Feature Article – Madness Still Rocks!

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It’s been a while since JFR spewed his heady brand of bile into our collective brainpans… but believe me, today the Mighty Rizz is back with a bang. He takes us through his latest trawl through the murkier backwaters of Standard, piloting an exciting Madness deck to good result at both States and City Champs. So, has John done it again? Has he broken the format? Click here to find out!

OONA! (Oona’s Prowler to the uninitiated) is everything I thought she would be and then some with a subsequent “And Then Some For General Principle” tattoo inked across her sexy fish girl abdominals. To say that this is the card I most want to play on turn 2 would be an understatement of such unconditional insanity that even opening Horde of Notions in back-to-back packs would stand up and take notice.

But whatever, it’s a madness enabler, right?

Since I preordered a box of Lorwyn, I figured I could save myself $25 by not playing in the Release event. It turns out I was absolutely correct, and while you would undoubtedly love to read a report filled with “he played some White card,” and “that hottie grabbed my ass!” you’ll have to eat your own pie.

Instead, it was to be Teh Legacy, of which an entire three people entered. Mikey M and I playtested for States for about an hour beforehand — he with Haakon/Crib Swap/Inversion that never got a real chance to get on track, since even I, a mere babe in the n00b, knew to point burn at Mr. Time Walk Myself And Lose Two Life For The Privilege.

We were paired up for Legacy, I won because why wouldn’t I, then we playtested for another couple hours. We gradually realized, hey, what happened to the Legacy “tourney?” We never did find out, but Brendan gave me four packs because (of our tacit wink, nod, and hetero man hug and because his wife, Chris, is so in love with me that he’s considering a restraining order) obv I would dominate the entire one other player and take down the crown.

In all our erstwhile testing, I discovered a few things about madness, and possibly a bit about who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going. In reality, I’m still trying to “find myself,” and if you’re considering using that as the reason you’re going to take a year off after high school instead of going straight to college, please be assured that you’ll end up just like me. Sure, chyx dig me because I can buy them beer, but it’s not all wine and roses.

Let’s begin with the weary:

Gorgon Recluse is a pretty good wall, er, I mean, “defender.”
Razormane Masticore never kills anything during my draw phase.
Brain Gorgers is hardly ever Diabolic Edict, except when you need him to stick.
Looter il-Kor’s discard trigger often conflicts with what the hell I want to do.
Man, my enablers die. Often.

I need something to disrupt my opponent, even if it’s only the risk of sexual side effects. And if you could give me a finisher that can actually finish before the next arrival of Halle’s Comet, I’d end this sentence with “thx” and a smiley face emoticon.

There is some good, however:

Gorgon Recluse is a sneaky pie eater when you madness him in to block ‘Goyf.
Dark Withering kills so much stuff for one mana I should be embarrassed.
An instant speed 4/4 trampler for three, perhaps before blockers!, is still a house.
Merfolk Looter versus Mogg Fanatic isn’t pretty.
Lightning Axe kills almost as much as Dark Withering.
When the DarkAxe hits, prepare to take the ass end of a two-mana instant Wrath of God.

In about four solid hours of testing, against a variety of decks (Happy Dancing Haakon, U/B Control, Doran Dotdecque, Mono Black Control, B/G Elf, ‘Goyf/Rack), OONA! broke about even, and maybe did a little better. With ideas percolating in both mine and Mikey M’s heads and coming out fast and furious, a whirlwind of possibilities were disseminated, included or rejected based on actual, real-life results, something that is often foreign to my deck tweaking regimen.

The Haakon engine, Shriekmaw/Call to the Netherworld silliness, and Lily Vess builds showed promise, but really wanted to take the deck away from madness and into, well, a more normal build. If I wanted a normal build I wouldn’t be playing with a deck full of middling-to-decent-to-limited-staple-only cards. Thus, with a few vacant slots (the underperformers), a revamped version looked like this:


4 Lightning Axe
4 Oona’s Prowler
4 Merfolk Looter
4 Looter il-Kor

They’re all solid citizens, though il-Kor often wishes he was anything else that didn’t obligate me to play madness spells on my turn. Playing creatures and sorceries as creatures and sorceries is so two years ago, and awfully quaint if I do say so myself.

Twelve turn 2 outlets is sexy, and when I’m playing first, sometimes they even get active. Axe might be my favorite kill spell in the deck, since anything I madness out with it is likely to seem unfair — kill your best guy and something else too [email protected]!

4 Dark Withering
4 Fiery Temper
4 Psychotic Episode
4 Reckless Wurm

Episode is the disruption factor, and while it doesn’t seem like the cat’s ass, never underestimate the ability to get all psychotic at end-of-turn or during your draw phase. The other cards are down with the sickness, so much so that they put it on credit and begin to stupefy.

2 Jace Beleren
3 Tombstalker

Jace is amazing but you already knew that: I draw, I draw, we draw, I draw, I draw, we draw, repeat so br0ken wait MILL YOU! Did anyone ever tell you that a 5/5 Black flyer for two mana is good? Mortal Combat, the video game not the card, was invented years ago solely because they knew Tombstalker was coming and they wanted to be first to copyright “Finish him!” He does, too, in 25% increments.

4 Gemstone Mine
3 Sulfurous Springs
3 Underground River
3 Shivan Reef
3 Swamp
3 Mountain
2 Island
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Crag

I’m using white-bordered Ninth Edition basic lands instead of my usual Alpha because I want to feel n00b-like and psyche-out my opponents with “this is my first tournament… hey, where’d you get those neato black-bordered lands!”

Man, are the Vivid lands almost as sexy as The Vivid Girls or what? I mean, if I thought surgically-altered, layers-of-makeup-wearing, robotic, moronic and generally all-around disgusting women were attractive, that is.

The above deck feels like a 4-3 deck for States. I’d like to do a little better, (and if this were 1942, I’d end this sentence with a Bogie-like) “see, mug?”

Please notice that the deck could probably be purchased, sans manabase, for around fifty bucks. Tack on another thirty, and you just got yerself some lands, mister. Without question, the true worth of a deck isn’t in its cost — it’s in its ability to kill a $40 card with a ten-cent common. Chris Romeo would not only be proud, but wholeheartedly endorse me for president, were I to run. (Just so he could be my veep and we could pass a law that required all male federal workers to grow a p0rn stache. It’d be just like 1977 all over again but with 50% less back hair!)

Ah, Magus of the Bazaar, I hear you not saying. Yes, it’s pitching three. Yes, sometimes that sucks. Yes, sometimes instead it often allows st00pit plays end-of-turn or during combat that involve on-the-cheap spells and an extraneous card that would be Squee if I had the room.

