Sunday, May 31, 2015

First Stream!

Some times I'm kind of impulsive.

I mean, you can look at it like I know what I want, but most of the time I make quick decisions and see what happens. Earlier this week, I decided I wanted to stream again. Again? The post is titled "First Stream" for gods sake. Well about 4 years ago I used to stream a variety of games on Twitch under the screen name Lion965 (my Starcraft ID).

I was terrible. Just terrible. I think I peaked at 12 viewers in the 3 months I did it. I streamed games no one cared about, talked about things people didn't want to talk about, and just wasn't good. I decided this time would be different. I'd use my iMac's webcam, which I didn't do before. I'd talk to the chat, and talk about my lines of play, even if no one was chatting. And I'd stream Magic.

Well I think the first stream was a success. It started a little slow. I played the first 2-man to about 5 people, a couple of which were helping me out in the chat. Then I played another 2-man and went up to 20 viewers, more people were talking. And then I played a third 2-man and I think I peaked around 25 viewers. I couldn't ask for more. People were helpful; critical, but nice. A couple people really helped me see different lines that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. But really, it was a lot of fun.

After the 2-mans, I had planned to do the 8pm Daily, since my girlfriend was out of town. Unfortunately, I hadn't expected to be so exhausted by the end of the 2-mans. Constantly talking and trying not to mess up in front of people is really difficult! So instead of doing the Daily, I just chilled out and did some cleaning around the house.

I'm planning on streaming more. In fact, a few hours after this post I'm planning on streaming the Modern Daily.

If you're wondering how the games went yesterday I went 1-2, but both the losses were close. I'm not going to post the spreadsheet because it was too difficult to update when I was streaming.

Until next time, check out
 - Chris

Friday, May 29, 2015

First Daily!

Well this went pretty well too.

For those that are unaware, Magic Online events are notoriously poor value. By that I mean unless you are at the very top of the game (win rate ~75%), entering almost any event is a losing proposition. One exception to this has been the Daily events, which run at a scheduled time, daily (who would have thought). Unfortunately, due to higher redemption fees, pack prices have fell off the face of the Earth, and now even the Daily events are probably not worth it.

Regardless, I'm trying to get better, and Daily events bring out the best competition. With that said, check the rest of the post for how I did!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 3

So the Modern Festival doesn't start until June 24.

Don't I look like a fool now.

Anyway, I played some more matches in the tournament practice room, but I'm becoming aware that I'll need to step out of it in order to face actual Tier 1 decks on a regular basis. Here's how I did yesterday:

Pretty good day results wise. Lost a match against Infect where he Wild Defiance'd me all three games. They were all really close and I feel a lot more confident in the matchup now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 2

Well, this went pretty well.

Here's the results from yesterday:

Yeah I won all four matches. I really feel like had I played better players I would have lost, maybe all of them. That's not to say my opponents were terrible, but even I was noticing weird plays they were making. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I marked a couple down on the spreadsheet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 1

Well, the first day didn't go that badly.

I decided to spend some time in the tournament practice room. For one, I'm still really new to the deck and can't afford to spew that many tickets off. Secondly, I like the confidence boost that it gives me. Obviously the tournament practice room isn't where the best players come to face off, but I get to see a lot of different decks and it puts me in a lot of different situations.

Last night, after I finished playing I realized I hadn't posted the decklist I will be running...

Monday, May 25, 2015


I love goals.

I love having something to work towards.

That being said, I've come up with some goals so I uhh work towards them. I split them into short, long, and stretch goals. The short-term goals are one month in length. One month is the most logical time frame on Magic Online since the MOCS takes a month as well. The long-term goals are 3-6 months in length. There's not a particular deadline for some of them, but that seems fair. Lastly, the stretch goals have no time-frame. I don't even know if I'll be able to do them, hence they're called stretch goals.

Short-Term Goals

Qualify for Modern Festival
     I'm super excited for the modern festival. I know I have no business winning it; there are so many good modern players. But I am looking forward to the level of competiton that the Modern Festival will bring, and I think Qualifying for the main event is an achievable goal.

15 QPs this month
     The MOCS is modern this month. Modern Festival prelims give out QPs, and I'd expect a lot more 8-mans to fire than normal because of the festival. I've never got 15 before in a month, and this one might be stretch too, but we'll give it a go.

