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By: deluxeicoff, Adrian Grey Marsden
Feb 25 2010 1:39am
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 Main Entry: Pav·lov·ian

Pronunciation: \pav-ˈl-vē-ən, -ˈlō-; -ˈl-fē-\
Function: adjective
: of or relating to Ivan Pavlov or to his work and theories <Pavlovian conditioning>
Pav·lov \ˈpäv-ˌlf, ˈpav-, -ˌlv\, Ivan Petrovich (1849–1936), Russian physiologist. Pavlov is most famous for developing the concept of the conditioned reflex. In his classic experiment he trained a hungry dog to salivate at the sound of a bell by conditioning the dog to associate the sound of the bell with the sight of food. His earlier research had been concerned with cardiac physiology and the regulation of blood pressure. Carefully dissecting the fine cardiac nerves, he demonstrated that the strength of the heartbeat was controlled by nerves leaving the cardiac plexus. He later turned his attention to the study of the secretory activity of digestion. Having devised with the German physiologist Rudolph Heidenhain an operation to prepare what is now often called a Pavlov pouch, he was able to isolate the stomach from salivary and pancreatic secretions and thereby study the gastrointestinal secretions in a normal animal over its life span. This research led him to formulate the laws of the conditioned reflex. In 1904 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiology of digestive secretions.

What does this have to do with MAGIC? 

Let me explain...
Imagine how many, THOUSANDS of magic games you've participated in.  For me it's a VERY BIG number, (as I'm a bit of a magic Methuselah compared to the rest of the field).  Each time your playing, your programming yourself...some call this habits, but it's technically programming.

Repetition is the mother of all learning.  If you don't believe me, just say the definition of an unknown word, mindlessly, about 20 times out loud. 
Seriously try it...use hash marks - It only takes about 2 minutes....and I'll supply the word:

A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.

It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

Example: "Mark my words. No, Mark, I really need my words." — Stephen Colbert

"She got her good looks from her father, he's a plastic surgeon." — Groucho Marx

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx
Enough examples of those great phrases...but now,  guess what?  Tomorrow you're going to have that definition downloaded in your brain - it's a longwinded process, but unless there's something medically 'off' - you just programmed yourself, this isn't some pavlovian nonsense, (Filthy Cur art & punn intended) - it's hard science and you don't need a degree in human psychology to use it to your advantage.

Here's a phrase that has a lot to do with what I'm trying to get across:

"Practice makes PERMANENT" 

Notice I didn't write, "PERFECT" - there's a huge difference.  If you practice the word memorization above the wrong way, it will only be "Perfectly Wrong" - AND it WILL BE permanently stitched on your wrinkly brain as the way to say & spell said word.

Magic's every element allows for error, this is what makes it so challenging and great.  From the vast rules and interpretation, to the physical twitches some of us have when not playing online, the errors abound.  

There's something every magic player shares...

We all chase perfection. 

Some chase perfection with deck building, and others in their play - and even when we think we've achieved it, an outside perspective can usually, and quite quickly, depict what you did wrong.  

It is with this in mind, that I'd like to share with you the things I've learned...mostly the hard way (see also: Losing & Scooping)...

Some of these will seem silly; others obvious, and I hope perhaps one will hit you as profound...

Matching Art
Get into the habit of matching artwork on your lands, spells...everything you have a multiple of.  If you're playing with creatures, make sure they all look that foil Counterspell for a regular one to match your three others...why?  Imagine the below scenario:

Your opponent has 2 cards in hand and casts a foil Graceful Antelope (minus 2 points if you had to look it up!), you counter, they replay a Graceful Antelope.  See the difference?  You know now what card is in their hand, as the second card wasn't an antelope of the shiny persuasion.

A more common error is non-matching lands.  Many a time I've played a Duress, taking note of what art & artist is on each land. 
For example, lets say my opponent reveals 2 similar but different swamps:

Then on his turn, he untaps...draws a card and then plays the swamp below...

Thanks to your opponent's love of art, or now know what cards they're still holding.  Obviously the implications of this are far-reaching, and most often happens with bounced permanents.

"F4" &"F6"

I didn't know the above hotkeys of magic online for a LONG TIME.  For those new to it, F4 passes priority, allowing your crippled tournament fingers a brief rest.  This is usually a safe play because if something is cast, MTGO still asks you for permission "OK?" 
However, F6 can lose you tournaments!

I won't get long-winded about it, just know that F6 passes your priority for an entire turn.  This is a great feature if tapped out against a "storm" mechanic and you need to go wash the car, start dinner and/or start a hobby (Seriously, sometimes when I F6 against storm, I can leave for about 5 minutes and their still going!) - but it's terrible if you'd wish to do anything to the current game state.

To slow down, or speed up?

