View Full Version : Do you take more pride in your deck or your play?

05-29-2014, 11:38 AM
There was a game a short while back that I lost. I was a reasonably close game, but when it was clear there was nothing left I could do I chatted with my opponent to congratulate him. I told him he'd outplayed me from start to finish.

Oddly enough, the reaction seemed a bit defensive to me, and it was only after the fact I realized he could have taken that as an excuse on my part or even an insult. Saying he outplayed me when he won a close game could be like saying he did a worse job of building his deck than me, but I just slipped up.

Now to me, this was the highest compliment I could offer. I enjoy building a deck, but my real pride is in being able to play it, and nothing brings me greater joy then winning through a clever unconventional tactic unique to the situation.

So I thought I'd see how other people felt. Do you take more pride in your deck building, or your ability to play the cards? Would you rather be complimented on a brilliant deck design, or a genius level utilization of the cards you were dealt?

05-29-2014, 11:58 AM
I've always enjoyed the deckbuilding aspect better, though this becomes easier to enjoy when there is a larger card pool. My favorite thing is to build decks that win using cards that are 'bad,' or that don't get enough recognition. One story that always stuck with me, and I don't know if this was true, but that Richard Garfield would often play Magic using basic starter decks against other players, and win with them, because he was so good at the game itself. Similarly, I want to play with 'bad decks' and win with them, because it demonstrates that I don't have to use whatever latest card everyone is talking about that's so good. I would prefer to play with surprise moves and use cards in ways people haven't really thought about. I like building rogue decks that people haven't seen. I'd rather be complimented on a unique deck than for my play tactics, but they mostly go hand-in-hand.

For example, a few weeks ago, I won a game of EDH using a 2-mana card called Glamerdye, which says, "Change each instance of one color on target card to another color. You may discard a land card to play this card from your graveyard." On the surface, it looks fairly lackluster, but with the deck I was playing, it dealt 30+ damage. Strong plays are important, but eventually you've seen most of the unusual tactics that are on the table. You can usually find some hidden gems of cards to build a deck out of, though.

I'm most looking forward to playing PvE with the oddest decks you can imagine.

05-29-2014, 12:05 PM
My play, definitely, mainly because I feel I have so much more to learn when it comes to deckbuilding.

If I randomly play a Bo1 against someone, I'd prefer to hear the "you outplayed me" compliment, but if I play extensively versus someone I'd rather hear "you make some really good decks".

05-29-2014, 12:12 PM
As far as your experience goes, I have met many a person who just don't know how to take a compliment. I feel bad for them really. On the other hand, your recognition of possible mindsets on your opponent's part is (in my experience) a mark of maturity.

On your question, undoubtedly it's my play. Deckbuilding has never been my strong suit, and forcing an opponent to use removal on a lesser troop or pulling an opponent's bomb rare into a trap are truly epic win moments for me. When my opponents do it to me, it's just as awesome. Deckbuilding to me is a chore I do to get to the parts of the game I enjoy. Maybe that's why I stink at deckbuilding...

Anyway, compliments on either side (play or deckbuilding) will be appreciated by me, but I'm a bit weird.

05-29-2014, 12:22 PM
I really enjoy deckbuilding, but after playing competitively (but not pro) in Magic for awhile, I've long resigned myself to the concept that my original deck ideas are pretty much never better than netdecks. So, in the end, I see "piloting" of a deck as the more important skill. Many a top level player is piloting a slightly modified netdeck, and even the best deck builders all start to build similar stuff late enough into a card cycle.

05-29-2014, 12:37 PM
Definitely my play. A good player can do well in a tournament even with poor or average cards as long as they use them right. It is easy to win in draft or sealed if you got a deck full of bombs but not everyone can win with a deck without any bombs.

Of course, I can't always win like that either but I feel really good about it when I can :-)

05-29-2014, 12:48 PM
Play definitely.

You can 'netdeck'.

It's a bit harder to 'netplay'.

That said I imagine being the first one to create a deck so awesome that it becomes the new netdeck standard carries a lot of satisfaction as well.

05-29-2014, 12:57 PM
My first reaction is "both equally", but I think it actually depends on the deck.

If the deck is something I consider obvious, or easy to come up with (say someone published the deck list) than I find no real investment in it and praising the deck will not really flatter me. However I don't tend to play decks like that (I'm all about finding new strategies and doing things that are unexpected/considered bad by conventional wisdom) so praise for a deck I play is likely to be received well.

I can't really think of any scenario where I'd take any variation of "well played" as an insult. Even if the person meant it as such the most hurtful connotation I can imagine applying is a Scooby-do ending ("I'd have gotten away with it to if it were for you meddling kids!").

