71: B.R.E.A.D. and Butter Drafting Tips with Robert Wallerstein
Robert Wallerstein has played Magic for 13 years and made his first Grand Prix Top 8 in Mexico City 2016. He is mainly a drafter and bases his success on solid drafting fundamentals. He will make his first Pro Tour appearance in Madrid 2016. Robert is from Akron Ohio and has an amazing, uplifting Magic community.
What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?
Robert enjoys how he can play Magic with his friends without having to resort to drinking for entertainment. But most of all he loves drafting and taking on the challenge of sitting down with 7 people while trying his best to beat them.
For Robert, it’s all about drafting the best he can and reading his opponent’s signals while trying not to give his own away.
The fundamental rules of Magic tripped Robert up at first.
He never had a rule book that showed him the steps of a turn and how to play. Small rules can make for deep plays that go over new player’s heads.
Robert also stuck to big creatures when he first started, which made it easy for tempo spells to take him down. Playing with friends proficient in these spells helped show him how to balance his deck and move on from his full on beat down decks.
Level Up Moment
During Innistrad block Robert attended a GP in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry, which is an amazing venue for an event: think of a city housed in the pterodactyl cage from Jurassic Park 3.
Being unemployed at the time let him play a lot of Magic leading up to the event, and he managed to Day 2 for the first time. At the end of the GP he managed to rank higher than Jon Finkel, who was in his first Draft Pod, which helped Robert realize he could step up and progress in the competitive scene.
Proudest Magic Moment
While many players point to a personal achievement as their proudest moment, Robert instead points to the amazing Magic community he is a part of.
One of his long time Magic friends sadly took the community by surprise when he committed suicide years back. Robert’s community held several great memorial events which helped donate money to their friend’s family. For Robert, the feeling of helping and maintaining this tight knit community has been the best feeling to come out of Magic for him, even more so than making Top 8 at GP Mexico.
Heaviest Magic Moment
One year when Robert went to Gen Con, he left his backpack in the care of his friend and it ended up getting stolen.
He lost entire collections of cards and it was incredibly hurtful; those decks and collections were a reflection of him. He thought about quitting Magic then and there, but his friends and community helped keep him in the game by lending him cards they knew he was fond of.
Robert emphasizes that, while it may be awkward, you should really find out who out of your friends can be trusted to look after 5 thousand dollars worth of cards. He also recommends not bringing your entire collection to an event.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
Robert finds that many players find it hard to slow down and focus on their plays and outs.
While you don’t want to be annoying by slowing down to a crawl, taking a few extra moments to consider your outs and how your cards can be played is tremendously beneficial. Robert sees players plateauing when it comes to thinking outside the box. Many players will play a card exactly how it’s meant to be played, but they don’t take the time to consider what other lines of play a card can open for them.
Sealed & Draft Tips
Sealed: Looking at your best cards and knowing what your best colors are some of Robert’s guidelines for Sealed. He finds that removal spells are key in most limited formats, as you are undoubtedly going to have to deal with sizable threats.
Draft: For Robert, success in Drafting comes down to card evaluation. Doing research to know what creatures are in a specific format and what spells you need to kill them are crucial. You need to be mindful of what cards you pass on as well, as that sends signals to everyone else as to what color you are playing to and what your weaknesses are.
For A New Draft Player: Robert’s basic outline for a deck consists of 15 creatures, 8 non creatures spells and 17 lands. Know how many creatures and removal spells you have, because that will determine what you pick when it comes your time to draw.
What’s in Your Tournament Bag
Sleeved Basic Lands
Robert finds that playing against more skilled players is a surefire way to hone your own skills.
While better players can be hard to find, Robert knows that most skilled players are more than happy to talk at events so long as they aren’t wallowing through the aftermath of a bad beat.
Robert urges players to have fun with the game, and if you aren’t having fun, then playing might not be worth it.
Connect With Robert Wallerstein
Facebook: Robert Wallerstein
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