Shark Tips – Installment 3 (Infallible Intelligence)

This article is rated Experience Level 7.  This article is perfect for budding tournament players that wish to understand more about doing well in tournaments and increasing their win rate.

Welcome to Shark Tips, an irregular installment that aims to help readers improve their play, no matter what card game they play.  In this segment, I discuss a tip I’ve learned or am in the process of learning, and expand on its ramifications and/or applications.

Today’s Tip: Just because you were right does not mean you are correct.

This is…a rather famous meme from Fate/UBW, but it holds a lot of truth, regardless of whether it was translated incorrectly or correctly.  The main idea here is that just because something that was a direct result of your actions turned out to be the right choice doesn’t mean it was the correct one.  In essence, this single line represents the entire flaw with results-oriented thinking.  I know the line sounds a bit oxymoronic, so let me expand further.

Let’s say you’re in a tournament, and you decided to put in a tech card to handle a matchup you knew you (as a player) couldn’t handle, even though the expected percentage of players that would be playing that specific deck was about 2%.  And hey, what do you know?  The round before top cut you actually end up facing that matchup, and winning thanks to that tech card!  Great, you made top cut!

Now, it was definitely the right call to do that given the results.  But it wasn’t the correct choice given the reasons.  When you decide what to play and what to put into your deck, you make a conscious judgment call on what you expect to face, and the way the deck is structured is built to win the most number of games possible on average.  From there, it comes down to matchup luck and player skill.  If you choose to ignore data, like matchup expectancies and try to put in a card to help a particular matchup in the mainboard (especially in those games without a sideboard), then what you’re doing is leaving it more to chance.  You have to face that matchup, which there is a low percentage chance of doing, and also draw that particular card.  While this is very vital to games that have a Best of 1 structure, a best of 3 with sideboard mitigates the choice quite a bit, but it doesn’t make it any less important.

It’s really easy to obtain bad habits.  This is one such, as forcing your game to rely on crutches will one day punish you when the crutch you’re forced to use turns out to be unreliable.  In the long run, this will hurt you more than it will help you, even if you found success in your first go.

~thenightsshadow, wondering how relevant this is to players

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