Team Draft League exists to expand and enhance the Magical skills of all of the players in the League. Sure, it’s competitive, but that just means that we play our best with an eye towards playing even better! We are students of this game. Our greatest wins are Hunter, Abe, and Richard making it to Pro Tours (and we take as much credit as we can for this!).

So, I have had complaints each week about the same two teams. One team has a guy on it who allegedly belittles and yells at his teammates as they’re playing. I haven’t had a chance talk with this guy yet but imagine it not being much fun.

The other team consists of three good players and the main complaint from opponents, win or lose, is that they’re no fun to play Magic with.

TDL needs to be a safe and nurturing environment. If it’s not, then it’s not working. People need to grow and learn and unsportsmanlike behavior shouldn’t limit this. It was a pleasurable experience to talk with one of the members of the, ehem, alleged, unfun team about his experience in Team Draft League. Here are some examples.

Example #1

Player: I don’t really engage in table talk, and I don’t really look at my opponents while I’m playing them.


This part of your email stands out to me because it is so closed and decided. Not looking at your opponent seems cruel to me. I’m a big banterer. Magic is as much about the people as it is about the game itself. I’ve made some very good friends who were totally unknown to me before I sat down across the table from them to duel.

Sounds cold and unfriendly to me. It’s not that I don’t get your reasoning, it’s clear that you play to win and you have a style of play that you think will help you with your goal. That’s not the attitude TDL was established to cultivate. I can’t stress enough how important being kind, warm, welcoming, open, and team/community oriented is to the players of this League.

Example #2

Player: I think if the goal is to create an environment where people actively try to get better, then they should also learn how to play against focused opponents no?

Me: I don’t think one needs to learn how to play against focused/silent/I-don’t-care-who-the-fuck-you-are-cuz-all-I-want-to-do-is-win opponents. It’ll happen enough by default. Everyone’s got practice against those kinds of players. However, creating a supportive, competitive, positive, learning, environment is much less common and much more meaningful. This is what TDL is about.

It’s interesting to play with the idea of being a different kind of gamer. I’ve been many kinds of Magic player in my short time since returning to the game. Lately I’m pretty open and interested and present in a way I haven’t been, maybe ever been. I’ve been very competitive, too. I had high expectations that were debilitating to my progress as a human being and a player. The whole set up I put in place for myself was unmanageable and beyond my reach in the manner I was going about it.

The Wrap Up

Another dedicated Team Draft Leaguer has qualified for the ProTour! Carrie O’Hara won a Khans Limited PTQ this weekend. What we’re doing at Team Draft League seems to be working. Reps, focus, playing against good players, and a stream of good feedback (from players watching your matches and feeling free and safe enough to comment on them) is helping our Magical friends. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Nashville Hilton Downtown finishing this article up after morning meditation and overpriced buffet breakfast. I’m getting pumped to play Legacy all day. I’ll be in Germany a lot of the next two weeks and can’t wait to get the remaining German cards for either UR Delver or BUG Delver. There’s a Legacy Madness tournament at 12 I hope to make. Dave’s gonna play, too.

More than anything lately, I’m a Destiny player. Even sitting here in a Magical wonderland that is any Grand Prix event, my mind is on the near Earth planets and the ruins of human society on them. The Vex, the Hive, all of the alien baddies that threaten us as agents of the Darkness. It is so beautiful. Destiny has reconnected me with old friends. The discovery that we’re all on PSN has lead to hours of dialogue, strategy, and catching up. We talk philosophy, meditation, and art.  We share tips on how to be better Destiny players and it works, we’re all getting better.

So, in my usual heavy handed manner, I’m trying to say it’s always better to play your best, be open to advice, know when to give advice and how to give it so that it’s received and processed and doesn’t turn into resentment. Those are all real skills that Team Draft League is trying to help us all out with and the main reasons I’m so hot on keeping it going.

Thanks for reading!

I’m The_Obliterator6 on PSN. Hit me up.

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, archaeology, 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.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.