Andifeated's 2019 Magic New Years Resolutions
The New Year is here and Andifeated has some Magic related New Year's Resolutions he won't break this time... probably. Read what areas of his game he wants to improve and see if you learn some ways you might motivate yourself to strive for more in 2019.
In real life, bad habits and missed opportunities lead to not reaching your full potential – this also holds true for Magic. While I still enjoy casual Magic immensely, I'm very competitively driven and want to reach for my full potential. In 2018, I played a lot of tournaments at the local Game Store, on Magic Arena, Magic Online and, most importantly, on the Grand Prix circuit. I had success at the local tournament level and posed decent win-rates in most tournaments I played, but I struggled to achieve any outstanding results or accomplishments I could look back to with pride. Therefore, I had a look at my preparation and tournament process when the year came to a close in order to find possible mistakes I was doing or opportunities to make more out of my time.
The human brain is capable of astonishing tasks if it's able to focus on a single problem to solve. As tournament players, we should aim to use that skill to our advantage. However, if you're distracted by something – even subconsciously – you won't be able to maintain full focus and you'll play a lot worse along the way. I found myself in much better playing shape during bigger or more meaningful tournaments compared to the weekly tournaments where I was chatting with friends at the table during matches.
On the other hand, when I was traveling for Grand Prix Events and had real-life issues on my mind, I wasn't able to concentrate on my matches fully and made mistakes that I wouldn't do if I were properly focused. The problem of distractions also played a huge role when I prepared for online events. While playing on Magic Online or Magic Arena, I always feel the need to open another browser, watching a streamer or simply scrolling through social media while waiting through downtime. Instead, one should train to dive deep into the currently played game and think through all possibilities the next couple turns could offer, and which cards could be hidden in your opponent's hand since that's the most difficult and important aspect of the game at higher levels.
In order to achieve better focus in 2019 I will:
1) Implement some kind of ritual before a tournament or even every round.
For example, this could be meditation or simply listening to a certain song that clears your mind and gets you in "beast mode." Brian Kibler does this for example and elaborates on the ritual here:
2) Strictly avoiding sources of distraction while playing online.
This will be harder to do since streaming is very distracting to your train of thought and I plan to stream a lot of my online play this year on my twitch channel.
If you ask successful Pro Players what their secret is and what one should do in order to get there they always answer the same way:
"Play lots of Magic and communicate frequently with better players."
I networked a lot this year and built many relationships I can use to inform myself about new cards, matchups, sideboarding strategies, metagames, and, of course, how their lives are going (Magic, as it turns out, is a good way to make friends). I'm especially proud of this since I was known for being socially awkward and hard to interact with for a long time and I will try to be even more approachable and socially interactive in 2019. The part I struggled most with was getting the actual repetition in and doing my homework. All the theoretical information in the world doesn't benefit you if you haven't practiced using it. For Limited, you simply have to know all the cards, especially the instants and flash permanents by heart in order to play around your opponent's card as well as possible. For Constructed, you have to look up recent decklists on a regular basis to be informed about metagame developments and if you haven't played a certain new matchup a bunch, you will make mistakes in situations you haven't thought of or talked about before.
In order to be better prepared in 2019 I will:
1) Learn every new set's spoiler inside and out before tournaments.
In the end, this is just doing vocabulary and while it was boring in school, here it directly improves your ability to play well in tournaments and increases your chances of winning in every game played.
2) Look up Recent Decklists Every Week
There are a lot of websites who post tournament results and decklists on a regular basis and it's not that hard to take a few minutes in order to digest them. I plan to print them and read and discuss them when traveling to tournaments.
3) Play more games with more different decks and learn new matchups
I already tried to play as many different decks in 2018 as possible, but I still struggled to practice key matchups of new Modern decks. Since I can borrow pretty much anything I need, I only need to stop being lazy and build more new decks before local tournaments and not play the same pile week in and week out.
While being or becoming healthy is very important for your real life, it also improves your potential of performance at tournaments. I struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep good habits intact at long tournament weekends with exhausting travel. For example, did I break my sleeping schedule and went to bed too late. I also didn't walk much outside in fresh air and daylight and didn't eat the right things at the right time - eating nothing for an entire day and then trying to make up for it at the restaurant for dinner is a common sin at Magic weekends. Sitting all day is not only unnatural for the human body, but I also tended to let my posture slump, which is very bad for the back.
In order to be healthier at tournaments in 2019 I will do the following things:
1) Get to bed at 11 pm and get up at 6 am as is my normal daily schedule.
2) Get a hotel in walking distance, rather than commuting with a car or public transportation.
3) Have a healthy breakfast and bring some snacks like fruits, nuts, and a lot of Water to the tournament.
4) Walk outside to do some stretching and intense breathing between rounds.
Travel Less; Play More
Traveling a lot really stretched my purse, days off, health, and time for other things I wanted to do, while also significantly increasing my carbon footprint. I became more aware of my environment and the resources available to me while I'm on Earth and I want to use them in a more responsible way. Since Grand Prix Events don't award Pro Points anymore and it's yet to be seen if they offer a way to "grind" your way to Mythic Championships, there is less incentive for me to purchase expensive airplane tickets anyway. Also, I'm looking forward to regional Mythic Championship Qualifier Events and an improved tournament structure at my local game store with bigger weekend tournaments.
In 2019, I will play more at my local game store instead of flying all over the world to hunt hard to obtain Pro Points. This will decrease my chance of going to a Mythic Championship on first sight, but it also frees up time to spend on qualifying through Magic Arena or local MCQs. And, in the end, supporting your local game store and hanging out with your friends is just awesome as well.
To sum things up I will try to prepare better for tournaments through studying and practicing more before important events and keep my healthy habits intact while traveling for Magic. I want to find inner focus through meditation or rituals and maintain my positive attitude and make even more friends this year while playing magic and supporting my local game store.
What are your goals and New Year's Resolutions for 2019? Did I inspire you or motivate you to do better?
Let me know in the comments.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.