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"Scrubs Corner": Listen to the little man...
By Shawn J. Houtsinger
Remember the first time you felt like you were oink at this game? The defining moment of clarity that only comes from deviating what you thought was good.
No longer do you believe your own conception of 'good play' and 'bad play'. Now, it seems entwined.
Those moments will either humble you and make you a stronger player, or hurt your ego and disregard that little man inside shouting: "Hey, you need to call 911, because your hurtin' man!"

Always listen to the little man inside, he knows best.

I have a plentiful array of stories that would horrify you all. You'd be thinking, 'Um, are you sure you should be writing mtg articles?'. And, I'd agree. However, I have had my times of perfection. [And if you've seen this 'time' of perfection, please contact me, because I'd like to know about it...]

We all know about this 'time'. Everything clicks, we feel like we aren't even thinking, merely responding. I think most of that has to do with knowing your deck, and the environment, and having fun at the same time. Either way, you can't learn from right plays, only wrong ones.

'Yeah, yeah, I know' *yawn*

Hold on though! Only through humility can you progress. With that being said, let me digress more on my bad plays...

'Why? What is wrong with you? Ok, WHO'S submitting these articles?!'

Let me explain! Every time I read a *friggin'{that's for you John) article, I have to sift through the "And I got god hand" or "I am amazing Kai Budde and played perfectly", and "He got mana screwed/I got mana screwed". Blah, blah, blah.
I want to know the bad plays, the errors, the mistakes in the game or sideboarding.
Their misreads, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations.

'What?!'

Have you ever asked your friends, "Ok, so what happened in your games" or, "How did you win/lose?"
Misread.
Common mistake I have seen my friends or opponents make. But, to be fair, it can happen to any player. What are examples of this? Well, leaving two blue mana open with no counter spell in your hand. Or taking a few seconds to respond to your opponents spell when you have a grip full of lands. Call it bluffing, or psychology tricks but for the other person, he needs to know these tricks.
There are more misreads than that, of course.
A misread can be mistaking, 'Who's the beatdown?
This is obviously a great reference to Mike Flores article. If you haven't read it, you should!

I've seen people not be able to assess when they are in control of the game, and should send the guys in, or when they should defend. Or when they HAVE to send IN in order to change the tempo of the game. As Mike Flores states, "Misassignment of role=game loss".

Always lead by example!! That is what my english professor says. *shrug*

PTQ Minnesota Extended. Round 5. 4-0
I am undefeated and paired against a guy who is playing a red/black rogue deck that has mogg fanatic, cursed scroll, lots of burn, and effective search cards. You could say it was a 'toolbox' deck. It is game three.
Scenario: Me
I am at 7 life.
Board: River Boa, Spiritmonger, Spectral Lynx, Treetop village, and 6 various duals
Hand: Spiritmonger, Duress, Tithe
Scenario: Opponent
He is at 9 life.
Board: Mogg fanatic, Mogg Maniac. 5 lands in play.
Hand: (unknown to me at the time) three lands, incinerate, cursed scroll, and Phrexian Negator.

Mistake. I was afraid of sending in my creature due to him blocking with manaic and then burning me. I was waiting for a creature removal spell. But, this lead to too many turns for him to draw spells. I should have sent in with River Boa, putting him on a clock. A slow one, but it would (like chess-3 turns ahead) give me an out a few turns later.
Strandi-poo *that silly bear!* was biting his lip during my match and I knew I'd hear about it afterwards. And I did. This was surely a humbling moment, especially after I won the whole PTQ, never losing a match, and still believing I did well at the tournament. I did and I didn't.

Misunderstandings.
'Hmmmm, what do you mean?'

I'll refer to my own article for this one.

I wrote this article about cheating because I was accused of cheating, or suspicious play. A few people took notice that I was making Top 8's, and a few started to watch my games. With my Jamie Wakefield dice from 6 to 1 and rolled back again during my games, a dark cloud rose about those spectators. I can understand why-I had made some bad plays and questionable mistakes.
But, there was no doubt, I was not a cheater, merely a player with a flawed game.

In comes this word of misunderstandings. But this goes beyond cheating, and making mistakes. Misunderstandings can also be knowing life totals, card text, or casting cost. How about tapping your mana correctly? I want to know when the person I asked the question, "Hey, how did you do?" to respond, "I lost this game due to a vital mistake in game one when I....etc. I won game two because he got mana screwed...etc."

Details!

Misrepresentations

'Isn't this like providing false information? Right?'

Yes and no.
I hate cheaters, liers, and people who can't be true with their own failures.
So when I ask you how you did, be honest, be fair, and then learn from it. Don't hide or cover what happened. Either your good at draft or your not, and then figure out why.

For this, I'll go to good ole' Nick Eisel. There is no doubt he knows his stuff when it comes to drafting. But don't think he didn't learn from his CMU crew and was once a young puppy, eager, learning. I like this article.
The thought process is important here.

'Ok, so how does this tie in?'

Well, misrepresentation doesn't just apply with the falsity of what you provide, but also how you view or portray something.
Have that person to look over your shoulder to get an idea of what the right play is, or card. I mean, that person has to be better player than you in order for you to learn. Otherwise, what is the point of a one-sided, one-dimensional viewpoint?

**Even Kai has to ask, "Is this the right pick?" once and a while...

You could even say Misrepresentation is drawing an extra card, or LEAVING that two blue mana open, or asking how many cards your opponent has to give him a feeling of doubt. I mean, your opponent still has to find your tell before he knows what it means. Leave it to him to figure it out.

Till the next badplay,

Shawn J. Houtsinger
The one and only,
HOUTS

houts000@hotmail.com

"Houts, ummmmm...I read your last article.."
-"Sorry to hear..."
"Yeah, well, umm...it didn't have a point."
-"Yep, that is right, your catching on."

*John 'Friggin' Rizzo R.I.P.
**"Once and a while" is a mathematical equation of 1:1,350,000 he will ask this question.

Read More Articles by Shawn J. Houtsinger!

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