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 [Artikel] Mastering multiplayer magic: An odyssey

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BerichtOnderwerp: [Artikel] Mastering multiplayer magic: An odyssey   di mei 24 2011, 18:21

Mastering multiplayer magic: An odyssey towards balance

Many articles have been written about how to win in multiplayer games, articles about the best cards, articles how to stave off being ganged up on, articles how to not make opponents mad, etc.
This article will have some aspects of these articles in mind, but the overall goal is to help players find balance in playing multiplayer games, whether they be beginners, advanced, experienced, expert, whatever.
I will write this article from my personal viewpoint, trying my best to appeal to universally adaptable principles.

As a magic player, i am a casual player with very spiky tendencies glazed with a good johnnyesque desire to innovate my decks and i often decompose decks to make decks with new ideas in them or refine a formerly tried idea.
I then play these decks in mainly multiplayer games against friends and other persons i regularly meet.
Thing is, i often don't enjoy playing because either i have yet again a bout of bad luck with bad hands, draws, bad beats, the works or i have chosen a deck that with my spiky play style frustrates other players to no end.
There often is an unbalance in the power level that decks in our play group have, also adding to the frustration among people.
And yes, i am among those to blame for poisoning the pond, i often use decks that can be a tad too powerful and with my spiky tendency to win at all costs, i will do so to the detriment of other players.
On other times other players will play too powerful decks and i am severely frustrated when i switched to a less powerful deck in order to have a nice and fun multiplayer game.'
It is also frustrating when i have mulliganed from 7 to 5 [including a free mulligan from 7 to 7 because it's multiplayer] and my hand still has less than 2 lands and i finally draw a land after X turns, while the deck has 22+ lands.

I play magic for my relaxation, not to just be frustrated time after time because of bad luck, bad deck choice, bad playing style, etc.
So first of all i'll look how i can impact my own playing style and deck building in order to maximize my and others enjoyment and minimize my and others frustration, but let's first look at how i build decks and play magic.
I'm an avid combo and control player, though control in the sense of board control and not in the sense of counterspells and/or hand disruption.
I like infinite combos or very powerful combos.
I have a tendency of playing multicolored decks, mostly based in green or blue, only going for monocolored decks if the theme necessitates it.
In order to limit the power of my decks, often i either restrict the amount of uniquely named cards that aren't basic lands to 2 or 1 copies or follow peasant or pauper building rules.
I have a tendency to tilt very hard when i hit bouts of bad luck or when i play a subdued deck and someone else plays a far more powerful deck and just steamrolls me for the sake of it.

Let's see what goes wrong for each point and what i can do to improve things for me and other players.
I like to play board control, wiping the board when it gets too cluttered and dangerous in my eyes and other players do not like it when i wipe the board.
A difficult one, as i absolutely dislike the big armies of separately weak creatures that together form unstoppable armies capable of getting rid of players, including me.
But i can understand that other player don't like their armies not destroyed.
I could also play the ever growing army and sometimes i do, but i know they have to accept the fact that their armies of creatures can't last forever and that mass-removal like Wrath of God will ruin their day and sometimes even save their sorry behinds from bigger threats.
Though i should be a bit less trigger happy with regards to stuff on the board and play some nice stuff of myself.

I like to play infinite and strong combos, looking for new ways of comboing out.
I guess i have to limit the amount of decks with these kinds of combos and play them less than before.

I play multicolored decks, often going for 4 and 5 color decks, often making similar decks to ones i played in the past.
People complain if it's a similar deck with similar cards and/or combos that other players dislike.
The cure: More deck variation, venture more into the color i normally disregard, red.

Related problem is color screw.
Solution: Less colors and/or more color fixing.

Also problems with mana screw often come up, while i often use a mana base of 23 to 25 lands with a reasonably low mana curve.
I already apply the solution for this problem, more consistency, redundancy and resilience, but bad luck is somewhat diminishable, yet ultimately unpreventable.
Here i just need to overcome my tilt somehow, have lower expectations of deck performance.

I already toned down the power of my decks to help others keep up with me, but in multiplayer things can horribly wrong when one or more other players have powerful decks and think they're doing everyone a service in getting rid of me, which can get me pretty riled up.
Luckily i do have a spectrum of power in decks, ranging from decent to allstar to dangerously broken, so i just need to choose wisely.
Sometimes this just happens and i just need to accept it.
When i do play less powerful decks, i already tell that to those players that play their more powerful decks that i will play a less powerful deck in order for a nice game and still they just grab that powerful deck, so there's a part of responsibility for those players to be a bit more considerate.
Or just punish those players next game by defeating them a.s.a.p.

Finally, i foremost just want to see my deck in action, if i'm killed while my deck performs how it should, i'm happy enough, even though i go for the win when i think i can win.
Other players can get frustrated when i actually go for the win and it takes too long.
Putting less win conditions in my decks and making them more consistent should do the trick.

Well, let's look at the advice i got for myself.

- Less mass-removal in decks, be less trigger happy, play more powerful other spells/permanents.

- Decrease playing nasty combo decks.

- Decrease colors in decks, play more red.

- More color fixing.

- Overcome extreme tilting by decreasing deck performance expectations.

- Accept best player syndrome, ask for deck power similarity, punish player in the next game for being jerks.

- Decrease or null win conditions in some of my decks for added consistency so those decks can perform even in adversity.

So, how does this process of self-criticism work?
First one looks at what one likes and dislikes with regards to deck-building and playing multiplayer games and does the same for other players.
Then one looks at ways how to achieve that.
Condense solutions and voila, one can then try to apply these solutions in an effort to master the art of playing multiplayer games and try to maximize fun and minimize frustration for everyone, thus balancing the experience.
Because multiplayer isn't about winning, it's about socializing with others and having a good time along with it.
The next step is talking to other players, discreetly yet earnestly asking them to do this self-analysis and then together figuring out where to go from there.
Hope you all see good times with your playgroups.
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