Dirty Shirt And All: A Prerelease Extravaganza

Okay, he submitted it that Saturday. But all those photos take time to develop! Here’s yer Rizzo PR goodness.

My laptop is fried. Everything on said laptop is gonzo. Neat, huh? In facing
life without a laptop, I also decided to face life without aol (I refuse to
capitalize it out of sheer spite). As a result, a brother’s new email addy is
[email protected].

I was also unable to get online for the better part of two weeks, so if you
think I dissed a brother’s email on purpose, you’re only half right: I didn’t
even get the opportunity to diss said brother’s (and the occasional sister’s)
mail. I’ll be catching up from aol.com ASA friggin’ P.

The replacement computer that I, um,”commandeered” from work is one of those
big fat clunky jobs – you know, like a regular desktop computer with the factory-installed
carpal-tunnel syndrome. Wow, is it annoying. How the hell does anyone work on
one of these royal pains in da’ asses?

The computer that I’m using is outfitted with Word 2000 Business Edition, or
something equally non-impressive, and when I tell you that one Word is not like
every other Word, please believe me and my retarded formatting that happens
by itself and numerous retyping of paragraphs that just up and disappear. (Word
2000 blows moose chunks — The Ferrett)

I feel like Jason Standlea right about now, which I’m sure is a very common
feeling. Heh, I made like a pun and wasn’t even aware of it.

Neat thing:

The latest issue of Mad Magazine (one of the best mags available anywhere at
any price, ever) sports a full size centerfold ad for Seventh Edition. Weird,
thought I when I saw it. Weirder still was when I realized that of the two times
the word”Mahamoti” appears, it’s only spelled wrong once.

Wanted: Billion-dollar corporation ISO a friggin’ spellchecker.

I went to the Apocalypse Prerelease and you didn’t. Or maybe you did. But that
doesn’t necessarily mean that you could kick my ass, although that’s a distinct
possibility, since I’m like a wuss and whatnot.

On the way to La Cribbo De Prerelease, I promised myself that I would not attempt
a patented”Rizzo Prerelease Gank Move” that entails signing up for the early
bird thirty-two player flight and the official Prerelease. It really didn’t
work out when I tried it for the Invasion or Planeshift Prereleases, and ended
up costing me a c-note, a bunch of lost rating points that I didn’t really have
to spare, and a significant elevation of my blood pressure, which I really didn’t

Let’s see if I can be true to my school.

One hundred twenty-two dudes seems like a disappointing turnout to me. That’s
what you get when you actually have enough room for a few hundred. Damn fickle
Magic nerds.

Roll Call:

Official CMU nerds:

Michael”Mike” Turian, Andrew”Andy J” Johnson, Scott”Scott” Teamann, and
Mike”Patnik” Patnik came, saw, and, well, played in the Official Prerelease
of Death.

Nathan”Nate” Heiss would amble in late and make rounds like Da’ Pope and whatnot,
throwing out alms and passing out indulgences because he is and will forever
be known as the guy who played that crappy deck to a 6-3 finish at Regionals

Andrew”Andrew” Cuneo, and Ron”Ron” Kotwica also made appearances and decided
to crush dreams by winning a flight each.

(Ron seemed to feel disheartened when I mentioned that I just might rub a booger
on him in my Regionals report, but we made up. And though we didn’t kiss, and
there was no heavy petting involved, although a little grab-ass might’ve transpired,
we did share a heartfelt and tearful embrace. Ah, to be men who can cry at a
Prerelease — is there no greater freedom? And I even ended up buying some packs
from him – I have to stop right now. I’m sorry, but my eyes are welling up with
tears of joy. I’m going to watch”Terms of Endearment” or some other wonderful
movie and hold myself until I fall asleep.)

Thine Forsythe Bros, Inc. decided to go to some nerd’s wedding. See, you think
it’s cool to keep in touch with guys you went to college with, but all that
does is keep you from attending Prereleases, dammit. Oh, and you have to wear
a friggin’ suit too.

CMU Affiliates:

Chas”Chas” Tressler, Bryan”Bandes” Bandes, Friggitty Fran, Jeremy Spoke In
Class Today, Elliot”Elliot,” and Rich”Rich” Turian

Also dropped random mud bombs and drug paraphernalia on unsuspecting passersby.

Udder peeps that said”Hi, Johnny Sucks At Magic”:

  • Tyson Swigart, the worlds only Magic playing chiropractor

  • Mark”Yellowjacket” Ortega, who doesn’t even own a friggin’ yellow jacket
    (note: petition the CPA to have Ortega’s nick changed to”Blue Shirt”)

  • Downtown Andrew Brown, a self-proclaimed up and comer, and purveyor of fine
    street hood Prerelease poses

  • Chas Tressler’s Brother (yes that’s is real name)

  • Some random from Montgomery College by way of Johns Hopkins U

Since there was already a flight underway when I poked my massive melon inside
at around nine, I found it easy to keep my promise to be true to myself and
follow my heart by only playing in the Official Prerelease. Johnny done good.

