Info

MTG Pro Tutor - Insights, Tips & Advice from Magic: The Gathering Pros

MTG Pro Tutor is a top rated Magic: The Gathering podcast and here's why: professional Magic players and community notables share their origin stories twice a week (Tue & Fri) and impart actionable tips you can use the next time you sit down to play. Learn from the wealth of experience they've built through hours of practice and playing against hundreds of opponents and start seeing improvements in your own skill right away. Don't you hate feeling like you play and play and don’t improve? Surrounding yourself with better players is the best way to level up and the MTG Pro Tutor podcast is your way of doing that. Subscribe if you want to take your Magic: The Gathering skills to the next level while hearing cool stories and getting actionable advice from the biggest names in the Multiverse.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes
2017
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: 2015
Dec 29, 2015

Alejandro is starting to make a name for himself in the Magic community of South America by making it to the Top 4 of one Grand Prix.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Alejandro Cesa when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep56

First Set

Mercadian Masques

Mercadian Masques

Favorite Set

Invasion

Invasion

Favorite Card

Oath of Druids

Early Challenge

Learning the phases of each turn. Magic Online has helped Alejandro get a good understanding of each turn and when he can do what.

Proudest Magic Moment

Top 4 of Grand Prix Porto Alegre

Best Format

Modern

Modern Advice

Focus on one deck. Learn it in side and out and then learn what the other decks are trying to do so you know how they work and how to beat them.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Sequencing fetch lands and shock lands incorrectly against a burn deck. Too many players don't understand that every point of damage matters and they are careless when shocking themselves. Burn will punish you for that.

How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event

Practice on Magic Online, be part of several groups and borrow cards you don't have.

What's in Your Tournament Bag

Deck

Pen

Improvement Suggestions

Start playing with friends and if you like Magic you can move up to a new group if your friends only want to play for fun.

Magic Resource

La Banda del Monored

MTG Gold Fish

Connect With Alejandro Cesa

Facebook: Alejandro Cesa

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 25, 2015

Marcos Paulo de Jesus Freitas is a Brazilian player with 2 Grand Prix Top 8s; one in Buenos Aires 2015 as a Finalist and the other in Porto Alegre 2015 as the Champion.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Marcos Paulo when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Listen here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep55

First Set

Onslaught

Onslaught

Favorite Set

Onslaught

 Onslaught (Constructed)

Innistrad
 Innistrad (Limited)

Favorite Card

Jareth, Leonine Titan

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The art is amazing, the card design is well done, the story is so great.

Marcos also loves how he's met great people and made amazing friends through travel. He also loves traveling because he didn't do much before.

Early Challenge

Marcos didn't know how to mulligan at all. In fact, at his first Grand Prix, he was in a feature match and realized that he had to apply aggressive pressure on his opponent to win. However, he still kept the hand and then lost miserably. He learned from this and made learning how to mulligan better a priority.

Casual Formats

Marcos LOVES Conspiracy draft.

Level Up Moment

At his first Pro Tour, Marcos recognized he knew nothing about the format. So he attached himself to a player who was much better and soaked every lesson up like a sponge. 

Marcos has a lot of cool growth stories from his first Pro Tour. He was able to beat one of the best Limited and one of the best Constructed players in the world at the time.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix Porto Alegre!

GP Porto Alegre

 

Best Format

Standard - It's not that big and you can prepare for it.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not taking into account the things you did wrong in a match. Marcos hears people complain about being mana flooded or mana screwed when in reality they could identify turns where they messed up. 

Card Evaluation Tips

By play testing with a team Marcos hones his evaluation skills.

How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event

Reading articles and relying on his team is Marcos' go-to method.

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

TCG Player

Connect With Marcos Paulo de Jesus Freitas

Marcos on Facebook

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

 

Dec 22, 2015

Chris VanMeter (CVM) provides content for Star City Games in the form of articles and videos and also Streams. Chris has had great success on the Star City Games Open Series with 14 Open Top 8's and an Invitational Finals. Having played Magic for almost 20 years, CVM enjoys his role in helping the game grow by bringing content to everyone. Chris VanMeter lives in Seattle WA.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Chris VanMeter when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep54

First Set

Tempest set symbol

Tempest

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Tradewind Rider

Level Up Moment

During the Zendikar Standard period Chris grew a lot. He put up some great results and got on the map as a high level player.

Proudest Magic Moment

Top 8 of Star City Games Season Two Open Invitational.

Best Format

Legacy (favorite)

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Identify what decks you will see at the next Standard event by reviewing the top decks from the last tournament. All the decks will have a slight edge over the others that you can pick any of those big decks and do well. With practice and solid side boarding you can do very well.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Mulligans!

Most players are afraid to mulligan. With the new mulligan rule the mental barrier against tossing a hand should be much lower.

Especially in games 2 and 3, after you've seen your opponent's deck, mulliganing to a better hand is a tactic that many can improve on.

Card Evaluation Tips

Are there cards that fit in an existing archetype or "build around me" cards? A good example of a "build around me" card is [card]Bring to Light[/card]. It did not fit in any existing decks but obviously has some power so it's a "build around me".

How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event

Play a bunch of games with the deck you are going to take. Pay special attention to the side board.

What's in Your Tournament Bag

Deck

Playmat

Dice Brick

Pad

Pen

Water

Snacks

Improvement Suggestions

Consume as much Magic content as you can. (Streams, articles, podcasts.)

Ask questions. Don't think that the big names are unapproachable. Reach out to them on social media and ask questions.

Magic Resource

Star City Games

Channel Fireball

TCG Player

Twitch

Connect With Chris VanMeter

Twitter: @Chris_VanMeter

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 18, 2015

Patrick Dickmann is a 25 year old student at Cologne University in Germany studying Economics. His Magic record includes being the Champion of Grand Prix Antwerp in 2013 and making the Top 4 of Pro Tour Valencia in 2014. He is heralded as the best Modern Splinter Twin player in the world.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Patrick Dickmann when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep53

First Set

Stronghold

Stronghold

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Innistrad (story)

New Mirrodin block because of his drafting success.

Favorite Card

Dark Confidant
Snapcaster Mage

Human Wizards and cards with options.

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Off and on, Patrick has enjoyed attacking the competitive scene.

Early Challenge

Dealing with loses.

Loses used to upset Patrick a lot. To combat this he became more analytical and would review his matches to see what he could have done better.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning GP Antwerp

GP Antwerp Patrick Dickmann

Best Format

Modern - It gives you the most options without being too powerful.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Being star struck.

Players sometimes let the fact that they are playing a "big name" get in their head.

Also, people tilt and give up early. Stay focused and stay in the game. You can sometimes come back if you don't give up before the game is over. (See GP Richmond Round 9 specifically Game 2.)

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: People tend to over value the rares that were hyped up during the spoiler. Don't feel like you have to play your spoiler rare if the rest of that color stinks.

How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event

Look at deck lists that did well at the last big event. Get some testing in but most importantly test your side board

What's in Your Tournament Bag

Water

Deck box

Platinum Promos

Money

Improvement Suggestions

You don't have to play exclusively on MTGO. Test out Cockatrice to cheaply test and play Magic.

Magic Resource

MTG Mint Card

Connect With Patrick Dickmann

Twitter: @0fe1ia

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 15, 2015

 

Will Erker started playing magic when New Phyrexia came out after a few friends taught him how to draft and play. His first Pro Tour was Pro Tour Origins and then he made it to the Top 16 at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar playing Abzan Midrange. Will lives in St. Louis Missouri.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Will Erker when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep52

First Set

New Phyrexia

New Phyrexia

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Innistrad

M14

M14

Favorite Card

Read the Bones
Sign In Blood

Resource management / grindy cards.

Also...

Brago King Eternal

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The variance.

While it can be stressful, variance is what makes the game great. We aren't playing chess.

Early Challenge

Building Constructed decks, specifically aggressive decks.

Reading articles and watching coverage and deck techs has helped Will improve his deck building skills.

Proudest Magic Moment

Top 16 at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar

Best Format

Standard

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Identify the style of deck you like (control, aggro, mid-range, etc...) borrow or proxy that deck and practice with. If you really do like it then roll with it.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not being realistic when you lose. People need to pay attention to the mistakes they make and learn from them.

People blame mana flood, mana screw or variance instead of identifying what was in their control to change.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Draft: Look at your cards between packs, put your creatures in front and sorted by mana cost so you know where your holes are.

How to Prepare for a Big Event

Will uses Magic Online to grind out reps and then plays with friends to round out the experience.

What's in Your Bag?

Water

Trail Mix

Deck

Improvement Suggestions

There are several sites that post "budget" decks that players can build for cheap.

Magic Resource

Yeti Gaming is Will Erker's local store

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

Twitch.tv

Connect With Will Erker

Twitter: @WillErker

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating 

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 11, 2015

Scott Kirkwood broke on to the upper levels of competitive Magic by making the Top 4 at Grad Prix Indianapolis in 2015 with RG Landfall. He lives in Illinois.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Scott Kirkwood when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep51

First Set

Return to Ravnica

Return to Ravnica

Favorite Set

Khans of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir

Favorite Card

Gifts Ungiven
Jeskai Ascendancy

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Playing casually and having fun doing silly stuff.

Scott's EDH deck is Zedruu the Greathearted, which is one of those goof off and have fun commanders. 

He also enjoys competitive constructed formats. Scott loves that there are so many options and you can do whatever you want in Magic.

Scott really likes when two people are trying their best to improve and face off.

Early Challenge

Taking the time to think if he should do something as supposed to just doing it because he could.

He learned to slow down and assess the situation every time.

Level Up Moment

Making it to the Pro Tour has really validated Scott's efforts and shown him that he has grown and has what it takes.

Brad Nelson's article on how to approach Magic really helped Scott improve.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making Top 4 at Grand Prix Indianapolis. (It's still sinking in how big of a deal this is.)

Best Format

Modern

Vintage (Favorite)

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Scott likes to play the decks that people say "I can beat anything except that deck". So he'll roll in to a Modern or Standard event with a red deck because so many decks have bad match up against red.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Approach the game as just a game. Don't over stress it and psyche yourself out.

Assess every situation. Don't make snap decisions without thinking through various lines. "What's the Play?" articles are great practice for this.

Card Evaluation Tips

Scott admits that he is not the best at evaluating cards. It's fun to speculate but when it comes down to it he relies on the opinions of others via set reviews.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Pre release: Scott approaches a pre release with the intent to have fun. Try new cards and weird combos just to see how it works. Have fun! Pre releases are great places to play just for FUN!

