In February 2020, I was looking for a new MTG content creation identity. Some folks brand their identities around podcasts, while others are already a known name through their performance in Pro Tours and Mythic Championships. A few months had passed since I competed in Mythic Championship VII, and I was fairly new to MTG's content creation world with no identity of my own.
Limited was always an enjoyable format, but I had never considered going for Mythic in Limited as it was a format that costs money unless you are flawless enough to have the format pay for itself. After reflecting on myself as a MTG player, I realized I haven't seen too many people posting on social media about ascending to Mythic rank on MTG Arena in both Construction and Limited ladders, known as Double Mythic. At that point, I decided I would become that person, and set my sights on not only achieving Double Mythic, but would try to go for Double Mythic every month for a full year. What I did not realize is that this goal would take so much energy, time, dedication, long nights, and a bit of luck. Although it may seem cliché, the lessons I learned in this journey far outweighed actually completing the goal itself.
When I initially set the goal, my motivation for the year of Double Mythic was to establish an identity as a competitive player, and "prove myself" to others without the lofty task of winning a Pro Tour or Mythic Championship. To prove myself would be to establish credibility in my playing abilities so folks could visit my stream and know they would be getting competitive content and advice from someone who has been to some of the most stressful events out there. Instead of taking the route of producing a series of tournament results, I decided to take the Double Mythic route as I could be working on this goal 24/7 if I wanted, instead of waiting for the next qualifier.
Being able to work on this goal so frequently was not the best option I could have taken, as it was always on my mind each month until the task was completed. I did not allow myself to stream other content some months until the goal was complete. As a warning, this was the best way to burn out on the game, and if someone else wanted to complete the goal, I would advise against this route. Because this goal was easy to work on all the time and obsess over, I'd be working on this goal until 6am some nights, as I could not sleep until I moved the goal in a positive direction.
Once Double Mythic was obtained for a year, nothing immediately changed. I did not receive some sort of certificate or trophy from Wizards or my peers, my stream numbers didn't miraculously increase, and my stream identity didn't change too much outside of letting others know the goal was achieved. What I did gain out of this tedious process was many lessons I plan on carrying further into my MTG career. The very first one was to properly assess what a healthy MTG goal looks like, and to self-reflect on why I'm on the journey as well as what is to be gained and lost from pursuing goals.
Had I known that self-fulfillment was the only result of acheiving this goal, I may have selected something way less ambitious, and more realistic. If someone were to ask me, "What's next after the year of Double Mythic?," I'd respond with trying to gain more tournament experience, and to gain as many top 8 results as possible. As nice as it would be to say, "I'd like to place first in a tournament," I've been pursuing this for years, and to have that empty checkbox at the end of multiple years has been beyond disappointing. It would be nice to have a series of checkboxes that are adjacent to it other than win the entire thing. Some great MTG goals I'd advise to others include:
- Be a positive and uplifting member of the community on social media and in tournaments.
- Learn from others about commentary, as doing commentary also creates a better understanding of the game
- Become involved with the community through a charity fundraiser, podcast appearance, fun weekly or monthly EDH groups, and/or cheer on folks through social media when they achieve a goal
- Take a workshop or a series of lessons on the game of MTG itself to learn better lines of play
These goals are all realistic, and are ways to be a positive member of the MTG community. Even though I'd like to one day win a tournament (and will never let go of that aspiration), it does not need to happen overnight. What can happen right away is to be the change you'd like to see in the community. Practicing and preparing for that moment where everything eventually lines up will keep you humble, as well as savor the moment more instead of moving the goalposts to the next greatest goal.
The last item that should be covered is to not be afraid to take a break from the competitive scene to visit one of the most accessible formats that makes MTG so great in the first place: EDH or Commander. EDH is a great way to meet new folks (either online through social media/Spelltable or at a Magicfest once we are safely able to do so again), in a casual setting enjoying the game through visiting older sets and reflecting on MTG's history. In order to keep things casual, be sure to have a chat with your group before playing to discuss power level. Some folks do not like to lose very early in the game, and it's important to discuss if the game will be casual or competitive. One setting of EDH that is my personal favorite is 2-Headed Giant or 2 on 2 with planechase cards if you wanted to make the game even more random and whimsical.
Casual formats of MTG or even taking breaks from the game can go a long way, which is why making a goal that was sustained over performing every month consistently for a year was not the greatest idea. Goals that can be controlled, or even ones that are not so performance-based can improve gameplay long-term. Thinking about the big picture and being community-focused will not only create healthier goals, but also take a step in the right direction to improving the MTG community.