Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Perspectives (Again)

What we have here is a Commander game with me playing Jeleva at the top, Noah with Horde of Notions at the bottom, and stonethorn with Experiment Kraj on the right.

I made two mistakes in this game, the second one being irrelevant to my story and probably stemming from the first. However, I'd like to start with the upside.

Jeleva: still fun. I managed to get her out twice and although I didn't really hit any spells worth playing either time what I was able to do was remove cards from the game that might have been troublesome otherwise. There's always the psychological battle in Magic and seeing your stuff disappear tends to be a downer. I actually was starting to wish for ways to kill Jeleva at will, so I could have more opportunities to pilfer through my opponent's spells.

However, I made a very big mistake on turn seven. Noah was getting a nice combo set up using Sword of Light and Shadow, Eternal Witness and Phyrexian Altar to reuse anything he felt necessary. One notation from that game is that I have a lack of artifact removal with Jeleva and artifacts have been problematic in nearly every Commander game I have ever played. stonethorn, however, has green which means he's got that kind of removal. All I have to do is hope he'll draw into it: I can even copy that spell with Wild Ricochet.

I have a Spiteful Visions on the table (which I played to help kick the game into gear) and draw into Price of Knowledge. My thought it simply: this is a powerful card and I should play it. It's not like I'm taking over Noah's position as the actual threat here.

stonethorn promptly Krosan Grip'd my enchantment before the end of my turn and I no longer had mana available to play Wild Ricochet or anything else.

I couldn't understand why: it seemed like a play against me personally and that doesn't jibe with how Multiplayer should work-or how I thought stonethorn plays. I have a very important rule in Multiplayer games: play the board, not the person.

I have this rule because it's very easy to get wrapped up in vengeance. Too easy, frankly: the sting of a loss last game-or last week, or last month-is the kind of thing that humans get invested in payback.

And payback is a bitch. But that bitch goes both ways and I have seen players willfully ignore opportunities to win, screwing themselves over, in order to feed some kind of payback monster. I've done it myself, which, of course, is why I created the rule. Don't make it personal, play the best game you can and play that board.

The board said that Noah's position was a problem because he had an actual engine going on. I had some synergies but nothing that could really establish myself. So what happened?

I forgot to put myself in someone else's shoes. Just because you play the board not the person doesn't mean you should forget that people are in the game! From stonethorn's perspective, he was looking at taking 9 damage next turn and perhaps the turn after that, with no way to establish a foothold in the game and live long enough to knock Noah off his trajectory. Why should he allow that to happen?

Essentially, I forced stonethorn into a lose-lose situation, which compounded my poor board position and reinforced Noah's and I did this because I thought of doing cool things myself, rather than considering the position of other players. In a way, I played myself, not the board.

And that's all for this week. Thanksgiving means a break from writing. See you in a week!

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