Feature Article – Guild Wars, Insanity, And A Sixty Dollar Playmat: Shadowmoor Prerelease

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Wednesday, April 30th – Shadowmoor is here, and the world has gone Hybrid Crazy! Of course, the descent into craziness isn’t so far for some… and for John Friggin’ Rizzo, it’s not even a spin around the block! Today, he shares his prerelease experience in his own unique and opinionated fashion. As usual with JFR… buyer beware!


I’m sitting in a hotel room in Norfolk, VA, on a Saturday night. It’s almost midnight, and I’m looking ahead to Sunday and at least twelve potentially dreadful hours aboard a Navy carrier.

I haven’t been home since last Sunday, just ran out of clean clothes, overindulged at Pizzaria Uno and can’t shake the bloat, and nothing looks very rosy at this particular moment.

The Hilton held some kind of prom last night, and the raucous children kept me awake long into the ante-meridian, what with their amateur carousing throughout the halls and attempts at getting laid when that means only a few moments.

They have yet to comprehend “goin’ old school,” and won’t until they have nothing but memories of what they would have done if they could go back with their current “wisdom.” Hopefully, they wrap that rascal because children make great parents.

Tonight, the hotel featured The Eastern Light, which is the black version of Masonry, and this is the second time I’ve been in a hotel during one of their events. This may be a record for someone who is not a member.

They’re not nearly as loud as the kiddies, though slightly better dressed, and I just thought it was random that I was here, especially considering that I’m not a) black, nor b) a Mason.

But if I were both, I’d be all about praying to the compass with a big “g” in the middle and the dot below which may or may not represent a penis and telling peeps the “secret” name of God that everyone knows anyway.

The Houston Swoops are here as well, and I had the good fortune to watch their entire entourage invade Uno’s during my meal. I tried to figure out what the hell kind of league they were in without the aid of Google, but all I could come up with was they were some kind of high school traveling basketball team. From Houston, in Virginia. Okay.

Basically, I feel like a blasé sh**bag all the way around. Things occur all around me, and not very many of them matter, even if they do evoke at least a passing subconscious reaction that leads to me being physically and mentally drained like I was up all night having sex…

… But without the fun that is being unable to touch certain parts of my body for fear that my fingers will stick… or my face will freeze like that. I wish my face would freeze during orgasm. I’d look pretty cool walking around with a frozen orgasm face.


For the first time in a long time, I’m contemplating attending a prerelease. Shadowmoor went and got its hybrid on, and let me be the first to code name the set “RogerMoore,” due to its sheer James Bondian quotient.

No, never mind. That doesn’t even approach clever, and I know you won’t accept it.

Still, hybrid is like something Q went and concocted up in the lab, and due to its Swiss Army Knife-like attributes, it’s almost a no-brainer at this point. Tribes (yawn), Hybrid (erection!)!

Q. How do we pump up the Magic economy?
A. Gold cards!

Hybrids are gold, so stop right now with the semantics.

Shadowmoor is just a thing that happened. Like working all weekend on a cramped, hot, loud, crowded carrier. Like being kept up by raging pheromones. Like being an honorary member of both The Eastern Light and Houston Swoops.

…And still wishing vomitoriums were all the rage so I could puke in the height of Roman fashion and not feel so stuffed and grody to the max. Gag me with a spoon like it’s 1983 all over again.

I have so little control over so little, as if I’m a role-player in a crappy, low-budget snoozefest. But Shadowmoor is the light at the end of the tunnel after Bruce Willis killed a helicopter with a car and didn’t say the f word even once in the theatrical release and that was completely in character for John McCain McClane.

Shadowmoor is like being shipwrecked on a deserted island with Mark Rosewater, circa Urza’s Saga, and that eccentric aunt who looks at you a little too suggestively, and then finally being rescued by Mark Rosewater, post-Ravnica, and that aunt’s sultry young daughter, though through a previous marriage so it wouldn’t be illegal. At least in most states.

Star City guys are already putting out decklists using Shadowmoor cards. Some have tested most of the spoiled cards and concocted strategies based on what they suspect may be lurking in the new packs. Of course, a Standard PT requires ink, and plenty of it.

My last article was about Extended. I feel like I’m already so far behind that I’ll never catch up, which is why I claim the other guys are iffy. Doesn’t mean they aren’t, but my defense mechanism is sure-fire: claim superiority! For no good reason! And use plenty of exclamation points so people think I’m kidding!

Then I stop to think: I haven’t cared about Standard since States, and it’s likely I won’t until Regionals testing starts sometime in May-ish, or when the Apprentice patch comes out. I may be cheap, er, frugal, er, non-MTGO, but I do see myself buying Shadowmoor. Lots of it. ‘Cause Rakdos and Gruul and hurry up with Golgari, damnit.

Yet, amidst this chaos that is the train wreck that really isn’t my life but I rarely get to use hyperbole, there is an element of control present: a calming voice that woos me with discovery and failure and do-over and have a little purr in your ear to tide you over.

