Why Am I Losing?

I’m pretty new to the deck myself, having picked it up in April. Sometimes other players approach me and state their intention to try it out. I always tell them I spent my first 3 months with the deck losing. The deck is hard to play…It’s ultimately extremely rewarding, but until the Nirvana of owning the board with a few white creatures, an artifact, and a handful of lands can be reached, a lot of dues need to be paid.  -MtG:Salvation user Lormador

The upside of playing D&T for years is that D&T is a deck thats win percentage scales favorably with experience. Knowing how to put yourself into winning situations and creating opportunities to win despite seemingly impossible odds is something that this deck is great at doing, but knowing how to put yourself in those situations takes ages to perfect.  I can’t instantly instill that knowledge in you, but I can give you a helpful shove in the right direction.

Suggestion 1:  Be Honest with Yourself

This might sound silly, but if you want to get better, you need to be completely honest with yourself about your own abilities and decisions.  You need to admit when you make mistakes and learn from them.  You need to accept when you lose a game off a loose keep or a bad mulligan decision.  You need to admit that you missed an onboard trick or messed up your combat math.  You can’t just blame every loss on “your opponent having everything.”  If improvement is your goal, start asking questions.

Suggestion 2: Question Everything

I very frequently hear budding players say things like, “I played perfectly, but I still lost.”  My next words are usually, “Oh really, so why didn’t you do X?”  Take the time to critically analyze your play.  Have others watch your match and give you feedback.  Ask your opponent about lines of play or sideboarding after the match.  Get involved with the online community on MtG:Salvation and/or The Source.  Here are some example questions that you might want to consider:

  • What is my role in the matchup?
  • What two drop should I play first in this matchup?
  • How do I sequence my lands to optimally play around or bait Wasteland?
  • Was my deck configuration correct for the weekend?
  • Do I have enough sideboard cards for common matchups?
  • Did I need to play that creature, or was that overextending?
  • Did I need to use Swords to Plowshares on that creature, or could I have just raced and not given my opponent the life?
  • Did I mulligan properly for the matchup?
  • Do I need to learn more about priority or rules interactions to play the deck well?

Suggestion 3: Play Other Decks

This may sound odd, but to get better at playing D&T, stop playing D&T!  No, really, hear me out.  D&T is, at its heart, a control deck.  In order to properly control your opponent’s actions, you need to understand their deck.  There is no better way to do that than by taking it to a small event and playing it yourself.  I play D&T at every event that has a substantial prize on the line; however, at my weekly Legacy events, you can find me playing everything from Shardless BUG to UR Landstill.  If you don’t have a large collection, borrow decks to try them out, or, at the very least, proxy up those decks and play some games with them.  I guarantee your results will improve after you have a deeper feel for and appreciation of other Legacy decks.