Reduce Mistakes per Game
    I've started tracking mistakes per game, which includes times when I don't know what the right decision is. I'm looking to reduce these, and at the end of the month we can look at a graph. Should be cool (not).

Win 8-Man Queue
     Always a bridesmaid. I've never won one. I've got second numerous times. This month is the one where I'm going to win one. It'll be tough to get 15 QPs without winning a couple anyway.

Long-Term Goals

Get 35 QPs in One Month
    I'd love to qualify for the MOCS main event one month. Obviously this month being modern would be ideal, but I couldn't imagine that happening with my current level of skill with the deck. This one we'll come back to in a year if I haven't done it.

Understand Deck Better
     Typically, I don't like to set goals for things that are difficult to quantify, but for this I'll make an exception. Before the banning of Dig Through Time I really felt like I had mastered Scapeshift. I could see every line, and won way more than I had ever before. It felt like I was in control. I want to revisit this in 3 month and see how I feel.

Manage Budget & Time
    I have an addictive personality. Thank my dad for that. A lot of the time when I like something, I go WAY overboard on that thing. I'm going to do my best to maintain a balanced life, and not overspend on Magic. We'll come back to this in 3 months.

1800 Constructed MTGO Rating
    I'm kind of obsessed with the rating system. When I first started MTGO I was playing standard Burn and had a poor 1550 rating. Now, after a year or so, I'm up to 1695. As much as it's just a number, it really does represent where you are in the tiers of players. In 6 months, I'd like to be firmly in the 1800s.

Stretch Goals

Qualify for PT
    I'm not a fool. I'm nowhere near Pro Tour quality at the moment. And specializing in a format like Modern doesn't lend itself for PT qualification. But I would like to try to qualify for an online PTQ through the PPTQ system. But they are expensive, and modern ones don't come up very often.

Master Deck/Format
    This ties in with the Understand Deck Better goal, but is just pushed further. I want to feel like I'm one of the best pilots of the deck. I also want to feel like I contribute something to the format.

1900 Rating
    This one is going to be hard. The best players are 1900+ and that's where I want to be. On a platform as competitive as MTGO, winning at this rate (I think ~65%) will be hard. But I guess that's why it's a stretch goal.

So that's it. That's what I'm going to be working on.

I'm also thinking about streaming, but I'm not sure about that yet.

Thanks for reading!
- Chris

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Beginning

Magic: the Gathering is a difficult game. I am not good at Magic: the Gathering.

I want to get better at Magic: the Gathering.

Magic has been around for literally my entire life, but I've only been playing for just over a year. Trying to learn how to play a complex game, full of intricacies and nuance, is kind of like riding a bike blindfolded. You understand the basics--stay balanced, push down on pedals--but you can't see where you're going. And the best part--everyone else can see. As you learn more in the game you have flashes of life without the blindfold. You start understanding why you do things. You are no longer blindly pedalling into games.

Most of the time I still feel like I'm pedalling blindly.

There's a lot of Magic blogs out there. Most are by pros, artists, developers, financers, etc. What I'm hoping to do with this blog is tell a story. Show improvement. Record everything.

Like many other aspiring Magic players, I'm a student. And I have a part time job. And I live with my girlfriend. Needless to say, free time is hard to come by. I don't have 12 hours a day to practice and learn. Instead, I'm hoping this blog will help me use my time efficiently. Dedicated learning instead of mindless practice.

If any of you like watching streams on Twitch as much as I do, you've probably stumbled across Jaime Staples (pokerstaples) stream. For those that haven't Jaime is an professional poker player who also happens to live in Lethbridge. He doesn't claim to be the best poker player in the world, but what he does is use the stream to show his improvement, kind of like reality TV. Viewers interact, ask him questions, and get to take part in the story of Jaime Staples.

Now, I certainly don't expect this blog to take off like Jaime's stream, but I am hoping I can provide something different in the Magic community.

That's all for now. I don't want to have a huge wall of text for my first post (it might be anyway). Next time I'll talk about the different things I'm going to track, and what I'm going to focus on.

Thanks for reading!
- Chris