Do you know how hard it is for my deck to kill Korlash, Dread, or any other large Black creature? Not very hard at all when I side in Death Rattle, and maybe Eyeblight’s Ending, which appears to be so useful that I dare suggest it’s a teensy-weensy bit better than Big Game Hunter. But man, kill Korlash for one mana at the end of your turn? That’s plain sick, and even better when it’s a *foil* Korlash with regen mana up but you won’t be needing it.

Still, I hate il-Kor. I’ve tried Goblin Lore, Piracy and Funeral Charm, Augur of Skulls, Trespasser il-Vec, Gathan Raiders, Lily Vess, Magus of the Jar, Mindlash Sliver, Mindless Automaton, Oblivion Crown, Sift, Smallpox, Undertaker, Vexing Sphinx, Razormane Masticore, and a host of others. None even compare to the deliciousness that is OONA!

Trespasser almost compares, but since his discard usually wants to come pre-attack, I’m in the same boat as il-Kor and his post-combat pitch, kinda. Obviously, Trespasser’s outlet has haste and can be activated end-of-turn, which is why I haven’t yet given up on him completely, and he’s a clock that’s 300% faster than his little Blue brother, so…

Perhaps you think the differences between discarding pre-attack, post-combat, or as an instant are negligible. It could be you’ve never given it much thought. WELL I HAVE, AND IT’S HUGE! WURM IS MUCH GOODER WHEN HE CAN AMBUSH! EPISODE IS MUCH GOODER WHEN IT CAN DENY YOUR DRAW!

I’m sorry I shouted. That’s not like me. The poor grammar, however, is.
Flummoxed. I always wanted to use that word in a report. Hey, I just did! I have satisfied yet another goal from the “things to do before I die” list!

Pensive. There goes another!

Enough of that, let’s talk Valencia, and that old uninspired feeling. Unless I’m mistaken, the Top 8 consisted of last year’s decks with some Tarmogoyfs thrown in because the pundits said “we’re pundits, throw in some Tarmogoyfs.” Here I was expecting a massive retooling of the format; an invigoration to what might be the most creative, ever-changing and self-correcting format ever devised. Well, until now.

Okay, I’ll confess that the number of Vindicates seemed to be greater than last season, and sure, Tine Rus used Collective Restraint, which probably took a few people by surprise, as well as Ideal, which was likely not the deck to beat.

“Taken by surprise?” Not I, said frigginrizzo, who used Collective Restraint and Opposition last season to piss off Goblins, and Burning Wished for Vindicate to take down a permanent now and again, not to mention beat the piss out of Ideal with Global Ruin.

I am Extended in so many ways. Now, to get someone to fix last year’s deck so I can get credit for breaking the format again. One of (the sure-to-be-dozens) this year’s deck ideas, at least at this premature juncture, looks something like this:

Untitled Extended Deck

4 Duress most likely
4 Psychotic Episode, Cabal Therapy, Thoughtseize (yeah, right) or combination thereof
4 Putrid Imp or Smallpox or Zombie Infestation (best enchantment ever)
4 Oona’s Prowler maybe
4 Wild Mongrel probably
3 Umezawa’s Jitte no matter what deck I play
4 Basking Rootwalla I bet
4 Circular Logic seems logical omg pun
2 Deep Analysis but I ain’t fer certain
4 Wurm, be they of the Arrogant or Reckless variety
2 Incarnations or maybe none
21 land

Possible additions include Stifle, Vindicate (so I can splash Kataki4L!), Infernal Tutor, perhaps Counterbalance/Top, Dark Confidant, Tombstalker, and maybe even going the full U/B Madness route.

While I have plenty of ideas at this stage, none involve taking a deck from last year and adding ‘Goyf, because the only way to get ‘Goyf these days is the way you used to get Steelers’ season tickets — wait for someone in your family to die and hope they remembered you in their will.

The Smallpox, discard, Vindicate, minor-LD theme with Stifles and some counters plus The Rack perhaps added to flavor seems like it could work this time. Don’t forget about Braids, for I invented her with Ichorid back in the day, took a few years off, then tried again, sans Braids, whom I forgot about. It’s the Black one I’m talking about, not the Blue one.

Everyone Reading: There’s a Blue Braids!?

However, the one thing I did learn from reading about Valencia is that control is, or undoubtedly was, the way to go. Too bad I suck at control even more than I suck at teh Limited. I counter the wrong spells, play threats at the wrong time, sideboard incorrectly, and generally make a mockery of control decks. A Counterspell in my hands might as well be a third copy of Kokusho while I’m stuck at five mana. Brian Weismann I am not.

Whatever, this is not the time to be talking about Extended. We’re talking Standard now. So I’mma dial in, yo.

This is the first spot where people might say “this article is too long.”

Yet, I still can’t find a suitable replacement for Looter il-Kor. Trespasser il-Vec can’t be it, can it? In case you were wondering, I have tried Stormbind. It mostly gets in the way.

Speaking of Limited, and concocted segues, my record in sanctioned Limited tourneys for the entire year stands at 7-3-1. lol lol lol lol I’m so good at Limited! How many of you sport a .636 Limited winning percentage? Drafting With Rizzo? Don’t rule it out.

Oh well, the lure of Dread Return and juicy targets was too much to avoid. To find the seven spots, things had to hit the bin. Obviously, il-Kor was the first to bin…

OONA! (Return extended 12″ dance remix version 1.0)

4 Lightning Axe
4 Oona’s Prowler
4 Merfolk Looter
3 Careful Consideration
4 Dark Withering
4 Fiery Temper
4 Reckless Wurm
3 Dread Return
1 Bogardan Hellkite
1 Avatar of Woe
2 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
3 Tombstalker
4 Swamp
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Sulfurous Springs
3 Underground River
3 Shivan Reef
2 Mountain
2 Island
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Crag

Okay, now we have mid-to-long game lovin’, and nothing says lovin’ like six to the freakin’ face. Damnate it later, for now, pie you. If only Careful Consideration had tremendous synergy with madness, Tombstalker and reanimation… However, this build sucked.

Another testing session revealed that I will likely never beat Mono Black. Good thing no one will play that deck except Keoni, local inventor of Persecute, who always finds time to beat me senseless (except when the match is sanctioned), knowing that I’ll never, and I mean never, get an enabler active.

Kithkin Deck Wins was an interesting match. Tyler Foss and I played for a couple hours, and while I admit I giggled when he told me about the deck, I was no longer giggling when it was all said and done. I still won more than I lost, but that dumb enchantment that puts guys into play for each guy that’s attacking is bad news for, like, everyone. [Militia’s Pride — Craig.] Additionally, Oblivion Ring and Crib Swap seem awfully unfair in a deck filled with synergistic two-mana weenies.

Know what Lorwyn standard needs? Engineered Plague, Outbreak, and Tsabo’s Decree (so they could get Thoughtseize’d out). These hosers would teach the players who let Wizards build their decks for them two valuable lessons, which are: a) let the net build your decks for you, and b) run countermagic, for Island is the best card in the game.

