Mythic rank is a pantheon unto itself for the mortals of Gods Unchained. It’s one of the biggest challenges a player can accomplish in the game, and one that requires an equal mix of skill, perseverance and dedication.
We’ve put together some tips to help guide your journey to the highest echelons – ranging from gameplay to psychology – with a drop of wisdom from each of the respective gods.
War: Treat it as a mission
You won’t reach Mythic overnight, and it’s an endeavor that requires preparation and foresight. Every General needs a plan and there is no easier way to get hacked to pieces than by blindly charging into the fray. A good Commander studies the map of the battlefield and the opposition ahead of them, with a keen eye on their own troops and resources as well. Which decks make up the metagame and what do the optimal builds look like? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you are – and have – already lost.
Even if you have done the required reconnaissance, there are still many ways to go wrong. You can’t change your mind every hour and expect the results you’d get from seeing through a well-honed strategy. Your first Mythic climb is not the place to innovate or to play across a plethora of decks.
Identify the strongest possible option – hint: it’s the one you’re facing all the time and regularly lose to –, take the optimal build of that archetype and make sure you figure out all of its intricacies. That is the tried and tested path to victory. Don’t stray away from it, no matter the mirage. UnchainedStats with its top deck lists and performance statistics is an invaluable resource in this respect.
You might still find yourself on a downswing after a series of defeats. Does it mean you should throw your strategy out the window? No. It’s a long campaign, and if you stick with the best tools at your disposal, you will already have an edge over those who haphazardly swap around hoping for a miracle cure.
The best of the best, who wield every and all weaponry with near-equal skill and close to perfection could very well find some sort of edges: but for the mortals among us, it’s no more than throwing out a few percentages for the fleeting hope that the next big thing will make up for the misplays that got us where we are.
Magic: There is always something more to learn
The fact that other players made the climb to Mythic is proof enough that you can do it yourself. Their decks and strategies are all available to you – and ultimately, you are the only variable you have complete control over in a card game.
You may not get there on your first attempt, but a consistent and honest effort will serve you well on the way to the second one. You can save yourself much heartache by making use of the most valuable resource that has been given to you at the start of a turn: time. Take your time and think through your whole turn, your opponent’s potential responses, the way the game may play out over the course of the next turn and the following one.
You will gain much insight and have an easier time processing the proceedings as the game goes on. Less will surprise you and you will be able to go down deeper in those complicated mental corridors in key gameplay situations if you have already done the legwork in advance. Also, you might just catch yourself before making that gigantic misplay that would instantly cost you the game. The turn timer is all yours. Make good use of it. Think of all the seconds you left behind, the lost opportunity to fuel your thought process. They’re a non-renewable resource – and it would be a real shame to keep wasting them during your climb.
Your own matches also serve as great learning tools. Study the losses and play back the key moments – with the stress and the turn timer and the confusion all washed away, you’ll have an easier time identifying any mistakes you may have made or alternative lines you might have overlooked. It’s the same feeling when you scream at the streamer missing something obvious: it’s much easier when you only watch the game play out in front of you.
Also, don’t confuse the time for learning with the time for grinding. Of course you would do better with your favorite deck than the complicated new combo archetype you’re only just trying to figure out. You need to study – and lose a lot of winnable games in the process – before the fruits of your labor can become visible. Don’t pick up a new deck with the expectation that it will instantly turn around your fortunes: however, if you put in the effort and figure out its intricacies, you yourself will be able to do just that in no time.
Deception: Play the player, not the game
Two decks, two armies, two strategies, two gameplans, two draws, right? Wrong. Mortals so often tend to miss the crucial element: that it’s their fellow kin they’re playing against. Every time something odd or unexpected happens, take a moment and ask yourself: what is my opponent’s plan? It may be a mistake, it may be a sign of desperation, but there’s always some sort of a thought behind it. Ignore it at your peril.
You don’t always need to completely counter your opponent’s plans: it’s often enough to merely disrupt them. Force them to use a crucial card early and in an ineffective manner, and they won’t be able to bring their arms to bear the way they wanted to four turns down the line. If you know a massive card draw combo is just around the corner, move into the opening with everything you’ve got and make them pay for taking their sweet time.
