player’s “playing theory” can be unorthodox, but still successful. Obviously, if their “playing theory” is unsuccessful and is constantly a losing theory, then that player has a low skill level.

Another myth that is worth busting is that more experience will equal more accomplishments and more skill. This is not correct. There are players who have been playing longer than some pros, but do not have as many accomplishments or skill level than those pros. For example, “Black_Elf,” is a player who has been playing this card game for over ten years. You would think he’d be a top player, right? No! This player is probably, at best, average. This is not just a one in a bunch thing. There are many players who are similar. They have been playing for a long time (some have been playing since this game was created), yet they do not have a high skill level and have little to no outstanding accomplishments. So experience is not the reason why certain players are outstanding. All the experience you need in the experience of play-testing a certain meta-game and of course, the experience of the rules so you know not to break them. However, in certain cases, it is not as simple as you will see in the next misconception.

The next myth is connected to the previous myth. Many players think just because one person plays M:tG in person and not online that he is automatically better than a player who plays solely online. This is not correct. Online players are put into two groups: players who do not feel they are good enough to play in-person tournaments and players who are unable to play in-person tournaments. In this myth, we will be addressing the latter. There are online players who have more important obligations in their life that prevents them from having the money and/or free time to play in-person. For example, many online players are school and paying to buy cards and travel to tournaments does not suit well with tuitions. Furthermore, since online players do not play in-person tournaments, one cannot predict how they would do in an in-person tournament. Therefore, you have no basis for comparison, so you cannot automatically say an in-person player is better than an online player.

The next myth is about in-game playing. I have seen a lot of people play unnecessarily fast and constantly rush their opponent, but their opponent is not stalling. Those players who play unnecessarily fast are the same players who think playing fast is a sign of a good player. This is not true. On the contrary, playing unnecessarily fast is a sign of weakness, because it is easier for you to make mistakes and they probably do not realize they are making mistakes until after the game. Additionally, even if they realize they make their mistake, they continue to play unnecessarily fast. Players who play at a moderate pace and think his/her moves through without rushing themselves, have the best chance to make little to no mistakes during the game. Making no mistakes drastically increase your chances of winning, especially if your opponent makes mistakes.

The next myth is actually related to articles. Furthermore, it is related to M:tG advice in general. Many players rate an advice from a pro player higher than the advice of an average player. Now, this is not a bad thing in general, but there are specific cases where a player’s mindset is in the wrong place. For example, if Writer A writes an article, but Reader A has never heard of this player, then Reader A will completely ignore the article and not even read it. Reader A potentially lost out on some good advice or “deck tech.” Another example is if there is a Writer B. Writer B is a pro player who has reached the top 8 of a Pro Tour before. Reader A read the articles of both Writer A and B. No matter what Writer A says, Reader A will automatically listen to Writer B. This example can be taken further and suggest that although Reader A understands and agrees with what Writer A is saying, Reader A will still listen to Writer B even if the advice Writer B is not solid advice or if Reader A does not totally agree with it. This is a disappointment that Reader A will take in advice just because the name of the author and not because the advice makes sense or is skill-increasing. Just because someone is a pro player does not always mean his advice is good. You should be the judge and not just agree with someone just because he does well in tournaments. There are some players who are able to play good, but they suck at explaining and analyzing. I mean, Antonio De Rosa is a pretty good pro player and he thought Evangelize was an answer to Simic Sky Swallower.

The last myth is a rather silly one, but it’s a misconception in which some players believe. Some players believe the outstanding players have a natural talent for this card game. If you think logically, you will realize how absurd this belief is. Someone’s ability to play a strategy game is not innate. There is no game-playing ability that is innate. Everything a person does in life is learned. As I said, this myth is absurd, but I still had to point it out.

