All players have different habits or personality traits that define what kind of player they will are. One type of player I see too often is the “excuse player”. The moment the game is over, and they have lost, they have the excuse ready as to why they lost. (“I only lost because you rolled a 9 on that attack” or “I only lost because I didn’t know that model had Beat Back”.) Their first instinct is not to congratulate their opponent or think about mistakes they made and how to improve in the future, or even think about how the entire 70 minutes of the game played out and how every move/placement/dice roll by each player all factored into the game results, it is to make an excuse. I believe many of us all have that moment after a loss, where we think “I can’t believe I forgot ability X on my opponent’s model”. With 115+ casters and model combinations, this happens to everyone.
I believe there is a big difference from a player realizing they made a mistake and a player that needs to justify that loss with an excuse. It is ok to lose a game. You don’t need to justify it immediately with an excuse. Vast majority of game losses occur due to one player making more mistakes then their opponent or one large bad timed mistake. (The various types of mistakes could be an entire topic of many articles.)
I find players that accept that a loss that was made by a mistake (in combination, with their opponent being good enough to take advantage of the mistake to win the game) tend to learn more from the games, where the player that loses and cares more about making an excuse often manages to lose more games and cling to their excuses and improve slower.
I believe most of us have played those games where we had complete control of the game but your opponent goes for a bad odds assassination attempt because they had no other hope and they successfully kill your caster. They needed some crazy roll, like an 11 to hit on 2 dice followed by a 15+ on 3 dice to succeed, and they somehow manage it. Both of you realize they just pulled that win out of thin air. Two thoughts on this; first, if you let your opponent roll dice to win the game, and they succeed, realize that is going to happen now and then. Bad odds don’t mean impossible to succeed. Think about where your caster was on the field. Did he need to be where he was? Did you move him forward because you were overconfident in your win? Maybe you could have protected him even better. Second, congratulate your opponent on realizing their only chance was to go for that long odds caster kill attempt, and not just sit back and die horribly. They were smart enough to realize how screwed they were and took appropriate action.
Your mission should you choose to accept it – When you lose your next game, think about what your first thought after the game is. Try to keep too many negative thought at bay. Think about the entire game overall, and how you can improve u/pon your army, your tactics used, and try to remember any and all tricks that opponent’s list had. These are the important things to try to remember that will improve a player for their next game. If it makes it easier, write these thoughts down to review later.
I really enjoy seeing players become better over time and being an excuse player is a very easy trap to fall into. It’s rare not to think this way once in a while, but it’s not a good habit, and it can take a lot to stop going for that easy excuse, and instead try evaluating the game and looking for mistakes to learn from.