Player Growth

tahi     Hey everyone, my name is Tahmid Zaman and I’m here with you guys today to give you methods I used to grow as a player! Before I dive into my first article ever at Alter Reality Games, I feel it would only be fair to tell you a little about myself. I have been playing Yugioh since 2011 and didn't start playing competitively or travel until 2012. After having been to 15 major events, I made Top 32 at YCS Rhode Island, Top 16 at YCS Miami, Top 64 at 2013 Nationals, Top 16 at ARGCS Ohio, Top 8 at ARGCS St. Louis, Top 16 at ARGCS Nashville, and Top 32 at YCS Atlanta all between 2013-2014. Now that you know a little about me, let’s get right to the article.

     Back in January 2011 when my friend had first introduced Yugioh to me, I was the worst player of my local. I was the guy who had no idea what he was doing, and would continuously lose over and over. I refused to quit the game even though I struggled early on, because I still enjoyed it very much. But then again who likes losing right? Becoming fed up with losing, I knew it was time to seriously try to improve at the game. To this day, I still work hard to maintain this goal, there’s always room for improvement! Over a relatively short period of time, I was able to grow enormously as a player using these methods.


Taking Advantage of the Better Players Around You

     I can’t stress this enough, and probably could’ve written a whole article on this. I highly recommend this to be your first step in your path to improving as a player. Don’t be intimidated at the fact that they’re better then you either, we’re all just human. There are many different ways you can take the skills of players better then you to your advantage. (Shout outs to Christian Georges and Ankit Shah for all the things they did to help me grow as a player.)

Watching Your Games- There’s going be situations in games where you think you've made the correct play while someone else believes you haven’t. By having a better player oversee your games, you’re able to know if you actually played the game correctly. If you didn't at some point in the game, you’re able to ask questions and learn from it. Even if you think the other player is wrong, you’re able to discuss the situation and find which play is truly better.  Considering other opinions and possibilities, will help you reflect on the games you just played and help you think more critically in future scenarios.

Watching Their Games- Watching better players, whether in person or through feature  matches, is  also an invaluable  way  to grow  as a player. Watching a better player play allows you to place yourself in their shoes seeing their hand and position. This means that you’re able to see them make plays that you might not have been able to see with the same hand.  Not only that but you’re also able to ask what kind of reads they had on their opponent and how that read was made.  Discussing different alternatives looking for the correct/optimal plays with better players gives you insights into their line of thinking and helps you understand why they made a certain play as opposed to another; the “why” is much more important than the play itself.

Deck building- Once you make a new deck list, have multiple people look over it. However don’t listen blindly and let the other person’s opinion be your final decision on a card. If you disagree with them, you can discuss different theories on the card and learn if it’s the proper choice for the deck. Discussing these theories, will help both the deck you are currently   building and your future deck-building endeavors. Regardless of how sound the theory behind your deck is, you must test your deck to know if it works as intended. Finding out what works and what doesn't is always a good starting point to continue improving your deck.



Admitting/Profiting/Correcting Mistakes

Admitting Mistakes- “I just got sacked” “My opponent top decked” “I wasn't able to do anything” are all common phrases players tell their friends at a local/regional/YCS after they've just lost. Some uncontrollable things do happen every now and then, but a majority of the time, there usually is one different play or different read that could have increased your chances of winning that particular game. By being able to admit the mistakes that you've made to yourself and others, it shows that you’re willing to learn from your mistakes. You can also learn new things such as rulings, game mechanics, and different plays with the deck that you were unaware of before. There is no substitute for experience.

Profiting from Mistakes- While testing, making mistakes can actually be a good thing. By making these mistakes, you’re able to see where you went wrong, reasons why the play you made was incorrect, and why the other play is better than yours. Understanding these mistakes prepares you for this situation and other similar situations going forward. Profiting from these mistakes made in testing can again, be the difference in topping a regional or YCS.

Correcting Mistakes- Everybody makes mistakes. The better players are those who make fewer mistakes and are able to better move forward after recognizing their mistakes. Making the correct play consistently is the key to success, correcting mistakes is a key step to making the correct play.



Practice, Practice, Practice, and more PRACTICE

     I believe anybody who has achieved something in this game will tell you that practicing continuously is the most vital way to enhance as a player. They were able to achieve it by working hard, and understanding their deck to its full potential. By practicing, you’re able to learn many new things that can better your game-play in general. Also by practicing with a certain deck, you’re able to learn the weakness of the deck. What this means is, you’re able to combat your opponent based upon your experience with the deck and have an idea of what does/doesn't hurt them. Another good thing about constant practice is the decreased amount of time it takes for you to make your plays. If you have practiced enough, you’re able to know the outs you have in all situations, thus meaning you’re less likely to go in time of any tournament.


     Nobody becomes good overnight.  Having the drive to improve your skills is another key way to evolve as a player. By having this motivation, you’re able to endure multiple hours of practice consistently. You also do not give up trying to improve after one or multiple losses once you have this new found motivation. Instead you should be taking it as a token for what to improve on in the future.


     I hope this article helped you guys learn ways on how to grow as a player! Keep in mind that improving to your full potential doesn't happen overnight. But by following these methods correctly, you’ll slowly be able to see constant results! If you guys have any questions for me or ideas you think I should be writing about, please contact me at I hope to also see you guys in the upcoming ARGCS Las Vegas! The next stop for the Circuit Series will be a 1K in 1 Day in beautiful Akron, Ohio on February 22nd!


Until Next Time Everyone,

Play Hard or Go Home!



Tahmid Zaman

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