Five is dead: Foil Five is the shizou, yo. Or maybe I’m just bitter ‘cause
all of my Five’s sucked something awful, so I decided to build an all-foil Five
to teach everyone a lesson. And whenever I figure out what that lesson is, I’ll
be sure to tell Kurtis Hahn so he can update the Rules O’ Da’ Five and whatnot.

I opened a deck and registered it, which seemed a very odd thing to do — but,
as usual, I played Johnny-go-along-with-it and well, went along with it. Then
I got a deck back.

A full thirty minutes yielded me this:

Me And My Wall Dot Deck:
Tidal Visionary
Coastal Drake
Tower Drake
Living Airship
Vodalian Serpent
Ana Disciple
Explosive Growth
Quirion Elves
Urborg Elf
Fertile Ground
Glade Gnarr
2x Gaea’s Skyfolk
Temporal Spring
Quicksilver Dagger
Mystic Snake
Jungle Barrier
Minotaur Illusionist
Urborg Uprising
Tribal Flames
6x Island
6x Forest
2x Mountain
2x Swamp
1x Ancient Spring

Take some time to realize just how good that deck is. I’d offer up some white
space for you, but you wouldn’t use said white space to its full potential,
so I’ll just tell you that the deck is Da’ Bombay.

Jungle Barrier is fair. Ask anyone. Sure, a 2/6 wall for 2UG. Oh, and I get
to draw a card too?

Quicksilver Dagger is fair. Ask anyone who tried to find a way past above fat
wall who pinged them and drew its controller (me, peeps) way too many cards.

This stuff just couldn’t hang with the main deck boyz:

Angelfire Crusader
Crimson Acolyte
Benalish Trapper
Benalish Heralds
Plague Spores
Shivan Emissary
Andradite Leech
Plague Spitter
Vicious Kavu
Phyrexian Slayer
Cursed Flesh
Zombie Boa
Phyrexian Battleflies
Savage Gorilla
Soul Link
Kavu Scout
Thornscape Apprentice, etc…

This format is, um, difficult and stuff.


And now, for the obligatory”I get to hang out with pros but still suck at
Magic” pic:

(Andy J may be good at Magic and all, but the little Jackal Pup won’t be intimidating
anyone with his pansy-ass random street thug pose any day soon. I won’t either,
but I did invent random street thugs and copyrighted most of the poses, so that
counts for something. Tip: smiling during thug poses is considered bad form.)


Round one: Nick Catalucci

Game one: I am Sligh. Disciple, Skyfolk, Skyfolk on turns one, two, and three
is probably better than Fanatic, Flunkie, Ball Lightning. Okay, that’s a nutty
statement — it IS better. Nick’s life total went to zero in neat little four-point
increments. He did manage to cast a Metathran Zombie and a few other 1/1s, but
he never did find his third color.

Side in: nothing.

Game two: We trade early Disciple beats until I can put an end to it with Jungle
Barrier (henceforth known as”Wall of God”). Eventually, I get out four flyers,
one of which gets a Mourning, beat Nick to four and dome him to death with Tribal
Flames. Wow, is Wall of God good at holding off Disciples and little Kavu.

Nick was able to put three flyers in my graveyard, but Recover and Urborg Uprising
are simply stupid cards. Really. Stupid.

Matches: 1-0

Games: Know what? No one really cares about the game record.

(I have a stain on my sweatshirt and don’t think I don’t know it, damnit.)

Round two: Eric Stein

Game One: Eric has Gerrard Capashen, Protective Sphere (with blue mana available),
and Coalition Honor Guard in play to my three flyers (all blue). To rectify
this iffy situation, I Tribal Flames the Honor Guard (yes, Flagbearers are really
annoying), Jilt and Temporal Spring Gerrard, ensuring that he has to tap out
to recast him (twice, heh), and end up flying for six with my three dudes and
kicking Explosive Growth for the win.

Side in: nothing.

Game two: Gerrard comes out to play again, so I’m content to bounce and counter
him with Mystic Snake (henceforth known as”The Stupidest Snake Alive”), which
allows my flying force carte blanche on E’s life total. They sort of had carte
blanche anyway, since E really had no way to deal with FIVE flyers, which you
will find becomes a recurring theme throughout this report, since I’ll be bringing
it up a lot, which means it is a theme that recurs. Or something.

Matches: 2-0

Games: Know what? No one really reads tourney reports anyway.

