Greetings, World’s Competitors! If there’s one thing people love, it’s unsolicited advice. I’ve got ya covered. Schaab, Winner of nothing, has some invaluable advice for you, winner of something (I’m assuming. You’re competing at World’s, after all.) It’s probably inaccurate to even call it advice – these are reminders. Even if you’re not competing at World’s today, here are some friendly reminders about tournament play.
- Breathe – Take Your Time
Not once have I lost a game of Eternal and thought “You know what I regret about that game? Taking time with my choices.” You know you’re not supposed to rush. You know you should take time with your decisions. This is just your reminder to do so. Breathe. Take an extra five seconds. There’s no downside. Rushing leads to mistakes. You know this. Take your time. Breathe. And eat something before you play.
2. Trust the Process
What do ya know, there’s a Limited Resources reference in this piece. In my favorite episode that I’ve mentioned multiple times throughout my writing, William “Huey” Jensen talks about the process of working hard when it comes to Magic, though it applies just as well to Eternal. From memory, so not a direct quote, but he essentially says: “Part of the ‘working hard’ is just grinding through the losses. You can be the best player in the world and you’re just not gonna win that many tournaments. The best players in the world win 60-65% of their matches. You’re going to lose a lot of games. You have to be mentally prepared to deal with the defeats – because they’re frequent.”
When I went 0-2 at the 2020 Draft Championship, I just stared blankly at my table and played that quote in my head like a song on repeat. If all 24 World’s Competitors read this, the above quote will apply to 23 of you. That’s just the way it goes. You’re qualified for the 2020 World Championship – you are on the path to becoming excellent – but that path involves losing games and tournaments no matter how skilled you are. Don’t take it from me – take it from Huey.
3. Your Tournament Performance Doesn’t Define You
Wasn’t sure if this was just the new parent in me or something actually worth writing about, so I was very happy to see this interaction between Brad Nelson (Incredible MTG player – Many consider him the best Standard player in the world) and the aforementioned Huey on Twitter yesterday (November 13, 2020).
@fffreakmtg (Brad Nelson) – “Don’t attach your self-worth to your Magic results.”
@HueyJensen reply – “This was one of the hardest lessons I learned in life. (One of the other hardest, which I learned earlier, thank god, was to not attach other people’s worth to their Magic results.)”
I get it. I really do. When you love something and dedicate your time to it, it becomes part of your identity in a way. But you are not your result in this tournament – or any tournament. Playing Eternal at a very high level is something that you do – it’s not who you are. Even if World’s goes horribly (and there’s a possibility that it will no matter how well prepared you are. We signed up to play a game with variance), it doesn’t take away from your accomplishment and doesn’t make you any less of a player. That last part is true even if you make mistakes today.
Selfishly, I want y’all to take your time and play well because I think Eternal is a phenomenal game. It’s easy to learn but I firmly believe its gameplay is incredibly deep when played at the highest level – I’d like everyone watching to see that. I don’t know all of you, but those I have seen play can just straight up ball. I’m excited for all of you to demonstrate what Eternal looks like in the hands of great players.
Breathe. Take your time. You’ll never regret double-checking your math or considering your lines one more time. Variance gonna variance – but I hope you get to make meaningful choices in your games and enjoy yourself even if things don’t go your way. No matter what happens: Congratulations on making it to World’s! You’ve accomplished something truly great. Best of luck today!*
*And just a bit more luck to the drafters. It’s not their format (and I am extremely biased).
Pretty sure I wrote this article just so I could share pictures of my daughter in this section. I won’t be watching World’s this weekend because my parents will be here soon and then I’ll have visitors until eternity. My two children I’ve mentioned in the past are actually my stepchildren, so Maci is my first infant. My wife – who is a rockstar – assures me that I am physically capable of putting Maci down, so I am practicing that right now and writing this instead. Can you imagine if I had to worry about playing in World’s right now? Nightmare. Not qualifying was the best outcome for me. Saved from myself, really. I don’t need the World Championship – I have my prize. She was born on Tuesday and she is perfect. Apologies for not making this article look nicer. I can no longer resist going to pick up my daughter, so I’m going to do that instead.
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