Feature Article – OMG The Most Super Duper Strategy And Tech Article Ever!

Read Feature Articles every Monday and Thursday... at StarCityGames.com!
Rizzo does it again! Today’s Feature Article sees J to the F to the R in fine hyperbolic form, kicking ass and taking names through three tournaments with his usual panache and style. As always, his article is full of decklists, frolics, and life… and should not be attempted by anyone with a weak heart. 13000 words of pure love, from the guy who came fifth in the Storyteller ballot!

For many, August is quite dull, Magic-wise. I pity the poor souls who didn’t have a semi-important event to attend

every single week. For those who yawned and ho-hummed through the last 30-odd days, I offer details of some events that

were not so ho, nor hum. Obviously, they won’t be as exciting as the beginning of the future of Magic, a.k.a. Lorwyn,

and formats with only slight pertinence may do little to piqué your interest.

However, Andres Gomez finished 22nd at the Legacy Championships with a deck that contained 4 Hunted Horror and 3 Hunted

Phantasm, so piqué that, yo. I’m this close to assemblage and full Monty-style representation at Crossroads,

simply due to the “holy sh** that’s some innovation!” factor.

I recently played in three events — all of which are formats that are either dead, dying, or involve diminutive

children with a limited selection of cards. So verify the boss, or the teacher, or the mom, isn’t watching over your

shoulder, then come into my world, where everyone is a winner. Of course, “winner” is a subjective term, and not meant

to imply that there must be a loser because oh noes feelings.

The Anniversary

I hadn’t played Legacy in about two months, due to six NAC qualifiers, the 10th Release and a PTQ thrown into the mix,

so I was clearly anxious to rip the freakin’ hell out of someone’s dreams by shredding their hands and obliterating

their lands. Oh, and strategically positioning counters on Jitte.

Fatherly advice: If Jitte is legal, play Jitte.

Crossroads’ Eighth Anniversary Up All Night Capitalize All The Words To Indicate Importance gave me a chance to not

only Legacy it up, but offered some double-headed, Vintage, Mental Magic, Standard, and drafts until you puke.

I intended to play Legacy, 2HG, and Vintage, but was well aware that my threshold for both sleep deprivation and being

around too many people for too many hours is not what it once was. Because I’m old and cantankerous – this is good,

since I always wanted to be cantankerous.

When Brenden Hill decided to open Crossroads at the end of August, he evidently was not thinking things thorough. He

should have had the foresight to realize eight years ago that holding an anniversary merrymaking event when it’s 149

degrees might be a tad impractical. For your next venture, B, please go into business in, say, mid-May or late-October.

To say that it was hot is to say that I have a slight inclination toward looking at chyx. Translate that to mean: I

drank seventeen bottles of water in twelve hours and was still more than a little steamy. Swamp crotch sounds cool in

theory, but get and keep it for twelve hours, then come back and illustrate it with sock puppets and other audio-visual


But at least we had Brenden’s wife, Chris (in between comprising ad-lib odes to my supreme sexiness), sashaying around

and dropping ice into people’s shirts. That way, the ice would melt and drip down your back and into your

undergutchies, thereby granting temporary relief and, well, melting ice in ass necks.


This is what I played:

I apologize for the manabase and its breaking with the “four of” theme. However, I will strongly reflect on replacing

twelve swamps with four Reflecting Pool, four Ebon Stronghold, and four Vault of Whispers. As for the sideboard,

fifteen doesn’t divide by four so well, just deal with it.

I know this is scarcely an optimal build, but I quickly get jaded with decks, thus must Rizzo Them Up in some sort of

quest for quasi-pseudo-uber-self-actualization. Pavlov would be proud. Er, Maslow I meant.

Anyway, Justin Tardif (JTardif in the forums!), he who has never played Legacy, desired a deck. I had a Boros one at

that, but I get the Wastelands, so n’yah. This is what he played, and what I used to play when I got bored of Survival,

Mono Black, MUC or Madness:

How does this deck go down to Goblins or Affinity or creature decks with fatties that top out at three toughness? I

don’t know if it can in even the most outlandish of hypotheticals. But it sure isn’t an immense fan of “turn 2 kill

you” combo. Whatever, this is what you get when you’ve never played Legacy and don’t have a deck. Heh on you, n00b!

There were to be five rounds for the 25 players, none of whom are as highly rated in the Eternal format as yours truly…

For the reason that I Sinkhole children and their wet blanket precons.

In my defense, I am obligated to bring a deck that can contend with the “real” Legacy decks, for there are constantly a

few jerks who play real actual good decks. Consequently, if I have to Hymn a Serra Angel or two on the way to competing

with Goblins, Threshold, TEPS, Affinity, and a Force of Will or six, then bend over, kids, ‘cause this is how we learn

ya’ in da’ hood.

Before we could get this party started, Jason Trott was running around all desperate-like, on his mission to find

Credit Voucher. Other than me, no one knew what it did, so I queried as to why he would need such an apparently archaic

card — collecting a set, perhaps?

Jason: I need it for my deck.
Me: Use Scroll Rack.
Jason: What’s that do?
Me: Takes Credit Voucher behind the barn and beats its ass black and blue.

He wasn’t convinced that a reusable dig effect was as good as a one-shot dig and shuffle effect, for there are

obviously very few shuffle effects in Legacy. I mean, he was only using eleven in his deck. After about four minutes, I

threatened that unless he used the Scroll Racks the store had, instead of the Credit Vouchers that no one had, I’d

write an entire article entitled “Why Jason Trott Is So Bad At Magic.”

He used two Racks and one Voucher, so I guess he’ll only get a few paragraphs.

Why use Cursed Scroll when Aeolipile is available?

Survival of the Fittest over Eladamri’s Call — are you nuts!?

Round 1: John Phinney, MUC

Video reference: John was the guy who said “no, I’ve never beaten you in about twenty matches.” For those scoring at

home, this would be about match 21.

In game 1, I kept a Swamp, Lotus Petal, Bob hand, which I know is not teh sexy, but can become quite striking if. As in

if I can get another Swamp anytime before the Hilary/Obama ticket gets crushed because America is a sexist

and racist nation. Also, I knew John was playing MUC, so getting down a turn 1 uncounterable Bob (he traded away his

Force of Wills — bad Blue player!) is half of the equation.

Side note: if you’re a Blue player, and you reckon trading away your Force of Wills is an affirmative decision, without

delay drop your pants, gingerly place your balls into a vise, and maximum the tightness. Then reconsider.

I got another land soon enough, but it was Wasteland. I stared at Sinkhole, Hymn, Hymn, and knew that I was a

tremendous Magic player. But on occasion a bit too optimistic.

Morphling came down a few turns later and did what he does: make believe he’s the best Blue creature ever printed

besides ‘Tog, Meloku, and that 0/6 wall for like 6 mana that bounces back to your hand when he has the audacity to


In the second game, I sided out three Jitte for Null Rod because it shuts off Shackles. But not Mishra’s Factory. Here

I was thinking that attacking was an activated ability and would not be tolerable under a Rod. IT IS I DON’T CARE WHAT


I mulliganed because I learned from the last game, and mistreated the piss out of John with turn 1 Bob, turn 2 Hymn,

turn 3 Ritual/singleton Jitte and serve. He got out Shackles, but with Jitte counters multiplying like KFed got a

license to ill, he couldn’t grab any of my men due to +fatty/+fatty or —killy/-killy and having too many sexy

non-Island cards. Only I can grab my men — that’s why they’re mine.

For game 3, see game 1. But this time Swamp/Petal looked really good. Call it the sense of invincibility from the game

two drubbing. As my insanity defense, I did have both singleton Jitte and Null Rod in my opening hand.

John got out Shackles, then eventually tapped out for some dumb blue creature that wasn’t Morphling. I saw my chance

and took it: Jitte out/equip/smash with Hyppie. The love fest was short-lived, however, as John used Capsize to return


When I tried to play it next turn, he had Forbid. As you would expect, I dropped Null Rod and figured my guys were

better than all of his guys with the exception of one. He got that one.


