Have you ever played Dark Souls?
Dark Souls is one of the most incredible video games I’ve ever beheld. It’s gruesome and stark and hopeless and so ego-crushingly difficult it’s almost a wonder it was popular enough to warrant a sequel.
Run-of-the-mill enemies can kill you in two or three hits. With bosses, a stray nick from their weapon is often just lethal. Levels are designed with the express purpose of crushing you under boulders, hurling you into bottomless pits, smashing you against spiked ceilings.
Everything about Dark Souls is brutal. The architecture of every facet of the game has a singular, monomaniacal purpose: to completely and totally fuck your shit up.
The tagline for the game is, simply, “Prepare to Die.”
Full Disclosure: I have yet to play Dark Souls myself. My love of the game comes merely from watching it be played many, many times.
I would tell you that I don’t want to sound obtuse with what I’m about to say, but if you read my previous post, then you know damn well that I am absolutely, undeniably obtuse.
So here’s the obtuse statement of the day: Competitive Magic: the Gathering is a lot like Dark Souls. It’s exhausting; it punishes the smallest mistakes; grinding is a bleak, miserable process, and every loss is crushing.
But the mark of a talented Magic player — perhaps even more so than technically tight play or a penchant for correctly deciphering constructed metagames or the ability to read opponents — is an unwillingness to quit. To play Magic not despite your innumerable losses, but perhaps in fact because of them; that is a skill only the most talented of players have.
This isn’t just poetic bullshittery I’m spewing at you right now; the best players in the world all average to about a 60 percent win record. The best players in the game still lose just shy of HALF of their matches. And this is very likely the thing that makes them better than the rest; they’re willing to lose almost half the time in order to find success and enjoy meaningful wins.
In other words, the best players in Magic history have always been the ones who are the most prepared to die.
This is . He’s arguably the best player of 2013 (and actually player of the year). His win percentage is just over 60 percent.