So little matters beside – let me experience the newness with the quickness, or at least as soon as the early birds can.

Thus, we move from the Prelude to the actual Lude, or The Prerelease Experience:


You’ll have to forgive me – I was in some kind of a mood up there. Speaking of moods, know what I hate: bad editing. Beckett Magic was famous for it. Some of the articles were so piss-poorly put together that they should have been embarrassed to send them to the printer. Mark Young were always tight, though. SCG4L!

Every time I would notice an egregious error, I would silently thank The F, Teddy, or Craigers — they may not catch them all, but they wouldn’t be caught dead letting one of their writers look like utter garbage.

(I’m not sure if I ever thanked those guys, but rather than do it privately, I’ll do it publicly (like Oprah would) so you can all see how warm and fuzzy and pious and lazy I am. You should thank them, too. By buying multiple premium subscriptions — they make wonderful door prizes for raves and house parties, and seriously: company Christmas party Secret Santa no-brainer!)

I only brought that editing thing up because I was recently thinking about one of my very first articles on this site here. I wrote something like: “as far as I’m concerned, Anthony Alongi and The Ferrett have competition for the Supreme Hater of White Cards,” which meant that I should be added to the contest due to my hatred for the color of angels and puppy dog farts. Those guys have competition (me), for the title.

The F edited it to read “…Anthony Alongi and The Ferrett are in competition for the Supreme Hater of White Cards.”

Seriously, I was walking around all day, in 2008!, saying “Anthony Alongi and The Ferrett are in competition!” To which I replied, “Oooh, are they now? Wonder who’s going to win!”

The article in question was posted nearly eight years ago, and I still haven’t forgiven him. Well, I sort of have, mostly. He’s done me plenty of solids before and since. His love for Limited, however, is still an unforgivable and mighty mortal sin.

(I checked most of my early articles, did a CTRL+F for “competition,” and couldn’t find what I was talking about it. Whatever, it still happened. Anyway, I did notice that the bottom five or six articles are just about completely unreadable. That Kamigawa 2/2 Fear guy for six thinks they’re bad.)

It’s been so long since I teased The F that I felt it necessary. This is how men show affection: by trying to hurt the other but not really, though there’s usually a grain of truth in there somewhere, but it’s usually a way of saying “thanks” or “I wuv you,” or “free colon cleanse frigginrizzo.”

Gimme a couple months, and I’ll drop a Teddy Cardgame story up on y’all, to be quickly followed by a Craigers tale. [Okay, now I’m scared… – Craigers.] Who else gives you the inside scoop like this? No one! Because they prefer to write real articles instead of living in a past where I was relevant.

The previous ten paragraphs were meant to be two sentences. Per usual, bonus!

Thus, we really move from the Prelude to the actual Lude, or The Prerelease Experience:


I’m also not a fan of peeps at a convenience store tossing their money. The cashier says “that’ll be four thirty-five,” and the customer who is always right throws down a fin on the counter.

Hand it to the cashier, you miserable piece of sh**!

The thing is: those people have no idea just how rude they’re being. It’s a spit in the face, a whack on the back of the kneecap, and a stain on Monica’s dress. Their parents must not have beaten them enough.

Please know that if you ever hear of a c-store beating death, it was probably me who hamburgered some oblivious jerky who threw the money down on the counter.

Then the feds can read my archives and wonder why no one saw this coming.

I’m glad I got that off my chest and into your life. Edit correctly and hand the money to the cashier and we’ll get along fine.

Learn from me.
I can be the Siddartha to your Gautama.

Thus, we really, seriously move from the Prelude to the actual Lude, or The Prerelease Experience:

I finally found a sense of refreshment after the trip from hell, and an enormous paycheck never really hurts unless it gets you kicked off welfare, and I was looking forward to the Prerelease. Pretty much, kinda, maybe. They’re the new cards, and a cruddy format for the non-creative be damned — I get to be a newb alongside everyone else.

It was one of those “I’ll see how I feel in the morning” deals, and I guess I felt like gettin’ my schlep on. No gas money sucks, as does the lack of witty banter to put into the report, but there is freedom in solitude. Just ask Thoreau.

Since he’s long since dead, you could ask me, who, left to my druthers, would spend as much time as possible in solitude until just before I went clinically insane, then would take a trip into town to see what insanity really is, and rush back to my own private Idaho and play Hemingway and consider trying to drink or shotgun myself to death.

For Maine’s first prerelease ever, but not the last (we think), I headed to stately Augusta, our lovely capitol, quite infested with your typical state capitol accoutrements: dirt, dank, all the 8-dollar-an-hour jobs you can eat, and utter hopelessness.

I guess they have a bit of victim status up in here as well, ‘cause, even in my mack-like 2000 Saturn LS, I felt all helpless and in need of guidance, or at least for someone to tell me precisely how to live in exchange for just enough money to keep me poor and dependent on them.