How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event

Play a real deck.

A lot of people love to brew (Scott is the same way) but if you are trying to win, play a proven deck.

Jam games with friends so you know the interactions and lines of play.

What's in Your Tournament Bag?

Pen 

Pad

Playmat

Deck

Dice

Extra cards

Improvement Suggestions

Proxy cards before you invest in a deck.

Magic Resource

r/spikes

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

TCG Player

Connect With Scott Kirkwood

Facebook: Scott Kirkwood

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 8, 2015

Ashraf Abou Omar is 26 years old and is lives in Kiel, Germany. He started playing competitive Magic at Grand Prix Strasbourg in 2007. Once he qualified for Pro Tour Kuala Lumpur in 2008, he started traveling a lot in Germany and UK to compete in PTQ. He has one GP Top 8 in Madrid 2015.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Ashraf Omar when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep50

First Set

portal set symbol

Portal

Favorite Set

return to ravnica

Return to Ravnica

Favorite Card

Martyr of Sands

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The community. Traveling, playing and partying with friends.

Early Challenge

Understanding the rules is a great way to improve. If you understand the rules better you can win more games.

Magic Online really helps you understand the phases and when you can respond and when you have to announce triggers. Understanding this will level up your skill.

Level Up Moment

By spending a lot of time playing Ash has noticed a big improvement. There is no substitute for practice.

Proudest Magic Moment

Qualifying for his first Pro Tour is Ash's proudest moment.

Best Format

Limited

Watch streams and draft with others to get better.

Ash drafts every Friday at his flat after Friday Night Magic.

They always analyze their picks and think critically about the draft to help them improve.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Ash likes to take under the radar decks to Standard tournaments so he brews with friends to try and beat the big decks. Then he play tests on Magic Online.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not managing their life total and not understanding combat math. You can win on 1 life.

Card Evaluation Tips

Don't draw any conclusion until the entire set is released.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Draft: Identify a strategy early on and stick to it. Ash even forces colors a bit as he tries to construct a 3-0 deck.

How to Effectively Prepare for Big Events

Magic Online is a great way to prepare for big events. However, it's much better to play in real life so you can talk about mulligans and card decisions

What's in Your Tournament Bag?

GP Deck Box

Sleeves

Pen

Paper

Improvement Suggestions

Watching others play and interacting with them is a great way to improve on the cheap. There are many great streams to learn from.

Magic Resource

NummotTheNummy Twitch stream

Connect With Ashraf Abou Omar

Twitter: @Ashraf_HH

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 4, 2015

Mark Litvak has just broken into the upper Magic scene by making his first Grand Prix Top 8 at GP Lyon October 2015. He is constantly seeking to improve himself and is looking forward to his first Pro Tour. He lives among the beautiful hills of Austria.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Mark Litvak when he shared his story on #MTGProTutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep49

First Set

Onslaught

Onslaught

Favorite Set

dragons

Dragons of Tarkir

Favorite Card

Meddling Mage

Early Challenge

Giving up too soon. Mark learned to stay mentally in the game and play to his outs.

Don't give up the fight.

Proudest Magic Moment

Top 8 of GP Lyon 2015.

Best Format

Limited

Modern (Splinter Twin)

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Look at popular decks and look at the mirror matches and choose a deck that is well positioned against them.

Observe matches using the deck you are considering and monitor how it plays out. This will help you decide if it's the deck you want to play.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

People underestimate the combat. It is very complicated if you want to do it well.

Many people sit back to see "what happens" in combat. You need to put the brain power behind combat and figure it out ahead of time.

Expect your opponent to play well and don't be worried about showing them something you don't think they've seen.

Card Evaluation Tips

Mark doesn't like how the spoiler is released but understands it from a marketing perspective.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Separate each color into three piles; cards you want to play, cards you don't want to play, and on the fence cards. Next sort each pile by converted mana cost. Determine your colors by identifying which colors have a clear plan to success.

Draft: Learn something from every game. Make it count by writing down results, talking to opponents, whatever you need to do to get that extra information you need to improve.

Improvement Suggestions

"Don't tilt and always strive for better." ~Mark Litvak

Magic Resource

Follow players you respect and read their articles. (Players usually post when they have an article go live.)

Channel Fireball

Connect With Mark Litvak

Twitter: @LorwyMtG

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Dec 1, 2015

Fabrizio Anteri has 7 Grand Prix Top 8s with 3 Wins!! He is one of 31 players in the history of Magic: The Gathering to have 3 Grand Prix wins. Fabrizio lives in London and has been the captain of the English Magic Team for two years in a row.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Fabrizio Anteri when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep48

First Set

MIrrodin

Odyssey

Favorite Card

Eight-and-a-Half-Tails

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Fabrizio loves that Magic is so complicated and that you never get good enough before it changes.

Early Challenge

Tuning a deck for the meta is not Fabrizio's strong suit but playing 10-20 games against a certain match up sheds light on how to tweak.

Proudest Magic Moment

Fabrizio is really proud of his solid run in the 2015 season that gives him a chance to go to the Magic World Championship.

His run includes a Grand Prix win, a Pro Tour top 16 and a Grand Prix second place... all within three weekends.

Best Format

Limited

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Play a lessor known, under the radar deck.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

When you're winning think "How could I possibly lose this game?" and hedge against it.

Think the flipside when you're losing.

Always consider your plays and be mindful of your outs and your opponent's outs.

Card Evaluation Tips

Fabrizio waits for the whole set to be released before evaluating new cards.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Lay out the cards so you can see them all. Separate them into "bomb", "playable" and "unplayable" piles. Then look for synergies within your pool.

Draft: A good memory is an advantage when drafting.
Make sure you consider mana curve, removal and creature count. This will lead to better picks for you even if the card isn't the most powerful in the pack.

Improvement Suggestions

Be willing to invest time and money if you are serious about Magic.

However, to start out, build a deck and play with friends and start playing so you can understand the basics.

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Star City Games Premium articles

Magic Online results

Connect With Fabrizio

Twitter: @Anteri_F

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Nov 27, 2015

Javier Dominguez is the Champion of Grand Prix Paris 2014 (Legacy) and took 2nd place at another Grand Prix. He also has 3 Pro Tour Top 16s (one Worlds). He likes making decks and playing Legacy. Javier lives in Spain.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Javier Dominguez when he shared his story on #MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep47

First Set

Odyssey

Odyssey

Favorite Set

MIrrodin

Mirrodin

Favorite Card

Eternal Witness
Meloku the Clouded Mirror

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The people Javier has met has made Magic really fun and sustainable.

Early Challenge

Drafting. To overcome this weakness, Javier would write down his picks and then ask people if  they would make the same ones. That post-game discussion and feedback really helped him improve.

Level Up Moment

When Javier started playing regularly (daily) with his friends and playing all decks against all deck he noticed he really started to improve.

Proudest Magic Moment

Building a Legacy deck and then seeing several team members perform so well in a Pro Tour really meant a lot to Javier.

Javier's Commander

Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Best Format

Legacy

Breaking Into Legacy

Play blue. From there you can identify your style and move from there.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Consider what has been doing well, pick a deck, then play it a lot so you know it backwards and forwards.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not talking to people enough about the game. Also, keep your mind focused. If you are there to win then focus on winning 100% of the time. It's okay that you miss a land drop or make a misplay, just recalibrate and keep your mind on winning.

You can train yourself to focus by playing against someone while visualizing you are playing for the Top 8 of a Grand Prix. Practice focusing and you'll get better at focusing.

Card Evaluation Tips

Javier looks for enablers when a set is released. He will compare new cards to ones that he's used to. This gives him a baseline.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Make three piles: Wow cards, solid fillers, all the rest. Remember, anything not in your deck is your sideboard.

Draft: When there are two cards that are close, take the bigger one because they are generally better.
Know color combinations and archetypes for the set you're drafting.

How to Effectively Play Test

Link up with other players (find a good group at your local FNM) and practice with them.

It's important to have someone to talk about the meta game with and make critical decisions with.

What's Inside? (Tournament Bag)

Cereal Bar
Nuts
Water

Eat and drink at least every 2 hours. If you are hungry or thirsty then you've waited too long.

dominguez wins GP Paris 2014

Improvement Suggestions

To break into the competitive scene there is always a cheap deck. (Usually red.) Start with this deck.

No matter what you choose, make sure you stick with it and practice a lot.

Magic Resource

Frank Karsten articles (on Channel Fireball)

Connect With Javier

Twitter: @Thalaiet

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

Nov 24, 2015

Raphaël Lévy is a Magic Player from Toulouse, France. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in November 2006. He has 3 Pro Tour Top 8's and 20 Grand Prix Top 8's with 5 wins to his name and led the French team to victory in the 2013 World Magic Cup.

Click to Tweet: I loved hearing Raphael Levy's story on MTG Pro Tutor today! He was an amazing guest and shared great tips. http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep46

First Set

arabian nights

Arabian Nights

Antiquties

Antiquities

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Llanowar Elves
Elvish Mystic

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Raphael is very competitive and the challenge has kept him hooked. Even when going through stale periods Raphael stuck around because he loves winning.

Proudest Magic Moment

Raphael joined an international team called Legion in 1997. He did this by qualifying for the Pro Tour by winning a Grand Prix in Djon which was 8 hours away.

Hall of Fame ceremony in his home country of France. All of Raphael's family attended. With them there, along with his countrymen, he felt very honored and proud.

Best Format

Limited (Draft and Sealed)

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Raphael knows his play style and picks a deck that is competitive and that he can pilot well.

Raphael really understands the combat phase and therefore does not play control decks. Choose a deck that fits your style.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

The biggest mistake Raphael sees is in the combat step. Players don't think about it enough.

People don't realize that missing one point of damage in a combat step can lose then the game.

Watch, talk and analyze Magic

Card Evaluation Tips

Raphael waits for the whole set to come out before evaluating cards.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Experiment with Limited yourself. Draft lots of color combinations and you will get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

Read, listen and watch others but always apply what you learn by drafting yourself.

Raphael mentions his draft at GP Madison 2015. 

What's In Your Bag

Deck box
Sleeves
Tokens
Dice
Pens
Paper
Banana - healthiest snack you can have (not too heavy and full of nutrients)
Water

Improvement Suggestions

Limited: Buy 6-12 packs, mark the packs and then after you build your deck (draft, sealed, team) you can rebuild the packs, switch around the rares and then play again.

To be a better Magic player you need to not play Magic. This will help you avoid burnout, avoid automatic plays and put yourself in a different mindset for tournaments.

Don't play your cards as they come. Stop and think.

