Today I’m going to talk about spectating; I hope you find it useful.
When I was younger I used to watch a lot of boxing matches. My favourite boxer was this guy named Roy Jones, Jr. He would seamlessly dodged everything his opponent would throw at him waiting for just the right moment when he would smash his opponent with a punch as fast as lightning and knock them out cold. At thirteen I thought I had watched enough of Roy, studied his moves enough, to get the hang of this boxing thing, so I invited my friend round to have a bout.
I had it all figured out. Round One I would play it cool and get a feel for my opponent. Round Two I would put him off balance with a couple of one-two punches and try to land a few. Round Three is when he would be a bit tired and over confident, that’s when I would wait for the perfect counter punch and BAM! It would knock him out cold. I set the microwave (our countdown timer) to three minutes, and pressed START. Round One was under way. I kept my head down and waited for my opponent to strike. He threw a punch, it was fast, faster than I expected, it came hurling straight through my hands and landed on my nose with a crunch. I collapsed in a slump yelling “Peace! Peace!” He had broken my nose less than ten seconds into the first round. After that my memory grows a bit hazy but in car ride to the hospital, as blood was pouring into my ice packed towel, I remember thinking, “I’m not sure if I picked up on everything that Roy Jones, Jr. was doing.”
Spectating is more than watching a match— it is a way of relishing the rivalry and skill while learning about the game, but sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the plays that are being made and why. In this week’s article I’m going to try to clear some of that up in the hope that you don’t get smacked down in the Scrolls Arena.
If you want to get the most out of the experience, try to watch ranked or tournament games of high ranked players. Players play at their highest level when they have something on the line and they are playing the decks they know.
The first thing you should do when watching a game is figure out what type of deck the players are using. The decks at a high ranked play are all pretty similar for each faction. You can figure out what goes into the decks through spectating pretty easily and it’s a good way to get an idea of what goes into a solid deck but it’s not enough to have a strong deck, you have to know how to play the deck too, and spectating is a great way to learn how.
When I spectate games I normally ask myself ‘what I would do?’, ‘how would I play this?’ then compare that to the way the game unfolds. When there is a contradiction, I never assume it was a mistake, but try to assess why they might have played it that way. For example: I have seen Blinky preference Lifestealers over Oblivion Seekers in a DvD match up. I normally prefer the Seeker, but it got me thinking maybe the board control you get from a Lifestealer outweighs the Seeker in many cases. IScre4m has a very aggressive play style, he tends to Necrogedden a lot earlier than I do which really puts the opponent under a lot of pressure to board clear or defend idols. Simple plays like these have had an impact on the way I think about and play the game, but might not be obvious to those who don’t look for these plays. When asking yourself ‘What would I do?’ we have to address what can be done.
Here’s a checklist:
Once you see someone do something differently than the way you would have done it, you have to try to figure out why. For any player new or experienced, it’s tricky to tell why someone made the play they did.
Plays can depend on a number of factors:
With so many factors it’s tricky to figure out a motive, but if you manage to you will advance as a player and if you are stumped, you could just ask them. : )
Spectators should back a side. I used to yell at my TV for Roy Jones’ opponents’ blood to splatter the canvas. So should you. Whether it is supporting a guild, a masterful tactician, an up-and-comer, an underdog, or just the faction you like the most, your investment into the match will make you have more fun with it and your enthusiasm will be appreciated by the players. If there are other spectators I encourage you to engage with them, all too often there will be a bunch of spectators watching in silence when a rowdy room will keep everyone more entertained and invested in the match.
That concludes my rant on spectating; I hope it left you being able to read matches better and encouraged you to be more active in your spectating. The most important rules for improving from spectating are: What would I do? And why did they do that? Now get out there and watch some games! Learn some below the belt tactics and knock someone out cold!