Best Podcasts for Competitive Players

Written by Austin Matthews on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Multimedia, Podcasts

Best Podcasts for Competitive Players

Austin Matthews

Austin is a PPTQ/Open level grinder from Birmingham, AL. He's got an Open top 8 under his belt and is looking to continue adding to his resume.

Podcasts are underutilized and underappreciated tools in helping Magic players bring their game to the next level. Rather than listen to the top ten list from WWBSDWTFLOLBBQ 989.3 FM The Rock, I take the time commuting to work or going to the gym to listen to podcasts. Not all podcasts I listen to relate to Magic, but I’ve found that they are an efficient and effective method to stay up-to-date with the current Magic-related stories or how to step my game up. There are hundreds of different Magic podcasts out there, but I’m going to go over the ones that I listen to on a regular basis (in no particular order). I apologize if I miss your favorite, but feel free to link them in the comments. (Note: I have not talked to anyone about adding their podcast. This is a personal, unbiased list.)

Limited Resources

If you’re a competitive player and aren’t aware of Limited Resources, you’re probably not as good as you could be. I don’t pride myself in my Limited game, but before I started listening to Limited Resources, I was significantly worse at evaluating cards and building 40-card decks than I am today. Hosted by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis Scott-Vargas, two of the most well-known personalities in Magic today, Limited Resources is a show focusing on all aspects of Limited play. They discuss in detail individual cards, general strategy, and tournaments. They’re currently doing their set review, which is typically my favorite way to prepare myself for a new Limited environment.

Constructed Resources

The counterpart to Limited Resources, hosts Marshall Sutcliffe and Eric Froehlich take all data from recent major Constructed tournaments and discuss why they think certain decks are as dominant as they are, why people would choose one card over another, what they would play in their next tournament, and any other relevant aspect to Constructed play. While they aren’t as frequent with their episodes as Limited Resources is, I do encourage anyone looking to step up their Constructed game to give Constructed Resources a listen.

Top Level

Top Level is hosted by long-time friends and Magic pros Michael Flores and Patrick Chapin. While mostly a podcast focusing on Constructed play, Top Level is a great way to practice looking at things with a different perspective. Being known for their innovations, Michael and Patrick often take turns presenting whacky ideas and going back and forth on card choices for new decks they build on the spot until one of them says something so bizarre they’re forced to snap back to reality (oh, there goes gravity). While most of the decks end up being hot garbage, what you can really take away from listening to them discuss deck ideas is learning how to look past what the community says about certain cards and evaluate them for yourself.

The GAM

The GAM (pronounced “game”) was started last year by Gerry Thompson, Andrew Brown, and Michael Majors. Andrew Brown left the podcast late last year to join Wizards of the Coast, but they hope to find a replacement for their “A” in GAM. They focus on the hyper-competitive lifestyle of Magic grinders and how they go about testing for the SCG Tour, Grand Prix, and Pro Tours. They discuss the importance of deck selection, understanding the format, and staying hydrated and fed during tournaments. Since it’s the beginning of what is basically a new format, the last couple of episodes have been a lot of talking about crazy brews that Michael has come up with.

Legacy’s Allure

If I am biased at all on any of these podcasts, it would be for this one. Legacy’s Allure is a podcast produced by my good friend, Zach Koch, but I really do believe it is on par with some of the best ones. He brings in some of the biggest names in Magic, particularly ones from the SCG Tour, to discuss Legacy decks they’re known for playing or strategies they’re familiar with. Before Grand Prix Louisville a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t played Legacy for years. A little while before the tournament I started cramming as many episodes of the podcast as I could, and benefited significantly.

First Strike

I’ve only listened to a couple of episodes of First Strike, and they’ve only done nine episodes in total, but I already know it’ll be one that I’ll look forward to every week. It seems to be a great podcast for any grinder looking to stay on top of the metagame. They have actual debates on certain aspects of the game (most recently the Standard and Modern bannings), and things tend to get a little heated at times.

Constructed Criticism

Constructed Criticism is my absolute favorite podcast to listen to. It isn’t because it’s the best produced (but it is high quality) or that the hosts are any better than the other podcasts on my list. It’s because of the passion that they have for what they do, particularly when it comes to the main host, Spencer Howland. He puts his heart and soul into this podcast, and it shows in how he interacts with the community and how proud he is when his co-hosts make the Pro Tour or accomplish one of their other goals. Listening to Constructed Criticism has not only helped me become a better player but has also helped me maintain my love for the game.

Limited Time Only

Limited Time Only is another one of Spencer Howland’s podcasts. It’s also helped me with my Limited game a lot, and I think it compares to Limited Resources with how constructive their advice is, particularly when it comes to new set evaluation.

Allied Strategies

Tristan, Neal, and Benjamin are all known for their Limited play, so if you’re looking to beef up your drafting skills, this podcast will offer you just that. They do cover Constructed, as well, and have a lot of good deck ideas. I believe at least one of them is a Gold level pro, so they offer the perspective of a grinder and what it takes to hang around with the best players in the world.

Cardhoarder

This is a podcast focusing on Magic Online. Their hosts consist of Connor O’Donnell, who used to work back scenes for the coverage of Star City Games tournaments, David Murphy, a competitive player and streamer from Dublin, and Nathaniel Buckley-Wright, a co-owner of and manager of Cardhoarder (a Magic Online dealer). They discuss everything there is to talk about regarding Magic Online and offer multiple different perspectives on the program. I recommend this podcast for anyone looking to make the leap into Magic Online or anyone who already plays and is looking to potentially start streaming.

MTG Pro Tutor

MTG Pro Tutor is hosted by Shawn Penrod, someone who genuinely loves talking to his guests. He invites people who have done well at recent events to come in and offer advice on how listeners can step up their game. While the episodes can seem a bit repetitive with the same questions over and over, you can get some very valuable insight into how pros or other Spikes prepare for a tournament.

Magic Mics

I’ll admit that this podcast is a bit of a guilty pleasure. It doesn’t contribute much to helping you get better at Magic, but for anyone who likes keeping up with pros and interesting stories within the Magic community, this is the podcast for you. Evan Erwin, Reuben Bresler, and Erin Campbell produce what is essentially an entertainment talk show for Magic. They also tend to touch on subjects that many other podcasts steer clear from, such as transgender issues within the community or stories of bullying. I think having a place where these issues are talked about openly is healthy for the community.

What did you think of my list? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments section!

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