Efficient Gameplay
Now that you guys know that experience and natural talent are not the reasons why the top pro players play outstandingly, it is time to analyze the real reason. The real reason the top players do so well is because God likes them better. No, I’m just kidding! The reason these players do so well is because they play efficiently. They play efficiently to the tee. Everything they do is the best thing to do to win. Even the order they play their lands (in multi-color decks). But do not be discouraged. The way they play is not because of some secret advice they received. It is because they pay attention to detail. Being an efficient play is all about paying attention to detail. Playing this way starts off when you draw your opener. For example, if you are playing aggro, you have to think “Is this hand fast? Do I have a good mana curve opening?” If you do not know what your opponent is playing (game one), then you have to decide if your hand is a good opening to get your deck to do what it does. Then when you do know what your opponent is playing (Post-board), you have to think “Will this hand be able to deal with the opponent in early game? Will I survive until I can stabilize (control vs. aggro)? Is this hand resistant to hate (combo)?” Additionally, every deck needs mana so you also have to ask “Do I have enough lands to get started? If I keep this hand, what are the chances that I will get land [Insert number] on time (the later in the game you need to hit a land drop, the more likely you will get it in time; keeping a three-lander and needing to hit land four on time is better than keeping a one-lander and needing to hit land two on time). Also, you have to incorporate any mana accelerators you have to start with (e. g. signets).

Playing efficiently of course does not stop at openers. Once you have decided on the opener that will give you the best chances of prevailing in the game, you now have to play that opener and the cards you draw in the best way possible. Pay attention to a lot of details. For example, if you really need to hit a land drop, do not sacrifice that Terramorphic Expanse just yet. If you really need to draw a certain card, do whatever you can to buy yourself at least one more turn. If you get that extra draw phase and draw that card and you win because of it, then you have just won the game because of your efficient gameplay. Some may call it luck, and to an extent it is, but you, as a good player, know there is luck in this game, so you set yourself up to the point that if you are lucky enough to draw that certain card, you will win. The average player may just give up or they will not try to set themselves up for that certain card. This type of efficiency takes advantage that there is some luck in this game. You know you need a good topdeck and you try to give yourself as much time as possible to get that topdeck.

So now, we have covered openers and playing the luck factor in the end game. Now, let’s do the in-between. The best thing to do each and every turn is to stop a think for a second. Then think of the best possible play for this turn. This includes which land you play. Also, it has to be the best possible play, considering what deck your opponent is playing. For example, if you really want to play a turn two Castigate and the lands in your hand are Plains and Caves of Koilos, it is best to play the Plains. If you topdeck Swamp, you can play Castigate without taking any damage, while if you play the Caves of Koilos first, no matter what you topdeck, you will be taking one point of damage to play that Castigate. That one damage may come back to haunt you later. Do not be afraid to stop a think sometimes as you want to make every play count in the long run.

During the game, there may also be times where you can make plays depending on what you think the opponent is holding. Let’s say you did not get a look at your opponent’s hand. You are playing aggro and you want to apply pressure, but your opponent has four Damnations in his deck. You see in his grave that he already has 2 Damnations. You have to think what the chances are that he has another ready or that he will topdeck one. Depending on how early or late in the game, the possibility varies. If he just played the second one the turn before, the probability of him having the third Damnation is low. Also, if you do not apply pressure, you are giving him extra turns to draw his control cards. Checking the opponent’s graveyard every now and then will give you an idea of how to play your hand because if three out of four copies of a certain card are in the opponent’s grave, there is a low chance that he has the fourth. Additionally, you have to analyze the way the opponent plays his turn. Take into the consideration the way he attacks, what he plays and what mana he leaves open. In constructed, if you know what archetype he is playing, you should probably know what cards are in his deck, so you can make an educated guess at what cards he might have in his hand. For example, if you are playing against Red Blink-Touch, you are playing aggro and your opponent passes his turn with about eight mana open, without playing anything, he most likely has a Bogardan Hellkite ready to flash into play. If you take that into consideration, you can take preparation to be screwed as little as possible if the opponent does actually have the Hellkite.

Efficient gameplay is all about paying attention to detail. Even the slightest detail is helpful. That is the difference between the average player and a player who gets to the top 8 of a Pro Tour. To recap, efficient gameplay is a) analyzing your opener, while considering what your deck wants to do and what deck you are up against, b) thinking every turn to analyze your board, your opponent’s board, the amount of cards in his hand, the cards in his graveyard/RFG and what your opponent did the previous turn and then making the best play and c) squeezing out as many extra draw phases as you can in order to make that lucky topdeck.

