Being nice

This is such a complicated matter to me.

Okay, so I played in the "PRIZE UP" Standard tournament this morning. It was basically the same as other events but we paid a bit more, got the GP Promo (Foil Mutavault. Not bad.) and would get douhble the prizes. This means a 4-0 would get 100 packs of Rivals of Ixaland.

Not bad.

Round one I'm faced against someone I actually knew from local stores. I'm on Grixis Midrange, he's on Sultai Control. I gave up as soon as I realized he had me in a control lock. Game two I put on pressure with counterspell and Duress backup to get the game. Not much time for game three though. Sadly, I couldn't get there. We draw. That's not the worst, though, becuase a draw is worth one point and 10 points gets you a healthy number of packs. I just need three more wins.

Round two did not go well against Sultai Constrictor. I was in a tight position where I had to cast Memory. Now, I went from 0 cards in hand to 7 and he went from 3 to 7, but got the first turn untapped. I got four non-cycling lands. He got a bunch of cyclers and some action. It didn't pan out for me. 0-1-1.

Now two wins and I get 18 packs. Okay, round three comes and I pull off a win. Sweet. But I am at an awkward position. Four points. Six is the minimum to pay out to two (in thise case four) packs. So I sit down across from my opponent, see the 5-5 people next to us intentional draw so they enjoy a bunch of packs between the two of them.

I say to my opponent. "We're in a shitty position. One of us will get 18 packs, one will get zero. Now, if I win, since I realize we're in a shitty situation, I'd happily give up half my packs." He just ignores me.

Game one I crush him. Game two goes on for a long time and unfortunately he gets the edge and beats me in turns. I was so close to drawing game two and getting the win. But I didn't. So we drew, which would have been five points each, no prizes for either of us. So I said to the judge, can I forfeit to him? And the judge says yes. So I do. Dude gets 18 packs, thanks me and leaves.

Now, was I expecting the guy to realize I did him a favor and throw a few packs my way? Well, this is where I feel morally stuck. I know that he didn't owe me anything. And I took the initaitive to be kind. Now, selfishly, I was kind of hoping for something, but I knew that it was a risk. But sicne the opponent seemed to be okay with neither of us getting packs, I decided to take the initiative so at least one of us got prizes.

I'm not mad I didn't get packs. Not really. There's no cards that I need right now. I mosts?ly just want to play Magic. But relaying this story to various people, Japanese and non-Japanese, everyone was surprised the guy didn't at least throw a pack my way.

So that's my quandry.

I did a nice thing. I gave the guy 18 packs instead of us both going home with nothing. Now should I have expected something? Well, no. I really didn't either. But it kind of chaffs my hide that he just went "Yay me, I get 18 packs!" and left it at that. I mean again, it's hard to explain becuase it's like, I know I am entitiled to nothing. But kindness going unpaid feels... Weird. So maybe I am a bit selfish. I mean I am writing about it. But again, I could have just pulled shit in the packs and it would have been roughly the same. So I am not angry at all. Just.. Is surprised the right word here? Just surprised that someone wouldn't take the hint that I was doing them a favor and repay kindness? Yeah, maybe I am just surprised.

Would I do it again? Sure. I think it's the right thing to do. We both paid money to play in the tournament and to go home empty handed sucks. So I gave him 18 packs. Hopefully he opened up something nice. Maybe he will reflect on this later and be kind to someone else. I can only really be kind. And not expect things. And I kind of hate that I kind of did expect something, but, gah, I'm just repating myself.

Anyway, I'll continue to be kind when the opportunity arrises. And what happens afterwards is out of my hands. I won't let this soil my soul. I'll do what I feel is right. Others will do what they feel is right.

I just gotta not feel shitty about having that, I think, natural human instinct pop up, even though I squished it down.

Went 2-2 in the Modern tournament. That was only worth two packs. And they were shit. Well, I got a foil Swamp. Kind of cool? But hey, 2-2, and 1-1-2. Eh, could be worse. I had a good day at the GP. One more tomorrow and then it's... Spring break! I'll be streaming Magic Areana since the NDA lifted. Look forward to that.

You can't do it all

GP Kyoto started today. I'm not playing in the main event becaue I could not find a team. Part of me worries this is because of personaility issues I have. Who knows.

But three days of Magic is a little vacation I will give myself. The schedule is packed with events but I only found myself able to do two today. A sealed tournament, where I went 3-1 and got twenty packs as a reward and a "Chaos" draft of Theros, Aether Revolt and Masters 25. I got a Walking Ballista and a Grenzo, which both proved to do well. Not well enough as I lost the secound round, but still got three packs for my trouble.

And by then it was 8pm! I had signed up for the first tournament at a bit after ten, the second a bit before five and that was it. Somehow I was convinced I would get more in, but I did not. At least I had some fun.

