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How do I become a better control player?


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derflippi
Level 4 Judge


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1402
Location: Weiterstad

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aim for the situation where you have much more cards in hand than your opponent. Then keep that situation. Eventually, game will make you win somehow.
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Lynolf



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 546

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Search for Magic the Gathering articles about deck strategies and play. Check for tournament reports and coverage to see how pros play with their control decks.

Then, start practicing against some random n00bs, or against yourself, to gain experience. Also try different approaches to control decks. For instance, if you want to try control in T2, test WU Control and UB Control. See the differences in gameplay on each of them. As you know, different colors have different philosophies, and each of them has a distinctive behaviour when used for control strategies.

Try different approaches on each deck strategy. For example, for the cases above, see which spells should be countered, which ability of Jace should be activated in a particular moment, when should you cast your Titan, etc..

Once you get the hang of it, start playing on m-l tournaments and have fun! Mr. Green
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caesarthehun



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 186

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

practice 8 hours every day with your friends, limit yourself to control decks. No lie, there is no way you will not be a better player.
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YvesHenri



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe some good ranked control players could give some tips other than "practice"?
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R3wind



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 1386

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find that playing non-Magic games that make you think ahead very helpful. Games like chess, tower defense games, real time strategy games, and even Uno. I also like playing Warhammer to help me with controlling the board state. Try other activities that make you think ahead also. A lot of this also applies to combo decks as well.
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aqualad33
Level 1 Judge


Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a control player, not sure if I'm particularly good but I've been playing for a long time, and follow the big tournies religiously, and what I can say is that it is very difficult to be a good control player, a lot of it relies on learning the format and paying attention to what your opponent is playing, what signals they are sending you, and what your opponents strategy is. Ex. if its an aggro player, Is he trying to go as fast as possible and overwhelm you, or is he slow playing his threats to draw out your removal so he can play a bomb that you can't deal with. Against another control, bluffing is very important. Sometimes you leave mana open even when you don't have a counter spell so that your opponent will be afraid to play their big threat that you can't deal with, buying you time to draw out of it. Against combo, well thats a special situation, and the strat is pretty straightforward...stop the combo
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JeZeus



Joined: 05 Sep 2004
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the last comment about non-magic related strategy games, as a way to improve your 'control' thinking mentality. I would have to add Poker to the list. I know a lot of quality players that are all so quality Poker players. ^_^
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BlackPen



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big things you need to learn when you play a control deck

-What threats you need to deal with. A lot of bad control players will just blow everything up and end up losing to the important threat after they run out of answers.

-Knowing when to start your offense. If you start tapping out for threats and attacking with your blockers the aggro player can catch you off your guard, but if you don't kill your opponent early enough he has time to rip the cards he needs to finish off your last few life points.

These are the things you need to think about when you're playing a control deck and the best way to get better at them is to play a lot of magic and think about each play you make and how it will win you the game.
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GreenBear



Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 901

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to learn how to play around every possibility. Think what can I lose to now and how can I prevent that from happening. Cause as your control you win the long game.
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HujuVanikil



Joined: 12 Sep 2009
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always be at least two steps ahead. Looking at what they have played and what they can play next, have a plan for any situation. Generally you want to hold back your cards to get as much bang for your buck(example day of judgment 3 creatures instead of 2, not ALWAYS viable but if you can spare the life it helps)

If you're playing with counters always be able to counter the next real threat against you. When playing with counters against another control deck always be ready to counter their threat and counter their counter. In control mirrors whoever runs into the counterspell first loses, which is usually why they are called draw go matches and boring until someone chances something or stumbles on land.

Which reminds another thing, you need more land in control decks than any other kind of deck. You also need to play for value rather than play to get 20 damage in. Like someone else said reading articles on control is another good way to help, as well as playing other games that involve strategic thinking.
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P_P4E



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 579

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

know what can resolve and what can't resolve. That's literally 80% of the battle.

Don't counterspell preordains turn 2.
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san



Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im an old MUC (yes, that archetype that seems to fail miserably since creatures are so big-n-fast) player, which was probably the most controllish thing Ive seen.

Maybe this is an outdated advice, but, Ive seen this a lot in aggro players trying to go into control:

Do not hurry. Control wins somehow, buy in a good match, your win condition is not really relevant. Prefer reliable over powerful.

And second: Know the meta. Control is reactive: you play more against the opponent that with your own cards. So, knowing what he will play is the key to know what to stop.
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gypsy



Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 1671

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

countering preordains is things people dont do enough
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nasa



Joined: 09 Sep 2004
Posts: 196

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are a great aggro player, maybe just try to reverse your thinking in a lot of situations, mostly when you are playing you probably think 'how can i win this' as aggro, but while playing control, assess your board situation, and try to get best value out of your cards when you can. learn how to think more than 1 turn ahead like most aggro players do. and learn to use your life total as a resource. but honestly all of these things come from when you play as a control more and more, it really is an aspect of practice where you will start to learn these things.
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Blancoke



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P_P4E wrote:
know what can resolve and what can't resolve. That's literally 80% of the battle.

Don't counterspell preordains turn 2.


I know what you mean but still I got to post it Very Happy


PV wrote:
(about spellstutter sprite) In the early game, or if you dont have any Faeries, you should be very aggressive with them always counter Preordain or Ponder,


But ok, this is exceptional and faeries is not a real control deck.

The best thing you can do is first read articles and than use the articles in your games, in testing you should think about everything but really everything (even if it costs you 5 min to figure things out). Eventually you'll get better with it.

The biggest challenge (and also the biggest difference with more agro decks) is that you have to know the format very well. With agro decks you play your own game. With control decks you try to disrupt your opponents game so it's important you know every card in his deck.
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