765 Planeswalker points! Just over the limit. I unceremoniously went 3-3 in the PTQ in Delaware. That’s good enough. Overall the day was fun I met a few cool folks, even fellas I didn’t play against. Now I have those two byes and I can think about stuff like goals for next season.

Every season I try to come up with goals to make for myself. This season the goals are pretty simple.

  1. Make three byes
  2. Day two a Grand Prix
  3. Complete a tier one Legacy Deck

That’s not a tough list. I’d be happy with two of these. Really the overarching goal is to become a better player. I have all the qualities of an aspiring pro. Rigorous training program, support from friends, a love for the game. But I have to admit, I get the shakes at these bigger events. I’m never really relaxed on the competitive level.

I think that is one of the main reasons I play them. Before I came back to the game I wasn’t exactly challenging myself much. I mean don’t get me wrong, I was living life and stuff, but I was stuck in a sort of comfort zone. Nothing made me nervous for years. Bar tending can do that to you. Most of the time I was so busy living day to day that I couldn’t be bothered to do something outside my comfort zone.

Last night a friend of a friend told me he went to my LGS on my recommendation. Instantly intimidated, he left the store. They were drafting. As a new player he had never seen it before and the whole situation stressed him out. All these new people, all the competition, it was just too much for a single person to deal with. Thats not so crazy. Do you remember your first game with a stranger?

I was 15, and I walked into Legends Comics & Games in the Deptford Mall. Deck in hand. The place was packed full of other people playing and trading everyone looked like they were having fun. I approached a kid about my age. “Hey you wanna play a game?”


“Oh Wait, but not for Ante! I’m not that good yet.”

“Dude no one plays for Ante.”

Simple as that. It was something the rule books at the time cautioned you about. I can’t even count how many times the roles of that conversation were reversed for me.

Being a teenager is hard. You don’t really know where you are in life. Most of it is spend preparing for some nebulous future. And frankly, sometimes it’s just nice to play a game.

Replace Teenager with 30. It’s still the same.

Where was I going with all this? Everyone that plays Magic: the Gathering gets to have these awkward feelings. I’m not saying they’re good or bad. What they are at this age is few and far between. Getting the shakes in round 1 is sort of my thing. It reminds me that I’m alive, I’m nervous about something, which means I give a shit about something. It doesn’t make me any less nervous to think this but it does make me happy to know I’m not dead inside. (No matter what Matt Jones says when I cast counter magic.)

So I guess what I’m saying is twofold:

  1. Several times in your career as both a human and as a Planeswalker, you’ll feel awkward, and unsure of your position. That’s okay—it’s part of the social aspect of this game. That’s half the game actually, the mental battles you have with yourself. The mind voodoo you play on yourself is as real as the Cascade mechanic.
  2. In Magic you have only to wait until the next draw or the pairings go up for the next round, or worst case scenario, the next tournament to improve things.

So here’s to feeling weird, it’s better than feeling old!

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