As I was Mapquesting my way to destiny, I came to a stoplight in which there were a couple of nutty-ass kids holding nutty ass signs advertising a nutty-ass free car wash.

These monsters were bustin’ loose with the street-vendor-in-Tijuana style: loud, proud and all up in peeps’ grills. Naturally, I peeped ‘em, fully expecting to see a bevy of 13 year-old girls in bikinis because sex sells, and they have the Department of Education-sponsored condoms to prove it.

Just guys, yo, mostly clothed. So unfair for the teeming masses of borderline illegality.

Thus, off I went, in search of the Augusta Armory, and my showdown with the 40 card decks. I drove around for about 20 minutes and got nowhere. It was all so vague and frightening and capitol-like. I could taste the inefficiency in the air and feel the actual death of achievement cutting off my circulation.

When I went to my trusty Maine Atlas, I discovered that the Armory was right across the street from where those little bastards distracted the hell out of me. Off I went from whence I came, cursing effective advertising techniques of children all the way. Get back in the sweatshop where you can at least earn a real living.

I arrived at about 1030 and went to sign up. “Two flights for sixty beans gets you a free playmat” was the pitch from the chyk who wanted to go through the act of trying to have my baby again and again and again. Okay, I’m kidding. I’m just being Mylie.

I handed her a sixty-dollar bill, she handed back a playmat, a Demigod with one on hold, and an entry slip for Flight Seven. I asked what flight was currently underway, to which she purred: “We just started Flight Three — it could be a few hours, and darn it, I’m sooooo lonely wink nod.”

I told her to read my archives. That’ll turn loneliness into despair in a hurry.

Flight Three, now boarding.
32-player flights plus
four flights to go equals
a long wait.

It turns out it wasn’t that long, so long as “wasn’t that long” means something like “not quite an entire four hours.” However, this did give me time to catch up with my peeps, most of whom were here, and most of whom were already playing, and most of whom were fully caught up with over the last month or so anyway.

Of the few that weren’t playing, Tyler Foss, Matt Hill, Duncan Cheney, and Former State Champion Rob Foley were judging as prime-time level zeroes. If you have a real question other than “can I use the Prerelease Demigod of Revenge in my deck,” ask Rob Dougherty, Hall of Fame-level if you need him.

I caught up with Brenden in his own damned Crossroad Games booth, more peeps, browsed though the junk rare boxes (4x Gibbering Descent — fifty cents each, yo!), drank a lot of water, smoked some fatties, peed a lot in the secret bathroom that no one knew about but me…

… and listened to plenty of bad beat stories involving cards I didn’t know about. Sometimes I said “what does that card do?” but mostly I nodded along in sympathetic tones. They don’t really care if you actually hear them, just feel them, yo.

JTardif and Jason “62 card deck” Trott were in attendance, as were the usual suspects, guys like Aaron Lewis, Brett Coggan, Paul 2065 Mathews, and other guys that like, try hard all the time, even at Prereleases. Who tries at a Prerelease, fer chrissakes?

Enough of the Saturday Casual Legacy players (that I used to dominate until they got good cards but I still rent if not own) were in attendance that we nearly broke out the Legacy decks and got nasty. Too bad none of us brought Legacy decks.

Innerspace part:

There is a technique I used during the last part of the Extended season, that I feel I should share because it will add to my minimalist word count. But mostly so if you happen to play me, you can know, or think you know, what’s going on in my mind. Though don’t try to one-up me, son.

I tuned myself to hate my opponents. In fact, everyone in the room. Now I realize that this is hardly groundbreaking – hating the opponent cannot be entirely foreign in many competitive endeavors. The reason why, however, may be.

Before the pairings went up, I would look around the room, take it all in nice and leisurely, and be sickened by everyone there. Not because I was actually sickened by them, mind you, and certainly not because they were trying to reach the same goal that I was, but rather it was a sickness borne from their mere presence.

Why are they here? Some want to win, some want to have fun, but most could be said to fit in one category or the other, with the rest somewhere in between. But none are here for the same reason that I am. That reason is not to win the PTQ or have myself a gay old time, nor even some happy place in between.

I was there to push; to fight; jfr in the house was a tremendous “f*** you!” to everything that disgusts me in this world. Everyone in the room symbolized the wrongness. They had to because, for that day at least, they were the wrongness.

Not only that, but they were all in my way. Every single one of you — nice guys, fun or cool opponents, whomever. You were all in my way, and not only did you not want what I wanted, you weren’t even aware that what I wanted existed.

Dumb, fat, and happy, prisoners and guards, slaves and masters, clueless all of you. So blindly f***ing stupid to everything. I had to hate you. You stood in my way, and you didn’t even know why. Hell, you probably didn’t even realize there was a way to stand in, let alone mine.

You had nothing near what I had to gain, but still, there you were. Why the f*** were you there?! What was your purpose?!