Many a time - while playing an online're going to need to keep a steady eye on your clock.  "How obvious!" - Many of you may be saying...and indeed you're right.  My friend who first taught me magic, loses again and again to me due to the time issue online...yet despite this
obvious note,  sometimes you do need to actually slow down...

Get into the habit of taking a deep breath before each spell.  Don't go hyperventilating on me now, just take a quick beat/breath, and look at your options.  I think my lifetime win % would go up about 4% if I could always remember to do this.

A good example of this was my last pauper tournament.  I was facing a dredge TE deck and the situation was quite hopeless regarding I took a breath, stepped back, and realized that in order for my opponent to keep blocking my flyers...he needed to keep dredging his Stinkweed Imp.

A Eureka moment happened there, as I quickly did the math and realized I had the game if I would just switch my thinking to see another perspective....milling him.  Egocentrically speaking I obviously wouldn't bring this up unless I had won...but the point is sound regardless of my transparency!

With respect to the previous rule, sometimes, if your opponent is running low on time....then it is YOUR TIME to start using the benefits of the F4 and dreaded F6 Key...which can drastically add time for you and decrease the length of digital rope with which your opponent is now hanging from, more notes on how to do this below...

Tournament Deck Folders

I don't mean to sound anal-retentive about this, but being 'neat' and 'tidy' goes hand in hand with consistent winning.
Perhaps a visual reference is needed:

For those of you that don't recognize the picture above it is from the TV show "MONK."  The main character is a super-neat-freak among other things and it does wonders for him - and it can for you too!  It's also a great example of this next point:

Take the time to make a "TOURNAMENT" Folder

Make sure there are no multiple copies of any one said deck.  I personally lost a tournament last year by accidentally clicking on a similar deck...about 8 moves into round 1- I thought, "...Hey! Where did that forest came from?!"

Then I realized I was an idiot.

Simply put -  When you have the decklist figured out, save it to a secure, "Tourney only" location.  If adjustments are needed to them elsewhere, this folder should be considered sacred, the only files saved here are ready to do battle against even the most belligerent and super lucky foes!  (insert evil laughter here)

The TOP & BOTTOM Trick...

Lets suppose you're playing online, and your opponent casts something like Agony Warp.

Until recently, I had no idea how this worked....  I don't mean the card obviously...but the order of "HOW IT HAPPENS" - Exactly what creature gets the first drawback, and which the second?!?!  The artistic arrows of online play happen at the same time, and the text screen does not help either.

I'll make this as clear as possible.  The first targeted creature, gets the first drawback (-3/-0) the second targeted creature gets (-0/-3).  If you look to the right on the text side of the screen, whichever creature is mentioned first, gets the first ability, and the second the second.

Agony Warp is cast on a Wild Mongrel and a Basking Rootwalla.  The text screen will say something like, "so and so casts Agony Warp targeting Wild Mongrel and Basking Rootwalla.  Because the creatures are listed in this order, you know that the Mongrel will become a -1/2 and the Rootwalla will die at 1/-2 (unless pumped then it'll be a 3/0.

So now you can use your instantaneous and newfound magic trick to better your win percentages!  Simply open the text screen to the right to get a statistical rundown of what is happening to who.  This happens on quite a few cards...but this is the most likely. 

Don't reveal a lost hand

Imagine if you will...(of course you will, unless you just turn back now) - a game where you mulligan down to two still haven't drawn a land, but you can't go any further.  Yet your opponent opens fast and furious with the nemesis to your deck still haven't even played a single land and it's your finally draw a land turn 4...what should you do?

Do nothing.

This is an opportunity for you to see the rest of your opponents deck.

Did you finally draw something cast-able?  Big deal, you're going to lose anyways.  

Why give your opponent valuable information about what colors you may or may not be playing?!?!  Imagine the actual advantage you have (albeit a small one) going into the sideboard for game've seen what his deck can do, you know how it "ticks" many cases & meta games you now know the actual decklist!  - Wait to concede until you're forced to discard, or selectively discard and/or play lands to lead your opponent to the wrong conclusions...OR you can just F6 yourself, thus eating away at his clock, maybe even seeing the majority of his deck in the process!

All this time, you must remember, he knows next to nothing about your deck, other than thinking that you're a poor deck-designer with awful land/ratio skills!  If you folded before showing anything, then your opponent actually knows nothing about your deck.

Attack...THEN play

This is my biggest problem.  I'm in a game, and turn after turn, I cast stuff, then attack...leaving little to no mana open for tricks.
This is a conditioned response to constant repetition and play error.  However, you can adversely lose weight and play better by doing the following:
When you commit the above trespass, do 5 pushups.  

Not that many, not that few...but there's a lot of attack phases in a typical game, and this conditioning will quickly cause you to slow down and think before committing your soldiers to an attack.

