“What kind of deck do you want to play?” Zac asked me on on the ride home from the PTQ I had 3-5’d with Courser Jund. It’s a good question. Courser of Kruphix is a card I want to play with but the play style required to pilot Jund is not my jam. Too often I was sitting back and responding to my opponents doing things. I wanted to be the one doing things while forcing my opponents to respond. Courser, Abrupt Decay, Dark Confidant, Tarmoguy, they’re some of my favorite cards and I wanted to play them.

“I want to smash face.”

“Why not play Affinity?” Li probably asked.

“I’m terrified of Stony Silence.” It’s true. That card ruined PTQ Philly for me. I had no plan against it.

“Put a couple of Wear//Tears in your board and smash face,” Li or someone else said.

“But I’d have to get up half an hour earlier and go to my studio and pick up Affinity and then put it together at the venue and that seems like a pain in the ass.”

Blank stares.

“OK you’re all right, I’ll do it.”

I got up half an hour early and rode my bike to my studio. Some newly resined painting surfaces were waiting for me and I was so excited to see them.


Forker told me the paintings looked like T-Rex skin when he saw them. Painting T-Rex skin has unintentionally been a goal of mine since I could hold a paint brush.

Anyway, I grabbed Affinity, said good-bye to the T-Rex skin paintings, rode home, dropped my bike off at my apartment, and walked a block to the Zipcar lot. No one was there yet. I called Zipcar, they opened the Focus using a satellite and a new Zipcard was waiting for me in the trunk. Me and Michelle, the Zipcar operator I spoke with, sorted the rest of the new card info out and all of the guys showed up relatively close to on time. We drove to Poughkeepsie with glory in our hearts.

A weird parade of old cars shut down a street five minutes from the Modern PTQ venue.


This old cop car was sweet and got a mesley 15 likes on Instagram (@matttheobliteratorjones).

We made it to the Elks Lodge in Pough-Pough with time to figure out how many Welding Jars, Galvanic Blasts, Steel Overseers, and Thoughtcasts I’d play in the maindeck. Here’s the list I went with:

Affinity for Robots

Maindeck (60)
Arcbound Ravager
Blinkmoth Nexus
Cranial Plating
Darksteel Citadel
Etched Champion
 Galvanic Blast
Inkmoth Nexus
Master of Etherium
Mox Opal
Signal Pest
Springleaf Drum
Steel Overseer
Vault Skirge
Sideboard (15)
 Ancient Grudge
Etched Champion
 Rule of Law
Grafdigger’s Cage
Torpor Orb
 Wear // Tear

On my deck registration sheet I titled the deck “Infinity” because it’s funny.

Round one I said good morning to my opponent and asked “How’s it going?” to which he replied, “I’m really freaking hungover.” I smashed him with robots game one and Spellpierced his Ad Nauseum based fireball game two.

Round two I faced a stone cold killer.


Tom played Pod.* He was not happy about me playing Affinity. I won game one and lost games two and three easily. Dismember should’ve been in my board. Linvala shuts my dudes down.


Zac drank a MTN DEW.

Round three I played a very unlucky UR Delver deck. Two games, two smashes. Game two I won without drawing or playing a single land. The deck was impressing me.

Round four was one of the best matches of Magic I’ve ever played in my life.


Anders, Zac Hill smasher from the PTQ the day before, mulled to six and arranged his hand in a smiley face as I mulled to five. My five was good enough to win game one though it took much longer than usual. Evasive creatures made it all work. Our conversation during the match was light hearted, up beat, and funny. Matches against good spirited players who remain human while competing are the kind of matches I dream of,

Game two Anders fetched Kataki’s War Wage and it eventually proves too much for me. The robots did put up a valiant fight. The Gutshot and Galvanic Blasts never showed up. One turn had I drawn a land I had enough mana to play Cranial Plating, equip it to whatever creature I had, and swing for the win. I drew something else, though, and I was dead.

Game three all of my anti-pod cards show up. Torpor Orb was the MVP. Eventually I got to equip Plating to some evasive dudes and win. I was shaking it was so exciting. Anders was a great sport the entire match. I don’t remember any of our banter but I do remember that I never had a shitty attitude or feeling during out match, not even when I was getting War Waged. Anders is a good dude. It felt like we were playing the game together (not against one another). That feeling has never happened in a Magic match before. I think I’m in love.

Round five I played another Pod deck. Game one I mulled to zero and said, “Let’s go to game two.” Luis told me, correctly, that I should’ve made my opponent beat me so I could see his deck. That would’ve been smart. All I thought about was my robots reaching across the table and tearing this kid limb from limb. Game two they did this. Game three I mulled to four and couldn’t come back.

I told my opponent that it’d be good for him to look away when he’s shuffling his opponent’s cards. It looks like he can see what he’s shuffling and even if it’s unintentional. He thanked me for the suggestion. He said he of course wasn’t looking at the cards.


I took a photo of this sweet elk painting.

Round six I won the Affinity mirror match. Gut Shot was the shit. My opponent and I talked with weird Long Island accents (he is from LI and I had a conversation with Zac about this dude he saw in a feature match who would say “Your creature … it’s DEAD” in a thick Long Island bro accent). We’d say things like “Gutshot ya Signal Pest. It’s dead. It’s trash. Get it outta here.” It was hilarious.

I played a Kibler fan round seven.


Or so I thought. Robert was on Storm. I said “Oh your matt is funny now that I see you’re playing Storm, a deck Kibler wouldn’t give a glass of water if it was dying of thirst.”

“Finally! Someone gets it! Thank you!” It was clear Robert was elated by my understanding his twisted sense of humor. Poor Kibler.

Robert and I had a great match. I won game three by hitting him for exactly ten poison damage with an Inkmoth the turn before he lethal’d me with many goblins attacking. Rule of Law helped.

Then I stole Richard’s water bottle for reasons I forget.


But I gave it back to him a minute later.

Round eight I battled Scapeshift and he won a janky game one. I smashed him game two. My shit didn’t get rolling game three and I succumbed to the wonderful combo. “Do you want me to do it?” combo players always ask me. “Yes,” I always answer them.


And that was good enough for 33rd place, one .04 tiebreaker points away from some kind of cash and prizes. Fuuuuuuuuuck. Oh well. My round eight opponent didn’t make top 16 (he got 17th) and at the very least I beat Bert.

The crew loaded up into the Focus and headed to this weirdo Vietnamese restaurant Richard suggested.


We watched the US tie their game with Portugal in incredibly pathetic fashion. We ate some average Vietnamese food but told the old man running the joint that it was incredible ‘cuz he was so nice.


I closed out my day with a nice dump at the Vietnamese restaurant and commemorated it with a poo selfie.

The whole weekend was awesome. I’d play Affinity again (and will probably play it at GP Wooster/Boston).

Thanks for reading!

Much love,

Matt Jones (born 1980, Rochester, New York) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  Matt works between a variety of inter-related genres that explore mythology, archeology, ancient history, theoretical physics, comedy, and the paranormal—all developed and inspired by research and personal experience. Together his bodies of work form a way for Matt to evaluate, negotiate, and play with the world around him. You can check out his art at www.mattjonesrules.com.

Matt’s played Magic since early 1995, took a break for a decade or so, and came back to the game the weekend after the Scars of Mirrodin release. With Hugh Kramer he formed New York’s Team Draft League and is one of the original writers for Hipsters of the Coast. Matt’s been sober for seven years.

*This line would be funnier if it read, “Tod played Pod.”

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