Magic Resource

TCG Player - Raphael's articles

Connect With Raphael

Twitter: @hahamoud

Twitch: 

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

 

 

Sponsors

Patreon milestone 2

"There's no such thing as a difficult thing. It's either possible or impossible." ~Raphael Levy

Nov 20, 2015

Chester Swords has 1 Grand Prix Top 8 and has been to 4 Pro Tours! In addition to his Grand Prix Sydney Top 8 his notable achievements in Magic are winning a Japanese Pro Tour Qualifier in Chiba while being there on holiday and going 9-1 in constructed at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir! He lives in Sydney, Australia.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Chester Swords when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep45

First Set

Lorwyn

Lorwyn

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Cryptic Command

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The competitive aspect and friends you make along the way.

Early Challenge

Limited is Chester's weak point.

Talking to those who are better has been Chester's best way to improve. Other than jamming a bunch of Limited games.

Level Up Moment

Shifting to Magic Online and primarily playing there. This lead to his first PTQ win in 2011.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making Top 8 at Grand Prix Sydney 2015.

Best Format

Constructed. Chester likes seeing your win rate go up as you practice with a certain deck (in Modern or Standard).

When you're first learning a format, pick a deck and stick with it. After you have a feel for the format you can switch decks.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Knowing your own play style is key to picking a deck. By playing Magic with different decks and against different decks you will learn what you like. 

Build the popular version of that deck and then tweak it as you continue playing.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Keeping really loose keeps is a big mistake players are making. Especially with the new mulligan rule players should be keeping a lot fewer hands than they are.

You have to be familiar with your deck and the match up to make the optimal keep or mulligan decision.

Don't show up unprepared. Take snacks and water and get sleep.

Card Evaluation Tips

Compare new cards to similar cards in older formats, then consider how good that card was in the old format and use it as a baseline for how good the new card is.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Sort cards by color and then take out the unplayables. Next see which colors are playable by identifying if your pool can support a certain archetype.

In Battle for Zendikar you want a fast or bomb-centric deck.

Removal is key in any Limited format.

Drafting: Look at content online before you dive in to a format. By having an idea of what the archetypes in a format are ahead of time you'll be better prepared to draft than if you just showed up and sat down. Read articles and watch videos.

How to Effectively Play Test

Drafting two or three times a day is how Chester prepares for a Limited Grand Prix. Then he will talk about his decisions with others.

For a Constructed Grand Prix he will get in reps with his deck so he can identify lines of play and become more familiar with his deck.

Improvement Suggestions

The red deck of any given format is usually pretty good. Starting with that deck is a great place to start.

Magic Resource

Surround yourself with people who are better than you so you can improve.

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

TCG Player

Connect With Chester

Twitter: @2Plowshares

Facebook: Chester Swords

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

 

Nov 17, 2015

Brian Braun-Duin produces strategy articles and video content for StarCityGames.com. He has Top 8'd four Grand Prix and won two: Grand Prix Louisville and Grand Prix New Jersey. Brian lives in Virginia.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Brian Braun-Duin when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep44

First Set

Time Spiral

Time Spiral

Favorite Set

Time Spiral

Time Spiral

 

Innistrad

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Phyrexian Arena

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Brian loves solving puzzles and Magic feels like a puzzle to him. 

What deck should you play at a tournament? What sequence do you need to play to win? These questions fuel Brian's love of Magic.

Early Challenge

Tunnel vision. Brian was so focused on card advantage and getting small, incremental advantages that he would miss the big picture. 

There is always a card that can unravel your carefully laid plans so keep your eye on the big picture. Winning is better than card advantage.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix Louisville

Grand Prix Louisville

Best Format

Legacy

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Review the top 3-5 decks using tournament reports and choose a deck that's well positioned against those.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not having a plan.

Brian is constantly thinking "How do I win from here?" He sequences and makes plays that gives him the best chance to win.

Card Evaluation Tips

Compare new cards to older similar cards. This will form the base line.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Make three piles per color.

  1. WOW / Bombs
  2. Maybes
  3. I Don't Want to Play These

Next look at what your two best colors are. Consider your mana base and whether the format can support splashing of building a three color deck.

Drafting: Take into consideration your first pick, but more importantly track what's being passed to you so you can see what's opened.

How to Effectively Play Test

Always give yourself a couple of questions to answer during a play test session.

"Is this card good in this match up?"
"Is my side board plan good in a certain match up?"

By answering questions you will get the most out of your play sessions.

Improvement Suggestions

Go to your game store and network with the other players.

Ask questions, play, borrow, lend and be a friend. The social side of Magic: The Gathering is great

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

Connect With Brian Braun-Duin

Twitter: @BraunDuinIt

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Nov 13, 2015

 

Alexander Hayne is a Magic: The Gathering Platinum Pro Player with 8 Grand Prix Top 8s including 4 Grand Prix wins! He is the Champion of Pro Tour Avacyn Restored and was the 2012 Rookie of the Year. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Alexander Hayne when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep43

First Set

Ravnica

 
Ravnica: City of Guilds

Favorite Set

Ravnica

 
Ravnica: City of Guilds

Favorite Card

Sphinx's Revelation

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The challenge of perfecting your game and working on yourself. The game is always changing and keeps the experience fresh.

Early Challenge

Alexander thought he was better than he was when he first started but specifically struggled with combat. Having a plan, looking ahead and doing combat math is a crucial skill that every player needs to develop.

Think ahead five turns and work backwards. Practice this to improve your mind for combat.

Ask for advice from better players.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in Barcelona 2012.

Pro Tour Avacyn Restored

Favorite Format

Cube Draft

How to Choose a Standard Deck

See what did well at the last tournament and assume people will being playing something that will beat that. Attack the meta from that angle.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Playing by instinct too much. When a line of play presents itself many people react on auto pilot and make a good play when there is a better one available.

Card Evaluation Tips

Wait for the whole set to be released and look for interactions between new cards.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Try to stick to two colors in Sealed unless you have really good mana fixing. Look for solid power level cards and removal.

At the beginning of a draft format feel free to take rares more often than you would later so you can test them and see what they have to offer in Limited.

Draft cards that affect the board with a good curve, good removal and good tricks. Also, keep your eye out for card advantage as well.

Improvement Suggestions

Play with good people or watch people play.

Drafting cube is an economical way to get experience.

Be an aggressive trader.

Read a lot of articles.

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Star City Games

Connect With Alexander Hayne

Twitter: @InsayneHayne

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

"A wizard who reads a thousand books is powerful. A wizard who memorizes a thousand books is insane." ~Battle of Wits

Nov 10, 2015

 

The Professor YouTubes at the Tolarian Community College and specializes in Magic: The Gathering product reviews, as well as introductory and in-depth guides to the many aspects of game play.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from The Professor when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Listen here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep42

First Set

Revised

 Revised

Favorite Set

Innistrad

 Innistrad

Favorite Card

Urza's Tower
Urza's Power Plant
Urza's Mine

Early Challenge & Level Up Moment

When the Professor returned to Magic he was strongly opposed to net decking. His next level moment was realizing that living in isolation is not a way to increase your knowledge and skill.

Proudest Magic Moment

First Friday Night Magic he won.

First Game Day he won.

First Game Day his wife won. (Gatecrash Game Day when she was 5 months pregnant!)

Favorite Format

Modern

YouTube Channel

At the Tolarian Community College the Professor reviews Magic: The Gathering products.

He was instrumental in bringing the FOUR by DeckTutor to the United States. In fact, because of the feedback from his audience Deck Tutor modified the design of the binder to fit cards that have been sleeved in a perfect fit.

Worst Product The Professor Has Reviewed

Max Protection sleeves are the worst the Professor has ever reviewed and their deck boxes literally stink.

Worst Mistake Players Make

Stubbornness. Out right refusing to play different decks just to learn limits growth. Even if you don't like/want to play a certain type of deck competitively you should at least play them a few times in practice so you understand how the deck works.

Card Evaluation Tips

The Professor is a self admitted crank during spoiler season. He wants reprints and to return to sets that are unpopular. LOL.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Printing proxies and making sample booster packs to build sealed decks and draft before the pre-release.

Improvement Suggestions

Reading articles and being familiar with the current sets is a great way to break into Magic.

Mono Red for constructed (Standard, Modern and Legacy) is a great starting point. 

Magic Resource

MTG Goldfish

MTG Top 8

MagicCards.info

MTG Salvation forums

MTG Subreddit r/spikes

Casual Wrap Up

First Commanders:
Krenko, Mob Boss
Anowon, the Ruin Sage

Most played Commanders:
Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Sapling of Colfenor
Sen Triplets

Art that the Professor feels embodies him:
Redirect

Connect With The Professor

Twitter: @TolarianCollege

YouTube: Tolarian Community College

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Nov 6, 2015

Kenji Egashira is an enthusiast of 40 card formats, and has been playing Magic since he was 10 years old. Perhaps best known for his Twitch.tv stream where he goes by NumotTheNummy, he is a full-time "internet-preneur" broadcasting his games and entertaining viewers. Kenji lives in Washington.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Kenji when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep41

First Set

Tempest set symbol

Tempest

Favorite Set

invasion

Invasion block

Favorite Card

Sliver Queen

**Kenji's first commander was Numot, the Devastator. Which is where he derived his screen name from.**

Numot, the Devastator

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Always changing. New sets and story lines keep the game fresh.

Early Challenge

Not focusing on getting better. Early on Kenji would just play the game and not think about the outcome. He would blame losses to luck. Now he thinks, "what did I do wrong and how can I get better?"

Level Up Moment

When Kenji started streaming he started to improve because he had input from his audience that helped change his perspective.

Proudest Magic Moment

Playing Magic full-time.

Also, 9th at Grand Prix Vancouver.

Best Format

Draft

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Many players play not to lose, instead of playing to win. Keep track of your thought process and note when you fall into this trap. 

Card Evaluation Tips

Kenji looks for synergies between cards and determines if they will be good in draft.

Now Kenji waits until he streams a new set to see the cards. This gives his audience a fresh perspective on the cards. When he does this he has to recognize if a card is good by itself rather than if it fits into a strategy because he doesn't know the synergies yet. He figures that out as he drafts several times.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Sort out bombs, then colors and look at how many playables you have. Curve, playables, bombs; the makings of a well managed Sealed deck.

Draft: Once you've drafted the set a few times you can ear mark cards that are worth remembering. Kenji notes the first 5-6 picks in a pack so he has an idea of what other colors will be taken at the table.

How to Effectively Play Test

Repetitions + decompression. Playing a bunch of games in the format you're preparing for and then critically thinking about each game afterwards is a great way to prepare.

