Most Magic players have a go-to app that they like to use to track life or check the values of their trade binder. For an newborn MTG parent/player however there is a much more important app: the baby tracking app. As I talked about last week, I was planning on jumping into a friendly Rivals of Ixalan draft league. However, the best-laid plans were quickly derailed by my newborn’s feeding schedule.

I jumped into a draft queue, which sat at 5 of 8 for a few minutes. It was early morning and my wife and newborn were napping after an early feeding session. It seemed like the perfect time to get in a draft. I had cleaned the dishes and fed our cats and gotten supplies ready for the next diaper change and feeding session. The minutes ticked and the queue was still at 5 of 8. My newborn stirred. How long had it been since she ate? I checked the baby tracker. I checked the draft queue. I dropped out of the draft queue.

Newborns don’t eat a whole lot of food by volume but they eat frequently, every two to three hours or so. The biggest part of being an MTG parent, or any parent really, is that you no longer set your schedule for the day. Your children do, and this is especially true for newborns who need to be fed on-demand. Want to go grocery shopping, pick up your dry cleaning, or get in a Rivals of Ixalan draft? You better know when your baby last ate, and when you can expect her to eat again.

So, with my baby beginning to stir for her next feeding and the draft queue going nowhere I jumped over to the friendly sealed league side of things, debited 240 play points from my account, and left this sitting on my screen for the next hour or so while we fed the baby:

I have to admit I was hoping to be able to play an aggressive deck in this format. I didn’t want to have to change a diaper in the middle of a grueling mid-range mirror match. So my eyes were looking for some fast tribal synergy and then my gaze came to Merfolk Mistbinder. I looked over the rest of my merfolk and saw the potential for a very aggressive deck that had a sweet curve and included some amazing power in Swift Warden as well as a late-game component thanks to Tendershoot Dryad.

I toyed with a few variation of pirate-based decks, since I had a lot of removal in black and red and virtually none in my merfolk deck (just a single copy of Waterknot) but ultimately I decided to just sleeve up the most explosive deck I could and steal wins through speed and aggression before my opponent could stabilize.

The baby tracking app also comes in considerable help when I’m deciding if I have time to play another match. Usually the answer is “no” but sometimes the stars align and I can make the time. Routines are critical when it comes to parenting in order to both get things done and maintain your sanity. That’s not untrue of finding success at Magic as well. So my routines now mostly begin by checking the app to see when was the last time my baby ate, pooped, or how long as she been asleep. That usually gives me a good idea of how much free time I have.

Of course, not everything always goes according to plan and I’ve definitely ended up having to juggle a couple matches with parenting responsibilities. It’s a good thing that I have almost 3 minutes for sideboarding and that it takes less than that time to change a diaper. And then in the 8th round of the event I ended up paired against an opponent who went to time, which resulted in my match running over when my baby woke up. I ended up making a lot of misplays as I tried to rush through turns in order to then divert my attention to the baby. I was very fortunate that my opponent got beat by the clock, literally on the turn they could swing in for lethal in game three.

In the end I finished 5-4, netting 8 packs (5 Rivals and 3 Ixalan) for the cost of 140 play points. That’s the equivalent of $10 based on buying 1200 play points at $100. Not too bad, but we can and will try to do better. We learned a lot during this sealed event. We learned some of the format archetypes, and namely that BW Vampire mid-range can lock-down the game against UG Merfolk aggro (this is how I lost a lot of matches). We learned that we’re rusty with the mis-clicking. We learned not to walk into Divine Verdict.

But, most importantly, we started to better learn how to prioritize our time and make sure we take care of what’s most important before we take care of winning matches of Magic, but that if we do so we can still win matches of Magic, and maybe even win more than we lose. In the meantime, here’s the next sealed pool, I’m sure I’ll get around to playing some matches at some point this week, but feel free to tweet at me some suggestions for what deck I should run (I’m thinking Merfolk)!

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

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