The Art of Player Profiling

Posted by Jonic Jamison on

Final Turn Hobby Shop, The Art of Player Profiling Main
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu

How does one prepare for an upcoming tournament? For many casual or beginner Magic: the Gathering players, simply bringing the deck that you enjoy or have practiced with to the tournament day is fine. For some semi-professional players, piloting a “meta” deck is enough. How about for those players aspiring to be, on the professional scene?

Do you ever wonder why some people say they are not joining a certain big tournament, but you end up meeting them at the venue? Well, they are not trying to hide from you. These athletes just simply understand the “Art of Player Profiling”.
Final Turn Hobby Shop, The Art of Player Profiling Sub

So what is “Player Profiling?” 90% of every Magic: the Gathering player has a dominant archetype that they prefer to use or they are really good at. Take for example “Player A” who is a solo player. Every time he opens a pack, he will just be interested in red colored cards. All other cards he pulls out of the packs, he will give to his friends or sell to his local game store or other gamers in the community. Every time he looks at the binders of his LGS or other gamers, he will just look at the red cards with 1 or 2 converted mana cost and skip on the rest. “Player A” also plays the same Mono Red Aggro deck for FNM every Friday. He is always at the Top3 of every FNM that he joins in his LGS. Every local gamer in his community knows “Player A,” as the “Mono Red Aggro player only” who will not use any other colors in his deck, except the color ‘“red”. A similar scenario goes with “Player C”, an esper control player and “Player M” who is a gruul midrange player. 

Now, here comes a huge Qualifier for a big tournament. Part of preparing for the upcoming tournament is to know what the meta will be. So how do you predict the META on this upcoming Qualifier? Aside from researching on the internet on what are the dominant decks in the current format, you can also predict the possible decks that will appear in that tournament, by knowing who are the players that are joining in that event. Let us go back to the example, “Player A” who is the solo player told everyone he is joining the said Qualifier. There is a huge possibility that he will bring a Mono Red Aggro deck in that said tournament. Why? It is because of the many possible “RED” reasons:
  1. He is good at playing the Mono Red Aggro Deck. He knows the ins and outs of the deck.
  2. He plays solo, so there is a very high chance that he will only use the cards that he has in his collection, which is of course, only composed of “red” cards.
  3. He buys and trades cards only at his LGS and local community. There is a very small chance that he may have bought other colors outside his LGS or local community. So again, he will just be using the same cards in his collection which is? Yes, you guessed it right, “red” cards.
For local events with a small number of players attending, the “Player Profiling” technique easily works. This is not a myth for old competitive players. That is because you often see and play against each other.  In larger tournaments, this technique still works even if the number of registered players is huge. By knowing in advance who will be the possible players that will compete in that tournament, you will somehow have a grasp of what decks you will probably face-off with. Of course your prediction may not be as accurate compared to joining events with a smaller attendance.

Your main deck may be a bad match-up on certain decks, but you will be able to prepare your sideboard to have a higher chance to win on the succeeding games.
Player Profiling focusing on the deck archetype a gamer uses, is just one of the basic techniques in preparing for a tournament. There are still other types, such as playstyle, gestures, eye movements, voice tones and others.
Magic: the Gathering is a social strategy game, which develops a lot of talents in a person. Every gamer starts from scratch and each one has his/her own pace in learning the tricks and techniques to improve in the game. Most professional players will easily be there to help out the new ones. Your LGS especially will be very happy to help you out and recommend great players who would love to teach the new ones.

Keep practicing and in no time, you will be good at the Art of Player Profiling.

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