pokemon.comThere you are in the Top 4 of a Regional Championship, playing against one of the better players in your area. You drove for hours to get to the tournament, you practiced and playtested diligently until you had both a perfected list and strategy, and now is your moment.
Both of you have won a game and the Prize count is 5-5, meaning you just need to take one more Prize to make it to the finals. You look at all of your options, examine your opponent’s field, and realize that you can take your last Prize by Knocking Out your opponent’s active Pokémon.
You announce your attack and wait for that look of defeat to spread across the other player’s face. You wait, but that look never comes. Your heart starts pounding as the opponent points to your active Pokémon, stating that you don’t have the Energy required to attack. Suddenly, the reality of the situation unfolds.
You become completely motionless, staring blankly at your Pokémon who — just as your opponent pointed out — can’t even attack.
The opponent goes on, explaining what he’ll do to win the game, but all you can hear is your own voice in your head muttering incessantly, “How could I have done that? How could I have forgotten to attach an Energy? How…”
- What Do Misplays Look Like?
- How Do You Correct Misplays?
- The Most Frequent Misplays Players Make
- The Psychology Of Misplays
If you haven’t guessed by now, this article is all about misplays. Much like the last article I wrote, I chose to cover another overarching theme that affects every single player of the Pokémon TCG. I like to do this because it gives me the best chance possible for helping every player learn something.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, my article will definitely teach you something new and help you look at this wonderful game in a different light.
Misplays are critically important to any player’s performance. You might not be able to control your matchups or your opening hand, but you can control the number of misplays you make.
Looking at it this way, reducing misplays carries as much weight as the very decklist you show up with, so take the time to read through some of my suggestions and just remember that making the correct play is not something that can be “netdecked.”
This article will consist of the following:
- What Do Misplays Look Like?
- How Do You Correct Misplays?
- The Most Frequent Misplays Players Make
- The Psychology Behind Misplays
What Do Misplays Look Like?
pokemon.comMisplays happen for a great number of reasons. I have personally made misplays because I didn’t eat enough during a lunch break and felt weak and hungry when I returned to play, or because I felt intimidated by my opponent, or because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before a tournament.
These misplays all happened because of stress on the body or mind.
The other reason that misplays happen is because of a lack of understanding about the game or game state. A large portion of misplays goes into this category as well. Of course, most misplays occur because of a mix of both factors (“Ugh, I forgot that Darkrai EX’s Ability did that, I guess I just got really nervous”).
Remember that the best maneuver for a given situation can be impeded by stress on the body or mind, or it can simply be overlooked due to misunderstanding.
Technical (or Fundamental) Misplays
Technical Misplays are misplays made which hinge on the components or rules of the game itself. They are relatively easy to spot and often require experience to avoid. I like to think of the Technical Misplay as one that is made “in the moment” rather than throughout the course of the game. Here are a few misplays that fit into this category:
- Forgetting to attach an Energy before attacking.
- Neglecting to use an Ability during one’s turn.
- Overlooking a change to the game state (i.e. attacking with a Garchomp/Altaria DRX deck while failing to realize that an opponent’s Garbodor DRX has a Pokémon Tool attached to it).
- Miscounting the amount of damage an attack does.
Overlooking or forgetting some other component of the game (i.e., not looking through the discard pile to see whether you’ve played all your Rare Candy cards before trying to pull one after playing a Supporter, or forgetting to check that your ACE SPEC card is not prized when you get a chance to look through your deck).
There is a tremendous amount of importance to be placed on Technical Misplays. As the Pokémon TCG community continues to grow and decklists are cemented with breathtaking speed, the biggest factor that separates good players from the best is this very topic.
pokemon.comAnd while Technical Misplays won’t always result in a game loss, the competitive environment we play in demands that we make fewer misplays than the opponent if we want to succeed — it truly is that simple.
