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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.
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Now displaying: July, 2015
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.

Jul 1, 2015

 Andrew Brown is a dedicated control player who loves sleeving islands and punishing forests. He won GP Denver 2015 and is on the map for up coming Pro Tours. He manages Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica CA where Magic is his life.

Evaluation Tips

Wait until the entire set has been spoiled. Otherwise you might waste energy evaluating a card and thinking it's good only to find that when another card is spoiled it makes the first one terrible.

Limited Tips

Get advice from those who are better than you on pick orders, mana bases and every other aspect you want to improve.

Team Building

Teams are essential. Show the drive to improve and ask the good players in your store to play with them as they prepare for big events.

Play Testing

Discussion with fellow players leading into test matches and followed by more discussion helps everyone identify weak and strong areas.

Improvement

Magic takes a significant amount of time and isn't cheap. Those who want to perform at the highest levels will make it work.

Magic Resource

Identify people who are better than you and constantly talk about Magic with them.

 

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