Unlike a lot of the other contributors I’m relatively new and not a big national contender. People like to see what things are like from the big dog’s point of view so that they can glean some insight. That special something they feel like they are missing. Truth be told there is no secret.
I’ve been playing for about 3.5 years now I started in early ’09 right around the Legends release. I played pretty regularly about 2 days a week, and say 5-6 games total per week. I started hearing about the national scene at the time; and thought that it just wasn’t for me. Simply that I would never be able to aspire to that level and compete with the best of the best. Then something changed, I started to read the battle reports and the competitiveness wasn’t that far removed from my local group.
I resolved to try harder until I could make that national scene and from that point on started playing more and more competitively. When I say that I mean I would spend more time on list construction and lay out my list goals. I cut out extraneous models that weren’t proving worth it over time or really elaborate gimmicks that only worked some, if any of the time. I also started playing timed turns in casual gaming. I wouldn’t force it on my opponent but I would for myself. If I ran out of time my turn was over. This forced me to stop having analysis paralysis.
All of this helped shaped me into a better player not even really stepping up the amount of gaming I was playing but analyzing them more and seeing what I did wrong; what I could do better or differently. Then internalizing all of that information and building from there.
Lock and Load last year was my first attempt at a national level convention. I ended up in finals against Will Pagini; and lost due to excellent play on his part. While I do not wish to detract from Will’s victory, but I enabled him to win. I’ve gone over that scenario in my head easily over a dozen times on what I could have done differently. They all boil down to me not piecing the puzzle together.
The point I’m trying to make is that no plan is fool proof, and that everyone makes mistakes; even at high levels of play. In the end I hope that this article encourages some of you to get out there and try harder; as you don’t have to be a national player to be able to play at a national level.