Two more days. Standard and Modern are my plans for tomorrow, then Legacy on Sunday. Maybe I'll round it off with a draft or a side event of Modern. I have two Modern decks built. I should give them a spin.

The scrub

I am not a good loser.

Which is unfortunate since I lose a lot when it comes to Magic.

This is either going to be a good thing over time, as I will have to come to understand my own faults and failures, or it will destroy me because I cannot handle it.

Plus, it’s just unattractive.

I never get mad st my opponent. Just myself. But still, I need to let it roll because it definitely effects later rounds. Tilting. I know this. And I know this manifests itself other ways in my life.

But how do you learn to be relaxed?

Practice makes something

I played in two and a half leagues today. Different Grixis Midrange each time trying to find the best for tomorrow’s PPTQ. Or at least get used to lines of play.

I’m scared of anything that goes wide. Most people aren’t writing about that but I think it is more common in Japan than the US. I see these decks with no wipes and just wonder if they make it to the top by missing out on these wide decks or just are playing in a way I’m not seeing.

Either way, tomorrow is a PPTQ and then I go to Kyoto for the Grand Prix. I’ll just be grinding side events but I’m just excited to get solid weekend of Magic in.

Friendly play

I have been yelled at twice on Magic Online for playing netdecks. Since I would rather focus on getting good with decks that are good than trying to reinvent the wheel, or come up with the next great deck. Major respect to those who do, but that is not what I want to spend my time doing.

So it is a good thing that newer games will not have chat boxes. cough

But it was interesting. These people were so upset with my game choice. Now, granted I am playing in the “Friendly” league, but it offers the best value for my money. And I am mostly working on getting better at playing the deck. A 2-3 with no prizes is just not something I am willing to spend cash on when it comes to Magic Online.

I was called slurs, I was told that I was ruining the game and that I had mental deficiencies. This was upsetting only in the fact that it was a reminder of these kinds of people existing in the world. I get that some people do not have money for the “tier one” decks - and to be fair I had to win and sell prizes to be able to afford some things in my deck. But I got there. And now I am trying to get better.

Should I be playing in the “Competitive” league? Maybe, but it seems like too much of a risk for me. Plus, I am a doofus. I nearly lost against one of these complainers becuase I pressed the wrong button. So my own play is not on the level of my deck. That is fine. I will work and get better.

But goodness, these people sure are upset I didn’t come and play with my own “original idea”. Nevermind that neither of their decks were “original”. I had seen version sof them before. Maybe they came up with the deck on their own and that made them feel good. More power to them. I am here to get better and win. I know I won’t change these people, and perhaps I egged them on too much (I noted that I changed one card in the decklist as I only have two Chandras and did not feel like shelling out the $20~$30 for another. An Angrath went in and did fairly well.) but if you’re going to lob insults at me, I am going to be as kind as I can in the hopes that you just get pissed off. Because that’s funny to me.

Won both of the matches, too.

Fun was had

So, I tweeted this earlier, but it still makes me giggle.

Masters 25 was a fun draft, even though it probably wasn't worth the money card-wise. But entertainment value? It was top notch. With Kyoto GP coming up this weekend, I wish there was some Masters 25 events to play, but it only seems to be team events, which I never get to play in because I can't get a team.

Maybe that has something to do with my personality? Or just timing. But that's no excuse to not work on being a better person.

Save your money

I was doing good over the past few months with not buying things I didn't need. But when I stopped by one of the stores I frequent, the owner told me he'd give me a deal on a box of Masters 25 since the whole Iconic Masters situation was a mess. I agreed.

When the spoilers came out I was overall not enthused, but this store already had my pre-order, I was making good translation money at the time and since the store owner lets me use his parking, I save money when I go there, so buying a box once felt like I was doing something good for everyone.

Fuck, the pulls in Masters 25 can be bad. I watched two people open up bad boxes, and I had mine sitting in my bag hoping that it would have something good. I decided to bring it home and stream my opening of it.

I learned two things.

One, my webcam is much worse than I thought it was and my apartment does not have the lighting for proper "unboxing" streams.

Two, don't buy fucking Masters 25.

Seriously, it wasn't even funny, it was just a sad box. I streamed it, thinking a Jace pull would be glorious, a Tree pull would be funny and I could get something of value out of it even if the box wasn't great. But it wasn't even bad in a funny way.

A25 Draft

Masters 25 draft is available on Magic Online and I had the tikcets so I thought I'd give it a spin.

I didn't realize it was only three rounds, but I went 1-2. I definitely picked too many cratures and not enough removal. I had some decent bombs but it was mostly too slow to deal with the card advantage that others were able to get. I don't know if I'll do any more online. There's one this weekend that I'll do and that will probably be it. I'm not too excited about this set other than what it might do to some prices of some stuff that I'd like to get, but basically all my decks are done so purchasing Magic stuff has been a low for me.