Most of the misplays in this category hinge on a simple act of forgetfulness or negligence. Sometimes, a player makes one of these misplays because they’re unfamiliar with a certain mechanic (it’s hard to blame the beginner who has to read every card their opponent plays for overlooking some small detail in the state of the game).
At other times, the misplay is made at the hands of stress or even laziness. Some beginners, for instance, simply neglect to do all that they can do during their turn. In doing so, their tiny misplays pile up into a much larger problem.
Forgetting every now and then to use Musharna NXD’s “Forewarn” Ability to get an extra card might not be too problematic, but when a player neglects time and time again to take advantage of such a mechanic, the overall effect can be game-changing.
Technical Misplays: A Closer Look
Take a look at some footage of me playing in the Top 32 against Gino Lombardi at the Philadelphia Regionals this past October (found here, provided by TheTopCut.net). Right at the 2:40 mark, I make the inexcusable misplay of passing rather than attacking with my Deino NVI.
It’s a misplay that did not change the outcome of the game, but it was still lousy playing on my part.
At the risk of having someone comment on why SixPrizes would hire a writer who can’t even pronounce the word “Headbutt,” I decided to share this misplay with the community to prove two things:
- Even the best players make misplays
- There’s a lot that can go into a single misplay
First off, remember that everyone makes misplays. Though it is true that the better players make fewer Technical Misplays than others, even they are not exempt from messing up every now and then. The moment that you as a serious player can admit to misplays is the moment you can start to overcome them.
The second point is that while my misplay looks on camera like a simple act of forgetfulness, the truth is that there was a lot running through my mind at the time. The day previous, I started out going 0-2 before making a huge comeback to finish the day at 7-2.
I knew Gino’s deck card-by-card — he posted it on his Facebook account — and my chances of winning did not look good. And so, as I was racking my brain over what strategy I should employ to beat Gino, I let out a mechanical “And I’ll pass” to finish my first turn of that second game.
The truth is that Technical Misplays can be very psychological in nature. Confidence, intimidation, reliance on intuition — these are all aspects that play a part in the decision-making process.
Add to that the physical, mental, and emotional considerations one must make and you can see how even the worst misplays can easily be the summation of various controllable factors.
Developmental (or Abstract) Misplays
Developmental Misplays, unlike Technical Misplays, are much harder to spot. Any player can, after much practice, perfect the “routines” necessary to play a game of the Pokémon TCG – that is, playing Supporters, attaching Energy, using attacks in a strategic manner – but one of the biggest differences that the best players exhibit when it comes to this game is the ability to minimize Developmental Misplays.
What is a Developmental Misplay? To best explain this misplay, I will use an example from the third game in the Top 32 I played against Gino Lombardi at the Philadelphia Regionals this past October (found here, provided by TheTopCut.net). And do not worry, I don’t make a misplay this time around!
pokebeach.comAt around the 12:10 mark, I am unfortunate enough to draw my third Hydreigon DRX. This is really bad news for me because I am facing Gino Lombardi’s Terrakion/Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Roserade deck, and the only hope I have of winning is to set up a Hydreigon DRX 97. It helps me to heal damage from the field and also packs a high-damage attack.
With only two Professor Junipers in my hand at the time, I had to make one of two choices. I could either play the Professor Juniper and ruin any chance I had of getting Hydreigon in play, or I could use Sableye DEX to grab me a Random Receiver in hopes of pulling an N to preserve my Hydreigon.
I do a lot of counting, and ultimately I make the decision to grab another Random Receiver with Sableye’s attack. This move is a critical one, as it set me up near the end of the game to make a wild comeback. And while I didn’t win the game, I felt secure knowing I had made the right play.
Had I gone the alternate route and played my Professor Juniper, it most certainly would have been a Developmental Misplay on my part. Indeed, there’s a good chance I would have been able to attack with Darkrai EX that turn, but many turns down the road I would have found myself in a losing situation.
With no hope of getting Hydreigon in play, I would have been unable to heal off damage or present an attacker without a glaring weakness. Resorting to Sableye’s attack wasn’t fun, and it didn’t look like I was doing as much as I could during my turn, but it was the right play for where the course of the game was headed.
