Step 1 in Becoming a Better MTG Player: Realize That You’re Terrible

September 17, 2009 | Posted by Dee

Gavin Verhey on becoming a better Magic The Gathering player:

There are three pieces in this improvement process that are the most important once you realize you really want to win and commit yourself to doing so. They are each very important:

1. Realize that you are terrible at Magic

This is the hardest part for almost everybody, and I should probably warn you that I’m going to be brutally honest in this section. Please don’t take offense to any of it. After all, few people want to admit to themselves that they suck. It’s easier to chalk lost games up to luck. But, in reality, a large number of people just play bad Magic. Of course, it’s all a matter of comparison – some FNM schlep is terrible in comparison to me, and I’m terrible in comparison to somebody like Jon Finkel – but if you can’t even match the average skill of a PTQ player, you’re going to have a tough time making it in the Magic world. The absolute worst is when a terrible player stumbles into a Top 8 with some mindless deck like Kithkin, and then thinks he’s hot stuff for doing so. One success does not make you as a Magic player. Mike Gurney calls it one of the many plateaus of Magic: “You can’t get better until you realize you’re terrible.”

It’s not hard to figure out that you’re terrible if you just look at everything objectively. Look at your records in tournaments. Look at the kind of decks you play in relation to the best players in your area.