7 Types of Tilt: Starcraft Edition

There was a brilliant article by Jared Tendler about the 7 types of tilt you can face while playing Poker. His insight is wonderful, and I highly suggest checking it out. But here, I will be writing my own viewpoints on how each of these types of tilt affect Starcraft, and how to apply some solutions to help avoid the problem of getting too stressed over this wonderful game.

The 7 Types of Tilt

  1. Running Bad Tilt
  2. Injustice Tilt
  3. Hate Losing Tilt
  4. Mistake Tilt
  5. Entitlement Tilt
  6. Revenge Tilt
  7. Desperation Tilt

1.) Running Bad Tilt

Basically, loss streaks. In Poker, this is often described as consistently getting worse hands than your opponents, but randomness isn’t as much of a factor in SC2, so I’ll attribute this to losing streaks since it’s the next closest thing. The best ways to avoid this is to, again, only look at your replays where you’ve lost after a ladder session, and don’t pay any attention to Match History or your Statistics until after a ladder session. Continue to not think while playing and letting your muscle memory guide your mechanics and decision making to make it more difficult for you to process how many losses you’ve taken during the session.

2.) Injustice Tilt

For Starcraft, this is often perceived as being screwed over balance. This one is very difficult to get over, but you must get it in your mindset to focus on your own play and not the play of your opponent. Don’t think about how your opponent must work less hard than you to win, instead think about how hard you’ve been working, and understand what you need to work on to improve at your perceived imbalances. Remember: unless you’re Zest you can play better.

3.) Hate Losing Tilt

A very common type of tilt that is hard to solve. The best solution is to stop playing to win, and instead, to start playing to improve. Here are some tips that’ll help”

  1. Before a ladder session, watch replays where you felt you played exceptionally well to get you in a good mood.
  2. During a ladder session, NOT think. Just play and let your muscle memory dictate your decision making. You’ll get into that zen state where you play your best.
    1. NOTE: If you find yourself playing versus Has and he builds 3 Stargates in your main base, play as you will normally. You might lose, but remember that you’re playing to improve, not to win. Analyze the replay after your ladder session, think about what you could’ve done, ask friends, and then try your solution next time. If it doesn’t work, repeat. Investing in loss now to improve will make you win later.
  3. After a ladder session, watch replays where you lost, and think about how and why you lost. Focus on that for your next ladder session.
4.) Mistake Tilt

Also very common, this is when you make a mistake that you either always make and you believe shouldn’t, or a mistake you never make but somehow did. Playing to improve will help with this, as well as not thinking during a ladder session. It’ll be harder to process that a mistake was made when you’re letting your muscle memory dictate everything. You’ll see your mistakes during post-ladder session analysis and you can see what aspects of your play aren’t fully internalized in your muscle memory. You can then focus on getting better at it through your next ladder session and custom games.

5.) Entitlement Tilt

This gets more prevalent as you get better at the game. It’s the idea that, say as a GM, you should never lose to anyone lower than you, especially Masters and Diamond players. I’ve never understood how to really get over this until I heard Neuro talk about something similar. Basically, you should be anticipating that your opponent could be playing the best game of their life. If you’re on either your B game or C game, there is a good chance you could lose to their super A game. Understand it is reasonable for you to lose when you’re not playing at your best, but your opponent is.

6.) Revenge Tilt

This is a tilt that isn’t towards the game, like Injustice Tilt, but more towards a specific player. Maybe they’ve been particularly BM to your, or maybe they’ve DT dropped you when you opened Twilight and didn’t build a Robotics Facility. Either way, this is when you start disliking people either based on how they play or how they act. The best way to combat this tilt is to not focus on the individual player. Like I mentioned earlier: focus on your own player, not your opponent’s. If after game BM tilts you, then you should disable non-friends from sending you messages to help mitigate this. Your mental health is more important than being shat on by strangers online.

7.) Desperation Tilt

This is usually what happens after a bad losing streak. You get desperate for a win, but for some reason keep losing and playing worse. This is often times a cycle that’s hard to stop, but the best way to go about it is to simply stop playing. This happens when, as Neuro has put it, you’re playing at your C game. This is your worst level you can play at, but often shows which part of your play is the least internalized. These replays are the most important to look at. So, after a losing streak, stop playing, get up, relax, then come back to analyze the replays to see what you can do to improve in your next ladder session to help internalize these holes in your play. I would suggest postponing your next ladder session until the next day, though, since the residual tilt can still bother and affect your play negatively.


Remember: You are playing to improve here, not to win. Save the playing to win for a tournament. Ladder is your practice environment, where you go to meet new players and playstyles and learn what your weaknesses are to improve upon. There’s enough stress in the rest of life, you don’t need to spend your gaming timing stressing over difficult losses. This will definitely not only help your mentality, but also your play in general. Practice these ideas, and watch as your demeanor improves, and your portrait border get shinier and shinier!



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