If you want to improve your game, it’s important that you never give up. Every player that ends up at the top tables of every tournament I’ve played at has this trait. Never giving up means playing your hardest all the way until someone’s life hits zero. This applies if you’re against a player who you feel is better than you, if you’re in a matchup that you feel is terrible for you or if you lost the dice roll. Get your head in the game and give it your all.
I’ve played against so many players who would have a hiccup in their game, a bad draw or a simple misplay. You can see their shoulders slump, head look down and their whole demeanor change – they gave up already. As an opponent, this just makes my game easier to win. Once someone has that bad misplay, it’s easy to just blame it for a potential loss and justify your loss after the game. But until that point, you have to shake it off, concentrate on the current game state and make optimized plays in the present. Shake those hiccups away.
Flesh and Blood is a game of comebacks. We’ve all seen games that early on looked very one-sided, then progressed to both players grinding out on one life each. This is because, in general, blocking damage is easier than attacking. If you’re behind, you can block up as much damage as you can and hope to chip a bit in return. Sometimes all it takes is for your opponent to get a bad draw to put you back into winning position. Never. Give. Up! 30 life behind? Nope. Never give up. “I’ve played against so many players who would have a hiccup in their game, a bad draw or a simple misplay. You can see their shoulders slump, head look down and their whole demeanor change – they gave up already.”
Always think of your outs. Think of the cards left that might make a difference in your deck, maybe even make some loose plays. You never know when your opponent might lose their momentum.
You can usually find some path to victory by the nature of the game’s design. If your opponent is playing very aggressively and you’ve been holding onto dear life by defending every turn, chances are they’ll eventually run out of threats and slow down. This can open the window for you to get back in it. If you’re playing a control deck, focusing on the subtle chip damage here and there is important to give you an edge in the late game. Every point of damage counts. If you’re setting up a big play, it could be worthwhile to defend up until you get the needed combo pieces. Identifying your path to victory and adjusting your game plan is key to stealing a win, even when the score looks overwhelmingly negative.
I remember a game I played when Arcane Rising came out in an online league where I made finals with Rhinar. My opponent also played Rhinar so we had an interesting showdown.
My opponent played extremely aggressively, putting me on the back foot from the start. Combinations of Barraging Beatdowns and self discards on cards like Wrecker Romp (Red), Breakneck Battery and Savage Feast meant that I kept on getting intimidated. I was forced to defend whatever damage I could. Soon enough, the life total was 32 to 5, with my opponent being in a massive lead.
As I was nearing death, my opponent was trying their hardest to finish the game off by taking my Romping Club swings and paying more attention to putting on pressure rather than worrying about defense. I would slowly get through some chip damage while my opponent would strip three or four cards from my hand. Often, all I could do was put a defense reaction in my Arsenal and pass, but I knew I just had to wait until we both went through our decks once.
As my opponent kept playing self discard cards, their deck was getting thinner. Even though I was defending a lot, most of my pressure was coming from pitching to the Romping Club – a zero card loss. I eventually dropped down to two, but my opponent was around 16.
They did, in fact, start running out of threats and couldn’t punch through while being at a slight card in deck disadvantage. The game completely shifted, even though the life totals were completely in their favor. I knew I could win through fatigue, but there was one problem – Reckless Swing. My opponent was comfortable taking a few hits here and there because they knew they had the powerful finisher left. I was on a clock.
Identifying their path to victory, I put a Bone Head Barrier in Arsenal, a card I pitched at the start of the game. Since they were so confident the Reckless Swing would kill me, they defended my attack with most of their hand to guarantee the Reckless Swing would hit. With one resource up, I played Bone Head Barrier, negated their Reckless Swing damage and gave myself a huge window where they couldn’t pressure me at all on their turn. With a four or five card hand, I was able to steal back the tempo and eventually come out on top.
Never giving up is an important trait for you to nourish in your approach to the game if you want to win more. No matter how bad the matchup is, no matter how much the odds are stacked against you, the player who wants the win more can often push through and sneak their way to a win.
In terms of gameplay, you have to keep on thinking of your path to victory. What’s the game state that you are playing towards? Finding it can help you navigate your hands but also shake away any negative thoughts. If you never give up, stay calm and confident, your win rate is bound to improve.