Deckbuilding & Play-testing
Okay, this is obviously an important factor in this game. This is what you do before you even have a chance to play efficiently in a tournament. First, let me get something clear. Netdecking falls under this category. I know there are people out there who complain about people netdecking. Those who complain about originality are the ones who will never make any outstanding accomplishments in this game. Netdecking does not mean you will win a tournament. You need to be efficient in your gameplay to win a tournament. Netdecking is not enough, so just because someone netdecks a good deck does not mean they are supposed to win. So basically, there is nothing really wrong with netdecking. You can have fun and be original, but when you want to win a competitive tournament, that fun, original, casual deck is not what you want to use.

When you decide on a final decklist, you have to consider many things. You have to consider the meta-game: what decks are popular? You have to consider match-ups: what deck will give you problems? What can I do to even up the chances or make my chances better than that deck? Of course you have to know what your deck wants to do, but while you know that, you have to consider when you want to draw certain cards? Depending on what time in the game you want to get a certain card (most of the time, it depends on the card’s mana cost), you can figure how many copies of the card to include. Do you need a certain card (or type of card; like do you want a turn one 1cc mana producer?) in the early game? Mid-game? Late game? Does my deck use tutors (which act as a copy, draw-wise, as the card you want)? Do I have cards that draw more cards? These are all questions that you should consider depending on what your deck wants to do. However, none of this will matter without a proper mana-base. When constructing your mana-base, you have to consider up to what land drop do you want to hit on time, consistently? Do I need mana accelerators? If so, how many? By what turn do I need this particular color? All of these factor in when deciding on a decklist with a smooth, efficient mana-base and figuring out how many copies of certain cards are enough for the decklist (by not putting in unnecessary copies, you have more slots for other card possiblities).

The next step would be card choices. This involves card quality. In a format, if you want a certain card, you should look at the cards that your format allows and choose the best card in that category. For example, let’s say you are building a Solar Flare list. You want a card that can draw and dig in your deck so you get to your business spells faster. You find two good candidates in Compulsive Research and Foresee. However, you can only fit four copies in your deck so you have to choose between the two. When analyzing these cards, Foresee would be the better choice. Compulsive research digs three cards deep. Foresee can dig up to six cards deep (putting the 4 cards you scry to bottom and drawing 2 = 6). The card advantage to both is usually plus 1 card. However, with Compulsive Research, if you do not have a land to discard or you cannot afford to discard a land, then you basically just cycled some cards. Furthermore, Foresee can sometimes allow you to know what your next card is going to be. Therefore, you can play your turn even more efficiently because you know what card is on the top of your deck. Additionally, your Solar Flare list runs 6-7 signets, so you can, at times, get Foresee on turn three (the same turn you would play Compulsive Research). In this case, Foresee would be the clear choice.

After you have come up with a decklist, you should start play-testing in preparation for the tournament. You can analyze the match-ups in your head and judge which deck would have the advantage in each match-up. That is not a bad thing and sometimes, if you do not have enough time to play-test, it is all you can do. However, if you have the time to play-test, then play-testing is what you should do. If you get a feel for the match-up, see how the decks in the match-up respond to each other and analyze how much your deck wins/loses in the match-up (through trial-and-error testing; playing multiple games pre-board and post-board), then you will know what changes, if any, you need to make. Furthermore, it will be easier for you to play efficiently during the actual tournament. 

Tournament Scene
Some may not think this, but the tournament scene does have something to do with your success. Playing someone in-person is much different from playing someone online. You already have a good decklist that you have prepared for the tournament meta-game and you now use your critical thinking skills to play each turn efficiently. However, now you have to deal with body language. Body language can clue you in on what your opponent may have. This is another detail you have to pay attention to so that you can play efficiently. Body language tells how weak or strong your opponent thinks he/she is. Although, this is a good thing, in-person playing can also be a bad thing if you let your own body language clue your opponent in on how strong you are; in terms of board position and what cards you have in your hand.

