Roughly a month ago I was getting ready to board a plane heading to Seattle for my first major event since 2014. In the months leading up to this event, I’d been getting to know a number of wonderful people through various social media outlets, and many were coming to the event. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. As such I was anxious to touch down and meet everyone as well as have an amazing time.

Upon arriving I visited a number of people I’d gotten to know through Twitter before ultimately settling where I was staying to sleep before the start of the Standard event. When I walked into the convention center the next morning it felt like I was home—a feeling I hadn’t experienced for far too long. The player meeting began and we settled in for a long day of Magic. One by one the matches went on. By the end of day one, I found myself among only eleven undefeated players. This small group included such names as Shota Yasooka and Brad Nelson—well known professional players.

The entire day felt like a whirlwind of emotions. With each passing round came an elevation of joy and I high I thought I could never come down from. Not only from the victories, but also from meeting one new friend after another, or else catching up with ones I hadn’t seen in a number of years. People I only somewhat recognized were coming up to me or waving at me from afar to say hi and introduce themselves. And then something that felt unreal happened to me in that I was invited to dinner with The Professor of Tolarian Community College and a number of the MTG cosplay scene, but not before visiting a friend I’d known for a decade yet had not been able to meet in person up until that point. I was on cloud nine and dying for the start of day two.

I lost my first round of the day. While it was unfortunate, I still felt confident for the day ahead. You can’t always win after all. Then following a solid win in the second match, I found myself losing due to a misplay to the tune of a single life point. It hurt but felt like it was the kind of error that I could learn from.

Where things really began to sting was my fourth match of the day. My opponent and I were called over to the feature match area and played in the off-camera area. We both made a few mistakes that resulted in judge calls but none was so bad as the misplay that happened at the most crucial moment of the match. Being on mono-red aggro, I had determined after considerable thought that in order to survive I needed to attack with Hazoret the Fervent. Unfortunately, I declared her as an attacker only to look down at my hand and find two cards sitting in it. My opponent and I looked at each other and sighed uncomfortably before raising our hands and calling for a judge. When all was said and done, my Hazoret couldn’t make an attack and I ended up losing.

The loss was painful. It knocked me out of having any shot at top 8 from there on and felt like a very preventable loss. While I tried to frame it from a positive angle, it still felt very difficult and it took some very positive words from a few friends, especially The Professor. He reminded me that I was in good company making such misplays, as the very same thing famously happened in the top 8 of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation by Yam Wing Chun. Anyone can make these mistakes, even the best of the best. My remaining rounds ended up bringing me to a solid 10-5 finish and netted me my first-ever pro point.

Despite how positive the event had started and how well I ended up finishing, I was struggling as it all came to a close. Nothing felt appealing to me. I couldn’t think of anything that could make me feel any better. While I tried to avoid feeling so by reminding myself of how good things were, I was tilting badly. That kind of tilt can hit hard and unexpectedly. But what made it better was spending time visiting with these friends and speaking with others away from the event such as Emma Handy, who offered her own personal experiences in an effort to make things hurt that much less. Slowly, the feeling of holding back tears became smiles and laughter once again.

When I arrived home, however, the surreality that had surrounded the event continued in a different manner. As my roommate drove me home from the airport, I experienced a feeling of intense hollow emptiness on a level I’d rarely felt before then. When I went into work the next few days this feeling not only continued, but escalated. It felt wrong being there, being back home where I was, and I wanted to be back. Only after talking with friends once more did I begin to feel better and started to settle back into my daily routine.

Tilt and post-event depression are very real things. You should make sure that you can identify them and take care of yourself to the best of your ability. But when you go to an event on the scale of a Grand Prix or an Open, never forget the good times you share with friends and to turn to them when you need a bit of a pick-me-up. Celebrate your victories and don’t just learn from your losses, but cheer on your opponents as they continue to the top. Each of those memories is something worth cherishing time and again.

Grand Prix Seattle 2018 wasn’t just one of the best times I’d had in years, but in my life. I’ll never forget it, the people I met, and the friends I made. I’m already itching for the next one and I hope to see you there as well.

Kendra has been playing Magic since Urza block and never looked back. Playing a variety of formats and being known for championing Pauper in particular, the Elf Queen can be found hanging out on Twitter as well as streaming on Twitch, always seeking to better the community at large.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.