72: Positive Attitude Through and Through with Jim Davis – CHAMPION of SCG Players’ Championship 2015
Jim Davis made 24th place at Pro Tour Prague in 2006, 8th place at Grand Prix Dallas in 2007, 33rd place at Pro Tour Honolulu in 2009, 2nd place at SCG Invitational Indianapolis in 2011, 3rd place at SCG Invitational Seattle in 2014 and is the Champion of SCG Open Indianapolis 2015 as well as the 1st place, gold trophy winner, undisputed champion of the SCG Players’ Championship 2015. Jim lives in Long Island NY.
What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?
Jim is drawn to the competitive aspects of Magic where he can analyze player’s mental states and the psychology behind playing. He finds that Magic is a great competitive game due its complexity and challenge, and the way it balances skill, excitement and chance.
Jim didn’t see value in adopting other’s strategies and decks when he first started playing.
Popular decks were out of the question for him, and he found that it was damaging because good decks are good for a reason. There are lessons to be learned from those decks because players have studied and practiced for years in order to craft them. He now finds it beneficial to play established decks so he can understand how they operate.
Falling into the mindset of “I’m only this kind of player” is detrimental to evolving your style and philosophy as a Magic player.
How to Maintain a Positive Attitude
Shaping his attitude is a skill Jim has refined over the years. In reading The Mental Game of Poker, he was able to break down every aspect of who he was emotionally as a player.
Maintaining a Big-Picture mindset when it comes to tournaments helps keep him away from tilt, but it’s a process that starts long before any single event. Jim understands he has days where he is going to crush matches, and some where he is going to fall short. He focuses on trying to give himself the best chance to win while keeping a positive attitude, even if the results of his match don’t reflect his effort.
Heaviest Magic Moment
In the 2014 Players’ Championship Jim started off poorly and was placed in an elimination match. He won the first game, but in the second match he attacked prematurely and winded up getting his creature killed. He lost that round and the next one, which placed him out of the tournament.
It was difficult for him to have prepared all year long and then lose, on camera, in front of so many people. He re-watched that match before the next year’s Championship to remind himself to keep a positive outlook and a level head.
Proudest Magic Moment
Coming off his third round loss at the Players’ Championship, Jim practiced for an entire year to come back to the tournament in 2015 and win. He found the experience of taking that heavy loss and translating it into a tournament win was an incredibly surreal moment, one that was difficult to take in all at once.
He was humbled even more so by the opponents he beat, Brad Nelson and Todd Anderson, who invited him to an after party and even toasted to his victory.
What Would You Tell a New Legacy Player?
Jim finds that watching coverage, like live-streams can expose you to a lot of decks and how the function in the format. Since there is commentary on the streams players can understand what is happening more easily, and it acts as a crash course for the format by giving a bird’s eye view of the matches.
How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event
2015 Players’ Championship: Jim went to every tournament he could attend and ended up qualifying for the event early in the year. He found it difficult to practice because the Players’ Championship switched to a 3 format event: Legacy, Modern, and Standard.
He focused on Standard the most since it was the Day 2 format, and his girlfriend kindly culled data from 6 months’ worth of tournaments so he could see what everyone had been playing that year.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
Latching onto a one-sentence reason for why a player lost is a common mistake Jim sees being made. It keeps players from analyzing the dozens of other decisions they made in a match, some of which certainly contributed to their loss. He recognizes that it can be difficult to tease out all that information on your own, which is why he finds getting feedback from others so valuable.
Focus on what you can control.
What’s in Your Tournament Bag
Stack of Cards: for last minute deck changes
Jim has noticed that players like to complain, which affects one of the most important aspects of Magic: Attitude. He challenges you to go to a tournament, and not say anything negative about something that was outside of your control. See how it feels.
Connect With Jim Davis
Like What You Hear?
If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.
Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.
I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.
(Here’s a 1.5 minute tutorial on how to leave a review if you don’t already know. THANK YOU!)