74: Marshall Sutcliffe Pauses Time and Asks: What’s Your Plan?
Marshall Sutcliffe is a man who needs little introduction. If you’ve watched any amount of coverage for Magic: The Gathering events you’ve seen him as he does play by play commentary for Wizards of the Coast all over the world. He’s a self proclaimed draft junky and the host of Limited Resources, the number one Magic related podcast. Marshall lives in Washington state.
Marshall found that when he first started playing Magic he wasn’t looking for a clear path to victory. He sees it in other players as well. There is a tendency to sit down and play your cards without actually formulating a clear plan that will let you win. He finds that the first step to correcting that behavior is to be aware of it.
Marshall recommends that players imagine pushing a button which stops time, and lets a great Magic player look over their shoulder in the middle of a match and ask the question “What is your plan?”
If you find that you can’t answer that question, then there is an issue that needs to be confronted by assessing the board state and contemplating what needs to be done to keep you in the game.
Level Up Moment
Marshall likes to approach gameplay problems with a scientific mindset, methodically looking at an issue and approaching the solution through a method and process.
He experimented with disregarding the board state in his matches and simply casting as much as he could. This led him to disregarding cards that were only beneficial to his deck 1 out of 5 times, and left him with cards that would actually affect the board and help him formulate a plan to win.
Proudest Magic Moment
For Marshall, being able to commentate the Pro Tour finals is an amazing experience to be a part of. He gets to announce the Top 8 at the tournament, which isn’t a huge deal in and of itself, but being able to see the looks on the player’s faces is an incredible feeling for him.
Knowing that those players have devoted huge chunks of their life to the game makes it all the more special when he gets to be a part of moments like that in their careers.
Heaviest Magic Moment
Like many players, Marshall found himself plateaued at a point where he wasn’t improving. It took him a long time to realize he was at that stage.
There’s nothing wrong with being content with how well you are playing, but if you stop actively trying to improve and don’t progress it can be incredibly frustrating. For Marshall, it took a level up moment where he discovered there was a whole lot more to Magic that he could improve upon, and that he was fully capable of doing so.
Worst Commentating Moment
While there have been moment’s where Marshall accidentally said a low level swear word when he thought he wasn’t on the air, that’s not what affects him the most while commentating.
Making a mistake about an unfolding match is what bothers him the most. Sometimes he will misread a card or forget there is a static effect on the board, and when he slips up people jump on him immediately. While Marshall has accepted that is going to happen, it is still difficult for him, as he wants to do the best he can and offer the best insight into the game.
Personal attacks on him and his ability as a broadcaster is something he continues to work through, even though the majority of the time he has an excellent experience commentating on matches.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
Evaluating choices in Magic is something Marshall sees players struggling with. It takes dedication to properly take the time to apply all the factors that go into making a single decision in a match, and even before the game has begun.
Spending time analyzing your decisions helps establish a background of thinking and accrue habits and behaviors that eventually become a player’s Magic intuition. No one calculates out percentages to their full value in the heat of a match, it just comes to players who have spent the time building up the right experience and play habits.
However, building this intuition can be detrimental as well. If a player uses bad logic and improper tools they will repeat mistakes while assuming that they are correct.
Deepest Thing Magic Has Taught You
Marshall never had to work through tilt or the concept of variance in Magic because he had worked through them in playing poker. What Marshall discovered about himself came through his interactions with the Magic community and starting Limited Resources.
Starting the podcast helped open up a side of his personality that he never was able to express in a professional manner. Helping players improve and excel in Magic is one of the most important things in his life now, and he always approaches his show in a way that will best help his listeners.
Marshall emphasizes that you shouldn’t be afraid to put in the extra work to truly excel in Magic. Take the time to snap a picture of your board state mid-match and analyze it in depth later. Have a friend sit down with you and look at the board seriously. It doesn’t take long before you’re able to see parts of the game that you had missed before.
Connect With Marshall Sutcliffe
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