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Fighting the Border Wars

Sorry you folks haven’t heard from me in a while.  I’ve been planning the greatest of Pro Tour Qualifiers.  I’ve been playtesting the new Raw Deal set.  I’ve been running a business.  I am a busy and talented man ;)

But on to more Magi related topics.  

Well, here we are toward the end of a Pro Tour Qualifier season.  things are rolling right along.  Many of you still aren’t qualified.  Many of you are.   More decks are rolling in.  The format is still changing on almost an hourly basis.

Damn I love this game :)

Seriously though.  The situation that I am in is similar to some of you others out there.  I’m trying to qualify on rating.  I am so close, and yet so far.  The worst part about all of this is that you are doing it blind.  A friend of mine and fellow writer, Jack Stanton, refers to my situation as ”fighting the border wars.” I can’t say how right his statement is.

It’s like going through the trenches to reach your goal, yet as hard as you try, it seems like you aren’t going to get there.  I have gotten on a hot streak of about 14 wins...then ...BAM! a big loss.  Then i get on another streak for 12 wins or so... then...BAM! big loss.  It’s insane.  The players in my store can testify on my efforts though.  I am fighting my way through the war like the strongest of generals.  Qualifying on rating might be one of the toughest ways to qualify.

I know many of you are saying that winning a tournament to get in is tougher, but I beg to differ.  There are a ton of tournaments (many of which are Grand Priz’s with eight slots) to be won.  You also can gauge yourself throughout the tournament to tell how well you are doing on the way to your win.  On rating, you can’t do that.  You just have to fight and hope that by the deadline, your rating is high enough.  So for those of you going into the last few weeks of the season trying to get in on rating I saw one thing... PLAY YOUR ASS OFF!  It’s tough this time around.  Also, there are a ton of PTQs going on this season.  This is going to cause a lot of ratings shifting.  Just be aware and good luck.

Now moving on.  Many people apparently didn’t realize that there was another week of Pro Tour Qualifiers AFTER the Oddysey pre-release.  I thought we were the only ones having one here in Texas, but it has been pointed out to me that there are apparently a couple happening up north.  Those of you that aren’t qualified by then, might want to look into road tripping to the nearest of the final PTQs.  

For those of you that plan to play this week.  Be creative.  EVERY deck type is apparently viable.  If you review all the Gran PRix events from the previous two weeks, you can see that many different decks are doing well.   Some decks that are doing well in one area are doing terrible in others.  A funny thing to note, is that in some cases it’s not just the matchup of decks you have to worry about.  You may have to worry more about WHO you are playing.  I’m not saying “be afraid of the pros” or anything.  What I’m trying to point out is that some players are doing well with what appear to be “lower quality” decks, because they have practiced with them more.  They might even have a few new cards to bring in from the sideboard and such.

Bottom line is that there is not a best deck.  There aren’t really even best cards or environment defining cards like people thought in the beginning season.  With so many decks doing well, your margin for error is a lot less.   Normally when some decks just simply beat other decks, you can play the better one and make an error sometimes and still win.  This season, situations like that are few and far between.  Playing well and mistake free this season, especially this late in the season, is going to be very key.

The best way to fix your play skills with any deck is to play it.  Plain and simple, play it.  Play it a lot.  Try to play at least six games a day leading up to your next event.  Whether it’s a PTQ or a Grand Prix is irrelevant.  When you are playing, be aware that you are not trying to learn any particular matchups inside out.  So many decks are similar, but have a ton of cards between them that are different.  So learning the matchup might be detrimental.  Try to learn what cards are better against different ones.   Try to understand which cards work better.  Even learning why some cards are in a particular deck is good.  Metagame testing is so variable right now, it would be tough to try to create a reasonable representation of the field.

Right now, there are a ton of places you can look to get decklists.  There are a ton of resources.  Also, if you have IRC, there are a ton of people looking to practice.  All the work and time you can put in will be worth it.

Other than that, I gotta get back to deck testing...but before that, let me cut one quick promo ;)

We are having our own Pro Tour Qualifier at The Game Closet this weekend.   

Saturday September 8th 2001.  

This one will be a bit different however.  We will be giving away door prizes EVERY round.  That’s right.  We will be giving away a couple of prizes every round at random.  It might be a draft set, a box of cards, t-shirts, or whatever else we have around! :)

Registration is from 8AM - 9AM.  The tournament is going to start as close to 10AM as possible.  Entry fee is $20.

The address is:

The Game Closet
5201 Sanger Ave, Suite #K
Waco,TX 76710

Also, there will be a TON of side tournaments going on.  So show up and play even if you can’t make it in time for the PTQ.

End of promo ;)

I would like to extend congratulations to everyone that has qualified this season so far.  Just from playtesting I can tell you how hard it has been trying to help get everyone else prepared for these events.  We have just a few weeks left, then a break for pre-releases, then one more week.  So everyone, needs to get out there, hit the tournaments hard and win.

Most importantly, remember to HAVE FUN.  I can’t stress this enough.  Wizards of the Coast, R&D has gone out of their way to give us a fun format.  So let’s not let the fun go unnoticed.

I’d apologize for this article being short, but you guys should be out playtesting your decks and not reading this anyway :)

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson



Name: DeQuan Watson

    Many readers have gathered a lot of information about me through my writings.  For those of you that haven't though, this should tell you a little more. 

    I'm 23 years old and I own my own business. Well, more accurately I own a game store.  The Game Closet, my store is one of the premiere places to play
in the Texas.  I play Magic on a pretty regular basis.  I help people build decks and teach the game to people multiple times a week.  Owning a store is
neat, because it gives me another perspective to write my articles from.  I
can usually tell what the average player likes and can judge some of the
tendencies of the average player a little better.

    However, I know a decent bit about pro level play as well.  I myself have
played on the Pro Tour.  I have multiple Top 8 finishes at Pro Tour
Qualifiers.  I also have made Day Two at two Grand Prix tournaments.  I was also invited to the Event horizons Invitational last year.  These are not
stellar achievements, but high enough to let you know I have my head on
straight when talking about the game. I also spend lots of time each week talking to, e-mailing, or chatting with top level players.  I get to see their perspective on a lot of things as well.  Between the two, I think I get a good sense of balance of the game.

    Most importantly, I still enjoy the game for the sake of the game itself.  I like the time, the competition, and the general interaction of players.  I plan to be playing it until it goes away...if it ever does.


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