It’s kind of weird, drawing that parallel, but hear me out.

Since I stopped playing Magic, my ventures have been vast and pretty elaborate. I took a stab at competitive Hearthstone, and produced content right here on this wonderful site. I enjoy it very much and hope that things continue even further for me.

I’ve also put my skills to work in Overwatch, playing competitively for quite a while now. It’s been super tough making the move toward a game where every player counts toward a collective goal, especially when the first inclination from my experience in playing card games is “you”, and “yourself”, depending on the situation. I was fortunate enough to be able to find and improve with a structured team, and the experience has been like none other in any game I’ve played. Your ability plays off of others, and the culminating result is, at the cost of sounding cheesy, like a blossoming flower. The work that each of you puts in pays off, and you see it immediately.

It’s pretty great.

I’d call you crazy if you told me that I could carry over the majority of my abilities and lessons from Magic and Hearthstone. A lot of it is just generic competitive aspects that anyone that aspires to play at a higher level can and should know. However, there are many more specific things that directly relate to gameplay and dealing with mechanics that actually helped me perform better.

One of the first big things I was able to carry over was identifying problems and adapting. Overwatch is a very dynamic game, and it forces you to make adjustments, often times very quickly and under a lot of pressure. In Magic and Hearthstone, it’s important to know exactly when to switch gears and push a gameplan. It’s important to identify when a plan isn’t working, and know how to adapt to whatever your opponent is trying to do, even if it isn’t the most well known plan, or a plan that you personally don’t think is “good” or “optimal”. Decent players will know what to do in well known situations. Great players will know what to do in every situation.

The second big thing I’ve adapted was flexibility. Being a one-trick- pony and just being good at playing a single strategy isn’t enough to be among the elite. Doing the estimated best thing possible, as much as possible, should always be the primary goal. Now, you won’t always get this right, and that’s okay! There will always be times where you feel that taking a chance with an off-meta pick is the best thing possible. Sometimes you’ll go with what you know works. The important thing is to be honest with yourself when making decisions, and don’t try to sabotage yourself when your decision ends up wrong. It’s ok to be wrong, but it’s not ok to let being wrong get in the way if your self improvement.

The third and final major takeaway I applied, while being related to the previous point, is directly related to one self as a player. Constantly focus on improving yourself. People love hiding behind excuses; do not be one of those people. There is always, always something you can do to improve yourself. There are games of Magic that are lost on turn two because of a mistake you made, but the game didn’t actually end until turn twelve. Overwatch is similar. There are team fights that are lost within the first ten seconds of a fight, but don’t actually end until a minute in, due to a mistake you made with positioning, using the wrong skill at the wrong time, or mistiming an ultimate. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. Every single player makes mistakes. The great players will learn from their mistakes regardless of if they won or lost, and will always be able to take something away from a match, no matter how well they played. Always strive to be the best version of yourself you can be, no matter how good you think you are, no matter what rank, standing, or popular you may be.

Being a competitive gamer can garner a lot of lessons across any platform. The more experience you gain, the better off you’ll be when venturing to any new competition. Always be a student of the game, so your rate of improvement will be paramount to your success!

Anthony has been competing in games for the better part of his adult life and is dedicated to improving his game, improving his community, improving himself as a person, and most importantly having fun and enjoying himself while doing so. You can check out his stream to find out which video game is the latest to catch his attention.

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