The Art of Winning

Travis Yeary (Zupwat on the forums) wrote an article awhile ago on losing gracefully. I’ve decided to do the flip-side and write an article on winning gracefully. Winning ungracefully is something everyone hates. It makes you look cocky, conceited, and just plain rude. You want your reputation to be a good one, and the way you win is part of that. In this article, I will analyze donking, winning a long game, and the death trap.

How to be Graceful at Donking

Donking has been around since Base set and is very common in our MD-on format. There are donks, such as an Overconfidonk, a Machamp Donk, or an Uxie Donk. They all focus on the same thing. Knocking Out your opponent’s active Pokémon on the first turn. Donks gained a huge boost from HGSS Triumphant with the addition of Seeker, letting you donk by bringing your opponent’s benched Pokémon to their hand and then Knocking Out their active Pokémon. Here are a few tips when donking:

Actually Say What Your Doing

pokemon-paradijs.comI see countless people announcing “Machop, Rare Candy, Machamp, F Energy, Good game”. This is just insulting. If you want to be respected as a player, please announce your attack, such as “Take Out”, before saying “Good game”. Another example is starting with a Sableye, showing your opponent the Special D Energy in your hand, and saying “Overconfident” and then “Good game”. Actually attach that Energy before announcing you’ve won. This makes your opponent feel a bit better about the donk, as well as making you look more fine-tuned.

Let Your Opponent Tell You

I really hate it when my opponent tells me they’ve just won and I should sign the match slip. If you know you just donked, you may want to say “Take Out”, look around the board, and wait about 3 seconds; if your opponent doesn’t say “You win”, you should say something like, “Well, you’ve got no more Basics so I guess I win.” Then would be a good time to put your hand forward and say “Good game”. This tip is more directed at Juniors and Seniors but I think Masters may want to pick this up. (Some people disagree on this matter and some may want to skip this completely.)

The Handshake

This is very important when donking in both positive and negative terms. Shaking hands is good if you shake when your opponent looks happy enough. If your opponent doesn’t seem frazzled by the donk, definitely shake hands with them. If your opponent seems upset by it, don’t bother. Shaking hands at the right time can prove very helpful to your reputation. Say you just got donked by a player, shaking hands with that player will be something they’ll remember you by. They’ll think: “Hey, there’s that guy I played who had a really positive attitude. He must be pretty experienced.”

The Patter

Like the handshake above, only do this if your opponent doesn’t seem too frazzled by the donk. Inquire about your opponent’s deck, ask them if they have any neat techs, how long they have been playing, etc. I like to ask them how they have done in the tournament so far and such. You may want to memorize your own routine. It’s totally up to you. Avoid saying: “Hey, you’re playing Vilegar! I’m playing Machamp! If I hadn’t have donked, you easily would have beaten me!” This makes your opponent wish they hadn’t gotten such a terrible start and opt the revenge route.

After that, sign the match slip, say “Good luck”, and pack up.

How to be Graceful at Winning a Long Game

Have you ever seen a Gyarados player take down an Expert Belted Regigigas LV.X with a Magikarp? It is ridiculously funny and ridiculously embarrassing for the ‘Gigas player. People crowd around the table and just laugh. The ‘Gigas player just sits there, unable to move. And then they finally scoop. Winning a long game basically involves your opponent scooping, so this will cover how to win gracefully when your opponent has just scooped.

The Check

This is pretty simple. After your opponent says they scoop, simply say: “Are you sure?” This tells your opponent that your were enjoying yourself and you enjoyed playing against them. This can lighten the blow quite a bit for them.

The Acknowledgment

In this step, simply acknowledge that your opponent has scooped. A simple “okay” will do the trick. This is a great time to ask your opponent if they’d like to play again for fun. Shaking hands is good to do right about now and saying “Good game” is appropriate here as well.

The Patter

After winning a long game, your patter should be away from their deck. Ask your opponent what kind of Pokémon they prefer, how they’ve done in past tournaments, etc. Another aspect of your patter should be telling your opponent they played really well and saying it was a privilege to play them.

After that, sign the match slip, say “Good luck”, and pack up.

How to Win with a Death Trap Gracefully

A “Death Trap”, as I like to call it, is when your opponent has no way of winning at all. In the above Regigigas LV.X versus Magikarp, the ‘Gigas player had a very good chance of topdecking an Energy or a hand refresher. The fact that he didn’t is what made him lose in the end. A “Death Trap” would have been if the ‘Gigas Player had a loaded ‘Gigas against the lone Magikarp. The Gyarados player would realize they have no chance of winning and scoop. Here is what to do if you put your opponent in a “Death Trap”.

Talk through the Options

When your opponent sits there, acknowledging the “Death Trap” you may want to play over the options your opponent can do. You may want to suggest an option to your opponent. After all, if it’s a true “Death Trap”, your opponent won’t be able to play out of it no matter what you tell them. This just tells them that you want the game to continue and you’re having fun.

Let Your Opponent Tell You

Your opponent will probably tell you you’ve won. When your opponent tells you this, say “Good game” and pack up. This is neither the time for patter nor is it the time to shake hands.

Sign the match slip and wish your opponent good luck.



As someone who has done a lot of losing, I know what kind of things are comforting when you’ve lost. Many of you may disagree with me and I’m totally fine with that. If you have any suggestions to be a better winner, just write them in the comment box.

Happy winning,

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. L M

    Great article! As long as the table is not needed for another match to start, I find it good to ask your opponent if they would like to play another game (possibly with a fun deck) after a donk. I think some of the problem people have with getting donked is that they don’t actually get to play the game.

  2. Anonymous

    good article man! ya i run kingphan and i donk some of the. the idea for my use isnt to donk but it is common to. but i hate when i do it! i think okay this was luck. no skill or strategy. and overall besides them being angered(or sad) about being donked i dont feel good either because i like to battle people and have fun in it. and if i lost fighting then im okay with it. and one thing people need to do more is if you win within the first few rounds to offer a rematch. one time i had a godly hand except my lone squitlre start. he donked me with luxray gl. but i felt depressed because while we were getting set up he talked about how much fun his other matches were so i felt bad because i couldnt give him a good time. though he did like the win.

  3. Ed Mandy

    There are 2 scenarios for being graceful after you donk them.

    1 – You got a lucky donk with a “normal” deck.
    Then, I suggest that you ask them if they’d like to play a rematch for fun (if you truly wouldn’t mind playing them again). Many players will write in reports about how they got donked then played again for fun and had a good match (or maybe even won). To me, this is good sportsmanship, because, at the heart of it, most people are there to play the game, and a donk steals that away from them.

    2 – You donked them with a deck that is designed to donk.
    Don’t offer to play again for fun. It probably wasn’t fun for them, and it will most likely not be fun for them a second time (if it goes like your deck is made to work). If they ask if you’d be interested in a rematch, you may want to explain that’s how your deck works. A rematch “just for fun” is unlikely to be “fun” for them. Some players will still want to test against your donk deck. That’s fine, but if they were viably frustrated in the first round, they’ll probably be even worse after you do it to them again.

    • Jonah Davids  → Ed

      Thanks for posting! When I say win with a Donk I Mean like a Sabeldonk. I consider an accidental Donk more easy to work with. These are more for harder scenarios.

  4. Anonymous

    I see, none of my opponents at my citys are nice. They were mean, no care about it,

  5. theo Seeds

    good article, great for anyone to read. my one question is how would a gyarados player attack with karp if they don’t run water nrg?

  6. Charles Schmidt

    You’ve discussed donks and long games. I would be interested in thoughts about winning and losing on time. I have been in both situations.

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.