I started playing Magic again.

To be clear, I never really stopped I just moved twice, changed jobs thrice, and lived through a once in a lifetime pandemic. In that time I mostly played Hearthstone to scratch the competitive itch. HS never really cut it, but it was enough. When MtG: Arena came out I tried to play the MacOS client but it had consistent issues updating and other performance bugs.

In December 2023 Kelly started getting into Magic. She started playing MtG:A, watching streamers and commander gameplay. Her getting into it is what started me back into the breach.

After spending, roughly, 5-6 years away my skills are lacking. Especially in commander. I was always trash at commander. I'm a 1v1 competitive player at heart. I don't have a huge amount of practice mentally loading 4-5 player board states into my brain while also maintaining strict adherence to the basic rules of Magic.

In the FFA environment I'm deeply prone to missing triggers, draw steps, and doing what the cards say, so I beat myself up a bit and go on to make more blunders. As the night goes on and my mental game deteriorates after playing 1-2 hour grind-fests so does the play.

The other major challenge is the card pool has increased by leaps and bounds since 2017. Every time I sit down to a pod there are at least a dozen or more cards that I've never heard of provides some insane on-board trick that I need to load into working memory. It hasn't gone smoothly. Of course that permanent on the board with three discrete paragraphs of text is an enchantment. No, that's a 5/4 creature, also it has first strike and when it deals damage it gets +1/+1 counters equal to the damage it does. Idiot.

The other night I had the miserable experience of digging for combo pieces in my Alesha deck. After three games in three hours I just didn't have the mental left to do it in under ten minutes.

I know commander != Magic and that 1v1 events still fire around here. I feel like I could still hang in a 3 round Swiss but the mental drain from commander has me worried. If I can't play this casual ass format acceptably, let alone perfectly, how can I play competitively?

Am I just going to be some Uncle Rico talking about the good old days? "Back in 2015 I used to be able to Top 4 modern RPTQs. Hell, I 2-1 or better'd every Khans block draft I entered." Just to get combo-killed by some kid on Lotus Field on a win and in into top 8.