Wait, this just in! J.K. Rowling has announced, fresh off the “Dumbledore is gay” revelation, that another character is not what he or she seems. No, it’s not that Ron and Hermione live in Germany, which is already well known throughout the civilized world, but it’s breaking news about everyone’s favorite orphan, Harry Potter himself, protagonist for the world, and fighter of the good fight…

It turns out, according to Ms Rowling, that Harry Potter is black!

When I first started playing, it was all four-player chaos. Andy and Anthony, twin brothers who went after each other most of the time and let me and Shante do our things, had spent the first few turns of one particular game burning and countering each other for no apparent reason. However, Andy, the more physically imposing and certainly holder of the shorter fuse, was starting to get edgy. Every spell he played was answered by his brother, and sometimes vengefully.

Eventually, Andy tapped seven or eight mana for some kind of game-altering spell. Andy looked at Shante and I — we had no response. Then he looked at Anthony, who looked at Andy’s tapped lands, then defiantly tapped two of his own lands and cocked, revealing Miscalculation: “You miscalculated.”

Shante and I held our breath, and wondered if someone was about to get stabbed in the face. Andy looked at his lands, all tapped, then put the countered spell into his graveyard and said, quite calmly, “Why yes, I did.”

See, be calm, and the world will laugh with you. But I think he kicked Anthony’s ass later that night. Or did his girlfriend, which is even better.

Seriously, if you’re going to be irate about something irrational, like sibling rivalry followed by unlawful carnal knowledge, ‘Goyf and Thoughtseize want you to call them. I mean, I’m playing four maindeck Dark Withering, for crissakes!

Mulldrifter plus Shriekmaw plus Grave Scrabbler equals fix me please, but since it’s not broken at all, don’t fix me please, just stop thinking that the iffiest Gravedigger ever is going to cut it. But man, that would be so kewl the one time ever it actually worked!

Investiture, root word “invest” naugh daug fooled ya’! “Ghoti” spells “fish.”

That may be the either the best or worst pair of sentences ever written. You decide!

Thus, with t-minus it’s tomorrow and not counting, here’s the final list ado about nothing:

OONA! (yes, I suggest it for Standard)

4 Lightning Axe
4 Oona’s Prowler
4 Merfolk Looter
2 Looter il-Kor
1 Magus of the Bazaar
4 Dark Withering
4 Fiery Temper
4 Reckless Wurm
4 Psychotic Episode
3 Tombstalker
3 Mulldrifter
2 Shriekmaw
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Sulfurous Springs
3 Underground River
3 Shivan Reef
2 Swamp
2 Island
2 Mountain
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Shimmering Grotto

4 Rune Snag
3 Delay
3 Damnation
2 Extirpate
3 Disenchant

Some of this, some of that, and I guess I’m somewhat okay with the result and my super techy Disenchant in the ‘board because I’m sideboard adept. Sixty-one cards that I felt was better than sixty-two because I am discipline and courage and intestinal fortitude.

Side bet: I will be the only guy in the room, and perhaps the entire country, using the following cards:

Dark Withering
Lightning Axe
Reckless Wurm
Magus of the Bazaar
Okay, maybe not Mulldrifter

I have rarely felt so unprepared for States, despite doing about six more hours of playtesting than I usually do. As always, 5-2 would be sexy enough that I’d drive home with a hard on, 4-3 more likely, and anything less would be uncivilized.

By the way, I’m using four year old sleeves – the pink ones that actually fell in the toilet at Crossroads during the States I played Zombies. From the report:

Rizzo! What happened?

I dropped my deck in the toilet. Please don’t tell anyone, ever.

I promise. I will take this to the grave. (turns to playing area) Round 1 pairings are up… Okay, listen up! Before we begin, I must tell you guys that Rizzo dropped his deck in the toilet.

Everyone laughs uproariously. From the back of the crowd:

That’s where it belongs!

It still hurts to this day. Some scars can never truly heal.

So, I’m playing a deck filled with meddling to iffy cards, and covering them in sleeves that fell in the toilet four years ago. If this isn’t going to be a sh***y day, I don’t know what “ominous” means and you suck at blinding flashes of the obvious.

Chad Gurney (theliz207 in the forums!), he of the psycho hottie with too many tats, went and got a new girlfriend who doesn’t have any tats. That’s depressing, since I expected to drool over her inky skin that would probably annoy me after about, oh, an hour with her, though he did offer to email me potentially explicit photos of said psycho hottie with too many tats because man, it’s smart to let your boyfriend take pics of you when you’re doing omg you’re doing what!?

Dear Chyx Too Young To Know Better,

Um, don’t let them take pics of you doing omg you’re doing what!?


That’s why the internet was invented (go go algore!)

This is the second spot where people might say “this article is too long.”

After I registered my deck, I milled around aimlessly, like I am wont to do, and discovered that there were four, count ‘em, four Thoughtseize in the “buy it now” case. If only they weren’t $28 each.

Brenden: You want them.
Me: I want them like I want a vagina.
Brenden: Collect the set for $74.

I felt like I was in Eric Stoltz’s bedroom and he just qualified the offer with “these are friend prices.”

Me: Mind if I shoot up here?
Brenden: Mi casa, su casa.

Thus, four Thoughtseize found their way into the ‘board, since I wasn’t about to adjust the main on the fly. While that is often a recipe for success (or not ever), I figured keepin’ it on the dl and in the sb was tight and fly and def, dope and mackin’, so much so that even Mark Morrison would most likely agree. To wit:

SB: 4 Rune Snag
SB: 4 Thoughtseize
SB: 3 Damnation
SB: 2 Extirpate
SB: 2 Disenchant

And away we go…

120 players thought seven rounds would be enough to figure out the best eight players on this here day. The usual suspects, and some quite unusual as well, were in attendance. You know the names, or more likely you don’t, for there are not that many name players that I can finish above, since andystok doesn’t live in Maine.

Anyway, Fallon, the chyk from the last road trip, was running around all helper-like, and trying to get me to notice her or at least her breasts. She did everything short of actually saying “hey, notice me or at least my breasts!” I played it cool, ‘cause never let them know, know what I’m sayin’?

Too bad she’s Tyler Young’s girlfriend. You may remember him from the NAC report — he’s the guy who tried to play seven consecutive rounds to a 0-0 tie. I can see Fallon is itching for a man to “bring the beats,” and not sit behind a wall of countermagic and control. She wants to get her some Sligh, but all T is dishing out is Mystical Teachings. Just sayin’, actually, just playin’. But hide her.

frigginrizzo: ← babe magnet.

“Babe magnet?” React!