Improvement Suggestions

Even when you win you should consider what you could have done better. 

Repack booster packs so you can draft and build sealed pools without buying new product.

Magic Resource

Limited Resources podcast

Constructed Resources podcast

Draft videos 

Magic streams

Connect With Kenji

Twitch.tv/numotthenummy

Twitter: @NumotTheNummy

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Nov 3, 2015

Sam Pardee is a Grand Prix superstar. So far he’s grabbed 7 Grand Prix top 8s, with wins in Detroit (team) and Portland (Modern). Sam lives in Berkeley California.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Sam Pardee when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep40

First Set

Ice Age

Ice Age

Favorite Set

invasion

Invasion

 

rise eldrazi

Rise of the Eldrazi

Favorite Card

Gideon Jura
Gavony Township

Early Challenge

Side boards - Sam would just copy a side board and not think why the cards are there or pick 15 cards that weren't really good.

Rigorously going through each match up and thinking which cards you need in the match up with others really help.

Level Up Moment

Right after Worlds 2012 Sam played Tempered Steel, which was out of his comfort zone, twice a day on MTGO. He learned the deck inside out, including how to side board, and feels this period really boosted his skills.

Proudest Magic Moment

Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Sam's team, Face to Face Games, did really well and he loved being part of that moment.

Best Format

Modern - You get such an edge knowing your deck inside out.

(Currently playing Splinter Twin.)

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Consider what was visible from the most recent tournaments and play decks that come from a different angle. For example if Dromoka's Command is really popular, don't play a card that gets blown out by it (like an enchantment based deck).

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not advancing your own game because you ascribe too much to your opponent's plays.

Card Evaluation Tips

Sam takes a hard look at new lands, especially when a rotation is going to happen, because the mana base will have a huge impact on the direction of the format.

When evaluating cards for eternal formats, the casting cost is very important because the barrier to entry is very high.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Sam looks at his bombs, answers to bombs, and cards that are resilient to removal.

Draft: Through practice (repetition) you get a better feel for reading the draft and managing your curve. Find the time to draft regularly and you'll see improvement.

Sam drafts 10-20 times to get a feel for the format and then uses that information to do well.

Team Building

Putting together a group of people you like and have similar goals is the basis of a team.

A minimum of 8 players is kind of the standard so you can hold a draft but 10-12 is better in case a member has to step out for something.

When you have your core group and come up short for the Pro Tour then bring people on through a trial period. If things work out, keep them, if not then you can part way cordially. 

How to Effectively Play Test

Find a group of people who have similar goals to you and that you like hanging out with and play a lot.

Improvement Suggestions

Use proxies to play test and then invest in the deck you really like before your event.

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Watching Streams

Magic Online

Connect With Sam

Twitter: @Smdster

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Oct 30, 2015

Hannes Kerem is an up and coming Magic: The Gathering star who has 2 Grand Prix top 8s and 1 Pro Tour top 8 on his record. Hannes' expertise is in Limited and he is from Estonia!

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Hannes Kerem when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep39

First Set

Onslaught

Onslaught

Favorite Set

Lorwyn

 

Lorwyn / Morningtide

Favorite Card

I need your help! I was a poor host on this one and didn't actually catch the card Hannes mentioned. If you figure it out please tell me.

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The competitive scene and draft.

Early Challenge

Deck construction.

Level Up Moment

Going 6-0 in Limited at his second Pro Tour Qualifier is when Hannes noticed his skill had improved.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Nationals in 2008.

Best Format

Limited

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Hannes trusted the advice of his friends and then tested. 

If you aren't confident in choosing a deck, ask someone who is more knowledgeable then you.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

People don't stick to 40 card Limited decks.

Keep your emotions in check. Don't say "Oh my gosh I drew a land again!!"

Emotions betray your hand and intentions. Stay stone faced and gain a slight edge.

Card Evaluation Tips

Compare new cards against ones you've encountered before.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Always play 40 cards.

Sealed: Look at your cool rares and build your deck around them.

Draft: You only get one pack from the left. Don't worry too much about screwing up their draft.
Hannes puts more weight on his first pick then most players and tries to stick with it. 

How to Effectively Play Test

Play a lot of Magic. In person or online, it doesn't matter, as long as you play a lot.

You need to know your deck inside and out so you give yourself the best chance of winning.

Keep detailed notes. Who went first, who won, etc...

Improvement Suggestions

Mono red is always a deck and often times good. It's a great way to break into Standard. Once it's built, just stick with it. 

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Connect With Hannes

Twitter: @Hanneskerem

Hannes on Facebook

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

Oct 27, 2015

Lee Shi Tian has 5 Grand Prix Top 8s and is the Champion of Grand Prix Birmingham (2008) he has also made the Top 8 at 4 Pro Tours. He lives in, and joins us from, the tallest city in the world, Hong Kong, China.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Lee Shi Tian when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep38

First Set

Odyssey

Odessey

Favorite Set

Shards of Alara

Shards of Alara

Favorite Card

Vendilion Clique

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Shi Tian love that there are lots of interaction and synergy between cards and that the games is refreshed every time a set comes out.

He also enjoys the people reading part of Magic too. Looking for tells when playing against an opponent is fun for him.

Early Challenge

Being a Professional gamer is not highly regarded in Hong Kong so Shi Tian was constantly asked "When are you going to get a real job?" from those around him. Until he made Platinum it was a constant challenge standing up to the pressures.

Level Up Moment

After Shi Tian's first Pro Tour Top 8 Wizards unbanned Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle which allowed Shi Tian to play the Scapeshift deck.

Shi Tian also joined with Taiwanese player Kuo Tzu-Ching, who was on the winning team of first ever World Magic Cup, to form the team MTG Mint Card. 

This period of his career was full of growth and level ups for him.

Proudest Magic Moment

Top 8 at Pro Tour Honolulu.

The Pro Tour was during a tumultuous time for Hong Kong and Lee Shi Tian was proud to bring attention to the issues his countrymen were facing.

Best Format

Draft & Modern

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Players at Grand Prix are much more diverse so Shi Tian plays the safest deck. The one with the best results.

For Pro Tours he tries to surprise the field because the format is relatively undiscovered by that point.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Limited: You should know your game plan and always track the game tempo. Know your role for the match up. Are you the aggro player or the player with inevitability?

Card Evaluation Tips

Review the spoiler several times and identify supported archetypes.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Evasion is Shi Tian's secret. 

Get lots of cards with flying.

Draft: Remember the 3 best cards in the pack. Do that with every pack to get a feel of what color people are in.

To "read the draft" you should identify the best commons in each color. You see commons more and it's easier to pick up on what is open if you track the commons.

Always draft a good curve.

Team Building

Teams are great because when you're going solo you don't have time to play every deck. Team mates help round out your knowledge.

How to Effectively Play Test

Know your meta game. What's going on locally and how can you beat it. As you scale up change your side board accordingly.

Improvement Suggestions

Watch videos online to pick up on the latest strategies.

Read articles.

Magic Resource

MTG Mint Card

Star City Games

Channel Fireball

Connect With Shi Tian

Twitter: @leearson

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5 Star Rating

 

Oct 23, 2015

Joel Larsson keeps busy working as a Pro Magic player, writing articles, streaming and traveling. He has 3 Pro Tour top 16s, 1 Pro Tour win, 1 Pro Tour 2nd, 5 Grand Prix Top 8s, and many Grand Prix Top 16s. Joel has been the Swedish Captain 3 times and was on the Nationals Team under the old system. He is 23 years old and lives in Stockholm with his lady, Sandra. 

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Joel Larsson when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep37

First Set

SaviorsKamigawa

 

Saviours of Kamigawa

Favorite Set

Time Spiral

 

Time Spiral

Innistrad

 

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The social aspect kept Joel around in the early days but now it's the thrill of the competition.

Early Challenge

Joel had to get to the point where he could trust his gut about cards. He only got to that point by putting in a lot of time and playing on MTGO, testing decks and honing his skills.

Level Up Moment

Joel's breakthrough in Paris 2011 took him to the next level

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Pro Tour Magic Origins

Best Format

Commander (1v1. Not multiplayer.)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang is Joel's Commander.

Check out Joel's article, Competitive EDH is Awesome, on MTG Mint Card.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Joel follows the progression of the meta game and thinks about what will beat what just did well, and then plays a deck that beat that.

Side boarding: Think of your deck as a 75 card deck. Then take out the 15 cards to be your side board.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Grinding just to grind and losing the fun of Magic. Also, playing with the same people and not reaching out to play with people better than you.

Card Evaluation Tips

The first thing Joel does is compare new cards to cards that are already printed. For example, [card]Ruinous Path[/card] and [card]Heroes Downfall[/card].

Joel will also consider older cards that haven't seen much play and if they are relevant now that a new set is out.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Joel looks for removal and what colors give him 14-16 creatures.

Drafting: Draft a lot and form your own ideas about the format. This will help guide your draft. Focus on your curve and prioritize removal.

Tournament Preparation

Look at the last tournament in the format that you will be playing and look online for MTGO results and get a feel for the field. Then build a deck that beats those.

Improvement Suggestions

Proxying cards is a great way to inexpensively practice.

Magic Resource

MTG Mint Card

Twitch.tv/JoelLarsson

Connect With Joel Larsson

Twitter: @JoelLarsson1991

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Oct 20, 2015

Ross Merriam is a writer for Starcitygames.com and is a Silver Level Pro with 2 Grand Prix Top 8s, 2 Star City Games Invitational Top 8s and 3 Star City Games Open Wins. Ross lives in Connecticut.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Ross Merriam when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep36

First Set

Odyssey

Odessey

Favorite Set

Time Spiral

Time Spiral

Favorite Card

Vendilion Clique

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The competitive scene and the people.

Being a rather competitive person Ross enjoys the challenge of tournaments and consistently placing in big events. He also appreciates that he's met so many cool people through Magic: The Gathering.

Early Challenge

Not understanding what cards were good in a competitive setting versus when playing with your friends at home was tough for Ross at first. People at his local game store took him under their wing and taught him the ropes.

Level Up Moment

The growth and changes he experienced at college greatly contributed to Ross' Magic abilities.

Specifically he developed his analytical skills, communication skills and humility.

Proudest Magic Moment

Going 13-2 with an Elves deck at a Legacy Grand Prix in New Jersey. He navigated a field of decks that should have beaten Elves and got back on the Pro Tour.

Favorite Format

Pauper Cube

How to Choose a Sideboard

How your opponent plays is one of the least relevant factors when determining how to sideboard. Ross considers the match up and what their list looks like.

