Competitive Magic = Professional Development

Hello readers of All Star Gaming’s blog! I am Cris Smith, member of Team Swish. I am also a manager at Amazon and have started learning how to conduct interviews for new members of my team. Through this process I have realized a lot of valuable things, some of which I will be sharing with you all today! This article will go through the correlations of attributes that magic grinders and employees have, specifically those that major companies are looking for! Overall, five qualities I would say are both highly sought after by companies and possessed by competitive magic players are Ambition, Communication, Confidence, Critical-Thinking and Adaptability.

Starting with Ambition, competitive Magic players are constantly looking to improve themselves and compete at the highest level possible. For example, I am trying to queue for the Pro-Tour and I have been working hard to achieve this dream. I put in research so I have a strong foundation for the game, then I study so I have strong magic theory and look at the experiences of past deck choices to analyze future decisions. I also practice to learn my decks, and the various decision points within the deck. Ambition is a trait that employers look for because of what it communicates about a person. Ambition shows that you have something you're working towards and are on a path to grow yourself and the company. It shows that you can stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve even when things are difficult.

Next, let's look at effective Communication skills. This is a vital quality for paper magic grinders, especially during competitive events in which what is said during a turn can severely impact the game. Examples of these skills, developed through games include: asking clarifying questions, thinking statements through before speaking, and listening to understand what the other player is doing. Employers understand the value of effective communication and actively look for this skill in potential employees. It’s important to show your competence in verbal and physical communication. Another key component to good communication is actively listening and providing thoughtful feedback. This is something that is practiced more during testing sessions and can be the key to a successful event.

Confidence is the next attribute that is great to add to your player card. Confidence can be developed through different avenues, but it begins with learning and knowing yourself. Maybe you become more confident with testing, developing your theories around MtG, or even by doing well in events. However, you'll find that the best way to build your confidence is where your focus should lead you. Being self-assured is key and leads to better results and it’s an attribute that employers are actively looking for. They seek people to join their team who are confident in their abilities and know what they want. Confident employees are friendly, engaging and have a clear and honest idea of what makes them a valuable asset. I find that I am a valuable asset to Amazon due to my positive attitude and eagerness to learn and develop, but for Swish Gaming, on the other hand, I find myself to be an asset due to my passion for the game and the results that help advertise the team.

Looking at Critical Thinking, we can relate this to Magic in multiple ways. Starting with analyzing the lists that you may want to bring to any given event due to the perceived metagame and matching them to your strengths as a player. Critical thinking is also shown during the game when you are trying to find the optimal sequencing for your plays that leads you to victory and even during sideboarding when looking at sideboard options and weighing their quality against the cards you'd remove. For employers, this is the ability to analyze facts in order to understand any given problems or challenges thoroughly. The process of critical thinking typically includes multiple steps which are performed during testing for events, such as collecting information and data (usually from MTGO challenges or other RCs), asking thoughtful questions (to teammates or reliable sources) and analyzing possible solutions. Key for critical thinkers is the ability to work both independently and with others to solve problems. This relates to testing on your own and reaching conclusions as well as effectively communicating these ideas to teammates and other collaborators.

Employers are also looking for Adaptability. The ability to adapt is an important quality in both magic and in the workforce. In Magic events you are adapting when you are traveling to events, maybe a flight gets canceled, hotel/AirBnB rental doesn’t go according to plan or even choosing restaurants and other amenities when considering the needs of large and diverse groups. These are just a few basic examples for MTG players before we even look at the game specifically. When you’re playing a match you are constantly thinking about lines and how to navigate, but at the end of the day you don’t know what is at the top of your deck or your opponents and you have to adapt to the current gamestate constantly or else you will miss things and lose. For employers, employees who can adapt their roles based on the needs of the company or adjust their hours and manage time to accommodate needs of service are invaluable.

The correlation between competitive players and ideal employees has been well-stated, but what is the point? Maybe you are someone looking for jobs but you don’t have a lot of job experience. I know for a long time I had some of my MTG accomplishments on my resume, and that led to questions during interviews, allowing me to guide the interview to talk about these five points and make me look better as a potential hire. I had a lot of successful interviews during which I talked about my hobby. Competitive Magic has taught me how to book flights, get my own hotel rooms, effectively communicate, set goals, create schedules to travel to events and creating itineraries for tournament days. I have developed a lot of skills through Magic that have helped me mature and become more successful.

Competitive Magic is not only a hobby featuring cardboard rectangles but also a way to develop professional attributes and create connections to people around the world in various professions. So keep grinding and become the best version of you in whatever you do!


Oct 20th 2023 Cris Smith, Swish Gaming

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