I sat down to discover. You sat down to insignificance beyond the match slip.
I created. You did karaoke.
I put it all out there. You left it at home at the bottom of your sock drawer.

For what I wanted, I could hear your laughter. I could feel your scorn: who the hell does he think he is and what does he think he’s accomplishing!? Actually, I had to pretend to hear and feel it from most; few would even bother to consider laughing or scorning — it would never enter the equation, not because they’re wonderful people, but because they’re blind and like it that way.

I said before that most Magic players I know “get it.” In a general sense, compared to real people, they do indeed get the hell out of it.

In my sense, the sense that convinces me that everyone at the PTQ is a scumbag who would slit my throat and steal the microfilm and not even know why they’re doing it, they don’t get it. No one does and I’m probably more than a little insane at times. Like the last few PTQs.

I had to hate you f***ers because not only do you not get this, but you put up a wall and try to deny me my goddamned birthright — my reason for spending much more that $25 and an entire Saturday.

And it worked pretty well. I hated everything you stood for, which wasn’t anything anyway. Of course, I wasn’t filled with this desire to stab you the entire tourney, just right before the round started until I was finished with my match.

During that time, oh you were all bastards, every single one of you. Even the people there I liked. Because I don’t like anyone enough to think that they understood, even a little, what I was trying to accomplish. I’m not sure I understood completely, but I’m positive that you were there to thwart it ‘cause you’re all pricks.

If we happened to play each other during Extended, I really hated the depth of you during our match. When I was fighting my sickness, I really hated you – somehow I was able to blame you for frigging with my immune system.

I think some of that comes through the report. You don’t have to look too hard to find it.

As a point of reference, at the first two PTQs, I loved everyone. And went 7-7.
When I started to put y’all on my sh** list, I went 15-5-2, with 2 pretty good looks at it.

You decide.

That I was able to channel that much legitimate, though temporary, hatred and disgust and repulsion at people who really didn’t deserve it is a testament to something. I had to feel that for you: I had to light it up, turn the crank, and let it come. Some could call it “focus,” or “drive,” but whatever you call it, I was feeling it something proper.

In order to feel that you were in my way, I had to put you in my way. To know that you were oblivious to everything that mattered, I had to make everything that matters oblivious. If I was going to accomplish anything, I had to know you were there to accomplish nothing other than to stop me.

You played your roles perfectly. Take a bow.

Something is wrong with me.
I mean, I feel something should be wrong with me.
But I don’t.
Thus, something must be wrong with me.

The reason I brought that up is because I was considering trying to get into that mode today. Then it dawned on me — Limited is the antithesis of Constructed and what I was trying to accomplish. Thus, I really don’t give an ass about what happens today; there is no search for discovery.

I’m bringing very little of myself to the table — this isn’t me against you or me against the world, this is a pack of cards some computer program put together: if you can play your computer pack better than I can play my computer pack, or if your computer pack has better cards than my computer pack, good for you. Put it on your resume:

April, 2008: Opened good packs at Shadowmoor Prelease.

Mine would read something like this:

April, 2008: Saw new cards like, really early!

It can be, I suppose, all about fun, despite being Limited. “Fun” would just take on a new meaning, mostly to not vomit. If I could make it through the day without puking all over myself, I could call my own damned convoluted self a winner.

Today, I’m 1969 with ‘fros and bells and free love up in here all over again. Because you’re not trying to take something away from me, nor preventing me from anything. You’re just trying to win, or do well, or have fun, any of which trumps my “here for the new cards.”

So smile, f***ers!

End Innerspace part

About an hour later, just when I was ready to bore myself to tears, and “comfort” myself in the secret bathroom, Flight Seven up and got started.

We didn’t register decks, so be good, mkay, and it took me the full allotment of time to come up with this granddaddy caddy:

Flight Seven Sealed Deck: Azorius Happens

Blight Sickle
2 Inquisitor’s Snare
Safehold Sentry
Ghastly Discovery
2 Prison Term
Advice from the Fae
Oracle of Nectars
Ballynock Cohort
Wanderbrine Rootcutters
2 Watchwing Scarecrow
Armored Ascension
Barrenton Cragheads
Repel Intruders
Gravelgill Axeshark
Old Ghastbark
Wicker Warcrawler
Barrenton Medic
9 Plains
8 Island

Sideboard of note (in colors-ish):

Barkshell Blessing
Gnarled Effigy
River’s Grasp
Parapet Watchers
Memory Sluice
Lurebound Scarecrow
Goldenglow Moth
Curse of Chains
2 Torpor Dust

This is the kind of deck that does well in the hands of a good control player. I am not a good control player, sorry for the abrupt and shocking newsflash. Still, it did have an assload of removal-type spells, and while the creatures were on the small side, I really wasn’t sure how I was supposed to win games. I hoped for mana screw.

Round 1: Allan Pottle — Gruul/b

In game 1, I let Allan go first, and he promptly mulled to five. He died with a Swamp on the table. I’m so good at Magic. Yes, but how good?