Ross has an idea of 2-3 cards he will side board against each match up.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Holding lands as a bluff.

If you're holding a card in your hand for several turns your opponent will know it's nothing special. Balance the bluff with the benefit of having the card on the field.

Card Evaluation Tips

For a fall set that initiates a rotation, keep in mind the powerful shells from the previous format and rebuild your understanding from scratch.

When evaluating a set that come out in the middle of a format, look for cards that push existing archetypes.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Do cards have more tactical or strategic synergy? Look for cards that lead to an overall goal.
Avoid even numbers in your mana base because it causes the most variance in your draws.

Tournament Preparation

Have friends with similar goals. If your friends want to get cards signed their focus is vastly different than if they want to make a run for day two of the GP.

How to Effectively Play Test

Always take time to decompress and talk about your play session at the end of the day. Discussion

Improvement Suggestions

Reading articles and talking about them with others is a great way to improve on a budget, as is watching coverage.

Play test on cockatrice.

Magic Resource

Stat Trek

Cockatrice

Star City Games

Paulo Vitor articles

Reid Duke articles

Luis Scott-Vargas articles

Connect With Ross Merriam

Twitter: @RossMBoss

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Oct 16, 2015

Andrea Mengucci is a cultured Italian man who has made it to the Top 16 in one Grand Prix as well as the Top 16 and Top 8 in two Pro Tours. We will definitely see more of him in the years to come.

Click to Tweet: I learned how to mulligan from Andrea Mengucci when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep35

First Set

Champions Kamigawa

 

Champions of Kamigawa

Favorite Set

Innistrad

 

Innistrad

Favorite Card

Bloodbraid Elf

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

You always have changing formats. From tournament to tournament the decks change drastically even though the cards in the set are the same.

Early Challenge

Keeping bad hands was Andrea's early challenge. Just because you have a good spell, if you have one land you can't keep the hand.

Learn how to mulligan to overcome this. In Limited your hand is the main concern in whether you mulligan or not. In Constructed, the match up is the main factor in your mulligan decision.

Level Up Moment

Finding someone who was at the next level and playing with him constantly helped Andrea improve.

He also watched tons of videos and learned from the pros and won a PTQ because of it.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making it to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Atlanta.

Andrea took control of the situation and asked Mike Sigrist if he could room with and practice with him for the Pro Tour. This friendship has helped Andrea grow.

Best Format

Standard.

The best results go to the player who practices the most. Follow the decks every week to stay ahead of what's going on.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Look at the decks that performed well recently and brainstorm their weaknesses. Consider what deck is best positioned to exploit those weekends.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not knowing when to mulligan.

Showing up with the wrong deck.

Watch your opponent. Do they think a lot during combat? That could mean a combat trick. Likewise, even if you don't have a trick you should take a few seconds before passing priority so your opponent thinks you have a trick.

Card Evaluation Tips

First, lay out your decks and identify which cards can be strictly replaced by new cards. (This applies to all formats; Standard, Modern etc...)

Then identify powerful cards in the new set that are build arounds and build every Standard deck around that card that you can.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Pre-release: At a pre-release play your rares, even if they aren't that amazing, so you can try them out and see what they do. The pre-release is not a big tournament that Andrea says "I need to win". He just wants to test new cards.

Draft: Don't pass a great card just because there are other good cards in that color. In fact, if you do that and that color doesn't come back that means that you know how many other players at the table are in that color.

Take the best card regardless of color but lean more towards the color of your first pick.

How to Effectively Play Test

Know your opponent's deck list and play around what they have. Track deck lists and identify the cards that always appear in a certain archetype and know them cold.

Playing with people in real life is better than playing online. When possible, go to your local game store and draft with real people.

Improvement Suggestions

When you're first getting in, pick a deck and stick with it. As new sets come out just get the pieces you need in your colors. 

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball

Andrea Mengucci's Mana Base Article

Mana Base Article v2.0

Connect With Andrea

Twitter: @Mengu09

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Oct 13, 2015

Zvi Mowshowitz has 9 Grand Prix top 8s including winning Grand Prix New Orleans. He has 4 Pro Tour top 8s including being the champion of Pro Tour Tokoyo in 2001. He was inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame in 2007. Zvi was born and raised in New York City.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Zvi Mowshowitz when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep34

First Set

Revised

The Dark The Dark (first booster pack)

 

Favorite Set

Innistrad

Limited: Innistrad

Favorite Card

Jayemdae Tome

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The people he's met and the friends he's made. Zvi met his best friend through Magic as well as a business partner for one of his ventures.

Zvi also loves that Magic is constantly changing. 

Early Challenge

Age and travel distance were an obstacle for Zvi early on. Thankfully his parents trusted a fellow player (who was older) and allow him to take Zvi to tournaments that were further away.

Level Up Moment

Zvi's first Pro Tour (during Tempest block) where he realized he was actually good and could swing it with the big guys is when Zvi started taking his training seriously.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix New Orleans

Best Format

Block Constructed

How to Choose a Standard Deck

If you want to dominate your local scene, stick with one deck. If you want to really improve, play with a lot of different decks so you learn how they play and how to beat them.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Always play to win.

HOWEVER, don't ever feel like your time and energy was wasted if you lose.

Walk away from every event asking two questions: Did I learn something? Did I enjoy it?

Have a growth mindset. Say "today will not be a waste, and in order for it to not be a waste I have to learn something." 

Failure to identify the key resources in any given game is the biggest mistake Zvi sees players make. 

Who has inevitability? A lot of people just play and don't have a plan and don't track who has inevitability to win?

Mid-level players often play around things that they either can't play around or shouldn't play around.

Card Evaluation Tips

Wait until the full spoiler comes out before evaluating the set for Limited.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: What are your amazing cards? Focus on having a good curve of good cards. Generally you want two colors with early drops and a reasonable curve.

Avoid the devil's mana base. (6/6/6 lands)

Draft: If what you pass to your left is not a bomb, just remember the color and don't waste brain space on memorizing the exact card.

Tournament Prep & Team Building

Find people that you get along well with and test with them.

Travel together and split a room (for cost reasons).

Improvement Suggestions

Watch others draft. Have others watch you and give you feedback. Proxy up decks. Play online for repetitions.

Magic Resources

Cockatrice

Magic Online

Channel Fireball

Star City Games - Great tournament circuit

Connect With Zvi

Twitter: @TheZvi

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

Oct 9, 2015

Justin Cohen is the 2015 Rookie of the Year and has started topping the charts by making it into one Pro Tour top 8.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Justin Cohen when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep34

First Set

Fourth Edition
(This set had no symbol)

Favorite Set

Modern MastersModern Masters

Limited is Justin's favorite format so Modern Masters was  his favorite because it had a very deep Limited format.

Favorite Card

Gaea's Cradle

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

Drafting. Plain and simple, Justin LOVES to draft.

Early Challenge

Finding others to play with was hard as a young player. On top of that he had to find players better than himself so he could improve. Whenever Justin identified someone he could learn from he would gravitate towards them and soak in all he could.

Level Up Moment

From Theros to Khans was Justin's biggest growth spurt. He avidly consumed content and by knowing more he made better decisions.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making Top 8 at Pro Tour Fate Reforged in 2015.

Best Format

Draft.

How to Choose a Standard Deck

Take up a deck that minimizes your opponents advantage. Justin will likely play a fast deck because Standard is not his strength and limiting the time a superior Standard player has to gain control is advantageous for him.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Getting their priorities mixed up. People say they want to improve but then default to protecting their ego. Too many people ascribe luck to their loses instead of internalizing what they did wrong.

Card Evaluation Tips

Justin needs the whole picture and waits for most of the cards to be released before he sifts through them.

He looks for trends in the size of creatures and trends in removal quality. Justin also will consider the archetypes being supported.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Justin looks for flexibility. Try to construct multiple decks with your pool. Register your best deck but constantly reevaluate and sideboard aggressively to combat your opponents strategy.

Too make this work you should sleeve your entire pool and pay close attention to what you take out and put in.

Draft: Remember 2 things: what you expect to be taken for the 3-4 picks after you, then look at the next set of good cards so you know what's likely to come back.

Keep a mental tally of your mana curve.

Team Building

You want people who are not afraid to be wrong and who aren't afraid to throw out ideas. Surround people who complement your skill set.

Improvement Suggestions

Build a set specific cube to learn the interactions between cards and for a way to practice that's easy on the wallet.

Magic Resource

Star City Games

Channel Fireball

Connect With Justin

Twitter: @trippdup

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Oct 6, 2015

Frank Karsten was inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2009 after putting up impressive results and contributing greatly to the Magic community. He has 3 Pro Tour top 8s and 6 Grand Prix Top 8s! He is a writer for ChannelFireball, has a PhD in stochastic operations research and game theory and is a member of the EU Grand Prix coverage team. He lives in Eindhoven Netherlands.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Frank Karsten when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep32

First Set

Tempest set symbol Tempest

 

Favorite Set

Champions Kamigawa Kamigawa block

(because the Kamigawa block constructed was great)

Favorite Card

Gifts Ungiven

What makes Magic fun for you?

Frank loves the creative and puzzle solving outlet Magic provides as well the opportunity to travel the world and make wonderful friends.

Early Challenge

Frank had to convince his parents and teachers as a 16 year old that going to his first Pro Tour in New York City was a good idea. He successfully did this.

One year later, as a 17 year old, he was back in New York City on September 11, 2001! Thankfully he had a friend that he made through Magic that he could stay with as he waited for the airports to open again.

Level Up Moment

Grasping the concept of tempo opened Frank's mind to a new way of playing Magic.

Tempo is using less mana than your opponent to affect the board. Killing a creature with a cheaper costing removal spell is a good tempo play.

Damage clocks also plays into tempo.

Proudest Magic Moment

Being inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame

Best Format

Block Constructed is a pet favorite of Frank's but today his best format is Limited.

Current Standard Deck

Aggro decks are Frank's go to as of late, but he started out as a control player.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Too many players blame luck for their losses instead of considering their misplays.

Also, too many players don't have a plan. They just make random plays.

Frank has seen so many players build their deck with terrible mana bases. It's an easy fix. Talk to people better than you and browse the internet for good resources.

Evaluation Tips

Frank evaluates a new set once all of it has been released.

He compares new cards to similar, base line cards from previous sets to see if they are good for Limited.

Baseline: 2/2 creature for 2 mana; 3/2 or 2/3 creature for 3 mana; 4/3 or 3/4 creature for 4 mana. If stats are worse than this you should expect some kind of upside. If they fall short and don't have upside then the card is probably not good.
Four mana or less removal spells are really good in Limited.

