SCG Daily – Completely Mental

Looking to improve your mental game and pull off the coolest jedi mind tricks just like the pros? Dr. Mox has all the info you need to become a master.

In the Beginning was the Word. And the Word was… MOX!

As I’m sure you’re aware, this will be my last article for some time. I know that this will cause some distress and a measure of anger. It may even lead to rioting in the streets, mass looting and people assaulting each other with makeshift melee weapons. I beg of you, please remain calm. It is not a final farewell, I’m sure… merely an au revoir.

The reason for my departure is a simple one: My Swiss ladyfriend Jetta and I have been offered a seasonal contract aboard a cruise-ship bound for Egypt. We are to entertain the passengers with our patented cabaret act that involves show-tunes, ventriloquism, mind-reading and kick-boxing. Jetta is an excellent kick-boxer, and once competed at County level before she received a lifetime ban for removing her prosthetic leg and wielding it like a cudgel.

Unfortunately for Mox fans, our cruise contract commences on Monday and runs for at least four months. I’ll try to write the odd article when I can, but an allergy to salt-water causes my fingers to swell like frankfurter sausages, so I can’t promise anything.

So, for the last foreseeable time… to the Mailbag!

D to-the-Oc to-the-M to-the-Ox,

I’ve recently taken the plunge for casual player to pro-tour wannabe. To date, I’ve attended three PTQ tournaments, and have yet to notch a win.

I’ve no worries about my play-skill: it’s the MENTAL skills I’m lacking. I appear hypnotised by the colors, shapes and sounds of the tourney scene. My last PTQ, for example, passed in a blur. The last thing I remember is registering my deck… next thing, I’m waking up in the parking lot some nine hours later, with my trousers missing. I check my belongings to find that all the decent cards in my binder have been ‘traded’ for One With Nothings, and someone has removed all the Gifts Ungiven from my deck and replaced them with photos of Mark Rosewater doing something unnatural to a badger.

I feel vulnerable to the Jedi Mind Tricks deployed at the larger events. Any tips to combat such mental tomfoolery?

Sam Diego, SD

We’ve long realized that our fair game of Magic is much more than strategy and play-skill. There is a hefty dollop of Luck involved, alongside a sprinkling of Braggadocio and a soupcon of Inspiration. At the thick end of things, the top players can be mesmerising. High-level play can be hypnotic, and this can be dangerous to the uninitiated. As proof, one only has to look to the Top 8 of Pro Tour: London, where Geoffrey Siron successfully bamboozled the other seven players into ignoring the Red cards… next thing you know, old Jed’s a millionaire.

So you want to tighten your cerebral ropes, and strengthen your techniques for the mental game-within-a-game? Don’t worry, young Sam. You’ve come to the right doctor.

In my time before the Cardboard Altar, I’ve come to one great conclusion: at the game of Magic, I’m absolutely terrible. I know this may come as a shock to you, but frankly, it’s true.

However, what I lack in talent I more than make up for in chutzpah. In guile. In, dare I say it, moxie. I’ve bested many an unbeatable foe with some well-timed trash-talk and an undetectable bluff. I once convinced Kai Budde I was holding a game-winning Fireball, making him scoop when we weren’t even playing Magic. We weren’t even in the same building. In fact, it wasn’t even Kai Budde, it was my lab assistant Corky. That’s how truly dominant my mental game can become.

Oh, blah blah blah, I hear you bleat. What use is this idle boasting? Can you boil an egg with it? Put up or shut up, you senile old gimmer.

In my experience, there are three techniques you can utilize in order to unhinge your foe and disrupt his game. These are, in no particular order, Intimidation, Confusion and Distraction.

To demonstrate their effectiveness, here are three example game scenarios. Again, I shall place myself in the third person for added sparkle.

A Demonstration of Intimidation

<It is the pre-game. Doctor Mox and Opponent are shuffling up>

Doctor Mox: Is this your first tournament?

Opponent: Yes.

Doctor Mox: <pointing to chest> See this t-shirt? It’s a pro-tour shirt, baby!

Opponent: Wow.

Doctor Mox: It means I’ve been to the pro-tour, and you haven’t.

Opponent: Nice.

Doctor Mox: <lifting his t-shirt to reveal another t-shirt> This one underneath is also a pro-tour t-shirt. I’ve been on the pro-tour seven times.

