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Our New Year's Resolutions


I have always tended to avoid New Year’s resolutions. So many people simply recite the changes they want to make, then see their resolves fall apart before January turns to February. I have either made very small changes that were easy to institute as part of my routine (more walking instead of driving, taking a low dose of aspirin each day) or enlisted the help of others with bigger changes. This is what I’m doing here. In six months, I will be coming back to these resolutions, and you will be keeping me honest about achieving them.

I will also be suggesting some changes to your Magic lifestyle as well. I don’t expect you to complete them all, but there is probably something here that could become part of your Magic life.

Teach Five People to Play Magic

Venerated Teacher
Why five? I picked five because it seems to be an achievable goal. Being a tournament organizer puts me in contact with a lot of people who say they know how to play Magic but who don’t understand how the mana system works. They don’t understand that a sorcery is not a permanent. Teaching five people in a year is fewer people than one person every couple of months. It would be a shame to do less!

Wizards sent me a walkthrough to teach people how to play Magic, and I’ve never used it. Duels of the Planeswalkers is another teaching tool that is out there as well. The tools are there to teach people, and I have not done it enough. Even with all of these aids, one of the best teaching tools is our excitement about the game. If potential players are going to become involved in Magic, one of the major reasons will be our excitement for the game. Relying completely on Wizards of the Coast to bring in new players is a recipe for failure.

While Wizards is doing all they can in regards to recruitment and retention, players stop playing Magic all the time. Finding and teaching new players is essential to keeping the game alive. If I can add five people to the Magic fold this year, I believe I’ll be doing my part to keeping this game going.

You may not be in contact with as many new players as I am, but teaching even one player to play Magic helps. You probably have a friend who doesn’t know that you play and who would love to learn the game. One of MJ Scott’s Vorthos Resolutions is to tell your non-Magic friends you play Magic. Doing that will inevitably lead to someone asking you to teach him or her to play.

Get to a Grand Prix

Lotus Cobra
I have been to a Grand Prix before. It was GP: Boston from more than eight years ago. I went 1–2, drop and enjoyed my time playing with a room of four hundred or so Magic players. In those days, though, a Grand Prix was simply a large tournament, and that was it. There were no side events and only a couple of dealers, not like the massive extravaganzas that the current Grands Prix tournaments are. It was fun, but I went into it knowing that I could not stay for more than half of the day, no matter how well I was doing. It was a letdown to have to leave so early in the tournament even if I knew I would not be playing in Day 2.

The modern-day Grand Prix is so much more. Beyond the fun of being part of a tournament with eight hundred to fifteen hundred people in it, there are side events constantly running in all sorts of formats. Drafts, Standard tournaments, Commander games, and many other events are always running. There are usually a couple of artists at each event, signing cards and doing quick sketches for fans. It is a chance to meet some pros and people I’ve met only on Twitter!

Last year, I hoped to attend Grand Prix Worcester. It isn’t even an hour from my house! Unfortunately, I had family commitments, but I promised myself that I would not miss that chance again. Quebec City, Pittsburgh, Providence, and Toronto are all within range of my home. I will attend at least one this year. My chances of reaching Day 2 are slim, but with everything else going on, I know I’ll have a great time.

I recommend each of you go to a Grand Prix. Even just attending an event like this with the friends you usually play with is a great time. Getting to share the experience with good friends is a wonderful thing. Admittedly, a GP just isn’t feasible for everyone. If you can’t manage to attend a GP, try going to a large tournament in your area instead. Even if it isn’t the extravaganza that goes with a GP, it is a chance for us as casual players to experience something different and interesting. Any opportunity to expand your Magic horizon is something to be enjoyed.

Organize Cards

Mystifying Maze
This will not be nearly as difficult for me as it would be for many others. My cards are currently organized. My problem is that it takes me so long to put it that way after I open several packs of a new set. Quite often, it means I’m not playing with the current set until after it is rotating out of Standard! I want to be building decks with the newest cards, and the best way for that to happen is to stay organized.

Another reason for me to stay organized is my four-of policy. I keep only four copies of any one card. Any extras I happen to have are given out to my younger players at prereleases or other events. This is a great way to keep my collection manageable; why would I want twelve copies of some random common? It also puts the cards out to players who will use them while the cards are still new.

Your reasons to organize your cards are probably different than mine. Perhaps your cards are lying everywhere, driving your significant other/roommate crazy. Perhaps you just can’t find that Boseiju, Who Shelters All that would be the perfect finish to your latest Commander creation. Get it organized! You and those around you will be happy you did!

Up My Writing

Between Gathering Magic and the Muse Vessel, I’ve been writing weekly for the last two years. In that time, consistency has not been a problem. I think I missed one deadline in that time, and I even wrote twice in one week a couple of times. I enjoy writing, and deadlines force the procrastinator in me to get started and get finished.

What I want to improve is the quality. Too many articles have been published with my name on them that just aren’t all that great. Sometimes, it is the topic that is bland; other times, it is the writing. I can live with submitting a poor article if I am trying something different or new. Failing when trying something new is a great way to learn. Those failures will improve my writing in the future. My problem is with the bland article that gives you, the reader, less than my best effort.

Remember submitting that paper for a class and thinking, “Well, at least it’s done.” I want every article to be that paper where you say, “I don’t know how I can make this better.” I don’t expect home runs every time, but the hustle better be there on every play.

Why haven’t you tried writing? Or podcasting? Or streaming? I’m not asking for a permanent commitment or suggesting you push for a regular column on DailyMTG.com. Everyone reading this has at least one good article in him or her, waiting to be written. You probably have a topic that no one else has written about that you believe needs to be discussed. Perhaps you have expertise in a particular field and would love to write about how that relates to Magic.

There are many Magic websites that will take your contribution and publish it (probably after a rewrite, but rest assured, that’s par for the course). You may be surprised that after you have written your article, you have more to say. Once you start, it can be difficult to stop the flow of ideas that you want to write about.

The Magic community will always be made up of contributors and consumers, but there is no reason such a small percentage should be contributors. Add your voice to the community!

Play More Magic

Edric, Spymaster of Trest
My regular play group comes together every Thursday to play Magic. We have a great time, and it is a blast, but it means I’m playing Magic for three to five hours in a week. I’m greedy and want more. I have about twenty decks, and we play three to five games in a night. How am I supposed to provide you with updates on my Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck if I’m only getting in one game a month with the deck?

This is an easy resolution to fulfill. Every prerelease, I run an event for the children playing at my son’s group. These guys meet every Saturday to play Magic. It is a blast to play with people who are so excited about everything to do with Magic and to play against an adult! For the eight- to ten-year-olds, beating someone four times his or her age can be the highlight of the day. I play with cards many of them have never seen, using decks that no one would consider optimized. Magic is fun, and playing with people who have such enthusiasm for the game is infectious. I need to open up time on my busy weekends to play more regularly than I do now.

I suspect that many of you don’t get to play as often as I do. Whether your group of Magic players consists of your brother or a playgroup that plans to meet every couple of weeks but really only meets once a month, I’m betting you are Jonesing for more Magic.

I challenge you to play more Magic! Start a new playgroup to find new players in your area. If you have enough players but your group just can’t seem to become organized, take charge, and be the person who makes sure there is a game and a place to play each week.

Another option is to start going to Friday Night Magic or some Draft events at your store. Perhaps your local brick-and-mortar store is running a casual night! If not, why not offer to organize it? Organizing the event means that you will be able to decide the days, start times, and what is played. This is a great game—make every opportunity to play it!

Bruce Richard

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