It’s been a while, a long while, since most of us has played Physical Magic tournaments, however with Vaccines rolling out across the world, we are now approaching a time where face-to-face magic events are again feasible. Finally, after all this time we will get to travel and play in events with cards in our hands again.
For those of you that started playing in the recent years thanks to Arena, and did not get the chance to play in many of these events, I’m going to share with you a few tips that might be well known by some old-timers like me, but may help your chances of success. In this article, I will list the things that have helped me being successful at live events in the past and hope for them to assist you if the tournaments are soon to resume.
So without further ado, let’s get to the pointers:
Number 1: Breakfast
In my most successful years of MTG competition, the most common denominator, between the events that I had success in, was my consumption of a proper breakfast.
As Cliché as this may be or sound, making sure that your body is ready at the first round, the one thing that contributed the most, was eating a proper breakfast the morning of an event, whether that meant eating it at home, having a breakfast buffet at the hotel, or going to a morning diner, all of these are serviceable in order to make sure your body is in balance when the rounds start.
I suggest eating breakfast between 1 and 2 hours prior to the start of round one, in order to give your body a chance to consume the energy from the meal.
Number 2: Supplies
To avoid waiting time between rounds on long lines for a single bottle of water, I recommend that you buy them either before going to the venue or in the morning before the tournament starts. Being well equipped on supplies through the day will help you better spend your time between rounds, instead of running everywhere to find the bathroom, getting something to drink/eat and find your friends.
On what to consume, I’m no certified nutritionist, but what I always make sure of is to have some water and a couple of pieces of fruit.
Number 3: The Social Aspects
Magic events are long, some would say Marathons and not sprints. If you put focus only on the tournament and the games themselves for the whole weekend, it might take a toll on you. Having some friends around really helps alleviate this stress, and makes the entire thing more enjoyable.
This, however, is not the only reason that the social aspect is important, we have all had the events where we get off to a fantastic start, maybe we win the first 4 rounds finding ourselves at 4-0, a great start to any tournament. And then Catastrophe strikes, Round 5 goes all kinds of bad, whether through us making a mistake, us getting unfortunate in the games, or a bad pairing. Suddenly we lose all the positive mindset we had, which converts into one of negativity, over our misfortune.
At this point, one of the best ways to get back on track is to meet up with your friends and spend a few minutes just hanging out, and get to reset your mindset which can for instance be achieved through playing other games telling silly jokes, or the likes with them.
Number 4: Deck Uniformity
This may sound strange, and maybe this is just my own superstition, but prior to the pandemic a lot of cases of game losses match losses and even disqualifications, were caused by deck uniformity. Playing with cards of different conditions, foils and no foils, broken sleeves, can all end up getting you in a bad situation in front of the judges.
In order to avoid this make sure that you keep your deck uniform: If you like foils in your deck make sure all of the cards are foils. Get a new pack of sleeves before the tournament and lookout for cards that might be marked.
While most people won’t accuse you of cheating from having a random foil in your deck, someone might find it weird and call a judge. Not letting this situation arise will save you a number of unnecessary judge calls and the risk of controversial decisions against you.
Number 5: Cooperate with the Judges
The judges are there to help you, assuming that your intentions are fair and just, cooperate with the tournament staff and judges in all matters. If you need clarification on something or need to know the oracle text of a card do not hesitate call them.
Number 6: Get a Good Night of Sleep
We’ve all been there, tomorrow is the GP and we can’t sleep, wriggling around in our bed whether due to excitement or due to the 5 cups of coffee we had when we arrived. Few things have ruined GP Runs for me as lack of sleep has, being a night owl by nature, getting up early and going to bed at a proper time was a skill I had to learn, and frankly it might have been the single thing that improved my average performance at events the most.
Getting 6-8 hours of sleep prior to an event which is frankly exhausting, is very important especially for your performance in the later rounds.
Number 7: Have Fun
Last but not least. Something that sometimes gets lost in the intense and competitive nature of high-level magic is the fact that we are playing a game, and games are supposed to be fun. Remember to enjoy the game while playing both in intense and relaxed situations, enjoy the environment around the event and the people you’re there with, as cheesy as it may seem, the more fun you have, I guarantee you your performance will follow.
These are 7 of the things that helped me improve my performance at live events. I hope this can be beneficial to you when events are up again soon, hope to see you at the tables before long.
Sincerely Kasper (Twitter)