Ross Merriam is a writer for Starcitygames.com and is a Silver Level Pro with 2 Grand Prix Top 8s, 2 Star City Games Invitational Top 8s and 3 Star City Games Open Wins. Ross lives in Connecticut.
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The competitive scene and the people.
Being a rather competitive person Ross enjoys the challenge of tournaments and consistently placing in big events. He also appreciates that he's met so many cool people through Magic: The Gathering.
Not understanding what cards were good in a competitive setting versus when playing with your friends at home was tough for Ross at first. People at his local game store took him under their wing and taught him the ropes.
The growth and changes he experienced at college greatly contributed to Ross' Magic abilities.
Specifically he developed his analytical skills, communication skills and humility.
Going 13-2 with an Elves deck at a Legacy Grand Prix in New Jersey. He navigated a field of decks that should have beaten Elves and got back on the Pro Tour.
How your opponent plays is one of the least relevant factors when determining how to sideboard. Ross considers the match up and what their list looks like.
Ross has an idea of 2-3 cards he will side board against each match up.
Holding lands as a bluff.
If you're holding a card in your hand for several turns your opponent will know it's nothing special. Balance the bluff with the benefit of having the card on the field.
For a fall set that initiates a rotation, keep in mind the powerful shells from the previous format and rebuild your understanding from scratch.
When evaluating a set that come out in the middle of a format, look for cards that push existing archetypes.
Sealed: Do cards have more tactical or strategic synergy? Look for cards that lead to an overall goal.Avoid even numbers in your mana base because it causes the most variance in your draws.
Have friends with similar goals. If your friends want to get cards signed their focus is vastly different than if they want to make a run for day two of the GP.
Always take time to decompress and talk about your play session at the end of the day. Discussion
Reading articles and talking about them with others is a great way to improve on a budget, as is watching coverage.
Play test on cockatrice.
Star City Games
Paulo Vitor articles
Reid Duke articles
Luis Scott-Vargas articles
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