Round 2: Johnathan McPleason, MUC

Game 1: Sinkhole and Wasteland made his life miserable, while Hyppie ate his hand away, but not all of his life. Shade

helped there, with Johnathan quickly dead after playing a total of zero spells.

Game 2: My turn 1 Duress showed his hand of five Islands and two Confiscates.


Round 3: Melissa Fitzgerald, Sligh

Melissa kept what she thought was a reasonable hand: two Mountains and a fistful of burn. Two Sinkholes and a Hymn

later, she was reevaluating her definition of “reasonable.”

She mulliganed to five in game 2 and went Mountain, go. I, on the other hand, went Swamp, Ritual, Petal, Hymn, Hymn.

Sometimes I feel like a real prick at this game. This was not one of those times. Okay, a little.


Round 4: Matt Hill, Gaea’s Might Kinda Get There Thang

I’ve played against this deck a few times, and it’s always a chilling experience. I’ve never uttered “no blocks” with

less poise.

I’m not sure what happened to Matt’s deck in game 1, but his turn 2 Bob stuck for about six turns and about all he

managed to play were Kird Apes and Boros Swiftblades chump blockers for my pair of hyper-aggressive

and never-say-die Rotting Giants.

While we were sideboarding, I explained that Matt couldn’t be too annoyed with me, since I aimed an absolute total of

zero disruption spells at his dome. He agreed.

Matt’s turn 2 and 3 Watchwolves made me reassess the level of tremendousness that I currently possessed regarding

Magic. Did I mention I kept a Swamp/Ritual hand? I also had Bob, and planned to draw land and then turn 1 Rit him out

with more-land-in-hand backup.

I didn’t draw a Swamp and I didn’t Rit him out; I preferred to Duress for Gaea’s Might (best one mana spell for one

mana spell trade evah!). I missed another land and finally had to Rit out Bob. By then it was much too late.

If you keep a one-land hand you deserve to lose. But oh noes it also contained Ritual and Bob! Oh, in that

case… you still deserve to lose.

In the third game, I came out blazing with Rit/Hyppie and Duress on turn 2. Krosan Grip, Bob, Bob, Tribal Flames and

Farseek were ripe for the pickins. I took Grip, thinking that my in-hand Jitte is good times and knowing Hyppie would

snatch Flames at random. It did.

I missed a couple land drops, but managed to drop in a Giant that didn’t meet a Helix like Hyppie. I hunted one more

land so I could JITTE STUFF, but then Matt JITTED STUFF. I wholeheartedly endorse using your Jitte as a Wasteland. When

I say I endorse it, I actually mean, no, it’s teh suck. But I’m a man, and from time to time you gotta do what Osyp

versus Tomi versus my Akroma is better than yours must do.

Well enough for me, another Giant hit, but soon my Giants ran out of stuff to eat, and bein’ hellbent ain’t all that

when you need to play anything that can bin. Drawing three turns of Swamps with double Giant in play: priceless. Matt

was also top-decking, and drawing all the fetchlands and Giant Blockers Only he could eat.

Finally, I drew Lotus Petal, took some scorch and sent in one whole guy hoorah go me. Matt drew a Helix and killed one

of my guys. Thanks, pal, now take three from his kissin’ cousin. It’s nice when they kill stuff with Giant in play —

it’s like playing out Seismic Assault when a brother is desperate for Red mana, which owns by the way.

Bob showed up, fashionably late like he always does, natch, and turned this anti-nailbiter of an awful game into

beatdown city, boyee, five at a time.


Round 5: Jason Trott, Null Profusion Combo

Before we sat down, I made the smart-ass observation that I think he just gets to lose to Sinkhole, Wasteland, Duress,

and Hymn. He disagreed.

In game 1, I Duressed and took Ashnod’s Altar, then aimed Sinkhole and Wasteland at his next two lands. He might have

drawn a land by the end of the game, but I can’t recall because Sinkhole is very fair and balanced at two mana and I

probably Sunkhole that sumb*tch anyway.

In game 2, at the end of Jason’s turn 6 or so, he was stuck with one Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author] (because I’m a d*ck) and Library of Leng

(discard technology that I don’t mind seeing at all), while I had Shade with a pair of counters on Jitte. And I think

four Swamps in play. He was at eleven.


2/1 creature +
4 Swamps

Equals ten, which (is one short so I guess I’ll drop another Swamp) coincidentally now equals eleven equals ftw. That’s

not really the bad part. Jason’s hand consisted of Ornithopter, Dark Ritual, and Light of Day. All he had to do was

play Ornithopter, block Shade, live to tell another tale, draw the Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author] that was on the top of his deck, play it,

then Rit/Light of Day/Rizzo skewps.

The worst part, actually, is that Justin, who was watching, insists that I had five Swamps in play, thus, the kill on

the board before Jason passed the turn. He’s probably right, but I don’t want to embarrass Jason, a.k.a. Credit Voucher

> Scroll Rack.

Then again, he was under a swarm of anxiety, what with playing against me, the best Magic player ever, in the final



Comically enough, some kid I’ve never seen came up to me a few hours later and said, deadpan, deadserious and deadsexy:

“some guys told me you’re the best Magic player ever.”

That’s what producing one modest video can do: intimidate and suppress everyone. By the way, the views are over 18,000,

which is amazing considering there is very little nudity involved. Know what: you can stop now. I lost, get over it

and move on. I almost have. Sob cry sniffle tears suppurate whimper snot bubble like Patrick Swayze’s in Red


Suppurate means “to form or discharge pus.” Learn something new every day.

By the way, gotta recognize all y’all who voted to put my ass in the Invitational. I know you meant well, but all

hundred-sixty-some of you voted for a guy that lost. How does that make you feel, putting faith in a guy who came in,

ahem, fifth? Next time, vote for Ross Perot or Ron Paul. You know – a vote that can actually make a difference instead

of one of these “protest” votes!

Darkest Friggin’ Confidant
Creature — Friggin’ Thing
Your minimum hand size is seven.
When you draw a card, you lose 1 life.

It’s either broken beyond repair or completely unplayable. That’s neither here nor there, since, for the first time in,

well, ever, there are actual people I can root for at the Invitational. Hint: one guy’s name rhymes with

seven, and if you add a “t” at a strategic point in “seven” and make the first “e” a long “e” and capitalize

the letter “s,” you’d be like a John Nash/CIA codebreakin’ dealio to get the identity of the other.

Eerily, we have a five-way tie for first, with Tyler Foss and his Goblins taking the winnah with best PGW%. See, it

pays to sweep — mercy is for the weak we don’t train to be merciful in this dojo Ralph Macchio still looks


Justin finished second, which would have been first had he not kept a one-lander — a Plateau no less (though with hella

action) – and had his childish opponent play Wasteland.

I feel ya’ brother, but hells, one-landers are more teh suck than teh Limited. A one-lander in teh Limited? Off the

charts. Or the chain. Or whatever you kids say nowadays to indicate something that was once but is no longer a part of

either the chart or the chain.

I’m a cunning linguist. omg funny joke!

I heard Hang Time with James Brown the other day (this one-minute radio dealio where he gives his usually dead-wrong

opinion on a current sports issue), and he, not once, not twice, but thrice mispronounced “asterisk.” He said


Dear James Brown,

Not only are you the biggest ass-kissing, ass-sucking, know-nothing in the sports media world, but omgruserious?


So that was a little Legacy — hot man-on-man but one time man-on-girl action! In the next life, I suppose I want to be

a porn site editor, or, if that dream can’t come true, just a porn spammer, so I could send mass emails with “get layed


At my last job, the human resources manager (all in lower case because the only way you get into human resources is to

be so dumb that even an MBA program won’t accept you) wrote a memo that contained something like this:

If you wish to get payed during the upcoming blah blah something…


During one of the many water breaks outside in the shade, I chewed some fat with Chad Gurney (Lizard207 in the

forums!). The main topic was just how amazing my video was and how my invite to Germany was more ripped from my hands

than the average Spartan’s abdominal muscles in 300. Chad is one of those guys with lots of tats, which I really have

no opinion about, until his girlie showed up a while later.

