63: Having Fun with Brian Eason
Brian Eason has 2 Grand Prix Top 8s and has played in multiple Pro Tours. He is a former Poker pro, and an aspiring HearthStone professional. He hopes to win a Grand Prix and Pro Tour one day. Brian lives in Atlanta, GA.
Shards of Alara
How did you get started in Magic?
Brian got started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! and found it a natural progression to make the move to Magic. The complexity and more mature, professional player base drew him in despite doing poorly at his first sealed events.
When Brian started to get competitive Bitterblossom played to his creative sensibilities.
What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?
The first thing for Brian is the competitive aspect. Big tournaments, Star City opens, Grand Prixs and the possibility of hitting a Pro Tour—basically the challenge of playing amongst the best. The second thing is the ability to be creative in deck building. This creativity and competitiveness make Magic Brian’s favorite game.
Brian admits he was terrible at Limited when he started. It took watching better players for him to realize he was behind and needed to up his game.
Local Magic Scene: Atlanta
A lot of big stores in Atlanta have fostered play for about 20 solid players, but they’re scattered around the area. Brian finds smaller groups playing at local stores on the weekends.
Level Up Moment
Most of Brian’s growth happened when he first started playing. He played around people that were way out of his league, but being able to team draft with them gave him invaluable feedback. Brain thinks limited is the key to becoming a better Magic player, as the skills needed translate over to different formats.
Heaviest Magic Moment
In his first Grand Prix Brian made it to the second day but went 0-4 and lost against weaker players. This loss helped him realize his skill level and pushed him back to the drawing board. Brian analyzed the winning player’s strategy at the same Grand Prix to figure out what he was doing wrong.
Proudest Magic Moment
Brian doesn’t have a specific, glorified moment that sticks out to him. What comes to mind for him is was placing second after his first time hitting the top eight at a Grand Prix. While bittersweet, he still is proud of how all his hard work and confidence materialize into a 2nd place finish.
What does a typical week of MTG look like for you?
Being a full time student and playing Hearthstone cuts into his Magic play, but Brian still tends to play one Magic Online draft a day. His playing incentives are driven by how fun the format is and what he gets if he wins.
What is the deepest thing you’ve learned about yourself from playing Magic?
Brian had a tendency to be impulsive and get caught up in the moment. Having a friend point out how he unnecessarily went all out early in a match helped him slow down.
How to choose a deck to play at a Standard Event
If you want to have a good time with a descent finish, playing with a stock list with one of the better decks is the way to go. If you want to take down the whole tournament you have to do something that sets you apart—something like a tweaked deck or extra tech, and figuring that out comes from exposing yourself to different deck archetypes. Brian likes to do this to discover ways to exploit certain decks’ weaknesses.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
“When you play Magic it’s a bloodbath…take every small edge you can.” Brian can confidentially say that giving away tells during a match is something newer players don’t take into consideration. Looking frustrated and throwing your hands up in the air is a surefire way to throw away a game. Make it hard for your opponent to know what you have in your hand, and better yet, use your tells to mislead them.
Sealed & Draft Tips
Sealed: Brian believes the key in Sealed is to focus on the long game, play greedy, don’t focus too much on synergy, and make sure every card in your deck is a good standalone. Don’t ignore the early game, but understand what your deck wants to do.
How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event
Putting too much emphasis on results can ramp up nerves, but going in with an experimental mindset to learn can make the experience a lot more fun.
Talking with friends and getting feedback from a small group is invaluable when it comes to theory crafting and polishing your deck. Online forums are a great source too if you are a local player and don’t have any in-town connections.
What’s in Your Tournament Bag?
Brian likes to travel light to conserve energy during a long tournament day:
Nuts and Bolts of a Playtest
Brian thinks that playtesting can be hindered by trying to jam as many games into one session as possible.
Fast games can feel inorganic as it’s not comparable to how you will play outside the test. Going through deck lists with a group of friends and theory crafting while arguing back and forth about what should and shouldn’t be in the deck helps get to the root of your deck.
How Can a New Magic Player Break In?
Magic is about creativity and flexibility, and when you build a Cube out of commons you can start a lot of discussion about deck building and have fun playing whatever version of Magic you can. Put yourself to the test and develop your skills.
If you’re a new player aiming for the competitive sphere it’s easy to get wrapped up in playtesting and not getting results. So whatever you do make sure you have fun with it, and remember, there’s no shame in taking a break if the fun fades.
Connect With Brian Eason
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