Kevin Jones, known Jeskai apologist, has been a staple of the Northeastern United States Magic scene for a number of years. Over the last few months, Jones has quickly established himself as one of the better up-and-coming players in the area. Jones has been dominating StarCityGames Open Series events as of late, and with his current undefeated record, things are looking pretty good for him at the Legacy Championship.
I found Kevin Jones in the feature match area battling against Roland Chang. Some quick aggression with Monastery Swiftspear put him far ahead in the first game. Chang looked like he might have an opportunity to come back, but Jones was able to find a copy of Treasure Cruise and was far enough ahead in the card economy game to take it home. The second game was a war of attrition, and Chang was able to pull ahead with some wise and careful play before finding a haymaker Bonfire of the Damned on the top of his library to flip a Delver and destroy Jones's entire board. Jones started on a mulligan in the third game, but Monastery Swiftspear came down early again and things were looking good when he had a removal spell for both of Chang's Delver of Secrets. Chang had a window of opportunity to win the game out of nowhere with Price of Progress and Fireblast on a key turn, but Jones chose to Daze the Price of Progress even though Chang could pay for it. This meant that Jones took less damage from Price of Progress and Chang was forced to use Fireblast defensively to survive the following turn. Suddenly, they were at parity and the match had gone to time. Jones was able to find a spell on the top of his library on the last possible turn to secure victory by flipping a Delver.
Jacob Van Lunen: "Where are you from?"
Kevin Jones: "Kingston, New York. The first capital of New York State. It's about an hour and a half north of New York City."
JVL: "How long have you been playing Magic? Competitively?"
KJ: "My brother bought me an Urza's Saga Starter Deck for my tenth birthday. I played my first PTQ in 2002, on my 15th birthday, it was odyssey block sealed. I started truly playing competitively when I graduated college."
JVL: "Tell me about some of your recent success. Feel free to gloat."
KJ: "I won the StarCityGames Standard Open in New Jersey a month ago. It was the first tournament where Khans of Tarkir was legal. I was the first person to play the Jeskai deck. I won Connecticut States two weeks later with the same deck. I've also finished in the Top 8 of a few other Star City Opens."
JVL: "You seem to be a big fan of aggressive tempo strategies like Jeskai in Standard and Delver in Legacy. What makes these decks so attractive to you?"
KJ: "I really like being able to punish my opponents' slower draws. Both Legacy Delver and Standard Jeskai have powerful aggressive game plans and a lot of card draw that let me play with different plans depending on how the game at hand is going."
JVL: "You're also a talented skateboarder. How has that affected your ability to progress as a Magic player?"
KJ: "The biggest commonality between the two is that repetition breeds success. I played Magic with a lot of my skating friends when I was younger, but when I started college I had to make a choice about which I wanted to take seriously. I chose Magic. There are some people with ridiculous raw talent for skateboarding and Magic. The rest of us need to put in a lot of time if we want to master something."
JVL: "What advice do you have for Magic players looking to take their game to the next level?"
KJ: "Play a lot of tournaments, they're the best testing, even if they're small tournaments. Test against people that are invested. Test against people that are better than you or people that you know have the same drive to win that you do."
JVL: "What are your personal goals as a Magic player? How do you intend on achieving them?"
KJ: "My first goal was to make it to the Pro Tour, and I've done that twice, albeit not with the best results. I wanted to make the Star City Players' Championship, and that's looking pretty good right now. My next goal is to get back on the Pro Tour and make something happen there. I'd also like to do something with Magic besides just play the game. I'd like to start writing and getting more involved with the content side of the game at some point."
Kevin Jones is focused and determined. His game is progressing with every passing moment of play. Jones is proving that he has what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world, and it's only a matter of time before he has another opportunity to do so. Will Jones continue his win streak and emerge victorious at today's Legacy Championship? Stay tuned to continuing coverage of The Legacy Championship here at Eternal Weekend to find out!