Bluffing is way to fool your opponent into playing into your hands. If you have a strong hand, but play weak, then you can cause your opponent to become overconfident and walk into your trap. However, bluffing is a thing that people have gotten used to over the years. People can now tell when someone is bluffing, as even when you bluff you might have a certain “tell” that still tips your opponent off. So, what should you do? The best thing to do, is show neither strength nor weakness in your body language. Keep your body language constant and relaxed. If someone is relaxed throughout the whole match, you cannot tell when his hand his strong or weak. Therefore, you take away the possibility of him analyzing extra details depending on your body language. Furthermore, since this is a game of fun, why not joke it up with your opponent? Throughout the whole match, if you just joke around and have small-talk, you can a) prevent your opponent from predicting your plays from reading your body language and b) possibly distract your opponent and cause him to make a mistake (even a little one). However, if your opponent is set on fully concentrating and not taking your bait for small talk/joking, this strategy may not work.

Another thing you have to consider during an in-person tournament is endurance. When you are playing online, you can probably recline in your computer chair or go relax and eat something in your kitchen between rounds. However, when you are playing an in-person tournament, you are in the same space the whole tournament and you do not exactly have a play to sit back and relax. Staying in the same place for several hours may get tiring. Furthermore, you are in a crowded place and there may be spectators watching you. This can be nerve racking and affect your plays. The best thing to do is stay relaxed and not let it affect you. Just stay calm as if you were in your own house (which I assume is your comfort zone). The last thing you want to do is make mistakes because you are nervous. Making small talk at these times is also good as it loosens you up if you do indeed get nervous. You should make the tournament scene the last possible thing to have any effect on your game.

Wrap-Up
There are several myths that are not true about this game. Also, you should not be intimidated if you face someone like Kenji Tsumura or Gabriel Nassif. The only difference between them and the average player is that Kenji and Gabriel know that critical thinking is the key to this game. Efficient playing comes from thinking critically. The faster you realize that, the more successful you will be. Analyzing the details of this game IS critical thinking. By analyzing, you find little ways to improve the efficiency in your gameplay. And by improving your efficiency, you increase your chances of winning. Pro players do not have a magic spell. They are human like the rest of us. The reason Japanese players win more is because they are natural critical thinkers because of the way they are raised. I mean think about it. Do you know how advanced the Japanese are compared to the rest of the world in terms of technology? Those guys really use their noggin. However, that does not mean you cannot use your noggin in the same way. You just need to pay attention to detail, logic and make good use of your analytical skills. You should make yourself an efficient player, then make sure you reach for the top. Do not make reaching day two your main goal. Make reaching the top 8 your main goal and day two being a stepping stone for your main goal. I mean, if you are taking a test, would you reach only for a 75 or reach for the full 100? Then after you reach that top 8, reach for that first place trophy. Anyone can do it if they know what they are doing. Until next time…
-Zeus-

Random Quote:
<Ventura> my oponent dont play g3
<&niknight> now this may seem like an absolutely stupid question, but did he win the first 2?
<Ventura> yep

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

Comments:
by coolcreep on 2007-08-01 00:52 CET

taking a random potshot at black_elf seems kinda mean. I didnt bother reading the article cuz that is a dick move on your part. If someone says something stupid, give them hell, but all black_elf ever did was suck at magic. ROFLTOFLROFL i just did it too, didnt i? I guess we both suck. Not as much as black_elf though XDXD


btw i did bother to read the random quote...ROFLTOFLAWFUL


by -ReD- on 2007-08-01 00:55 CET

Black_Elf was the only example I could think of at the moment and I didn't say he sucked. I said he was average.


by Noremac on 2007-08-01 02:51 CET

I found the article slightly boring and full of a lot of general advice that has been rehashed many times. However, it was totally redeemed by niknights quote at the end.


by Vlada on 2007-08-01 03:13 CET

Love random quote at the end.

It nice to see you put even more effort in this one, maybe SCG will notice you one day, and you will start writing for them :P

Decent article, even through most of this is allready spoken, we know that there is no alot of new subject, so talking about old one from new points of view, is only solution i guess.


by Quantumdemon on 2007-08-01 08:43 CET

who is this guy?

You're article is fine, but your logic is failing

THe opinion of a known player/Good player > Random Scrub.


by -ReD- on 2007-08-01 08:51 CET

by Quantumdemon on 2007-08-01 02:43 EDT

who is this guy?

You're article is fine, but your logic is failing

THe opinion of a known player/Good player > Random Scrub.


