News Shop
Events Chat

Helpful Article for Almost All Players

What makes the best player?
Recently, I have been talking to some newer players and giving advice on how to improve. I have been a very good player for quite awhile. However, I have not reached the peaks that only the very best have reached. This article written by Sirlin is helpful for all players at my level and below. The article tries to discern the traits that make a top level player.

After reading the article, I would like for you to ask yourself, “Do I want to get better?” If the answer is yes, “Which of these traits can I improve upon?” Finally, ask yourself, “Which of these traits do I already have?” Give yourself some credit. You have made it this far.


I am going to do a quick self evaluation based upon the traits mentioned in Sirlin’s article.

  1. Familiarity with Tournaments & Deep Knowledge of the Game

This trait I definitely have. When I started playing this game, I grinded QM like a fiend. I played 1500+ matches with Setsuki. That set a solid foundation for my knowledge of the game. Then, I founded the IYL, so my familiarity with tournaments is extremely high. Check.

  1. Love of the Game

Sometimes, I think f@#k this game. Then, I come back to the realization that I have NEVER played a better card game. I have a love/hate relationship with this game. There is more love than hate. Check.

  1. Mental Toughness

I am a grinder. I have seen a few people lose match 1 in a double elim tournament and drop every time. That is not me. I have the longest loser’s bracket run in Summer Smash history. I never quit fighting. If I have a single pixel, I am still trying to figure out a way to win. Check.

  1. Mental Attitude Toward Winning, Losing, Improving

When I first started, I used to watch match replays of all my upcoming opponents. I would look for any way to gain an edge. Recently, I watched @Legion defeat @Fivec in the YOC tournament. After the match, he joyfully declared that his upset of Fivec was due to his pre-game analysis. Personally, I have slipped into lazy habits. Fail.

  1. Technical Skill


  1. Adaptability (Versus Planning)

I am quick to adapt and force my opponent to adapt. I have a knack for either blowing players out or losing close matches. Very rarely do I get destroyed. With that said, I do seem to have a weakness against top players of not playing my game. I will second guess myself a bit too much. I am not able to adapt to those situations as well as I would like. Check Minus.

  1. Knowledge/Ability in Other Games of the Genre

I came to this game from poker. In my small town, I was fairly well known as a high level player. I was never the sucker at the table. It was very similar to my situation here. I was a solid player but was not able to reach the top level. Check.

  1. Yomi

I think I am slightly below average at this aspect of the game. It seems like I have lost more crucial combats than I probably should. This has culminated in more game 5 losses over my career than I would like. Fail.

  1. Appraisal

This is basically valuation. I have a pretty good knack for getting the best value out of my play. Sometimes, I make minor errors, but that is a negative that I attribute towards the positive attitude towards improving category. If I cared a little bit more, I would tighten that up. Check.

There you have it. I have done a quick analysis of myself. If I want to get better, I need to improve my attitude and effort. That will lead to better play. I have no idea how to improve my Yomi skill, so I will leave that one alone. Finally, I need to be more confident against the elite players.


I originally wrote up a whole self-analysis the same as CKR, but in the end it mostly just sounded blowhardy. But I am keeping this part:

6  Knowledge/Ability in Other Games of the Genre

I really have no idea how this aspect could possibly help someone improve in anything. I mean, if I’m Kobe Bryant do I need to learn how to play soccer?

1 Like

If I recall correctly, the point of that bit in the book wasn’t necessarily to say that you need to do that as much as it was an observation that a lot of the best players of a game are also really good at other games beyond the one they’re best at.


Michael Jordan played professional baseball. He was competent enough to play AA baseball. There are quite a few people that think Lebron James could play tight end in the NFL.

When I was in high school, usually the best high school athletes were stars in more than one sport. Our quarterback was good at baseball and basketball, and our best basketball player was an outstanding high jumper.

As Hobusu said, the point isn’t that these people are top level at two things. It is that some of the skills that a top player has transfers to similar games. Therefore, they are probably good at the other games.