Not only is she positively adorable in about thirty-eight ways, but one of her arms is entirely covered in tattoos. I

had never been one to find that even remotely attractive, but I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with her. She

even had tats on her toes.

Perhaps it’s the novelty, much like the chyk with tremendous hooters, ripped abs, an ass that won’t quit, the

six-foot-five amazon, or something else so entirely unique that SHE MUST BE MINE! and whenever it’s no longer “new,”

you dump that broad like a bad habit.

Whatever, I guess tat girl wouldn’t look so great in a strapless evening gown. Okay, she would. At least until the

novelty wore off.

Before we leave Legacy behind, I’d like to take this moment to inform all of you that Shrouded Lore is not right in the

least. There are many things wrong with this card, but allow me to give you one example of an actual hand that I drew

immediately after adding Lore to my Legacy mono Black deck.

Please keep in mind I was merely, ahem “experimenting” (like you did with your roommate in college) with Lore as

additional card drawing/selection…

Opening hand on the play:

Shrouded Lore
Hypnotic Specter
Hymn to Tourach
Dark Ritual
Shrouded Lore

Play Swamp, Dark Ritual, Shrouded Lore. Opponent must choose Dark Ritual.
Play it again, four in the pool.
At this point, Hymn to Tourach seems sexy, so you play it (two in the pool).
Play Lore 2 (one in the pool). They can choose Ritual, Lore 1, or Hymn, which equals nothing but a paradox for them.

They can’t choose Ritual, you’ll cast it and have three in the pool.
They can’t choose Hymn — Mind Twist again next turn equals frown.

If they choose Lore 1, they must assume you’ll spend your last mana to force them to choose between Ritual or Hymn,

which presents this same frigged-up situation again next turn.

If I give you Ritual, you can keep going, so I can clearly not choose the Ritual in front of you. If I give you Hymn,

you’ll shred my hand again next turn, so I can clearly not choose the Hymn in front of me.

As an alternate idea, skip step four and just play Hyppie. When you untap and drop a second Swamp, you’ll still have

Lore in hand, with Ritual, Lore and Hymn in the ‘yard. How does one go about losing this game?

Add your favorite storm engine to flavor.

You could take one Lore away, and the hand is still ridiculous. And for those who claim they’d have a Force of Will in

hand: I believe you and you’d Force something and still end up getting Hymned at least once so n’yeh.

Imagine turn 1 Kird Ape, turn 2 Swiftblade, turn 3 Gaea’s Might the Swiftblade, Lore back the Might and swing into an

empty board. That’s 20 to the life total, boys.

If your mind isn’t already headed towards an Extended Rock deck, lemme give you a little push between A Rock And A Hard


4 Birds of Paradise
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
4 Shrouded Lore
4 Tarmogoyf because you must
4 Dark Confidant also because you must
2-3 Smother or Putrefy or Deathmark technology or the like
4 Pernicious Deed
3-5 pieces of broken equipment
4 Troll Ascetic
3 Eternal Witness
22 or so lands – Treetop Village!

Witness/Lore, Lore/Witness. omg. Of course, Lore’s effectiveness might be slightly diminished with over reliance on sac

lands, but that’s a deckbuilding lesson for another day. Written by someone else (obv).

Tip: Lore plus Tarmogoyf equals not a combo. Actually, Witness doesn’t interact well with ‘Goyf either. Neither does

Therapy. Hmm, never mind: Shrouded Lore sucks.

Anyway you slice it, Shrouded Lore, when surrounded by the appropriate cast of characters — and I’m not saying I know

the cast — gives your opponent a choice between a rock, hard place, and wtf.

Watch for Shrouded Lore — coming soon to a Standard, Extended, Legacy, or Vintage deck near you! Maybe.

Two Headed Giant Dealio

I was the only one who wanted to play both Vintage and 2HG, so Brenden told me to piss off, play 2HG and let the

genuine Magic players play the genuine format. This is probably a good thing, because my Mono Black In Vintage was,

well, a precon in a world of moxen. No, it wasn’t even a precon, it was more like two sealed deck pools, and not very

good ones. Catastrophe — avoided.

Tyler Foss asked me to be his Big Head Stone Cold Pimp weeks prior, so I acquiesced. I had ideas about two Red decks —

one Boros, one Izzet, but since I had no way to contact him during the week before the event, he was stuck playing the

iffy Blink we concocted earlier.

You do realize that, for the next couple years at least, every Red/White deck will be inescapably described as “Boros

something or other,” while Izzet, Orzhov, and Gruul will live on so long as citizens play U/R, B/W, or R/G, which might

just be, like, a long time. Perhaps Lorwyn and the next few sets will try to break us of the Ravnica guild mindset,

but, truth be told, I’ll find it hard to not conjure the names of the late, great guilds in anything less than strictly

formal Magic communiqués.

I like how Word automatically puts the little accent thing at the end of communiqué.
Let’s try another…

Déjà vu



Stupid Word!

Round 1: Matt Hill/Orzhov Discard and Jeff Fish/Teachings

We ended up with 28 life, and easily managed to kill every creature they played: Bob (which has a tremendous life

expectancy in 2HG BTW BT4B), Ravenous Rats and maybe Teferi. My little dudes and Tyler’s Hierarch, combined with savage

Char the sh** out of you, did the nasty.

Matt did have a situation where he Stupored me instead of Tyler. He nabbed Incinerate and a land, but at the end of our

turn, Jeff tried a Teachings, which Tyler managed to Rune Snag. It might have made a difference, or perchance not. Or

perhaps discard is not so sexy with two heads, one of which has countermagic.

On an encouraging note, Tyler did try to Blink one of my guys after D to the S, and Matt disallowed it.

“You” means “you.”
Not “we.”

I seem to remember Ivory Mask being quite the bomb — it made me and Little Rizzo untargetable at the last anniversary

2HG, or possibly that was wrong or maybe this is wrong or I’m just bad at rules.

Whatever, I’m sure there won’t be any oddball 2HG deals in the next two rounds.


Round 2: Aaron Lewis/Rakdos Punch Yer Face and Jesse Bourgault/Big Red Burn

They both played Mountains on turn 1. I am smart at Magic. Two decks chock fulla burn equals thirty life ain’t nuthin’.

Aaron and Jesse took fifth at GP — Not Boston, and I think have yet to lose a 2HG match in the state of Maine, so if

they were packing Red spells, I knew I was on the right track. Too bad “what could have been” has been my mantra for

the last 20 years.

Aaron, being good at Magic, drew a pair of Solifuge, one which met a Wrath, and the other that didn’t.

Key moment:

Aaron played Hit/Run on Tyler, who had three cards in hand and a lonely Hierarch in play. He showed me a Blink in his

hand and said “I’m gonna lose it, might as well…”

I wasn’t sure what the hell he was talking about, but figured he figured Blink the elephant, gain the four that will be

lost, take four from Solifuge and we’re only down four instead of eight.

He Blinked Hierarch, then discarded his hand.


Some of you have by now realized that Tyler thought Hit/Run was Rise/Fall. Had Hit/Run indeed been Rise/Fall, his play

would have been shrewd (maybe), considering that a fresh elephant and four life for no reason except to sell rare cards

and increase Hasbro’s bottom line, blocks the hell out of Solifuge. Net gain in Tyler’s world: eight life.

In actuality it didn’t matter, since after combat, and at a mere 12 life, Jesse tapped out for Molten Disaster plus

kicker and said “for six.” I actually marked us down to six.

Aaron: “Both players.”

I picked up the card.
I’m a player.
Tyler’s a player.
We share a life total.
Six plus six equals twelve.

It doesn’t seem fair.


Round Three: Jeff Good (lowguppy in the forums!) and John Huntley/Decks They Actually Thought About

I kept a fairly aggressive opener, while Tyler made due with Hierarch, Wrath, Venser, and a mixture of lands that

wasn’t extremely sexy at this point, but so many options. A Fanatic hit and we turned it over.

