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By: PHahn, Peyton Hahn
Mar 31 2014 12:00pm
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 Playing With Class

Peyton Hahn


                Hey all. It’s an “off-week” for the Money Management article, check back next week for updates and maybe a new metric or two.  Here’s the link to the article in case you missed it: . This week we are going to talk about Player Conduct.

Every time a new username is issued and the $9.99 new player bundle is added to a collection, the community of Magic: the Gathering Online expands.  New members of the community should be encouraged: they add more value, more possibilities, and more flexibility to the game we all love.  A growing membership presses Wizards to continue to improve its software and service, and gives the thousands of existing players a new potential opponent, trading partner, or friend.  As we all know, MtGO requires each user to agree to the User Agreement, which sets forth both legality and player conduct agreements.  However, as a user community, we must set a higher expectation for our fellow spell-slingers.

So what does it mean to play with class? Does it mean to play without emotion, or to simply be a silent participant?  Should we take the blame for our losses without regard for the play of our opponent or the luck he or she may have had?  

Actually, playing with class doesn’t mean any of the above.  I imagine that playing MtGO without a chat box would be an immensely dull experience. Although I don’t always chat with my opponents during a match (especially due to the Beta client’s HORRENDOUS chat system/interface), I do often ask opponents about things that I might find value in, such as key plays that were made, combat math that I had miscalculated, and intricacies of decks that I am unfamiliar with. Great Magic players will often tell you that one of the fastest ways to improve your game is to analyze your losses. Playing with class ties in very well with this concept.

As a Magic player, you MUST accept an important aspect about the nature of the game:

Some games will be won/lost by “chance”!

Chance Encounter


                This is the nature of the beast.  Sometimes, you’re going to have to mull to four to have land in your opening hand. Every now and then, you will draw nothing but land while your opponent destroys you with a nut draw.  You will be paired up against your worst matchup at 2-1 in a Daily Event. 

                However, over time chance does work both ways if you are playing the game correctly. Sometimes you will draw your deck’s only out when you would have been dead the following turn.  You will open bomb rares will carry you to wins in Limited.

                A large part of playing with class has to do with recognizing the effect of chance on a game, and controlling your response when you end up on one end or the other because of it. 

                Being a classy player comes down to 3 aspects:

  1. Not Being a Troll
  2. Winning With Class
  3. Losing With Class


Not Being a Troll

 Lotleth Troll Cudgel Troll Trestle Troll

This is something of a general rule for conduct at a keyboard: don’t be a troll. Harassing/criticizing/verbally abusing any user for any reason is warrant to be classified as a troll. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen players participating in troll-like activities such as trying to take advantage of new players, mocking other players in chat rooms, or harassing ORCs because they are unhappy about the shuffler/events/pack openings/etc. If you make a troll sighting, just do yourself a favor and block the user. They may not have targeted you yet, but why even leave the possibility of interaction on the table? If you are currently behaving the way I currently described: stop. You are not only ruining your own reputation, but damaging the reputation of the Magic Online community. It might only take one person harassing a player a single time for that person to decide not to log on again.  As a community, we should be doing all that we can to prevent this.


Winning with Class

      Victory's Herald        

           At a first glance, you may believe that it is much easier to win with class than to lose with class. Typically, you don’t have the negative emotions that may arise due to a disappointing loss, especially in a match for which you paid to play.  However, this is not always the case.  I can say personally that I have been on the wrong end of an unsportsmanlike player who did, in fact, brag and harass me about my deck choice/gameplay/etc. after a match I had lost.  Players that cannot win with class make up a smaller portion of the problem, but their effect is large: they compound the negativity/disappointment of losing with further degradation and embarrassment.  New players that experience this are at exceptionally high risk for becoming disillusioned and discouraged by these types of interactions, which is why winning with class is truly just as important as losing with class.



