Feature Article – You’re So Cool, Brewster!

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John Friggin’ Rizzo, the one-time destroyer of Extended, has gone a little peculiar. His article today is packed with the usual Mono Black in Standard musings, and Mono Black in Legacy tips… but we also learn a great deal about the man himself. Fun decks, fun plays, fun anecdotes, and the expected level of humorous invective… plus a frankly disturbing picture of the great man in full-on breakdance mode that will linger long in the memory.

Okay, so I was at the Gold Tier Wizards Last Gasp Standard Event Deal Where They Give You A Magic Gangsta Skull Cap And Deckbox, and it was the last round — win and you make Top 8. There were more than eight players this time, too, so this accomplishment would be nearly legitimate.

A hefty crowd was gathered ‘round because I’m astonishing to behold, or possibly everyone else drew and we were the only match of some consequence.

My opponent was Keoni, local inventor of Persecute (whereas I took that sumb*tch worldwide), and he just played the last card in his hand — Razormane Masticore, which, during his next turn, when he returned Squee from his ‘yard and pitched it (gotta love those 6E rules!), would shoot my Graveborn Muse to death.

I desperately clutched two Swamps, and pretended they were Counterspells that wouldn’t help anyway, but it always feels good to have a fistful of permission.

I drew Beacon of Unrest and checked my graveyard: Korlash, another Muse, Twisted Abomination, and then Keoni’s ‘yard: Troll Ascetic, Birds of Paradise, Squee, and Augur of Skulls. I hemmed and hawed for a moment, and knew there must be a way out of this mess. Then eureka Watson come here!

I cast Beacon targeting Squee.

A half-dozen peeps lold and rofld and lmaod and aol and all around went bonkers. Apparently, I’m the first guy in the history of Magic to cast Beacon on Unrest on an opponent’s Squee. After the crowd subdued the hell out of themselves, they generally agreed that was the right play. Whatever, the cool factor was so cool, how cool was it? It was as cool as the following photo, which first needs an introduction.

The photo was taken in 1984-ish, and I was just beginning my breakdance phase. Need I say more? Well, I will, because I am building the drama to a payoff that will keep you up at night. Laughing your ass off.


The following photo of me, taken when I was 15 or so, is the epitome of…



Let’s break it down for a moment. First off, the hat. Are you serious? It was made of straw and I guess that was my justification. Next, we move down to the Tom-Cruise-In-Risky-Business sunglasses. Oh yes, I absolutely needed the dingly-dangly strings around them. We continue on to the many-shades-of-gray shirt with the sleeveless pullover. Not much to say other than those things were in style back then. No, they couldn’t have been. White pants. Yes, white pants. Bandanas tied around my shins. On purpose. For effect. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wristbands, and um, elbow band? No wonder I didn’t get laid until I was 21.

If you can find another word to describe this photo please discuss in the forums.

Anyway, Masticore hit the bin next turn, and I had Squee and Muse to keep me company.

Keoni found some Trolls, some removal, and we entered the stalemate. (He eventually cast Putrefy on his own Squee, which also has never happened in life.)

“Gimme back my son!”
-Mel Gibson, Ransom

“Gimme back my Squee!”
-Keoni, that game

Five or six turns later, I cast Beacon again. This time I nabbed Troll Ascetic. I put it into play on my side, right next to three Prismatic Lens.

I imagine my face must have been innocent-babe-in-the-woods-omg-they’re-so-cute-at-this-age when I said “ooh, I can regenerate him!” The onlookers lold and rofld and hehd and generally pissed themselves silly. I’m not sure if they laughed with me, at me, or at the above photo, but so many chuckles.

It took about 30 minutes, but I won the game, and took the match 2-1, mostly on the back of Beacon on Squee, which is technology so proper that even Feldman wouldn’t mention in his articles.