So good that I returned the favor in game 2, though I died with two lands. In fairness, I did have a hand chock fulla two drops, which did prolong the game, and my agony, much longer than they should have.

He did show me the severe sickness that is Rite of Consumption on a 5/2 that was just unblocked. If I ever get that card in my pool, I’m using it. Oh, it’s a sorcery? How not very cool. Now I’ll really have to use it.

Game 3 was actually a game, though my removal suite seemed much more spectacular than it first appeared. Nothing I wanted to deal with did not get dealt with, and a boatload of weenies and Warcrawler wearing Armored Ascension ended this game soon after.


I kinda liked my deck, as much as I could like a deck that I totally did not like at all. Whatever, it’s only four rounds, and then the joy that could be opening aggro colors in the next flight.

Round 2: Chris Norton — Dimir/Azorius

Chris took control with cards that were much better than mine, but it all came down to us both stockpiling tricks until the final tricksy turn that we knew was coming.

He was finally ready to attack for a benefit, but I was ready with Aethertow and could conspire that sumb*tch sumthin’ fierce. He served with his guys into my guys, and before damage, he Aethertowed the only two of my creatures that could conspire.

He did it very slowly.

I took my time thinking things through.

Then I put them on top of my library.

After they were safely on my deck, I sort of realized that hey, it’s like, too late for me to Aethertow with kicker his guys since my guys are safely on my deck.

Chris: I’m going to be tricky, and I expect you to react in kind.
Me: I’ll just be deer in the headlights boy instead.

I have no explanation.
Perhaps I went and had a petit mal seizure or some such.
Wait, that’s an explanation.
Never mind.

Game 2 was about what one would expect after the previous fiasco: I mulled, kept an iffy hand, and suffered the tortures of the damned like I richly deserved.

With me at 4 and an active Oracle and mana available, Chris made one of my guys a different color, somehow did something nutty that made the color change relevant, got a couple weenies through, then Mirroweaved the biggest guy ftw exactly.

I think I said “shut the hell up with that crazy sh**!” He laughed and suggested I sign the match slip, but under my signature I should pencil in: “LOSER!”

I’m like those guys that always end up as the cop hero’s sidekick or soon-to-be-dead partner so the hero has something to do. It’s the perpetual funky haze all up in, like an out-of-body experience or some nutty sh** that the hero never gets to experience. ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

I should start getting high or something.


I consoled myself by admitting that even if I didn’t go native, I still wouldn’t have won game 1, nor do I ever deserve to win another game of Limited again.

With that super mind set, off I headed to the next victim, who had no chance against the juggernaut that is me in self-destruct-but-who-really-cares-this-is-Limited-and-I’m-like-a-1597 mode.

Round 3: Mario Garcia — Azorius/Dimir

Mario mulled in game 1, and scooped on about turn 6 after drawing only two lands and getting pummeled. I take little credit, but I get it all anyway. Seems fair.

Game 2, however, saw him steal my Oracle of Nectars after I had gained an entire three life. He gained much more, and then tapped out to play Oona. I made me an immediate Prison Term and slapped it down on that b*tch with the quickness.

He slumped, and the board was stalemated until he found Glamer Spinners are you kidding me?


The last card in my hand was Mirroweave, and I figured I’d better play it after Spinners came into play and hope for some kind of mercy ruling/cheat from the local level zero. I didn’t get one, Oona broke out the box, and you know what happens after that.

Mario started with a mull for game 3 after I let him play first (my sealed deck tech, you’re welcome), and was pretty much kissing the 5 ball which was frozen to the 9 which was then behind the 8-ball.

My weenies put him under pressure, and while he certainly was restocking his library with goodies thanks to that White land goodie restocker, he couldn’t find Oona before I found Armored Ascension and flew in ftw. My creatures still pretty much suck, though, and only because Limited bombs exist.

It turns out that Mario had Beseech the Queen, which I guess could be pretty sexy with that goodie restocker land. My synergy, on the other hand, was pretty much using Plains to play 2/2 White creatures.


I figured I could win next round, nab myself four packs and soothe my battered soul with some Burger King, which is not only quite healthy, but guarantees overindulgence which guarantees you’ll be on the top of your game with a bloated belly and desire to simply be shot multiple times. That’s why they call him The King, baby!

Round 4: Brett Coggan — Dimir

I have a tendency to own Brett in Constructed; then again, he also gets to be the slavedriver now and again because I don’t want him to feel discouraged. Okay, we’ve played three matches it the last three years, and I’ve won two.

That makes me the pimp and him my little street walker. I think I’ll slap him the next time we meet, just to keep his ass in line.

Our matches are usually nail-biters, or at least good, clean fun, despite serious mud-slinging and rampant cheating on both ends. But this is Limited, which means: who really cares except people that like Limited. Like Brett.