John played Forest, Birds, while Jeff dropped an elf that puts a land into play or something. I picked up the card and

thought “this is too old to be in Tenth — game loss we win go team!” Whatever, I guess the guy is legal.

I considered offing the Bird, but this is, as Tyler said all night, “double-headed giant,” and the traditional “rules”

may sit slightly askew because you can always blame your partner anyway.

Back to the good guys, where I dropped a pair of Seals and began the beats.
Huntley played Overgrowth on Jeff’s Forest and it’s looking like emp 1/1/1. Jeff added Into the North and Farseek or

Rampant Growth — functionally identical cards not exactly but close enough pretty much.

No, I never played emp 1/1/1, but I read about it in the now-defunct Beckett Magic the Gathering, which was a

periodical that published Magic-related things, much like the also now-defunct Inquest Gamer.

For about the last year-and-a-half, I’ve often mentioned how stoked I was that Inquest Gamer not only provided quite a

bit of Magic content, but that it’s only two freakin’ dollars. “No mas,” said Roberto Duran, and that sumb*tch wasn’t


This pretty much leaves Scrye, which I haven’t read in a very long time because the last issue I spent SIX EFFING

DOLLARS on contained about four seconds of Magic content… Do you need me to draw you a picture?

Well, I can’t. That’s Kyle’s gig, and he’s a much better artist than I am anyway. And he’s younger. In better shape.

Much more attractive. Likely better hung. Had more chyx that I ever will. And he’s better at Magic. Where the hell was

I? Where were you, actually, dear reader?

I sent beats and my over-committal strategy met a Delay or somesuch nonsense. John played Gauntlet of Might and we

weren’t sure if we needed to worry, but we most certainly considered offering up a slight fret.

Beats got them to 23, and that’s when the wheels fell off. John played another Gauntlet and all of a sudden it’s mana

city, USA. He added Timbermare, while Jeff politely “asked:” Time Stretch?

I looked at Tyler.
He looked at me.
Oh sh**.

Extra turn 1:

John upkeeped and added another Timbermare and got all aggro on our asses, while Jeff, he of 22 mana, dropped Dark


I looked at Tyler.
He looked at me.
We’re f***ed.

I think Jeff removed five or six counters from The Best Land Randy Buehler Ever Signed, and they passed the turn. Oh

wait, no they didn’t. They just untapped instead.

Extra turn 2:

John upkeeped again and sent in the team. At this point, we’re in Dark Depths range. But oddly enough, they let us take

another turn. Because either Jeff had something like eleven counters in hand, or he was terrified of what might happen

if he removed those counters and unleashed the beast!

Regardless of Jeff’s fear, Wrath of God did not resolve, and I don’t imagine any answers we might have had to Dark

Depths would have either (Ghost Quarter would — and thanks for living in a hypothetical world where you actually

need an answer to Dark Depths!), and we’d still lose to double Timbermare beats. They untapped and killed us,

leaving counters on Depths — it must be great to know that, just in case you need it, your 20/20

indestructible flyer is like, warming in the bullpen.

Alas, 1-2.

Me: Give us the win and we’ll split the prizes.
Jeff: Okee dokee. [Erm… – Craig.]

Alas, er, 2-1.

But wait, Aaron’s team won, so they ended up 3-0 and everyone else finished 1-2, except us. We would have ended up

second due to tiebreakers. The thing is — I was clever with my offer before their match was over, thus Tyler and I

(okay, mostly me but Tyler’s at fault as well for not saving me from my self-destructive behavior) gave up half our

prize support for no actual legitimate reason other than impatience, which is my imvirtue.

Whatever, the event was free and I GOT PACKS FOR NOTHING! Incidentally, we played a three round 2HG Standard tourney in

about 65 minutes. Metagame clock that. Does the metagame clock still work?

Random b*tch:

Your articles are too long!
Many forumites

If you prefer to read five page articles, stop reading after five pages, hit refresh, read pages 6-10, refresh, read

11-15, and so on and so on, until you’ve read yourself a nice helping of five-page articles. All for the price of one!

I’ll take any criticism y’all wanna throw at me, but isn’t saying “your articles are too long” just a euphemism for

“It’s all my parents’ fault!”? Yeah, sometimes my articles are long. They suck, too, but you don’t hear

me complaining about that, now do you?

North American Challenge Championship

First place wins a grand, with cash payouts down quite a few spots after that, and multi-pack support to something like

56th place. Since I played in six qualifiers and only had a reasonable chance to win one, packs are gravy. Sure, Top 8

would be peachy keen, but we all know that the deck I’m playing, even if a net deck in my hands, would need a

tremendous amount of good fortune, seven rounds in a row, to achieve such a result.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m just here for the cake and truffles. I’ll do the best I can with the best I could

come up with (in virtual solitude and with zero playtesting), but, in the “off chance” I don’t kick names and take ass,

I won’t throw a tantrum or threaten to check myself into whatever clinic Lindsay Lohan recommends.

At any given tournament (of PTQ-caliber players), roughly 20% have a reasonable expectation to win the whole shebang,

with another 30% or so having an outside shot if lady fortune shines their way. The rest, that 50%, are mere filler.

There’s nothing wrong with that — it just seems to be the way that it is at the PTQ level, which is the approximate

level of this event.

I think Ben Lundquist won last year — he would have fallen into the 20%. And yes, that was Ben who chimed in during the

Storyteller ballot (paraphrase): “Maybe Wizards will let us play in your PTQs.” Oh yeah, tough guy, well, maybe Wizards

will let us play in your Pro Tours! Oh, wait, they do. See Evan and Steve and that other 30% for proof.

I think I want to be in a three-way with Evan and Steve — it’d be the best of both worlds: Evan to make me laugh and

keep me warm in his big, bear-like arms, and Steve to blow my mind (heh) with profundities, and then write a report

about it so I don’t have to.

The preceding paragraph may or may not have homosexual undertones, but from here, I can’t see anything that would lead

you to believe that is does.

The Deck

Two days before the tourney, after some non-copious amount of e-mail strategy with Justin and Tyler Young, whom I beat

at Regionals ’06 with Okiba-Gang Shinobi so badly that he remembered it even when I didn’t, I was sitting right here

with this:

Fast soldiers and heavy artillery often make for quick games. They better, too, or it looks like I’m losing. I could

clarify the deck, but I think even the n00biest of y’all made an accurate read. Play guys on turns 1, 2 and perhaps 3,

and then deliver love to the face.

I’m fairly content with how the main deck acts, but the sideboard is filled to the brim with varying degrees of

question marks and conjectural ass. To wit:

Q. What would be the reason for Paladin en-Vec?
A. Troll Ascetic, Solifuge, Gargadon.
Q. Don’t I just throw a guy in the way and burn their grill?
A. Probably.

One can likely comprehend the thought process in determining that Aura of Silence (or the like) can take three spots on

the bench. Thus, I feel no need to pimp an artifact and enchantment Propaganda-slash-killah. It could be Disenchant,

but why not just spend the mana now to play the pseudo-Seal, and get the hell out of there?

Side note on the coolest aspect of this deck:

20 creatures
20 spells
20 lands

Yes, I just started playing yesterday, why do you ask?

Cards that were considered because I don’t want you to suppose I didn’t notice:

Boros Swiftblade along with
Brute Force and/or Rally the Righteous
Serra Avenger
Fortune Thief
Sudden Shock
Magus of the Scroll
Blood Knight
Emberwilde Augur
Tarox Bladewing
Griffin Guide
Whitemane Lion
Temporal Isolation
Blade of the Sixth Pride
Mana Tithe
Judge Unworthy
Cautery Sliver
And a host of others

Each of the above cards has a reason or reasons why they get to stay home and hope I go 0-fer-the-tourney to show me

that they deserved to make it to the show. You, being intelligent and articulate, probably know the reasons. You smell

nice, too.