Pattern Recognition

Online play is very fine tuned...thus timing and digital reactions must be analyzed closely...if you wish to have a slight edge.

Have you ever noticed how quickly people play when you're mana screwed?  It's as if they think they can win if they just play fast.  It makes no sense obviously, but I catch myself doing it all the time, even when I'm aware of it.  I'm sure some adrenaline is to blame, as tournament play is exciting...but you need to regulate your digital play and image.  Fast plays make for fast defeats via big errors.

Additionally, when your opponent has zero cards in hand and is on the draw, what pauses and/or timings take place when he draws land?  What about a clutch spell...remember this in games two and perhaps three.  Why remember it?  Imagine he's bluffing that he has removal - knowing and remembering what you saw him do last turn, did he play fast or slow?  This will probably tell you if he has a removal spell, as most bluffs are one dimensional...most opponents won't be thinking that you were watching them for the last few draws...learning their digital moods...their ups and downs.  This is a tiny edge, but can really pay off.  

With regards to real "paper-Magic"...
Way back in 2001 (some new guy named Kai was all the rage :) - I tried to qualify for a spot on the Pro Tour for New Orleans...after about 14 hours of play, I was in the finals.  At the time, my rules knowledge was pretty low, but my poker skills were quite high.  All tournament long, I was studying my opponents...which is nothing new, but I was also policing my own play...let me explain:

I would draw each turn and not look at my card right away.  Instead I'd sit back and re-look at the board.  I did this EVERY SINGLE TURN.  Furthermore, I hold my magic cards differently than most cardgames:

Holding cards like this causes opponents to think you only have one card if they weren't paying attention, and this was crucial as I was playing U/G Tempo control.  Of course, all they have to do is ask me, but most people don't.

Physical play has so many advantages for pattern recognition...posture on the draw, are they depressed, excited etc.., even reflections off of wrist-watches and sunglasses have often offered me a free peek!

So that's it for me I said before, I'm sure some of the above 'tricks' were obvious, but I hope one made you go..."AH!...interesting!"
Until next time ~ may all your mana be perfect!
Adrian Grey - "deluxeicoff" on MTGO


il by deluxeicoff at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 01:04
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Some of this is a page out of by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 03:40
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Some of this is a page out of George Baxter's book in that he too advocated almost cheating to get ahead in the game. (Sunglasses/Wristwatches? Really? That kind of reminds me of the guys who would unshuffle their opponents decks because they learned a magicians trick. Or those who would scout their opponents decks while they shuffled because some people suck at keeping their decks face up.) Aside from that you had some good stuff to say. As another long time player (started in 94) I recognize some of the things you said as just regular 'ole card common sense'. The advice about saving your tourney decks somewhere safe is something I've told people about often enough. Which came to me after discovering that MODO loves to hide decks, especially if you use the structure of the game folders. I keep my important deck folders where I know I can get to them quickly and outside the game.

Timing issues are also key if you are a slow player. My preference is F2 (OK this time) in such games as I can tap it fast enough to simulate F4 without accidentally brushing F6. If you are a fast player, then your advice about breathing is good. My problem is I sometimes space out, midgame, particularly if my opponent is doing something boring and lengthy. I have been known to F6 through my own turn. I have also learned something about that. If you have your combat step set to automatically stop it will give you an opportunity to F3 (removal all yeilds and priority passes) in time for your 2nd main phase. Normally you should hit F3 asap if you F6 at any time you don't mean to. But this gives you a second chance if you really blow it.

I am amused by the advice about scouting your opponent's deck presideboard. Generally speaking Id recommend against throwing away a game you are disadvantaged in just to gain intel or keep them from learning anything important. There is always a chance they will screw up and or you will top deck the nuts. It may be that an experienced tourney player will have a good enough sense about their deck to know when a game is entirely lost before their opponent knows it. And in that case of course I agree with your thought. Preserve what little you can while costing them as much as possible and if you can mislead them with innocuous discards and the like go for it. But most people will not have that sense unless they have played their deck to death and back against all possible match ups. I am not a tourney player anymore (not to say I never draft though) so this advice has little value to me but if there are tourney players reading this then they should take it for what it is.

Good to know that I'm not the by Lord Erman at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 04:13
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Good to know that I'm not the only person who holds his Magic cards that way!

Great article, the only part I think you skipped a bit fast is bluffing online. A quick example:

Recently I was playing against a Jund deck and I was facing one Putrid Leech and one Bloodbraid Elf with no cards in hand (Thanks Blightning, I love you too!!!). I drew my card and it was a land. I didn't play it but tapped exactly one Plains, waited a bit and then untapped it and passed the turn.

