36: Star City Games Open Primer with Top Ranked SCG Player Ross Merriam

Ross Merriam is a writer for Starcitygames.com and is a Silver Level Pro with 2 Grand Prix Top 8s, 2 Star City Games Invitational Top 8s and 3 Star City Games Open Wins. Ross lives in Connecticut.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Ross Merriam when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep36

First Set

Odyssey

Odessey

Favorite Set

Time Spiral

Time Spiral

Favorite Card

Vendilion Clique

What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?

The competitive scene and the people.

Being a rather competitive person Ross enjoys the challenge of tournaments and consistently placing in big events. He also appreciates that he’s met so many cool people through Magic: The Gathering.

Early Challenge

Not understanding what cards were good in a competitive setting versus when playing with your friends at home was tough for Ross at first. People at his local game store took him under their wing and taught him the ropes.

Level Up Moment

The growth and changes he experienced at college greatly contributed to Ross’ Magic abilities.

Specifically he developed his analytical skills, communication skills and humility.

Proudest Magic Moment

Going 13-2 with an Elves deck at a Legacy Grand Prix in New Jersey. He navigated a field of decks that should have beaten Elves and got back on the Pro Tour.

Favorite Format

Pauper Cube

How to Choose a Sideboard

How your opponent plays is one of the least relevant factors when determining how to sideboard. Ross considers the match up and what their list looks like.

Ross has an idea of 2-3 cards he will side board against each match up.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Holding lands as a bluff.

If you’re holding a card in your hand for several turns your opponent will know it’s nothing special. Balance the bluff with the benefit of having the card on the field.

Card Evaluation Tips

For a fall set that initiates a rotation, keep in mind the powerful shells from the previous format and rebuild your understanding from scratch.

When evaluating a set that come out in the middle of a format, look for cards that push existing archetypes.

Sealed & Draft Tips

Sealed: Do cards have more tactical or strategic synergy? Look for cards that lead to an overall goal.
Avoid even numbers in your mana base because it causes the most variance in your draws.

Tournament Preparation

Have friends with similar goals. If your friends want to get cards signed their focus is vastly different than if they want to make a run for day two of the GP.

How to Effectively Play Test

Always take time to decompress and talk about your play session at the end of the day. Discussion

Improvement Suggestions

Reading articles and talking about them with others is a great way to improve on a budget, as is watching coverage.

Play test on cockatrice.

Magic Resource

Stat Trek

Cockatrice

Star City Games

Paulo Vitor articles

Reid Duke articles

Luis Scott-Vargas articles

Connect With Ross Merriam

Twitter: @RossMBoss

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