Is either ten shades of awful, or thirty-four flavors of kama sutra. You can already envision the scenarios in which I

look like a genius:

A. Darn, I’m at 6? Guess I better attack with Akroma.

Boros Fury-Shield!

B. I guess I’ll block your 1/1 with my 5/6 Tarmagoyf.

Boros Fury-Shield!

C. You get the idea.

Boros Fury-Shield!

Please note that it is not a mere fury shield, it’s a Fury-Shield. There may be some readers who will consider

asking why don’t I simply use Pacifism, Faith’s Fetters or similar. Watch:

Faith’s Fetters.

Can’t you just feel the girlishness? Don’t the words themselves look a little too feminine for manly men such as we?

Pacifism looks and sounds like “pacifist,” (etymology ftw!) and fetters is awfully close to “feathers,” which is close

to “flowers” which ain’t too far removed from “fruity-ass girl card.” Additionally, “Faith” is a girlie name, and yes,

every girl named Faith, you deserved all the witty repartee you got due to the George Michael ditty of the same name.

Can I be a girl with a “song name” please? I wanna hear dirty old men sing “Oh little Sheila,” a la Buddy Holly and

fruity younger fellas go “Oh, oh Sheila” like Prince wasn’t the most popular musician in the world after Purple Rain

came out.

Wake up Maggie, I think I got something to say to you.
Yes, dear, that was funny the first 17,000 mornings you did it.

Boros Fury-Shield!

See, this sounds like two inebriated tough guys at a bar trying harder and harder to demonstrate their manhood to

equally drunk onlookers and the one toothless chyk that’s incredibly nasty.

I just realized that I wrote 301 words on Boros Fury-Shield. No wonder I came in fifth.

I’ll grant you that the deck is not a work of art, however, it can generate Red mana, which has been known to own from

time to time. Especially if the opponent’s deck offers so much as a hiccup.

Anyway, Justin and Tyler, our momentous NAC Donner Party, who hopefully do not have to resort to cannibalism, emailed

each other and made suggestions on our decks. Mine, however, was pretty much kept secret because I didn’t want to be

swayed by things that sounded good in theory but were woefully inadequate in practice. Or maybe I was slightly

embarrassed to be playing Boros.

The biggest contribution Tyler and I could offer Justin and his R/G/B/w Loam/Assault deck was to take Hierarch out of

the goddamned sideboard and put it in the main are you friggin’ kidding me?

Tyler’s version of Solar Flare-ish But Slower looked solid, so long as winning the first game in 40 minutes and timing

out the second was the objective. My main suggestion was to replace Serra Sphinx with Serra Angel ‘cause so random and

rogue and 1995. His solution was to drop all the Serras. Good call.

Uh oh, wtf moment from the DCI database

Some Unnamed Guy, Thailand

1075 rating 701 matches 206 events

1021 rating 451 matches 121 events

1129 rating 250 matches 85 events

How to become 1021: play 8-10 matches per day and win absolutely none of them for a solid nine, ten months.

What really twists my nips is imagining the stamina required to lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and

lose and lose until you’re the worst Magic player in the civilized world. You gotta be a champion of something not so

champion-like to be that ghastly at Magic. I’d say, “only in America,” but it appears that we outsourced the 1021 to

our brothers in Thailand, yo.

Of course, what really touches my shriveled lil’ Aethermage is the possibility that this guy doesn’t even

exist. If this were the case, however, I’m sure Wizards would be all over it. Thus, we suppose that everything’s on the

level – how does the report get filed?

Internal Memorandum
Wizards of the Coast Ass Kicker Division
Warning: Eyes Only!

To: Some Big Guy At Organized Play
From: Secret Agent Men

Dear Big Guy,

After exhaustive research, we have discovered that Some Unnamed Guy not only exists, but has actually participated in

the events that the tournament organizer reported. It appears that, well, he’s just really, really f***in’ bad at


The Men In Black

The Drive Down

Anyway, here’s where I describe the ride down to Milford, Mass, with Justin, Tyler, and Tyler’s girlfriend, Fallon,

whose parents must have been huge fans of Falcon Crest. She had to come because she would just be bored at their new

place all alone.

Now, we all know that a large Magic tournament is the ultimate cure for boredom, especially for a young woman who has

little to no interest in the game. But I’ll get all day to fantasize about her right in front of Tyler, and he’ll never

ever know. Okay, he will, but if he starts a beef, I’ll play victim and his girlie will end up leaving with me, since I

can just tell she’s desperate for a father figure. Hey, another George Michael song!

As usual, there was a delay: someone smashed their car into something that smashed back, so we had the bumper-to-bumper

action going on for forty minutes or so, which is the textbook example of why you leave early.

The conversation mostly revolved around morbidity, such as this kid that tossed a frog into the air, swung at with a

baseball bat and missed. So enraged he became, that he proceeded to pummel the frog into oblivion. No, there is not one

single thing wrong with that kid.

From there, the children in my car swerved into “the worst possible way to die.” I imagine trying to concoct the worst

possible way to die is much more common that one would expect. Especially among psychotic, bomb-laden fascists. Good

thing there aren’t too many of those!

When I handed the toll booth lady a buck and she gave me a quarter change, I said “thank you.” The kids laughed.

Fallon: Why did you thank her?
Tyler: You thank her for taking your money?
Justin: Who’s Mark Furhmany?

I tried to explain the “be polite to everyone,” deal, but I don’t think they understood. These kids today are so quick

to file a lawsuit, so perhaps I’m trying to reach those who cannot be swayed by old-school logic.

Additionally, I offered that the poor woman is likely taking a ton a daily harassment for the low hourly rate of 17 or

18 bucks with full benefits and every single holiday you could imagine and probably 30 days sick and personal time and

a pension that would choke U.S. Steel. Why wouldn’t I be nice to her?

A while later, a guy cut me off, kinda, and they all got “ram that f***er!.” Again, I tried the rational approach: “if

it’s that important to him, he can have it, for it obviously means more to him than to me.”

I thought I almost made a dent in the tender children’s soft and fragile minds. But they were just pretending, for it’s

often easier to humor someone than fight the power. Not that I’d know anything about that.

The Event

We got there about ten minutes before kickoff, which in the real world means that we’ll be ready to start in about

forty-five minutes. A number of peeps you might recognize from previous articles were in attendance, and combined with

the other New England-ish participants, the field looked stacked. No illusions of Top 8 had I — three draft sets for

25-40th place was locked and loaded. 5-2 would get there, so that was my goal.

Ninety-seven players and seven rounds of love were on the agenda. There were lots of hot and steamy ‘gicians, as we say

in the industry, and there was a definite “aroma” that many of you recognize as “lots of nerds in a confined space.” It

can and will permeate your soul if you let it. And you really wanna let it.

Also, Jonathan Rizzo was here, and as much as I looked forward to literally dozens of mistaken identities, I really

wasn’t looking forward to them. At least I wasn’t seated across from him for the player meeting which means that yes I


Round 1: TJ Baker, Gruul

When I got to my seat, the other Other Jonny Magic was in my seat. I informed Rizzo that, while there was

Rizzo assigned to play at table 35, it was the pimp in da’ box name of J to the F. This was an apparent relief to the

opponent, who figured his expectation of victory increased ten-fold. Whatever happened to Ben Folds?


I mulliganed to six.
I mulliganed to five.
I mulliganed to four.
On the play.
TJ suspended Gargadons on turns 1 and 2.

Obviously I won this game, c’mon.

When I Sligh-combo’d him out, TJ showed me his hand of two burn spells. The math indicated that he was one damage shy

of killing me for the last two turns. I remarked that I didn’t care what happened the rest of the day, for mulling to

four on the play against a burn deck and winning is rare enough that everything else is gravy.


I got TJ down to three, so he just dropped Warhammer, put it on Troll Ascetic, and, well, won. That may be one of the

most frustrating situations a burn deck could face: repeatable life gain on something you can’t kill. Oh well, I mulled

to four and still won.


I mulliganed to six.
I mulliganed to five.
I mulliganed to four.
On the play.