On his turn my opponent attacked with his two creatures, I tapped one Plains instantly as if I was going to play Path to Exile, waited again a few seconds as if I was thinking which creature to exile, and then untapped my land and clicked "ok". My opponent didn't activate his Putrid Leech because now he "knew!!" I had Path to Exile in hand and his creatures dealt me 5 damage instead of 7. Had he done that, I was going to be in range of a single Lightning Bolt. But my bluff bought me enough time to find an answer to his threats.

What happened next? Oh I lost the game of course :). But that's surely not the point. What I'm trying to say is that even though bluffing is a lot harder online than it is offline, it still can be done.

Anyway, thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it.


Example: Agony Warp is cast by JMason (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 08:09
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Agony Warp is cast on a Wild Mongrel and a Wild Mongrel. The text screen will say something like, "so and so casts Agony Warp targeting Wild Mongrel and Wild Mongrel. You know that one Mongrel will become a -1/2 and the other Mongrel will die at 2/-1, but the order is not given.

Now tell me which Mongrel I should pump :o)

You can always ask. Then you by ilsk (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 08:48
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You can always ask. Then you should figure out if the opp is lying or not. If you think he is, then pump the other one... :)

This is a massive problem I by FierceTable (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 22:00
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This is a massive problem I have with the like Cone of Flame need to be clear in what is being targeted for which part of the effect (unless I haven't been paying attention and this was recently addressed).

One stupid mistake I've made by Mark (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 09:55
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One stupid mistake I've made is always assuming if my opponent wins the coin flip he is going to play. I've passed my whole first turn by accident before... oops!

Indeed, one reason I like by deluxeicoff at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 12:34
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Indeed, one reason I like playing with Gemstone Caverns if the deck will allow it...even high 1700 rated players screw that one up....another muscle memory error that often happens online!

@Paul - I'll take any by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 12:30
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@Paul - I'll take any advantage I can get. I'm not going to go and setup a mirror behind you if someone is being absent minded, I will capatalize on it. I've fallen victim to it by playing with my sunglasses tucked in the neck of my shirt! I've played around cards I've seen the reflections of in glossy table tops...this only works when someone is in topdeck mode usually, as more than two cards is quite unreliable...However, that constant 'flickering' and nervous movement that most players often do, is quite a help at getting a free telepathy for a turn or so. It's a grey area, but so long as your not setting it up, I say fair play...the more observant player should have the advantage.

@Lord Erman - yeah, holding cards that way is perfect for magic, it's all the info you could ever need, when holding them the traditional way (poker etc..) your covering up the most valuable info on the about bad muscle memory...BTW - no offence intended, but I think everyone knows the bluff trick, but your right, I should have filled in one more for that category, and thanks for the nice words.

sorry, I wasn't logged in for by deluxeicoff at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 12:31
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sorry, I wasn't logged in for the above comment...

@Paul - I'll take any advantage I can get. I'm not going to go and setup a mirror behind you if someone is being absent minded, I will capatalize on it. I've fallen victim to it by playing with my sunglasses tucked in the neck of my shirt! I've played around cards I've seen the reflections of in glossy table tops...this only works when someone is in topdeck mode usually, as more than two cards is quite unreliable...However, that constant 'flickering' and nervous movement that most players often do, is quite a help at getting a free telepathy for a turn or so. It's a grey area, but so long as your not setting it up, I say fair play...the more observant player should have the advantage.

@Lord Erman - yeah, holding cards that way is perfect for magic, it's all the info you could ever need, when holding them the traditional way (poker etc..) your covering up the most valuable info on the about bad muscle memory...BTW - no offence intended, but I think everyone knows the bluff trick, but your right, I should have filled in one more for that category, and thanks for the nice words.

stupid dredging :) well by Baldr7 at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 14:16
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stupid dredging :) well written article and very helpful. i've fallen victim to the "one too many f6" multiple times.

But didn't you know.... by Eht Klof Oreh (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 20:53
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That Ace beats everything? Use this in tournament and you will win EVERY TIME!!!

I don't understand how you by FierceTable (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 22:11
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I don't understand how you can make such a big deal about practice making permanent and then give a bad play tip like "attack... THEN play." I'm a horrible player and I know this because I have lost more games than I care to admit because I attacked and then made my play for the turn. So many games I could have won if I had cast my creature with exalted before attacking. The same goes for all the times I had a combat trick but didn't have enough mana to play my instant and pay the 3 for Mana Leak with an unplayed land in my hand. I've got plenty more examples, but you get the idea. I practiced attacking and then making my play when I should have practiced thinking about the boardstate and then making my play.

I enjoyed the article on the whole and there are some great tips in here. I'll go one further on the matching art and just remind players if they have changed the jpg files on their pc that doesn't affect what your opponent sees.

