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# 2Jediluke20 17Drakona# 14
1 suicide
"I really ought to sit down and write my losers speech as it will be happenin sometime soon" "I was up 9-5. Then he apparently resolved to win. Followed by some very fine piloting."
War Journal Entry
When I have a question about Descent, I like to ask it 'with lasers'. When I want to know how to counter something, I find a great pilot, do it to them, and see what they do. For many pilots, the answer to "What do you do when this happens?" is, "I die, but then I beat you in other ways." Sometimes it's, "I counter it with freaky awesome flying." For Jedi, the answer usually is, "I see that situation developing, and I stop it."

"What do you do when you're down 9-5 against a tough opponent?"

For a lot of pilots, certainly for me, the answer is, "I do my best, hope to get lucky, but honestly . . . I usually lose and make it up the next game." Great pilots will find a way to turn one-sided scores around, I'd heard, but I'd never seen it. This was the first chance I'd had to ask Jedi what he would do.

The match started off pretty friendly. I was playing fast and aggressive, my dodging was on, my reads were on, luck was not against me. At 1-1, we laughed about it. At 2-1, I said, "It's going to be a good game, isn't it?"

By the time I led 6-3, the friendly atmosphere had evaporated into an earnest silence.

At 9-5, Jedi disappeared for a long Warlord moment. First lesson -- don't let it continue until the game is hopeless. Stop it early.

When he came back, the aggressive game didn't work anymore. He kept his distance. Used vulcan. I responded in kind. I was determined to use every advantage, to make no mistakes, to make that lead last to 20. His weps were in a good camping spot, which I defended ruthlessly. He methodically collected missiles, pushed me around with them, gradually inflicted damage.

But that adjustment ultimately didn't work for him. We played kill for kill for a while, and the end of the match got closer.

I was still watching to see what he did when behind, and I saw something VERY interesting happen.

At 10-6, he started complaining. He wasn't rude about it or anything, but . . . I totally should have died there. He couldn't believe that homer had followed him around TWO corners. All those shots had hit on his screen. I could tell he was unhappy, and things were not going the way he expected. As a friend, I was bummed for him. But as a competitor, I thought, "Great, focus on that. Be angry, blame other things, accept the loss, make little mistakes." It was music to my ears.

And then, at 12-8, as abruptly as it had begun, the complaining stopped.

And then his piloting became perfect.

Perhaps that was his second warlord moment? I'm not sure. He said afterward he took two, but I didn't notice the second, whenever it happened. Regardless, in the silence that followed, he made no mistakes, exposed no weaknesses, gave me no unnecessary opportunity to inflict damage. His few comments were professional, as were his tactics. It was some of the finest piloting I've ever, ever seen.

Second lesson -- Don't be angry, be better.

That left me with a dilemma. Faced with an opponent I couldn't really damage, a rapidly evaporating lead, and not many kills left in the game . . . be safe? Or be creative?

I tried 'safe'. I knew it was a losing game, but I only had 8 kills to go; maybe it wouldn't lose enough.

Playing defensively against Jedi is a bad idea, by the way. HE is creative. He will make you roll 10% dice 100 times, and you'll lose a few. He will get kills that look like luck, but they're poker-master luck, the kind that you know comes eventually. You can't BE safe against him.

Against 'safe', he went on a five kill run, and took the lead. 13-12.

Okay, 'creative', then.

I felt I'd already lost; outscoring Jedi is a very rare occurance for me, and that's on an average day. At the moment, he was flying like some sort of supernatural entity, and I was down a point. Good luck. But if anything was going to work, 'creative' was. So I went with that.

I never did catch up. I won a few kills, I gave away a few. For the rest of the match, he and his professional perfect piloting continued to outscore me, but he went 7-5 instead of 5-0.

Toward the end, I got TOO creative, tried a very silly tactic, gave away a kill, and he wondered if I was on timeout. "No, just . . . trying to get back in the game," I said.

'Creative' had been almost what I needed, but wasn't enough. Maybe if I'd started sooner. . .

Third lesson -- Stay creative, stay aggressive, continue to take risks.

His last kill was all vulcan, all unassailable. I had tried everything and could find no crack in the armor. "Death by a thousand cuts," I said as the game ended. "So certain."

17 is a good score. I've had a couple better, but this game was special. Probably the very best flying I've ever done against Jedi, and certainly the best I've ever seen out of him. At the end of it, I was in awe at the amazing piloting, but even more so, I was amazed at his control and professionalism.

Okay, I thought, on a good day, I can beat him at some things, and he can beat me at others. Overall he's still a much better pilot, and clearly he has vast reserves of awesomeness that he can call on in time of need. But when he's down, and when he's not gaining the ground he needs to, he knows how to focus. He knows how to win.

And I thought, "That right there is the difference between a technically good pilot . . . and a champion."

Question answered.
Wow, quite the accurate novel there Drak.
I have no intentions of trying to compete with that excellent retelling of the game.

I will add a comment or two though...

I have very high expectations of myself. Too high perhaps. When things do not seem to be going my way I do begin to point out the things that seem wrong. When I'm doing that I'm in a bad place...I'm flustered and I'm not as focused as I need to be.

This happened to me early on in the game. I wasn't angry at all. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy with the way the game was progressing and I recognized that I needed a Warlord moment and stepped away from the computer after I died and just walked to the fridge to grab a drink and I thought in my mind "Come on Jeds...play smarter! Pull this out!"

It wasn't a long break...I don't mean a Warlord break in which I order a pizza wait 30 minutes for delivery...eat it..and then rejoin the game.

So, I respawned more focused...and I did a little better but not good enough imo. Drakona was trying harder than ever...she was more serious than ever and I had to take a second Warlord moment (truth be told it was more about my wife demanding that I take the kids out of the our bed and move them to their own)...but I used it as a Warlord moment to let Drak get nervous about "Where is he?" and a chance to rethink my strategy.

I respawned with renewed purpose. I wasn't going to allow any emotion of any kind to creep in to my mindset. I was going to play like a machine and just give it my all. I did not want to have to use my pre-written loser speech (which I know I'll be using sometime soon the way Drak is playing)

It was a really really tough game in which I had to slowly earn damage against her.

The 'student' is really learning from the 'master' and is quickly becoming a master in her own right.

Kudos to you Drakona. If I'm getting mad in a game...you are doing something right! ;)
Once I'm no longer mad and I'm quiet...good luck to you...cuz you are gonna need it ;)
it will probably go something like this... "gg" - Jediluke