^Heh, talk about a person who missed the point completely


by AppleofEris on 2007-08-01 12:48 CET

I suppose I'll be the first to say it then:

Quantum, who are you? No seriously, Zeus has been dicking around here for a while now, and you just -randomly- come up and bitch about him being a scrub?

At any rate, good article!


by Vlada on 2007-08-01 14:00 CET

Guys, guys, we all know this is blacdragon undercover


by Muscleator on 2007-08-01 16:09 CET


The last myth is a rather silly one, but it’s a misconception in which some players believe. Some players believe the outstanding players have a natural talent for this card game. If you think logically, you will realize how absurd this belief is. Someone’s ability to play a strategy game is not innate. There is no game-playing ability that is innate. Everything a person does in life is learned. As I said, this myth is absurd, but I still had to point it out.


NO.


by Black_Elf on 2007-08-01 17:54 CET

Red you forgot to mention how i always said i'm average because i don't bother playing mtg for anything else than fun. The whole purpouse of this article was to have a shot at me (the same way the limited article was a shot at muflon based on differences) for banning him in a certain channel and to prove to anyone how he's the greatest player alive even though he doesn't play irl. Newsflash the level in m-l is so low (because you get people like me) it doesn't even compare to IRL so you have no idea how you would do irl , so assuming you're better than someone playing for tpo8 at UK nats (yes i still remember that conversation) is stupid since you play at different levels and he's STILL doing better than you.

Coolcreep i don't even know you and you don't even know me, so have a warm stfu from me okay? Red can get away with it because unfortunately we sort of know each other.Other than that. You're a dick Red(quite possibly bigger than me) and that doesn't go away by being good at magic.


by Bozo on 2007-08-01 20:44 CET

"The whole purpouse of this article was to have a shot at me"

> Self-conscious much?


by tiejaz on 2007-08-01 22:20 CET

Bozo: Do you know what verbs are?

"Self-conscious much?" is not a sentence.

"Are you self-conscious often?" is a sentence.


by -ReD- on 2007-08-01 23:13 CET

lol @tiejaz for his unnecessary comeback.

I mentioned Black_Elf once and he thinks the whole article is about him. I even made you sound more skillful than you really are, so relax. It was just an example. It's not like anyone thinks less of you (They cannot think any less obv)


by Black_Elf on 2007-08-02 00:01 CET

Zeus bullshit you just had have a go at me, it took you some time to figure out a way to do it in the open. Yeah it's true i suck, i forgot you're a professional, oh wait you can't play irl and you play just for fun, oh wait me too.


by coolcreep on 2007-08-02 01:07 CET

Less qq more pew pew plz, Black_Elf.


by Ffancrzy on 2007-08-02 02:53 CET

honestly I belive that jab at Black_Elf was completely unneccesary... it did not add anything to the article...

basically it was like this
some people who play this game for a long time still suck

take random person from M-L...he still sucks...he's been playing for 10 years...

that is completely beside the point...maybe talking about long time players never adapting...or assuming that their play skill is already up to snuff...but taking a random jab at a fellow m-ler is out of line.

All that said...this was a good article...I especially took to heart the last section. I've always wanted to play PV here on M-l just to see how I would do. Its not that I have anything to prove...but it would be nice to see how I stacked up to a proven cardboard slinger regardless of the result

keep writing


by Khelvaster on 2007-08-02 03:26 CET

Average doesn't mean bad. It means average. Being called average is neither compliment nor insult.


by Booya on 2007-08-02 05:07 CET

Heya, just a word in edgewise if you will.

I just want to say that even though people are not born Magic players, you do have some natural talents to become pro. For instance, one of my friends thinks
that more cards = WIN. We have tried explaining it to him, and he simply ignores us and keeps on playing with his 250 card deck. Some people just can't grasp Magic theory. You also have to have some mental aptitude to even play the game as a bad player.

Also, in my humble opinion, I consider myself average in the community as a whole.But, I love being average, because winning constantly becomes boring, and without any losses, you lose your passion.


by MaksymG on 2007-08-02 05:37 CET

Some players believe the outstanding players have a natural talent for this card game. If you think logically, you will realize how absurd this belief is. Someone’s ability to play a strategy game is not innate. There is no game-playing ability that is innate. Everything a person does in life is learned. As I said, this myth is absurd, but I still had to point it out.

