So, I thought I'd get on here this week and talk about something that I've recently started going back to: Friday Night Magic. Now, this doesn't just apply to FNMs as it can be applied to any non-pro Magic event, but for simplicity's sake, I'm just going to say "FNM". These aren't going to be tips on how to be better at FNMs specifically, but they may help. These are going to be bits of advice on how to have more fun and be a more enjoyable opponent for other players. So, here are 5 tips for making your FNM more enjoyable for everyone.
1: You Don't Need to 2-0 Each Round
This is something that I had to learn the hard way on my own. Often, I used to get very worked up over the result of my first game of each match. I used to think that winning that gave me some sort of edge over my opponent or that I was guaranteed the match or something along those lines. As a result, I would often stress out if I lost the first game and it usually led to a 0-2 loss for me. Since then, I've discovered that if I treat the first game as a complete wash, I have a lot more fun and I do better too. I'm not suggesting that you sabotage yourself, just that think of a first game loss as a big opportunity instead of a defeat.
The logic behind this is pretty simple. Firstly, it gives you an opportunity to get into the pilot seat of your deck fairly comfortably. This is really important for Limited events as you probably won't have had time to fine-tune your deck as much as in Constructed formats. The longer you have to adjust to your deck and your opponent, the better it is for you. Secondly, I find that it actually gives you a leg up on your opponent instead of the way I used to think. This is because your opponent may not want to sideboard fully against your deck since they won the first time. This gives you a slight advantage as you will be able to tweak your deck a little more than your opponent and catch them off guard. Finally, it might make your opponent mess up in the second game. This really depends on your opponent, but I know a few players that will let a simple game win inflate their ego so much that they will make rookie mistakes and therefore make it easier for you. Just don't lose your mind is all I'm saying.
2: You're Not Playing Jon Finkel
This is something I see way too often: a player getting upset at an opponent for forgetting to untap his lands or draw her card for the turn or something stupid like that. A lot of new players come out to FNMs and their impression of the game and its community as a whole is impacted by their opponents. Yes, I understand you want to win, but you've probably got an advantage over your opponent if you've been playing longer than they have. If you lose, oh no! You're out a whole 3 packs maybe? What's the big deal? Just keep calm and keep playing Magic.
3. Be a Teacher
As with the last point, many new players come out to store-level events to learn and experienced players should act as teachers for them. Don't tell them how to play the game though. It's very important to teach new players organically. Don't say "Cast Doom Blade targeting my untapped Jokulmorder so you can swing in with your Village Cannibals for the win"; that doesn't teach them anything. Say something like "Your Cannibals are big enough to kill me if they can get through this combat". Phrasing like that just plants the seed of an idea in their mind and it becomes up to the player to nurture it. Mark Rosewater wrote a great article a few years ago about teaching people Magic and it's a good place to start for teaching tips (seriously go read it).
4. Make Friends
If you're going to your local store to play FNMs, get to know the people you're playing with. If you're visiting from out of town, experience some new friends and a different gaming environment. You can bounce deck ideas off other people who might have differing viewpoints and make point things out to you that you never noticed before. Making new friends is one of the best ways to grow as a Magic player.
Seriously. It's a game. Have some Jace-damned fun with it!