05-29-2014, 12:58 PM
Both. I'm the type of person who refuses to use a deck built by someone else. I might borrow ideas from other decks, but it is important to me that I always build my own decks as I really enjoy trying to be creative in that aspect. There is satisfaction in building a great deck that has a good win rate.

But, building the deck only goes so far. There is great satisfaction in making some really great plays/smart choices and having it pay off as well. I really love playing a closely matched game and coming out on top because of a few crucial plays.

So, I don't think one or the other is really better... I take pride in my ability to play well with a deck that I've built. ;)

05-29-2014, 01:13 PM
I prefer creativity. People able to compliment on creativity and incredibly complicated combos go pretty far in my book. Also I wouldn't of taken what you said to your opponent as an insult.

05-29-2014, 01:14 PM
Pretty much what Svenn said - I take pride in my deckbuilding. But I also take pride in the fact that I can use that deck incredibly well, even to upset victories now and then.

But I think, in all honesty, I am a better player than deckbuilder (being a Johnny, I can't tweak a deck to razor-fine levels.) But I love my crazy ass ideas.

05-29-2014, 01:17 PM
I don't see myself as a professional player, but do see myself as creative (at times).
While it will be hard to innovate outside of what has already been innovated, I'd take more pride in that. When I watch other card games played to the highest level, it isn't the amazing players and their play that fascinates me. It is the wacky decks and the tech they use to best the meta.

05-29-2014, 02:48 PM
Currently my guild is doing an inter-guild tournament. During the round robin phase I was playing against a fellow guild mate in the last battle of our pod to see who got into top 16. I need to go 1-2 to get a chance at the finals (three way tie for first) or win 2-1 or better to cinch first place.

The format was U/C only and he was playing Lifegain.dec versus my Flight.dec (not really innovative) . Game one was a blow out with him winning 39 to 0. Game two he got me to three health with his in the low 30s, I was able to fight my way back to win that game with a stormcall. Mostly top deck luck and knowing my outs.

However game 3 was one of the best games I've ever played. Once again he started out strong. My start wasn't bad I got him to 14 or so before he stabilized with Righteous Paladin and started tearing away at my health. However I had the answers in hand, and I knew what was in both decks. I knew that I could double block my 6/2 and 2/2 Thunderbirds against his 8/8 Paladin and not risk a Bravery. I knew that I could hold my Buccaneer in hand and hope to top deck and Countermagic or Mesmerize and let him take me to 1 HP, and slowly I ground away at his health with my flyers to turn the game around 1 to 0.

I felt bad about how badly those games were turned around, but my guild mate was gracious and was in awe of my near flawless play of holding him off turn after turn until I found my answers (Stormcall/CM/Mesmerize). I felt really proud of the way I played, and know that it'll be tough for me to reach that level of play again.

I'm a slight better then medicore player and deckbuilder, so any compliments I receive on either means a lot to me. But I know my play is general not at the level of my other skills so I think I'd be more proud of that when it pulls through.

05-29-2014, 03:11 PM
I take pride in both and it depends on the situation. I drafted a Midnight Shepherd deck once. It was hilarious and fulfilling to get it working and I received compliments on the deck build in all 3 rounds. If I pull off some some clever play combos it's flattering when my opponent congratulates me. However, I will say that I don't often congratulate my opponent anymore on excellent plays(unless they've already been vocal) due to the frequent potential for backfire, general lack of enthusiasm or total silence.

05-29-2014, 06:48 PM
I don't really like to converse during a game. I find it distracting typing in the box. I like to spend that time calculating moves and planning ahead. Some people might consider it rude but I don't see any point in talking.

05-29-2014, 07:04 PM
I play draft a lot and i feel there is more skilled involved in creating a good deck then playing it.

During the draft phase and deck building phase u take much more harder decision.

While playing it feels like most of the time what u need to do is obvious and you just need a little bit of basic math.


05-29-2014, 07:37 PM
It's all about deck building for me. Sometimes I just open notepad and start playing with deck concepts. Playing the game isn't so important to me... (am I insane?) I like drafts/sealed because they involve deck building (and testing), but most of the time I'd rather simulate a few dozen hand draws as I tweak the deck and avoid playing out entire games.

I want to make outrageous deck concepts work and share them with my guild. I want to collect and actually build the decks I design, but when it comes to playing... maybe I'll work on another deck instead.

I do like bringing very strange decks to constructed tournaments and trying to at least make top 8. I'm not trying to win first place (if I was I'd look at the metagame and play some variant of a popular deck...).

05-30-2014, 12:27 PM
I don't really like to converse during a game. I find it distracting typing in the box. I like to spend that time calculating moves and planning ahead. Some people might consider it rude but I don't see any point in talking.

I never talk in draft (time is to precious and I'm a slow/terrible typist).

I might talk in a proving grounds game but typically only if the other player says something interesting ( not the usual "hi have fun" platitudes, but an observation or a direct question to me).