Losing Like a Winner in Starcraft 2

Every Starcraft 2 player has one constant — one thing we all share regardless of our league, skill level, or chosen race: We will all lose and lose often. Even those at the top lose close to 50 percent of their matches.

It’s how the league system works. If you're victorious too much, you will only move up in the ladder until you win about half your games. It’s the great equalizer. It’s also a deterrent for many players.

I know many people who love Starcraft but don’t play simply because they are afraid to lose a one-on one-match. But while losing sucks (and sucks bad), it doesn’t have to be a wholly negative experience. If you follow this advice you will find that losing is just as much a necessary part of the game as a Zerg rush.


Watch the replays of your losses

I know better than anyone how tough it can be to watch a replay where someone just bounced you like a basketball. But it’s far and away the most effective way to improve your game.

If you lost badly and you don’t know why, it’s more than likely that the replay will show you what you did wrong and what you could do to improve. This is an important part of improving and also changes a nasty loss from an exercise in frustration to an educational moment. You learn far more from losing than winning in Starcraft, and the dandy replay system lets you exploit that.

Don’t have "BM"

"BM" is short for bad manners, which means being rude or just basically being a jerk. People often become angry during a loss, and with good reason.

Starcraft is one of the most frustrating losing experiences until you get used to that reality, and even then it’s only marginally less frustrating. You just put in about 30 minutes doing everything you could think of to win this game, and you failed. Worst of all, you had no team; you only have yourself to blame for any mistakes. While this creates an opus of satisfaction when you win, it also makes losses doubly frustrating.

This pressure leads to anger, and that sometimes leads to people rudely leaving their games without typing "GG" (good game), typing something demeaning about the other player's playstyle, or typing something even more personal and nasty.

This might make the losing player feel better in the short term and give them a little, “Ha! I showed them!” feeling, but all it does is turn the game into a chore. It means you aren’t having fun, and it also makes that other person more satisfied by defeating you.

I will tell you right now that when I beat someone and he acts out afterwards, it just makes the win more rewarding knowing that the defeat was so devastating that it caused some emotional reaction.  Whereas, when I beat someone and he is polite, I respect him and I don’t feel as if I “beat” him, but that I just had a nice encounter with a friendly person whom I share a mutual interest.

If someone beats you in a way that you didn’t see coming, compliment him on his unique play style, and ask him what strategies he would recommend you use to counter such a style. Surprisingly, Starcraft 2 players are pretty friendly for the most part and will probably welcome good mannered discussion about the game. I’ve actually become game buddies with people who I’ve both lost to and beaten simply because they were cool, and I liked the way they handled themselves. 

Don’t be afraid to quit altogether after a loss

This might be the hardest one. I know personally that I used to hate ending my session on a loss, and my desire was always to keep playing until I won a game. I wanted to break the losing streak so badly that I would continue playing no matter what. And this is just a recipe for disaster.

This is how losing streaks go from two or three games to five, six, or seven. Don’t force it. If you have lost three games in a row, then take a break. Log out for an hour; or, if you want to enjoy Starcraft 2 more, watch a replay of someone else’s game.

Basically, you should just clear your head. If a player forces himself to continue after losing so many games, he will just cause himself to overcompensate. You want to win almost too badly, and this somehow actually hinders the quality of your play. It’s too easy to get tense and push a wrong button or just make silly little mistakes that can cost you a game. Ending after a three-game losing streak is better than winning after an eight-game one.

These are all rather simple ideas, but they will help players avoid dreading their losses and enjoy the game more. For the record, I am a Diamond League player who uses random. I lose a lot. And that’s okay.

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