This is exactly what I mean by the term “Developmental Misplay,” a misplay that is sometimes barely noticed that, in the end, alters the course and development of a game to the point that an opponent might win where otherwise they wouldn’t.
Here are some examples of this type of misplay:
1. Neglecting to plan ahead at all stages of the game
pokemon.comTo get away from making Developmental Misplays, players must learn to think ahead a few turns. Professor Juniper is a powerful Supporter card that often causes players trouble because they are forced to discard cards they would rather keep.
At the same time, not playing a Juniper because of this can be the misplay. I have an excellent exercise I’ll share later for clearing up some of the “planning ahead” that goes into the Pokémon TCG.
2. Not making the “obvious” play
This one, like many developmental misplays, is hard to pinpoint. It usually occurs when a player has two or more options in how to handle an in-game situation. The player makes a mental note of each option, then proceeds to ignore the easy (obvious) answer and instead resorts to murky, complex tactics.
They do this because the “easy” option seems too simple. If you find yourself trying to stall a little with the Tynamo/Victini trick while your opponent is having a dreadfully slow start, you might be making this misplay.
3. Not metagaming/teching properly
pokemon.comThe thing about Developmental Misplays is that they don’t just occur during the game, they occur before and after games as well.
If a player has a deck that they’ve worked really hard on, yet they have a hard time against some basic archetypes in the current format, they would be making a misplay by neglecting to correctly tech for those matchups.
Likewise, if a player uses a Fire deck in a local metagame rife with Water decks, it would be a misplay to not adjust accordingly.
4. Playing cards when you just don’t need to
Sometimes, players get in the habit of doing as much as they can during their turn. While this is usually a good habit to get into, it can come with risks. Some cards, like N and Tool Scrapper, need to be played with particular care.
Playing an N when you don’t really need to can be a game-breaker — especially if it benefits the opponent or otherwise gets them out of a tough spot.
Many of these misplays occur when players fail to plan ahead strategically. Since Developmental Misplays are largely a product of specific in-game situations, they’re hard to observe and aren’t regularly talked about.
Pointing out where a player failed to play an Energy during a turn is easy, while determining where a player lost control of the game in a mirror match can be much more difficult.
How Do You Correct Misplays?
So what’s a player to do? If you want to become as misplay-free as possible, here are some tips and personal pieces of advice.
Fixing Technical Misplays
Nothing is better at fixing Technical Misplays than experience. Sitting down with a friend and actively asking questions and proposing questions about rulings, card abilities, etc. is definitely the way to go if you want to avoid these types of misplays.
Not only will you get adjusted to the rules of the game, you’ll find yourself sliding into a preferred “pattern” of play.
For Pokémon, it usually involves doing all that you can — attach an Energy, play a Supporter and/or Trainers, evolve or play Pokémon, use Abilities — and doing it in the correct order. In all card games, it’s always important to recognize the game state.
1. Experience is everything
pokemon.comJust to reiterate the point, experience is the best thing for fixing these misplays. Nothing pays off quite as much as actually playing the game you’re interested in.
2. Play against real people in real situations
While self-learning is valuable in its own way, Pokémon (and other games) are meant to be played with others. If you’re looking at getting involved competitively with the game, play with a friend under the assumption that players can’t take back plays they make.
Doing this will help you get used to the serious environment that a tournament often has. It will also help you solidify your decisions by forcing you to think about your options before making a play.
3. “Five Turns”
If other players aren’t available, do a little exercise I call “Five Turns.” Give your deck five turns (not counting your “opponent”) to set up and enact its strategy. Do this with no opposing deck and have your active Pokémon Knocked Out on turns 3, 4, and 5 (or whatever you choose – just offer yourself a challenge).
See if your deck is able to set up and respond to the threat of early game KOs. This will help you design your deck according to consistency as well as get used to the mechanics of the game/deck.