Thanks, yeah it's all by deluxeicoff at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 22:46
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Thanks, yeah it's all relative...but mostly, attacking THEN casting is correct...I'd venture to say about 70% of the time...just be aware of the muscle memory :) whichever you need to do or/arn't!

I completely agree it is more by FierceTable (not verified) at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 22:54
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I completely agree it is more often correct. I've won far more games because I attacked THEN played...but boy howdy do those games I've lost taste awfully sour because I auto-piloted away the correct play.

Generally speaking rules of by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 23:29
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Generally speaking rules of thumb are merely guidelines...getting caught up in habits of Attacking always before doing things results sometimes in bad tactics anyway and nets you perhaps a less desirable board position. I am not a fan of that mentality. I try and keep awake during my matches and make conscious decisions about each main phase, even if it is only: do nothing.

Strange...3 of the pictures by deluxeicoff at Thu, 02/25/2010 - 23:51
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Strange...3 of the pictures that were there most of the day have gone missing...bummer

Good guidelines are good, and by Doctor Anime at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 00:17
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Good guidelines are good. The person who told you about Agony Warps must be very smart, handsome, and funny. Yes, quite the man he must be! :P

I have to disagree with the paper advice though. Concealing how many lands you have in play or cards in hand may be legit but is shady nonetheless, and annoys your opponent when he has to keep asking your card count. Using reflections to look at the opponent's hand is straight up cheating. Really, this isn't stuff you should be doing, let alone advocating. Beat your opponent with your skills at Magic (and shuffler luck!), not through underhanded tactics.

Totally disagree with ya on by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 00:23
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Totally disagree with ya on the cheating. As I admitted up front, it's a grey area...
like what do you do when someone drops a card on the table, and quickly puts it back in their hand? Do you go get a doctor to do selective amnesia on you? Or do you just keep going...silly scenario..but an advantage is an advantage...this would just be a 'continue play' call on the judge, your opp. did the error...cheating would be setting up props to do said tricks, but when they happen naturally - you'd be a fool to not use them.
I also keep money I find on the ground. Are you advocating I'm a thief for this? ;) Should I get on a ladder and scream: "...DID ANYONE LOSE THIS 50 DOLLAR BILL?!?!" of course if I saw some old lady drop it, I'd do the right thing...all relative.

Some might argue that by not by Paul Leicht at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 01:25
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Some might argue that by not letting the person know they are giving away their hand you are taking unfair advantage. Similar to watching someone drop a $50 and walk off, then seeing no one else grab for it you take it and pocket it. Grey area? yes. An ethics test? For sure. They might also argue that if you had a strongly developed sense of ethics you'd find this sort of thing abhorrent. Just saying.

I don't know about you, but by Doctor Anime at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 08:59
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I don't know about you, but if I was CAUGHT looking at an opponent's hand through a reflection of his watch or a mirror around him that he's not aware of or whatever else is convenient, I'd feel embarrassed. That's my indicator that something shouldn't be done. But every conscious is different I suppose.

EDIT: Your analogy of the money is more akin to seeing the old lady drop money, waiting until she leaves, and then taking it for yourself. Yes, I think that's wrong.

I wouldn't feel the same way if my opponent accidentally drops a card and knows we both saw it. He knows I know, and his play can change accordingly. Not so when you're peeking at his hand through other methods.

You are not going to get by whatisfgh at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 05:56
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You are not going to get penalized for seeing your opponents hand in a reflection. However, if you do not tell them you can see it or stop doing it you will get penalized as that is against the rules.

One of the Ruels had this happen, perhaps someone could look it up in the event coverage archive if you don't believe me.

Paul, how is the advantage by InNeutral (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 01:57
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Paul, how is the advantage you gain "unfair"? The opponent has complete control over their wardrobe. Is it unfair to profit when your opponent makes repeated play mistakes? Is it unfair to take a win when your opponent draws two cards due to carelessness? No and no in my book.

Now if there is a rule against showing one's hand, then it is probably cheating to knowingly let someone violate a rule, where you gain a benefit from that violation. I am not aware of such a rule existing, possibly because I am a predominantly modo player.

Cool article, thank you very much sir. Highlighting the flavor text on Cabal Surgeon is reason enough to recommend this article!

Similarly to how people are by Paul Leicht at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 02:50
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Similarly to how people are fully in control of their destinies yet make horrible life changing mistakes all the time. If you were to see someone make such a mistake it would be only be right to correct them. This is the microcosm of that.

Obviously there is a huge difference between crossing an unethical line and actually breaking the law (or bylaws in the case of magic.) There is no law that says you can't pocket money you found on the ground even if you know who dropped it and when. (Though some local areas may leave this up to dispute with their own statutes about good Samaritans etc.)