I lost in the semis to Justin Tardif (JTardif in the forums!) for the second time because a hand of Incinerate, Char, Char, Psi Blast, Fiery Temper is um, pretty good when your opponent can’t Tendrils anything because of Gargadon. Christ, datguysgood. I wish I owned thirteen so I could keep four and fill an entire page of my trade binder and narrate to the potential tradee as we flipped through: “Here are some Ichorids, please don’t touch, thank you… and here we come to my Gargadon page…”

Here’s what I played, and I’m positive it won’t translate to post-Rav Standard so what’s the point in posting the list? Because it’s a Magic site, people, get with it, k?

Mono Black In Standard Again

4 Mind Stone
3 Prismatic Lens
3 Cruel Edict
3 Twisted Abomination
2 Lord of the Undead
3 Slaughter Pact
4 Damnation
4 Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
3 Tendrils of Corruption
3 Graveborn Muse
2 Beacon of Unrest
3 Consume Spirit
23 Swamp

Lord of the Undead is tech directly from me to you. In six rounds, it got active maybe twice, both times with nothing to recur. But oh, imagine the post-grandeur drama! And imagine that a new set is shh it’s around the corner and the above deck is completely irrelevant! But it got me a Magic tossel cap, tassel, woolie, feltie, or whatever the particular local colloquialism for a woolish, brimless cap that you wear to keep your head warm happens to be.

By the way, that Spaniel kid wasn’t too far off base when he called Slaughter Pact the best card in Standard. One of its biggest attributes is that, when you play against Mono-Black, you know what to side out. For me, that’s gravy, biscuits, and actually I’m not a fan of gravy because it’s made from sinew and teeth and old rectums. I’m a big fan of Terror for pretty much the same reason: mirror match… easiest sideboarding ever!

However, it’s time to look forward. I know that I said something along the lines that sure you can build decks now and adjust them when Lorywn hits, but after staring at the spoiler for the last week, it turns out that perhaps I was a bit, um, wrong.

Lorwyn doesn’t appear to be a set that will permit you to simply replace the rotated-out cards in your favorite deck with like-minded freshies and move on. Tribal is all up in here, and if there is a theme that basically says “you ain’t about to cherry pick these cards to put into existing decks,” then this is it. I think I like that philosophy, though it does throw a monkey in the wrench, a chink in the armor, and a confidant in the dark.

Speaking of: You know the best feeling in the world? It’s when your opponent untaps, takes his (or her, you chauvinist pig!) turn, sighs and then says “go.” And you get to untap with Bob! That’s like the orgasm that never ends. Wait, too intense. It’s like eating infinite fat and calorie-free Whoppers while thinking about the endless ‘gasm. Too bad no one has ever untapped with Bob in the history of Magic.

People have said Dread is unplayable. I have a strong feeling they’re wrong. Take-six-fear-wrong. 3BBB is unplayable? Your mom is unplayable, and take it from me, since I played more moms than mini-van salesmen in 1989. Feel free to update to current cultural phenomena, such as “I played more moms than Kevin Federline.” I once had a dream about KFed that I wish I was making up:

He was at my old place of employment, shooting a quiet-storm-ooh-girl-lovey-dovey video. Everyone was so excited — this is Kfed, after all! Anyway, it turns out that there was a scene where KFed was in the back of a cab, late at night, feeling all somber, and lip syncing to the cab driver. I was the cab driver, wearing a tight London Fog-style khaki trench coat, wire-rimmed glasses circa 1945 and an Indiana Jones fedora. Of course, my non-connected goatee was rockin’ as well.

The next thing I knew, me and the guys from work were watching the world premiere of KFed’s video, and when it came to cab driver scene, KFed was the cab driver and dressed exactly how I was in the previous shoot, right down to the sexy non-connected goatee! What does this mean?!

I remember telling my wife about this in the morning, and she asked me why I was so jacked off. “KFed stole my look!” was all I could mutter, and why say more — wouldn’t you be highly pissed if this happened to you?!

The Prerelease came and went, and I coulda been there! Jason Trott was driving his big ol’ van of love, and was only asking about 20 bucks per head to ride along. I figured that money would be better spent if I taped it to my rear window and drove in front of Jason (so I could be keeper of the speed), 20 bucks ahead but not really since it’d cost that much in gas and tolls. Pyrrhic victories ftw.

