A Word on Testing and Grand Prix Lille

Grand Prix Lille will be here soon, and it’s time to find 75 cards that you are willing to take into battle. But how does one identify which deck to play, and more importantly, which cards to play in this very deck? There are a couple of things I’d like to talk about when it comes to testing, and how to choose a deck. I am well aware of the fact that they won’t cover everything, but they should give you a good impression of what I believe to be important for tournament deck choice, and should be giving you with an idea or two in order to help improve your own testing process. And with GP Lille on the horizon it can’t be of any harm, I suppose.

A Magic Game Theory

Greetings, and welcome to another article of Magic Theory, which is a bit different than my Miracle-centric content that you may be accustomed to. I will neither tell you which deck to play at your next Legacy event, nor how you should be preparing for tournaments to come. First we will take a look at the principles of Game Theory. Then I will try to convey the messages that we learned by taking a look at these principles to our beloved game, Magic: the Gathering. So let’s get it going, right?

Solving Problems and Intuition

Hello, today we’ll be talking about something slightly different than Miracles. I won’t be telling you which deck to play or how to improve your Limited game. We’ll dive head first into the theory of our beloved game. Have you ever wondered how some people seem to be able to play on a high level for nine straight rounds without punting too much due to being tired? Have you ever thought about how people are able to outplay opponents in the finals of a Grand Prix, after playing for hours and hours and still not misplaying?

Resource Advantage in Magic Part 1: One-Shot Resources

Magic the Gathering is a game of resource management. While the quirks of particular cards will drive certain formats, the general principles of resource management will dictate how one should best address particular strategies. Using resource management as a lens through which to view Magic decks, archetypes, and even entire formats will allow players to make unprecedented connections and reach new levels of understanding.

So Many Insane Plays – The “So Do You Wear a Cape?” Book Review

Enthusiast Titus Chalk has authored a brilliant, page-turning history of Magic: The Gathering sprinkled with entertaining anecdotes, remarkably deep insights, and journalistic treasures. Chalk’s brisk narrative, brimming with behind-the-scenes stories that reflect painstaking investigatory work, traces the broad arc of Magic’s 20+ year history. Chalk sketches the development of the game, its unbridled growth, and the myriad debates and issues surrounding it, from the complaints of fundamentalist parents over the ‘demonic’ elements of the game, to the emergence of the Pro Tour (with its heroes and villains), the business of the game, from its initial financing to its sale to Hasbro (with Richard Garfield pocketing a cool $100 million, no less), to the growth of the secondary market, to the wrangling over the Reserved List. It’s all covered.

Youth in Magic, and the Price of Gaming

Hello. Many of you may not know me, unless you’ve seen me at events in Spain, My name is Juan Vilar, and I’ve been playing Magic since the release of Fourth Edition. Magic: the Gathering has come a long way since then, and it has been a joyful part of my life for a long time. As an old school player I’ve had the opportunity of seeing so many different metagames and format changing events.

So Many Insane Plays – Three Lessons From Bobby Fischer

So Many Insane Plays – Three Lessons From Bobby Fischer for Magic Players: What I Learned From Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – From America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

Bobby Fischer is arguably the greatest Chess player of all time. This fact is all the more astounding because he was an American who rose to the pinnacle of a sport dominated by non-Americans (think soccer, or “football”). His method of play, his studious preparation, and even his descent into madness contain valuable lessons for the young or mature Magic player.

Frank Brady has written a fascinating, page-turning biography of one of America’s most transcendent and enigmatic icons: Brooklyn-born World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. Young Americans may not appreciate the Fischer legend or his iconic stature, since it was forged in the crucible of the Cold War. As a point of comparison, he was transcendent in the way Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods are in the modern era (in the 90s and 00s, respectively), in terms of their visibility beyond the sport and cross-cultural global status. In each case, they transformed the sport participated in, and became icons beyond it.

Fischer’s defeat of Soviet chess legend Boris Spassky in the 1972 World Chess Championship, in my estimation, approaches the 1980 U.S.A. Men’s Hockey Team’s “Miracle on Ice” defeat of the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics, in terms of its cultural relevance. The Soviet Union had long dominated the Chess World Championship, largely on account of a system of state subsidized training and support. Chess was to the Soviet Union was baseball once was to the U.S.: a national pastime. The significance of Fischer’s win cannot be overstated in that context, although in a post-Cold War era, it’s difficult to appreciate.

In reading Brady’s book, I couldn’t avoid comparisons to Magic and my experience in Magic. Although Magic is a different game from Chess, there are many parallels, from the dedication required to reach mastery levels of the game itself and to hone one’s craft, to the rating systems which defines achievement. I’ve culled three critical lessons from the book that are directly applicable to Magic.