4. Give yourself a reminder
pokemon.comYou may also choose to give yourself reminders to the game state in the form of counters, card positions, etc. The Burn and Poison Special Conditions are normally denoted by their respective counters, so try using other counters to stand for other things.
I once forgot that my opponent had flipped a heads on an “Agility” attack, thereby protecting his active Pokémon from one of my attacks. Even though I had a yellow counter for such situations, I forgot to use it.
As a result, I made the mistake of attacking his active Pokémon, resulting in a game loss. Some players also “tap” (or slightly turn) their cards when certain Abilities are activated. So long as your opponent is okay with this, I think it’s a good idea.
5. Seek advice from a better player
Have another (preferably more advanced) player observe you play, and ask them for advice or tips. Let them point out things to you, and take their advice seriously. One of the worst things a player can do is ignore the advice of others.
6. Take your time
A recent study (located here) suggested that soccer players were more successful at taking penalty shots during a shootout when they did two things: 1. face the goalkeeper more, and 2. spend more time setting up their shot. They were also more successful if making the shot meant a win for the team.
As a Pokémon TCG player, this tells me a few things. First, practicing avoidance behaviors may lead to “choking under pressure.” If I can’t look my opponent in the eyes (or, if I’m avoiding the death stare of a judge), I might choke and make a mistake.
Second, it tells me that taking my time to make a proper play can also keep me from buckling under pressure.
7. “Fake it ’til you make it”
pokemon.comA recent TED Talk (located here) surmised that motions we make with our body actually has a measurable effect on our brain — that is, assuming “power stances” increases testosterone (the “confidence” hormone) and reduces cortisol (the “stress” hormone). By the term “power stances,” I literally mean assuming a position you would associate with Superman or Wonder Woman.
It might sound crazy, but studies show that standing in such a position for as little as two minutes can convince your mind that you feel more confident than you actually do. It’s like smiling when you aren’t actually happy.
Following this information, what should we as players do before any tournament or high-pressure situation? Simple — we should do a little victory dance and psych ourselves up before we get started! Avoid positioning your body so that you look nervous or unsure of yourself, as your hormone levels will change in such a way that will tell your brain to be nervous.
Note: Do yourself a favor and do your victory dance or whatever in a secluded location so you don’t invite the awkward stares from those around you!
8. Always be prepared
Many technical misplays arise from a failure to prepare. Sure, it might be fun to stay up til 4:00 AM playtesting with friends the night before the big tournament, but you’re running a great risk by doing so. For any event that you participate in, you want to be in your best shape mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Make sure that you get the sleep you need to, try to eat well before and during the tournament, and spend some time relaxing (or meditating) before the first round begins. Trust me on this one, it’s important. I contribute a lot of my 2nd place performance at Nationals in 2010 to practicing these basic guidelines.
Fixing Developmental Misplays
pokemon.comDevelopmental Misplays are an entirely different creature, especially when it comes to fixing them or preventing them from happening in the first place. Much like Technical Misplays, I’ll still cite experience as the best overall solution.
However, I’ll modify that by stating that you must have experience playing against better players than you. If you want to get really good at a game, you have to actively pursue greater and greater challenges.
Don’t expect to fix your developmental misplays by playing against someone you can beat nearly every time. And in today’s world with such amazing technology, players don’t have the excuse of being unable to find better players to play against.
Here’s a list of tips on how to avoid these misplays:
1. Experience IS everything
Again, experience will help you clean up developmental misplays. However, make sure you actively pursue playing against players who are downright better than you. Within a year of playing, my brother and I both won trips to Worlds in 2006 (and two scholarships) by constantly challenging each other in the Pokémon TCG.
Rather than just play with “fun” decks, we found ways to beat each other by employing new strategies, having better consistency in our decks, and coming up with counters or techs for certain situations. We had fun, that’s for sure, but most of this fun we had came from actively pursuing a better deck with a better build.
