I came back to the game close to two years ago. In that time I’ve certainly gotten better. Better comes in cycles though. You can’t learn without losing. And losing is not my favorite part of the game. It’s not anyone’s. We all handle losing differently. And in particular I handle my losses differently depending on who I lose to, how I lose and how many losses I’ve taken that day.

Some days I’m on a losing streak. I can handle that for the most part. Some days I picked the exact wrong deck to play. Those are harder losses.


Losing to my friends is tough, but acceptable. These folks have watched me play for a while they know my style, my tells and my weaknesses in the game. It’s understandable.

Losing to unknowns is the easiest. I can just chalk it up to bad plays, or lucky draws, hell I can even go with the off chance that I’ve been out played. It happens, there are plenty of people better than me in this game.

Losing to perceived enemies is likely the hardest. Everyone has those folks they can’t stand to lose to. The loud guy at the store. The jerk that nit picks his opponents plays, the jerk that nit picks his friend’s plays. Jerks period. I have a cosmic belief that the universe generally sets me up to win against these people. That’s not always the case. Jerks win at Magic too. Losing to a jerk is the hardest.


The ways you can lose at magic also inspire varying degrees of tilt.

Mana Screw is the worst way to bite it. You’d think that after 20 years of innovation and rules changes there would be a way to annihilate this from the game. Nothing is worse than mana flood/screw. It’s one I the reasons I like Legacy. There’s a sort of inherent protected from it with some decks. Brainstorm and Ponder in particular help to find you the cards you need while binning the ones you don’t. But how many times have you mulled to 5 and sighed, “Fuck it, I’ll keep!” With a one lander and just never drawn another land. Feel bad moments.

Blowouts are another way to lose. Your opponent top decks the exact card he needs to beat you, it’s a one of in his deck. You lose to luck of the draw. There was no better way to play your deck. It’s very frustrating. But it’s not the worst.

Stasis. Well maybe not Stasis, but something similar. Being locked out of the game before you can play it is pretty much the very worst. Your opponent goes along doing his merry thing and your stuck with a hand of uncastable cards. It’s like you’ve been force to be mana screwed. The only thing that makes this sort of bearable is that you can turn the tables from time to time. It’s a very one sided thing. It feels clever when you pull it off but it’s the total opposite on the other end.

Each of these ways can be circumvented in some way or another but when it’s you in the thumbscrews that does really make you feel better.

The Clean Up Phase

“That’s Magic.” I say every now and then. Lately, I’ve been tilting more and more. That’s shitty. I’m personally a bit disappointed in myself. Tilt comes from a place in me that assumes I should win. That its my win before I sit down. That’s a terrible way to play the game. And still it’s something I have a lot of trouble changing.

So first thing I have to do to right this is apologize. To everyone that sees me acting like I deserve to win. I don’t deserve to win unless I play the game (that includes the metagame) better than my opponents. So for that I apologize.

In the weeks before the Grand Prix Richmond, I’m going to work on being more of a sportsman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna try like hell to learn this format. And I hope that I can feel a little bit better about losing.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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