Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Season Goals

I've never blogged about goals before, but I'm feeling optimistic about this season and I want to record my goals now while I have the wind at my back, so that when I hit the inevitable setback I can look back on something concrete and immutable and not let myself adjust my goals or commitment downward without being cognizant of the fact that I'm lowering the bar I set for myself.

Goal: Make Platinum.  

Top 8'ing another Pro Tour would be amazing.  Making the World Championships would be amazing.  I'm not saying Platinum is the only carrot out there, but it's the one I see right now on the end of my stick.  Plus if I make Platinum, making Worlds will be a likely consequence a good percentage of the time.

Platinum this year requires 48 pro points.

How Am I Doing So Far:

PRO TOUR KHANS OF TARKIR: (bolded and all-caps because the Pro Tours really matter a ton).  3 points.  Yikes.  Made day 2 but flamed out.

Grand Prix of Latter Day Saints: 1 point.

Grand Prix Roscoe's and Broken Dreams - 3 points.

Grand Prix Why the Fuck is this Location Chosen in January I - 6 points.

Grand Prix Why the Fuck is this Location Chosen in January II - 3 points.

Total so far: 16 points.

As good as I could hope for after 4 GPs and 1 PT given that I crapped out at said PT.  In each leg of the upcoming season (3 legs left, one for each PT), I'll need to do better at the PT because 48 is a shit ton of points needed and because only 6 GP finishes will count at the end of the year, meaning I can't get 16 points this way every leg.

I really will hate the World Championships and the Magic World Cup for as long as I don't get to participate.  I will switch to loving these events once I get to play and enjoy the head start my peers enjoy now.  If I get way too enthusiastic defending them once I've made it in to either (assuming I ever do), you can direct people here.  (Self-service aside I think these PT point bonus that go into "next year" are fine - the rewards were earned and it helps top pros stay at the top which helps the brand.  I get it, I'm just Sick of It TM).


Projecting Specific Goals:

REMAINING 3 PRO TOURS: One 11-5 (10 points), two 10-6 (6 points each) for a total of 22 points.  Consistency will be rewarded, and of course if I spike something better I give myself additional wiggle room, but I want to set out the goals that I know won't require me to run like Shahar.

Remaining GPs:  Upgrade my 1 point finish to a 3 point finish (netting me 2 points).  Make 2 additional top 8s or secure 1 GP win (8+ points).   Total of 10 points.  This one seems pretty hard given the low volume of GPs I go to.  I will have to stay hot, and there's no reason to think I'll keep running well over a handful of tournaments just because I have been.  What I'm feeling is the benefit of setting this out in writing is that I probably have to book an extra trip or two, and I can't "blow one off" drinking on Friday night or not caring what deck I play.

Total projected: 32 points.  (making 48 points, holy shit it works!)  


Minor Goal: Stop Bitching About Being the Guy With a Full Time Job and a Wedding Coming Up Etc. Which Means I Can't Play Magic 24/7

Many other pros have other commitments, and the full time players have their own crosses to bear (staying motivated to challenge themselves in practice, feeling the pressure of having to do well in the actual events, and others), and this narrative is just getting kind of tired.  I want to consider myself a top 25 player at year-end, and not because I decided to grade on a curve.  This whole thing originates as a kind of defense mechanism to "Sure, Owen Turtenwald is 2-4x better than me, but that's because of [excuses]."  I'm getting over that; Owen is better than me because he prepares better and plays better.  The details of why that is the case might suggest things I can do to improve, but I will no longer cite them to other people in order to make it seem like "well, we're all pros, and who knows what would happen if I played Magic full time" (all the evidence suggests Owen would remain the best in the world).  I'll keep putting "real life" well ahead of Pro Magic, but I've found ways to serve both (including a new testing team that will test online).

Nobody likes the guy at the YMCA who would have played shooting guard in the NBA if his high school coach didn't hate him or if his girlfriend hadn't gotten pregnant.  Even if it's true 0.1% of the time you hear it, everyone wisely rounds that 0.1% off and it just comes off sad.  My goal is to never become the Magic equivalent.

If anyone wants to post their own season goals and current progress in the comments, I'd be genuinely curious as to who is aiming for Gold, Platinum, to Qualify for 2 PTs, to cash 2 GPs, to learn competitive Hearthstone, whatever.  I'm not yanking your chain when I say my goal last year was to try and spike a good finish and if I couldn't, then quietly phase competitive Magic out of my life a bit.  I spiked that PT T8 out of a combination of good prep and good luck, and so I have a new attitude and a new set of goals.  I wish I had written more about where my head was at last year, so that's the motiviation for this post, and thanks for reading.


  1. I'm aiming to spike a good finish at this PT. This will be my sixth (my first five were quiet exits in PT Paris/Barcelona/Nagoya/Honolulu and Seattle from 2-3 years ago). I spent the last two years trying to get back to a PT, and I don't think my preparation was very good for those first five.

    I probably will not phase out competitive magic if I don't do well, simply because I think I love the game too much to do so, but I will lessen the number of GPs I will attend, given I haven't really posted any results period.

  2. My goal is to win a tournament.

  3. My goal is to play the occasional PPTQ as borrowed cards allow.

  4. On the "Nobody likes the guy..." bit - I find that has a lot to do with exactly how you frame the matter, not whether or not its true. I find that it doesn't come across as annoying if you make extra sure to own the situation and take responsibility for your actions in it. So yeah go ahead saying, "Yeah I don't get as good results because I have a full-time job + relationship." But make sure to also say "Having those things instead of more playtest time is a decision I made, because those priorities are higher to me, and I accept the consequences of that." And I think it's good you're saying "It's still important to me to be a top 25 Magic Player, so therefore I'm taking specific measures (like getting an online team) to work towards that without sacrificing the other things I've already said are more important." It's the guy who whines about how the world is so unfair that he hasn't been named world champ because he totally shouldn't have to playtest evar, who we REALLY want to all punch in the face.

  5. My goal is to win a regional PTQ before I lose my silver bennies. Top 8 a GP on a much lighter schedule (6? 8?).

    Also I want Paul to win a tournament