Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Self reflecting to get better at Magic: The Gathering

A couple of years ago I made the decision that I wanted to step up my game when it comes to playing Magic: The Gathering. I’d been playing the game for a couple months now (second time coming to the game) and was tired of getting beat every time I turned around.

With that in mind, I purchased The Official Miser’s Guide by Michael J. Flores. Mr. Flores has put together a 30-day guide complete with daily lessons, homework, and readings, all designed to help people get better at playing. Mind you, I had no delusions of going out and taking down a PTQ (now known as PPTQ) or States. My hope was to improve enough to win a few FNMs and to at least be more competitive. And sure, maybe one day, top 8 a States event. 

Note: I took a break from actually trying to do well at tournament play to finish school and focus on other personal things. Now I am trying to get better at playing Magic with the hopes of winning a decent sized tournament. 

Of all the lessons, the one that stuck out to me the most was the one about self-reflection. Basically, Flores talks about seriously evaluating your play and play habits to find mistakes that need to be corrected. So, why not? Let’s give it a try.

Why I suck at competitive Magic – A List by Patrick Cossel

1.     I am terrible at side boarding. I mean TERRIBLE! Sure, I put together fifteen cards I think might be good in any given situation but, I never test with them and I barely use them! I need to get better!
2.     I fail when it comes to testing. I build a deck, play it a couple of times and then hope for the best. Part of the problem is I am a family man first. My kids and my wife take precedent over anything Magic related. So my time can be very limited. My wife is most excellent about understanding my desire to improve my play. In fact, she has never once said that she doesn’t want me to attend a tourney, test, or anything else. It is always my choice.
3.     I don’t do any research. I just don’t. I often go into a tournament completely oblivious to what I am going to face.
4.     I suck at deck design. No joke… I suck at it. I want to improve, I truly do. For right now, I suck.
5.     I don’t evaluate the board state before making a play. I have lost more tournaments recently because I didn’t realize a creature my opponent controls has deathtouch. I need to make sure I know what my opponent has on the field.
6.     I don’t ask enough questions. I don’t ask how many cards my opponent has in hand, I don’t as to read things I don’t understand, I just don’t ask. I need to change this.
7.     I do not tap my lands correctly. I am very guilty of blindly tapping lands and then realizing I made a mistake when it’s too late.

Ok, for now I think that’s enough. This gives me some things I can work on to improve my game. Have you ever made a list to improve your game? Do you know what you need to work on? Comment below. And hey, why not give this a share so we can have other people talking about it as well.