2. Again, seek out the advice of better players
pokemon.comMany players (like me) don’t mind giving away advice or helping others form a foundation on which success can be built. This is a tradition that I’ve long upheld, mainly because this is exactly what happened to me.
My first big win in the Pokémon TCG happened in 2006 when I won a Gym Challenge with Flariados (Flareon ex/Ariados UF), giving me the much-coveted paid invitation to the 2006 World Championship. Though a lot of players considered me to be really good with Flariados, I didn’t come up with the deck. Rather, John Silvestro was the first to find success with the deck by placing 2nd with it at SC States.
Seeing the deck do well, I contacted John through the PokéGym.net and asked for a little guidance. Rather than outright asking for a decklist, I simply told him that I wanted to try the deck out and that I’d like a basic strategy if he’d be willing to offer.
Fortunately, John was willing to share the basic strategy of the deck even though I was just a beginner, and I took it from there.
3. Be smart when seeking out the advice of better players
I mention this because players sometimes forget that, in many cases, the “better” players got to their level of skill by working really hard at it. When I put a dent in the format at Worlds in 2010 with Steelix, I was glad to see that most people who asked about the deck didn’t just ask for a decklist.
Rather, there seemed to be a level of respect when players asked how I got Steelix to work, something I deeply appreciated.
Also, it’s not uncommon for successful players to be really busy with answering other players’ questions. If you want to get advice from a player, seek advice (and not just that “golden” decklist). Just be aware of the etiquette concerning these things.
4. Make the most of your playtesting
BulbapediaWhen players get together to test before a tournament, they should focus on the “testing” part more than “playing.” What this means is that you aren’t just getting together to have some fun, you’re also looking for valid solutions to gameplay issues.
As I said before, a main component of my testing for Nationals in 2010 had me getting feedback from my brother’s roommate on how to handle the Luxchomp mirror match. This required me to actively ask another player where I was tripping up.
Another idea is to keep a notepad out and jot down questions/issues as you playtest. After the game is over, you and the other players can go over those questions or issues one by one.
I recently wrote an article (“How To Build A Competitive Rogue Deck”) that partly addresses this as well. I describe the need for players to make playtesting efficient by avoiding combos that will lead to a dead end. If you have ever sat down for some serious playtesting to have a friend tinker away with a “fun deck,” then you have experienced this very issue.
5. Mind games
A huge part of fixing developmental misplays is psychological. It’s in our human nature to have a self bias — that is, we often think more highly of ourselves than we do of others. Translated into the world of the Pokémon TCG, players often refer to their own “bad luck” or an opponent’s “good luck” before ever admitting that they made game-costing misplays.
My brother and I were recently watching a match (Luxchomp vs. Gyarados) in the top cut of a tournament when we saw the Gyarados player make a misplay on the turn before he lost. Sadly, it cost him the game.
pokemon.comMy brother, admittedly a tad outspoken, asked the Gyarados player why he played it the way he did. The Gyarados player explained his decision, only to have my brother tell him about the misplay. The Gyarados player searched for an excuse and tried to explain away his decision before finally conceding that he played it wrong.
In retrospect, I’m surprised the player admitted where he messed up. Most players will sooner make huge mental leaps before ever just admitting that they messed up. The reason this is dangerous is because not only do these players never confront their misplays, they follow a path that usually leads to them making those misplays again.
If a player fails to notice his or her misplays, it’s as if they didn’t actually make a misplay. In the future, when that same situation occurs, they’re less likely to remind themselves to play it right. My advice for this is to allow your ego to deflate a little.
When a player asks you how you lost a game, be ready to realistically analyze the game and provide them with that painful — but unbelievably helpful — answer that you just made some misplays that cost you the game.
6. Give yourself the best shot to win in any circumstance
When people ask for advice about what they should play for a tournament, the same answer inevitably appears: “Go with what you feel comfortable with.” There’s a good reason this is the case. Players usually operate best under pressure when they have something reassuring to fall back on.
pokemon.comFor lots of players, this reassurance does show up in the form of a deck choice. Going with your tried and true Blastoise/Keldeo-EX deck may provide you with that level of comfort that you need. Note, however, that this reassurance can take many forms.
