Essential Magic Articles


So you want to play in a Magic tourney…

by Steve Davis

So you’ve decided to make the jump from casual to tournament play.  The tournament scene has been the driving force behind MTG for many years now, so it is only natural that most Magic players eventually gravitate to playing in tournaments, even if just on the local level.  But even local tournaments can be a scary environment for new or casual players to jump into, especially if the local tourney group includes several established players.  I had no problem joining my first tournament (way back in 1995) because I have always been a competition junkie.  Of course, I got my head handed to me.  I believe my match record that day was 2 and 3.  Not bad actually for a first timer.  Many tournaments played and run later and I think I may have some simple advice that might help the tourney newcomer wade through what he thinks are shark infested waters.

First, never assume that all the players in a local tourney scene are all professional caliber players.  Many new tourney players are scared away because they think the local group is light years beyond them in playing ability.  Now, trust me, there will be some good players present but most will be of modest ability.  In any given group, you will have a few players who are very good, a few players who are not so good, and a large group in the middle who are o.k. players.  The point of a local tournament is to let as many players as possible experience an MTG tourney and have fun doing so.  When you play in one, you will find that you are on par with most of the other players and not horribly outclassed.  

Second, never play in a timid manner.  Many new tourney players assume their opponent knows more about Magic and glumly accepts anything their opponent does or says as the truth.  Never assume your opponent is smarter than you or knows more about the game.  Chances are he skimmed through the rulebook just like you did.  If your opponent does something you don’t understand, ask him to explain himself.  If he plays a card you are unfamiliar with, ask to see the card and read it carefully.  Many players commonly misunderstand what a particular card does.  And always know that for whatever reason, you can call a judge for a ruling or explanation about a card or how your opponent is playing.  

Lastly, always keep the right attitude about you.  Starting out, you will probably lose more matches than you will win.  This is alright, don’t get discouraged.  Always seek to understand why you lost and adjust accordingly.  This might mean building better decks or simply playing a deck in a better manner.  The purpose of a tournament, especially a local one, is to have fun.  If you are not having fun, try to understand why.  If another player treats you like a jerk, you can’t control that so just let it go.    You only control yourself, so make the best of the tourney scene for yourself.  Trust me again, you will find a group that you click with and you will quickly look forward to playing in regular tournaments with that group.

Playing in Magic tournaments can be a very exciting experience.  Don’t let misconceptions deter you from trying out your favorite deck in a local tourney.  Jump right in and enjoy.  I know you’ll have fun.

Last edited 5/14/2008 9:48:45 AM Page 1 of 1  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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