I came up in for the new cards, yo, and get yer meat hooks off my playmat. I can’t believe I have a playmat. I should be embarrassed. I am embarrassed. But I’ll probably use it for non-Limited events just to show off. I mean, how many Shadowmoor playmats can there be, 100,000? With a super low print run like that, Sweet Sweetback ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

In game 1, his U/B slowness and my U/W slowness did some very slow stuff. His Trip Noose tapped my Oracle of Nectars during my upkeep for about six or seven turns, and then when he got bored of preventing my massive life gain, I went and got myself up to 50 for no reason.

Sometime during this game, Brett egged me on by complimenting/congratulating me on my last article in which I noted that his boy (not his child, but “boy” in the urban vernacular sense), Matt Potvin, plays a little, well, deliberate. Oh how we laughed.

Then I turned slightly to my left, something that often causes me pain, and who to my wandering eyes did appear, or more accurately, was sitting right there — none other than Matt Potvin. He had a look of booya in his eyes, and a mild case of rabidity about the mouth.

Oh how we laughed all over again! If only he had his earbuds, we could have downed shots of Jack and played quarters all night! Mostly Matt blamed Adam Schaff, but I beat both you punx with my own damned deck.

P.S. Thanks for the combined 40 points. Me and my 1847 appreciate it.

I’m an 1847 Constructed. lololololololololooololllolololool! That’s, like, Pro Tour caliber!

Anyway, my ton of guys couldn’t make a dent in his little-less-than-ton-of-guys due to the painfully annoying synergy of Blowfly Infestation and Corrosive Mentor.

Write that one down and open it and put it into your deck. With advice like that, one may wonder why I’m not StarCityGames.com resident Limited expert. I would be, but since I beat Nick Eisel in a PTQ, I figured I’d give him something. With these kids today, nurturing is key.

We played draw/go for about 20 minutes, and then he finally drew Oona, dropped my shorts and castrated me in front of everyone. But I had 50 life! White is for n00bs. Like Anthony Alongi and The Ferrett. Wonder how their competition is going.

Game 2 was much quicker, with me bringing the serious beatdown — get your guys out of the way and attack with my 2/2s and such.

Somewhere in this game (we have eventful games, Brett and I), I experienced serious déjà vu. I looked over at Tyler Foss, level zero judge, seated to my right, then to my Shadowmoor playmat and then to Brett, said “I’m having déjà vu, and in my earlier déjà vu I also actually said ‘I’m having déjà vu.'”

déjà vu: ← most awesome experience ever.

“It happens when they change something.” Yeah, I get it.

Incidentally, there are people I know who say they have never experienced déjà vu. Sucks to be you, because why wouldn’t you want to tap into an alternate dimension or what might have been or an incident that was predetermined or maybe wasn’t but you didn’t make the proper alterations to your future so maybe that’s what déjà vu really is: a glimpse of the future that you are supposed to change. Or are not supposed to change.

Seriously, I should start getting high. I just don’t know where to get pot. Do they still call it “pot,” or am I just dating myself like a square, daddio?

Anyway, Brett was at 3 when he stabilized, and then some, with Oona, who is such the stabilizer that cycling isn’t even legal in Shadowmoor. I had six cards in my deck that could deal with Oona, but used at least three of them in an attempt to be the beatdown before the control could up and prove that 40 cards is for suckers. Real men play 60 cards – er, actually, real men play whatever the hell they want, but you get the idea.

Take a look at my list and tell me how long it might take to be the beatdown. That’s right: a bit longer than it takes for Oona to owna. Sorry about that awful pun. I left it in so you can see the real me.

No packs.
Try again in a scant few hours.

During some of the matches, I started writing the report in my mind. I wondered how the hell I was going to make this anything resembling interesting: I was playing in the friggin’ matches, and they weren’t even interesting to me!

Poor quoi.
Pobre si.
Probe Go.

Nevertheless, I broke even in a format that feels like getting kicked in the junk — it was like only one ball got kicked and it didn’t hurt as much as I thought. Wasn’t pleasant, but getting kicked in the junk rarely is. Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet, for my poor testis may never quite heal right.

So back I went to milling around, shooting the breeze, waiting, drinking, smoking, pissing, waiting, checking out asses, waiting, rebuilding my deck to verify it was built correctly then giving up halfway through, shooting more breeze, milling, getting my King on, and generally wondering what it is about the new set that gets me aroused. Is hybrid really that appealing?


While walking behind some of the matches, I saw a fat-kid ass crack that was so raw I called a judge. Ass cracks aren’t even sexy on hawt chyx, but it’s much more likely I’d eat an M&M I dropped into then fished out of their ass crack than yours.

Dear People,

I know you can tell when your ass crack is hanging out.
Make the effort.
Love your neighbor.
Respect the planet.


Rob Dougherty needed to get him some Limited, and to that end, he set up a table and offered a pack to anyone who could beat his sealed deck. Foss wanted to borrow mine, for he was sure my deck was the goodness.