I did snag a Imperial Recruiter, Ash Barrens, Simian Spirit Guide, and a Swords to Plowshares. Nothing too pricy, but not bad to have sitting in the collection as I'll surely be using them in decks.

So this is good, as I'm spending less money. I did kind of go through a "mid-life crisis"-esque bit last year where I built decks for all the big formats. A little bit of me wants a Vintage deck, but that's a lottery winning away from happening.

That damnable land

I lost again because I played the wrong land. I didn't think through my possible hits off of Gonti, and it was a Cast Out, but I had already played my land for the turn... And it was an enters the battlefield tapped land.

Whoops.

I mean, how often does that kind of situation come up? I definitely should have slowed my roll a bit (Notice this theme? I think I sure am, even though I'm not acting on it well.) and played Gonti and then think about my land drop. But dropping lands first thing in the turn is a big habbit, I didn't think I'd need eight mana and nine for a potential drawing of The Scarab God would have been good shits but I slipped up. Didn't think. Got beat because of it.

Live and learn or something. Goodness, that stung, though. Took me out of winning prizes from the league. 40 points. Boo. Like losing four dollars if you think too hard about it. Which I try not to.

Finding a groove

Switched up my Magic Online stream layout again tonight. Nothing really fits right with it and OBS. My monitor is like 1920x1200 and my secondary is 1280x720. Whichever I use for Magic Online, getting a stream layout where I'm not wasting too much space, but can put my webcam and other information seems... tough. I did some research, but not much was found.

I guess I keep digging.

I did three matches of Grixis Energy again tonight. I don't know why I keep trying this deck. Perhaps because it tops tournaments and people sing its praises, but I sure don't get it. It feels so sloppy and broken. UB Control may have its problems (Like, I don't want to play Bontu's Last Reckoning, for example.) but it feels more consistant. I don't know. Dominaria can't come soon enough to shake up this Standard because I just can't find a home in it.

Nap time

I decided to nap so I could participate in a PTQ that started at 11:05 pm. I’m currently waiting round three for my opponent to show up. Perhaps they expected the round to start later, they fell asleep (not likely) or something.

But I have work tomorrow. So this will be interesting. I suppose I drop at X-3? Not entirely sure what record I need to hit top 32 our of 90 some players, but there sure are a lot of rounds and I am 1-1 so far.

Overthinking

I threw away a game on Magic Online tonight.

Game three againgst Snakes and Ladders I go "I don't need Fatal Push, what does it do for me!"

Except kill the Snake, the biggest key to the deck. Plus Walking Ballista.

I wanted to fit Negates and Duresses into my deck for dealing with Hadana's Climb and their protection (Negates and Blossoming Defense), but I just completely forgot the fundamental thing that my deck wanted to do. If they had no creatures, Hadana's Climb didn't matter. I just had to time my pushes well.

So that was a learning thing. Now I need to not make that mistake again. I find that is the hardest thing as Magic Online with its time limits pressures me in a way where I make silly mistakes because I rush. But on the other hand, it is training me to think faster and punishing me harder for making mistakes while I think faster or think too slowly.

This is a lot of work for a game, but somehow it is fun.

Last and First

The store I goes to for Friday Night Magic does two tournaments. Standard and alternating Legacy and Modern.

I got last place in Standard and first in Legacy.

What can I learn from this?

Well, I’ve played lots of games with Grixis Delver and not as many with Blue Black Control.

Experience must matter.

I also think I overside. My sideboard game in Legacy isn’t perfect, but I know the basics of what I want in different kind of matchups.

Considering I played three games each round, I lost at least half the games post sideboard. So I need to think more about that process.

I keep saying I’ll stick with this deck or that, but even though I went 0-3, it was the best I felt playing in a while. Coupled with Thursday’s Standard Showdown, this is probably my deck until Dominaria, which is going to shake things up.

A 2-1

So I did post my Sunday “explosion of emotions” on Reddit and got a single reply. Well, that is better than nothing, right? It was, mostly becasue it confirmed a few things I already know. But it is nice to hear it from someone else.

I need to slow down.

I need to pick a deck and stick with it.

I already broke that running Grixis Energy last night and Blue Black Control tonight. But yesterday I tilted againd ue to a few rounds of bad lands and lots of mulligans with Grixis so I just put back Blue Black Control again for the umpteenth time this Standard season and I went 2-1 tonight.

Yes, I made a dumb mistake last night that had I not done I could have at least had a chance. Maybe Grixis is as good as everyone says. But Blue Black control just felt like home. I wish there was a spot for more than two of The Scarab God, because I felt like I was digging for that jerk a lot tonight. But Gearhulks, Vraska’s Contempts and my two-of Commit // Memory did a lot of work. And I felt good.