For me, it’s consciously telling myself that I’m a good player, that I’ll make the right decisions, etc. (in other words, I’m actively trying to boost my self-esteem). I usually try to meditate or pray before a big tournament; it helps me handle the stress and pressure that those tournaments usually contain.
For other players, it may be being a part of a team or group of players. Anything you can do to help ease the pressure of a big tournament will ultimately help you focus more on your ability to strategize.
7. Let the misplay be your teacher
Consider each misplay as an opportunity to learn more about the game you play. Many players will never view misplays as such — they’re too busy being good at the game to ever take notice of what they did wrong.
The better players will see misplays as kernels of truth. From the recognition of a developmental misplay, you can learn how to play the game better.
8. Videotape yourself when you playtest
If you have the time and resources, setup a device to capture your every move as you play. Then, go back and check out how you did. This will help you to focus on your decision-making without putting you “in the moment.” It is much easier to reflect on this when you have the “visual evidence” before you.
For this, I offer a few suggestions. First, you want to play against strong opponents. Second, you can learn a whole lot from how you perform in a mirror match. Since the decks are nearly identical, there’s a larger focus on individual talent.
And last, you might need to put the videos away for some time to distance yourself away from what you thought was correct “in the moment.” Come back to the videos at a later time so you can analyze your decision-making with a reduced bias.
The Most Frequent Misplays Players Make
– Neglecting the Pokémon TCG “Order of Operations”
Whether you think about it much or not, there is a proper order to plays made during a player’s turn. We all know to start off by drawing a card and end with our attack, but the stuff in between those two actions can get a little murky at times.
Generally, Supporters are usually played at the beginning of one’s turn in order to gather as many cards as necessary to make proper decisions. Abilities are then used, Energy cards played, and an attack chosen.
I once observed a game in which a player used Ho-Oh EX’s Ability “Rebirth” to bring a Ho-Oh EX and two Basic Energy back into play. He then used a Juniper, discarding two more Basic Energy. Realizing his mistake, he asked if he could do things differently.
It was a fun game, so the two players worked things out, but it serves as a good example of how important order can be in this game.
– Getting stuck in a “retreating loop”
This misplay shows up every now and then, especially with the existence of Pokémon Catcher in the format. The best example recently happened with Durant decks in which an opponent might use Catcher to bring up a Pokémon other than Durant (such as Rotom UD).
Without any Energy in play, the Durant player will attach to Rotom and retreat, sending up a Durant that cannot attack .The opponent will then play another Catcher and the cycle will repeat itself.
– Sending up the wrong Pokémon
pokemon.comFor me, this is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to misplays, as I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count. It occurs after a knockout, when a player promotes a Pokémon without paying attention to that Pokémon’s Retreat Cost. They then realize that they should promote a different Pokémon.
As a result, they end up paying an additional Retreat Cost or making a tough decision they didn’t have to make otherwise. This misplay doesn’t often lead to big consequences, but when it does, it’s quite frustrating.
– Not doing all you can do
As a Pokémon TCG player, your primary concern in getting any deck to operate properly is setup — that is, getting the elements of your deck up and running. In order to do this, you have to remember to do as much as you need to during your turn.
You might not attach every Pokémon Tool card in your hand, but neglecting to play Supporters or Energy cards is a big mistake that will inevitably ensure that your deck doesn’t set up in the time it needs to.
– Damage miscalculation
Perhaps the most punishing misplay of all, miscalculating damage can turn a winning position into a losing one. Players should always remember to account for all of the factors that can alter damage: Pokémon Tools (like Eviolite), Weakness/Resistance, active Abilities, effects from attacks, and so on.
