F33ring GG

In a few weeks, Rizzo turns 37. As a popular elder statesman of our wonderful game, it’s only right and proper that we should sup deep from the well of his knowledge. So, what’s this article about? Let’s see… it touches on the future of Magic… I think. He shares his thoughs on Dissension… somewhere. And there’s a decklist… almost. Classic JFR: Rizzo being Rizzo, as only Rizzo can…

First off, I know what you’re thinking: you miss those random photos of random intersections that made me famous. While I’m the type of guy who loves to leave you wanting something coherent more, I can only tease so much. Ergo:


An intersection that is random. And yet, let’s take a closer look…


It’s still fairly random, although that black sign looks promising. Zoom in a little more…


Hey… That’s a sign that reads “It’s all about Magic: The Gathering at Pa’s Tradin’.”


Obviously, most people expect to see handmade Magic signs at random intersections, especially ones that pimp “Tradin’” spots, but I’m all about wasting bandwidth on things you’re likely to see every single day of your life.


… it’s


That silence represents the somewhat, er, incomplete spoiler information regarding Dissension. While there are tastes here and there, the days of wine, roses, and a full printable spoiler with artist credits a month before the release of a set have apparently gone the way of playing Pernicious Deed as a (gasp!) main-phase enchantment.

End-of-turn Deed only a particular segment of the world as an instant (thx Quicken), untap, play a win condition, gg… but everyone already says it’s strictly inferior to Pernicious Deed. Nevertheless, I’m lovin’ it, and McDonald’s ain’t got nuthin’ to do wit’ it. Dawg.

Enough to drive three hours to Mass for the Dissension Prerelease…? Yeah, maybe just that much, though don’t quote me. It’s been quite a while since I cracked packs not knowing what to expect; I’d have to jump back to the days when “19__” was preprinted on checks to recreate such utter newbness. But those days are back.

Still, inquiring minds wanna know. It’s like we really want to know what that super hot chyk looks like naked. But then she does a sensual strip tease down to her birthday suit, and yeah, obviously we’re diggin’ it and holy sh** is she hot, but now we, well, know what she looks like naked. Pardon me, miss… do you think you could, er, put some clothes back on again, maybe just the unmentionables, and then (in the immortal words of Scorpion):

Get over here!

Because we’re just that silly.

Speaking of silly, I know I’ve been looking forward to the U/G guild for a while now. Those colors tend to have a large number of cards that are fricky-fresh for no other reason than to be def. When’s the last time you heard or saw the word “def?”

Think Mystic Snake, Jungle Barrier, and Gaea’s Skyfolk– those guys’re def dope mackin’ slammin’ that’s how I roll kewl. Temporal Spring and Aether Mutation really wanted to be powerful cards, but weren’t, due to situations beyond their control, and yet they had utter smackdown written all over them.

Super zombie of doooooooooooom

Any chance B/R gets another Terminate? Blazing Freakin’ Specter with Hyppie, The Grotesque One, and Castigate – stop it! How good would Pyre Zombie be in the current Standard environment. No question mark, because the answer is “he’s not even a legend!”

However, they can’t craft any of the spells too craftily, for f33r of making Sunforger even better than it already is (it fetches Red cards, yo), not to mention cracking Izzet Guildmage into yet more pieces… but I expect some cards will make an immediate, or at least eventual, impact on Extended and Legacy, with the option of opening some Vintage eyes.

Because R&D builds our decks for us and doesn’t playtest.

B/R is the guild of men – go ahead and beat us with an enchantment.
U/G oozes a lil’ machismo – stop making us counter or steal all your guys.
U/W is, well, the pros will love it – get us to three life and we’ll still win.

We know – er, suspect – we’re getting three more duals, bouncie lands, signets, and guildmages, and may even grab a few “look real bad at first glance but get better every day” auras. That leaves, oh, a hundred-fitty more cards to figure out. If you have, please don’t send me a link. Ignorance, while it may not be bliss, is all the same some kinda sexy.

Speaking of ignorance, other than the MagictheGathering.com previews, I’m fairly in the dark re: Dissension, though I did take a peek at MTGSalvation.com when there were twenty-some cards on the spoiler. Yet as of this writing, I’m content to jus’ wait-n-see what lies within those shiny new boosters. Speaking of being bad at Magic…

A month or so back, I’m playing Secret Friggin’ Something at the Saturday Legacy, Order out a turn 3 Verdant Force and play turn 4 Choke – against Mono Blue. DJ (who has since decided to become an emcee) was watching and responded to my rhetorical question of “what happens when Choke resolves.”

