As the old year comes to a close, this is traditionally a time to look forward and figure out some resolutions for the new year. There are plenty of life resolutions to go around, but we’re here to talk about Magic. So here’s some Magic resolutions that all can feel free to apply as needed to themselves in 2023.
I Will Mulligan Better…Or At All
Repeat after me: I will not keep two-land hands that “have promise if I can just get there.” I will not keep hands that do not have the colored mana I need to cast the rest of the spells in my hand. I will not keep six-land hands with the thought that “Now I’ll just be drawing pure gas off the top, right?”
I get it. Sometimes a hand looks so good except for that one thing it’s missing to actually, you know… do anything. Magic players overall tend to under-Mulligan.
Don’t get me wrong — mulliganing does come with a real cost. Being down a card at the beginning of the game can be a huge setback. That said, a good, six-card hand will beat a do-nothing seven card hand most of the time.
Also, if you know the matchup and you have a technically workable seven card hand that doesn’t fight your opponent’s deck well, go ahead and mulligan! Maybe you have a sideboard silver bullet. Maybe the seven-card hand is just a little slow or doesn’t have the removal or countermagic you know you’ll need.
Whatever the reason, if you look at your hand and think “I can do better,” then try to do better! And don’t worry — we can always resolve to stop mulliganing so much next year if we need to.
I Will Not Blame Luck…All the Time
Magic is a game of variance. Unlike Chess, which is purely skill-based, Magic has an element of luck built into its structure in two key ways. First, and the one way shared by Chess in its only bit of randomness, is deciding who will get to play first.
Second is the fact that you are drawing off a deck and (most of the time) don’t know which card is coming. You know it’s a card you put in your deck, obviously, but which one and what impact it will have on your hand and the game is the unknown variable.
But the presence of variance doesn’t imply there’s no skill involved, and that can make it a little easy to chalk up losses to the random number generator that runs the universe. Sometimes, sure, you keep a perfectly reasonable three-land hand and then don’t draw another one until turn six — or you draw five straight lands off the top and run out of gas too quickly.
Yet there are many more times when you lose due to a small mistake you made four turns before you died. A key to getting better at Magic is being able to look past the cards you drew and evaluate the decisions you made with them.
Maybe you didn’t draw the removal spell you needed for three turns in a row, but you would have had a blocker available if you didn’t play right into your opponent’s Wandering Emperor. Maybe you sequenced your lands in a way where your opponent didn’t need to play around a counterspell in the early game. Finding small ways to improve will level you up way faster than blaming luck.
But the Arena shuffler does totally have it out for me, specifically. I swear!
I Will Organize My Collection…Probably
Oh, this one’s easy. Just take all your cards, all the ones you have sitting on your desk, in a drawer, sitting on top of your deck boxes, and sort them out. But how to sort? That’s an interesting question.
Sort by color, obviously, and then alphabetically. But alphabetically within each set, or just by the entire color? And if you do go by set, how do you clearly separate the sets in whatever storage device you’re using? And do you sort the sets alphabetically or chronologically?
Speaking of storage, which cards go in the binder and which cards go in a box? Is there a value threshold at which point cards get sleeved? Do you sleeve everything? And how much space are you willing to devote to your collection?
When do you start paring things down? BUT WHAT GETS PARED DOWN? Do you hold onto playsets of things? Maybe you’ll want to build a Cube or Battle Box in the future and having all those old commons and uncommons around might actually serve a purpose.
OK, there’s potentially a lot that goes into sorting and organizing a collection — especially if you’ve been in the game a while. The goal here isn’t to have a perfect system. The goal is just to declutter, and hopefully have an easier time tracking down a card in your collection that you could have sworn you had another copy of.
Whether you’re the sort to keep everything in shoeboxes or meticulously spreadsheeted in a reclaimed card catalog, try to find something that works for your brain, is easy enough to update and that makes building decks and playing the game as easy as it can be.
I Will Not Tie Self Worth to Performance
This one’s important, so listen up: you are not just a Magic player. You are a full person, and you need to take care of yourself.
It’s perfectly fine to care about the Magic and to set goals for yourself around the game if you want to, but there’s healthy ways to go about it and unhealthy ways to go about it. Don’t make Magic your only outlet for friends and recreation. It’s great for both of those things, but just like any good thing, it tends to be best in moderation.
I am someone whose life is steeped in Magic. I play it for fun, I write about it here and my job is all about making videos and shorts about Magic for y’all (shout out to our YouTube and TikTok pages, go give them a look if you want to read these articles in my voice, a thought that doesn’t weird me out a little at all).
I am the epitome of someone who absolutely did not take thce advice about not making your hobby into your job. It would be very easy for me to go on a streak of bad luck (or as we talked about above, making a series of bad decisions which lose me games) and get burned out on a thing that does take up a significant portion of my life.
But even if you aren’t quite as deep in the Magic world as I am, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel bad about yourself if your performance starts to slip. Just remember that how good you are at Magic does not equal how good you are as a person. It’s a game, and it’s OK to lose — which leads me to my final resolution.
I Will Have Fun
Remember, it’s a game. You got into it because you found at least some parts of it fun. Make sure however you play, whoever you play, you are still getting some feelings of fun, fulfillment and joy out of it.
Magic is a game, not a chore. Have some fun with it.
Whatever resolutions you choose to take up in the new year, Magic-related or not, remember that improving anything is a process, short or long. Be kind to yourself and others, and we’ll see you on the other side of the calendar. Cheers!
Chris is the Associate Media Producer at Card Kingdom. He would like to apologize to his son for not holding onto more cards from when he first started playing, as that likely would have paid for college. He enjoys pretty much all formats of Magic, but usually ends up playing decks that make other people dislike playing those formats with him.