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 Post subject: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-22 7:26 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Had some interesting 3-player games over the weekend. In two of the games I was taken out first despite having not done anything threatening (I think it was some hold-over from last week). In both cases I was the focus off the aggression almost to the exclusion of the other guy. Once I was out, the games ended rather quickly when the third player who had been left alone turns on their gameplan and wins.

what was funny was that this happened twice by both my buddies. I asked them why they took me out when they had no way to defeat the third player... I don't think it had occurred to them that I could be an ally as much as an opponent. I think they saw the wrath I played (or whatever disruption) as only interfering with their board. I tried to explain to them but... I don't think it really sunk in.

has anyone had to deal with this before? is there a better way to communicate the political nature of edh more effectively?

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-23 6:39 am 
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Joined: 2014-Aug-16 4:42 am
Age: Wyvern
I find that pointing out the facts about powerful cards and their capabilities tends to help people with their threat assessment. Simply stating "I'm not the threat!" will just make you seem like the threat.


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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-23 9:04 am 

Joined: 2013-Oct-09 7:02 am
Age: Elder Dragon
This has only happened to me once. In game 1, I won almost out of nowhere with a green deck against two opponents. In game 2, I switched to a different deck and one of my opponents decided to bounce all my permanents with Mycosynth Lattice + Hurkyl's Recall. At the time I wasn't winning at all and the other player was clearly ahead. I couldn't do anything for the rest of the game and the Hurkyl's Recall player proceeded to lose to the other opponent. I tried explaining that the other guy was a bigger threat to me, but I guess he either didn't believe me or thought he could handle the other guy. Or he was holding a grudge.

This is kind of different, but I've also played against someone who was aiming for second place after deciding he probably wasn't going to get first. Kingmaking isn't fun :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-23 1:11 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
iplaymtg wrote:
I find that pointing out the facts about powerful cards and their capabilities tends to help people with their threat assessment. Simply stating "I'm not the threat!" will just make you seem like the threat.

I thought I was pointing out the armies being amassed. I asked what plan they had to take out the other guy... But they seemed more interested in attacking me because I was open rather than making good plays.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-24 2:43 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Drake
"Play to win, build to restrain yourself as much as necessary"

These words are jewels given to me by a player whom I learned a great deal from, not only in EDH, but in Magic as a complete game. Obviously in our FNMs, the level of restrainment was 0- but in EDH, it's almost always necessary by some degree.

With respect to your experience, you can't simply dismiss it as your opponents not trying to win- as it is often correct to to defeat a limping player. Rather, your political move was to tell them what they should do, as opposed to giving them incentive not to. Watch this, unless you're afraid of 2+ years old Game of Thrones spoilers to better understand this point. A moralistic argument, much like an ad hominem one, is a sign of desparation- almost always thoroughly unconvincing. In EDH, you will have to manipulate your fellow players, and you'll want to do so effectively, and then enjoy some good banter after the game about jedi mind tricks.

In many games, I've had players outright sabotage the natural flow of the game in attempt to put me behind, even while another player had a Planar Gate or a loaded battlefield- because they were too afraid to play out a regular game with me. While I jokingly engaged them, in both circumstances, I poured my efforts into eliminating the player who sabotaged the game to make the point. Do not, however, ever make the mistake of believing that you ever deserve to win the game, or even deserve a fair shot at it. Magic is a game that has a competitive nature, and no matter how much you restrain yourself on power, or from abusing certain interactions; you can only look back on a game and wonder if you played the game at the highest level you know how to.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-May-24 7:17 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Mr Degradation wrote:
"Play to win, build to restrain yourself as much as necessary"

These words are jewels given to me by a player whom I learned a great deal from, not only in EDH, but in Magic as a complete game. Obviously in our FNMs, the level of restrainment was 0- but in EDH, it's almost always necessary by some degree.

With respect to your experience, you can't simply dismiss it as your opponents not trying to win- as it is often correct to to defeat a limping player. Rather, your political move was to tell them what they should do, as opposed to giving them incentive not to. Watch this, unless you're afraid of 2+ years old Game of Thrones spoilers to better understand this point. A moralistic argument, much like an ad hominem one, is a sign of desparation- almost always thoroughly unconvincing. In EDH, you will have to manipulate your fellow players, and you'll want to do so effectively, and then enjoy some good banter after the game about jedi mind tricks.

