Today I will be writing a short article as I have put in two of the greatest articles for the basic of Card Advantage and Tempo play which you all should read. Still, I have written down a short summary of my perspective on what is tempo to me; a small guide for those who are just starting out and scratching the surface of plays.
You can find a lot of resources online on Magic the Gathering including plenty of articles to learn from, written by elite professional players, grinders, and even casual players. Most if not all of these articles should be looked at, and in this modern age, everything can be obtained at a snap of the fingers. To improve yourself as a player, it is wise to try to find some of these articles and it is my first advice to any player that wants to improve their game to read them.
Looking back and remembering two great articles by two different people reminded me of the fundamentals of each MTG game, Tempo or Pacing. For those of you who are curious, the articles I am talking about are “Who’s the Beatdown?” by Michael J. Flores and “Tempo and Card Advantage” by Eric Taylor. For those who do not mind a good long read on the theories of the game, I highly recommend reading them up.
What I will do instead is to shorten the theory on Tempo of the game. Tempo is the rate or pace of the game, and not in the sense of whetehr you play fast or slow but the whether the tempo or the advantage of the game is with you or your opponent. My understanding of it is very easy and I am going to teach you its secret.
That’s right, all you have to remember is plus one. What does it mean? It means that you have to have plus one of what your opponent has. Your opponent has one creature? You need to have two. Your opponent have five cards in hand? You need to have six cards. This sets up a Tempo or an advantage in your favor as you will always have one more than your opponent. Albeit, that this doesn’t happen all the time and there are some things that will be hard to keep up with, but each of your play has to keep in mind this simple secret. Will this play make me plus one more than my opponent? If it is equal, the tempo and the advantage has not changed.
Since each card is a resource in Magic the Gathering, and each card has only a maximum of four (4) copies in the deck, thus the usage of each card becomes precious. A player has to try to get the best usage of each of his resources, be it cards in hand, or creature / Planeswalkers in play with the mind of getting plus one more from his opponent.
Still, some cards are strong that could change the pace of the game with a single spell. Take the white card, Wrath of God for an example. This single card could bring equivalence to the board which is zero. Sure you are down a card, but you just brought the board to the same strength when you opponent might have plus two or three on board.
Another great card would be the card Dismiss. It is a counterspell that not only cancels out your opponent’s card but also replaces itself. Your opponent is minus one card with their spell just canceled and you are at equal card because Dismiss just replaced itself with the new card drawn.
That is all for today and I do suggest that you read on in those articles as they go more in depth on the theory. For now, remember that each play, ask yourself whether you can Plus One.
Keep on slinging!