I don’t know why he thought that, but he spent much of the day berating me for not maindecking Mirrorweave. I called it situational, and he asked me to name one situation where that card wouldn’t be useful.

My Kokusho and your Yosei as the only creatures on the board.
The Millstone mirror match.
On turns one, two or three.
Vintage, probably.

At this point, he stopped my wonderful logic train, and agreed we should simply disagree. Nonetheless, it should be noted that I now think Mirroweave is much better than my initial evaluation, and owe much of that wisdom to Tyler Foss, level zero judge, who won’t be able to read these words for 90 days due to being premium-impaired, and by then he won’t even bother because it’s old news anyway.

I made a confession in the woods and a tree fell and Tyler will never hear it.

Of course, Rob destroyed the first five or six guys he played, and then Tyler owned him something fierce. With my deck. Goes to show you that the plane can’t do all the work, dawg, you gotta pilot that mofo now and again.

Since Tyler is a dyed-in-the-wool lib, he gave me the pack that he won from Rob. Puppeteer Clique was on top, and without really thinking, it obviously goes into Madness, which is a Standard deck that has no chance in a world of Faeries and White Card Combo and Big Mana.

I just hope none of the madness cards rotate out before Regionals, or I’ll have to bust out the Hyppies and Shinobis again, or at the very least, break another discard spell.

Anyway, a scant few hours later…

Flight Ten Sealed Deck: Gruul Deck Wins

Crimson Wisps
Rite of Consumption
Disturbing Plot
Rustrazor Butcher
Mudbrawler Cohort
Power of Fire
Umbral Mantle
Boggart Arsonists
Ashenmoor Gouger
Shield of the Oversoul
Kitchen Finks
Farhaven Elf
2 Scuzzback Marauders
Traitor’s Roar
Kulrath Knight
Cultbrand Cinder
Wildslayer Elves
Burn Trail
Fixfire Oak
Roughshod Mentor
Loamdragger Giant
6 Mountain
5 Forest
3 Swamp
Madblind Mountain
Sapseep Forest
Fire-Lit Thicket

Sideboard of note (in colors-ish):

2 Pili-Pala
Cinderhaze Wretch
Asphotic Wisps
Presence of Gond
Torpor Dust
Pyre Charger
Safewright Quest
Ember Gale
Thornwatch Scarecrow
Wheel of Sun and Moon
Worldpurge Again w00t!

I got me some aggression, which, after watching a hundred matches throughout the day, looked much more fun than playing Azorius. Heh, Wizards probably spent months trying to ensure that hybrid was unique and differentiated so no d*ckhead net writers would use the Ravnica guild names.

They either gave me too much credit or not enough.

Round 1: Victor Eastman — Selesnya

I had an indestructible Loamdragger Giant.

Victor played Oversoul of Dusk.
Victor played Oversoul of Dusk.
Is there an echo in here?

Three Bullet Points:

– Remember when an 8/7 indestructible guy was considered good in Limited?
– Remember when registering decks was all the rage?
– Remember when I didn’t complain when I got beat?
– I rarely complain when I get beat.
– This isn’t me complaining.
– Merely relaying an interesting anecdote.
– Of how I lost to a card, well, two of them, that is really good against my deck.
– This was more than three bullet points.

I ran over him in game 2 thanks to early beats from Rustrazor and Mudbrawler, and when I got to five mana, all hell broke loose and my guys blew past his weenies. No Oversoul means I get to win.

He got Oversoul in game 3, and paired with Scuttlemutt, all my Green guys are belong to us, as well as my life total. The games were really no more complicated than that. He got the sex-type thang and won, or didn’t.

Seriously, who can’t construct their deck to deal with a 5/5 pro: you? Me, apparently, who is king of losing to bomb rares.


At this point, I took my losses to heart:

One match lost to Oona both games.
One match lost to Oversoul both games.

Whoever called this format “sealed luck” was probably a lot like me: not very good at Limited, and more than ready to blame his losses on the card pool. Wait, maybe that guy was right — it is all about luck. Skill has nothing to do with it at all.

Some guys, the “good” players, aren’t really that good, they just get very good pools. Every single time ever; the odds are certainly in their favor, right? C’mon, opening two Oversouls can’t be that tough, can it? What, it’s like 3-1 against? And Oona’s probably even-money. With odds like that, ain’t no thang at all.

Whoa, now I’m starting to understand this sealed deck thing. My next two opponents are dead men walking, Susan Sarandon-style.

Quote of the day:

“Some guy had three Scuttlemutts in his board because he didn’t need the mana fixing.”
Brandon Gade

Incidentally, Brandon had three Firespouts in his deck, and unintentionally drew with my next opponent…

Round 2: Joe Larsen — Selsenya

Joe’s deck was filled with 1- and 2-drops, all of which die real grisly-like to Firespout, which rules as a singleton — multiple copies are just probably redundant.