Round 1: Ethan Netland, Teachings w/ ‘Goyf

As we shuffled up, I noticed an Urborg, which signified to me that I should set a’spell, we gon’ be here awhile. This match basically revolves around them burying me under an avalanche of card advantage, while I “draw a card then discard a card” then bury all my cards anyway.

Real events:

Game 1: I started with a double mulligan on the play. Despite my self-imposed lack of card advantage, I fought like a real trooper, with a pair of Psychotic Episodes (the hard way), which cleared Tendrils and Teachings from Ethan’s hand. OONA! hit like a brick, or a 3/1 with a big, red bullseye all over her tight little fish abdomen, and begat Wurm, who begat Damnation.

Nonplussed, but not really plussed at all, which is what “nonplussed” should mean but doesn’t, I dropped in a pair of Looters, one of the shadow variety, who rapidly aided in the sexiness that is Tombstalker. Another Damnation hit — Trike and his lil’ buddy ‘Goyf joined the party.

I dropped another OONA!, who became nothing but a chump blocker, due to me being at, like ready to die. I did manage to Withering the ‘Goyf (ten cents for forty dollars – sucka!), but his lil’ Trikelings smacked a brother ‘round my abode.

Game 2: I sided in Thoughtseize and Extirpate, seeking to get all one-mana-Legacy on his ass. An OONA! hit once, dropped a Wurm, and they met Damnation. Tombstalker hit the next turn, but Ethan didn’t seem too worried, not even when I Extirpated ‘Goyf, an entire two copies, and pretty much a waste anyway, since he’s like, the most easily killed creature ever. But I wanted to Extirpate something!

He plopped down Trike, then Academy Ruins, then I shrugged at my awesome use of Extirpate. But ah, before the Jeff Good At Magic flashback from last year’s Extended tourney came back to haunt me, Bogardan Hellkite arrived via artifact mana Time Spiral Block 4L!, who sent Tomby back and my life total into the negatives.

As a good play alert, sometime in this game I was aware Ethan had Extirpate in hand, and rather than notice my scoresheet where “Extirpate” was written under his name, I chose to cast Thoughtseize when he had only one card in hand — the aforementioned Extirpate that I wrote down on my scoresheet, mere inches away. My idea was to then play OONA! (the other card in my hand) and try to get her hawt fish ass into the zone.

“What in case he forgets, he’s got it wrote down.”

Dustin Hoffman, American Buffalo

Obviously, Ethan cast Extirpate in response, thumbed through my ‘yard, and chose OONA! to go rfg. This may or may not have been contributory negligence which led me down the path to ruin. But it sure was an awful play!

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

Ethan mised, lucky bastard that he is. Still, me and my deck are a great team.


Woot for me and did I ever tell you that chyx are hot? I mean, to look at, that’s all.

Brandon Samson and I were talking about Wrath, since this may be the first control deck he’s every piloted. I, playing around a bit, suggested, in a voice reserved for small children: if you have board advantage, don’t Wrath. However, if you don’t, then feel free to bury all creatures. We lold, figuring that the chances of Brandon Wrathing away a game was infinitesimal. Hint hint.

Round 2: Karl Murphy, Slivers w/Mirror Entity

Real events:

Game 1: I lost on turn 1, thanks to Fanatic, Cautery Sliver, Two-Headed Sliver and a pair of Incinerates. This is what you get when you keep a hand with no enablers and have to play fair — you really don’t get to play at all.

Game 2: I made a turn 2 il-Kor, and simply proceeded to kill every creature he played. DarkAxe got two slivers, Temper got Mirror Entity, and a pair of Shriekmaw got a couple more for spite. I felt like Invasion block: 1) Play bear. 2) Repulse guy. 3) Exclude guy. Tempo is neat.

Game 3: I started with a mulligan, then opened OONA! and Merfolk — keepah! Karl dropped a Fanatic, and I decided to throw down OONA! and let her salmonella-carrying ass eat the big one.

I had long wondered what to do when a Fanatic hits and I want to play an x/1 enabler. After thinking about it, it seems that the idea of waiting until you can get at least one use out of him is ass. This isn’t “I won’t play Serra Angel until I have ten mana so I can protect her,” it’s more like “I want you to burn this enabler so you’re forced with a tough decision when I play the next one.” Where is Zvi when you need him!

As expected, OONA! bit it, so I dropped Looter and dared him to main phase more burn or actually play a creature. He chose creature, and I chose to pass the turn and madness in Wurm before blockers. Surprise and boy the look on your face!

Three Mulldrifters (one at five mana) happened over the next four turns, and with that kind of nuttiness, it’s awfully hard to lose: kill my guy, I make two more. Kill them, I make three more. I’m broken.

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

He mised game 1, then I buried him in a veritable cavalcade of removal and evasion. Because me and my deck are a great team.


I’m feelin’ carefree right about now. I can kill sh** with the best of them!

Round 3: James Bryant, Flagpole Blink

Real events:

Game 1: James played first, went Island, go, and then discarded for three turns. Meanwhile, I came out with Merfolk, Wurm, Wurm, Episode, Episode. When he finally was able to cast Lightning Angel, I was more than happy to use one of the multiple Witherings in hand to wax her poor soul.

That’s what you get for keeping a one-lander, and while I know the story, I’ll never, ever, ever, ever, ever sympathize, and your rationale is bunk anyway, so stop keeping one-landers because my peeps are going to think I lucked into a win. So, I lucked into a win, big deal.

Game 2: I traded up: Thoughtseize for Withering, since I figured I’d rather strip his Wraths than bury my target creatures. I opened two Thoughtseize, OONA!, Wurm, Episode, two lands and a tremendous chubby.

Thoughtseize on turn 1 took Prismatic Lens, OONA! came to play, then Condemn got Seized on turn 3. Wurm came down e-o-t, and when back-to-back Episodes kept him drawing nothing he could ever use, James was soon very dead.

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

I blasted his teeth in with discard, destruction, and an endless parade of creatures. Because me and my deck are a great team.


A win is a win, and it’s never my fault when people keep bad hands. I no longer feel guilty, obligated to “kill me quickly,” or even to not Sinkhole their only land. I am an educator, a pioneer of sorts, and my latest cause is “don’t keep dumb hands.” If you do keep dumb hands, rather than b*tch to everyone within a five mile radius, go eat some fried food and suck down an insecticide-laden 500 calorie soft drink. You’ll feel better.

Round 4: Carolyn Breton, Mono Black Control

Real events:

Game 1: I must have cast Episode early, because I have five cards written down on my scoresheet, with four of them crossed out. The only thing not crossed out is Soul Spike, and I can’t read the rest, nor understand them, but do seem to recall that they were not cards I “expected” to see.

I remember Damnation taking down my board, and something else killing Tombstalker, and finally losing to a rather large Nightmare. I also recall, when I saw her hand, that I made a mental note to absolutely not lose this match. I’d say something about “card quality” or “Constructed worthy,” but did you see my decklist?

