The MTG Community - 2016 Magic Resolutions [Ty Thomason - Archmage, Level 46]
Last year wasn't a great year for me in the world of Magic. It was a great year for me in everything else - I finished school, I got married, I moved to College Station (this might not be that great), and I got a new job. All of these things took time away from my favorite game (picking up a nasty Hearthstone habit didn’t help either).
In the few major events I played, I didn't perform up to my standards. I played slower than usual because I was reacting to new situations I should've seen in testing. My mental game was weak as I failed to take advantage of some reads I had and probably gave away more information than I gained. I tilted a couple of times because I valued the specific result higher than normal since I was playing fewer tournaments.
So at the end of 2015, I did some self evaluation and came up with a plan to improve in some areas. It’s going to be a New Year’s resolution of sorts. The overall goal isn’t any one thing. I don’t aspire to make it back to the Pro Tour. But if it happens as a result of the process, I’m more than willing to face that challenge again. However, goals without measurable outcomes are difficult to actually meet so I try to keep things quantifiable. I have three categories of resolution: Content Creation, Tournaments, and the more abstract Play Improvements.
Content creation will be the biggest part of my plan for 2016. I want to write an article at least once a week. I’ve written articles in the past and have tried to keep up a tournament report blog, but I always lacked in motivation. My goal with writing every week is to find out what I like to write about, which might actually be different than what I want to write about since writing what I want hasn’t worked out before. I’m going to try many different types of articles as the year goes on. If there's anything you want to see me to write about, send the suggestions my way.
I may also try to record a video periodically if I can figure out how to do it. A perfect way to meet my goals for drafting (see below) will be to record the drafts I do. If this is successful, it may take the place of some articles to afford me some more free time. Streaming is also a possibility.
I want to do at least one booster draft a week. When I lived in Houston, our group would meet regularly for one to three drafts during the week. I haven’t been able to replicate this where I am now, so I will have to use Magic Online. I prefer to play constructed on MTGO, but my Limited game is suffering. I’ve only drafted BFZ one time!
I plan to attend every Grand Prix in the area. I also plan to attend any SCG Opens that come this way. Traveling for tournaments won’t be a high priority, but I want the play experience that comes with it so I'll make a goal of traveling to two large events. This may include Vintage and Legacy Champs as they have been on my bucket list for some time.
As for PPTQs, I won’t be playing many. I’m not a fan of the system in general, and I really don’t want to drive more than an hour to play in them. When they come up and it makes sense, I'll go. But since the goal isn’t necessarily to qualify for the PT, it won’t be a high priority like the other resolutions.
These are all more abstract than the others, and thus harder to measure. They'll be evaluated at the end of the year mostly by feel. I'll also look at how well I kept to the related goals above and how well they allowed me to accomplish what I wanted.
I want to improve my Limited skills. At one point, I was probably in the top five drafters in Texas, but I’ve clearly let it lapse. Even when I was at the top of my Limited game, I still relied on instinct combined with opinions from players I respected. I rarely experimented in Draft to find new strategies or to see where I may have been off with some evaluations. Hopefully by drafting once a week I can regain my old form and learn some new tricks.
I want to regain control of my body language and tells. My favorite quote about Magic comes from Gary Wise, “Your ability to succeed at the top levels of Magic is directly related to your ability to control your tells.” I’m definitely rusty at this, and maybe there's some paranoia and I haven’t actually lost as much as I think. But it’s still a goal of mine, and the best way to get better is practice. I want to play a minimum number of IRL tournaments to work on these skills, hopefully at least once a month.
I'm intentionally keeping a lot of the plan open-ended. I’ll play the formats I’m interested in playing. I won’t force Modern or Standard when I don’t want to play. Other than drafting once a week, I won’t have any commitments. I want to use my play time as research for weekly articles. This is where I can use suggestions from the readers. Let me know if there's something you want me to write about or somewhere you want me to play, and I’ll see what I can do. I’m looking forward to sharing this year’s journey with you.
A Little Bit about Ty
He's been playing Magic since Ice Age; competitively since Onslaught. Ty's a veteran of 6 Pro Tours and has over a dozen money finishes at Grand Prix tournaments. His favorite formats are Sealed Deck and Legacy, but he'll play anything as long as it’s Magic!