Welcome back to Deep Analysis.
This week I want to talk about something that I’ve had to overcome several times.
Leaving the game is something that happens a lot to us at one point or another.
I’ve played Magic since 1996 but I’ve had to put down the cards several times.
What causes us to quit playing Magic?
My nature of being a competitive person / player gets the best of me at times. Second place just doesn’t get the job done for me. As such, I’d go through stretches of just missing the cut or losing in the quarterfinals that I would just frustrated and quit playing for a while. I’ve also done the same thing when I go through losing streaks. At that point, the game just doesn’t seem fun for me and I’ve had to put the cards into the binder.
This usually happens to me when I hit a wall, when my growth as a player stagnates. This happened at my FLGS when I started to consistently win events but then tried to move up to the next level (PTQ circuit) and got my face smashed in. It ended up being about 1 1/2 years before I’d meet anyone who would help me improve. After getting my face bashed in several times at PTQ’s, I stepped away from the game late 1999 and didn’t pick up Magic again until 2001.
Too Much of a Good Thing
I would play multiple games per day between classes and at home with my sister during the week. On weekends, we would both hang out at the game store for FNM and usually for the events on Saturdays and Sundays too.
One of the other reasons that I personally had gotten burned out was playing too often. Eventually, it was no longer any fun.
Most players refer to this as burnout.
This one gets us all eventually. This happened to me on more than one occasion.
I know since 2010, I haven’t even attempted to be involved in a PTQ (or PPTQ as they are now) despite my desire to still be apart of the competitive scene. There are many life things that had cause me to step away from that scene. Work and family take up the majority of my time including caring for my 83 year old grandmother.
These days I’m more of a sensei than a competitor Most of the games I play nowadays are online and are to help others testing for major events. While I’m unable to compete like I used to, I do my best to stay up on decks and trends to stay ready to help others when the call arises.
What to do when you experience this
While life is the one thing that we have no control over, the setbacks and burnout we can somewhat control. Here as some things that I have done to get back into the game.
Move over to other games for a bit
One thing that I’ve done quite often when I was burned out of Magic was to move over to other games. I’ve played a few games in my time (over 30 other CCG’s). Some were more for fun (Pokémon, WWE Raw Deal, .hack//ENEMY) while others I took a more serious approach.
Some of the notable ones that I played are below (bold faced games denote ones I played at the professional level):
Star Wars Customizable Card Game
Legend of the Five Rings
Pokémon Trading Card Game
WWE Raw Deal
*The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game
*.hack//ENEMY Trading Card Game
*World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
Many of these games had a much different feel than Magic, so it helped ease the monotony. Some of these games were more difficult in some aspects and actually helped my Magic game when I eventually returned to the game. For example, Legend of the Five Rings has much more board complexity than normal Magic so playing that game helped my sealed and draft play since I was able to track much more on board. Another example was with The Lord of the Rings TCG by Decipher is where I learned to read players and bluff better. In that game, your opponent could control how many resources you had to play cards. Your opponent could move and give your a decent amount to work with. One of the tricks I learned was to be able to bluff my opponent that my hand was terrible and bait them into moving again (which was the limit for the turn). An unsuspecting opponent would move a second time flooding me with resources and allowing me to inflict massive damage or even finish an opponent off. This also allowed me to properly learn to read my opponent to take advantages of their bluffs.
A break is good
I’ve hit a wall where my game wasn’t getting any better (and as matter of fact it was getting worse). I’d make more mistakes than normal and have more losing records. Just taking a break from the game to refresh your mind and your body is a good thing.