This is 100% not true, while there is no specific affinity to playing this specific card game (MTG) players can be more adept at varies aspects of the game than others. Playing an aggro deck is something you learn granted, however realizing and planning out your plays 3 turns in advance considering the chances of what you can possibly draw, what the total dmg will be how things will add up is a strictly mathematical feat. Any player can learn to play kird ape turn 1 scab-clan turn 2 however a players ability to pilot the aggro/burn deck succefully depends entirely on how well and how efficiently then can spend their dmg (especially against other aggro/burn decks where ur burn doubles up as removal)

Point is, there is not innate "magicness" however magic is a game that when deconctructed falls apart into pieces and bits which one played may be more adept and have a greater affinity at than another.


by MaksymG on 2007-08-02 05:37 CET

double post


by -ReD- on 2007-08-02 06:14 CET

My statement is 100% true. As I said. Everything you do is LEARNED! All those players do is think critically. That kind of critical thinking (planning ahead; just like chess players) comes from using your noggin. My point is it's not innate and I'm 100% correct.

Take psychology - Human Development. Everything you do is learned through your environment. However in this card game, the guy who is a better critical thinker (yes becoming a good critical thinker comes from what u did as u developed as a person) wins the game usually.

As I said, I'm 100% correct.


by Scuta04 on 2007-08-02 09:56 CET

you guys are nuts.. and as far as strategy goes... yes all is learned but your learning isnt always under your control (bad excuse) but if your talking athletic ability or things of that nature talent is definately involved..

**Remove the caps in the future please, post warned**


by cjthedude on 2007-08-02 11:16 CET

This article seemed like an article for Zeus to simply defend himself on as many aspects as he could. There are so many opinionated statements that he forces upon the reader in this article as being true. Also, saying that there is no natural talent in magic is totally off. People are born with different natural talent everything is not learned.

Overall the article might have helped newer players who haven't read many articles yet but for anyone who tries at all in this game should already know everything mentioned. boring read


by -ReD- on 2007-08-02 13:41 CET

@cjthedude: Go take Psychology - Human Development


by Vlada on 2007-08-02 13:42 CET

lol


by Dynasty on 2007-08-02 16:36 CET

While I believe learning takes precedence over "God Given Gift", I am of the school for the "Nurture" part of the debate as opposed to the "Nature" followers, so I am biased in a sense.

However, if a person is born to be a faster thinker than another, but he or she does not apply the time to refine his or her mental logistics, then by all means, that person becomes a weaker player. However, given equal preparation, two people with differences in perhaps, the number of brain cells/cranial capillaries would think differently, and sometimes, more efficiently compared to one another. In that sense, much like how some athletes are born with larger muscles structures or more fast twitch muscle fibres, people could be and are born with greater ability to critically think and analyze.

Otherwise, I think this article is well written, albeit the randomly mentioned "scrub" part could be avoided to make a better, more wholesome article.


by Avata on 2007-08-02 20:58 CET

I'd also like to point out that other schools of thought within human development have other thoughts on the "innateness" of learning ability, as research suggests both that some learning ability is innate, and some is picked up at a very young age (see Howard Gardners theory of multiple intelligences). Someone with an affinity for logical-mathematical intelligence is going to have a huge boost when it comes to accumulating skill in M:tG.

Can a person learn to become better M:tG player? Yes. However, the only thing that's absurd about your particular myth is your dismissal of decades of educational and psychological research in an attempt to assert that everyone starts out on even ground.

(lol at nature vs. nurture debates on magic-league.)


by -ReD- on 2007-08-02 23:20 CET

I know the nature vs nurture argument. As I said, I took Human Development. "Nature" and "nurture" work together. You biologically develop (nature) depending on your surrounding environment (nurture).

Affinity for logical-mathematical intelligence is not possible. You can be a genius (which is simply a person who LEARNS FASTER than the average person), so you'll learn the stuff quicker. However, you do not know anything about mathematics or logics until you have learned it in school, which is "nurture."


by Avata on 2007-08-03 01:35 CET

Just because a person doesn't know anything about "logics" (heh) or mathematics until they're in school does not mean they're not exposed to it at a young age, which I said in my above post. This means that by the time someone is at the age of learning Magic: the Gathering (even if they learn young, say eight or nine) they will have already established preferred learning styles. If they are more likely to use, say, naturalistic or verbal/linguistic intelligence, they will not pick up the game as easily as someone who was exposed to more logical/mathematical thinking at a young age.

