The end of my MTG pro career :(
PT Phoenix was my last qualification as part of my streak of 6 years, 10 years total and 29 PTs played in my pro career.
Brace yourselves, I have a lot say. (Apologize for the text not being in any particular order, I'm writing this as everything comes to mind.)
I'm a little sad it has come to an end because my results on the PT were not great and I think I was starting to figure out how to fix that. People will say "
but you have two Top 8s", sure yeah, but I would trade them any day for a bunch of X-5s. To me, I mostly got lucky at these two events and having consistent but slightly above average results instead would mean a lot more. I'd feel a lot more accomplished.
I've always considered myself a mediocre technical player. But it really checks out with who I am as a person. I excel when I get to learn something inside out and get to assimilate all the possible scenarios. At the Pro Tour, there is A LOT of improvisation (even with open decklist) because you face updated decklists, better players and new decks. Adapting under pressure is not at all my strong suit.
That is also specifically why I did MUCH BETTER in the PTQs and GPs since people often just copy decklists and play exactly in the mold of the format that I playtested in. Unfortunately, the Pro Tour is where you need to do well to be recognized as one of the best in the world. Despite my 13 GP Top 8s, I never felt like I was anywhere close to all those who were at one point considered the best players. That sucks, but I learned to live with it.
From the things I've heard about me, I'm eternally grateful to have been called a GP beast, PTQ end-boss and one of the Pro Tour's craziest party animal.
To me knowledge, I had no enemies on the Pro Tour and I worked hard to be respectful to everyone. I always try to see the best in the players/people and I honestly hate it so much when people judge a player on their abilities because they them make a mistake in feature match. Magic is so much more than that, preparation goes a long way in doing well and some players dont get the recognition they deserved. There's obviously a downside to that, I've trusted and praised players who later were found to be cheaters (even cheated me), but I'm ok with it, I don't want to change my stance on giving people the benefit of the doubt until we have an actual proof.
There are a few other things I wish I wouldve achieved and one of them is being part of an "elite team". I joked a lot about "elitists", but the truth is that I was jealous. Anyone calling me an elitist wouldve made my day. I asked to join elitists teams multiple times over the years, but that never worked out. I never knew the reasons, but I kind of have to think that it was because they didnt think I could add anything to the team, which is demoralizing. Specifically because I believe I'm decent at identifying what I'm good at and bad at, and preparation was amongst my strong suit. I spent a lot of my time when testing with teams trying to innovate ways to prepare better, formulate my conclusions in a way that would be helpful and not just "I played 3 games and lost them all" (you can joke about the GW tokens deck here).
Anyway, I always enjoyed and looked up to Huey, Reid, Sam Pardee, Finkel, Ben S, Wrapter, Brad, BBD, Siggy and Matt Nass, it wouldve been awesome to prepare with them. I enjoy their company and get along, I will miss this dream. I also think that it mightve been the key to becoming a better technical player to interact with these guys in a testing context.
Now, everyone that I DID team with. Thank you for bearing with me, I'm not perfect, I know under stress I got annoying or stressful. I certainly learned from it and as I grew (I'm now 26 years old), I like to think I got more respectful and considerate of these situations. I've had a lot of fun sharing these years on the PT with you guys. Alex Hayne, Jon Stern, Marc Anderson, Josh McClain, Noah Long, Lucas Siow, Mark Jacobson, Ricky Chin, Ari Lax, Tim Wu, Andrew Brown, Ben Weitz, Seth Manfield, Scott Lipp, Neal Oliver, Alex Majlaton, Ben Friedman, Tommy Ashton, Jarvis Yu and the 176 other East West Bowl members.
(I'm sorry if I forgot names, feel free to reply to this tweet with something mean so I can only "like" it in a true lazy fashion.)
I talked about respect, I truly think the community as whole grew a lot as well. The number of times I saw people swear at each other during tournaments back in the days is at thing of the past. People often work it out themselves instead of calling judges nowadays, in a true civilized fashion.
One thing that makes me particularly happy and very accomplished as a member of this community is the huge rise in presence of non-men magic players. Just this last weekend I was walking around the PTQ tables and I see Tania Russel and more girls that Ive never seen before run the top tables. We have a bunch of girls running the coverage booths and backstage, judges, PT competitors and more. There is still work to do, but that warms my heart to see that.
Back to another subject. Constructed was always my weakness and over the last few years I decided I would work on that and set limited aside. Ive always been good at limited even with close to zero practice in a format. When I said I was getting close to figuring out how to do well in PTs, that part of it. I literally stopped playing more than 5-10 drafts and yet I still have the same satisfying draft results. In constructed however, Ive gotten much better, specifically at finding the deck to play at each PT, attacking, predicting and metagaming correctly. I still have lots to do tho because the technical gameplay of the actual games at the PT are very important and as I said earlier, I'm not good at it. At least, almost every PT now I feel like I had a satisfying preparation, that I played the right deck and sometimes even wouldnt change a card.
Whats next now that Im not on the PT? Well, the truth is that I've prepared for that. I'm certainly not lost or anything at the moment. Those who know me a bit more personally know that for the last 2-3 years I had already stepped back from travelling to GPs and playing Magic all the time. I wanted to build a life outside of Magic that I could rely on if things dont work out as a pro player. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to see it, Im there to stay. Ive commitment way too much time of my life to Magic to not use the knowledge I have. I quit school after high school to play Magic, I have no regrets. Between networking, traveling and the handful of good life lessons that comes with being a full-time magic pro, I dont feel uneducated. I was able to prove my worth in multiple magic/esports/cards industry related projects, so thats what Im doing now. Those 2-3 last years, I basically said yes to all opportunities I was offered and it was great. Thats what I'll I'm doing now.
Finding ways to make those industries better throughout ideas, content and the knowledge Ive accumulated is now my life goal. You will probably hear from me again throughout these projects and if you would like to support that, a follow, subscribe, like to "The Mythic Society" on Twitch would go a long way :) . I'm going to use this channel to create innovating content/tournaments for Magic players around the world. The first one being the "Arena Community Cup".
Full details in the info section of twitch.tv/themythicsociety
Theres a huge lack in independent MTG Arena online tournaments open to everyone. It's essentially all open to streamer/famous people only. I understand why it is the case, but I believe it can be overcome. That's what Ive been trying to figure out for the past year or so and I believe I found a way to not sinkhole myself financially and offer something nice for players who want to play meaningful events online. If you have feedback on the structure that can be found on twitch.tv/themythicsociety , make sure to let me know!
I will personally play mostly online now since I'm trying to build a life where I live (working locally, spending more time with my girlfriend, settling down, etc), so MTG Arena growing like it does is awesome. I love playing events on Arena, one last goal as a pro would be to compete in one of these Mythic Invitationals (wink wink WotC!).
Thanks to the Wizards team altogether, specifically people working on the Esports side of thing. You guys do a great job and the whole transition must be unreal to deal with. But im extremely hopeful for the Esports scene, I mean, its literally already one of the biggest Esports in terms of exposure, prize pool and production value thanks to Arena your amazing promotion work.
I'm very grateful to be part of Magic. I will hopefuly see you somewhere, on the internet or in a streamed draft where I first pick a missing mythic for my collection :).
Pascal "PMayne" Maynard.