Flagstones, Flagstones, Fanatic, Incinerate is about as much as I can realistically expect from a four-card hand. Sure,

it might be a tad slow, but go ahead and mull that bad boy to three and let me know how it works out for you.

Again, it looked like I might drop the impossible dream all up on my bewildered opponent, but Warhammer plus a rather

large ‘Goyf is not a situation I find tenable.
Warhammer: Jitte — same guy much?


Justin was seated beside me, and beat a Mono-Black control deck. Key play: game 3, Justin had out ‘Goyf and tapped

Birds with G/R/B available. His opponent played Cruel Edict, the sexy rewards one. We both knew that he must have

another Edict, and we could see the little grin of impending cool play corner his lips. Justin, as expected, sacced the


The bad guy tapped another two mana and surprise, surprise: Edict #2. Justin, as expected by absolutely no one in the

building or in the history of Magic, tapped his mana and flashed in Sulfur Elemental. Tee hee, guess I’ll sac the red

guy and beat the piss out of you with ‘Goyf — all your hard work and a cool play down the drain.

Meanwhile, Tyler and his opponent played to a 0-0 even-after-extra-turns tie. I wish I could play a deck like that and

have fifty people crowd around me anxious for one of us to die so we can get to the next round. Of course, I’d love to

concentrate like a freakin’ madman for an hour and come away with, well, a draw.

Justin and I predicted Tyler would end up something like 3-1-3. He just laughed, picked up his cards, and immediately

went to check the pairings. Time to pee is for the weak — let’s play!

Round 2: Dean Bilz, U/B/G Dredge


A turn 1 Fanatic pretty much puts a nail in Bridge from Below, and a turn 4 Grunt pounds that b*tch in like Budd and

his boy in Kill Bill 2. Dean managed to Dread Return Akroma on turn five, but an end-of-turn Char, untap take your life

with Priest, Seal and another Char for spite, is a much better clock, especially when your clock has been ticking for

the previous three turns.


My turn 3 Grunt had enough fodder to keep him dumb, fat and happy for, oh, the next hour or so, which forced Dean’s

hand – a Dread Return on Ancestor’s Chosen for ten life. It bought him one turn.

Empty handed, Dean used Drowned Rusalka. I asked if he could do that — part of the cost, part of the activation, etc.

He said he could, and since the game was long-since decided, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Did I ever tell you

I’m a rul3z guru?


Justin and Tyler both won, though Tyler’s win was 1-0, so w00t for all of us. Fallon commented that I was the same age

as her mother. I commented that if I had a Corvette instead of a 2000 Saturn LS with 97,000 miles, she’d be all over

me. So would her mom.

Round 3: Mike Daly, U/G Goyf


I opened four lands (including 2 Flagstones), Rusalka, Priest and Bolt, which I considered a decent, but not

spectacular, hand. When I drew lands on consecutive turns, I figured I was due to hit gas, though when my Rusalka ran

into a tricksy Plaxmanta, which was joined by ‘Goyf next turn, I figured it best get here quick, fast and in a hurry.

Thinning your library of two lands with Flagstones is a good thing, in theory, and one wouldn’t expect to hit a land

pocket afterwards, but such is life. When Mike served ftw, I was too embarrassed to show my hand of four lands, since

drawing nine lands and four spells means I am a terrible Magic player.


Six lands plus Fanatic seemed like a reasonable hand to me. Reasonable if you intend to get yer freakin’ ass beat to

hell. My six was better: Fanatic, Seal, Seal, Foundry, Mine, Priest. On his turn three, when Mike cast Repeal on one of

my Seals, I figured he was in the midst of a secret internal struggle, much like my deep and festering homosexual


The next turn, when I cast Priest, it met an immediate Psi Blast, which was fairly sexy, since it ostensibly meant

Priest had haste. I’ll take that trade most days of the week, and especially on Saturdays.

I dropped another Priest, and since I suspected him of having a handful of countermagic, for the rest of the game, I

was content to toss burn at his head end-of-turn. Board advantage of Fanatic, Seal and Priest usually equals “you gotta

start doing stuff soon,” which means the amount of mana you’ll have up to counter ain’t lookin’ too good.

“Helix you?” was met with his looking forlornly at his hand and saying “okay.”
Char us?” was met with pretty much the same thing.

At the end of my turn, Mike was at three life and tapped out, and I had Fanatic and Seal on the board. I said “go.” Er,

duh. I felt a little bad about saying “during your upkeep I’ll, um, kill you,” but I did apologize for being so random

at scorekeeping.


Mike mulliganed, and I came out the gates like the last horse to leave gets a personal tour all ass-backwards through

the Crazy Glue factory: Rusalka, Priest, Marauders, Incinerate, Incinerate, Helix, gg. Apparently, it was Mike’s turn

to have a hand filled with land.


While Justin, I and Fallon are watching Tyler’s match — one of the last playing gasp!, she complained she was worried

she wouldn’t be able to get the smell of nerd out of her. Being the father figure/wise man/edt for the new generation,

I explained that the smell of nerd is something you despise, then come to tolerate, and then, when you reach the

pinnacle of humanity, come to depend upon. Her response was to tell some of these f***ers to take a freakin’ shower

once in a while.

Round 4: Tim Landale, Project X

While we’re shuffling up, Tom Shea, head pimp of TJ’s, announced a random $100 winner: Dave Fienstein – I probably

spelled it wrong – who was seated diagonally to me. A tremendous chorus of, something, filled the nerd-infected hall,

and when Dave returned to his seat, he was greeted with much fanfare, mostly relegated to his apparent generosity:

“Why don’t you just sign the check over to [somewhat nearby resort casino] Foxwoods?”

I feel much better now that I got in a poker reference.


I opened Sacred Foundry, Seal, Priest, Bolt, Bolt, Fanatic, Helix, and immediately decided to throw it back. However,

Tim mulled, which gave me time for my intuition to kick in. Something told me to stay the course. While it was

certainly an “if” hand, the “if” felt like more of a “when.” I kept.

Obviously, my first draw was Flagstones, and from there, the slaughter was on. A Hierarch gained him four, but he died

the next turn (turn 6) because shadow creatures plus burn is, to use a local colloquialism, “wicked



Tim got out turn 1 and 2 Essence Wardens, then followed up with Saffi, Hierarch, Saffi, and Ghost Council. I managed to

beat him down to 12 despite the love, but when his life total started to increase exponentially, I had to pack it in. I

made a note to figure out what the hell to do about Essence Warden — worth a Rift Bolt or no?


See game 1, except I killed a couple Wardens. Again, I got him to 12, which is when he started to laugh at decks that

attack his life total. He ended the game at 22 with a hundred cards in hand, a board filled with wall-to-wall fat,

while I had, um, a Fanatic I think. I made a note to figure out what to do about Essence Warden — seriously wtf.


On a lighter note, Justin’s opponent, at six life, decided to block the incoming 4/5 ‘Goyf with a 7/7 Grave-Troll

rather than a 1/1 Narcomoeba. Boy, was he surprised to lose the game upon declaration of blockers due to Boros



In between rounds, the stories came from all sides. Some were interesting, some were not, but it seemed that everyone

had their own version.

One guy was pissed that his opponent had him locked up but couldn’t kill him until he almost escaped the lock.

Another had the “I never drew another land” speech. Actually, a couple guys had that one, and lemme tell you about the

tension when there are two guys both trying to use the exact same “bemoan my bad luck” tale of misery.

I mulled to four twice in the first round. Do you think anyone would have cared? Hell, it happened to me and I don’t

give a rat’s ass. While it’s part of the game, those who tell the tale are not looking to hear “it’s part of the game.”

What they seek is some kind of solace, sympathy or empathy. If they can tell the story in a reasonable amount of time,

I usually provide just that.

If, however, they start with “Okay, so I find my table and sit down. I take out my deck and like, shuffle it. Wait, no,

lemme go back to this morning when I woke up, I mean, I was born a long time ago on a warm September morning just as

this. Actually, er, wait, let’s go back to the beginning of recorded time, k…” then I usually tell them I gotta go pee

— wanna come with me so you can help continue?