Game 2: I like to play against Mono Black because the sideboarding is so easy: out come Withering and Shriekmaw, and in come Thoughtseize and a pair of Rune Snag. Since all her stuff game winning stuff costs four or more, a Miscalculation that you can’t cycle and so what is quite the mint card.

My life total went like this: 19, 18, 16. I take that to mean “painland, painland, Thoughtseize.” Hers went 16, 14, 18, 16, 13, 9, dead. I have no idea either.

Game 3: Carolyn never saw a fourth land, but with Thoughtseize and Episode taking any card that she could ever conceivably cast, it didn’t really matter. She did manage to drop Augur of Skulls, and next turn when she reached for her library I said “During your upkeep, I have effects.” She said, “Okay, then it’s still my upkeep,” and sacced Augur. Okay, thought I, one of the cards will be Psychotic Episode and nope, you can’t have that Swamp on top, and the other will be Fiery Temper at your head.

I can’t remember what I beat her down with after that, but there are a number of four-point chunks missing from her life total. To seal the deal, I cast Rune Snag on Consume Spirit. However, I did stop short of saying “you miscalculated.” Barely.

Isn’t it rewarding when I bring up something apparently random (the Andy and Anthony deal from above) and then connect it in such a subtle, yet transparent, way? Well, it is to me.

I imagine she’ll have the same story: I got land screwed. My version, however, will be a tale of legendary heroics, courage beyond measure, and I’ll rescue a princess and bang the hell out of her too. In fact, I’ll write it just like that, and who are you going to believe: the one who says it, or the one who GETS IT POSTED ON THE INTERNET!?

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

I outplayed her so badly I should have been DQ’d, because me and my deck are a great team.


Real events:

Game 1: My deck worked so masterfully that before the game was over, Matthew, despite mulling and coming out very strong, said something like “Is your deck that broken or did you just get a good draw?” I lowered my eyes, all bashful, put a fingernail in my teeth, and went “tee hee.”

Seriously, it did come out like coming out used to be a big deal because not everyone and their eleven-year-old brother had coming out parties in middle school. He bounced a Looter or OONA! with Riftwing, and then played ‘Goyf. I DarkAxed them both and added Wurm for my trouble. Every creature he played after that died all grisly-like, whilst I took large chunks out of his life total.

When a guy has Riftwing and ‘Goyf to your nothing, he’s apt to feel mighty confident. So tap two mana to DarkAxe them to death, and if you don’t actually hear the momentum shift, just add Wurm. Trust me

Game 2: Matthew mulled again, but he came out with incredible tempo. Riftwing, Venser, and Mystic Snake made appearances, and just when his hand was empty and I thought I got back in with Tombstalker, he dropped Shapeshifter and grafted a +1/+1 from that nutty Green land [Llanowar Reborn — Craig]. Here’s me, tapped out with Axe in hand. lol just lol. He beat me with my own Tombstalker that wasn’t even a Tombstalker.

Props: Losing to your own creature that’s actually better than your own creature.
Slops: Ellen’s dog story. Sob w/u, or @u.

This is the third spot where people might say “this article is too long.”

Game 3: I double mulled, trying to even up the score, but Matthew shipped his back as well. I was all about equality, but tough guy had to do me one better. Still, this may have been one of the tightest games I’ve played in the last year or so, and as such: the winner goes to 4-1 and keeps alive dreams of Top 8, while the loser is a loser and sucks at Magic.

We traded beats and tempo — his bounce, my kill, his counters, my discard, until I hit him down to six (with me at four) with Wurm, OONA! and a pair of Merfolk on the board to his nothing.

He’d been playing off the top for the last three turns or so, and had thus far managed to plunk down a Venser or some sort of love chump from the top of his deck each turn. In hand I had a pair of Thoughtseize and land, but I felt pretty indestructible.

He knocked on his deck, and it spit out, remember I’m at four now, k… Psy Blast. I Looted twice in response, looking for, um, Circular Logic, I guess, or a pair of Tempers to force a draw. Instead I found Episode and bleh, you win.

Crush me. As we were doing our post-game dance, I couldn’t help feeling that I had somehow contributed to the loss. I quickly ran back through the last few turns to verify that I had put as much pressure on him as possible. In fact, I did. Yet, this sick feeling in my stomach told me that I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

About five minutes later, it hit me.

With him empty handed, why wouldn’t I loot during his upkeep to see if I could hit an Episode, which could then keep him from *potentially* drawing a game winner?

You: Okay, I’m going to my draw phase.
Me: Er, duh, uh, droooooooooooollll….


You: I’m going to my draw phase.
Me: Wait, is there anything I can do to affect that draw?

I vomited for about the next twenty minutes or so, then realized that I don’t know if I, or many other players, should have figured that out. In retrospect, it seems obvious — it’s two loots (that will have no negative impact on combat) during his upkeep, but is that the right play? I can’t find a reason to say that it’s not, at least not a rational reason, but man, I’m going to miss (what I felt was my birthright!) Top 8 because of…



A LUCKSACK TOPDECK! That I might have been able to prevent had I not sucked at Magic.

Dear Everyone,

Take the blame once in a while.


Sometimes it’s your own fault, lefty

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

I had him dead to rights, but he lucked out. Again, me and my deck make a great team, but we cannot beat lucksax!


During the break, Brandon Samson, top decker extraordinaire, newfound control player 4L!, was regaling us with a story: It seems his opponent had Flying Men and something else he couldn’t block with Unstable Mutation on it, and Brandon would win next turn unless his opponent attacked and had Psy Blast in hand.

So, Brandon did what any mage who was playing not to lose would do: Wrathed away a superior board position, and one that would have given him certain victory unless his opponent had exactly Psy Blast in hand.

Guess what: he didn’t have Psy Blast and Brandon lost. A few of us questioned his manhood a bit, guffaws and aw shucks and whatnot, but the kicker:

From a few pages earlier:

I, playing around a bit, suggested, in a voice reserved for small children: if you have board advantage, don’t Wrath. However, if you don’t, then feel free to bury all creatures. We lold, figuring that the chances of Brandon Wrathing away a game was infinitesimal.

I like to reward my readers with resolution of foreshadowing. This is how I show my love. Combine this with the “You miscalculated” deal and whoa, that’s twice now, and the only reason I can see that I’m still under the premium banner.

Round 6: Jesse Bourgault, Teachings

Real events:

I was still reeling from the self-flagellation, and was close to entering the dangerous zone of apathy. I wasn’t quite there yet, so lemme look at my hand…

Island, Shimmering Grotto, OONA! x2, Dark Withering, Psychotic Episode, Wurm.
Wow, that’s like, really, really good. Except for that one missing piece I’m sure I’ll draw even though I know I won’t but I’ll keep anyway because tilt me so I can lose and validate that my deck sucks. I felt like the albino in The DaVinci Code: slap slap, tighten, gouge myself. Smile!