His answer was “gg.” He didn’t say “good game,” just those two letters that should immediately follow any successful resolution of Choke. Then he looked at my opponent’s hand and said “maybe not.” The bad guy casually drew his card for the turn and played Control Magic on my Best Fatty Ever Mirror Of Victory.

[email protected]

Choke resolved against Mono Blue.
And I lost.
Wakefield is full of sh**, man!

Silver lining: I sided out my fatties – last week the kid had Bribery too, lol at how he searched my library and found target Morphling – and beat down with Rootwallas instead. Regardless, Jamie C., bastion of mono-Green and president of the American Chapter Of Resolving Choke Equals GG would never play Basking Rootwalla: it’s too efficient!

Speaking of efficient, I built a White Weenie (for Random Guy who was returning to the fold for fun) with a minor Enlightened Tutor engine to find Empyrial Armor, Seal of Cleansing, Masticore, and a single Worship to make Goblins concede, and so much searchable sideboard hate I should be commended for making White nearly manly. I showed the deck to Mikey M, who promptly added tutors to his White Weenie to fetch out his own damned hate… and Jittes.

Of course we got paired up.
Of course I had a Monkey for his Jitte.
Of course he had tutor to get another.
Of course he put it on White Knight.
Of course first strike is insane with Jitte.
Of course it eventually got six counters.
Of course I was able to drain the counters.
Of course he got six more.
Of course I was able to drain those counters too.
Of course I won that game anyway.

Because, I – to those in the know – am good at Magic.
And Umezawa’s Jitte – to those in the know – is overrated.
And Green rox0rz, even if Choke is not very good against Mono Blue.

Okay, blinky ad at the top of the page: PT winner, GP winners, World Champ, etc, misc. et al. and even more big names…

Friggorid Creator John Rizzo: ←best reason ever to get Premium.

You learn nothing about strategy, no new technology, are liable to get many not-so-clever lines that no one but me understands, and if that’s not enough, more sexual frustration per square inch than your average Baton Rouge monastery during Mardi Gras.

Speaking of the drunken self-destruction (as a bonus we got it on camera) of many formerly chaste American daughters, newly-anointed BrainBurst featured writer Brian Smith sometimes frequents Crossroads (sometimes frequents – Strunk and White 4L!…). You may have read his pre-Hawaii article about Orzhov, which basically states that the deck is plain ol’ wacky. He’s a huge advocate of Orzhov Pontiff, and for good reason I suppose…. you useless x/1s and x/2s that I can kill nearly at will, because Orzhov is sneakier than even Dimir. Introduction complete.

One Saturday he entered the Casual Legacy tourney…with his Standard Orzhov deck that he wrote about stole off the net. As for the result, I guess I don’t need to draw you a picture to demonstrate the result in picture form.

Sick of playing Secret Friggin’ Sauce and taking off lil’ boogie chillins, I dropped the Natural Orders and Basking Rootwallas and added Tradewind Friggin’ Riders, Man-o’War, Gilded Drake, Mystic Snake, and even more walls, ‘cause I’m good at Magic and not a fan of Goblin Piledriver.

Obviously, casting Deranged Hermit every turn is strictly better than not casting Deranged Hermit every turn. Except against Goblin Piledriver. Thus, I sailed to a quick 3-0 record, dispatching Mono-Black Control, White Weenie with Chant and Swords on a stick lol at opponents who wish to do anything ever, and Mono-Blue Landstill-ish kind of thing.

In the last round, I met Brian Smith, much to everyone’s surprise and my own damned chagrin, who was 3-0 his own damned badself. Playing a Standard Orzhov deck that he stole from the net. He didn’t even feel guilty.

Please be assured that I made at least a dozen mistakes, and Brian had his share of Rizzo-like moments because osmosis is real and he was nervous playing against someone so most excellent at Magic. Still, if you’re so good at Magic, what would you do with an active Tradewind against a board of Bob, Rusalka, Ghost Council, and Shrieking Grotesque? Pretty much what I did, which was drop back fifteen, wipe hands on pants, and punt.

Although, to be unfair to Brian and biased to make myself look good, he did drop turn 1 Rusalka, turn 2 Bob in both games because he is a savage net decking cheater.

No, since you were wondering, I did not play a turn 4 Morphling. With two Blue available for protection. And still lose.