The human element is also there when something goes wrong: how can they cope with it? There’s a reason players often prefer to play the freshly drawn copy of a card, suggesting they just got bailed out by a topdeck even though they had the other one locked and loaded in their hand: some players can’t handle the supposed bad luck, and may even draw the conclusion that there is no way you have another copy in your hand. Tiny bits of misinformation go a long way.
The same holds true when identifying the best builds. Tech cards – the tools you use to punish specific gameplay strategies – can be very effective sources of surprise as long as you make sure they don’t sink you in the matchups where they have no relevance. Though surprise card inclusions and unorthodox strategies can be a powerful tool in an experienced player’s arsenal, they are a double-edged sword: fall in love with longshot combos and overly specific counterplay options and you will find they cost you more than what you gained by their inclusion.
Death: Always persevere
There is no afterlife once your hit point counter plummets to zero, but there are many ways to stop the slide on the way to that cursed number. No game is truly lost before you actually die, and every game you don’t lose counts as a win in the long run. No one plays perfectly, and if you figure out how to play efficiently from behind, nursing a disadvantage and stalling out long as possible, asking awkward questions of your opponent over and over again, you’ll find that they will keep on making mistakes.
Watch out for them and find a way back into games you would have otherwise considered lost. Do you remember the moments when you’ve just lost a game that you thought you’d surely win, thinking to yourself how could this happen? It takes a lot of work from the side that’s playing from behind.
They may not be able to take the victory from your grasp by pure force, but they can find ways to weaken your grip. Keep things complicated. Set up situations where you can capitalize on a potential mistake. Don’t hope for a blunder but be on the lookout for one that may come your way.
Ticking up a 10% chance to win to 12% is just as beneficial as learning how to close out a big advantage. This is the part that takes more mental fortitude. Embrace the scent of death and let it flow through you: many of us perform the best with our backs against the wall.
Light: Take care of yourself
True dispassion is a divine birthright, but you’ve got the second-best option as a mortal if you exercise foresight. We all get emotional sometimes, but there is no reason to fully succumb to rage. Players who are “on tilt” are usually mad because of a bad beat or some kind of unlucky break, and their anger leads to a series of poor decisions and a spiral of losses.
This can either manifest in the form of a bad turn leading to a loss or a loss leading to a series of defeats – most likely, it will be both over a long enough period of time. They play out of spite, angry at the games, the draws, the decks, maybe even themselves, yet they keep playing, farmed without end by players still in full control of their mental faculties. Clouded by anger, they burn their ranks to the bone before rage-quitting in disgust.
If you can identify the point where tilt has taken over you, severely limiting your ability to make good decisions in the game – not to mention your enjoyment – and quit before you clock in those three consecutive defeats, you’ll find that your climb will both be faster and more fun overall.
The race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself. Only play when you can truly focus on the game, without distractions or stress, and you’ll be surprised how much smoother your climb becomes.
Nature: There is always a balance
You will never achieve success if you aren’t in harmony with your surroundings – and you will never achieve that if you don’t understand what is around you. Who is the beatdown? Sometimes, even the most aggressive decks have to take measures to protect the god behind them and there are occasions where the slowest of archetypes has to go on the warpath before an inevitable defeat. No strategy will play the same way regardless of opposition, and you will be defeated time and again if you don’t recognize this fact.
In the battle between a player with an aggressive deck and an opponent with even more aggressive one, the former will have to recognize that they will not be able to outpace their foe. No matter how aggressive their usual approach is, they must acquiesce to this and play the matchup as if they were a control deck, focusing on board control, minimizing the damage they take, looking for value trades whenever possible.
Likewise, even the slowest, most value-laden control deck couldn’t survive an OTK finisher from Avatar of Magic, and therefore had to go on the offensive with what little tempo options they had to disrupt the Magic player’s gameplan. The same unassailable logic holds between two slow archetypes: the one with the fewer value bombs has to find ways to play aggressively, or else they inevitably lose in the long run.
You can even spot this dynamic in a battle between two combo decks: the one with the slower draw engine has to find some way to exert pressure, lest they succumb to defeat by following the predictable play pattern of both decks in play. Recognize this balance in your matchups and you will gain a significant edge over those who try to do the same thing over and over again despite the terrain constantly shifting below their feet.
Following this sound advice, you’ll be well on your way to achieving Mythic status. See you on the leader-boards, mortals.
~ Credit: Luci Kelemen