It is unscrupulous to keep such money and in same sense it is unscrupulous to take advantage of your opponent accidentally revealing cards unwittingly. Legally wrong? no. But definitely a matter of personal morals. Me? I'd find it repugnant to not at least tell the person what they were doing.

i thought a shiner would be a by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 10:53
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i thought a shiner would be a dq, guess not, grey shady for sure.

people that try that tap then untap stuff are rookies, no offence erm, i know you are a tip top player and all but come on....

oh and i have been burned by f6 waaaayyy too many times. thinking is important.

You can call me Nantuko by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 12:19
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You can call me Nantuko :)

I meant this article as a way to (at least with the peek/reflection) let people know how vulnerable THEY may be with real/paper magic...something I only play now a few times a year. But perhaps I should change my avoid any possible advantages...

For example:

1 -The next time my opponent’s eyes light up when drawing a card - I should call a judge over and inform them both that he obviously just top decked, so now that I know, and the judge knows....perhaps I should be given a match loss for being observant, or perhaps we should start the game over again...hell, the entire tourney should be restarted multiple times, however many is needed for this Mr. Rodgers mentality to go over better...
2 -The next time my opponent makes an attack error, and audibly says, "Man I really screwed up..." I should throw down my hand and concede immediately- as I shouldn’t be aware of his mindset during a match...because obviously that would be a huge advantage, unless of course he's bluffing, then in that case, WOTC should make a mandatory polygraph table for each player of each match, this would only cost a few million per year, (raising the booster pack price to about 72 dollars each)...and then, each match could take 4 hours to analyze in reverse by a new panel of judges, and whenever a player has any possible outside advantage, (excluding diet and exercise) they're immediately disqualified...and then given a new foil, 'Hurt Feelings' token - and when you have 4 of these in your deck, you get free therapy for life!! :)

Seriously? Dude, you were by Doctor Anime at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 17:15
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Seriously? Dude, you were encouraging using reflections to look at the opponent's hand. You and I both know that's way different than any of your examples, from the "anonymous money" analogy to these. Who are you trying to fool here?

If anything, you're trying to defend the "it's okay to watch an old lady drop money by accident and claim it when she leaves" analogy. That strikes me a disgusting and close to theft. Similarly, I consider using a reflection that your opponent isn't aware of and playing around that knowledge to be underhanded and poor sportsmanship. What would you say to the person if he caught you? "It's your fault you didn't notice that mirror behind you in the corner that has an angle of your hand! PLAY TO WIIIIIIN!!!!" Sorry man, but that's not going to win you any respect. Reading a person's body language in poker / Magic is far different than peeking at their cards, there's no chance you can convince me or anyone else with half a brain that they're at all close.

If you really want to go with the over-the-top sarcastic examples, buddy I CAN go there, trust me. And it's not a game that I'm beat at easily. But I can also discuss things in a mature manner. Which way do you really want to do this? Really, just manning up and saying either, "You're right, my bad on that one," or "You're right, my moral compass is far different from yours" would both suffice. These purposely incorrect analogies do not.

@DOC - Both of your "man up" by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 18:30
deluxeicoff's picture

@DOC - Both of your "man up" answers ask that the first clause be, "YOUR RIGHT" - I simply don't think you are.

Your surely going to win the popular and public vote...have fun with that.
My analogies were put there to do exactly the grey area. I've been had by these, and when it happens my attitude isn't "..oh what a cheat!" It was more, "Man I should have been more aware...nice one!" I even feel like this side-game of sorts has its own strategies and fun to be had. Not standing atop some magical moral soapbox the second I don't have the upperhand.

I'm curious - if you and I were playing paper magic, and I saw something I shouldn't - what should I then do?

I understand your points, please don't expect me to OBEY yours.

My apologies. The first "man by Doctor Anime at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 19:12
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My apologies. The first "man up" answer should start with "you're right," but the second shouldn't, it was a mistype. You could simply say your moral compass is different than my own, aka "waiting until the old lady leaves and taking the money" is okay in your books. It's not breaking any law so there's no wrong answer by law. And hey, maybe if the old lady found out she'd give you a high-five and say, "Man I should have been more aware...nice one!"

No, there's no grey area in your analogies. No one will fault you for reading your opponent in poker and in Magic. It's actually encouraged. People WILL fault you for taking a peek at the opponent's hand with reflections, as myself and others have already pointed out. This is very cut and dry. You can't mix these things up, and it's silly for you to keep trying to do so.

I don't even know what you mean about this "side-game of sorts." I'll guess you're referring to our argument? Correct me if I'm mistaken. If I am correct, then you really need to learn to take criticism instead of clinging to failing arguments.