Standard Orzhov that you can steal from the net is the best deck in Legacy. You’re welcome for the advance technology. Oh, and Berto never found his glasses. Brian Smith probably stole them, like he stole that deck from the net.

Look at this conundrum:

Dissension Release event at Crossroads, May 6.
PTQ Charleston somewhere in Massachusetts, May 6.
Friggin’ Rizzo turns 37, May 7.



I’m like, as old as Wakefield. At least my wife says I don’t look a day over 36 and a half.

Dear Everyone In Boston,

In lieu of birthday cards filled with cash or a couple hours with your girlie, just let my team win.

pls/thx and ten minutes would be plenty

Speaking of team, and the fact that there’s no “I” but a big, fat “me” contained within, Cory Abrams and Chet “Bastard Leftist Swine” Norton apparently couldn’t find anyone better than yours truly to take an auto-loss to Heezy fo’ Streezy. So, if you can, let those guys win so they can overrule me and draw us into the Top 8.

Two guys who want to ID, versus me who doesn’t, equals I still get to be self-righteous and get yet another Top 8 pin. Speaking of Top 8 pins…

Check out the world’s highest rated players in Standard as of January 2000:

Kyle Rose, USA
Shawn Keller, USA
Randy Buehler (who?), USA
Scott Johns (see above parenthetical), USA
Trey Van Cleave, USA/Denmark/Whatever Country Doesn’t Have Extradition
John Larkin, Ireland
Justin Gary, USA
Eric Philipps, USA
Casey McCarrel, USA, c/o The Ricky Jay Academy for Sleight of Hand
Will to the Babe to the Hue Jens, USA

Gee, six and a half years later, and not one thing has changed. Speaking of change, what happens after Ravnica Block? You know, the block that brought back gold cards and “saved” Magic. Does Post-Ravnica toss a few gold cards into the mix, a la Odyssey Block? Or does it simply forego the multicolors for easily-understood yet benign non-multicolor?

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and see what we can see:

Ice Age Block offered 35 gold cards, followed by Mirage Block and its 49 fancy pants. Tempest Block threw 16 gold cards into the mix, and then something odd happened:

Saga Block.
No golds.
But a hundred insanely broken cards.

“The guy that invented Yawgmoth’s Bargain is out of control.”
– Berto, using Labarre’s Chimera deck, getting Bargain into play, and well, duh, winning.

Masques Block was next, and while I heard some complain that it was often mundane, due to a total of two playable decks in the format, at least it wasn’t as broken as Saga. Still, it had its share of crazy cards – no gold cards, though.

The next block was what many consider to be one of the best ever to see print: Invasion. A whopping 148 golds (if you count the split cards) reared their sexy heads. It was the rebirth of Magic. Or something. While filled with excellent cards, Invasion Block was not, by most normal definitions of the word, broken. It was close though, simply because it was the coolest set ever to that point. According to me.

Fifteen gold cards made it into Odyssey Block – one was a creature that ended up being kinda sorta pretty good, I guess. Onslaught Block saw four gold cards make the final cut, and while I was away at the time, I don’t imagine any of them had a very large impact, or at least an impact that lasted like the gold cards from previous blocks.

Mirrodin was too brown to be gold. I heard there were a few retarded good cards in there somewhere, but I can’t recall their names or keywords. Kamigawa offered two golds, and I’m positive that Chris Romeo opened multiple copies of each.

Ice Age – very gold
Mirage – fairly gold
Tempest – minor gold
Saga – take a mulligan

Masques – no gold
Invasion – goldest ever
Odyssey – minor gold
Onslaught – not enough to count
Mirrodin – take a mulligan

Kamigawa – not enough to count
Ravnica – goldest ever, this time I mean it

If we follow the conspiracy trail, we can deduce that the next block will be either minor gold, no gold or sigh, but what it will not be is oops. Actually, it will be.

Three blocks then oops.
Four blocks then oops.
Two blocks and counting since the last oops.

We’re due for an oops three blocks from now, which I think is codenamed Kamu Sutra, with the following tentative expansions: Missionary, Female Superior, and Doggy Style.


All of you that came back because of the gold, you may go, because three blocks from now, if history is a valid guideline, will just make you quit again.

I remember a time when I was able to articulate stuff, and sometimes even show a little ass as a bonus. I have an excuse: I’m stuck in a dump in Newport and the women’s NCAA final is on ESPN and I’m too lazy to actually grab the remote and find Law & Order. Nevertheless, those days of the sweet science, like the joy in Mudville over Ravnica Block, are apparently over.