– Putting all of your eggs in one basket
Anytime you load all of your resources onto one single Pokémon, you run a great risk. In past formats, cards like Tyranitar ex were seen as inferior because they forced you to do just this. With no shortage of high-HP Basic EXs, you might find yourself in this very situation.
There’s no easy way to decide whether putting your resources into one place is a good idea, but make sure that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I got caught at a recent tournament doing just this, but it honestly was my best chance of winning.
– Not respecting the Prize card “trade off”
Soon enough, we will have Lugia EX enter the format. In the distant future, the recently revealed “Life Essence” ACE SPEC will also find favor. Whether or not those become popular cards, they highlight a factor that should be on every player’s mind when starting a game: the Prize card “trade off.”
Remember that unless you’re playing Durant or someone manages to win on the first turn, you’re involved in a race to see who can claim all 6 Prizes. Your strategy during any game might change significantly, but it must always respect this fact.
– Poor damage distribution
One mistake many players make is in distributing damage poorly. Typically, this occurs with spread damage. Even with a Pokémon like Darkrai EX, the proper placement of the 30 damage from Night Spear can spell success.
Generally, spread damage should be used to setup future KOs or weaken a strong card on the bench.
– Forgetting to account for Prize cards
Let me spell this out for you simply: from the beginning of every Pokémon TCG game you play, a tenth of your deck is inaccessible, completely off limits. Many players surprisingly do not consider this fact, mostly because they are busy setting up at the beginning of a game. But you cannot ignore the difference that a tenth of your deck makes.
The moment you get a chance to look through your deck, take the extra effort to determine what your Prize cards might be.
This is especially important with the recent introduction of ACE SPEC Trainer cards.
– Not respecting the metagame
I mentioned this a bit in my last article, but this misplay happens when players disregard a certain metagame in favor of a deck they really, really want to play.
If you find yourself making complex arguments for why a popular deck will not be seen, or you determine that a simple tech card or two will balance a truly bad matchup, you might be committing this misplay.
The Psychology Of Misplays
pokemon.comIf anything, I hope that by now you see that misplays are much more complex than we often give them credit for. There’s a certain “psychology” to misplays — that is, even the simplest of mistakes can be the result of such things as arrogance, lack of confidence, anxiety, or general stress on the body and mind.
Each player of the Pokémon TCG is unique, and so it would be impossible to provide a road map for every scenario possible when it comes to misplays. However, there are some general categories into which many people fall with regard to this.
For some players, they must overcome their ego. Confidence runs high in these individuals, much to the point of arrogance. As a result, these players might reflect poorly on their decision-making during playtesting or tournaments.
When another players points out their mistake, they are quick to dismiss the issue, coming up with an excuse to appear free-of-error. These players must start accepting their own faults and break through that “defensive mode” that afflicts so many players today.
For other players, confidence is greatly needed. These are the ones who simply don’t believe they can win. As a result, their expectation is fulfilled when they bubble out or lose their first few games. My suggestion is simple: take steps to boost confidence.
pokemon.comStart by telling yourself that you CAN win, let your body tell your mind the same thing by doing a victory dance before you succeed, and surround yourself with people who exude confidence as well.
A final category of players is those who face anxiety with tournaments. For most, this is the case, and some stress is actually good for you. But for others, the anxiety leads to poor performance. If this is the case, do yourself a favor by making things as stress-free as possible for your body and mind.
Do not forget to stay hydrated and eat properly, and get plenty of rest for a tournament. Once you have all of those bases covered, do what it takes to calm down: practice deep breathing, talk to a friend, move to a silent area if you need, listen to some music, and so on.
Again, what works here is up to each individual, so find the thing that helps you cope in those high moments of stress.
Hopefully, this article has given you many things to think about as you take your gaming to the next level. My biggest piece of advice is that you should pay attention to and learn from your misplays until they aren’t there anymore.
When you treat a misplay as an opportunity to get better at the game, you’ve taken the right approach to guarantee success.
I also can’t stress enough to value of preparation and experience. When you take these two things seriously, you’ll see your misplays gradually disappear.
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