Last year, I downloaded Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 for the iPad on a whim, and after playing for a little bit, took up paper magic again after a 4 year hiatus. After 9-10 months of playing, as well as attending all pre-release and release events in the Theros block I am still playing and enjoying it.
However, as per usual, I am facing the problem of not being very good and getting very frustrated while trying to get better. This time around I have had the good fortune of being finished with my studies, and being able to listen to and learn from podcasts like Limited Resources. I have also bought the book Next Level Magic by Patrick Chapin (who won last weekend’s Journey into Nyx Pro Tour).
Therefore, with no further ado, I am going to present my fearless magical inventory. The ideas below are mostly my own, but I am linking them to Sam Stoddard’s article on the same topic (using SS# to indicate the corresponding item in Sam’s article).
- I play brews. For some reason, I have convinced myself that, despite my minimal experience, I am capable of creating a deck that can compete at the FNM level. The primary problem with this is that most people play the latest standard decks at my local FNM and there is no way that my brew can compete with these.
- I lose patience/focus. I am capable of playing very patiently when I’m fresh and focused. However, I usually lose this after no more that two matches – even if I’ve won those matches.
- SS2 – I choke under high pressure situations. I make plays that are far riskier in order to end the situation as soon as possible.
- SS3 – My mind wanders in the middle of the game when the board has become “stalemated.” I wait for an overwhelming advantage to try and give my opponent too much time to draw something.
- SS10 – When winning in a game I get over confident and allow myself to play in to my opponent’s outs – whether that be overextending or using my removal needlessly to keep the beatdown train rolling.
- SS13 – I think I know what cards do (especially new ones) and I don’t always read them.
- I lose track of the board state when it gets complicated. The point at which I lose track is sooner the less focused, or more tired or frustrated I am.
- SS7 – When my opponent is getting ahead I allow myself to get into situations in games that I do not know how to or cannot possibly get out of. I do this because of my fear of making a wrong play. Instead I choose to make safe plays and get in to a situation where I am drawing dead.
- When the board is stalled and I can no longer be bothered to do the combat maths in advance, I simply attack with everything and hope.
- SS9 – I put my opponent on a specific trick for most of the game then I tell myself “If he has it he has it” when I get tired of playing around it.
- SS17 – I do not spend enough time examining all the possible blocks in a combat situation and only take into account the one I would do which is not always the correct one. This leads to combats going horribly awry when I miss something minor.
- I pass the turn too quickly after combat and forget to make optimum use of mana (e.g. I forget to play a land and/or cast additional creatures).
- SS15 – I tap my mana wrong and tell myself it’s not a big deal. Even when I end up unable to cast a spell due to it.
- I forget to play instants at the end of my opponent’s turn.
- I play to survive rather than to win.
- SS31 – I tell myself that mistakes I make in games that I win are less important and I do not focus on what I could have done to fix them.
- I give up. I never concede but, once I’ve given up mentally, I might as well because the result is the same in the end.
- SS14 – I tell myself that my bad play didn’t matter because I would have lost anyway. Even if I know that isn’t true.
- SS20 – I lie to myself after losing and pretend that I could have done nothing. I don’t even try and examine the game.
- I play either too cautiously or completely recklessly.
- SS16 – I am overly confident when playing people I know or people who I believe are worse than me. I am under confident when playing people I don’t know or people that I believe are better than me.
- SS24 – I over value specific cards in play and do not play around my opponent’s removal.
That’s it – 9 things that mean that I’m hopelessly inconsistent and in general not very good. This Saturday is the Journey into Nyx Game Day and I hope to start fixing some of them. Of course, I’m starting off on a bad foot by committing #1 going into the event, but I really do want to test out my dedicated Chromanticore deck.