EDIT: It turns out it was only 10. I feel cheated! Still, I did likely save $100 American, which used to be, like, a good form of currency.

Thus, I went to Crossroads to beat on The Legacy Children. Since I’m writing this on Friday night, I wonder how I did!? I guess I’ll have to wait ‘til this article goes up so I can find out.

I figure I’ll give you the latest decklist, since the only reason to read an article of mine is for the decklists. Ergo sum:

Mono Black In Legacy

4 Dark Ritual
4 Duress
3 Brainstorm
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Sinkhole
3 Nantuko Shade
4 Lim-Dul’s Vault
4 Dark Confidant
2 Black Knight
3 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Hypnotic Specter
6 Swamp
4 Underground Sea
4 Wasteland
4 Polluted Delta
2 Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author]
1 Bloodstained Mire

4 Engineered Plague
2 Terror
2 Perish
1 Disenchant
1 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Tormod’s Crypt

Q. Why not just play Pikula’s Home Brew?
A. Shut the hell up!

I ended up losing to Goblins in the finals, because, like an idiot, I stacked an end-of-turn Vault with Bob, land, Plague because a) I wanted Jason to dump more gobbos into play, and b) I didn’t want to take three with Bob.

I played Bob, and as a Burn Spell Eater proper, he munched on Lightning Bolt and I was behind the proverbial eight-ball. Two turns later, I was at four life and realizing that I guess you can’t get too greedy with Plague.

Gee, I wonder if any of the Lorwyn gobbos will make an impact in Extended or Legacy? Gee, I wonder why Zombies aren’t in Lorwyn? Obviously, it’s because they’re Black, and Wizards, despite being stationed on the left coast, is a racist organization.

So that was the Legacy part of the show. Hey, why not do a Magic-related show, and call it “The Magic Show?” Lame-o! That would never work. Why can’t I get “Don’t tase me, bro!” out of my head? I imagine the phrase will become quite the buzzphrase, especially in Magic circles, where it can have a myriad of applications, all of which I’ll leave your sick-ass minds to ponder.

Don’t Demonfire me, bro!
P.S. Demonfire you!

So, Thoughtseize, the newer, better Duress, but not something you want to recur (or maybe you do omg deckbuilding exercise) is already $20 question mark followed by at least one if not a complete series of exclamation points?!!!!! ‘Ere I was thinking I’d adore starting each deck I’d ever assemble with four of these bad boys.

Wizards makes the rare cards expensive so everyone will have to buy more packs so the card stores can make more money and they won’t have to lay off their employees and the economy will continue to boom/bust and you thought they were simply pawns of the machine that is Hasbro.

4 Thoughtseize
4 Tarmogoyf

Brenden had a couple ‘Goyfs in the case for the bargain-bin rate of $28 each. Hello, I’m $192, sell plasma, sperm and a kidney, and you too can play Magic like the pros!

Akminidizhad or however you spell it. That completes the political part of the article.

Is it just me, or is Extended becoming a scary wasteland as opposed to the wastelands that visually appealing? The best comparison of the upcoming season is that of Trix with Dark Ritual, Mana Vault, and Necropotence. We’re talking power here, people. There may not have been a terrible number of viable decks, but every one rocked cheap ass-beater cards, be they of summon spells or other variety.

Is there a reason to play any spell that costs more than three mana in Extended? Okay, Hierarch. Ignore the people who think Wrath of God is viable; thanks to Gaddock Tech, might wanna swap bury all creatures for something a little cheaper so it can just get tied up by Chalice of the Void. Actually, using Gaddock Teeg requires both Green and White mana, and those colors have no chance Haterator with Chalice, Root Maze, and Suppression Field much.

Dredge appears to be very freakin’ annoying to play against, enough so that it threatens to turn my enjoyment of the format into, well, a Saturday at Crossroads playing Legacy instead of paying $25 to play four minute rounds, with two of them spent sideboarding and shuffling. Alternatively, feel free to load up your ‘board with ‘yard hate and hope while they beat you with their secondary win condition.

