Now, I have been reading and hearing from numerous players about how one can be competitive or not. Certain people one is only competitive by going to regionals and above, while others just say they don't duel casual games and the like.
I feel like it's time to break down the different levels of competitive play, along the diverse groups that inhabit each level, along with other general characteristics.
In the end, we will see how everyone can be competitive, that it's not just limited to "pro players" and other things. People define their own level.
Level 1: Local Competition
For some people, this is the highest level of competition they are going to get. Also, one of the most important, if not, the most important level. Why? This is where everyone begins. While Regional and other levels are more rewarding, locals bring that competitive environment in a much more controlled state. It is also one of the best places to compete, mostly due to the lack of cheating and such (mostly due to the low amount of pressure it has on players, but it still happens).
Locals are also the highest level some players get mostly due the lack of regionals or any higher end tournaments in their area. In this case, the locals can become quite intense. Still, local tournaments are mostly suited for the players who really like to enjoy this game for what it's worth and overall seek a good time.
Level 2: The Regional Champ
Still similar to level 1, Regional players have that higher competitive drive than the local players. While some of them are still genuine players and have fun, we begin to see a bigger percentage of netdeckers and elitist attitudes in here. Why? A chance to go to Nationals is something players of the higher category desire and must pass through this level.
While regional play can still be quite enjoyable, the rumors of alleged cheating and other shenanigans may appear. Some players may have hostile and bad attitudes, but generally won't be too common. Most people will go to regionals just to have a good time, while others just shoot for the prize and leave their fun side at the door.
Level 3: Hey ma, I'm a Card Game Big Shot!
Commonly the players you see only at big events like YCS, former SCJ's Championships, and Nationals. This level still has players from levels 1 and 2, but they are a minority. They are commonly seen as "scrubs" or "noobs" because they choose to use their favorite decks or non-mainstream decks. This level is mostly inhabited by players who only seek to win in this game at any means necessary, even if it for some that's cheating.
There are still many players who innovate and have fun who get far, but are often overshadowed by the glorious champs and tier 1 players. It's a much more aggressive form of competition, and not for everyone.
Level 4: To Infinity and Beyond!
These are the biggest competitors of all, mostly because they reach Nationals and even Worlds. Very recognized for their accomplishments. However, this level also has it's intensity. After the shenanigans witnessed in the previous US Nats, one can speculate that it may be an aggressive environment full of cheating, stealing, and other things. But that's not a guarantee. Most can still have a pleasant experience here.
Level 5: I'm too Good for This!
While not related to any of the other levels in terms of tournaments, level 5 competition is created for those players who strictly play tournaments and refuse to play casually. This level is the toughest of all.
There are people who look down on non-competitive players and talk smack about them, but really don't get to see what's going on in the lowest level. So level 1 is full of players who are still learning their way around, combined with skilled players and such. Level 1 is the true nightmare for Level 5 competitors it seems, since it represents the melting pot of these games, people with all levels of skill coming together to have fun.
And so, these are the 5 levels of competitive play, more or less summed up. It's all I could write from a hospital room at 1am, so I might do a revisit of this article in the future. But for now, that's all I got.
Perhaps now, we can all get a better understanding of the different levels of competitive play and stop bashing one another.