Community Spotlight is back! While we spent much of October highlighting our major community tournament, The Chalice, we’re turning the spotlight on one of the voices of the event: TJ Rogers!
TJ is a commentator, streamer, and podcaster whose star has been on the rise for the past year. While he’s been traveling the country commentating Grand Prix this year, he also does plenty of work in our home state of Washington. TJ has contributed to several recent Card Kingdom projects, including The Chalice and Local Game Show, and we admire the enthusiasm he brings to the Magic community.
TJ has been playing Magic since 2011 and dove head-first into the competitive scene about two years later. He describes himself as “a fairly competitive person” and wanted to test his skills in larger and larger environments. He began playing Mono-Red – with Hellrider and company – and quickly became known as the “Red Baron.”
TJ also developed a community at Geek Fortress, a local game store in Snohomish, WA, where his commentary career began. In 2014, a customer suggested that the store start a stream, and the regulars agreed. If players couldn’t make it to the shop, they could always tune in to the stream and watch their friends.
The Geek Fortress stream began as a low-tech operation – no commentary, no overlay, with life totals displayed on an iPad. But once TJ took over as main commentator, he became invested in improving the channel. He eventually assumed creative control of the stream, and the channel grew by leaps and bounds as he added new shows to the roster and upgraded equipment.
While it took some coaxing for TJ to pursue commentary, he bought in once he noticed the impact of what he’d created.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a radio DJ,” he says. “I wanted to connect with people and present what’s new and interesting. As soon as I had a community that I could connect with, I was pretty immediately sold on [commentary], and then it was just a matter of trying to get better.”
TJ continues to cultivate community through his stream at twitch.tv/RedBaronMTG, and the Ponder Podcast, a collaboration with Melvin the Muppet. He’s still adjusting to the challenges each new venture presents, but is eager to continue pushing himself to improve. Going forward, he’d like to turn Magic content creation into a full-time career and find more ways to connect with others.
If you want to keep up with TJ, you can follow him on Twitter at @RedBaronMTG!