"Saw something I shouldn't" is a very vague scenario isn't it? Saw what and in what way? But I do have an answer -- do whatever you want. I have my own morals and will voice my opinion, but I wouldn't force you to play by them. Hopefully based on our morals we could agree upon playing by the rules of Magic. If you used a mirror I wasn't aware of to peek at my hand, I would lose my respect for you if I found out because I find the behavior to be underhanded. If that doesn't bother you because you don't find it underhanded, then who cares right? Only the people who feel the same way as I do, and that's not you apparently.

You don't have to obey my morals. What I expect you to do is not to use such clearly bad analogies that do nothing to strengthen your argument. That's all there is to it.

How did you get it's OK to by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 19:02
deluxeicoff's picture

How did you get it's OK to watch an old lady drop money by accident and claim it when she leaves out of my above writings?!

I clearly said the opposite, my point was that if you FIND it, it'd be quite silly to go asking people if they lost it.

I very clearly...hold on, I'll just copy paste what I said here so it's super clear:

“…of course if I saw some old lady drop it, I'd do the right thing...all relative…”

Now how is that "trying to defend" the theft of an old lady?

If you'd like I can send you some cheese shoe laces, so that your foot will taste a bit better in your mouth :)

No, because your analogy, as by Doctor Anime at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 19:15
Doctor Anime's picture

No, because your analogy, as usual, was wrong.

Old lady = opponent
Drop money = see hand
Do the right thing = tell them / don't peek

YOU decided that a more fitting analogy was to take the old lady out of the equation, aka the opponent. You stumble upon a person's hand of cards but don't know who it belongs to! Oh noes! Should you take the cards?!

As usual? I forgot our long by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 22:32
deluxeicoff's picture

As usual? I forgot our long history of analogies - a whopping 1...forgive me. (and that one was in jest...relax!)

I like your logic breakdown...I was just trying to put some humor into you guys...lighten up! Pretty easy to pick apart a joke, just next time try and use a paraprosdokian phrase to do it :)

rule 3.11 here I come.

I can see it now.
My opponent sneezes, (which medically is a brief blink of unconsciousness) - I notify the judge of this advantage, as I 'could have' possibly gained some sort of one...I think I can find so many of these, clock will run out next paper tourney, I'll stick to online probably :)

Playing on the emotions of by Raddman at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 13:42
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Playing on the emotions of others and their body language has made many poker players very successful. There is nothing wrong with utilizing information your opponent is giving you to your advantage. Going out of your way to look at the reflections in someone glasses is more or less a moral issue. I would like to think I am good enough at reading body language and don't need to focus on that kind of advantage.

Is it wrong to use that type of information to your advantage? Nope. Just as long as you can live with the fact that you aren't good enough to win via normal means.

My pride just gets in the way and if I noticed that advantage I can honestly say I doubt I would focus on it. You are better off focusing on your own game play to avoid mistakes while also reading your opponents.
Their eyes, do they slump in their chair, do they look too comfortable, are they on the edge of their seat, what story does their face tell you.

Interesting article.......I've done that tap mana, untap mana thing before to represent something I don't have. The other day I did it to represent I had stifle when someone cracked their land. I tapped land, untapped, he passed the turn. I topdecked thoughtseize to find some goodies in his hand that he had held back in fear of me having open mana. The problem with that technique is that it never works against an unskilled opponent.

Thanks Raddman - BTW, by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 14:01
deluxeicoff's picture

Thanks Raddman - BTW, should turn yourself in for such a dastardly play! :) (Kidding)

You have to understand, my father was a pro poker player back when it wasn't considered, "Cool" - I grew up in casinos...reading people/opportunities isn't really "trying" - it's quite easy when you've always done it. Thanks for reading!

It's the very conditioned by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 14:25
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It's the very conditioned responce I wrote about...I've done it telling someone not to blink when you poke their eye...just automatic

Your hyperbole is humorous if by Paul Leicht at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 14:36
Paul Leicht's picture

Your hyperbole is humorous if unnecessary. I am not going to sit here and judge you, that is only for your conscience to decide on. I am merely pointing out that what you call a gray area some people consider vile. Just as George Baxter got lots of flack for his similar advice in his book.

The history of you growing up around pro poker players explains a lot of your view point. (Perhaps that should have been included in the article.)

Eh, don't play paper anymore. by Raddman at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 14:03
Raddman's picture

Eh, don't play paper anymore. To many people breaking to many rules, not to mention I grew tired of looking at all the zits.

Poker is the only true card game for me!

And don't use such big words as dastardly, it makes me feel inferior and then I gotta google the crap and I'm not supposed to use the computer at work......if I get fired I hold you fully responsible!

You know I waited til i could by ShardFenix at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 20:05
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You know I waited til i could find documentation of this. According to 3.11 of the Tournament Rules Guide I do believe this would fall under actively pursuing hidden information. As in if a judge catches you looking in a mirror at an opponents hand or he has reason to suspect you looking in the reflections on glasses, it counts as a disqualification. The exact rules quote that I think apples is "Players must not actively attempt to gain information hidden from them." That is what you are doing. Moral grey area or not. It's legally wrong.

