Last Saturday I went to my first Magic: The Gathering event. Well, first in a long time. See, I used to sling these cards around years ago, back during the Ravnica block. “Back in the day” talk may summon images of me being an old man with a cane shaking it feverishly at

this could be me. maybe. hopefully not.

children and their Yu-Gi-Ohs. I realize that the time period I speak of isn’t all that long ago, but it certainly feels like an eternity now.

Back then, I wasn’t exactly interested in playing professional. Content to spend my time building casual decks or even “casually competitive” decks that certainly try hard to win, but certainly would fail up against a real deck. For most people in this hobby this is as good as it gets , and that’s awesome. I certainly don’t want to say people should only play their game a certain way. As for now though? Let’s do this.

The event I entered was Celebration, wherein you get a pack of cards and 3 of each color land and that’s your deck. If you win, gain a pack of cards and play another person. If you lose you simply play your next round with your current stash of cards. And while this isn’t the bastion of competitive play. It’s a start.

I ended up pulling a Frost Titan. This is amusing since this was one of the cards I was looking at building a deck around. (Rar! Rar! Smash!) All said, I went two wins and two loses.

This guy's all like "Sup, bro"

So what did I learn?

I certainly learned the value that winning early certainly doesn’t mean you’ll win later. One rather proficient player took everything I threw at him on the chin and ended up crushing me as I pinged him down to under 10 life. There’s a late game that you have to plan and play for. The game doesn’t begin and end within a few turns all the time, but can really dig in and go for 8 turns or so… sometimes.

The other thing I took note of was to hold on to cards. Sometimes I see people play and they cast everything they can that turn, and while this may make sense in some fashion, holding cards is just as valuable. Your opponent will think you have more answers to things on the table than you actually do and might be hesitant to play something. Even if your opponent is aware of this tactic it’s still valuable. How willing are they to bank on a bluff rather than to be more sure?

So in short, bluffing and resiliency.