Patrick Chapin, “The Innovator,” is a Hall of Famer, Pro Tour Champion, and 5-time PT Top 8 competitor. Author of Next Level Magic and Next Level Deckbuilding, his articles can be found on StarCityGames.com and podcast at TopLevelPodcast.com.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
First and foremost the people. The constant iteration.
Trying to convince people that he was actually good.
Realizing that trying to convince people that he was actually good was not as useful as focusing on humbly improving himself.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Winning Pro Tour Journey Into Nyx.
Focusing their energy on convincing people they are good instead of focusing on finding the truth about how they play. Look for mistakes in every match.
Look at every card and ask: "Why was this card printed? Who is it for? HOW can I use this card?"
Sealed is often slower but more powerful (compared to draft) because you have six booster packs instead of three. This leads to bomb centric decks.
Focus on the key cards you passed, not every card in the pack.
Use message groups and in-person meetings to collaborate with your team. You will only improve to the level of the best player in your group. Bring your group up and/or find more talent if you're the best in your group.
Constant communication with the teammate as well as taking the two weeks before a Pro Tour off to playtest with the team has been a working formula for Patrick.
Identify what you want to improve first: your collection, win ratio, deck building skills, etc... and focus just on that
Sideboards are there to tweak and tune your strategy. Know what your strategy is. Look at similar strategies and make your sideboard similar.
Right now, sweepers are very popular - Languish and Planar Outburst.
If you have casual players that you would like to take to the next level, organize regular draft nights. Break off into teams after the draft portion so people can help each other build decks.
If you have new players who don't know the rules, introduce them to a Duels of the Planeswalkers and see if they stick around and want more after a few weeks.
Create a shortcut system for your brain. Also, when playtesting, NO TAKE BACKS!!
Practice how you want to play at events. Track your mistakes and do a push up for each one you do.
Grand Prixs are like gaming conventions. JUST GO and enjoy it!
You will never feel ready if you don't go. If you are nervous about the main event then just show up and walk around, play in some side events, visit artists and vendors and soak it all in.
When you participate in the main event, play all the rounds. You paid to play Magic and get experience. Utilize all the time you have. Play all the rounds even if you're knocked out early.
Playing against different decks and opponents you don't know is invaluable.
By playing your own brew all the time you are missing out on learning what's working now and why it's working.
By net decking all the time you will always be a week or so behind.
Mix it up. Net deck 25% of the time and build your own deck 25% of the time. The other 50% is up to you to go where the wind blows.
See what's working at large but try out your own ideas too.
Read: Information Cascades in Magic on StarCityGames
Don't force yourself to play Magic (or play more Magic) just because you feel like that's what you SHOULD be doing, Make sure it stays fun.
Every time your opponent makes a play, especially if it's not obvious why ask yourself "Why did they do that?"
Have a notebook and write down, after the match, what your opponent did so you can talk about it with others later.
BONUS: Write down all the mistakes you made (win or lose) and what you learned and SHARE THAT LIST!
Don't let your brain hide your errors from you. Get used to facing them and talking about them.
The MTG Pro Tutor Facebook group is the perfect place to post your list because of the healthy, uplifting community there who is ready to help.
Nowadays you can keep slightly lighter mana hands because you can scry.
Consider what your opponent is playing and have a plan based on the cards in your hand. If there is no viable plan, then mulligan.
If you don't know what your opponent is playing, assume they are on an aggressive strategy. How does your hand line up in that match?
If you tilt when playing a control mage then watch someone play a control deck and ask questions. Learn when they are vulnerable so you know when to strike.
Hand disruption is the best way to deal with Ulamog. Infinite Obliteration is the prime answer.
Players lie to themselves.
You can only control what you can control. People shift the blame to things they can't control and then use that to hide from the real problem.
Which is that they are making mistakes and need to address it.
Focus on what really matters right now.
Information Cascades in Magic on StarCityGames
Patrick is working alongside other great Magic players at Direwolf Digital to release a new game called Eternal.
Check it out when it goes into open Beta soon.
Magic Story brings the lore of the Multiverse to life in an audio presentation never before heard in the Magic community.
Listen to Episode 1 here or on www.magicthestory.com