GoPro’ing TDL matches has been a dream of mine since I was a small child. Before Magic, before GoPro, before digital video itself, I knew one day I’d wear a camera-strapped elastic band around my head, like a video-recording coal miner, and shoot footage of team-based card games. The response to week one of TDL’s GoPro exercise has been overwhelming! Overwhelmingly weak, that is. Usually we get triple digit views per Power and Toughness article, sometimes four digit, and very occasionally five digit views. We only got 77 views last Monday. 77. That’s the worst this article has done since Hunter and Dave got involved with Hipsters. The repost of an old article (involving the drawings I did of my opponents from ancient PTQ in Philly) got 25% of the hits P&T did and I posted the art-article at 6pm (18 hours after P&T went live).

Dave “Behind the Scenes” McCoy and I had this conversation via instant message during the day:

Matt Jones: i mean my next like 9 posts will be gopro’d team drafts
Matt Jones: unless they don’t do well (which this one seems to be doing – not well) haha. but I LOVE SHOOTING THEM haha so maybe i’ll do’em anyway
David McCoy: you might as well do something you enjoy
Matt Jones: pft

See, Power and Toughness has always been about the various Magic communities I participate in through the lens of me, the player-writer. That’s why there are photos of my opponents shot with my mobile phone. That’s why there’re more personal anecdotes than Magic commentary/theory.

P&T is also about my life, specifically my life as a Magic player. This week I was coming off of two nights of five hour sleeps, up at 6am, work 8-4, and on Wednesday I installed some paintings after work, then went to an hour Pilates session (I recommend that you take Pilates—it has revealed how poor my balance is and is endlessly helpful). I arrived at Forker’s to play BNG THS THS team draft right on time, feeling super wiped out and spacey. We ordered and quickly ate burritos that sent me from exhausted to a food coma.

The Draft

I was all giggly and with it during the draft. The deck didn’t seem to be coming together too strongly until I got Daxos … ? But there was more to the deck than I realized. So I laid it out.

Deck Building

And we talked about it and we were excited.

Round One vs. Monique

Monique mulled, I was riding high, and my deck did its job.

Lands for days. You can hear my enthusiasm start to slide and my confidence dissolve.

Then the worst tilt I’ve experienced in ages occurred.

I asked what Kadar thought about my seven cards and he suggested I keep what turned out to be a lousy hand that needed blue mana. When I saw Monique mull to six and then five I felt much better about my keep and had no doubt that I’d pull ahead. You know what they say about getting your hopes up.

My response was unacceptable. I should never toss a deck. It wasn’t playful or cute or funny. I was so tired and so frustrated and I felt helpless and took a game super seriously when, really, it’s a game, played with friends, get a life Matt. My sincerest apologies to Monique, her team, and my buds on my team. I acted like a jerk.

It seems important to me that I share this footage with you despite how shitty it makes me look. Sometimes you should sleep more (usually). Sometimes you should suck it up and take it on the chin (is that expression OK to use?). Sometimes you make bad decisions and lose. It’s all ok. It’s a game.

Round Two vs. Sean

Sean played a slow Esper Sean style deck. Throughout the footage you can hear my sorry whiny sadness. Kadar, to his credit, built me up and helped me get back into it.

Misplays. I am losing it.

Misplays. Kadar scoops me out of psychotic self doubt.

Round Three vs. Lebron

Game one I win and my emotions swing positively.

Then I lose, no big deal.

And I half lose it again. You can hear me asking Kadar and Nick how I should play every turn. I have no confidence and assume I’m going to lose. The only way I’ll win, I think, is if Kadar and Nick more or less play for me. This game decides which team wins the whole thing … and I blew it. I was so tired and so unhappy. I couldn’t wait to get into bed and disappear for the evening. I just needed the futzing Daxos trigger to be NOT A LAND. Ugggggh. Sleep deprivation and variance do not make good bedfellows.

Thing is, sometimes this happens. I’m the kinda guy that runs off of emotion. I’m a passionate dude. Passion is a huge part of my art practice and life. Sometimes the door swings the other way, from inspiration to darkness. The swing is probably why I’m a recovering alcoholic/drug-addict (and forever will be!). It’s why, despite nearly seven years of sobriety, I have to stay vigilant with my recovery and work towards a better awareness of my emotions, feelings, and mental state.

It’s important for me to share these experiences, call myself out, and learn from my mistakes. I’m grateful that you’ve watched these videos, read my words, and shared this experience with me.

Magic is not to be played when incredibly tired. Ever. (Unless you’re Evil Tim!)

I will do my absolute best to be a better opponent to play against.

Love to all,
Matt Jones
MTGO: The_Obliterator
Twitter: Die_Obliterator

Matt Jones is a sometimes PWP grinder, all the time spell slinger, and one passionate dude. He started playing at the end of Revised and quit at Exodus. Upon sobriety and running out of self-help groups to join, Jones picked Magic back up at New Phyrexia, found his favorite non-Necropotence card, Phyrexian Obliterator, and earned himself a nickname. He loves Constructed and tolerates Limited.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.