Stare Decisis




Today I want to take some time to talk about a concept that is a big problem for many magic players. This will be a shorter write up about things to help people with game play so let's get into it.

Stare Decisis.

For anyone confused, that is pronounced * Star-E De-Sy-Cis *

It is a legal term but for today's talk we are going to focus on the literal translation. In Latin the phrase simply means “Stand by things decided”

Latin can seem like a bit much even for a game with literally hundreds of rules but it's a principle that is so important to games. Many players spend a lot of their game kicking themselves for their decisions. Why didn't I deal with this threat, why did I play that land, should I have taken this deal? At the end of the day we are all just humans. In our case humans playing an incredibly complex game with usually three other players and no possible way of knowing how they are going to react. Will they hold a grudge? Will they have upgraded their deck ? Is that player about to go infinite. There is no way to know. Part of what makes magic such a fun and intriguing game is the fact that it is so random. There are so many outcomes per deck that it is unimaginable. We have all been in the game where our win condition was milled from the top of our library. The games where we were a turn away from victory. I have been so close to victory so many times that I joke about making myself a jar to put a dollar into it every time I say it. With enough games maybe I can build a deck that has that extra turn! But I digress.

It is human nature to second guess our choices. To feel bad if we think that we did something that other players didn't like. Everyone has cards their play group hates even if they don't realize it. Magic is about the fun of the group and too often we forget that WE are part of that group. So my solution to this problem is simple. Hit them with the saying Stare Decisis.

It is simple. It is blunt and it's to the point. It says you wont be bullied out of your decision in the game. It might not be ideal for that player but you are standing by your decision. Games have to end and you have to keep moving to the path that brings you closest to victory. So for every time you swing at the open player remember that saying. Every time you knock a player out of the game remember the saying. Every time you blow someones' field of the dead off the board and take away their zombie token engine, don't regret your decision. Learn from it. Learn what path you need to get towards victory. Be unrepentant in your path to get there. If you know your deck does not have a way to deal with something common a player in the group goes for then deal with them while you can. Mistakes happen, but the biggest mistake is doubting yourself in the game. You are all there for fun and everyone needs to remember that.

This applies in the opposite way as well. If someone has decided that something you have is the issue just take it. They are trying to win the game. Don't be salty. Be flattered that out of everything they could target what you were playing was the most powerful option to remove. Sure we are going to run into players who are just jerks. That is unavoidable in every game. Looking at the game as a back up plan of what do I do now that I have lost that piece will make it more exciting. It will make you a better deck builder to come up with more answers and win conditions. Learning to protect important pieces is an overall more important lesson to learn. Look at the situations where you are losing things and being swung at as a chance to learn. To see the weaknesses in our own deck building. Use it as an opportunity to grow. You will be better at the game for it. Accept the storm of a three vs one game when you have become a Nicol Bolas-esque threat and have a run on the table. Find out what to do in the situations where your creature based deck is board wiped and you lose your doubling season. When Muldrotha gets hit with a Bojuka bog see the problem with the self mill all of nothing strategy you have been running all along. If players are starting to build their decks to counter you then understand you're making the meta. They are growing as players and the challenge of the game continues with each deck edit we go through. The worst thing you have do is be upset about the things happening in the game. We aren't meant to win every four man game and if you are winning every game you aren't growing. Accept what other players decide to do in games, grow your own skill from it and rise up better than you ever were. Use politics of course but don't try change the past in a game. Remember our phrase and just do your best.


We can't learn our decks until we play them a bunch of times The decisions we come to are just part of the package of this wonderful game we call Magic. Get it out of the way and attack the salty player in your group, blow up the biggest problem on the board no matter how many times players threaten to swing at you for it. Deal with what threatens you in the moment on the board and feel free to explain why you did it. Most of all remember you have already made up your mind.

Stare Decisis

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