Cards that cost 3 mana or less and lands see the most play in Constructed.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Two color decks do better in Sealed because you will have a more consistent mana curve. A good rule of thumb is to have four 2 drops, five 3 drops, three 4 drops, three 5 drops, 8 spells and 17 lands.

Look for two colors that will get you close to this mix.

Drafting: Frank developed the first pick order list and still makes one today for each new set. It serves as a starting guide line when he's drafting.

Beginner Draft Tip: Pick you colors early and stick with those throughout the draft.

Play Testing

Communicate with teammates. Build in time for discussion so everyone can benefit and improve.

Improvement

To get better at Magic you should expect to invest some amount of Magic. Like tennis, where you need a racket to play, you have to have cards to play at a tournament.

You can have a friend over and play online and then discuss the game so you can get better.

Active discussion is key no matter what format you are studying.

Interview Links

Channel Fireball

Draft Sim

Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO)

Connect With Frank

Twitter: @karsten_frank

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

Sep 30, 2015

Doc streams late night limited on Twitch. He began playing Magic: The Gathering at age 6, in Mirage, and has been honing his game since. He gets his fix of paper magic through a Team Draft League in Brooklyn, and he represented the Community at the 2015 Community Cup.

Click to Tweet: Doc takes us from spoiler season to actually playing with cards on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep31

Evaluation Tips

Doc only looks at the spoiler after the full set has been spoiled.

Having the full picture allows you to see the magic number of the set.

Almost every set has "magic numbers". It might be 3 where there are a lor of 3 drops and a a lot of 3 power creatures, or it could be another number. You won't get a good feel until the whole set is released.

Limited Tips

Focus on remembering / ear marking the three cards you think will be taken after your own pick. This will give you a good idea of what half the table is in.

Play Testing

Find people you like playing with and hammer out sessions.

For Limited, grinding is a good way to prepare. Absorb as many understandings of the format as you can.

Improvement

Consume as much of other people's content as you can if you can't draft as much as you would like.

Interview Links

Hipsters of the Coast

Connect With Doc

Twitch: SGDoc

Twitter: @MtgoDoc

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

Sep 29, 2015

Doc streams late night limited on Twitch. He began playing Magic: The Gathering at age 6, in Mirage, and has been honing his game since. He gets his fix of paper magic through a Team Draft League in Brooklyn, and he represented the Community at the 2015 Community Cup.

First Set

MirageMirage

 

Favorite Set

LorwynLorwyn

 

Favorite Card

Birds of Paradise

What makes Magic fun for you?

Doc has fun when he really has to use his brain. Magic affords him plenty of opportunities to use his brain.

More than that, Doc loves streaming and loves the interaction with his community.

Early Challenge

Being closed minded and narrow. Doc would form an opinion of a format or card and if anyone said something different he would dismiss it. Chris Manning broke through the blinders and helped Doc improve.

Proudest Magic Moment

Being elected to represent the Magic community at large at the 2015 Magic Community Cup.

Best Format

Draft

#1 Draft Tip: BREAD - Bombs, Removal, Evasive, Aggressive, Duds
Pick cards in this order as a general guideline to draft.

Current Standard Deck

Esper Dragons

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Limited: Deck building is where people make the most mistakes. Know the set and what you need to survive. In Magic Origins for example you need several relevant plays (creatures) before turn three.

Know how fast the format is and know how to keep your opponent off tempo.

Connect With Doc

Twitch: SGDoc

Twitter: @MtgoDoc

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

Sep 23, 2015

Paul Rietzl was born in Boston, MA and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ working as an Executive Recruiter. He has 12 Grand Prix top 8s, including 2 wins, and 4 Pro Tour top 8s including winning Pro Tour Amsterdam in 2010. Paul is a member of Team UltraPro and writes for ChannelFireball.com. He is a member of Magic: The Gathering's Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

Card and Set Evaluation Tips

Paul recognizes his strength is not in deck building. He leans on the deck building abilities of those he trusts and then tweaks from there, sharing his insights along the way.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Check out your Mythics and Rares first. Note any removal. Bring with you an idea of the format, is it fast, slow or tempo based.
Missing land drops is usually bad in slower formats, make sure your mana base is solid.

Draft: Keep in mind the colors those around you are in by noting what the next most powerful cards are after you pick.
Don't commit yourself to colors too early.
The best drafters keep it simple. When there is a bomb they draft it. They stick to Limited 101

How to Prepare

Look at deck lists online, copy them, plat test a lot and tweak.

Improvement

Magic: The Gathering is an expensive hobby but it increases it's rewards exponentially the more you put into it.

Identify what level you want to perform at and then have fun and understand there is a resource commitment associated with each level. If  kitchen table Magic is your thing, that's awesome. If you want to dominate the Pro Tour, go for it! The money required for those two levels is vastly different.

Keep your body healthy. Regular exercise gets oxygen to the brain and has helped Paul keep his edge.

Magic Resources

Huey Jensen articles

Reid Duke articles

Chris Fennel articles

Patrick Chapin articles

Interview Links

Magic: The Gathering main website

Star City Games

Channel Fireball

MTG Top 8

Connect With Paul

Twitter: @paulrietzl

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

Sep 22, 2015

Paul Rietzl was born in Boston, MA and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ working as an Executive Recruiter. He has 12 Grand Prix top 8s, including 2 wins, and 4 Pro Tour top 8s including winning Pro Tour Amsterdam in 2010. Paul is a member of Team UltraPro and writes for ChannelFireball.com. He is a member of Magic: The Gathering's Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

First Set

The Dark The Dark

Favorite Set

rise eldrazi Rise of the Eldrazi

 

Favorite Card

Steppe Lynx

What makes Magic fun for you?

Depending on where he is in life different aspects of Magic appeal to him. Early on it was the travel, sometimes is the thrill of challenge, but overall it's the life long friends and the connections with people that keep Paul coming back.

Early Challenge

Not doing well at tournaments made Paul do some soul searching and decide that he will start to prepare the heck out of tournament so he can show up prepared.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning the Team Grand Prix in San Jose (2012) with Matt Sperling and David Williams

Best Format

Team Rochester Draft

Sealed Deck

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Everyone has experienced being blown out. While blow out losses are not fun, many people shut down when there are lot of little things you could be doing to gain incremental edges.

Know the sequence you and your opponent need to go through for you to come back and play to that. Assume your opponent will make mistakes.

Consider what factors outside of the game are affecting your loss. Is your mana base built right? Did you sideboard correctly?

Don't shut down. There is a lot to be learned from a blow out loss.

Connect With Paul

Twitter: @paulrietzl

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

Sep 16, 2015

Jamie Parke has 3 major top 8s, including Worlds 1999, Worlds 2008 and PT ATL 2014. He also has 4 GP Top 8s and as you can tell by the dates is one of a very small group of players with a top 8 in 3 different decades. He currently lives in Philadelphia and trades equity options.

Evaluation Tips

Look at cards and compare them with the other cards being spoiled. Look for synergies like Subterranean Scout + Nantuko Husk.

Limited Tips

Reading the draft: Don't focus on this skill too early. First focus on learning the cards and becoming familiar with what's good and isn't. Identify the really good commons. When one of these picks come late than you can start reading the draft.

Team Building

Find others who are strong where you are weak but more importantly you need people who you are friends with. It's imperative that you get along with each other.

Play Testing

A week play-testing with the Pantheon looks like people playing what ever deck they want against other decks and having an organized draft a few times a day.

Improvement

Look up rules. Ask rules questions. A deeper understanding of the rules will lead to more victories.

Magic Resource

Cockatrice

Duels of the Planeswalkers

Connect With Jamie

Twitter: @JamieParke

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

Sep 15, 2015

Jamie Parke has 3 major top 8s, including Worlds 1999, Worlds 2008 and PT ATL 2014. He also has 4 GP Top 8s and as you can tell by the dates is one of a very small group of players with a top 8 in 3 different decades. He currently lives in Philadelphia and trades equity options.

First Set

Revised

Favorite Set

Tempest block (for its Limited game play)

Favorite Card

Ancestral Recall

What makes Magic fun for you?

The challenge of competing at the highest levels.

Early Challenge

Finding people who wanted to play as much as Jamie did was an early challenge for him.

Level Up Moment

Magic is a game of probabilities. Identifying that there is a correct play based on probability and realizing that you could make the correct play and still lose helped Jamie improve early on. It helped him let go of unnecessary pressure. 

 

Best Format

Limited

It's so easy to throw together a draft where all people have to do is invest 3 hours of their time.

Current Standard Deck

Hangarback Abzan

Biggest Mistake Players Make

1) Don't go to a big tournament too early. 

Play during the week. Play at FNM. Participate in online trainings like LSVs "What's the play?"

2) Don't give away too much imformation.

Hold cards in hand you don't need to play so your opponent knows as little as possible.

Connect With Jamie

Twitter: @JamieParke

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

Sep 9, 2015

Josh McClain has 4 Grand Prix top 8s including winning  Grand Prix Detroit in 2013 (Modern format). He also has one Pro Tour top 16 and a TCG Invitational win.

Evaluation Tips

Check to see if new cards fill holes in existing decks.

Check if powerful cards that weren't played before now have synergy and are playable with the new cards.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Sealed is bomb-centric, so removal is very important. Stand alone cards that are good on their are will perform better than synergy decks.

Draft: Draft cards that work well on their own and if the synergy comes it's a bonus. Draft a lot to hone your evaluation eye. Group discussion is also crucial to improving.

Team Building

Build a team with people you trust. You need to trust each others opinions and track record.

 

Improvement

Consume as much content as you can. There's so much free content out there.

Magic Resource

Channel Fireball - Josh's weekly video

Interview Links

Star City Games

Connect With Josh McClain

@Good_Game_

jmcclain2007@hotmail.com

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 
 

 

Sep 8, 2015

Josh McClain has 4 Grand Prix top 8s including winning  Grand Prix Detroit in 2013 (Modern format). He also has one Pro Tour top 16 and a TCG Invitational win.

First Set

Odyssey Odyssey

 

Favorite Set

rise eldrazi Rise of the Eldrazi

 

Favorite Card

Gavony Township
Orzhov Pontiff

What makes Magic fun for you?

The tournament scene and the competitive aspect. Putting in a lot of work and seeing results.

Early Challenge

Grinding Pro Tour Qualifiers for several years was a struggle. Josh felt he had plateaued. By playing a lot (on MTGO and in person) he became familiar with his deck and the matchups.

