Figuring out where I fit

I had an interesting experience for FNM this week.  Being at my parents to do house and dog sitting while they were on vacation took me away from my normal store.  The store I go to has a large crowd, normally around 60 people on any given FNM.

I enjoy spending time with most of these people, and know who is a more competitive player vs. casual and who runs what kind of decks, ect. I found that I missed these people this week, like somewhere along the line my week wasn’t completed.  I guess that is when you know a place has had a real impact on you.  So there is one point.

We went exploring a few stores the day before trying to gauge what kind of events they have, what their crowd is like, and most of all trying to find out how comfortable it was for us to just be in there.  Most of the stores I’m actually happy that I skipped on in High School.  It would have been hard to play magic with all my other things going on anyway.  I’m not sure if it was just that some of these shops were new and thus inherently uncomfortable, or that they sadly reminded me of your ‘typical nerd shop’ with people who didn’t know how to properly socialize or very little lighting, but they just didn’t work.

It could have been the army of cameras one store had set up too.  Like not one camera, but one every two ceiling tiles.  Yeah that is weird.

We found a place to play though.  A new place that opened up and is an great mixture of anime, manga, and gaming.  Somewhere that people didn’t mind talking and actually knew how to do so appropriately.  I had an over all good time.

But I feel kinda like an asshole.

The group of people playing at this store obviously are mostly casual players.  There is no judge or rules adviser to assist with games beyond the store owner.  They are used to switching mana taps in between turns and everyone just saying do what you want.  In this sense, it was a strange and lawless land, one that was way outside my social construct as a player.

I didn’t want to be the jerk who just showed up, but I didn’t want to just let people walk all over me.  I don’t ask for take backs or re-arranges any longer.  It is a bad habit that I don’t want to mess with.  Yet they constantly didn’t get that.  I’d make notes of triggers I missed due to the newness of the set or plays that could have been better then the one I just did.  They expected me to switch to those things instead.  I let someone change a mana base, trying not to be the cold player I can be while at GPs and Opens.  I did so for the second, third, fourth time through gritted teeth.

So right now I’m trying to figure out where I fit in.  I’m not quite to the point of doing well at large event consistently to consider myself good, but I am also much higher then casual.  I’m at some median point where I need to do something to advance myself in order to do better or just be happy where I am.

The issue is that I’m normally not a person to just sit idle.  If I don’t keep doing better and pushing myself I will lose interest, which would then remove me from all of the fantastic people I’ve met in this realm.  I wish I was better at playing Magic on a computer, but I constantly fumble.  I wish I had more time to play, but with Masters and work from 6 am to 6 pm most days, my weeks are cut for the most part.  I practice with Trev, but I wind up against the same deck over and over again, which doesn’t quite get the same breadth of testing that I would ultimately need for decks.

I’ve had this thought before, but that was just against a friend.  This was a whole store where I seemed to be held in this goddess type position, where people asked me for advice and I was teaching people about stacks, triggers, and how the card reads has a lot of impact.  And I guess coming from a store where I’m not in that regard, and these things are expected to be known, I was uncomfortable being in this position of teaching people.

And I think that is the biggest different.  It wasn’t just that these people were casual players, but they seemed to look up to me as some beacon of I too, can do better.  That should make me feel good, I suppose, but on so many levels I just feel as thought I don’t deserve it.

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4 responses to “Figuring out where I fit

  1. I know the feeling of finding out where you belong. Luckily the answer is everywhere! It’s tough at first, but putting yourself out there into uncomfortable situations will help you to grow as a Magic player. Learning how varying levels of players play, and recognizing what type of player you’re playing against is a valuable skill I think. Not all players at a GP or Open are going to be at a Pro level. As far as casual games are concerned I guess anything goes, but if it’s DCI sanctioned you should play by the rules I think. Help them to become a better Magic player without being an ass about it, that’s my motto. I ask them if they want to play again if they lost to try and fix their problems. One time mana change is okay, but after the second time I’d draw the line.

    And as somebody who played at 5 different stores a week when work permits, I can tell you that I’ve improved immensely by playing different levels of players, as well as tons of different decks. If you’re only playing against the same decks at your local store time and time again, you’re going to be ill-prepared when it comes to a big event like a Grand Prix. That’s my two cents at least.

    • That certainly makes sense. Thankfully at the local store there is a good mix up of people around. But I still go to other events when they are close by.

      And the event was DCI sanctioned, but I don’t think many of the players ever played with a judge around to explain things, so we did a lot of that. I do need to start branching out with decks and the like, though.

      • It helps to have a few decks. Some just won’t cut it in the current metagame. I’m giving up on Tokens for a while and switching over to UB mill and Boros humans. Before that I tried my hand at Grixis control and Junk Human reanimator, and while I didn’t do as well as I had wished, it’s useful to know how those decks operate so that you can player better against them in future events.

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