Good morning fellow Alchemists,
Today is Day 2 of the Neutral Grounds Philippines’ Gold Rush and 8 players will battle it out for prizes worth more than Php180,000 (USD3,700) in cash and in merchandise. 299 players flocked to Century Mall to try their best and make it to Day 2 and get their money back, reputations up, and be one of the country’s best players.
2.67% of those who registered, showed up, and dueled it out will make it to Day 2 in this year’s Gold Rush, unlike other bigger events that an X-2 or X-2-1 win-lose-draw record would get you into Day 2. That said, many who got 3 losses early shifted to side events, dropped (Sadly), or played for the experience.
I got a 5-4 run myself after starting with a 3-0 streak which really gave me hope that this event may be my best performance yet with a home brew list that took down 3 energy decks consecutively. My dream was crushed by 3 straight losses to the same decks.
Now what did I learn?
You got to have the winning mindset.
Magic, a game that uses probability and statistics as its core, will never let you play the exactly the same game twice. Even the pros who get 10-0 runs on their first day does not mean they played 10 straight rounds drawing exactly the same cards, playing the same line of plays, or the opponent consistently doing bad blocks. Moral: You need to play your best games of Magic with the resources dealt to you at one particular turn, draw or situation.
Play testing with competitive decks in a competitive manner is key.
I have been guilty of shadow testing and imaging my opponent to have the god-draw and hypothetically assess if my deck can respond to an Attune-Servant-Bristling line of play. Sometimes you draw a sample hand of 2 Fatal Pushes and Abrade and think, “Heck, I got this in the bag” then suddenly in the real world, they play Attune, into Servant, into Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Now you end up with a wrong removal suite against a deck that ‘hypothetically’ can draw a different line of play. Moral: Use foresight as a guide and not as a rule. Things can shift quickly and you must remain agile while playing.
Ask a Judge.
Many of us feel confident about our knowledge of the game. We join dozens of FNMs and Saturday Showdowns equipped with the right understanding of combat, stack, triggers, priority however in a competitive REL event like Gold Rush, PTQs, Grand Prix and the likes, suddenly when we are down to 13 life and a Hazoret is facing down on you with 2 cards in hand and suddenly goes to declare attackers – you immediately say “that’s invalid, proceed to second main because your declaration was invalid for having 2 cards in hand instead of 1 or none”. If I was the controller of Hazoret and I was holding 2 Invigorating Rampage in my hand and my opponent is down to 13 with no blockers, I know I got it. But because of the intensity of the game and the potential of losing in the back swing if something went wrong, I may buckle down under the pressure and lose sight of things. Calling the judge would have resolved this amicably, and doing so may just get you into (or out of) Day 2. Moral: No one can be perfect in the game of Magic. That’s what judges are for.
We can always try again.
While we fought for personal glory, 3 players are fighting for our country and finally put the Philippines into the top 8 of the World Magic Cup. These guys are true testaments of great skill and Magic acumen. We idolize them, we revere them, we emulate them.
- They flew to Nice with a winning mindset, to bring home to crown.
- They know they are not above probabilities and statistics and they must play their best games with each opening hand and successive draws they get.
- They play test with the best, stay grounded on the theoretical and hypothetical, but remain agile and suit their plays to win their games.
- They bring with them judge-like knowledge and utilize them well.
I cannot speak like a professional player, nor do I feel like one. I’ve been playing this game for 21 years on and off and have considered myself creative than competitive but the lessons I share today are the same ones I use each time I put 75 funky cards together.
Stay tuned with my 8 round report of how my Gold Rush brew, RB Treasure Invocation, did yesterday!
To the players who I captured in my photos who may have kept their participation in this event discreet for whatever reasons – I apologize in advance for having you…