Game 1: I discarded for two turns, Jesse cast Careful Consideration and I scooped. It’s so awesome to be proven right.

Game 2: Despite feeling my oats in a bad way, my deck wasn’t about to go out like that. I suppose that I got my punch in my own face out of the way, for I destroyed him. Merfolk Looter hit, dropped in Wurm, I killed Jon twice, Episoded and Thoughtseized to my heart’s content, and Tombstalked him to death. Even a Tendrils for six couldn’t save him.

Suddenly, I felt invigorated, as if I knew I was going to win this match, which is a neat trick, since I’m at least 0-2 against Jesse, maybe more.

Game 3: Jesse mulled, while I was creaming with Thoughtseize x2, Merfolk Looter, Wurm, and all three colors of land. He played Island, Pithing Needle on Merfolk Looter. Heh on me and my next draw phase of another Merfolk Looter, yet I still felt I was about to cold kick some of the cat’s ass. I cast Thoughtseize and saw:

Jonny Magic, Eyeblight’s Ending, Urborg, Urborg.

Oh boy for Jesse — that could be trouble!

I took Jonny and put it all on him to draw himself out of this mess. He dropped Urborg, I played Looter the Beat Stick, and he missed another land drop. I Thoughtseized again, intending to take Ending for the Wurm that I’m going to OONA! out in two turns, and that’s what I did because I am a planner of such magnitude that a man and his plan and even his canal ain’t tryin’ to hear ‘dat.

He found land and dropped freshly-peeled Jonny. I dropped Wurm, Tempered Jonny and started the beats. He dropped another land, then suddenly he started to peel like a champ. Eot Teachings grabbed Tendrils and he passed his turn. Why not Tendrils main phase? I dunno, but would find out.

I drew another Thoughtseize (so good at Magic!) and figured he’s going to Tendrils in response. He thought for a minute, then tossed in Teferi. Obv I took Tendrils, then beat.
He managed another Jonny to keep me from lethal, but DarkAxe ended that noise and another mana-screw win for the good guy, right? It still felt good, and perhaps fair: I essentially gave him game 1 due to keeping an “if” hand, and he returned the favor by keeping a question mark of his own. I’m not sure if his was more justifiable than mine, though he did mull while my seven could have gone back for a do over.

I think I made up a lot of this match, or more accurately, “filled in the blanks” while spicing it up with a little “embellishment.” If Jesses writes a report, and his game description differs from mine, just yell “Scoreboard!” and tell him to prove it. But I’m right about most of it. Pretty much.

Jesse is calm and collected and apparently classy enough that I bet he didn’t go around telling everyone he lost to Rizzo because he got mana screwed. Though I’m sure he’d put it in his report:

Round 6: Some random.

I get mana screwed in games 2 and 3 and die. gg.

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

I killed all his guys and decimated his hand because, well, me and my deck make a great team.


Round 7: Jake Ball, R/G ‘Goyf/Gargadon Beats

Real events:

Game 1: Jake mulled, then Suspended Garagadon. He added another Gargadon on turn 2, and one on turn 3 as well, which would give many players pause. My hand consisted of something like Withering times two, Shriekmaw, Axe and two enablers. I wondered why would anyone possibly f33r Gargy? Then I realized it’s because they don’t play Dark Withering. Suckers.

He stopped playing land on turn 2, though did find a third land on about turn 5: Treetop Village. Wow, you never peel a land that comes into play tapped when you need any one of the twenty other lands in your deck that don’t come into play tapped, do you?

Jake made it a game, sort of, with Rift Bolt, Fanatic and Tarfire, but it really wasn’t much of a game in all honesty. Not my fault, yo, but I’ll take the dubya.

Game 2: Jake didn’t mull, but stopped playing land after his second Mountain. I cast an enabler of some sort, then Thoughtseize and saw three ‘Goyfs and Darwin. I don’t remember what I took, and it probably didn’t matter, since it’s not hard to beat on a man who’s defenseless; his life went from 16 to 6 in one turn — Tombstalker, OONA!, OONA!, il-Kor.

Sometimes speculative hands work out and sometimes they don’t. But I must confess that I have no idea why ‘Goyf if so expensive. He dies to Dark Withering oh so badly.

‘Goyf: most overrated creature ever.
Gargy: a close second.

You read it here first: Lightning Axe/Dark Withering is the new Ichorid/Cabal Therapy! (kinda)

How to write the above so it makes me look better:

I wish he wouldn’t have kept iffy hands so I could have shown him the true power that is the teamwork of me and my deck.

5-2, and good for 19th place and three packs with a freakin’ Madness deck in 2007.

Brian Birkinbine finished 11th with a, wait for it, Pandemonium deck. It didn’t contain Saproling Burst either, but I think it did.

Tyler Young popped Lily’s Big Ability, twice. Once when an opponent had three Essence Warden in the ‘yard. Yes, Mono Black took that match.

Justin Tardif (Jtardif in the forums!) played Merfolk. I kid you not, dude had like eight lords and tons of 2/1s and, well, other merfolk-type things, and actually managed to draw seven lords in one game. Unfortunately, four of them were legendary. He and Gurney drew in the final round, and both ended at 4-2-1. Perhaps Elves and Goblins aren’t the only viable archetypes in Standard, but until Wafo-Tapo plays Merfolk, all y’all will hate the playa.

While waiting for the Top 8 to get started, Brett Coggan, last year’s champ, was thumbing through my deck, pausing at certain cards, and daring me to explain myself. I offered this:

19. Rizzo, John
20. Pow,
21. Coggan, Brett
22. Bam and booya,
23. This sh** goes right thru ya!

And the Regionals match that I’ll never tire of telling to large crowds. Yep, he cheated and I still beat him! Yep, he got stuck on three lands and hit Grave Pact two turns in a row with Bob! Yep, I drew three of the four cards I sided in! and…

19. Rizzo, John
20. above good, below bad
21. Coggan, Brett

I think the only reason I finished above him is that he drew with a friend. I’m so glad I don’t have any friends, or else I could have conceivably finished lower than Brett. Then these three paragraphs would not have been written.

By the way, Mikey M ended up 1-3 drop or something awful, since he decided to not trust my ability to break things, and played U/W control or something else ungodly. If you can’t trust my deck — that you assisted in building sorta, well, testing, well, okay, you did suggest Shriekmaw, why not trust my color: Black is the man, and if you’re a good player, team it with Blue and win everything ever. Teachings, Friggorid, ‘Tog decks — Black and Blue. I rest my point. Just don’t add Red, or you’re apt to go 5-2 and lose out on Top 8 by the breadth of a LUCKY blue burn spell. Obviously, Blue should have burn.

