Hey guys! I’m back again after a long holiday vacation. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and got lots of packs from your loved ones! Even in this extremely stale format, there are still a few things I really wanted to write about. In my first article, I wrote about how to keep your head in the game, but this week I wanted to go into some of the precautions that you should take in order to have a well-rounded and fun tournament experience. This is another article for new players, but even veterans might be able to use some of these points. This game can be incredibly fun, and is a great way to meet new friends, but at every sort of competitive event you will encounter someone who is willing to cheat or steal in order to give themselves an edge. So taking that into account, I highly suggest that you take a second to read these few precautions on how to make sure that you go into the event with the intention to enjoy yourself, and you leave having experienced a good event and looking forward to future ones.
First is cheating. Cheating is unfortunately a big part of this game and can result in you having a bad time or possibly losing an important round. Cheating is one of the worst things for anyone to do, but some people will throw sportsmanship to the wind and do whatever they can to win. Cheating can be anywhere from something as simple as stacking your deck, to something extremely complicated like having someone take pictures of your hand and sending it to them (yes, I have actually seen this before). There are several precautions you can take into account when playing the game to prevent yourself from ending up in situations like these.Always, always, always, cut your opponents deck. The more you practice this the safer you are from getting stacked. Also, after side decking, it’s never too much of a hassle to have them count out their side deck, this prevents your opponents from giving themselves an unfair advantage by siding out extra cards. Going into an event, be aware of all of your basic rights as a player. No one will hate you for calling a judge, and if they do get mad it’s probably because they know they are wrong. If you ever feel rushed or get confused at any point in the game simply ask your opponent to slow down. If you are a new player, the chances are your opponent will use that against you and intimidate you into making sub-optimal decisions. Remember, you are allotted as much time as you need to proceed with your plays in a timely manner. Also, it’s always better to take your life point count on paper as opposed to a calculator. In a life point dispute, the person with the life count written on paper will always get the call in their favor seeing as you can follow all of the changes. If you ever have any doubt on what is going on, or have a question as to what is legal and what is not, just remember that the rule book is very easily accessed and is online for your advantage. It doesn’t take long to look anything up and the answer to almost any question is there.
The second thing to take into account when going to an event is stealing. Stealing happens at every event I have ever been to and often it is irreversible. Several people enjoy trading as much as they enjoy playing, which is fine, but traders are the primary target for theft. Whenever you are in the middle of a trade NEVER take your eyes off your stuff. It only takes a few seconds for someone to take things out of the binder, or take the binder itself. In this game, some people will do anything for the hundreds of dollars worth of cardboard in your backpack, and once it’s gone, you won’t ever see it again. If you want to keep your investments, then just be careful.
My backpack typically just has my mat, my deck, and my goat control deck box. Even then, I still ended up getting stolen from in Columbus, which resulted in the loss of my wallet
Finally, you might encounter a generally angry person. Unsportsmanlike conduct happens all the time, whether it’s seeing someone swear at a judge, or watching someone rage over a loss, it’s going to happen at some point in the day. If you aren’t involved, it’s sometimes fun to sit back and laugh at it, however if you are involved or just want to be a good person there are a few ways to disarm the situation. I once had a friend who got deck checked and got a game loss. He was very unhappy and wanted nothing but to yell at everyone in his path, but as a team mate it was my job to cool him down and get him ready for the next round. Having a clear head is one of the key steps to topping any event. Patrick Chapin’s incredible book “Next Level Magic” has done leaps and bounds for me in the area of improving as a player, and several of the stuff I have said in my past few articles have come from a few inspirational things he has said. I just want to wish everyone traveling to Orlando safe travels and good luck attempting to top the ARG! Just remember that we play this game for fun more than anything else! I wish everyone a happy new year and until next time, Play Hard or Go Home.