Now wonder hardly anyone voted for me.

At this point, Justin’s 3-1 and Tyler’s 2-1-1. Theoretically, we’re all in contention for three draft sets. Cash prize

— who cares: I want packs!

Round 5: Alan Zabrecky, U/B/G Dredge


I drew eight lands and four spells, and mostly lost to Narcomoeba and Stinkweed Imp beatdown, if you can believe that.

To put me out of my misery, Alan finally Dread Returned a 14/14 Grave-Troll to hasten the beats.


Turn 1: Suspend Rift Bolt
Turn 2: go to 17, Fanatic, Rift Bolt #2
Turn 3: go to 14, serve to 13, Fanatic #2. EOT Incinerate to 9
Turn 4: serve into Stinky, sac one still take 2 to 7, Char EOT to 3.
Turn 5: Untap, Char to -1.

Like to take it to the face, much?

Alan shook his head in a sort of quasi-funk, due to the savageness, and the guy seated beside him said, “you’re lucky

you won the first game.” I kinda felt the same way, but b*tching is better left to those who care enough to b*tch.


My opening hand contained a pair of Grunts, Rusalka, Marauders, Fanatic, and perfect mana. My first draw was another

Grunt, and my second and third were Seal and Char. I tried very hard to screw up this game, but the Grunts wouldn’t let

me. The burn helped a brother out as well — “point it at his freakin’ head, yo,” my burn would say to me. Since it’s

burn, I felt it wise to listen.


Standings were posted for the first time – Justin was around 20th place, with a pretty good deck, while I was about

40th, with a deck that was always retarded — for good or bad. Tyler’s record was 2-2-1 or 2-1-2 or some other

three-digit locker combination.

Side note: I’m not a fan of asking someone their record and getting “x-0” or “x-1-1.” Fine enough, this tells me the

number of losses you have incurred, but if this is the information I was seeking, I believe, “hey, jerky, how many

losses have you incurred?” would be apropos. I think I’ll do the same, but in reverse Rizzo style: “yeppers, I’m 2-x,”

or “3-x-x,” and let them metagame that, or at least try to remember what round it is.

When the pairings came out, naturally it was me and Justin. We talked about it for a moment, and since it was more

likely (okay, like, for certain) that he would be in a better position for a bigger payday, I skewped.

It wasn’t so long ago that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of scooping to someone, let alone agreeing to an ID.

Neither affects me much anymore, and I’m not sure if this is personal growth or acceptance that the lowest common

denominator does not discriminate.

Round 6: Justin Tardif (JTardif in the forums!), 4c Loam Assault

For fun, we played a couple games, the first of which saw me annihilated because I kept a hand I never would have but

it doesn’t matter ‘cause he’s better than I at teh magix.

The second game was winnable, but rather than win, I held back Boros Fury-Shield and waited for Justin to attack with

Tarmogoyf so I could get him all the way down to one and still lose anyway. Since I told him I had Helix, Helix,

Incinerate, double Priest, and Fury-Shield in hand, he figured that he’s the only guy who gets to have a happy-ending

via Fury-Shield. Thus, my chance to Fury-Shield was denied. What an ass.


This put Justin at 4-2 — a win and he’s getting $50. Tyler, on the other hand, is with a record of 2-2-2 or something

similar: out of contention for the 50, but six-pack city, baby!

Round 7: Jim T., R/W/U Big Blink

I started this round in 50th place. Since the cutoff for two draft sets was 56th, uh oh, better come with it.


Jim didn’t do much other than play a Hussar or two and poke me when I wasn’t looking, until about turn 7. With him at

three, I tried to Incinerate ftw. He Helix’d, went to six then three, and then flashed in Hellkite, swung and Blinked



This game was similar to the first, in which I tossed lots of damage at his head, and when it appeared he was in

striking distance, he Touched, got Hellkite, swung and Blinked ftw.

That was somewhat unfair — letting me get oh so close only to squash my hopes and dreams. It’s probably what I deserve

for owning zero Solifuges and thinking that 1/1s could own Hellkite.


When the final standings were posted, I saw how sexy I was because I mulled to four and still beat Gruul:

56th place

Give a brother two draft sets, thanks.

I’m sure many of you are thinking “how in the hell is this guy happy about 56th place?” Because it’s better than 57th,

and Justin kicked me a 20 (for gas and tolls not because I conceded because that would be illegal), and Tyler bought my

dinner (in lieu of his share for gas and tolls because he was trying to get me into bed — with his girlie), and I got a

free t-shirt. All of this for accidentally attending all the NAC qualifiers at Crossroads.

(btw, I’m not happy about 56th, but it’s easier to pretend I am than to admit my pain)
(btw, I’m also not happy about the inconsistencies my deck had regarding mana)
(btw, with 20 lands, you should very rarely draw eight of them)
(btw, at least half of the games I lost were due to weird land deals)
(btw, Char is 20% of a player’s life, or one Hierarch, Justin)

Justin ended up 5-2, good for 13th place and $50, while Tyler finished in the low 40s, good for two draft sets, though

since most of his matches went to time, he got to play about twice as much Magic as Justin and I. If this actually cost

money to enter, he would have gotten one helluva deal.

Funny thing: I didn’t play even one of my sideboard cards. That’s probably because I rarely sided anything in. That’s

probably because my sideboard blew. That’s probably because my main deck was so tremendous that a sideboard was nothing

more than an insult to Boros Boros Arriba.

A good day for all, well, for me, who would rather be bent over and impaled on national TV than have to play one more

round. Headaches, water overload, and crotch rot do not make for optimal mental conditions.

Brett Coggan, hero to the downtrodden, with their team’s techy R/W/U, and Sean Morgan, hero to all, with his ‘Goyf Rack

that he’s been playing for two months, made Top 8. We might have stayed to root on the local heroes, but Fallon pretty

much said “get your prizes and feed me or I’ll get naked and dance for you.” A threat like that, coupled with extreme

hunger on all of our parts and a nearly three-hour drive back, made for an easy decision.

The Drive Back

We passed a Wendy’s on the way to the highway. Fallon didn’t want Wendy’s.

We took an exit that promised Friendly’s. Fallon found that acceptable.

We drove for about 3 miles — passing a Wendy’s on the way. Fallon still didn’t want Wendy’s. A few minutes later, we

decided we must have misinterpreted the sign that indicated Friendly’s was this exit. So we turned around and passed

the Wendy’s again. She remained steadfast like Lin-Sivvi spit her out eot, yo.

Twenty minutes later, we pulled into D’Angelo’s, a sandwich shop, and not a very good one at that. The food is too…

healthy seeming. I ordered a freakin’ tuna sub with lettuce and tomatoes. That’s not Magic player food; I bet it only

had 500 calories, which is only 10% of the allotted meal allowance of your typical grease and fat-laden Magic player

diet. Manly men, us, and so we persevered in the face of opposition.

When we walked in, to a restaurant on a Saturday night — three males and one female, I immediately triggered

what I would mutter (and often have) if I was sitting at a table and saw us walk in:

Oh, look how cute: one of them has a girlfriend!

Then I realized I’m almost twice as old as everyone else.

Oh look how cute: the kids are having dinner with their dad!

I am almost beginning to feel like “creepy old guy.” Just because my favorite hobby happens to involve cavorting with

people who are often half my age doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, does it? Then again, I should probably quit and

hang out with people my own age — go to the bar, drink myself into a stupor, then swing by a strip club and blow $100

bucks. You know: ordinary, respectable 38-year-old behavior. If I could acquire a cocaine problem and have an

affair or two, then I’d be golden.

Regardless, that’s not the way a post-tourney meal should go. I mean, I wasn’t stuffed to the gills, nor did I feel

ready to vomit at the slightest provocation. In order to make it up to my entire fellow ‘gicians (props: the industry),

when we stopped for gas, I slipped into Dunkin’ Donuts and ate me a phat ass Boston crème. I hope this atones for my

earlier lapse.