Tyler Foss decided to take out Crib Swap, apparently because it was too good against me, and ended up at 3-4. I wondered aloud all day and right in his face why he would take out a spell that removes so many dangerous creatures and replaces them with, well, something less.

Crib Swap < something that doesn't remove so many dangerous creatures?

Keoni, still the local inventor of Persecute, played his Death To Rizzo And Apparently Only To Rizzo Mono Black, went something like 2-4-1, and threatened to sell his collection to the lowest bidder. He was pissed something awful when he realized that his Crypt isn’t ever going to remove a Teachings from the ‘yard while his opponent has six mana up. Crypt — respond with Teachings. Teachings — respond with Crypt, nope, too slow, yo.

I felt the same during the NACs when I watched Adam Schaff play Call of the Herd against me and my Withered Wretch. We looked at each other, called a judge, and were not very surprised to discover that yep, Adam can flash it back right now, and there is no timing or stackage that will allow my Wretch to do jack sh** except block next turn.

Ah, rules. You gotta love ‘em, or at least learn ‘em.

Top 8:

1. Jacob Bruce, R/G beats
2. Cory Whitfield, G/B Elves
3. Brandon Gade, Doran the Explorer
4. Matt Potvin, Teachings w/ Pickles engine
5. Aaron Lewis (saradin in the forums!), U/W Control
6. Mitch Breton, Mono White Control
7. Tyler Young, Mono Black Control
8. Adam Stickney, U/W Control

If you want decklists, check out the internet. They’re probably there somewhere.


Bruce def. Stickney because Adam drew three Nimbus Maze and Wanderwine Hub and no one had an answer when someone else asked “why did he keep it?”

Whitfield def. Young, boyfriend of Fallon The Young. Tyler Young has a young girlfriend. Omg I’m using literary techniques again!

This is the fourth spot where people might say “this article is too long.”

Part one of a mini interview with Cory J. Whitfield, the second highest ranked Eternal player in the effing world:

Me: So, you’re the second highest ranked Eternal player in the world, huh?
Cory: Yep.
Me: Wow.
Cory: Yep.

To be continued…

Breton def. Gade because Beacon of Immortality is fair.

Lewis (saradin!) def. Potvin because he stole his entire Pickles combo in one turn.


The Lewis (saradin!) versus Bruce match had a few interesting moments, the first of which saw Aaron play Teferi’s Moat: Red, and then one for Green. With Bruce totally shut down, saradin! figured why not play Porphyry Nodes, too.

Paul Mathews, bearded onlooker: Your guys can’t attack and they die.

Porphyry: Rock containing relatively large conspicuous crystals, especially feldspar, in a fine-grained igneous matrix.

Whatever, can it be any f***ing harder to spell?

The second involved Bruce playing Magus of the Moon, saccing it to his Gargadon, since the Moats made everything irrelevant, then realizing that his three forests no longer made red when he tried to play Blood Knight for no reason anyway. Oh how everyone danced.

Part two of a mini interview with Cory J. Whitfield, the second highest ranked Eternal player in the effing world:

Me: Do you, like, win a lot?
Cory: Yep.
Me: Do you read Steven Menendian’s articles?
Cory: Yep.
Me: Awesome!

To be continued…

Breton def. Whitfield, and this seems the best place to end my amazing interview with Cory J. Whitfield, the second highest ranked Eternal player in the effing world, who I imagine felt physically ill every time he tapped an ugh Forest to play an omg Llanowar Elf.

Conclusion of a mini interview with Cory J. Whitfield, the second highest ranked Eternal player in the effing world:

Me: How long has it been since you’ve lost a sanctioned Vintage match?
Cory: About a year.
Me: Holy s**t! Ever been to a Star City P9 tourney?
Cory: Yep.
Me: Do you have any idea who I am?
Cory: Nope.
Me: I’m the fifth ranked Eternal player in Maine!
Cory: Okay.
Me: I lost the Storyteller ballot on tiebreakers!
Cory: Oh.
Me: I sorta invented that Ichorid deck!
Cory: I haven’t lost a sanctioned Vintage match in about a year.
Me: Thank you for your time!

While Cory was obviously much more forthcoming than I led on, and we had a very interesting conversation, that’s about how it feels virtually every time I read a Magic-related interview with someone, anyone. About ready to throw the eff up.

Interviewer: So, Mr. Rosewater, what’s your favorite card?
Maro: Wow, that’s a great question I’ve never heard 80,000 f***ing times!

Interviewer: How did you prepare for [the big event you just won]?
Interviewer: Why did you choose this deck?
Interviewer: Der, watch me pick my ass!

Thusly, the finals would be three time State Champion Aaron Lewis versus. Mitch Breton, perennial second place finisher in State Championships, and husband to Carolyn, victim number three on the day.

U/W Control against Mono White Control. Should be a doozy! Can you say “nailbiter?” I thought you could, because it’s likely you’ll be reduced to eating parts of your own body to survive before this match is over.

Game 1 was all about the beatdown — Aaron won on turn 15, thanks to a boatload of Pegasus tokens and Akroma. Not so bad — twenty minutes or so.

Game 2 lasted 34 turns (each!) and about an hour and forty minutes, and ended only when Aaron finally got ten counters on Jace, after having a 9-countered Jace meet Oblivion Ring. That was pretty funny, which means that I did not think it was very funny at all, but wrote “that was pretty funny” because I was being sarcastic. Try and keep up.

Mitch played not one, not two, not three, not four, not four-and-a-half tails, but five Beacon of Immortality. I took play-by-play, and someday, if I feel up to it, or get sent to prison for more than six months, I’ll figure out just how much damage Aaron did… and Mitch was still at 187 life when the game ended.

Beacon 1 took him to 64.
Beacon 2 took him to 100.
Beacon 3 took him to 68.
Beacon 4 took him to 110.
Beacon 5 took him to 200.

Aaron did so much friggin’ damage that Mitch, if he didn’t already have kids, would have them born with club feet and cleft palates and other indications that Aaron did a whole lotta spankin’ up in this mofo. Without consulting my notes, I’d guess that Aaron made upwards of 80 tokens — Pegasus and Factory, and he managed to attack with Akroma, Chronicler, and Crovax more than a few times, so he probably did 200 damage, all told.

But “I draw, I draw, we draw, mill you!” was the ticket to Aaron’s fourth Maine State Championship in four (or less) years. Hardcore, that brother, and maybe a record? — where the hell is Pro Tour/States Historian Run-B.D.M.C. when you need him?

