With the year wrapping up, and not much to focus on outside of a Pioneer Pro Tour in a couple months, I’ve mostly spent my time with my kids and, of course, playing various Cubes. With things changing a lot in the past few years, I have been keeping my plans for Magic in mind. The new year is upon us, and I often think about what I want to change in my personal life and with my career and hobby, Magic.
Here are five resolutions I have for the upcoming year.
5# Don’t force it.
It’s hard sometimes as a competitor and as a person so committed to the game to not throw myself into some tournaments that I’m supposed to play. “Supposed to” meaning giving myself the best opportunity to remain on the Pro Tour and be the best Magic player I can be. Winning tournaments or accomplishing personal goals feels great. We often make ourselves miserable chasing the high of being on top of the game for a day or two.
As I’m aging, I realize if you’re not feeling it, then just take the day off. There are always more opportunities. I’m going to try to only play the tournaments I will enjoy and that I feel like playing. I haven’t prepared for Arena Qualifiers. While I haven’t done well in any of the three or so I’ve played, I also wasn’t miserable for a couple of weeks trying to do well in them, having that coupled with doing poorly, and then feeling miserable afterwards. From now on, I’ll take this approach and won’t force it.
4# Compete in more MOCS and learn more formats.
Magic Online is my favorite form of MTG. It’s on demand, has all the cards, and the MOCS events, much like Arena Opens, are fun. I want to learn the system a bit better, how to compete in it, and open myself up to playing some older formats like Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. All of these formats seem fun. While I would need to learn more about them, it seems like something genuinely fun to try.
While it’s unlikely I can compete for leaderboard points, maybe if I understand the system fully and pick and schedule stuff, then I can do that.
3# Focus less on winning and more on learning.
One time a discussion about win percentages came up, and Brad Nelson said something about not caring what his was because when he’s playing Arena or MTGO, he’s focusing on learning things and not winning. This resonated with me, but when all the percentages and stuff started becoming more metrics to compete on, I went too far the other direction trying to win as much as possible.
This was especially true in Limited where I found a few of the best strategies quickly, and I focused on learning replication rather than learning how to win with weaker strategies. While it worked out on paper because there are no Limited events, it will harm me long-term now that there are Limited events. This is something I’ve managed to do with Constructed decks, as I only play Constructed to learn about decks. Limited is something I enjoy trying hard at and seeing how good I can become.
This year, I’m going to try to ignore the noise and get back to my roots of trying everything and focusing more on learning.
2# Finish my vintage Cube.
I’ve been building a Cube very slowly for a few years now by adding cards every couple of weeks. While I don’t have a final list yet, I’ll be sure to write about it when I do. That said, with the release of MTG 30, I feel a lot better about using playtest cards in the Cube until I’m able to fill out stuff like power and dual lands while I slowly collect them.
Ideally, someday that will be the Magic possession I cherish most. It will be something to remind me of all the different cards I played throughout the years and focused on doing fun degenerate stuff. I’ve been enjoying learning and talking about Cube, and with more competitive Cube stuff popping up in events like the MOCS and Arena Opens, hopefully we get more competitive Cube as time progresses.
1# Play other games.
For way too many years, I focused on playing just MTG. I enjoy MTG. I even love playing MTG most of the time, so why play other trading card games (TCGs) or video games when I can work on my Magic game, something I’ve used to literally feed my family? Well, personal circumstances are fairly good right now, and with less opportunity to earn with MTG, I feel like branching out.
I started playing video games again with Elden Ring and have played at least a dozen since. Next year, I want to branch out into other TCGs and maybe stream some MTG and other games. My passion to play MTG only grows when I play other stuff for a bit. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
My relationship with MTG is different than it was 10 years ago, and I want to change how I interact with the game. I still love playing the game, and I want to keep it that way. I’m going to try and hold myself accountable to this list and maybe check back at the end of the year to see how I did.
Happy holidays and happy New Year everybody!
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