The first part to becoming great at any game is figuring out your strength. No, not the stat that you increase whenever you level up, but rather the things that come easier to you than other players. In Magic: The Gathering, strength as a player is everything. As a Magic player, these choices allow you to figure out what color combination you should use, and what your goal for matches will be. When it comes to trying to play professionally, knowing your preference is key.
First things first, let’s figure out who is talking to you right now. My name is Skye. I am a Magic player at Excelsior, and would like to think I know a thing or two about the game. I am a college student attending Grand Valley State University with a double major in Music Education, focusing in Trumpet and band conducting, as well as a major in Behavioral Neuroscience, focusing on brain patterns and how music influences everything. I am going into my third year where I will learn more about myself than I ever knew before. I will continue to play Magic at a competitive level whenever I get the chance.
I have played Magic for close to six years of my life now. I have been trying to become a competitive player for about three of it. My time spent in this game has changed who I am, and I have tried a plethora of different deck ideas and “metas” in my time, attempting to figure out what I play better than anyone else at my shop. The answer was clear; combo decks.
At the shop, I am known to many as the “storm guy”. This is probably because nearly everyone who plays at Excelsior regularly has tasted a Grapeshot for 20 points of damage at least once. It is a name that I have earned through success with a certain idea. I play combo decks better than others. I have had some success with control decks in certain formats, normally something dumb I put together last minute that I do decent with, but the results don’t compare to my average result with combo decks.
This success comes from many years of figuring out what I wanted to do in Magic. From trying out almost every combination of certain cards, to learning more about what works and what doesn’t. This kind of experimenting is not only for each format, but also certain card interactions in those formats. These interactions are key. When you learn how each card in your deck works perfectly together, you will become a better player.
Now go find your strength. Find the one thing in your friend group that no one can stop you from doing, and perfect it. No matter how mad your friends may get, understand that these ideas can eventually become the way for you to compete competitively. I promise you, the first time I reanimated a Perilous Myr off of Havengul Lich five times in one turn, my friends weren’t too fond of me either, but this deck marked my first FNM win, all those years ago.
Each player has their strength. Each player also has room to grow, no matter how perfect they think they are. It is your job to figure out what you do best, and also what you should work on. So, I challenge every Magic player who reads this to figure out what you do best and make a deck out of it. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to perfect it, as long as you know this will be the thing you do better than anyone you play against.
Written by Skye Hayes