Losing with Class

                If you’re as competitive as I am, then you will understand how bad a tournament match loss can feel.  You’ve just invested 30 tickets into playing the Daily Sealed and lost Game 3 to a Miracled Bonfire of the Damned. Ouch.  The important thing to remember about losing a match of Magic is that it really isn’t your opponents fault: there are always things you could have done differently/better.  Getting angry with your opponent because they beat you is nonsensical. What did you want them to do, NOT kill you with that amazing topdeck? 

               Bonfire of the Damned

That's a deep burn.

               Encountering a sore loser a fairly common experience for a Magic Online player.  In the past week alone, I’ve probably had between four and five opponents go off on me about how they got mana-screwed/flooded/etc. or how I got so lucky or whatever.  I usually won’t respond to these bouts of frustration, but I’m sure almost anyone reading this who plays MtGO frequently knows this experience all too well.

                So how do you lose with class? Well, the first thing you should do is think about how you could have played differently. It usually only takes a couple seconds to realize you should have mulliganed, or maybe you made a key playing error.  Second, realize your opponent has the same goal as you: to win.  It isn’t their fault that you kept a two-lander and never drew anything but (Chandra’s Phoenix)s the rest of the game.  Third, recall why you play Magic: for fun. If you’re playing for any other reason you might as well quit now.  As much as you may want to “go infinite”, make a Pro Tour, or win Player of the Year, if it doesn’t come from a place of love for the game, you will never survive the endless grinding, ups and downs, and persistence that it takes to reach the top of the game.  As a current grinder, I can say that if I didn’t love this game I would have quit a long time ago.

                Ultimately, losing with class is crucial to your development as a player. If you can’t point the finger at yourself for your losses, you will never improve your play.  If you watch top players, they are always quick to point out their mistakes in defeat. That’s why they’re great: they are able to learn from their vast experience. Honestly, you could play a million matches of Magic and still be a terrible player if you don’t take the time to learn from each one.   Ask your opponent if they think a certain line of play would have been better, or if they would have kept the hand you kept.  Congratulate them on their victory and wish them luck in the next round, and then move on to your next match as a better player than you were previously. 



                Full articles could be (and have been) written about personal improvement, the importance of chance, and competitive play.  Being a classy player clearly taps is clearly related to higher-level Magic theory, but hopefully as a community we can each understand the importance of being a good representative of the Magic community. You never know who is on the other side of the screen.  As I’ve discussed, there are many benefits to being a classy player. Having a good reputation could open doors for you on playtesting teams, clans, and trading partners.  I won’t go into the karma/spiritual side of the coin for this argument, but I will say this: the game knows.

                Please leave your comments, add me on MTGO, and feel free to share with anyone/everyone.


Stay classy,



MTGO: shaqdaman


Yes, it is annoying to get by CottonRhetoric at Mon, 03/31/2014 - 19:20
CottonRhetoric's picture

Yes, it is annoying to get called a luck sack (or worse) when I win a tournament match. Fortunately it doesn't happen too often, but it always detracts from the experience.

In other words, "it's nice to be nice!"

Agreed. Tournament play by PHahn at Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:13
PHahn's picture

Agreed. Tournament play always intensifies people's reactions, but I'm always amazed at the people I see even in tournament practice rooms. It is always better to take the high road no matter what the situation. Thanks for reading!

.........Luck Sack. by Westane at Tue, 04/01/2014 - 02:51
Westane's picture

.........Luck Sack.

This is a great article. I by IYankemDDS at Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:19
IYankemDDS's picture

This is a great article. I don't get this too often, but when I do, I try my best to ignore it. I'd be lying if I said I never got frustrated after a loss - I think a lot of people go through a phase where they do this, but good players usually get past it I think. I think everyone should aspire to this! Great job.

Thanks for reading! Yeah I by PHahn at Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:34
PHahn's picture

Thanks for reading! Yeah I can't say I've never been frustrated by losses. Like you said, good players usually get out of the phase, and that's where improvement begins!