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.
Rise of the Eldrazi
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.
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.
Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Sam's team, Face to Face Games, did really well and he loved being part of that moment.
Modern - You get such an edge knowing your deck inside out.
(Currently playing Splinter Twin.)
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).
Not advancing your own game because you ascribe too much to your opponent's plays.
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: 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.
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.
Find a group of people who have similar goals to you and that you like hanging out with and play a lot.
Use proxies to play test and then invest in the deck you really like before your event.
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