Welcome to the Best of Hipsters of the Coast Week as we revisit some of the top articles we published this year. There will be some new content this week but for the most part we’ll be taking a look back before we kick off the new year. Lexie joined us in the middle of the year and dove head-first into some of the most challenging topics for competitive players including how to handle your losses like a pro. Please enjoy this look back at Lexie’s article on the different kinds of tilt and how you can manage to keep an even keel at your next event.

GP Pittsburgh didn’t go nearly as well as I wanted it to, as I ended the weekend at 5-4. At the end of the night, I reflected and realized what my problem was. It wasn’t the misplays or the deck choice—it was the attitude and the mindset.

After sitting and reflecting on what I did wrong throughout the tournament I made a realization I have had before but never actually took into consideration—I was tilted. I tried to hide it, but once I started having an emotional breakdown I realized I needed to do something about this and change it; I did some research and came to the conclusion that I experience multiple types of tilt and I need to learn how to minimize the amount I experience it.

Types of Tilt and How to Avoid Them

Magic: the Gathering has a lot of similarity to poker because of the variance in both games. There is a reason that high-level poker players, David Williams and Eric Froehlich for example, are attracted to this game. Because of their similarities both games have similar downsides as well, so let us talk about the different types of tilt most Magic players experience. A lot of these types of tilt are talked about in a poker sense, but I would like to shed some light on how they can apply to Magic.

Running Bad Tilt

The feeling after going 0-5 in an MTGO league is what this type of tilt feels like. It is a very common feeling that occurs and you don’t focus on one game at a time. Instead, you see it as a group of games and thus you are accumulating a bunch of different tilt-inducing things that have happened to you. You can’t reset from one game to the next.

To combat this feeling, you need to focus on one game at a time. It takes a lot of practice, but at any event you have to learn how to forget about the last game and focus on the next—it is a skill I have problems with and I try to work on every time I play.

Injustice Tilt

This type of tilt usually stems from jealousy: “Why did they get to draw the land?” or “They never get mana screwed.” If you experience injustice tilt it is because you are comparing yourself to someone else and are mad about how they “get all of the luck”. Why haven’t you had any of that luck?

To help prevent this type of tilt, you have to learn how to be able to understand that this is a game of variance and you can’t control when you draw a land. You also have to stop comparing yourself to others and focus on you.

Hate Losing Tilt

Lets face it, everyone hates losing—but some people take the hate a little too far. Being competitive is great, but being too competitive can be a negative when it comes to this type of tilt. I feel this type of tilt because I don’t want to let myself down and my standards are very high—I play to not lose instead of play to win a lot of the time and that causes me to falter in my decisions.

To combat this, you need to realize that this is a game where you can’t always win—even the best players lose games! Some of the best players have about a 60-70% win percentage, but that means they lose 30-40% of the time. Losing is part of the game and we need to realize that.

Mistake Tilt

Have you ever made that one mistake that lived with you through the entire match? The entire day? I’ve made those mistakes—I made multiple mistakes at GP Pittsburgh that lived with me throughout the day. This was part of my downfall in the tournament. Instead of focusing on the game I was playing, I was thinking about how I didn’t play that land to win game one. When your head isn’t in the moment, you are bound to make even more mistakes.

Something to do to help this mindset is that you need to understand that with a game that has so many variables and so many decisions, you are bound to make a mistake. What you need to do is understand that the mistake isn’t the end of the world—instead of saying “I’m so stupid, why did I do that?” you should focus on learning from it and bettering yourself and your game from that mistake.

Entitlement Tilt

One of the biggest problems I have faced in this game is entitlement tilt. It is something that a lot of Magic players have experienced, and still experience no matter what level you play the game. It’s the “I worked harder so why did I lose” mentality. I experienced this entitlement tilt quite a bit throughout the day at GP Pittsburgh. After each round I thought, “I’m better than this, so why did I lose? Why did I do so poorly?” This isn’t a healthy mindset and contributed to a multitude of losses throughout the day.

Some things I’m going to do to work on this would be to realize that the person across the table probably worked just as hard as me and realigning my perception of the people I’m around.

Revenge Tilt

This is where you need to prove yourself to a certain person or a group of people that have done something along the lines of: disrespecting you, being aggressive towards you, or thinking they are better than you. This causes you to feel the need to win again this person, to prove yourself against them. When you show any anger towards this person, you are actually giving them what they want and you aren’t in control of the situation.

Getting past the thought of proving yourself to your opponent, you need to step back and realize that you need to refocus on what actually matters—the game. You need to focus on the things you can control and not let that anger get the best of you. Focusing on the way you play instead of your anger will give you the best tools to combat the revenge tilt.

Desperation Tilt

This type of tilt stems off of any of the other types of tilt—winning becomes the only answer and you will do anything to get it. This type of tilt is driven by emotion and you don’t think clearly, thus mess up your game and start making many mistakes.

The first step is to regain control—focus on the things you can actually control before your emotions cause you to make an irreparable mistake. Focus on the game you are playing now and try to step away from the emotions.

In the Moment Fix

While I talked about some long-run fixes, we also need to focus on in-game fixes. What if you made a mistake and it makes you start playing suboptimally? Take a minute and refocus on your game plan.

The five-step process is something I am going to start doing in the future to get my head back into the game after I’ve gone on tilt:

  • Recognition

What made you tilt? Were there any signs of that you were getting off of your game? Look back and see so you can avoid them the rest of the game.

  • Deep Breaths

This will help you relax and distance you from your mind. It is what bridges the recognition with the logic. Take a few moments to reset your thoughts.

  • Inject the Logic

What can you do from here? What is something you can do to get yourself in a better place right now? I will write on my life pad, “it’s okay, go over the mistake after the match” and try to continue on with my game.

  • Refocus on Making Good Decision

Focus on the game and try to forget any mistake or tilt feeling you had. Live in the moment—if you keep reflecting on the past you’ll tend to make more mistakes. Keep up positive thoughts and think through every part of the game. Slow down while making your decisions—when you’re feeling tilted you tend to make rash decision and regretting it later.

  • Repeat

Do this until you have your head back in the game. If it happens again in the match, refocus once more.

I’m going to be practicing these things when going to my next large event, or even my next FNM. When I go to any event, I always have this five-step process written somewhere in my sideboarding notes to give me that reminder in between games.


I hope reading this article helped you as much as it helped me writing it. There are a lot of ways I can improve my game and the number one thing I can do is learn how to detiltify myself in the moment and focus on the game at hand. I’ll be using all of these tips at my next events at the beginning the the new year and at weekly FNMs.

If you ever have any questions, go ahead and throw a tweet my way, @kintreesprit, and catch me streaming at twitch.tv/kintreespirit later this week!

Thanks for reading!

Lexie Mettler is a Level 2 judge from Fort Wayne, Indiana. By day she is a student, by night she streams MTGO and practices for tournaments all over the Midwest.

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