In many games, I've had players outright sabotage the natural flow of the game in attempt to put me behind, even while another player had a Planar Gate or a loaded battlefield- because they were too afraid to play out a regular game with me. While I jokingly engaged them, in both circumstances, I poured my efforts into eliminating the player who sabotaged the game to make the point. Do not, however, ever make the mistake of believing that you ever deserve to win the game, or even deserve a fair shot at it. Magic is a game that has a competitive nature, and no matter how much you restrain yourself on power, or from abusing certain interactions; you can only look back on a game and wonder if you played the game at the highest level you know how to.

I very much offered the correct advice. I wasn't pleading on moral grounds but pointing out that their commitment to bury me would leave them unable to win. I was proven right in both cases.

the issue, I think, is that both guys were highly unexperienced and could not see how my evaluation of the board was spot on. I think they saw it as desperation- a political manuever- rather than me pointing out their best chances for winning. Yes, they were trying to win, they just didnt know how.

Maybe next time they'll get it. I dont play politics in EDH. I'm not going to whine or lament my board to garner mercy. If I say its a mistake to take me out of the game its because I've evaluated the board and the decks involved.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-20 2:24 am 
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Joined: 2012-Jan-06 10:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Seattle
I ok with it if people own up to their actions. If some one smacks me around with the reasoning "that was for messing up my silly/stupid play last turn/game" I'm ok with that. I can get behind a good grudge match.

What I don't like is "eh, I had to do something and you were open" or after explaining to them why it's mistake and how someone else is a bigger threat "too late, can't change it now" (even targets are still being picked.)

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-23 1:18 am 

Joined: 2017-Jun-22 10:07 pm
Age: Hatchling
"poor threat assessment" gets thrown around my LGS ALOT. Mostly by the bad combo player who can't comprehend why people would target a Zur/Ad Nauseum decks mana base. (For the record I am NOT remotely calling any of you fine folks bad, nor am I judging anyone's chosen playstyle on here.)

I've noticed some people are really opposed to losing to certain decks, I have been sitting with a board state to end all board states, waiting for my turn to crush my opponents, and instead of someone's disruption targeting me, it targets the combo player just because they don't want to lose to combo. On the flip side I have seen someone repeatedly remove the Krenko player's lone Krenko over and over while the Riku player goes all Riku all over the place and wins, just because they hate Krenko decks.

Just my two cents, although I do agree with the sentiment that maybe going 0-100 is bad when you can go 0-60 and stay under the radar.


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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-23 2:37 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Drake
Ib other Halfheart wrote:
I've noticed some people are really opposed to losing to certain decks, I have been sitting with a board state to end all board states, waiting for my turn to crush my opponents, and instead of someone's disruption targeting me, it targets the combo player just because they don't want to lose to combo. On the flip side I have seen someone repeatedly remove the Krenko player's lone Krenko over and over while the Riku player goes all Riku all over the place and wins, just because they hate Krenko decks.


This just part of player development. In my own case, I absolutely detest tempo decks; because they're particularly effective against the sort of positioning game that I like to play in a game of Magic. However, as I learned more about the game- it became clear that I needed to learn more about how they function, and apply the theory behind them, not only to counter them, but to further my own deckbuilding.

Part of playing in a game involving more than 2 players is understanding that everyone's choices are valid, even if they are bad for that player in the long run. It's frustrating when a player derails you just because they want you to lose, even if it means that they can't win- but often that's just a group dynamic. If you're going to play something, and you know that somebody is going to get overzealous in targeting your gameplan, there are ways to build to punish that. In this dynamic, I find that being a table villain can be satisfying.

In some groups, players have massively overestimated or underestimated the power of my EDH decks, and often just getting to assess whether or not I'm being mis-evaluated has to inform decisions while playing; even if it's just social cues and commentary on plays made.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-01 10:36 pm 

Joined: 2016-Sep-16 11:05 pm
Age: Wyvern
Three way games are a weird thing in themselves as aggro/voltron strategies become much more viable. Threat assessment isn't always obvious because you typically lack full information. How many and what cards do they have in their hands? Do you have a soft/hard lock on the table that's drastically slowing one/both players down? While you may be preventing the 3rd player from doing specific things, you can't fault the aggressor player for attacking the person preventing them from going full steam. People evaluate based on real and perceived threats and their self evaluation of how they can deal with them. Doesn't mean they are right or aware of the full potential of the 3rd deck.