Finks helped me stay at a healthy life while his beats got beating, and when he emptied his entire hand in an attempt to alpha me to death, I beta’d my fury all up in this mutha, then dropped 5/2s and 5/4s and whatnot.

In game 2, Joe didn’t play anything for the first four turns, which was weird considering how confident he sounded when he announced he was keeping. I, however, curved out like a man, got in my 4-6 cheap early points, then dropped bombs (okay, just fatties) like they never made movies about the Enola Gay.


Bam, pow, next. The level zero judge informed us that we were only going to play three rounds, since this was the last flight, it was something like 10:15 in the eve, and no one really cares anymore. Right on all accounts.

Round 3: Joel Castro — Gruul/b

Before we started, Joel was convinced I was going to maul him, for what reason I wasn’t sure, but apparently he dreamed up his own nightmare, and watched as it came true.

I curved out like a bastard: 2-drop, Elf into 4-drop and 5-drop, 5-drop. His little guys got run over and Cragganwick Cremator got tapped down please take five for your trubs and Consumption for the dubya.

Game 2 was a little worse for him and his mana situation. It didn’t really develop, but my board certainly did. The few speed bumps he put in the way became, well, speed bumps that he put in the way. My fat bastards barely noticed on their way to a life total they had to wreck.

2 packs, see you in three months

On the day, a 4-3 in Limited, which still is, and forever will be, teh suck. Although, I am now the proud owner of a 1605 Limited rating! Over the hump, baby; time to hang up the 40 carders forever and quit while I’m ahead? Five entire points ahead!

I’ll probably play more Limited, if only to give me that much more appreciation for Constructed. No, actually, I don’t think I will; I appreciate the 60/15 format just fine. Unless the sets keep looking so good that I just can’t wait to get my greedy hands on their silky ass in pink boyshorts.

I have a thing for silk and asses and pink and boyshorts and a female in there somewhere. Put them together and, man, that ain’t right. Of course, I’m speaking in tongues and none of you are perverted: you’re all missionary style and only for procreation, right? Anything else would be pure filth and debauchery and pillow pants might have something to say about that.

:clearing my throat for effect not humility:

While the U/W deck may have been the “better” deck, and that’s up for discussion, I’d much prefer to be the guy with the questions; you know, the guy who can get an easy win or two or three due to an opponent keeping an iffy hand.

Questions rule. Answer suck, mostly because I believe so very few of them. If I can leave one mark on you impressionable children, consider it this:

Question authority, and if you have time, or the inclination, go ahead and question everything. Except me, since I’m right about everything. Pretty much.

And this is why Limited is nothing more that something to do after Extended and before Regionals. I don’t know what’s going to happen after Regionals, but if Wizards gets too out of line, Legacy with old-card deficient children will have to do. Until Extended.

I turn 39 in a few days. Age ain’t nuthin’ but a number. Barely legal chyx ain’t buyin’ that line, and heck, it doesn’t even work on thirty-something, lonely and wanton divorcees. Unless it does.

You young guys: get as much as you can right now. Please note those perky breasts and tight little bottoms — they will not stay that way. Also note how easy it is to get some; that, too, will change. But you’ll be a fat beer drinker with a fantasy football team and a favorite chair, so whatever.

Regardless, Shadowmoor looks like it can shake up the scene here and there, and from what I’ve heard, Standard isn’t very much fun right now, so consider this a good thing without unnecessary capitalization.

When I figure out what I want to play, build it, get beat up for a while and tweak it into eventual goodness, I bet I’ll have a blast beating your net deck at Regionals. Hopefully.

This is the part where I would list all the cards I think will be useful in Constructed. The thing is, you already know what they are because you were already told, or perhaps you figured many of them out for yourself. Either way, that would be a waste of time.

I mean, I could say that P-Clique is the spice, but you’d already know that most creatures that cost 3bb are liable to arouse me. So I won’t say it. Even if I did, you already know; you’ve been told about the left ball, the right ball, and what’s hanging out in the middle.

Christ almighty! Someone say something different for a change! Anyone! Ever! Is nothing unique, different, oddball, off the beaten path?! Must we walk the same road over and over and over until our feet ooze pus and are covered with maggots that ooze their own pus out of their own maggoty feet, too?! Must you all drone on and on, buzzingly, archingly, endlessly? Sanchez can’t do it all by himself!

Pardon me.

Or don’t pardon me, for I feel no sense of guilt for questioning a net that has become stoic and geriatric. Sameness is not newness. Someone do something! I’ll just be watching from over here, where it’s safe. Low risk – low reward. That’s me.

What the hell was I saying…?

Oh yeah, I was delicately slapping your wrists to make a point: everyone has already — before the cards have even been officially released – separated the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad from Lee Van Cleef gettin’ all up in Tuco’s grill. You all know before you know.

But you’re wrong.

Very wrong.

Just wait and see.

But until you have actually seen…

Hug you,
John Friggin’ Rizzo

Love, defined: 8000 words to describe 7 matches at a Prerelease.