Opponent: Seven times?

Doctor Mox: Yup. <revealing numerous t-shirts> Seven T-Shirts. Seven Pro-tours. Seven times better than you.

Opponent: Cool.

Doctor Mox: You’re going down, Monkey-boy.

Opponent: <taken aback> Excuse me?

Doctor Mox: I’m gonna f*ck you up good, little piggy.

Opponent: Whatever. <begins game> Me to start? Mountain, Mox, Slith Firewalker, attack.

Doctor Mox: <weeping> Game two?

A Demonstration of Confusion

<It is Opponent’s turn. He is pondering his next move>

Opponent: Cards in hand?

Doctor Mox: <examining his hand> Yes.

Opponent: No, how many cards do you have in hand?

Doctor Mox: Respond to that question… tap six mana, cast Time Stop. My turn?

Opponent: Erm… wha-

Doctor Mox: Untap, upkeep, draw. Attack you with my Swamps.

Opponent: Errrr…-

Doctor Mox: You’d better block or you’ll have to discard your graveyard.

Opponent: Now hang on a minu-

Doctor Mox: Put Mountains on the stack?


Doctor Mox: But-

Opponent: JUST STOP BEING CRAZY! … Ok?… That’s all I ask!

Doctor Mox: <meekly> Sure.

Opponent: THANK you! <takes a deep breath> Now… how many cards do you have in hand?

Doctor Mox: <picks up his library> Forty-nine.

A Demonstration of Distraction

<The match is drawing to a close. Opponent is about to swing for lethal damage>

Opponent: Attack with these guys.

Doctor Mox: Sure.

Opponent: Put damage on the stack?

Doctor Mox: Sure.

Opponent: Resolve damage?

Doctor Mox: Su- <gasps, points wildly behind opponent> IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY, WHAT IS THAT THING??!

Opponent: <spinning round> What? I see nothing…

Doctor Mox: Ooh, trick of the light. I apologize.

Opponent: Fair enough. <he turns back to the game. Doctor Mox is naked>

Doctor Mox: <raising an eyebrow>
Still wanna resolve damage?

Opponent: <twitching> Gnnnnnn…

Doctor Mox: <handing opponent a pen> Just sign the slip, Sailor.

Opponent: <still twitching> Gnnnnn… <he signs>

Doctor Mox:
Thank you. <he licks finger and begins circling his left nipple> Fancy a re-match?

Opponent: <fleeing in terror> I NEED AN ADULT!

Sam, I hope these techniques serve to illuminate the cunning sub-strategies available at the higher-end of Magic play.

Of course, there are more such “mind-tricks” available to the truly adept, such as Intimidation, Seduction and Ridicule, but I’d avoid them until you’re more experienced. Other than Seduction, of course… that technique is fair play from the start. It may not win you the tournament, but it can bear pleasing results for the open-minded amongst us.

My Swiss ladyfriend Jetta, for example, has experienced unprecedented levels of success deploying the Seduction technique. She claims it is through a mixture of her devastating appearance and powerful personality. Personally, I think it has more to do with her fantastically oily skin, exuding as it does the overpowering aroma of oysters. She is, in many ways, a walking nasal aphrodisiac.

Good luck, Sam, in your next tournament outing. If you pay heed to my varied mental techniques, you’re sure to do well. Beware the intervention of the tournament judges, mind… and if you persist with certain techniques, beware the attentions of the local police, as a night in the cells will do little for your ranking.


It’s time to say farewell, my faithful kiddiewinks. Time has been called, and the five extra turns are almost over.

Tonight, Jetta and I begin packing for our Egyptian Adventure. We’re excited, as Egypt is foreign to us, and its promised delights tantalize at the edge of our dreams. Jetta is particularly giddy, as the humid climate of Egypt will do wonders for her numerous skin complaints. However, we must be vigilant over her heightened sweat-levels in the desert sun, especially under the spot-lights of the cabaret stage in the liner’s main lounge. She is a slave to seepage, but her sequinned costume has been gusseted to help vent excess moisture.

Until next time, keep the faith.

Doctor Mox

NB: If you have a question for Doctor Mox, he can be contacted at [email protected].

Egypt, here we come!