Losing sucks, especially when you’re getting ready for a competitive event. You can’t win every single game you play, but you can benefit from a loss in a much bigger way than from a win – by learning from your mistakes. The ability to overcome the loss emotionally and pinpointing ways you could have done things differently is a crucial skill that will allow you to get better at Flesh and Blood. The main ways of learning from a loss are minimizing internal excuses, analyzing specific plays and evaluating your card choices in the particular matchup.
This is probably the most common issue I see players make. Yes, Flesh and Blood has a luck element to it, just like any other card game, but blaming luck for a loss reduces your ability to learn and improve your game.
We’ve all been there. Your opponent draws a natural Ninja combo chain or you rolled a one on Scabskin Leathers. These things happen and might be the reason why you lost the game, but always look back at the game and think of different plays you could have done. Maybe you could have done more damage the turn before your opponent had a blowout turn? Maybe that Scabskin roll wasn’t worth the risk? Maybe some cards in your deck weren’t working as well in that particular matchup?
Blaming luck or variance removes your own decision-making from the outcome. This not only makes your experience of the loss worse, but negates your ability to analyze the game, identify plays or cards that impacted the game and seeing if different plays or cards could have produced a different outcome.
In order to improve your game, you need to stop yourself every time you have a tough decision to make during a game. Flesh and Blood offers a wide range of decisions every single turn, which makes it difficult yet skillful to choose the correct line of play. Taking a note of the pivotal decisions helps you to analyze the different outcomes after the game.
The thing that helped me improve my game the most in the last few months was having a chat with my opponents after the game and going over the different plays and working out how it could have played out better. Check your ego at the door, go over the game and make adjustments in your list and playstyle to win the matchup next time. Chances are, your opponent will know better than you, if the alternative play would have hindered their game plan more or less than the play you have made. Your opponent is an invaluable resource. The better they are, the more you can learn from them. It can be hard to ask your opponent for advice or go over particular plays, but pushing yourself to do it can lead to important breakthroughs.
“Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As the card pool grows bigger, each deck and each archetype has a bigger range of options to choose from. While playing Flesh and Blood, you often find yourself going through your deck at least once, meaning every card choice matters. If you struggle in a particular matchup, take note of the cards that are exceptionally good and ones that are underperforming. After a game, think of the cards that underperformed and think of alternatives that would have been more useful. This method is not only good for tuning your main list, but also solidifying on your card choices for each matchup in the Classic Constructed format.
Bad beats aren’t easy to get through, but as long as you realize the learning potential in them, you will improve as a player. Remember, never fully blame luck for your losses, think of the alternative plays you could have made, think of the cards that could have changed the matchup and you will find yourself on the winning side in no time. This applies in Flesh and Blood, and any endeavor you decide to take on.