Now, I didn’t face any Mono Red tonight. Two God Pharaoh’s Gifts and a Blue Black Midrange. I was super salty after round one because I had to mulligan twice into GPG just going off flawlessly and then I had to mulligan again into a barely keepable hand and GPG’s resiliance just showed its power. I beat UB midrange fairly easily by just keeping them off their creatures and then finding a time to stick The Scarab God with protection.

The last round was against GPG again and game one took 42 of the 50 minute round. I was hanging on by my fingernails. Two life at one point. But Azcanta found me a needed Vraska’s Contempt, and then a Gearhulk flashing back Memory gave me a good enough hand to stablize into The Scarab God letting me get their milling dudes and milling out for the win. It was intense. We both played lands back and forth for the majority of game two until time was called. He did his best to fill up his graveyard but only got one angel and finally snaked through a Gift. I had River’s Rebuke and he had a Cast Out on one of my Gearhulks. That stablized me enough to turn game two into a draw, get top 5 and win a Standard Showdown pack. I pulled crap, but I don’t care about cards. I want to play good Magic.

Round one had me feeling like shit and I have to admit that winning round three of course made me happy, but that game one was one of the most thrilling games I have played in a long time. It was a good reminder of why I like this game. Not because I won, but because it was just a chain of us going back and forth until one of us one. It felt like we both played the best we could. Sure, I won, but it wasn’t easy, and it was intense.

The other brain

I had another moment tonight playing Magic where I knew I wasn’t supposed to do something but did it anyway.

I’m too impulsive.

I need to relax and focus. I lost to a thing I shouldn’t have lost to if I kept to my plan. So I have trust myself.

That’s hard. But at least I’m realizing it.

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.

———

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?

Indecision

There are two decks I played today. One had some bad luck in a league and I went 1-4. Then I played it again in the evening and went 4-1. Then I took another deck and won two games in a row in a league.

I don't know which one to take to the PPTQ tomorrrow.

One is Grixis Energy and the other is Sultai Snake. Both worry me because they are three color decks, but when they go, they go hard. And I like both of them. It really ends up being what is going to be at the PPTQ tomorrow, and I just don't know.

My PPTQ results as of late have been less than stellar, and I just have this unfortunate "hunch" that whichever I pick will be the wrong one. I have been playing decks similar to Grixis Energy recently and I feel able to play it.

But I am not unfamiliar with Sultai Snake and it seems to have some answers that Grixis just doesn't. But then again Grixis has some stuff that Snake doesn't.

Argh.

I guess I'll sleep on it and toss a coin in the morning. You know that old trick. It's not the coin result that matters but how you feel after the coin is flipped.

My worry is that I will feel indecisive still.

Ninth and Third

PPTQ and Standard Showdown today.

I wonder why I play control. A little fumble and you're dead. Missed land drop, etc. But still. Went 2-3 in the PPTQ and got 9th place thanks to tie brakers, but it was cut to top 4 because of sixteen people. So I was far enough. Still. I feel like my practice has been playing off. UB Control has some tuning to be done, but it feels like it has it, but it is hard to play.

Afterwards I went to a Standard Showdown and went 2-1. Red splashing Black got me round three, but again, tiebreakers and I got third place which got me a showdown pack. I pulle shit, but I'm not playing to win cards. I am playing to win. So I don't think I really did things wrong, but I'm sure there is still more to learn and I will be practicing the game this week.

Feeling like I finally have a deck to play, although a bit of me is feeling like I should be playing something else. I don't know why.

And one step back

I played in another Magic Online PTQ and really didn’t know how to build my pool. I thought I made the best of the one bomb I had but I was three colors with little fixing and it just didn’t go well. I took out round one in a few minutes so I thought my curve was good but the last three rounds were trash and I dropped. I think I’m done with RIX sealed im not having fun anymore. I am having fun practicing Standard, so that is where I should focus my time.

The third 1-2

Okay. Maybe I'm playing too much Magic. Three tournaments in as many days. Playing the same deck. Trying to "understand it." Three 1-2 tournaments. I just feel such frustration like there is some external force that is making me lose. I know it's a bit of luck and probably some misplays on my point, but I feel like I did with my Japanese a while back where no matter what I did I was just where I was and my wheels were spinning.

This is a hobby, and I do it to "relax". Hah.

Well, no, it is fun. I get a mental kick out of doing it. And the challenging myself has been helping me to feel the need to challenge myself in other aspects of my life. And that's overall a good thing.

But I'd like to play my three drops. Please, 26 lands, can you come at a decent pace like my opponent's seem to? Because they are playing four fucking colors with no fixing, but my two color deck can't draw land three.

Ugh, I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be the mana screw guy. But why are my matches done in fifteen minutes of me mostly not playing while everyone else in the store seems to have these long, deep games going on. I'm doing something wrong, and I can't figure out what it is.