Mental Mana MTG Arena Series: Moving Forward From Mythic

With today’s article, I’m going to wrap up this series on MTG Arena and the mental game of grinding to Mythic. Previously, I’ve talked about two topics. The first was on how to get yourself mentally prepared for the grind ahead. The second was how to maintain that great mindset throughout the process as you aim to reach mythic. Today, I’ll be discussing the final topic: what to do once you’ve achieved Mythic, and how to keep yourself motivated to play moving forward.

Success is what we all strive for, both in Magic: The Gathering and in life. It’s something you should strive for. But as I often say, success can be just as dangerous as failure. Over my years working with professional athletes and gamers, it’s actually success that I’ve seen ruin people far more than failure. The reality is that many people aren’t mentally prepared for the challenges that come with obtaining success, and as a consequence they react to it poorly, namely by getting complacent.

The perfect example of this is a professional tennis player from Australia, Bernard Tomic. At one point, Bernard had reached as high as #17 in the world rankings. He won multiple tour championships and won huge sums of money at an early age due to his success. That’s when things started to unravel. At Wimbeldon in 2017, he was playing in the first round and his opponent was Mischa Zverev from Germany. Throughout the match, Bernard looked completely uninterested and bored. He sauntered around the baseline, jogged around when chasing shots, and put little to zero effort into his match. At one point, to disrupt his opponent, he faked an injury and called over a trainer in order to slow down his momentum and lessen the pace of the match. He ended up losing the match and getting knocked out the tournament in the very first round. Naturally, everyone was surprised. The answer he delivered in his post-match press conference said it all:

“I don’t know why, but, you know, I felt a little bit bored out there, to be completely honest with you. So I tried at the end and stuff, he managed to win that set 6-3 or 6-4, but it was too late. To be completely honest, like I said before, it’s tough, you know. I’m 24. I came on the tour at 16, 17. I have been around and feels like I’m super old, but I’m not. So, you know, just trying to find something, you know, this is my 8th Wimbledon or 9th I think. I’m still 24, and it’s tough to find motivation, you know. Really, me being out there on the court, to be honest with you, I just couldn’t find any motivation. I see, for example, Zverev winning Rome, and achieving, you know, I have won titles in my career. I have made finals, a bunch of them. So I feel holding a trophy or, you know, doing well, it doesn’t satisfy me anymore. It’s not there. I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth-round US Open or I lose first round. To me, everything is the same. You know, I’m going to play another 10 years, and I know after my career I won’t have to work again. So for me this is mental.”

Once you reach Mythic, there can be a temptation to get complacent: to put your feet up, wipe your hands, and rest on your laurels. But here’s the thing about success: The difficult part isn’t actually obtaining it. The difficult part is maintaining it. Once you actually reach Mythic, a new process begins, and that’s the process of working to maintain the great achievement you’ve earned, and to perhaps go even further. Having said that, here are a few key things about maintaining your Mythic rank, or pressing even higher.

1) Re-evaluate your purpose.

In the beginning, it was all about grinding through Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond so that you could reach Mythic. Now that you’re there, it’s time to re-evaluate your purpose and truly understand what you want your next step to be. Do you just want to stay in Mythic and leave it at that? Or, do you perhaps now want to try and go further? Do you want to try and break into the top 1000? Break into the top 100? The top 8? Reach #1 in all of Arena?

Once you actually reach Mythic, I think it would be a great idea to take a day or two off and use that time to reset your mind and figure out what you want your next step to be. That way, you have a concrete plan for how to approach your time with Arena moving forward, because different objectives require different commitment. For example, if you just want to enjoy your Mythic status, rock the cool symbol, and play nothing but brews or draft Timmy jank, then hey, by all means, go for it! That doesn’t require a plan moving forward. But if you want to crack the top 1000, the top 100, or beyond, then the commitment obviously scales and a more dedicated plan and schedule is needed.

2) Stay focused on growth and improvement.

In my view, the best part about reaching Mythic, more than anything else, is the opportunity to play against pretty much nothing but great players who know how to play the game and play it well, giving you a great opportunity to constantly challenge yourself, test your skills, and continuously keep improving your game. Take advantage of that. In the previous article, we talked about getting into the habit of writing things down. Now that you’re in Mythic, this is the best opportunity to takes notes on your matches and really maximize your ability to hone in on areas of yourself and your game where you can improve and grow.

The Mythic Invitational ended with ChannelFireball’s very own Andrea Mengucci taking it down. My favorite moment of the tournament was when one of the competitors, The Asian Avenger, was playing in his Top 16 match against Piotr Glogoswki. Piotr went completely HAM on him, throwing down spell after spell with an Experimental Frenzy in play. The entire time, The Asian Avenger was smiling and laughing, and really enjoying the moment, despite having lost the match and despite the high stakes of the situation. I tweeted about how I admired The Asian Avenger’s mindset and attitude toward the loss, and he responded to me with this gem:

Even after a tough, high stakes loss, he was smiling, laughing, and seeing the good in the moment. He was focused on enjoying himself, learning, improving, and growing as a player by competing against such great players. You can do the same in your matches once you hit Mythic. As long as you’re going to be a player playing competitive Magic, the learning, growing, and improving process should never end. Your potential as a player is unlimited and there’s no knowing what you’re capable of doing or how good of a player you can become. Enjoy the process of learning and exploring both game and yourself.

I appreciate you tuning into this little series on the mental aspects of grinding to Mythic on Arena, and I hope you found it helpful. I want to wish you all the best in your journey, and I’ll see you around in the next article soon!

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