Well said. Thanks for the by deluxeicoff at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 22:21
deluxeicoff's picture

Well said. Thanks for the official number too!

I'm not advocating 'actively pursuing" this - I sometimes just "see" nanosecond glimpses - and when that happens I'm not going to ignore any info gained, nor can can you 'selectively forget' info? (more on this below)

You guys need to relax.
The last time I gained knowledge of a physical card was in said tourney almost a decade ago. I didn't "set up mirrors" as some of you are contorting my original phrasing -- my opponent had a massive wrist watch, and obviously I was staring at something so was at that moment I saw the flicker of a Flametongue Kavu art...or so I thought, turns out I was I remembered this and wrote of it. Remember it was inverted art that would be hard for Jackson Pollock to recognize - but knowing the majority of the decklist...I was pretty sure I was right.

Was I actively persuing It happened, my eyes saw it.
Have I ever 'set up any reflective medium?" - no.

Should I find myself in a paper tourney anytime soon...I'm going to take your guys' advice and mention any slight edge I have...perhaps the judge will get tired of being called over so often and I'll get booted for being too nice...then the gloves of sneaky will really come off!

Seriously, thanks for the comments guys. Love this forum, learn so much every time...hope your not taking me too seriously, I love to kid ;)

To be honest if you by ShardFenix at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 01:15
ShardFenix's picture

To be honest if you accidentally catch a glimpse of something then that is perfectly fine and i don't think anyone could say anything. But if you notice a pattern then abuse it to your advantage like continously looking in a guy glasses for the reflection then while you may never get caught it does make you a cheat. But hey if youre the kind of person that enjoys cheating in order to win then go for it. And by the way the sneezing thing is retarded. Seriously, if you are going to use things like that for your argument then you are pathetic.

As I posted above, before by whatisfgh at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 06:06
whatisfgh's picture

As I posted above, before reading all this below, is the situation I'm talking about.

(though I think he ultimately got dqed for lying)

Great link! Thanks for the by deluxeicoff at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:54
deluxeicoff's picture

Great link! Thanks for the info - this is spot on what were were talking about! So bad :) It was fun to write of however !

Shard take a chill pill by deluxeicoff at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:50
deluxeicoff's picture

Shard take a chill pill buddy.
As I wrote many times, I love to kid - if I was a magic card, I'd probably be the "Harvester of Hyperbole!" I've used it in the past...not often, but I I guess I'm pathetic. Now that the official rules/legal speak have been pointed to, I know better - at the time of this writing, I thought it a grey area and only meant my ongoing commentary to cause some laughter in the casual reader.
BTW - the whole reason superstitious folks say "bless you" is the old belief that sneezing gives the devil a moment to steal your soul...because you actually do go unconscious if only for a nanosecond :) Smile dude, life is short...(wish there was a humorous font sometimes!)

Bless you by Felorin at Mon, 03/01/2010 - 20:48
Felorin's picture

The version I heard was that sneezing expelled evil spirits from the body, and people said god bless you to thank you for having done a good thing in getting rid of them. Never heard the devil stealing your soul version of the story.

Now I'm just barely curious enough to go check wikipedia. Hmmm, they say "Several possible origins are commonly given. The practice of blessing a sneeze, dating as far back as at least 77 AD, however, is far older than most specific explanations can account for." Then they go and list half a dozen or so common stories, including that they're blessing you to make sure your heart keeps beating, or to keep you from coming down with the bubonic plague. Go figure!

funny....who'd imagine that by deluxeicoff at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 12:49
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funny....who'd imagine that the very last sentence would have stirred up so much

Nice article dude. Some great by Anonymous (not verified) at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 14:23
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Nice article dude. Some great tips. Lots of haters in this forum.

Man calm down guys! Great by Anonymous (not verified) at Mon, 03/01/2010 - 20:43
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Man calm down guys! Great pics and layout - look forward to your next one

Virus Warning - Don't open by deluxeicoff at Wed, 05/12/2010 - 11:58
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Virus Warning - Don't open the "HALLMARK EMAIL" going around, or your CPU will be fried

Does anyone know how to link by deluxeicoff at Sat, 06/19/2010 - 11:31
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Does anyone know how to link a website when writing? I'd like to just highlight and/or underline a word so that if you click on it your directed to the new site. Thanks...

Yes. Copy the link. Then in by Leviathan at Sat, 06/19/2010 - 17:17
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Yes. Copy the link. Then in the editor of your article highlight the desired word. On the upper right of the editor is an "insert link" button I think its called. Click on the button and copy the url in the space provided. That should do it.