Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Level Magic: We All Start Someplace

Magic has taken on a life of it's own, be it on the American east coast, or the Island of Japan, it is found nearly every where. Language barriers fall, bringing the game to nearly every corner of the world. Technology shows us the best players in the world in virtually real time throwing down in remote locations, and allows the meta game to develop at hyper sonic speeds. Even now technology is bringing me to you, in order to share what meager wisdom I have about he game, the community, the life which is Magic the Gathering.

Now please allow me to clear the air on something. I am not one of the greats. If you have digitally wandered here today in the hopes of garnering some kernel of wisdom, some super secret tech, that will allow you to place higher at your chosen level of play, I am afraid I have bad news. Odds are you are not going to find it here. There are Magic minds far better then I, if that is your worthy goal. If you want to take your game to the "Next Level", read Chapin, from whom I draw my inspiration for this topic. If you want to be a better casual player read Abe Sargent. If you want to master multiplayer politics read The Ferrett. If you want to ease your development along any or all of these paths, keep reading.

Today my intent is to discuss the "first steps" in ones Magic journey. Regardless of your intended goals, or your time in the game so far, if your intention for Magic is anything beyond sitting alone, looking at the cards, there are things which will universally help you on your journey. These first steps do not apply just new noobs, in fact I know many players with 10+ years of history, which are still struggling to complete their first steps. Certainly you can enjoy the game, and find your chosen measure of success with in it, without making any of these steps. The fact is that your journey will be easier having done these things. The things on my mind tend to be so basic, that they do not break cleanly into individual topics, but represent to much material for a single endeavour. For this reason I have grouped these concepts into 4 broad topics of discussion, each overlapping the other a bit, which I will be addressing separately over the next few weeks.

-Tie into a Community
-Mind Your Investments
-Learn the Rules
-Take Action Now

As I'm sure you guessed, these are in no particular order. It is also important to realize that these are not check list items, but the basis for developing habits which will carry through out your game. "Take Action Now" is not something you will do once, check off, and never return to again. It is the basis of a habit of Action, of working towards your goals, what ever they may be. It is something you will do from this point on, and topic of the remainder of today's discussion.

In order to add value to action, once most apply purpose to that action. This means knowing yourself, and what it is you want to accomplish with that action. This can't simply be an act of doing. You have to know who you are, and where you are in your Magic journey. You can have the a map and a compass, and never be able to reach you desired destination because you don't understand where you are starting from. To thy own self be true, but to do that one must first know thy self. Not everyone is destined to be on the pro tour, not everyone is a collector driven to have every card, not everyone is satisfied with the casual side of the game. Truth is you probably don't represent any one single extreme aspect of players, you like most represent a mix of these any many more player aspects, which will rise, fall and shift through out you magic journey. Now who you are, and from time to time, apply a reality check to test your assumptions of yourself. You will change over time, and you need to continue to know who and where you are, as those answers change.

The good news is the next portion of this topic is something you are already doing. By reading this article, you are taking action in order to reach your goals. Good job, keep it up. You also need to play the game. Get the cards in your hands, shuffle, build decks, read the cards. Observe the players, community, and plays around you. You can't learn anything from the things you never saw. Make playing a two tier activity, play the game, and observe it. Take notes, go over them later, learn from what happened, and what didn't. This represents an investment of your time, and will be a focus of our next discussion.

So until next time, remember who you are, as well as where you want to be. Apply purposeful action towards those goals, investing your action towards an intended result. Grab the cards an shuffle up.

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