Does this mean intelligences are learned, rather than innate? sure. The point still remains - not everyone starts on equal ground when it comes to learning and becoming good at strategy games.


by -ReD- on 2007-08-03 02:25 CET

I'm pretty sure everyone learns Mathematics and logic before MtG lol


by Avata on 2007-08-03 04:08 CET

Obviously. The point is that if it's emphasized in a child's youth, that is going to alter the way they think and perceive, making them more adept at MtG. Likewise, if they have other intelligences emphasized, they can still use logic and mathematics, yes, but it will not come to them as easily or obviously.


by DRjester on 2007-08-03 05:03 CET

The idea that it is only "nurture" which affects your ability to play Magic (or any game) well is somewhat simplistic, I think. Certainly if you are exposed to and taught from an early age to think logically and pay attention to detail, then you will probably improve at Magic much faster than someone who wasn't brought up that way. That said, it's absurd to think that your genetic makeup has no impact on your ability to think logically.

To give an extreme example, I find it highly unlikely that a person with Down's Syndrome is ever going to win a PT, no matter how much logic they are taught. The fact is, their genetic makeup impairs their ability to do well at Magic. The converse is also true - some people are born with a naturally high IQ that predisposes them to absorb and retain information, and that makes it much easier for them to excel at strategy games like Magic.


by -ReD- on 2007-08-03 07:24 CET

We are talking about the average person here. Not a person with a mental issue =\


by leonin5 on 2007-08-04 15:43 CET

[11:06:19] <Kaesh> it's like
[11:06:35] <Kaesh> a blind man writing about painting

Kaesh taking about this article


by TheOrb on 2007-08-04 16:57 CET

"My statement is 100% true. As I said. Everything you do is LEARNED! All those players do is think critically. That kind of critical thinking (planning ahead; just like chess players) comes from using your noggin. My point is it's not innate and I'm 100% correct.
Take psychology - Human Development. Everything you do is learned through your environment."

Wrong. Your thinking capabilities, logical and creative, most of your personality traits, your loves and hates, are developed when a fetus begins forming a brain and its neural connections are being formed.

Some players are just plain better at M:tG because they think more logically. Some players are better at this game because they think more creatively. Everyone is wired differently, and some people are just better wired for certain things.

The fact that you basically said this because you took to heart something you learned in a psychology class sort of offsets your credibility on the subject. Take a neurobiology or a neurochemistry course on human development, THEN you can start pretending to be adept at understanding human ability and disability.

"A player’s “playing theory” can be unorthodox, but still successful. Obviously, if their “playing theory” is unsuccessful and is constantly a losing theory, then that player has a low skill level."

Or it could just mean that they don't care too much for what other people think of them, don't care for winning tourneys, and just enjoy pushing the limits of the game. I have a friend like this. He played a Circu deck last night. Yes, a BU Circu control deck.

Some people just enjoy seeing how much they can shake things up around them. Doesn't make them low skill level necessarily. It's good that at least SOMEONE is willing to try out crazy ideas and see how far it takes them and whether or not they are viable. I remember the first time I saw Fruity Pebbles back a looong time ago. I thought it was inconsistent and unreliable because the win condition was basically three different cards. Turns out that wacky idea nurtured an entire Tier 1 deck type and reshaped the metagame quite a bit.


by Kaesh on 2007-08-04 17:07 CET

While it is indeed highly unlikely that a person with Down's Syndrome is ever going to win a PT, they write articles all the time :B


by bertu on 2007-08-05 19:31 CET

Gosh, this was a complete waste of time.

This article provided completely useless information.


by TheOrb on 2007-08-05 20:07 CET

I don't agree completely.

I thought the efficient game play section provided some useful information as it's something a lot of players overlook doing (such as actually thinking out your land drop order.)


by Vedrfolner on 2007-08-08 18:13 CET

Everyone can learn a skill. Being best at it, however, requires talent.

