Heyo, friends! It’s been a busy weekend (PTQed, performed, designed a game, had class and rehearsal, and drew a lot of currency from the introvert bank being sociable). Rather than detail everything, here’s some a story about getting crushed.

Sorrow's Path

(PTQ, Round two of eight. 1-0 so far.)

I’m piloting BG with aggressive creatures and Keepsake Gorgon, Hythonia the Cruel, and Dictate of Erebos for a very strong long game. My opponent is on UG.

In game one, my opponent uses Triton Tactics to eat a small creature and lock down my 4/3 Swordwise Centaur. The following turn, he casts Hour of Need to upgrade his Golden Hinds into Air Elementals, then untaps and uses Setessan Tactics to wipe my board. I die shortly thereafter.

In game two, my opponent has Setessan Tactics again to wipe my board and follows up with a Vortex Elemental to stop me from untapping with Hythonia the Cruel and wiping his board in return.

Pointy Finger of Doom

I replayed those matches over and over in my mind. I didn’t have to attack as I did into the Triton Tactics (since I expected him to have it); in so doing, I lost a Satyr Hedonist. However, I succeeded in getting him to block my 4/3 Swordwise Centaur with Nimbus Naiad so that I could cast Mortal’s Resolve and eat the flyer (which is what I wanted to happen, assuming he had Triton Tactics). In the end, having one more 2/1 wouldn’t have changed the math when he had Hour of Need into Setessan Tactics.

In game two, my opponent had Prescient Chimera and two Golden Hinds to my summoning sick Nessian Asp, and two dorks. I believe that I had one swamp untapped. My opponent cast Setessan Tactics, first having his Prescient Chimera fight one of my dorks, then traded both Golden Hinds for my Nessian Asp.

Had my opponent targeted differently (fighting my Asp with his Chimera), he would have only lost one Golden Hind. If he was afraid of Boon of Erebos or Eye Gouge, he could have fought my Nessian Asp with his flyer first, then if I responded with either trick, he could throw the Golden Hinds into the fray before my trick resolved. Clearly, he wasn’t playing around either trick, since he tapped his Chimera first (fighting irrelevant creature) and gave me a window to cast Boon of Erebos and eat both of his Golden Hinds.

What’s the lesson? Simple.

Overwhelming Forces

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes, your opponent’s cards are so much stronger than yours or their deck is so much faster than yours that even if they play suboptimally, you’ll still probably/certainly lose. This needn’t be disheartening—sometimes you’ll be able to eke out a victory from your tight play, and that’s one of the best feelings ever. Yes, losing like this often is disheartening, but it’s worth remembering that in a high variance game like Magic, this can and will happen to you and your opponents.

Also, don’t let bad luck be an excuse for losing. Replay the game. See what decisions you made. Perhaps there was some marginal advantage you missed out on or an alternate line that would’ve at least provided another draw step or point of damage. Those little bits matter and can sometimes be the difference be winning in a losing. Learn from them and make sure to play your tightest next time (even if your opponent miracles Bonfire of the Damned that game, too).

Bonfire of the Damned

That’s all for today, folks. I’ll be back next week after a weekend of intrigue, politics, and Conspiracy!

—Zachary Barash

twitch.tv/ZennithGP — Join the livestream!

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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