Top 4 reasons why grinding on Magic: The Gathering Online is better than grinding with paper Magic
If want to take competitive Magic seriously then you need to be trying to qualify for the Magic Online Championship (MOCS)
Last weekend I played in the Magic Online Championship (MOCS) and lost in the finals. That was the most important match I’ve played on Magic Online and one of the most important I’ve played in my life.
Some of you may not be familiar with the MOCS, so please let me explain to you what is it. Most of the tournaments held on Magic Online will award Qualifier Points (QP) to top finishers, depending on the event. At the end of the monthly season, players with enough QP (35) will be allowed to play in the MOCS. Alternatively, you can join a MOCS Preliminary with 15 QP and get one last shot at qualifying for the MOCS.
The 12 winners of the MOCS, will join the previous champion of the finals, the two winners from the last chance qualifiers and the online player of the year in a 16-players tournament that awards $116,000 between the 16 of them and an invitation to the World Championship.
You can find more information about the MOCS here – http://magic.wizards.com/en/2015-magic-online-championship-series.
I believe not many players are aware of how big and important this tournament is, or they don’t give it the credit it deserves.
I know qualifying for the MOCS is not easy, especially in terms of time. Making 35 QP per month is not an easy task, making 15 QP alone is a challenge in itself, but players who have decided to take competitive Magic seriously are probably not looking at the entire picture here if they have not given taking part in the MOCS a serious thought.
How many of you are PPTQ grinders? How many of you travel distances of 30 min, 1 hour, or 2 or 4 hours just to play a PPTQ and try to qualify for the RPTQ? Just to get a Pro Tour invite and the hope of cashing that Pro Tour?
What if I told you that you could play as many PPTQs as you want from home? You don’t need to win any, you just need to do “OK” in some to get qualified for an online RPTQ that you also play from home. And what if I told you that winning the online RPTQ will reward you with something much better than a Pro Tour invitation? Well, that’s exactly what the MOCS are, well… maybe not exactly, but I think the value is much better if you look at it in terms of time, money and convenience.
I am not trying to put you off from taking part in regular PPTQs, I am trying to open your eyes to a new– and in my eyes –possibly better option for getting more involved in competitive Magic. I am not sure how many players who would call themselves “grinders” are giving the MOCS a serious shot, but I don’t think it’s as many as the ones travelling to PPTQs.
If you have access to the cards on MODO then you really need to give qualifying for the MOCS a go, its a no-brainer, especially as playing in one doesn’t stop you from playing the other. You could still travel to nearby PPTQs and try to qualify for the Pro Tour, and instead of travelling longer distances to other PPTQs, you could just stay at home making QPs for the MOCS.
It gets even better. Spending time on Magic Online will improve your overall level of skills and give you a better chance at the PPTQs, RPTQs or any other paper Magic tournament that you may want to play in.
4 Top reasons why grinding on Magic Online is better than grinding with paper Magic
You may think that any time you invest in playing Magic: The Gathering will improve your skill level, whether that be on paper or online, but that is not necessarily the case and please let me explain to you the advantages of playing Magic Online in relation to playing paper Magic:
1. You can play events 24/7 and spend as much time as you want each season
Want to play Standard but the next daily is in 3 hours? No problem, let’s join an 8-man queue in the meantime. Do you want to draft but your local store isn’t running any in the next two days? 5 minutes is the maximum length of time you will need to wait online before one starts.
2. You can play Magic between rounds of Magic
Finished your match in 10 minutes and now have nothing to do in the next 30-40? Join a 2-man for a quick match and keep testing your deck. Be careful when doing this though, if your round starts before you finish your 2-man match then you will have to concede one of the matches or decide to play both simultaneously, some people can multi-task and can do it without much trouble, but for the rest of us it could be a serious challenge.
You may be interested to know that some grinders online are constantly multi-queuing, which means that they are playing multiple tournaments at the same time to increase their profit/QP rate/learning.
3. The Magic Online metagame evolves much faster, online players adapt faster
Remember that time when the competitive deck that you were running did really well one week then suddenly bombed the following week? Notice how this is happening more and more frequently? This is because players are now more prepared for the current deck to beat, and they are more prepared for that deck at a much faster pace.
With Magic Online there are multiple tournaments taking place all over the world on any given day, as a result the Magic metagame will evolve much faster on Magic Online than in paper Magic. People who regularly play online are more likely to make better deck choices for a paper tournaments than people who only play paper Magic.
4. Magic Online has a better sample size than your local store
How many of you have been over-prepared for a match, expecting everyone to be playing a certain deck in a big tournament and then found none/very little? Just because 5 of the 20 players in your shop play a certain deck doesn’t mean that 25% of the players at a Grand Prix will be playing that deck. With so many players online at any given time, you will get a better idea of how popular each deck is than if you were just to play against the same 15-30 players week-in-week-out at your local store.
The possible downsides
Of course not everything is better with Magic Online and there are some disadvantages that you have to consider too, for example:
1). A lot of players complain about the quality of the program itself, and the many technical issues that you can experience while using it.
2). Magic Online is not free and requires an investment, many players would have already invested their money in paper Magic.
3). The Online metagame doesn’t always reflect the paper one, the largest percentage of people who play online play budget decks and you’ll need to keep an eye out for this.
4). Wednesdays are the MODO downtime days and you won’t be able to play online for most of the day.
And talking of investment and money. Did you know that some people make a profit and a living out of Magic Online? Especially in countries where the minimum waged is much lower than the developed worlds average wage, the tickets or dollars you can produce on Magic Online could easily be higher than having many full-time jobs in certain countries.
Community Question: Do you prefer to do your testing using Magic Online or by using paper Magic?