Well that was quite a weekend. 2 Standard Grand Prix around the world, Steel City Magic and 2 headed giant in FNM. An incredibly close finish to FNM saw Henry Hart and Tom Lewis first winning, then not winning, then winning again to take away 2 copies of the much desired Farseek promo ahead of myself and Mr Smith. i can't remember a more exciting end to an FNM ever.
Great art work on a card that is seeing massive amounts of play.
Last September I bought you a personal 10 step plan to help you play better magic (see here). The very first step, even before the golden rule of "Read the Cards!" is to be honest with yourself. I referenced Sam Stoddard's article on Star City Games about making a fearless magic inventory (seriously if you have not read it already go read it here). Part of making this inventory is to share it with your fellow Magic players to get help with being a better player. I did this over a year ago now and wanted to share my own inventory with you and look at how I have progressed in the last year or so.
Rich Tinsley's Magical Inventory (or what I do wrong when I play MTG!)
- I don't always mulligan when I think I should and fear going to 5 or even 4 card hands.
Well good news on this one - I took it by the horns and now mulligan those borderline hands about 80% of the time. I have even gone down to 4 cards and still managed to win the game so this doesn't feel like a problem anymore.
- I don't write life totals down and keep a proper track of my opponent's life total.
I now always have a notebook for serious tournaments and use my handy MTG Familiar app on my phone at other times. I think this one gets a tick too.
- I don't always check to see what my opponent could do in response to my play (counter spell etc).
Yeah, this is still a problem - I still tend to be far more focused on my game plan than I do what my opponent is/could do - loses me games, really need to work on this one.
- I assume my mind can keep track of everything without any assistance.
Less of a problem than it was thanks to the notebooks but still forget what is in hand etc sometimes.
- I have a strong dislike of net decks and net decking.
I am not keen on net decks. I think they remove a key skill piece in playing cards and that is the ability to build decks. Also I find that because Pro player A won a GP with this deck everyone copies it card for card and doesn't even try to develop the deck ideas around the meta. Having said that I have surrendered to several net decks and even quite enjoyed playing one or two. Generally, those that net deck need to brew more and those who exclusively brew need to net deck sometimes. I don't think this will ever change.
- I will rare draft when there is no prize support.
I have actually got worse at this. I will rare draft and then try and build a really good draft deck as well. Worse of all sometimes it works and I feel vindicated. Need to work on this one too.
- I don't keep track of what I pass in draft so can accidentally pass cards I should not.
Thanks to recognising that this was something I did wrong I have stopped doing it and have got much better at reading signals and not giving people immense cards for their deck by accident.
- I play too fast and don't take the time to think things through.
This one took a bit of work, but I finally have it licked. In have got to the point where I even think 3 times about which land I should play to have the most impact on the game over the next 2 - 3 turns. I feel this is no longer a problem, Relax has been really good for this as I often have to explain what the hell I'm doing.
- I don't always check what cards do.
I occasionally fall foul of the "Oh yeah that does X" when in fact it does "Y". Generally though if I am even slightly unsure I apply rule number 2 - Read the Cards!
- I tend to not take responsibility for my own errors.I hope this is one of the areas I have made the most progress. Being able to go "yeah I screwed up" is very important if you want to get better. Sometimes you get mana flooded/mana screwed but more often you keep a bad hand and get punished for it. See number one...
- I need to love Modern/Legacy and learn how to play them.
I love modern and really enjoy playing it,so job sorted there.I have had a go at Legacy and it is not the format for me. There is a certain amount of the more money I have the better I am at Magic cause I have all the cards. However, Legacy takes this to an extreme - If you have plenty of money you can buy the best deck and win most of the time. I also have a far deeper understanding of Legacy than I did have and also the same goes for Legacy players. I really admire the passion that Legacy players have for their format but then I find that it is a real pain in the ass at the same time. Legacy is not my cup of tea but I do recognise that it is a "thing" and that many people think it is just the best thing ever. What I object to is Legacy players trying to embark on some kind of evangelical crusade to convert me to the true faith. Some of us just want to play standard/modern/limited/extended - please piss off and leave us alone!
- I am obsessed with Planeswalkers and want to play them in every deck.This one is sorted but I think it needs some explanation. When I started to play Magic revised/unlimited was the core set. You played against people who had Black Lotus and Moxes as a run of the mill thing. Playing 4 balance in your deck was fine and my first limited tournament was for ante!One thing we didn't have was Planeswalkers. I remember seeing Steve McAleer and Andy Mather playing EDH against one another and playing loads of planeswalkers against one another. I was like wow these cards are so cool, and I didn't own any. Having said that the first planeswalker I ever opened in a booster was Jace, the Mind Sculptor, so that was pretty sweet. I have a pretty good collection of planeswalkrs now but they only ever make the cut if they really bring something to the whole shebang.
- I need to build better EDH decks.
Well I would say that this is a done deal. Robert Tinsley would disagree. However, we now have a standard rule added to the universe and that is "Never play EDH with a Hull player" as Rob counts as one of those we will ignore his input.
- I don't need to play Eldrazi in every format.
Well I have played Eldrazi in every format but tend to leave the tentacled beast in the box nowadays. So I guess this is not really a thing anymore.
- I need to write my decklists down.
This too is sorted. I have a MTG notebook which is where I am getting all of these points from and is filled with deck lists. Yet again FNM Relax really helped with this as I used to put my deck list up on the blog every week until people told me not too.
- I need to proxy decks up and get a goo deck in each format.
Well I have done this quite a lot since I wrote this. When Mike Boon lived with me for 3 months last year we proxied up some crazy stuff and tried to break formats. We failed but it was good fun.
- Sometimes my pigheaded belief in "my build" is not enough.
Yeah this is a thing. I still find, even when I net deck, that lists do not suit me and my play style (if I have such a thing). This tends to make me run things like a 1 of Vorapede in Jund and main board tragic slips in Aristocrats rather than Reckoners. Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. Don't have a solution just yet.
- Playing untested, unproven decks at big events is stupid.
This reads like a statement but refers to me building a deck in my head on the way home the night before a nationals qualifier and then not doing very well. I don't do this anymore.
- I assume the outcome of some matches before I even draw a card.
I guess that it was pure ego that took over when I did this in the past. You just sit down and go "Yeah I have this guy beat" then 30 minutes later you go "What went wrong?" I never underestimate people anymore.
- Magic is not about emotion.
I think this is the hardest part of all. When you win you feel happy and when you lose you feel disappointed. Sometimes you feel really annoyed, quite often at yourself. I play my best Magic when I have a clear head and it is devoid of feeling about my opponent, my day, or any outside consideration. In the end it is strictly business, its nothing personal.
I hope this is of help to people and inspires you to make your own Magic Inventory. This Friday it is draft and the blog will be going back to basics and looking at why things are what they are in Magic. See you then.