Maybe I’ll just play the mill deck again, since there are even more tools available and I now own a set of Damnation, Extirpate, and something else that seems like it would have made the deck better but it really wouldn’t because the deck sucked and I still went 3-4 against a room full of bad players playing sub-optimal versions of net decks so what’s my point?

Actually, I’m thinking Boros with Suppression Field and a smattering of land destruction. Perhaps one could add a splash of Black for hand disruption, which would entail adding 6-8 fetch lands, which would entail Suppression Field hurting me just as much as my opponent. But doesn’t a build like this lose to Gaea’s Might Still Even One Season Later Get There?

The Rizzo Militia

That’s my brother in the foreground, holding a machete and an actual handgun, with me in the back with my own damned handgun, and my cousin, with what was probably merely a bb gun but could have been a real rifle, who knows. The point: when I was a kid, I played with real guns, machetes, throwing stars, never wore a helmet when I rode my bike, nor a child seat in the car, let alone a seat belt, got paddled in high school, sometimes got bullied without suing the school district, and we didn’t even have Ritalin! Somehow, must be by the grace of God, I survived. Mostly because I was a snappy dresser.

Actually, the mill deck seems pretty good against Dredge in Extended. Since they can mill themselves with no help, a Glimpse could seal the deal and steal the day and they’d rue the day. Someone punch me in the general facial region before I spend two months trying to build the Glimpse deck.

Besides playing with deadly weapons – and I remember my brother and I throwing steak knives at each other, I was subjected to the following:

The eye of the tiger!

This was my dad’s weight room, and if being around that many posters of Bruce Lee rippin’ sh** up and Rocky just being Rocky doesn’t motivate you, then it may explain my fondness for the Rocky films and my “training montage” in the Invitational video, which you can still catch on Jumpcut.com if you’re feeling melancholy. Serious ass got kicked in that room. Just sayin’.

Macho Macho Man

This is my brother and I in Mexico, circa 1982. Yes, he’s wearing a shirt that says “Macho,” and goes on to define the term. Back then, macho wasn’t forsaken only to old, fat guys with thick necks and tiny peckers who drive Corvettes. Please note my rolled-up pant legs are Ben Rubin hairstyle. No wonder our dad tried to “make us men” by encouraging us repel off 100-foot cliffs and explore random caves and whitewater raft without helmets and orienteer through fields where pissed-off bulls were likely to be seen. That f***er was hardcore, my pops. When he was in the Galapagos Islands on a mountain climbing expedition deal, he kicked a gila monster in the face. They’re freakin’ dinosaurs, man!

JFR's only friends

Me, in Hawaii in the 90s, choking Bill and Hilary. Political stances aside, Hilary was almost doable back then, if you like your chyx old, wrinkly, beat down, power hungry, and psychotic.

Who else would post such provocative and obviously flattering photos for the sole purpose of entertaining the readers? Probably a guy who long ago ran out of shticks, and has now officially scraped the bottom of the barrel. Or a guy who has no legitimate tech to offer and desperately wants to be loved. By chyx with tats.

Here’s the part where I highlight the Lorywn cards that I think will make an impact on Constructed play:

End the part where I highlight the Lorywn cards that I think will make an impact on Constructed play because others have already done so, and they’ll likely more correct than I could be. However, the dual lands look neato! Wait…

Secluded Glen: It’s no Watery Grave!

Take that card analysis to the bank, for if it were a Watery Grave, it would be named “Watery Grave,” and the guys who name cards wouldn’t have to work very hard, and then the guys who review the cards could write:

Watery Grave: It’s Watery Grave!

And what fun would that be?

Anyway, join me next time where I promise to reveal Extended deck technology you won’t read anywhere else, Lorwyn Limited insight that makes you go “whoa!,” Legacy ideas that even Menendian hasn’t discovered, Mental Magic tips and an acceptance of Chapin’s $3000 challenge, and more embarrassing photos. Or maybe I’ll just invent some questions and pretend people emailed them to me so I can answer them instead of writing a real column.

Your nineteen cents ftw,
John Friggin’ Rizzo

“I’d like a picture, naked, of me, please.”
-Sol Rosenberg, Sol’s Nude Photo