• The Transition Zone: Testing My Team

    Every good competitor needs to be tested. The best football team, the best gymnast, the best chess player, the best mathematician, the best dice master-no matter how good you think you are, you don't know until you get run through a gauntlet of tests, trials, opponents and situations. You can make the best team, with the best cards and put them together with amazing basic actions and then take them to your friendly local game store and fall flat on your face.

    I have seen people use the "meta" cards and not know how to pilot them. I have seen attempts at an almost all super rare team because of the assumption that it will just be better. I have seen people try to play the exact teams they find online or see played at National or World competitions and lose to teams that should not beat them. Why do these thing happen?

    Because a good pilot will always beat a good team.

    Do you want to be a good pilot? Because I can promise you from experience that if you do not know what you are doing with your team, you will lose. No matter how good the cards and the dice rolls are you need to know how to play it. So how do you get there? How do you move from casual and fun to consistent and competitive?

    You practice. And you practice more. And as soon as you think you are good, you practice more. For many of you, how and when is tough to determine. So let's say you have the team and you are ready to run it through a barrage of tests -where can you find gauntlets? Here are your best opportunities to test yourself and practice:

    1. Friends/family
    If you have a built-in playgroup either at home or with close friends, use it. Have them run everything they can at you and push for them to test your team. Have them play the meta, combos, SRs and everything you feel weak to. They have likely played you the most and know your weaknesses and can help you to learn how to overcome them. I taught my son High Hopes because I wanted to see if I could beat it. Raise up the levels of the players around you and they will help do the same for you.

    2. Open play/casual
    Many stores run casual nights that are just a drop in and play format. No costs, no structure but it is a place where two things can happen: you can play casually or you can playtest. I enjoy simple, fun games of Dice Masters but open play times can allow us to learn how a team we use works against others. You may run into super competitive or even off the wall teams that will help you determine where your strengths and weaknesses are.

    3. Vassal/Hangouts or online play
    Right now the easiest ways to play online are either through the use of a video camera and a service like Goggle Hangouts or Skype or through the vassal program. I have been able to prepare for competitive competition this way against some really good players around the world. The players who use these formats are usually very inviting to conversation about the game, feedback about your play and decisions in game and even general pleasantries. I personally started online play with hangouts but have found myself playing much more on vassal these days.
    If you would like to see who is available for online play, check out thread found in the forums on our site.

    4.Play by yourself
    Simple but so easily missed. This can be done with a team in front of you, on vassal or frankly just going through in your head what you might run into with dice rolls. Play the possible turn one, turn two buys. See what you would buy with the worse and the best possible rolls. Eliminate the unknowns early and when you are in a game you will react instead of guess.

    Enough practice and repetition will take away nervous energy, unknowns and the guessing game that random dice rolls can bring. Know your team, know its strengths and areas of potential weakness or exploitation and know how to protect yourself from it. Become the consistent player you know you can be through dedicated practice because a great pilot wins.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Ressless's Avatar
      Ressless -
      Great article, nothing else to say about it!
    1. Tischel181's Avatar
      Tischel181 -
      Really good article, so much in there to highlight, especially paragraph 2 and 3.
      practice, practice, practice, best with many as possible different players.
      IF you play always vs. the same, even with different teams, s/he has a special, own way of playing and reacting.
      And also important, create an own team, you fealing fine and good with. Of course, look what others play cause you see what you could fight and new combos...
      if you are an impatient person, guess it is not a good idea to play a slow control team ^-^
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      I always say that the best way to improve is to lose a lot and then learn from your losses. Analyze what went wrong and what could have gone better. Ask your opponent afterwards to tell you what you could have done differently. They just got done analyzing and exploiting your weaknesses. If you ask them nicely, they will often tell you.
    1. MasterJedi's Avatar
      MasterJedi -
      Great article! You gotta add reading websites and actually watching games being played. I'm a visual learner, I caught on the first game I watched. I started becoming better by searching out vids on YouTube an studying them.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Thanks for the great comments guys, and I totally agree @MasterJedi that is another great way to learn!