Level Up Moment

Realizing that all the big players are just people and he could achieve the same results through practice.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix Detroit.

mcclain GP win

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Format

Modern (Amulet Bloom Deck)

Current Standard Deck

Blue/Red Thopters for Pro Tour Vancouver 2015

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not thinking of what your opponent could have. Overlooking the counter trick when you have one in hand.

Connect With Josh

@Good_Game_

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

 
 
 
Sep 2, 2015

Valentin Mackl top 8’d his first Grand Prix in the summer of 2014 in Miami. Since then he has top 8’d four more Grand Prix and top 16’d at least 11 others! He’s been the Austrian World Magic Cup Captain for two consecutive years (2014, 2015) and is currently a Gold Level Pro.

Evaluation Tips

Try playing in a pre release without looking at the spoiler first. You'll have a fun and challenging experience.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Don't always look at your rares. Look at the number of playables you have outside the rares.

Draft: Make a mental note of the good cards in the pack and try and peg the players on your left in certain colors.

Team Building

A team for the Pro Tour is extremely important to assimilate all the knowledge that is out there.

Play Testing

Structure your play testing time. At certain times you play certain formats then build in time to analyze and share the information afterwards.

Improvement

Proxy decks to play test before you invest in the one you're taking to a big tournament.

Make friends with someone who has a large collection so you can borrow cards instead of buying.

Connect With Valentin Mackl

@nameless4god

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

 
 
 
Sep 1, 2015

Valentin Mackl top 8’d his first Grand Prix in the summer of 2014 in Miami. Since then he has top 8’d four more Grand Prix and top 16’d at least 11 others! He’s been the Austrian World Magic Cup Captain for two consecutive years (2014, 2015) and is currently a Gold Level Pro.

First Set

SaviorsKamigawaSaviors of Kamigawa

 

Favorite Set

InnistradInnistrad

 

Favorite Card

Momentary Blink

What makes Magic fun for you?

The competition of big tournaments and traveling are fun. Winning feels nice. :)

Early Challenge

Playing crappy decks early on lead to many losses. Mackl improved his analytical skills with age and started playing top tier decks.

Level Up Moment

Going to big competitions consistently helped Mackl improve because the caliber of players he was playing against was really good.

Proudest Magic Moment

First Grand Prix top 8 in Miami.

Best Format

Standard

Legacy

Standard Advice

Whenever you make a decision you should think, "why am I doing this right now?"

Current Standard Deck

Jeskai

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Take your time when you play. Fast decisions when you're not experienced are most of the time wrong. Try to play absolutely correctly.

Connect With Valentin

@nameless4god

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

Aug 26, 2015

Evaluation Tips

In every Limited format there are archetypes. During spoiler season look for archetypes and keywords that support/synergize with those archetypes. However, nothing beats actually playing with the cards.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Look for creatures, cards that kill creatures and card advantage. Stick with two colors if at all possible for a stable mana base. Avoid more than 4 mana sources in a third color. Power level is slightly more important than mana curve but doing something productive every turn is key.

Draft: Take the best card and then identify what the second best card was so you can ear mark what color the next player is. Then know that the color is probably closed and avoid those colors moving forward.

The more you draft a set the more you will recognize synergies between cards.

Spending fewer resources than your opponent (when it comes to tricks) is to your advantage.

Don't commit fully to colors based on your first few picks. Understand you might be moved off those colors.

Beginner Tip: Draft two colors. Take the best card in two colors and stick with those.

Prepping for a Big Event

Healthy living is important. Getting enough sleep is critical. Loading your body with healthy food and avoiding drinking and drugs before the event gives you the best chance possible. You are playing against the best out there and you have to focused and on your game.

Get a team.

Team Building

Friendship and mutual respect come first and foremost. Then look for people with different strengths. If you are a good deck builder, look for a good sideboarder.

Play Testing

Organization and focus are important. Have a plan of action. Define the environment, build decks that represent the environment and then play against those.

Improvement

Find what color(s) resonate with you and just focus on that deck.

Interview Links

Star City Games Articles

Connect With Gary

@GaryWise1

jgarywise1@hotmail.com - email him article ideas for his Star City Games column

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

 
 
 
Aug 25, 2015

First Set

REV_Symbol_Product

Revised (1995)

Favorite Set

Good tempo based set that lend themselves to exploitable Limited formats.

Urzas SagaUrza's Saga

 

Favorite Card

Brainstorm
Upheaval
Chaos Orb
Contract From Below
Cheatyface

What makes Magic fun for you?

Upheaval for 13 is fun! ;)

Early Challenge

Having a $2000 deck stolen was a huge set back. However, this opened Gary up to exploring other formats like Limited.

Level Up Moment

Making friends with the top player in Canada and playing with his group led to huge improvements in Gary's game.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making top 8 at the Worlds tournament in Japan.

Being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Best Format

Limited

Connect With Gary

@GaryWise1

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

 

Aug 19, 2015

Rich Hoaen is known for his skill in Limited formats and has one Pro Tour top 8, four Pro Tour 16s, three Grand Prix wins and five other Grand Prix top 8s!! He was also the runner up in the last ever Magic Invitational.

Evaluation Tips

Become intimately familiar with the combat tricks and their casting cost. This is essential for success in Limited play.

Limited Tips

Drafting: Figure out what colors the players to your right are NOT in or figure out what color is open at the table. These two methods are the basics of figuring out what colors you should play.

Team Building

Don't be a jerk and find players that are better than you.

Improvement

Get a commons box and learn card interactions.

Magic Resource

Cockatrice (free tool)

Connect With Rich

@rhoaen

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

Aug 18, 2015

Rich Hoaen is known for his skill in Limited formats and has one Pro Tour top 8, four Pro Tour 16s, three Grand Prix wins and five other Grand Prix top 8s!! He was also the runner up in the last ever Magic Invitational.

First Set

WL_C Weatherlight

 

Favorite Set

OdysseyOdyssey block

 

Favorite Card

Battlefield Medic

Early Challenge

Coming to grips that he wasn't as good as he thought. It took a better player pointing out his misplays for Rich to realize he had much to learn.

Level Up Moment

Cheating is totally unacceptable and Rich learned early how abhorring it is when a team confessed to having cheated in a tournament they won.

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix Montreal (2011)

Best Format

Limited

Current Standard Deck

Rich only plays when he has to but is currently on a mono red build.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Blaming games on luck. At lower levels players do this all the time, and it's wrong.

Connect With Rich

@rhoaen

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

 

 

Aug 12, 2015

Dan Jordan has 3 Pro Tour top 16s, 4 Grand Prix top 8s, and 4 Star City Games Open wins under his belt. He has also top 75'd another Pro Tour and has cashed in numerous other Grand Prix.

Evaluation Tips

Dan admits to being a terrible card evaluator but still thinks about cards as they are released and their possible impact on Standard.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Identify a deck plan and build around that.

Draft: Be very mindful of your mana curve.

Team Building

Find A team. Ideally you'll want a team with Pro players but if you can't find one then just get on A team that play tests regularly.

Play Testing

Take good notes and don't waste play testing time. Be mindful of "inbred" play testing.

Improvement

Invest in Standard and stick with your deck as you improve and move up to bigger tournaments.

Magic Resource

The Elephant Method (you just have to read it for yourself)

Connect With Dan

@DanJordanMTG

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Aug 11, 2015

Dan Jordan has 3 Pro Tour top 16s, 4 Grand Prix top 8s, and 4 Star City Games Open wins under his belt. He has also top 75'd another Pro Tour and has cashed in numerous other Grand Prix.

First Set

Blizzard_Elemental_Destiny01 Urza's Destiny

 

d9d283d85948ce435543d897557305b2a86cc9d4_small Apacolypse was his first booster pack.

 

Favorite Set

96px-Ravnica_expsym.svg Ravnica: City of Guilds

Dan loved the complexity and depth of the set.

Favorite Card

Dark Confidant

What makes Magic fun for you?

The life long friends you make and get to travel the world with is the best part about the game.

Early Challenge

Due to an early success, Dan struggled with understanding that you're not going to win every tournament. You have to put in effort and stay on top of your game.

Level Up Moment

Watching the best players in the world and asking "why are they the best?" "What are they doing that I'm not doing?"

Proudest Magic Moment

Placing in GP New Jersey.

Best Format

Legacy; casting Brainstorm is so much fun.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not practicing enough. Get on Magic Online and play and play and play. Play with people who are better than you.

Connect With Dan

@DanJordanMTG

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

5-gold-stars1 small

Aug 5, 2015

Evaluation Tips

Compare new cards to old, similar cards. That's why constantly playing Limited is important.

Limited Tips

Don't force a deck around pet cards that you like. Be willing to switch colors and ditch your first few picks if another strategy presents itself.

Play Testing

There is no substitute for practice. Use proxies or an online client to get reps in with a deck before you decide to invest in it.

Check out:

Magic: The Gathering Proxy Generator - Input the cards you need and the site will generate card images the perfect size to print, cut out and sleeve up.

Cockatrice - An online client to build decks and play against yourself to test things out.

Improvement

Organize your board in a consistent way that makes sense to you. ie Creatures by power in descending order. Find something that works for you and be consistent.

Magic Resource

Puca Trade

Send and receive cards from everywhere! We also talked about how to tell if a card is fake.

Interview Links

LSV set reviews on Channel Fireball

Limited Resources

The Magic Show

Connect With A.E. Marling

@AEMarling

A.E. Marling on Facebook

Aug 4, 2015

A.E. Marling has won a Modern Star City Games invitational qualifier and has been one game away from the Pro Tour TWICE. He writes the incredibly popular and gratefully useful Foolproof Magic series for GatheringMagic. He is also a cosplayer, a Level 20 flavor judge, and a fantasy author.

Mr. Foolproof Magic Himself

A.E. shared some amazing tips all throughout the episode and I'd be remiss if I didn't try to catch them here for you.

Consume Magic event coverage. Watch what the pros are doing and learn from their successes as well as mistakes.

Play your land "in isolation" to create a visual queue that you've played a land this turn. That way you won't accidentally play two lands in a turn.

Organize your board in an easy-to-track way.

Bottom line: Develop a system that works for you and use the Foolproof Magic articles as a spring board into systematic.

The Foolproof Magic suite:

Foolproof Magic

Foolproof Magic 2

Foolproof Magic 3

First Set

Revised

Favorite Set

272px-Innistrad_expansion_symbol.svgInnistrad

 

Favorite Card

Arcbound Ravager

What makes Magic fun for you?

The imagery and imagination are so fascinating while the mental sport is captivating.