(And the stain is still there…)

Round three: Dan Anderson

Game one: Dan’s turn three Dwarven Patrol goes to town with a neat little Consume
Strength thrown at it and my Skyfolk, which since it knocks me down to fourteen,
hurts kind of a lot. I drop a Wall of God to put an end to that madness and
begin to poke him with a second Skyfolk while waiting for him to find a way
to stop it. He doesn’t, and that bad boy ends up doing sixteen damage, which,
combined with Tribal Flames for four at the dome equals Becky. Just Becky. And
it’s good.

Side in: Symbiotic Deployment because I am a friggin’ idiot.

Game two: When I pretty much have Dan on the ropes with two flyers and The
Stupidest Snake Alive (who said no to a kicked Kavu Titan), I figure I can’t
lose this game, ever, so I throw down Symbiotic Deployment. No, I don’t know

Dan casts Bloodfire Infusion on his freshly cast Bloodfire Dwarf, Scorching
Lava on one of my flyers and sacs the Dwarf to kill off the Stupidest Snake

Hi, I have one flyer and no draw phase when Dan says”I’ll try to cast Urborg
Uprising,” with the Titan and a funny Serpentine Kavu (that met an earlier Exclude)
waiting to come out and beat my face up.

Did I mention that I have no draw phase, one dude, and two cards in hand that
I can’t ever cast? I wait one turn to see if Dan will Dismantling Blow my Deployment,
but since I’m seriously Necro-locked, he figures that he’ll just wait to see
how long it takes before I scoop.

It takes about one second.


Game three: Hi, I’m mana screw, nice to meet you. Dan, however, says,”Hello,
I’m a turn one, two, three, four, and five dude, may I smash you please?” I
suck at everything that can possibly have the word”suck” attached to it.

And yes, I did indeed tear the Deployment into shreds to teach it — okay, to
teach me — a lesson immediately after the game. Oops, hope I don’t get deck
checked later.

The above sentence was not foreshadowing, so quit thinking that I would use
real literary techniques and whatnot.

Matches: 2-1 and I’m a horse’s ass. No, a real horse’s ass.

Games: Know what? You don’t bring me flowers anymore.

(Okay, that stain is beginning to piss me off.)

Round four: Mark Vandevenne

Game one: Metathran Zombie with Whip Silk is very annoying. And

Living Dead Girl Airship is annoying too. But…

Enter Temporal Spring and Tribal Flames.

Eliminate annoying things.

Smash face.

Get Mark to two.

See Mark cast Heroes’ Reunion.


Peel Explosive Growth.

Smash face and apply said Explosion to Coastal Drake.

Shuffle for game two.

Side in: nothing.

Game two: Mark is mana screwed. Johnny Sligh is not. Skyfolk, Drake, and Airship
hurt Mark. Jilt, Exclude, and the Stupidest Snake Alive also comes to play when
Mark tries to cast anything, and my boys spend a lot of time at ninety-degree
angles, which is better than killing someone with the Tribal Flames and Quicksilver
Dagger that were chilling in my hand when the final point of love was applied.

We played a third game for fun, and let me say that watching your opponent
cast Death Mutation on your Glade Gnarr is no fun at all. Good thing I had an
active Tidal Visionary, huh? Let me also say that watching your opponent cast
Yavimaya’s Embrace on your Glade Gnarr the very next turn is not fun either.
Good thing the pairings were going up for round five, huh?

Matches: 3-1

Games: Know what? Flava Flav is not his real name.

(The stain is still there, but I no longer care.)

Round five: Aaron Brake

Game one: Aaron can’t deal with flyers, and it’s that exact inability to deal
with said evasive creatures that do the nasty to his life total, Gerrard Capashan
notwithstanding. And that annoying Putrid Warrior, either.

How to win at Magic, by Johnny Magic Winner:

Get out fat dudes to stall the ground, and then fly to dudes domes.

A little bounce and removal never hurt, either.

The end.

Side in: Nothing.

Game two: Aaron’s life totals: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 13 (friggin’ white card!),
9, 10 (that bastard!), 0. Translation: flyers and more flyers until Explosive
Growth wif da’ kicka shows up.

My life totals: 20, 19, 17, 14, 8 (hi, I’m Spiritmonger, nice to meet you).

Hey, I think I just figured out that flyers are good in Sealed. And super fat
bodies, such as Wall of God and Vodalian Serpent, might be good too. But I’ll
have to get back to you on that.

Matches: 4-1

Games: Know what? Aaron Forsythe gave me this page from the Bill James Baseball
Calendar one day:

“Their own Pete Reiser

“The first Pirate to hit twenty home runs was not Pie Traynor, Kiki Cuyler,
Paul Waner, or Arky Vaughn, but Johnny Rizzo, who hit twenty-three homers and
drove in 111 runs as a rookie in 1938. He was hurt in 1939, never played regularly
for the Pirates again, and was traded two years later.”

