Insert Column Name Here – New Year’s Resolutions

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!I took a cold hard look in the mirror. I’d prepared for this day: a couple of weeks ago, I laid the groundwork by listing my major faults. Now, it’s time to list my Magic New Year’s Resolutions. And at the end of it, I’ll ask the all-important question: What’s yours?

Last night, I welcomed in the New Year with gallons of good whiskey and about fourteen friends. We played Truth or Dare, exchanged a few flirtations, the girls compared bras, and then we stayed up until six o’clock in the morning.

And when I awoke, I faced a hard truth: Am I any better at Magic?

Sure, I have good friends (some of whom have pretty darned awesome bras) — but my Magic play is kind of stagnant, something that’s been vexing me since I got back into writing about the game. I was looking at the coverage of Grand Prix: Cleveland from back in 2002, and remembering my play from six years ago, I don’t think I’ve improved all that much. In truth, I’m a mediocre player at best, which makes me a slight fraud; admitting my okayness at Magic alleviates it a little, but as someone who’s writing about Magic every week, really, I should be better.

So what can a man do? Well, I took a cold hard look in the mirror. I’d prepared for this day: a couple of weeks ago, I laid the groundwork by listing my major faults.

Now, it’s time to list my Magic New Year’s Resolutions. And at the end of it, I’ll ask the all-important question: What’s yours?

Resolution #1: I Will Actually Pay Attention When I Play.
I could probably be a lot better except that I multitask everything. I’m hardly ever playing Magic; I’m watching TV, I’m composing emails, I’m writing non-fiction, I’m Stumbling Upon new and exciting people.

That’s about 30% of my potential evaporated before Mouse Click One. I’m forgetting what cards got played because Hee, Randy sure is funny on My Name Is Earl! I’m not forming a thorough plan because the portion of my brainmeats that should be deciding how to punch through this stalemate are instead processing the punchlines in Sheldon.

Playing on autopilot doesn’t learn ya nothin’ ‘bout the game.

So my first resolution is that when I am in a game of Magic, I will be in the game of Magic. Other, more talented players may have the ability to use 70% of their brain and still pull out wins, but me? I am not that man.

So when I put the game on, the TV goes off. Firefox shall go dormant. The eyes shall stay on the MODO screen. This applies mostly to Magic Online games, but that would also explain why I tend to be a better player in real life.

Resolution #2: I Will Take Ten Seconds, No Matter How Obvious, To Decide Whether To Mulligan.
One of my worst habits is the on-the-fly mulligan; I’ll see the right colors and keep the hand, then realize with a sickening stomach-drop that I have three lands and all five-drops. Or whoops, all my cards need double-Blue and I kept a single Island.

To avoid such easily-avoided trainwrecks, I’m going to do a ten-second pause and really look at my hand before mulliganing. Which will be easy now that I am actually playing the cards.

Resolution #3: I Will Write Down Every Card That My Opponents Play.
This is kind of a secondary resolution to the first, since it’s really a way of keeping me honest. I’ll have a pad of paper — not Notepad, since typing doesn’t instill things in the brain the way actual pen-to-paper does — and I’ll note every card my opponent plays.

Ideally, this will help me to recall what my opponents are playing — which is important in the Limited games I play, where remembering that oh yeah, my opponent had a Flamekin Spitfire, I might wanna do something about that could win or lose me the game in sideboarding.

Resolution #4: I Will Take At Least Fifteen Minutes To Build My Decks.
In a PTQ, I go through and agonize over every card choice. In MODO, I tend to throw together whatever works and see how quickly I can get to the actual fun of playing.

This is often bad. When I’m writing the article later, I often ask, “Ugh. Why did I try that card? Didn’t I see the power of this card here? Why in God’s name did I ignore this whole color?” And the answer is because building decks is boring, let’s shuffle, man!

To combat this, much like the mulligan trick, I’m going to time myself and look at my card pool for a minimum of fifteen to ensure that I’ve really chosen the proper choices. Shall I rush into another game prematurely? I think not.

Resolution #5: I Will Chronicle The Resolutions In Each Article.
It’s not enough to make the resolutions — I have to tell y’all how they’re working. So I’ll let you know whether these are helpful or not, since why write about a project if you can’t show the results?

What Would You Do?
All of these resolutions are pretty much aimed at the same goal: Get my head in the game. (Zac Efron, eat your heart out.) I don’t assume perfect play, but I do assume that if I’m paying more attention to the game at hand then I’ll start to notice the other areas that I could work on.

This is a short article, but I’ll be letting you know the results of this as time goes on. But I must ask the question of you:

What is your Magic New Year’s Resolution?

Sound off in the forums, as usual. Tell me how you plan to improve your game in 2008. If there are enough, I might wrap ‘em up at the end of a future article.

But wait, I have one more:

Resolution #6: Produce Some Magic Videos.
I have a videocamera, thanks to some advice from Evan Erwin, and I have a script on a hot topic. Now I have to do some version of the Magic Show myself, and come up with a cool name for it. The naming won’t be a problem (though if you have a suggestion, lemme know) — but the actual production will be difficult, since the preliminary videos I’ve done have taken a lot of time already. But dangit, someone else has to try this whole “video” thing for Magic….

Signing off,
The Ferrett
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The Here Edits This Site Here Guy