I am a bad Magic player. I want to improve.

I originally posted this on Reddit looking for advice, but I made a mistake and got my post removed. Just another moment of me being a fucking moron, apparently.

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I went to six PPTQs so far this year. 2-3 in a sealed. The remaining were standard. 3-3, 1-2-2, 2-1-2, 2-3 and 1-4, the last one today and the only match win was a round four bye. I feel like I’m getting worse.

I have been to Friday Night Magic and Standard Showdowns over the course of January and February. Excluding perhaps two events I have gone 1-2.

I am frustrated.

I know I am not owed wins, but I feel like I am getting worse. I have taken a deck that places well in an event, run it through leagues on MTGO, usually going 3-2 or 4-1. The occasional 2-3. I take it to a PPTQ and do awful. I research decks, look at what I have to play and pick a deck and repeat the process. Clearly this is a bad decision. I have played Grixis Midrange, UBg Midrange, UB Control and Snakes and Ladders. I have performed terribly in every PPTQ.

With this six lack to make top 8, it is not a lack of fun with the game, as the actual playing is fine but clearly I am getting results that are below what I would like.

I must be making suboptimal plays. I follow sidebording guidelines that I find, so I feel like I am doing the best I can there. But there is something fundamentally wrong with my play. The thing is I am so inside my own head that I cannot see it.

Here is the part where I would blame luck or variance. I will not. I realize it is part of the game even though I have gotten a “reputation” amongst other players who know me for being incredibly unlucky. I try my best to refuse to believe this. It is either deck choices.

There is of course a “sunk cost fallacy” I could be going on about, but on the whole I enjoy Magic, but I am playing terribly without knowing what I am doing wrong.

What steps should I take? How can I at least lose gracefully, because my losses feel bad. I don’t even feel like I am playing Magic some rounds. I’ll be done fifteen minutes into the round, defeated and just waiting for their next round.

How can I stop being stupid? I lost round five today by literally not playing the right land on turn three. I knew what land I needed to play and yet I put the wrong one down. I’m flabbergasted at my own stupidity. I thought “play the Botanical Sanctum” and the the Forest in my hand went down on the table. I can’t even explain it.

I know I’ll make mistakes but I don’t seem to learn. I feel like a complete dumbass. I want to improve just so that at least I feel that I don’t give my opponents free wins because they were paired against me.

What resources can I look at? I’m playing Magic Online three nights a week, going to two Standard Showdowns and FNM, bigger tournaments on Sunday. So I’m playing. But I’m clearly not learning.

No complaining. No feeling sorry for myself. But I want to improve. What steps do I take?