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AuthorTom LaPille

Tom is an aspiring pro who is interested in improving at Magic and helping others do the same. He placed in the Top 8 at Grand Prix: Charlotte and finished ninth at Grand Prix: Madison, and has played in three Pro Tours.

Arcane Teachings – Grand Prix: Vancouver Postmortem

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Wednesday, February 27th – Going into the tournament, I suspected that the metagame was changing in a way that was bad for actual Counterbalance decks. The card Counterbalance itself is best against the mirror and against midrange decks that actually give you time to set up a lock, and quite bad against decks that are very fast, play spells that cost tons of mana that you can’t use Counterbalance to stop, or both.

Arcane Teachings – Project Hollywood- Mental Game with Rich Hagon and Doug Linn

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Monday, February 18th – I’ve been very fortunate to meet some truly wonderful people through Magic. Some of those are people I work with on decks, some are people I practice with on Magic Online, and some are people I hang out with at tournaments. Two recent conversations with two such people resulted in some interesting shifts in how I think about Magic, life, and the universe, and this article centers around those conversations.

Arcane Teachings – Lands Are Awesome

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Monday, February 11th – My favorite card type in Magic is land. Lands make mana, which allow me to cast spells and therefore interact with my opponents. Some of them even stand in fairly well for spells a decent amount of the time. However, this extended season I have learned from working with fellow players and looking at winning decklists that not everyone shares my love of land. In fact, many people appear to have a strong distaste for playing more lands than they absolutely have to.

Arcane Teachings – The Counterbalance Mirror

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Watch over Tom’s shoulder as he takes an in-depth video look into the Counterbalance mirror in Extended, discussing common tricks, traps, and situations through the lens of one recorded game on Magic Online. He also talks about how to best use mirror-directed sideboard cards.

Arcane Teachings – Project Hollywood Week 4: Checkpoint One

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Tom’s journey came to an end when he won the PTQ in Butler, Pennsylvania this past Saturday… or did it? Tom shares his take on the Patrick Chapin / Gerry Thompson created Counterbalance deck, talks about the tournament, and muses about the mindset necessary to succeed at Magic.

Arcane Teachings – Project Hollywood Week 3: So Close and Yet So Far

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Most Extended decks are built with one goal in mind, and that makes them very good at doing what they do and strategically simple to play. When you play Red deck or Domain Zoo in Extended, every game you win will involve small creatures attacking and some burn. When you play Doran, every game you win will end when your large creatures finally get through for twenty…

Arcane Teachings – Project Hollywood: Preseason

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Tom sketches out his schedule for the upcoming PTQ season, tells you why he is willing to travel so far to chase an invitation, and challenges you to do the same thing in pursuit of fun, personal improvement, and maybe even a ticket to Hollywood.

Arcane Teachings – Six Sides on the Cube

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The cube has recently taken the Magic world by storm, starting with the Magic Invitational and spreading around the world; it even infiltrated Wizards of the Coast’s internal Draft Club. Tom shows you how to make a cube, talks about his own cube, talks with Aaron Forsythe about the Magic Invitational cube, and gives a brief recap of the Saturday Night Cube Draft that he and Evan Erwin hosted at Worlds.

Arcane Teachings – Worlds PTQ Report

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Tom is back from Worlds, where he played in the first PTQ for Pro Tour: Hollywood. He didn’t come home with the invite, but he did learn about the format and he shares his opinions with you. Also inside is an autobiographical account from the Gifts Rock deck that Tom played.

Arcane Teachings – Peeling Back the Curtain on Pro Tour Qualifiers

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Wizards promotes Pro Tours as where the best players in the world play, but how hard is it to actually qualify for one yourself? Tom argues that your competition in PTQs shouldn’t intimidate you, and that with a little work and persistence you could win your own ticket to the big show.

Feature Article – Four Good Reasons Not to Play a Deck

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Finding the best deck in a format can be hard. However, there are often obvious signs that a deck is just not good enough to win a tournament. Tom shows us four of them, and also warns us about two reasons that we should not use as justification for rejecting decks. Also, Tom and Evan Erwin invite you to Saturday Night Cube Drafting at Worlds this weekend. Details inside!

Arcane Teachings – Sideboard Planning

Seasoned players tend to talk about “sideboarding plans,” which is not a surprise since sideboarding well is really all about planning. Tom looks at some decks and asks you to think about how their sideboards do or do not fit with the decks’ game plans. He wants to convince you that you need to be aware of and take into account your deck’s plans to build the most effective sideboard you can.