I HAVE BECOME SOFT!
Ending my Worlds 2018 run as runner-up left me hungry for a win, but it also qualified me for next year's Worlds event, and then winning Euros 2018 secured my flight and hotel for the tournament at the Games Center in Roseville. Knowing that Worlds 2019 was going to be a different format with a lot of cards rotating out of the game sometime next spring, and having already locked my spot and a paid flight, left me without a need to win anything else in 2018!
This combined with a new girlfriend, going back to school and a new bet about finishing an Ironman race has taken its toll on my amount of spare time. This does not mean I do not still enjoy the game immensely. It is one of the best games I have ever played, but the drive to win at any cost has not been there, for me, this National’s season.
I HAVE BECOME SOFT!
Destiny is a mental and strategic game and the mindset you bring is everything. It is NOT going to change the symbols showing on your dice, but it is going to affect everything else. The testing you do beforehand, the confidence in how you bluff mitigation or read your opponent, the risks you are willing to take and the different lines of play you are able to construct. Between the cards, dice and symbols showing, an almost infinite amount of different lines of play is available to you throughout a single game of Star Wars Destiny. Your mind only constructs a handful of these different lines. The ones you construct is MAINLY determined by your mindset.
I HAVE BECOME SOFT!
I do not want to be soft. I need to adjust my mindset accordingly. A mindset, like most other things can be changed with a methodical approach and consistent line of action. Luckily, I am a seasoned TCG player with more than 10 years of competitive Magic the Gathering under the belt. Furthermore, I have been in this situation before, qualifying for the MTG ProTour, so I know the steps I need to take in order to adjust my mindset accordingly.
STEP 1: TELL PEOPLE I'M GOING TO WIN!
The astute reader will notice that I was cocky enough to even put this in the headline. This is not overconfidence at its worst, THIS IS ME ADJUSTING MY MINDSET. The first step for me to win anything is to imagine myself winning it, and then vocalizing it. I am telling my friends, family, readers of this article, but most importantly I am telling myself that I want to win.
Telling myself I want to win is the most important change in mindset I can have. Not telling myself I want to win, will lead me down a slippery slope of excuses:
"I just want to have fun for this tournament",
"I don’t like playing tier 1 decks",
"I know it is not a good deck, but I built it myself and I really like the character pairing",
"It's an off day for me, its okay to make mistakes"
These are all fine things to say, and there is nothing wrong with having fun or building a deck because of a love for a character. However, none of them combines with the goal I am setting for myself: I WANT TO WIN!
STEP 2: PUT IN THE WORK!
Destiny is a dice game and anyone can win with anything, but how often does that really happen? Luck favors the well prepared and in order to be prepared I need to put in the hours. I only have a limited amount of spare time so I have to be smart about it, but also make some sacrifices. As I'm writing this the Spanish Nationals 2018 is only 8 days away and I have not even picked a deck yet. Up to this point I have not put in the work needed to win.
THAT ALL ENDS NOW! Not only am I sitting here at work actively changing my mindset, but I am also reading as many deck lists from as many tournaments as possible. I am setting up test nights on TTS and in real life, I am postponing my normal life obligations because I need to get games under my belt.
I will pick a deck tonight to play in the tournament and hopefully I can get enough games in to feel confident going into the tournament. I will put in the work needed to win!
STEP 3: MAKE IT COUNT!
Sports psychologist tell athletes to train every session like it is the final round of the Olympics. The way I approach my testing should not be any different. In order to make sure I play tight in a tournament I need to practice playing tight when testing. Recently I’ve been making a lot of errors and playing to sloppy. I need to rethink my testing.
Playing lots of sloppy games might give me a good understanding of the format, but it will teach me to play sloppy at the tournament itself. I need to gain my understanding of the format through other ways like watching coverage, discussing with my playtest group and other peers, reading articles and studying deck lists. I need to play every game from now on and until the tournament like it was the top cut at Worlds. I need to play slow and tight, not allowing myself any bad habits but instead gaining good ones. I need to evaluate my games, and I need my peers and players I trust to evaluate my plays too. Making every action, of every round, of every game count, will give me the focus, concentration and mindset I need in order to win the Spanish Nationals.
STEP 4: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
In order to play my best, I need to feel my best. I need to get rest, eat well and exercise this upcoming week. I need to have my testing done Friday afternoon in order to be able to relax, sit down and enjoy a beer with my friend and travel buddy Claus, and go to bed early Friday without being unable to sleep well because I am nervous about my deck or testing.
THAT'S IT! four easy steps to ensure my absolute best. I will keep you guys informed about deck choice and a tournament report when I have won the bragging rights that is being the Spanish National Champion.
I WILL NOT REMAIN SOFT!
European Champion 2018