I guess I have gotten lucky as well, all the kits (midwest, Austin Home Brew) and recipes (BYO) I have done have turned out pretty good, some much better than others - but no dumpers. Actually the least favorite I made was Graff recipe that everyone raves about.
I think if you read a little palmer and get a good routine down you can't go wrong. I like to do:
a. Late editions DME/LME 50% 60 minute and 50% 20 minute
b. Ghetto collander sparge 170F specialty grains
c. Steep in as much water as possible (up to full boil) for the specialty grains.
Of course fermentation temp is hugely important as well.