Early Challenge

Feeling like he deserved to win and then tilting when he didn't was A.E.'s biggest struggle. One mistake cost him a tournament when he was young and this drove him away for a time. A.E. eventually realized that losing because you made a mistake is one of the beauties of Magic: The Gathering.

Level Up Moment

Realizing that your decisions matter and Magic is a game that when you make a mistake you lose. That's awesome because it shows that every choice is important.

Best Format

Sealed / Draft and Modern

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Tilting and not understand why it happens or how to control/curb it. We had a great discussion about stoicism and it's application to Magic.

Connect With A.E. Marling

@AEMarling

Jul 28, 2015

Shaun shares lessons learned from Grand Prix Las Vegas 2015 so you will be better prepared for your next big event. This episode is especially useful if you've never been to a Grand Prix or other premiere Magic: The Gathering event.

Preparing for Big Events

 

1. Go!

If it's within a 4 hour drive you should go.

2. See which artists are going to be there and prep your cards

3. Go with a friend to double up on card signing

4. Prepare

What’s the format?

Review the set by looking at spoilers, reading articles, listening to podcasts (like Limted Resources) and watching event coverage.

Play test your deck a TON. There is no substitute for playing.

 

5. Arrive early

Get into town the day before the event starts.

Crash at a friend's house, stay at a local hotel or find a place on Air BnB.

Go with a group of friends to reduce travel costs or take your family on a mini vacation and stay an extra day to reconnect with them and explore the city after your event.

 

6. Bring spending money (make sure it's cash)

You may want cards signed, singles, swag or to get into side events, all of which require some extrah moola.

 

7. Sleep

Get a good night's sleep the day before your event. You will want to be well rested so your mind is sharp.

 

8. Take food

Eat a good breakfast in the morning and take water, snacks and a meal with you. You'll be busy all day and will want some fuel to keep your biology balanced. This will help keep your mind on Magic and off your stomach.

 

9. Play all the rounds

You’re there to play, so stay and play. You will learn so much just by playing all the rounds.

 

10. Call a judge

Don't be afraid to call the judge to ask questiosn or to point out something that happened. They are there to help. My big take-away was to call a judge on a slow playing opponent. I should have and didn't so I received a draw.

 

11. HAVE FUN!

Jul 22, 2015

Randy Buehler has 8 Grand Prix top 8’s, including a win and 5 Pro Tour top 16’s, including a win! His professional Magic career was cut short when he took a position at Wizards of the Coast, eventually becoming director of Magic R&D and then Vice-President of Digital Games. He has since moved on from Wizards but has never missed a Pro Tour as he is the voice of the Pro Tour webcast. Randy is a class of 2007 member of the Magic Hall of Fame.

Limited Tips

Understand what is critical mass. You can get more synergy in draft than in sealed. Through practice you can identify how many synergistic cards you'll actually need to make the strategy work. If you don't have that mass than just play what is good. Look at your rares and try to build around them.

Don't lose track of what you're actually doing by spending a bunch of brain power on trying to remember EVERY thing you've passed.

Don't force colors in draft. Open your first pack and just look at the cards, pick the best card, remember the ones you almost picked and look to the next pack.

Shoot for two colors with a good curve.

For mana, start with 17 lands and count the pips of your cards and match your lands with the ratio of pips.

Double mana symbol cards are very intensive in Limited. Avoid splashing them.

Preparing for Big Events

Be familiar with the results of previous events before yours. How does your deck hold up against the decks that did well?

Play Testing

When you are play testing your brew make sure you always run it against a gauntlet deck. Running your brew against a buddy's brew is not good play testing.

Team Building

Find people you get along with and have similar goals. However, if you don't have a team you can embrace Magic: The Gathering Online and play whenever you want.

Improvement

If you have a limited budget find players with similar card access as you so you don't get constantly crushed. Find where you are good (try Magic Online) and focus on that format to build your collection.

Magic Resource

MTG Gold Fish

Connect With Randy

@rbuehler

 

Jul 21, 2015

Randy Buehler has 8 Grand Prix top 8’s, including a win and 5 Pro Tour top 16’s, including a win! His professional Magic career was cut short when he took a position at Wizards of the Coast, eventually becoming director of Magic R&D and then Vice-President of Digital Games. He has since moved on from Wizards but has never missed a Pro Tour as he is the voice of the Pro Tour webcast. Randy is a class of 2007 member of the Magic Hall of Fame.

First Set

96px-Homelandssymbol.svg Homelands

 

Favorite Set

invasion Invasion - First set Randy worked on at Wizards R&D

 

96px-Ravnica_expsym.svg Ravnica - First set done with processes and people that Randy put in place and hired. It was awesome seeing a set come together by people he brought on board.

 

Favorite Card

Necropotence

What makes Magic fun for you?

The competitive aspect of the game keeps Randy engaged. The small puzzles, the overall strategy the challenge of facing off with an opponent is so addicting to those who seek to prove they are the best at something.

Early Challenge

Your circle of players is a huge factor of how good you are. Finding players that are better than you is the BEST way to improve.

Best Format

Vintage - It's really the only format he can play on a semi competitive level because he can't play at premier events. (His wife currently works for Wizards of the Coast so he can't play at events because he's the immediate family member of a Wizards employee.)

Current Standard Deck

Randy plays "all the decks" so he can be familiar with lines of play for coverage. He's excited to look into Turbo Fog and Rally the Ancestors deck.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Obsessing about luck. Instead of turning the focus outward and saying you lost because of bad luck you should turn the focus inward and say "what did I do wrong?" "How could I have played better?"

Connect With Randy

@rbuehler

Jul 15, 2015

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has 9 PT top 8s, 17 GP top 8s, and is a 2-time National Champion. He's the youngest Hall of Famer in the history of Magic: The Gathering!

Evaluation Tips

First: Compare cards to something that is familiar to you. Can you compare a new card to a similar card you've played in a different, past format?
Second: With completely new cards think of what shell would best fit the card.

Go through and look at every card that interacts with the new cards.

Limited Tips

Determine if the set is a fast format. If it is look for more 2 drops and other cheap cards. In Sealed, identify what's good and play that. At a pre-release your goal should be to feel the set out and learn about the set. Play things you normally wouldn't to test them out.

When drafting, don't try to remember everything you pass. Remember the general color, cards that you almost picked, and cards that are good against you.

Beginner Tip: When drafting, focus on building a deck instead of picking good cards. Don't worry so much about signals and what's you're passing, just focus on building a good deck with a good curve.

Team Building

Find people with the same goal as you and that you get a long with.

Play Testing

There is no substitute for playing with like-minded people of similar or better skill levels than. The best way to get better is to compete. Go to those Grand Prix' near you and you will learn a ton.

Limited Budget Improvement

Build a standard deck and stick with it the whole season to save money.

Build a cube or repack booster packs after a draft to practice Limited play on a limited budget.

Magic Resource

Paulo's weekly articles on Channel Fireball are great for all players.

Interview Links

Channel Fireball

Connect With Paulo

@PVDDR

Jul 14, 2015

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has 9 PT top 8s, 17 GP top 8s, and is a 2-time National Champion. He's the youngest Hall of Famer in the history of Magic: The Gathering!

First Set

4th Edition

96px-Homelandssymbol.svg Homelands

 

Favorite Set

Paulo likes formats better than individual sets. He reflects on whether a format had a deck he liked. Some that stand out to him are:

190px-Lorwyn's_logo.svg Lorowyn

272px-Innistrad_expansion_symbol.svgInnistrad

96px-ChampionsKamigawa_expsym.svgKamigawa

Favorite Card

Vendilion Clique

What makes Magic fun for you?

The people. Making friends all over the world and being able to see them on a regular basis is tons of fun.

Early Challenge

Being stranded in London the day of the terrorist attacks taught Paulo that people are more willing to help than you think.

Level Up Moment

Forming team Channel Fireball. Surrounding yourself and playing with people who are better than you is the best way to level up.

Proudest Magic Moment

Making first GP top 8 in Charleston 2006. (Unified Ravnica Block Constructed)

Winning PT San Juan 2010. (Draft / Block Constructed)

Hall of Fame 2012. (Seattle)

Best Format

Legacy. People who play Legacy often don't play other formats. Paulo feels his experience across the board gives him an edge in Legacy.

Best PT format is Standard. Paulo is not emotionally attached to decks. He can objectively build, test and abandon decks.

Current Standard Deck

Esper Dragons. But might move off that with the release of Origins.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Not thinking of the big picture. Do not look at a game as a series of turns. Look at the game as a whole that happens to have turns in it. What is your plan? What is your opponent's plan? How do you want to win? How does he want to win? Consider those overall questions and determine how it impacts your plays.

Connect With Paulo

Twitter: @PVDDR

Jul 8, 2015

Limited Tips

You have the smallest card pool and the least amount of control in Sealed, that's what makes it a challenge to master. You only see 6 packs worth of product. In Booster draft you see several hundred cards and get to pick colors and combinations.

Find people who are better than you and discuss Sealed strategies. Be open to criticism.

Drafting: Know which uncommons and commons could be signals before you sit down so you only have to take note of 3-5 cards in each pack.

Team Building

Pro Tour teams are very calculated and essential but at lower levels it's hard to crack the meta game because there are SO many participants.

Play Testing

Look for the crux of each match instead of just recording win/loss ratios for each match up.

Improvement

Walk around your game store after a FNM or draft, people leave product all the time that you can snatch up and re-pack.

Build a realistic, limited cube so you can practice drafting over and over again without spending a bunch of money.

Magic Resource

TCG Player - More beginner friendly content

Channel Fireball - Higher level content aimed at Pro Tours

Interview Links

MTG Potpourri Podcast - Conley's very own podcast

Connect with Conley

Twitter - @Conley81

Jul 7, 2015

First Set

Eighth Edition_Common 8th Edition

350px-Mirrodin_expsym.svg Mirrodin was his first booster pack

Favorite Set

rise eldrazi Rise of the Eldrazi

ALA_logo Shards of Alara block

Favorite Card

Wee Dragonauts

What makes Magic fun for you?

Magic is a creative outlet. Building decks and exploring Limited keeps Conley hooked.

Early Challenge

Being a "pet deck" building. Taking random cards and build a deck around it.

Level Up Moment

Being in a flow state at Worlds 2011

Proudest Magic Moment

Winning Grand Prix Orlando

Best Format

Modern = favorite
Standard = best

Current Standard Deck

Testing Bant Fog for his column // Mono black aggro

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Most people play too fast without thinking through their entire turn in their head before taking an action. Have a plan.

1 2 Next »