Most of my sanctioned matches of Magic: The Gathering begin with, “Hi, I’m Matt Jones and I write for a blog called Hipsters of the Coast.” I pass my opponent one of our draw-your-own-token business cards. “Mind if I take a photo of you to accompany the article I’ll write about my experience in this tournament?” I haven’t said that in a long time as my sanctioned Magic: The Gathering matches are limited almost exclusively to Grand Prix tournaments. I used to play at my LGS all the time but I got older and acquired other interests, more life demands, etc. so don’t get there hardly at all. I used to go to PTQs but since WOTC started the PPTQ system I haven’t been to one before the one I’m presently writing about. It was held by Twenty Sided Store, easily the best LGS in New York City.

“Sure,” my opponent says. “I’ve read that blog a couple of times. Are you Modern Hero?”

“Nah. I’m Power and Toughness,” I say, with a sigh. I get asked if I’m Modern Hero (aka Rich Stein) kind of often.

Jon Sieber chimes in from a couple seats away, “Matt’s the guy who complains about Magic and mostly writes about Destiny and art.” Thanks, Jon.

“Yeah, it’s true,” I shrug.

My opponent, with a very long name, then beats me to death with Siege Rhinos and reanimated Siege Rhinos.


He was a super nice dude but I’d had enough of Magic for the day. I hadn’t been looking forward to the tournament for a couple of days. It seemed like I could do something better with my time than dive into the deep end of a constructed format I haven’t touched since Unburial Rites was legal. After the loss to this mathematitian’s Abzan deck I packed up my Mantis Riders and went to my studio. When I got there I talked to Mark about painting for almost two hours, started feeling the cold I’d been ignoring, and went home to play Destiny for the rest of my time awake. We played the Iron Banner and I progressed through it further than I ever have before. Lots of laughs. Lots of Hard Light.

Earlier in the week Team Draft League saw me drafting a decent deck.


Maybe you can’t see it but it’s a nice Mardu beatdown deck with Rush of Battle and some other good cards. The fixing in it was sick. Manning, as usual, crushed me. I was able to defeat Zach and Gabe. My final victory lead Monkey Honeymoon to our first TDL Season Fate Reforged victory. It was sweet.

Days later I invited myself to Longo’s to test for this tournament I was gonna play Saturday.


I didn’t get much testing done. Colette and I played the Jeskai mirror maybe ten times. I think I won about half (she’ll tell you I only won the last one). Sean and others chided us because we were laughing and having a good time. Magic is serious. I love it when people notice that I’m having a good time playing Magic and need to comment on it. You can have fun too!

So that PPTQ, I was pretty unprepared.


This guy was on UB Control. Our match wasn’t much fun. Draw go. Draw go. Draw go. Snooooooooore.

Round two I hoped to lose quietly and slip on down the road to my painting studio.


But this very friendly fella, also on UB Control, had other ideas. He got run over game one by the aggro side of my Jeskai deck and made the fatal mistake of taping out early which let me play my boarded in Keranos, God of Storms in game two. That card is still good, kids.

I wrote an email to the TDL mailing list that went something like, “Ah shit, I won round two,” ‘cuz it meant I couldn’t hero a draft they were planning.

Sam replied, “That is the most Matt Jones email I’ve ever read.” Very funny, Sam.

Then I lost to that Abzan deck and I was out.

It was a lot of fun playing Team Manning this week in TDL and not very much fun playing at the PPTQ.


I think it’s right for me to skip PPTQs in the future. They’re not what PTQs used to be (mini-Grand Prixs), they’re kind all over the place, and I value my time differently than I did two years ago.


Not to mention I got a case of Club Mate (or four) in my studio with my name on it. I can’t wait for my next TDL match and I can’t wait to get back to the studio and smash some paint around. But yeah, PPTQs aren’t much fun for me. Sometimes it’s not so awesome to be right. I’m glad I could write another complain-about-Magic article for Jon.

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 New Phyrexia 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.