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How I Got Top 8 at the US MTG Pioneer Regionals

This past weekend, I made Top 8 at the first US Regionals of the year. I’d like to say that I outsmarted my opponent’s at every turn, but that just wasn’t the case. Truthfully, I was very lucky in a lot of spots. Instead of giving you a tournament report where I say the cliché things about tournaments and that I was really good, played tight and ran hotter than the sun, I’ll be talking about where I actually got my edge for this event – the preparation process. 

In a format where there are lots of decks that are relatively close in power level, deck selection and tuning don’t come easy. You need to balance your deck’s position in the metagame versus  consistency, all the while making sure you have the experience to pilot whatever deck you go with. This balancing act is achievable, but very difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a strong testing team to help you out. I’ve worked with a lot of different groups over the years, from local players in Los Angeles to the French MPL members to Team Handshake, headlined by World Champion Nathan Steuer. I know the secrets of building a strong team.

The best thing you can do to improve at Magic is find a group of people who have the same goals as you and work closely with them to achieve those goals. There is just too much work in tournament prep for one person to do. If you fly solo, you simply won’t be able to cover all of your bases in a format. Going solo also won’t help you get past your biases and see different viewpoints on the process. Building a team multiplies everyone’s working power exponentially. A single person is very unlikely to solve a format, but a team has a good chance to break a format in half or at the very least find the best tuned version of an existing deck

When you are building your team, you should think of it like a heist movie. Everyone should have a specialty or a role to play on the team. All Magic players have specific playstyles and personal preferences. Don’t let these go to waste. A good team will help cover up your weaknesses, while maximizing your strengths. For Regionals I worked with a group of NRG series regulars.

 

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