Metagaming – Rock Beats Scissors, Always


Metagaming: The art of picking the best option in a field when everyone who wants to win is doing exactly the same thing.

Becoming good at metagaming makes the difference between going 7-0 at a ssf4 ae/yomi/mtg tournament and 0-2 dropping.

In Yomi/SSF4 ae/Starcraft/etc it comes down to how familiar you are with the matchup and knowing your opponents tendencies.  One of the best examples of how metagaming can change the course of a match just happened in the capcom-unity ssf4 ae tournament grand finals between Snake Eyez and Justin Wong.  If your opponent likes rushdown strategies, what is the best way to counter this?  Do they favor a specific character?
This is why Daigo goes Ryu at Evo as his experience with Ryu gives him the best chance vs the characters he expects to face in the later rounds (rufus/viper/adon/etc)

In MtG this comes down to choice of deck and sideboard options. If you enter a field full of Affinity, what should you have in your sideboard/main deck?  Artifact removal?  Creature removal?

One of my best results in MtG came at a PtQ where I went 8-1 on the day and 7-0 against mirror matches.  Why was I so sucessful against the mirror?  Metagaming.  After Dan Cato  got 9th with RDW, it became a tournament staple throughout Michigan and I was no exception.  The deck was solid and very consistent, two traits every good tournament deck has.  After arriving at the tournament and confirming RDW’s popularity, a few quick tweaks were all it took.

Here’s Dan Cato’s list for reference:

4 Cursed Scroll
4 Tangle Wire
4 Blistering Firecat
4 Firebolt
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Jackal Pup
4 Seal of Fire
4 Slith Firewalker
4 Volcanic Hammer

4 Bloodstained Mire
8 Mountain
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
4 Wooded Foothills

3 Ensnaring Bridge
3 Lava Dart
4 Pillage
2 Rack and Ruin
3 Stone Rain

The changes I made were:

SB:   -2 Rack and Ruin  -3 Lava Dart, +4 Cursed Scroll – Very slow but in G2/3 where pups were boarded out, they made great replacements and not showing them G1 meant opponents often didn’t board in any artifact removal.  The darts got moved to maindeck and R&R wasn’t going to be helpful in this metagame.

Stone Rain -> +4  Molten rain – Same purpose and +2 dmg against a lot of decks.

MD:  +4 Mogg Fanatic – A one drop body that goes 2:1 with all other creatures in RDW and acted like mini seal of fire 5-8 in other match ups.

2 Firebolt-> Lava Dart – 2:1 every creature in my opponents deck for 1 mountain is some good and won me many games.   Also the 5 cost flashback of Firebolt was very problematic against opposing ports/wastes/land destruction.

So by converting the deck to have cards that I normally would only have in G2/3 available for game 1, I was able to take G1’s all day and be in a better position for G2/3 by being able to add even more hate.

Learning to metagame properly is the difference between being the rock that smashes scissors all day and being cut to shreds.


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