“History…it’s written.”
– Dennis Hopper, True Romance

Speaking of history… Never mind, I found my buddy Sam schooling the jury. BRB after I pretend Elizabeth Röhm not only knows I exist, but knocks on my door and offers to demonstrate that while the word “prude” may be present in “jurisprudence,” it’s just a coincidence.

frigginrizzo: ← never had an assistant district attorney.

Poll the jury, your honor. All freakin’ night long.

Speaking of metagaming the legal system…

“Geoffrey Shields, dean of Vermont Law School, said the school… will continue to bar recruiters "as a symbol of the importance of fair treatment of all people."
– Some Yahoo article

That may be the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

It’s all about Magic: The Gathering. But only at Pa’s Tradin’!

The weekend of April 22, the family and me will be in Pittsburgh for hottie-in-law’s “baby shower,” which is nothing more than a euphemism for “marvel at her huge belly, super-wide birth hips, and milk-laden breastages and want to touch all of the above.” The shower is Saturday, and so is… The Dissension Prerelease.

I’m working on convincing “the ol’ lady” (a term of respect, so all my white trash wife beater friends tell me) that it would somehow benefit her if the egg and I drove to Butler to hit my ol’ stomping grounds and beat up on unsuspecting children who may have heard how truly gifted I am at Magic, but have yet to see my utter dominance first-hand.

I hope that tactic works, because the backup plan ain’t so snazzy: if I can’t go, I’ll sit around and ogle your sister’s popped-out belly button. Speaking of the round mound of rebound and from the mouths of babes…

Abs: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Me: Why?
Abs: Because he had no toes.
Me: Er…?

Berto: Where does a leaf sleep?
Me: Where?
Berto: A left bed.
Me: Er…?

Me: Hey, they came out of your body.
Wife: You put them there.
Me: I’m sexy.
Wife: No, you’re bad at Magic.

Speaking of failing at the rhythm method and being bad at Magic…

How come this Standard deck wants to be kewl but isn’t:




Er, I can’t tell you what it is, only that it uses, um, dredge. Why has no one yet discovered the utter joy that is four Golgari Grave-Troll in the Standard environment? What do I have to do: concoct yet another creation that abuses the living piss out of that guy?

If Wakefield wasn’t still feeling blue about being mean to Grave-Troll, I’d be tempted to paraphrase him: “The last fatty they can’t deal with wins you the game.”

He’a a fatty + They can’t deal with him = You win the game

Three cheers for four Stinkweed Imp. ‘Scuse me, the guy kills whatever he blocks. ‘Scuse me, yeah you just burned him, and how do you feel about wasting a real spell on a guy who will be back next turn and you’ll run out of burn before I run out of Stinkweeds?

Four Dagger

Wake up people!

He’s a 3/1 flyer for three mana, read: turn 2 three-power flyer whet your whistle? How about a turn 3 six-power flyer?

Plague Boiler, in the 4x variety fun pack.

Hello, McFly? Kill everything, and pretty much decide exactly when. Blow up the world as an instant? Are you listening to me? Anyone… Buehler? Well, no.

While there are those who argue that turn one Stomping Ground/Kird Ape is the gold standard in, er, Standard, I’ll go them one better:

Turn 2 Stinkweed Imp is the defining play in the environment. Go ahead and quote me (um, except against Heartbeat).

Before I forget: Razorjaw Oni is down with the sickness, and Gristleback is no Spike Feeder – he’s better. Kinda. This completes your mad technology for the day.

I’ve spent two weeks working on the above cryptic deck because boy, isn’t it easy to toy around with Standard decks when you have no idea what the other two guys are playing! Still, we plan to kill a team in Brighton just to watch them die. Walk the Line was a very good film. Um, no. Pa’s Tradin’ 4L!

Speaking of Magic: The Gathering, why is it when peeps do evaluations of cards from the new set they invariably judge their worth on how much they can help an existing archetype? Obviously, when you look at Avatar of Discord you notice the “discard two cards” stipulation, and like many others just me and only me you immediately know that both said chucked cards will be Golgari Grave-Troll. [I’ll never get sick of that Troll guy. He’s like Ichorid, only bigger and well, pink. – Me, always wanted to interrupt like this.]

Er, I guess Avatar of Discord could fit in Friggorid, um…
Well, it’s good anti-Owling Mine tech I think maybe uh…


As long as you don’t take a moment to consider the worth of a 5/3 flyer for three, I’ll pretend that a 5/3 flyer on turn 1 wouldn’t be too ridiculous in Legacy, nor would it be a wacky turn 2 play in Standard. But you’d need a god hand!