Cold-blooded what they did to a brother, ain’t it? And I want my friggin’ reparations,

And where else will you ever get to read the words”Pie,””Kiki,” and”Arky”
in the same sentence but on a desktop calendar (or your favorite X-rated site)?

(Whoever took this pic was ripping on my stain until I got mad and asked them
if they wanted to take it outside. However, I never specified what”it” was
and why it could’ve been taken outside.)

Round six: Steven Hykes

Game one: Raka Sanctuary is good when it picks off a dude per turn.

Side in: nothing.

Game two: I lost to a Minotaur Tactician with Wings of Hope and a sacrificed
Goblin Legionnaire when I was tapped out of red for my friggin’ Minotaur Illusionist.
I suck at things that no one else could possibly suck at.

These games were amazingly frustrating because dude, like, played cards that
were very, very bad for me. Many times in a row. Replaying the games in my head,
I can’t see how I lost. I mean, I know how I lost, but I can’t friggin’ believe
that I did. Ever feel that way, or do you just not suck at things that were
never meant for people to suck at?

Not to knock Steven, but I felt like I was in control of each game the ENTIRE
game, until I was dead that is. Sneaky fellow, that Steven Hykes, I’ll tell
ya. Weirdness indeed.

Matches: 4-2 and I don’t know how

Games: Know what? That’s what. That wasn’t even funny in third grade. Okay,
maybe it was a little funny. Word is bond, yo.

(No, I don’t see a stain either.)

Round seven: Scott Teamann

The coup de grace.

I lost to T-bag at a Prerelease a long time ago before I got to know and loathe
him (and drive his ass around the friggin’ country and whatnot), and also got
booted out of Top Eight a few weeks back in some not-on-any-map tourney. He
um, finished ninth after beating me, while I was doomed to live the pain of
a Teamann beating, reliving it for time immemorial.

You could say that I would like to win this match.

Game one: Disciple beats for four turns before T-bag can cast a dude, which
get Excluded. A kicked Serpent, hungrily eyeing Scotty’s sexy Island, and noticing
his total lack of blockers, tells T-bag that maybe he’ll have better luck next

Side in: nothing.

Game two: Skyfolk, Skyfolk, Drake, the Stupidest Snake Ever, Exclude is more
than T-bag is willing to tolerate.

Talk about funny. Scott had to play the following CMU Nerds:

Me (loss, ended up in fourteenth place)

Andy J (loss, ended up in second place)

Patnik (win, but still made Top Eight)

Bandes (loss, ended up in eleventh place)

Hi, I came all the way to the Convention Center to play guys that I play every
Tuesday at CMU.

Matches: 5-2

Games: Know what? Scott is not bitter. Not at all.

(Scott was kind of upset about losing to me, so when we got into the elevator,
he took off my hat and stepped on it, kicked me in the ‘nads, and if that wasn’t
enough, he did one of those Three Stooges things to my eye. And Chas’s Brother
{yes that’s his real name} just stood there and laughed. And no, I don’t believe
that he was really in the Navy, let alone the Old Navy, damnit.)


  • Michael”Mike” Turian won the whole shebang.

  • Andrew”Andy J” Johnson took second.

  • Jeremy Spoke In Class Today made Top Eight.

  • Mike”Patnik” Patnik made Top Eight.

For those of you keeping score, that’s four CMU dudes (or affiliates)

In the Top Eight. So what, you ask? Well, nothing.

  • Chas Tressler’s Brother (yes, that is his real name) made Top Eight.

  • Tyson Swigart Made Top Eight (and beat Andy J).

  • Bryan”Bandes” Bandes finished eleventh.

  • Johnny Sucks At Magic finished fourteenth.

  • Andrew”Andrew” Cuneo won a flight.

  • Ron”Ron” Kotwica won a flight.

  • Chas”Chas” Tressler fell short of his sixth consecutive Prerelease Top

  • Nate”Nate” Heiss passed out communion after round four.

  • Thine Forsythe Bros, Inc. are nerds.

Apocalypse is cool as hell, and after playing seven rounds, I think that it’s
not as overwhelmingly difficult to figure out — it’s more difficult than that.
So put that in your pipe and then put it n your pocket until someone says”smoke
‘em if you got ‘em.” And someone always does.

I have run out of things to say, but I’m sure I’ll think of a ton of stuff
after I send this in. That’s the risk a brother takes when he types up the report
when he gets home from the Prerelease, for in his zeal to bring you the freshest
technology and juiciest gossip before any other network does, some stones inadvertently
go unturned.

Now, to get that damned stain out of my

John Friggin’ Rizzo