Good morning!

Modern PTQ season has begun. I put Affinity together because I couldn’t get Junk or Jund assembled quickly enough. After a late Pathfinder session with my core four I fell into five hours of sleep, woke, rode my bike to Chinatown, and boarded a bus with Zac Clark and Dave “Bones” McCoy, bound for Philadelphia.


Our tickets were actually notes for getting out of gym class.

Zac had two hours of sleep and 20 Arizona energy drinks.

Bones had a deck he didn’t like much.

We arrived at the Convention Center with plenty of time to register and, more importantly, head to Reading Terminal Market. There we dined on hopes and dreams as we wrote out our decklists.


The tables were numbered with these unknown images from, we assumed, M15 art.


Here we have James on Mono Green. He played a few Tuskers and a Baloth but my robot swarm overwhelmed his defenses. I Galvanic Blasted something important at the right time, too. James said his Nature’s Claims should’ve been Oxidizes. I didn’t drop a game. James was a pleasant guy with a good sense of humor.


I saw next to Pikula round two and across from Jake. Jake and Pikula have a history. Jake won a Black Lotus in a Vintage tournament once. When he was a kid he beat Pikula with Dredge and told him that he’d won the Black Lotus recently. He asked Pikula if he’d ever won anything playing Magic. It was obviously a great seat to have in round two made better by the fact that Jake couldn’t handle swarms of poison bearing robots.

Jake was blanked before we got our slips.

Once we got our slips I filled it out, dropped it off, and ran for Dinics at the Reading Terminal Market where I found Zac and Bones already in line.


Then we ate.


Round three I played an unhappy mean spirited asshole*. Guy wouldn’t shut up about how much he hates Affinity and Hipsters of the Coast. “You have the worst writers of any Magic blog and that’s saying a lot!” he told me more than once.

Still in a meat coma I didn’t know how to respond. Was he serious? We’ve got the second worst writers, tops.

This bastard shark cut me until I was at five cards. They were not good cards. Inkmoth Nexus is good, but, fuck, I needed more than Inkmoth Nexus. Dylan kept not flipping his Delver. He could’ve several times, I’m sure, but why would he? It’s more fun to just troll me along thinking I’ll have a chance, kill one of my dudes, and 18 turns later put the hurt on me.

We side boarded and all of his Engineering Explosives came in. All of them. He drew two and blew them for 0 and 1 respectively, wiping my board and leaving me with a Darksteel Citadel. Several turns of drawing two drops, taunted by his Delver flipping on a Spell Snare, lead me to scooping and mumbling, “I couldn’t have lost to a bigger asshole,” under my breath.

“What’d you say?” he asked me.

“Nothing, man, just put your fucking cards away, you don’t want any of this.” He immediately took a swing, which I dodged and countered with a Mortal Kombat style uppercut. Our friend Squirtle recorded the whole fight on his Motorola StarTAC. Here are the highlights:

One of the three judges in attendance for this event (seriously, where were all the judges?) separated us. When I explained to them that Dylan was playing RUG Delver they understood why I fought him, banned him from Magic for life, and gave me a pizza trophy which I declined because I was still fat on pulled pork sandwich.


Ben was the most fun dude to play against all day. He was playing STORM and it was STILL fun. Hilarious. I smashed him game one. Games two and three he very clearly played the correct number of spells to either bolt me to death or Grapeshot me to death. Those dice in the photo? Each had its purpose for storm count or colored mana count. His precision with his counting and lack of spazzy freakout speed and nervousness was hilarious. His tone was funny and determined. I couldn’t have ended my tournament playing a better guy.


Oh, and his deck was all tricked out. Foil everything. Awesome.

That’s it. There wasn’t really enough time to go to museums or do much of anything. Bones and I caught a bus back to New York. It had almost no A/C but people lived long fruitful lives without A/C for thousands of years so we sucked it up.

When we got back to the city I rode my bike to the studio, ate some more food, and worked on some paintings.

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

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.

*Just kidding. Round three was great despite losing. Dylan was a sweetheart of an opponent. We agreed that I would write a hateful article about him. In fact, he said it would be the only way he’d read the article at all.

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