67: First Grand Prix Day 2 with Whitney Otteson
Whitney Otteson is an avid Magic: The Gathering player and game store owner from Walla Walla, Washington. She has taken recent interest in the competitive scene by making and achieving a goal to make day 2 of Grand Prix Oakland 2015. This accomplishment has motivated her to set her sights even higher.
What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?
Whitney is competitive when it comes to games and the level of critical thinking required to play Magic is a major draw for her. When she works hard at Magic she feels like she has accomplished a great goal, and it inspires her to push her skill further.
When Whitney first started playing she found herself wrapped up in the board’s current state. Looking ahead to future turns was a skill that took time for her to develop.
She talked to players that were better than her about her deck and sideboard, then studied the choices they made when they played. When she realized that they were playing with future turns in mind she made the mental shift to incorporate that practice into her own play style.
Level Up Moment
Winning two local Radcon tournaments for two consecutive years helped Whitney believe she could progress beyond just playing Friday Night Magic.
She went to GP Seattle with the mindset to just have fun with Legacy, but she entered some Standard side events and did really well. These three moments helped her decide to buckle down and reassess how serious she was going to take her progression.
Proudest Magic Moment
The month of hardcore preparation that went into her making Day 2 at GP Oakland stands out as Whitney’s proudest moment.
How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event
GP Oakland: Whitney completely immersed herself in magic a whole month before the tournament. She got a Magic Online account and played at least one League every night, basically playing 5 rounds of Magic a day.
She watched Magic streams, read articles and deck lists, and talked to players that were better than her to help her analyze what she needed to do.
Thoughts On Setting Goals in Magic
Whitney wanted to set a goal that was attainable for her; she didn’t want to set the bar for her so high that she was constantly disappointed. This led her to setting a goal that was realistic, but would be a real challenge to obtain.
How to Choose a Standard Deck
For GP Oakland, Whitney played around with several decks and landed on an Abzan deck. She thought about what decks would be at the tournament and then worked, especially on her sideboard, to alter her deck in a way that it could exploit other decks at the tournament.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
A common mistake Whitney sees players making is the way they view their sideboards.
She has a written a sideboard guide to help her make decisions in heated match ups instead of just making choices on the fly. Putting a lot of weight into your sideboard, and viewing your deck as a whole 75 instead of 60 and 15 is something she believes helps strengthen how you play your deck.
Sealed & Draft Tips
Sealed: Read through primers online and apply that information when you’re looking at the set. Learning how to take advice from better players and apply it in the moment can be key.
Draft: Being able to recognize when a card is good is something that takes putting in a lot of reps, talking to other players at your store, and trying to learn how to read other’s signals.
What’s in Your Tournament Bag
Granola & Crackers
Pen & Paper
What Does a Playtest for You Look Like?
Whitney finds that she learns the most from match ups she loses.
Taking a loss makes her sit down and talk out what she could have done differently with her opponent.
She has friends that will sit next to her in matches and help point out the mistakes she makes mid-game, which helps her think out decisions in the heat of play.
Whitney knows it’s easy to get wrapped up in Magic’s serious aspects, but at the end of the day you should leave a tournament feeling like you had a great time and a great experience.
Connect With Whitney
Facebook: Whitney Otteson
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