Best example of this would be a game a few months back in which I could kill one of two people, with the others in non-winning spots. First person had a much stronger and reliable deck that might be able to shut me down after I killed the 2nd player. The second player had ShatterGang on the table and would have the ability to clear my board after they untapped. Do you kill the perceived and known stronger threat, or kill the person with the on-board table clear? (You have no effective cards in hand for rebuilding - playing Eight Tails)

I chose to kill the ShatterGang player and the table went ballistic on me. They felt I should have allowed the board wipe with the assumption that Eight Tails was cheaper and could be recast more often than ShatterGang, winning via attrition. I had chosen to deal with the apparent threat that could shut me down completely for the foreseeable future. I had also based my decision on the fact that I had no obvious rebuilding mechanism if I allowed the board wipe to go through. (The first player basically created an unbeatable board state within 1-2 moves afterwards)

So how do you evaluate situations that can appear to be nothing more than a choice of two evils? Real vs perceived threat? (He might not be holding his wincon) I understand board wipes to clear a growing problem - but staxx effects just invite me to kill the immediate problem rather than a potential one. It can be a hard choice sometimes.


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 Post subject: Always never don't ever play for the win.
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-07 9:59 am 

Joined: 2017-Jun-13 4:56 am
Age: Wyvern
I feel like most of the valuable and useful things I think have been said already, and said well. But hey, Ima throw in my own spin on it because I like the sound of my own voice and this is a community where people give there opinions. Good? Good.

In multiplayer games there is no opting-out of the politics. Commander is an especially extreme example of this. Thinking that a player focusing on removing you from the game will cause them to lose isn't a political move, but saying so definitely is. The way you describe the boardstate, your reactions to the cards being played, even if you only ever act in accordance to what you feel without any subversive intent the actions still have political ramifications at the table.

Sure you might not be "playing" the political game actively, the same way the person who slams a boardwipe on turn 5 because they drew it isn't really "playing" the board. In an interactive multiplayer game with high variance and no guarantee of victory being possible for any given player table politics affect the game outcome more than deck choice and play experience.

Commander is a casual format, if a person doesn't want to bother with politics they can have fun just playing the board and knowing the decks. If a player wants to WIN though, if they want to surpass that infuriating 24% win rate, they have to play politics.

P.S. @niheloim, on the original topic un-foreshadowed and unpredictable One Turn Wins encourage people to kill you first, because you can wipe a board or disrupt a half-built combo but killing a player is the only way to stop them from pulling O.T.W.s. Either tighten up your combo kills for wins against people who don't know you, or slide more controlling so that killing you isn't the easy fix. On a related note, if the game goes long enough for people to play cool stuff before you combo out they won't hate you out as hard.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-08 1:43 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
I get that sudden wins make you a target. This was not the case... maybe a little. I think it was their inexperience that left them unsure of me and what a deck could do.

But to be fair, none of my decks are made for going from 0 to Win in a single turn. The guys I play with just dont see the big plays coming yet.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-10 1:44 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I used to win a lot in my weeklies, more than 'fair share', but haven't in forever. I still get targeted harder sometimes because people remember being destroyed by me months ago. Haha. I get targeted by new players as well since they don't yet have concepts of 'high tier' commanders but i have a lot of shiny cardboard.

I have witnessed a lot of 'player A board wipes because player B was truly scary, and now player C who would have surely lost is not targeting player A for killing his stuff'.

I think some people get lost in this idea that you don't have to play to win, and those are truly the most miserable and difficult people to play with/against.


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 Post subject: Multiplayer with newbies = endless loses for the oldies.
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-10 3:49 pm 

Joined: 2017-Jun-13 4:56 am
Age: Wyvern
Oh, yeah, being the mentor is suicide in multiplayer. It's basically inevitable that new players will be most scared of the guy at the table who knows how to play, so they gang up on 'em. I remember when I was taught to play commander my friend who taught me won two games at the beginning and we didn't let him win again for the next two months. Then I brought my cousin in and I didn't win for the next three.

It takes a while for the other players to get past the "Archenemy" phase, longer if they get stomped once or twice by someone they are actively dogpiling, but they eventually get the confidence to focus on winning instead of not-losing to the "better player". Then you're golden!

P.S. saying things like "foiled out", "my best deck", "most expensive deck", or "I haven't lost with this deck before" also paint a target on you.

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 Post subject: Re: playing to win
AgePosted: 2017-Jul-11 4:04 am 
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Joined: 2012-Jan-06 10:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Seattle
Good point on the mentor kills! I used to do that and I've had it done against me.

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Glissa, the Traitor -> Voltron
Mayael the Anima -> Flopping Fatties
Phenax, God of Deception -> Grave Rats
Starke of Rath -> Wrath of Starke: MRC

Proving Grounds: Drawmia-maro, Titania When Lands Attack, Tromokratis Read it Again, Kaalia's Klerics, Hordes of Tribes.


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