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How Magic Online (MTGO) Can Hurt Your Offline Play

September 11, 2009

Conley Woods on one of the negative effects of Magic Online on offline play:

When you are at your local store or playtesting with a friend, the chances of catching a crucial mistake are much higher due simply to the fact that there are more eyes focusing on the match. Online however, you are often playing alone, and your opponent will generally be silent (or rude) which means fewer eyes on your match, so a mistake is much more likely to go unnoticed. Then, due simply to the volume of games you are playing, you are likely to make this mistake again and again, ingraining it to memory. This normally would seem like a small hurdle, but as humans we have a very constant desire to develop habits as a means of freeing up working memory.

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Pat Chapin on Doing The Right Thing in MTG

August 5, 2009

In one of my favorite articles of the year, Doing The Right Thing (premium article), Pat Chapin talks about integrity, cheating, losing your cool, and how to give criticism.

How to Practice to Win a Magic The Gathering Tournament

July 10, 2009

Gavin writes one of the best articles about Magic The Gathering strategy in 2009, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.

He tells us to make our make playtesting sessions more serious to mimic the tournament environment.

One of the most common mistakes I see in playtesting is having the wrong mindset. To playtest to the best of your ability, you should still hold a mindset of seriousness and intensity. Now, this is not often the kind of behavior seen in playtesting. There are four or six people around a table, playing games at a lightning pace to maximize the amount of games they get in, goofing around, eating out of a big bowl of chips, with some sport on the television speakers in the background. How many items on that list are around in a tournament? Hopefully zero. So why are they there in playtesting?

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Misdirection and Deception in Magic The Gathering

February 12, 2009


Bill Stark has another great post on his blog. He gives two examples of using misdirection to gain an advantage in MTG.

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How to Improve Your Mulligan Decisions With Magic Online

January 26, 2009

Magic Online LogoMike Flores has some useful thoughts about improving your mulligan decisions by playing in a lot of MTGO (Magic The Gathering Online) tournaments.

The difference between how I am playing now and a legitimate MTGO ringer is that there is nothing really at stake in how I play (other than my leisure / entertainment time). So I mostly just never mulligan because I care more about exploring new deck ideas than actually winning MTGO tournaments. But when you are playing tournaments and — like I was that summer — meticulously logging your ratings deltas and tournament win / loss percentages with every deck you play, there is more at stake.

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The Best Method For Improving as an MTG Player

October 2, 2008

From a recent interview with one of the best players to ever play Magic The Gathering:

BDM: Do you have any advice for the next generation, the people trying to succeed on the Pro Tour today? What do you think is the easiest, the best way to improve one’s game?

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Magic The Gathering = Chess + Poker

October 1, 2008

As an avid poker player and someone who played a lot of chess back in the day, I really enjoyed this article: Magic, Chess, and Poker.

The writer wrote, “Magic is Chess and Poker combined.”

He then gave these following points, which showed how chess and poker strategy can be applied to Magic The Gathering.

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How to Win More Drafts at Your Local Store

September 10, 2008

Zac Hill over at is one of my favorite Magic The Gathering authors. Today, he’s got a great article about drafting better at your local store.

His basic points were:

  1. Don’t overvalue one drops.
  2. Use removal wisely.
  3. Don’t commit to a color or colors to early.
  4. Don’t hold too many lands in your hand.
  5. Players usually have bombs in their deck, so kill them before they can play their bombs.

Read the whole article.

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