A very important tool is the ability to set good goals. Fundamentally, setting goals helps adhere to a certain strategy or theory. For instance, there has been speculation that of all the tribes in the current Khans block Sultai will be have the highest ceiling when future blocks are taken into consideration. This would be cause to buy up cards or develop a deck around those colors in preparation for future releases. This is an example of a speculative play.
Now what does the above speculation have to do with goals? Well first and foremost goals help to establish a benchmark upon which progress can track success or failure. In the case of the Sultai Speculation it is believed that Sultai cards are currently undervalued relative to the other tribes. This would be tested by developing a price sheet for the different tribes to value their speculation as the future blocks are released, with the goal to yield the highest value of return. Ultimately all goals represent a metric which in my opinion is the single most important part of a goal. Once a goal is established it will also help provide focus, and feedback for speculation
Focus your mind’s eye
Something often overlooked when it comes to Magic in general is a focus. Players have decks for everything! I mean most players have a Commander, Modern, and Standard deck. That is three different areas a player needs to split their focus, and understand the different interactions and card mechanics. This involves a lot of play time and research into the history of Magic. This lends itself to a much unfocused player, and possibly weakening gameplay. Would it best to be a generalist and win some or be specialized and win more? I’m not saying that the above is bad, and many players have been around with the game for a long time. It’s all about the play style, and the more that is taken could potential reduce and inhibit a player.
With the focus around the Sultai clan as a slice of Khans it is possible to develop a greater understanding and positioning relative to other players in the Khans block. Rewards could be either financial or increased skill of in-depth card mechanics. I highly recommend writing down your goal and what your focus is on.
Writing a goal down also creates a channel for reflective feedback. Feedback can be measured qualitatively or quantitatively. The closer to real time the more it will help navigate the current atmosphere by adjustment or staying true to the course.
Reflecting on the Sultai example here are some outlined feedback questions:
- Time Line: Does the current timeline allow for adjustments to be made to game play or financial strategy? Is this an achievable goal, and is there ample time to measure skill or realize financial value?
- Standard: Is Standard a narrow game type choice for Magic? Is even Standard too broad, and should it just be Standard Draft vs Constructed?
- Sultai: Is Sultai enough of a narrower focus? How is Sultai performing relative to its peers in current block? How does Sultai perform financially and in game format?
- Valuation: Is there a financial gain or loss that can be accounted for? Are game mechanics and knowledge improved? Was time well spent or used?
Each item above can be measured. First and foremost is timeline. Timeline helps holding/buying/game play style through the releases of Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir. A timeline also enhances goals by providing a life cycle and stages to mark their success. It’s very possible that Sultai really sucks during this time frame, but with a timeline it helps improve future decision making. Sultai may also be a very profitable clan to play in this block. Even though everything is hindsight there is something measurable, and analysis can be performed against the goal.
Focus will enable you to hone your skills and potentially become an expert at a local game shop or in the greater magic community. Analysis can be performed on trades, and can be catered to varying play styles. Is now a good time to buy or trade Sultai cards like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant? Who knows, but at the very least, there is focus, and research that has been a part of the trade decision. Even thoughtful hints, tips, or tricks. Another thing impacted will be a further understanding of the Sultai card mechanics. Does Sidisi, Brood Tyrant create a zombie token for each creature milled? Or is it per trigger no matter how many creatures? (Per trigger) These overlooked mechanics may help put a twist on value and on game play that has yet to be recognized creating an edge in a market.
Lastly, how can a goal be valued? One of the easiest values will be financial. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant purchased at today’s price of $3, and then pops back to eight dollars with Fate Reforged. How many copies were purchased and sold for a financial gain of $5? An often overlooked value is the knowledge gained on Sultai and gaming mechanics. Qualitative knowledge should increase about the game interactions and the Sultai clan. This could *possibly* provide an edge for the next year with Khans still in rotation. Maybe, the Sultai clan deck is pummeling all the other decks at the tournaments and allowing for financial capitalization.
At the end of the day no matter the timeline, feedback, and valuation there are many lines of speculation that can be identified and turned into goals. Ultimately it will improve game play and possibly lead to some financial gains.