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Shadow Era TCG  »  Articles  »  Improving at Shadow Era Through Willpower
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(This is an edited guest article by CodeDomination, which originally appeared here.)

First off, I would like to give full credit to this Star City Games article, by Gavin Verhey, for giving me the idea to write this article.

Step One: Commit to Becoming a Better Player

This first step is the most important one. Just like most things in life, you won't get anywhere without commitment. At some point in the game, most of us experience a moment where we say to ourselves that we want to be better than the rest. Maybe you are tired of losing to some scrub playing Majiya, or maybe you want to be the one coming up with the next Gravebella. Either way, you are going to have to improve as a player to accomplish your goals in the game.

There are three parts to committing to becoming a better Shadow Era player.

Realize You Suck

I know this sounds a bit harsh, but it is the only way to improve. It's not hard to find out you're bad. Play some matches against some high level players and you will quickly arrive to that conclusion. You have to learn to look at your play objectively. One thing I personally do is record my games, and then analyze them after the fact. If you can learn to spot flaws in your play and decks, you are already on the road to becoming a better player. Basically, lower you ego down a notch, and realize the only way to succeed is to get better.

Ask For Help

Obviously, if you can admit that you are bad, the next part is to try and fix the problem. Ask some of the more experienced players around the forums and IRC for help. A1 Alliance, a very strong group of players, are currently running an academy to help new players. Most players on the forums and IRC would be more than happy to provide criticism on your deck and play.

Listen To Advice

It's all fine and dandy if you can make it through part 1 and 2, but part 3 is the most important. Far too many people post on the forums for help only to not take it, and end up wasting everyone's time. For example, numerous people will post their decks on the forums, and ask for suggestions on how to improve their decks, only to defend their deck choices to the grave. What's the point of even asking for help, if you will not take their suggestions?

Step Two: Commit to Seeking Out Competition

How do you know if you're any good, unless you play against good players? How will other people know if you're any good, unless you take part in tournaments and leagues and other Organised Play opportunities?

You need to make the time and give the effort to get involved in these highly competitive environments, so you can get the chance to shine, and, more importantly, so you get challenged by the very best. Chances are, you can't beat the top players yet, so there will be many chances to lose matches and learn from those losses; both in terms of good cards to use and good moves to make.

Step Three: Commit to Fixing Problems With Your Game

After going through steps 1 and 2, you will probably have a solid idea what your strengths and weakness are. For example, you might be able to easily deal with weapons-based heroes, but succumb to a well-played rush deck.

Now, part of this could be your deck, or part of it could be your play. Either way, asking questions on the forums and watching replays of your games is the best way to improve. Once you can identify your problems, you will start fixing the problems with your game.

Step Four: Commit to Do Whatever It Takes

Once you have reached this step, you should have people to practise with. That is why guilds are formed. A1 Alliance is probably the most popular of the playtest guilds. You don't need to be in a guild though; there are plenty of people on irc to practise with.

Don't make the mistake of using Quick Match as a tool to replace practice guilds and asking people in IRC. Generally, the people you will face in Quick Match are poor players, or not playing to the best of their ability.

Hopefully, this has been informative and insightful read for you. Feel free to leave questions and comments.

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