And thus wraps another States. Much was learned, fun was had by many, fellowship was all up in this mutha, and I went 5-2 with a madness deck in 2007. Wait, this is too sexy, for how often will I have the opportunity to do this:

19. Rizzo, John, avant-garde deckbuilder, 61 cards
40. Chapin, Patrick, Actual Innovator, 66 cards
DNF Flores, Michael, Technician Proper, 60 cards

If you take nothing else from this article, make it this: Thoughtseize is absolutely worth the money but ‘Goyf positively isn’t. If you got ‘Goyf when he was six bucks, you got your money’s worth, barely. All the rest of you, well, my $18.50 Thoughtseize can take down your $40 ‘Goyf. But I’d much rather let you play it so I can destroy it with a mere ten cent common (that people will give to you for free).

You: Hey, gimme a Dark Withering for free.
Someone Else: Okay, here you go!


For further discussion, see The Ferrett Oh, Joyous Rares, and take a gander at the raucous forums. Meanwhile, take solace in the fact that there are myriad ways to take down everyone’s most hated x/1* for two. Black must have a dozen playable ways to get rid of that pesky sumb*tch, and hell come highwater, even Augur of Skulls will force the hand of the ‘Goyf player.

I recall hearing the same argument about Armadillo Cloak, and the tappers as well, in Invasion Limited. They’re creatures or creature enchantments. Creatures die quite a little bit, even 8/9s for two, or should I say especially 8/9s for two. Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.

If you are a chyk, tattoo this on the small of your back, then let a couple Magic players check you out:

Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.
Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.

Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.

Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.
Got a problem with a creature? Here’s a novel approach: play with creature removal.

Then someday ‘Goyf may not be $40, and all will be right with the world thanks to your great service to the community. Plus, I hear tattoo regret is all psychological and mostly just a phase. As for being put to bed by Magic players, well, like I said before: some scars never truly heal. Skank!

frigginrizzo: ← never had a chyk with a tramp stamp.

If ‘Goyf is that much of a problem (and it isn’t), do what men do: solve it. If that results in becoming a member of the “join ‘em” club, so be it (sucka!). For the rest of us mere mortals who have to like, eat food to survive, this may involve killing the living sh** out of ‘Goyf on sight or later just to tease you. Please be assured that Skriekmaw, Crib Swap, Oblivion Ring, and Eyeblight’s Ending want you to chill the eff out and save eighty bucks while you’re at it. Either way,

Dark Withering ftw,
John Friggin’ Rizzo

Wait! City Champs, yo! And this time, Standard. Since I hadn’t even considered Standard post-States, and paid very little attention to the results of the Standard GP that happened afterwards , I figured I’d take OONA! and add Thoughtseize to the main. This was the result:

[EDIT: deleted the result, just like in the forums!]

Okay, after extensive testing, or not, Thoughtseize needs to go back in the board. Sure, it’s expensive and flashy and people will respect me if I play it game 1, but I’m all about keepin’ it real for the little peeps. Removing Tendrils and Damnation and Wrath is tight, but only if I see them game 1, as opposed to ‘Goyf and Gargadon, which are cards I want to resolve in every game so I can just wax them poetic.

Greater Gargadon < Dark Withering
Your $250 Deck < Mines

frigginrizzo: ← made three GP day twos.


This is the fifth spot where people might say “this article is too long.”

Know what, this article is too long. Moving on…

Anyway, took OONA! to City Champs, made Top 8, beat Faeries to death in the quads, then lost to lucky ass Aaron Lewis (saradin in the forums!) in the semis. Okay, so I did double mulligan in game 2, then in game 3 saw a mid-game Episode show me options of Oblivion Ring, Scion of OONA!, Psionic Blast, and Venser (hardest Fact or Fiction split or best Gifts stack ever?), but whatever.

OONA!, a.k.a. madness in 2007, has a 19th at States, Top 4 at City Champs, taken zero damage from ‘Goyfs or Gargy ever, and you still won’t play it because you’re a p***y.

Fun fact: Steven Achorn, playing Fairies, dropped a turn 2 OONA! Against me. On purpose. Seriously, I almost had an orgasm right on the spot — you just gave me a free outlet and a pseudo-fog? I still had a semi when game 2 started. By the end of the match, it was merely a chub. What an erotic game, this Magic!

Then I go look at the current “decks to beat,” and find many of them have their own OONA!s. Am I the metagame or what?

Your OONA! as a 3/1 1/1 < Your OONA! as my outlet.

If you play Madness in 2007, you get to have eight OONA!s in your deck to go along with your eight Looters. It’s like a wet dream, only even I can’t mess that up.

Ditto playing against merfolk. My Merfolk Looter is a 2/2 or more and has Islandwalk? Thanks!

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am, and a tear would trickle down the face of Wesley Snipes as he capped me in the ass on a rooftop just to prove it.

I also have to confess that I now think Thoughtseize sucks in Standard. Okay, against most decks. Against the decks that it doesn’t suck against, it only doesn’t suck a little bit. So yeah, as far as Standard goes, I wasted $74. But Extended and Legacy, boyz, pow, bam, slap the ham.

Tyler Foss told me he spent an entire day reading my complete archive, since he only recently discovered that I, um, have one. I thanked him and called him a pathetic loser, to which he replied “you’re like, a sick f***er.” Apparently, I’m a timid little b*tch in real life, all nice and soft and plays well with other people’s children, but when I sit behind the keys, I put on my ‘net muscles, drunken-sailor dialog track, Ron Jeremy back hair and go to freakin’ town. I guess everyone has to have an outlet, or we’d end up like Talen, and speak with that silly Australian accent and be pissed that Paul Hogan’s career has tanked and still consider Olivia Newton-John to be the pinnacle of womanhood, which she is, even at 60 or whatever age she is now.

For those of you born after, say 1975, which is, oh, all of you, trust me when I say that Olivia Newton-John from 1977-86 was the hottest woman the modern world has ever known. Anyone else you could possibly list would simply prove that you don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about. Take all the women Romeo and Ted have ever linked, combine them into one super duper chyk, and that chyk wouldn’t be fit to wipe Olivia’s ass.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, destroying Constructed as usual.

So there you have it: if you play Madness in 2007, you may end up with better results than Flores, Chapin, and a host of other featured writers who tanked at States because they fear my technology.

Lemme add one more little tidbit for those of you ballsy enough to trust my judgment:

Nightshade Assassin.

He will almost single-handedly turn the tide in the Merfolk match, for dude is both surprise mini-Nekrataal and first strike your pathetic merfolk to death. Two mana on one card to kill two cards. This, children, is card advantage, I’m almost ashamed to admit.

Thus forth, the latest and greatest:

Sideboard to local flavor.

Now, go take a bunch of iffy-to-middling cards, and win stuff. Or don’t, and just live vicariously though me. Either way you slice it, you have nothing to lose, other than the 30 minutes you spent reading this diatribe-slash-manifesto that would bring a tear of joy to the Unibomber and Marx and his life partner Engels.

Living in a commune with only hot chyx ftw,
John Friggin’ Rizzo