The entire post is therefore flawed.


by Twin-Chainer on 2007-09-18 11:00 CET

I agree with almost everything except the point about those people who see netdecking as unoriginal. And how those people don't do anything accomplishing.

I happen to be one of those people, and let me asure ya. Punk. We are quite capable of accomplashing things, its just that I on my side of this debate prefere using the cards I own, the ones in front of me. And most of the times, that I have checked out the netdecking, it recommends cards I would have to go and spend more money to get.

I am also one of those people with a life, and a tuition to pay. So I hope you dont mind me making my point clear here.


by Twin-Chainer on 2007-09-18 11:07 CET

Quote TheOrb:

""A player’s “playing theory” can be unorthodox, but still successful. Obviously, if their “playing theory” is unsuccessful and is constantly a losing theory, then that player has a low skill level."

Or it could just mean that they don't care too much for what other people think of them, don't care for winning tourneys, and just enjoy pushing the limits of the game. I have a friend like this. He played a Circu deck last night. Yes, a BU Circu control deck.

Some people just enjoy seeing how much they can shake things up around them. Doesn't make them low skill level necessarily. It's good that at least SOMEONE is willing to try out crazy ideas and see how far it takes them and whether or not they are viable. I remember the first time I saw Fruity Pebbles back a looong time ago. I thought it was inconsistent and unreliable because the win condition was basically three different cards. Turns out that wacky idea nurtured an entire Tier 1 deck type and reshaped the metagame quite a bit."

End Quote.

This comment makes the most sense out of the entire thing. I know I posted before, but I have to say. TheOrb, I am one of these people. I love to cause chaos and habe fun.

Which explains why my constructed rating went to 1495 before climbing slowly back up. :P


by DS_McWerp on 2007-10-03 22:37 CET

Article = useless.

Random Quote = the reason I miss being a judge...the ability to make minis is great and all, but seeing shit like that is the real perk.


by theTJtrooper on 2007-10-21 20:51 CET

The article is worded horribly imo


by Pit42 on 2007-10-22 04:59 CET

I liked some parts.

"On the contrary, playing unnecessarily fast is a sign of weakness"

I don't think so. It's a sign of confidence about the play.

bye ;p


by IberianWolf on 2007-11-03 16:56 CET

indeed, while playing fast might be a sign of weakness, it will also rush your opponent, or pressure him into playing unefficiently. but most of the time it's what you said.

I liked the article ;)

by the way, Vedrfolner, you can learn a skill and THEN get better at it. natural talent is a myth. some people just get better than others. in another situation/environment, they probably wouldn't. I mean, in a parallel world, a wrestler might be a gardner. a good one.


by M_Pietrzak on 2007-11-17 14:16 CET

global warming is a myth ;)


by PV on 2007-12-02 05:07 CET

Lol at the "just because a player only plays online it doesnt mean he is bad" myth. Do you still think that, if you wanted to, you'd win worlds easily, like you told me?

Black_elf reference was also stupid.

I play extremely fast.


by Jayzus on 2007-12-06 21:49 CET

I find it very amusing when someone thinks that, because they took a single class called "Human Development", they now understand every dimension of difficult questions like nature vs nurture, and the like.

Its like in the South Park episode, when the hippies make their music festival in South Park, and the "college-know-it-all" hippies come and say stuff like "Oh man, my professor totally opened my eyes. Do you even know that corporations are controlling the world? Man, you should take the Intro to Sociology Class I took. . "

Its just a class. Your teacher is just a person. There are many other classes, and many other people with different opinions. Get over yourself.


You make yourself sound very naive, and I take your opinion much less seiously, when you say stupid things and support them with "Man, you should really take Human Development"


by KuroN3ko on 2008-01-30 06:51 CET

by -ReD- on 2007-08-03 01:25 GMT

I'm pretty sure everyone learns Mathematics and logic before MtG lol

Actually I started playing magic when i was 5, soo booyah!


by buloy on 2008-04-07 11:47 CET

Waaaa!!!!!

MTG is just a game with a bunch of rules and alot of luck involved . . .

This game is just a few levels above paper, rock, scissors and way, way, way below a game like chess.

You don't have to be a math genius or a savant to be able to play the game well.

Well unless your totally retarded . . .


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