Our guest writer today is a good friend of mine who I got to know over many games of Magic: The Gathering® and discussions on craft beer. I learnt a lot from him, so I’m glad that he could share some of his knowledge here with you.
Hello and welcome to my new column here, Grant’s Kitchen. There are a huge number of people who play “kitchen table Magic,” but most articles are for the competitive player who is looking to take down big tournaments. My plan here is to talk about the sorts of things that more casual players want to talk about. So you won’t find detailed meta-game breakdowns or play by plays here. But you will find commentary and ideas to bring back to your local play group.
To start off with let’s look at the concept of “mindfulness.” This is being mindful of your plays, and paying attention to what the other players are doing, and how they might respond to you. One of the biggest mistakes beginning players make is to get wrapped up in their big play. You can get so enamored planning for your big win that you miss the clues that herald your defeat.
Picture this: You are each at 2 life. Your opponent has three 3/3 creatures, and you have a single Archetype of Aggression in play. You know that card will grant all your creatures trample, and so you play Savageborn Hydra for 10. You have a 10/10 double strike, trample hydra, ready to crush all comers next turn. You’ve got this! And then the next turn comes around, your opponent swings with his three creatures and you die. Whoops! If only you had cast a slightly smaller hydra AND the little Llanowar Elf that was also in your hand. Then you could have chump blocked with your elf, traded your architect and blocked with your hydra. The coast would have been clear the next turn and victory would have been yours.
This is mindfulness. Magic is a complicated game, and it is easy to miss small details. But if we try and keep those details in mind and pay attention to what the opponent is up to we can have a better chance of victory.
Another way to use mindfulness is in multiplayer games. While in a two player duel, rushing out the gate and smashing face is usually a great idea. In a multiplayer game, with politics in the midst of everything, it can be deadly. Being an obvious front runner can spell an early doom for you as the other players gang up and take you out. Being aware of the relative power of each player while subtly advancing your own plan for victory is the key. Be a friend to everybody, until the time comes for your ultimate victory.
There is a lot going on in any game of Magic: The Gathering®, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Just take a few moments, and pay attention to both your plan and what your opponents can do to stop you. This will both increase your chances of victory and your enjoyment. The more you can foil your opponents, the more fun you will have!
Grant is an avid casual Magic player and drafter who has been playing since the release of Dark Ascension. He loves value, drawing cards, and his Zedruu Commander deck. When he’s not playing Magic he is probably brewing or drinking beer. You can follow his beer related adventures at http://beersensei.net
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