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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: September, 2015
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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