I’m thinking about pounding each and every one of you in the teeth and gums with a turn 2 Entropic Specter – pitch The New Brothers Grimm, turn 3 Cloak up his ass or do something else… does it really matter what you do, because turn 4 here come the endless parade of fat assed trolls that you absolutely cannot kill.

Then again, maybe I won’t.

Aethermage’s Touch blah blah not worth it sucky build a deck around it misc. Just don’t put Gilded Drake in the same deck. Or Man-o-War. Or any freakin’ creatures with comes-into-play or leaves-play abilities. There are only about 500 of them to work with, but no, it’s probably not worth it. Because it doesn’t fit into an existing archetype.

I heard the same about Bob, and on this site’s front page:

Does Bob Fit into any existing archetypes? Discuss in the forums!

Bob fits into virtually every deck that even thinks about including one Black source. Or so I thought. I finally found a deck with access to black mana that has no logical reason to play Bob: Dark Rebels/White Weenie. I only know it doesn’t matter/work very well because I built the deck. You try now. But it sucks so don’t waste your time. Just keep reading.

Can Entropic Eidolon get any less love? Boy, a repeatable Gravedigger effect, but gosh, it only happens when I play a gold spell. No, I can’t think of a use for a 2/2 with a leaves-play ability that I can get back just by playing a gold spell. Neither can you.

Experiment Kraj may be a mere Timmy card on the face of it, but man, when you can stop thinking of all the sickening interactions with literally hundreds of cards, please let me know. I’m frightened that there is some kind of loop with Tidewater Minion – or his bargain basement kin Seeker of Skybreak – that just ain’t right, even if it doesn’t really do anything. Or does it…? Hey, what about Morphling! Stop it/rightnow/pls/thx.

I went 1-2-1 in the last Saturday Casual. Me, Johnny Good At Magic, lost more than he won. That’ll teach me to not net deck, or at least not play against Fluctuator. Did you draw Tormod’s Crypt in your opening hand? If no, gg. If you do, you win the game; if not, you’re bad at Magic. By the way, Slide is like, real good against creature decks. That’s a free tip for all you loyal readers.

Note: Golgari Grave-Troll will hereafter be known as “GGT.” Or “gg” for short.

In the draft that followed, I took twelve points of Sewerdreg damage. I managed to eek out the win (at one life) by playing Compulsive Research on my opponent who was unable to fully satisfy the requirements of that fateful sorcery. After the match, Mikey M and Brennan congratulated me on taking Sewerdreg love when in fact – now look down, Johnny – I did not have a single Swamp in play behind my double Entrancer and Informant.

Afterwards, I laughed and guffawed and told everyone that I am truly awful at Magic, but then I flashed on Dave Fienstein’s article in which he had his own eureka upon realizing that, gee, while that Dryad Sophisticate is awfully scary, I just don’t have any nonbasic lands. This is a lesson for all you would-be Magic gurus: look at your freakin’ lands now and again.


Of course I have an excuse, since I did play five bouncie lands, and probably did have a Swamp in play at one point, which I believe is all that is necessary to trigger the continuous effect of Sewerdreg. “Last Known Information?” Hells yes.

After picking up my rofl from the floor, Mikey offered another humorous anecdote: read Smogsteed Rider… Hey, he doesn’t give himself fear. Gee, that little piece of hidden stipulation never lost me a game or three, but only against Mikey. Before I could even digest that piece of secret tech, he machine-gunned me with “check out Spectral Searchlight.” As one who has often used the phrase “end of turn, can you use a White, no, take a point,” I was fairly surprised to learn that they get to choose the color.

Oh how we lol’d.

Tip: Read the freakin’ cards. Closely, pls/thx.

Speaking of thx, the next article (or the one after that, who can tell with these flighty writer types) I write will be nothing more than a meticulous manifesto on how me and my boys won a PTQ and why no one obeys my advance technology and marching orders, or more likely: how I went 12-0 (or tee hee 0-12) with a */* Green creature in my deck.

Or perhaps we’ll do bad, I’ll do worse, I’ll plead to the vast internet audience of conspiracy theorists to validate my ideas, whereas someone will soon thereafter tweak my deck so that it dominates as intended, catches fire, Flores gets takes all the credit and the season comes to an abrupt end.

No, that’s too far fetched.
Like seeing a handmade Magic sign at a random intersection.
It just cannot happen.

John Friggin’ Rizzo