Somehow, the fact that I named my biceps “Precious” and “Luscious” was sweated out of me under the white-hot lights.

Since it’s somewhat odd to name body parts (I guess), the conversation naturally moved south:

Me: Currently, he’s Irving P. Shankman.
Tyler: Mine’s “Little Tyler.”
Fallon: Emphasis on “little.”

That may or may not have been an authentic representation of an actual conversation. The following also may or may not

have been created solely for entertainment purposes:

Fallon: Kryptonite is a real element.
Me: Er, not so sure.
Justin: Me neither.
Fallon: Yes it is.
Me: Oh yeah, it was discovered in the ‘40s by Dr. Kent.
Fallon: I’m 19 or 20 and hot, thus I win this argument.
Me and Justin: Scoop.
Tyler: What do you mean, “Emphasis on little?”

Actually, Krypton is a real element – atomic number 36 for those of you without a periodic table at your

disposal. It just doesn’t happen to come from the planet Krypton. Then again, prove it doesn’t.

I thanked some more toll takers and we made it to the rendezvous intact, all the worse for wear, but now highly

enlightened on oh so many subjects. Eighteen hours later, six packs richer, and shagged and fagged and fashed little

droogie, I was homeward bound, many new memories to be stored or discarded at my discretion.

But mostly stored. Because I’m discreet.

The New Standard

Planeswalkers are teh awesome! A new card type! Tarmagoyf4L! Or maybe they’re teh suck. They’ve run out of ideas — now

they’re stealing from WoW! I have a feeling they’ll be the former, rather than the latter, considering Wizards’ track

record of late.

We’ll find out soon enough, if MTGSalvation.com can get off its lazy and lawsuit-phobic ass and nab some more stolen

cards. It wasn’t too long ago that, less than a month from the release, we’d have the entire spoiler and all the 4/3s

with haste and shroud you could throw into your Gruul decks. I don’t miss those days one bit, though I imagine there

are some that do because they enjoy taking away the joy from innocent children and creepy old men like me.

I’m as much up in the air as you probably are re: Lorwyn, though the particular choice of cards reprinted in Tenth

Edition offers a few hints as to what the future of standard may hold. Some jumped right off the page and into my lap,

where they spent some time becoming accustomed to new uses, some which want to border on “highly synergistic.”

For instance, Recover seems tailor-made for Korlash. Or, actually, any creature. ‘Twas good times to open Recover in

Invasion Limited, and I’m surprised at how pleased I am to be able to play with a card I never put into a Constructed


Nostalgia aside, a pithy amount of testing demonstrated that grandeur two times on turn 5 is retarded. That’s four

lands thinned-out, a four-turn mana ramp, and an extra card drawn from a land-depleted library.

Likewise, Phyrexian Rager and Twisted Abomination both play very nice with Recover. The card advantage gained in the

potential mono, or mostly mono, Black deck could rival Blue. Okay, it couldn’t, but you take what you can get in Black,

and this time it looks like lots of land searching/ramping, with cantrips all up in this mutha. Color pie my ass!

With all this mana production, a natural complement to the deck would be Roiling Horror. I know that Horror has seen

virtually no play as of yet, and while his suspend ability doesn’t rival that of Detritivore or Aeon Chronicler, a

two-life swing every turn can add up in a hurry. With multiple Horrors out, and each wearing a few counters, the

opponent might seriously consider packing it in.

My respect for Horror has grown tremendously over the last month or two — he has won games without ever coming into

play, which I presume is what all of the X’pend guys can sort of do. But this is the only one that hits the

hash mark of your opponent’s life total, i.e. point of fact wins the game.

Beacon of Unrest also appears to be complementary to Recover, and not for only the sexy things you Damnation away, but

for your own damned guys. I missed it the first time, but be sure I got my playset. Prolly never use them, but gotta

catch ‘em all!

This would all be fine and good — a great exercise in deckbuilding, or at least thinking about how you would build this

deck. There is, however, this rather large unknown called “Ravnica is going and 300 cards are coming.” Some would say

that any post-Rav Standard deckbuilding, at this point, is nothing less than an exercise in futility. Not to speak out

of school, but stfu.

omg we can’t have any ideas without the new set!
omg the new set will obsolete deckbuilding as we know it!
omg just omg seriously omg!

In other words, it’s much more than impractical to think about post-Rav decks without sufficient Lorwyn information,

it’s downright stupid. Obviously, one could not design a deck using Time Spiral block, Coldsnap and Tenth, and then

take a gander to see what Lorwyn might have to offer.

Call me “half-full boy,” but are current ideas fruitless in every sense of the word simply because there is

one set on the horizon? Quick guess: how many tourney-viable cards come from your average large expansion? My

split second answer would be 50. After mulling it over for a moment, I’d say it’s more like 40, and upon further

reflection, I’m going to go with 30.

Let’s assume for a second that I’m in the ballpark with any of those figures.


I’ll go you one further and liberal it up to 60, and then I’ll split that evenly among the colors (and artifact), which

equates to 10 cards per color. (Yes, we all know that blue will get 20 tier-one cards, and everyone else will split



Then again, it’s certainly possible that Lorwyn will upside-down our asses, enough so that most of the decks from the

previous year-plus have no chance to survive without adapting to the new regime. Possible, but not likely.

4 Mind Stone
4 Coldsteel Heart
4 Terror (or Cruel Edict or some combination)
3 Twisted Abomination
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Korlash
4 Damnation
3 Recover (or Shrouded Lore or both)
3 Roiling Horror
2 Beacon of Unrest
2 Consume Spirit
23 Swamp

I would be remiss if I didn’t get a little jiggy on the Shrouded Lore standard tip. A turn 4

Korlash-plus-grandeur-plus-Lore-grandeur-again seems a little nutty to me. Untapping on turn 5 with eight

Swamps might be advantageous.

Then again, since every card in Constructed decks these days is nothing less than very good, getting back any of them

for one mana obviously can’t be less than very good, and could get fantastic if you’re keen on spending a little more.

Lore on Recover seems good.

Of course, everything we know could become irrelevant when we’re finally *really* told what the hell the Planeswalkers

do, but unless they take contemporary Magic and set it on it’s head, drawing cards, recurring creatures and Drain Lifes

will without a doubt still be good.

Tip: it won’t be long before someone fractures the living hell out of Citanul Flute. The grandeur creatures are

tailor-made, and with such an array of excellent comes-into-play creatures combined with Momentary Blink (and now

Recover), I don’t get the impression that creatures are going away anytime soon.

Surely creatures you can fetch end-of-turn and Xpend – Aeon Chronicler, Detritivore, and Roiling Horror, must be

enhanced with Flute. Although, the white one still seems kitchen-table-ish, and I can’t even remember what the green

one does, so it must be even shoddier.

But none of this matters because omg Lorwyn. While I’m just as antsy as you are to see baby daddy’s baby momma, I’m not

content to let my mind wander, which in turn may lead us unto the trap that is “sit on your ass and wait.” Get busy

while the busy’s good. And, oh, when Lorwyn arrives, take that into consideration as well.

For many, August was quite yawn ho hum, Magic-wise, but for me, see the previous 33 pages. Thankfully, it appears that

September will be it’s own sex type thang, with Lorwyn teasers, the pomp of Valenica’s new Extended metagame, and the

here-before-you-know-it Champs; the default value is phat talking points obv. In lieu of waiting for Godot, one could

always discuss a timely Stifle on Hunted Horror’s c-i-p. I hear thousands of you screaming: “That’s sooooooo obvious.”

Yeah, I guess it is. Now.

Until next time,
John Friggin’ Rizzo

P.S. edt is right — wearing headphones or ear buds during a match is disrespectful. Not as disrespectful as stealing

someone’s trade binder, doing their girlfriend, or keying their car, but when you wear headphones or ear buds, these

are the risks you take.

P.S.S. Entitling this article “OMG The Most Super Duper Strategy And Tech Article Ever!” may have been an example of

what we in the industry call “hyperbole.” Actually, only the Pros call it that — us “Joes” call it “exaggeration.”