GP – Detroit: I Am Not Hip Hop, But I’ll Swing From These: Part II

After time has been called, there was a chance for me to guarantee a draw, but I thought and thought and thought and came up with a way to win, but it was very close. I have and , draining him for two a turn and, adding an additional two, and Ryan has a friggin’…

After time has been called, there was a chance for me to guarantee a draw, but I thought and thought and thought and came up with a way to win, but it was very close. I have Thunderscape Apprentice and Smoldering Tar, draining him for two a turn and, Aurora Griffin adding an additional two, and Ryan has a friggin’ Bloodstock that is serving relentlessly, an Attendant, and Rogue Kavu that are also serving to make my life annoying.

He’s at seven and I figure I can kill him in three turns unless he has some sort of removal other than the Zombie. He’s in top deck mode, so my chances don’t seem all that bad, but I take just a little too much damage and end up at four after I attack him down to three.

Ryan end of turn throw the Zombie at my head, recurs, recasts, and sacs on his turn to kill me. How I let myself get down to four is a mystery akin to The Lock Ness Monster, Bigfoot, The Bermuda Triangle, and Why Jon Lovitz Still Gets Acting Gigs rolled into one.


(Yes, that’s my angry-that-I-suck-at-Magic-so-bad face. Yes, Pyre Zombie is a fair card in Limited; maybe a fifth to seventh pick. Psst… Becky won her match, giving her, um, Good Times For Becky. Whoa — said like Keanu would — that is SO weird.)

Round 2: Matt, just Matt because the match slips came really late

Game 1:

Wow, is this guy’s deck amazing against mine! Bloodstock/Arctic Merfolk is bad times, but the game ended quickly, which was a welcome reprieve.

Game 2:

Wow, is this guy’s deck even more amazing against mine! Hi, name’s Matt, and I also have Hunting Drake in my deck. Oh, and Bloodstock came out too. Arctic Merfolk is broken.


(I’m not sure what card Matt is holding, but I bet it wrecked me. A lot.)

Round 3: Jeff Peters

At this point, when I introduce myself to my opponent, I say "I’m John, and I’m fairly bad at Magic."

Game 1:

Jeff has Undermine. Jeff has Rushing River. Jeff has Recoil. Jeff has Probe. Unfortunately, Jeff only has four mana when he dies.

Game 2:

Jeff has plenty of mana. Unfortunately, Jeff only has Plansewalker’s Scorn to Hurt Hammer with. After he kills three of my dudes, I manage to dump my hand and keep it empty, Recoil be damned!

That’s the thing with Planeswalker’s Scorn: once they dump their hand and overextend, you now have a new problem that needs to be solved. And in a hurry. Scorn = very friggin’ good until turn seven. Unfortunately, Jeff didn’t have the Wash Out that he really, really, really needed.


(We were at table #260, the last table in the main room. And we were glad that we weren’t relegated to the "sucky Magic player" overflow room. Glass = half full. Or something.)

Round 4: Jason Manship

Introduction: "I’m a fairly bad Magic player."

Game 1:

Stop that! It hurts!

Game 2:

Hey, didn’t you hear me? I said "Stop that, it hurts!"

Above summary brought to you by a guy who has no recollection what the hell happened at all, but can read his friggin’ scoresheet. And it ain’t pretty.


(See, Jason’s deck is still out, while my bag is friggin’ packed! I am leaning on Jason because if I don’t I risk succumbing to utter exhaustion. And he was quite comfortable if I do say so myself.)

Round 5: Jay (no last name because I’m about to friggin’ go off)

Introduction: "I’m fairly awful at Magic."

Jay seems preoccupied when I sit down, and he wonders if perhaps he’s at the wrong table. Naturally I wonder as well, so I go back to recheck the match sheet. It’s all good, but his last name is tricky, so when I get back I ask him to spell it so I don’t get it wrong on my scoresheet. "It’s not going to matter" is his reply, but he does spell it.

I mention that I like to at least get the names correct for tournament reports, to which his reply is "why do you write reports?" implying that if I’m in the 1-3 bracket then I suck at Magic. Not that that is an incorrect assumption, but I think I’m starting to not like this guy at all.

Game 1:

Jay hits me with some 3/3 once. I return the attack but don’t cast another creature, but Jay doesn’t attack me when I have no blockers. Odd, thinks I, but perhaps he has something planned.

I keep laying dudes and serving, but he never blocks and doesn’t play another spell all game, which is odd since he has about twelve mana of all three of his colors in play.

He scoops and says "I had spells to play but CHOSE not to," with a serious implication that he could’ve beaten my ass if he wanted to. To further prove his point, he flashes me a hand of seven spells in colors that he did have the mana to cast.

I kind of feel like punching him in the face about now, but when he says, "Are the match slips EVER going to get here?" I realize that he fully intends to drop.

"I’m not even going to bring in my sideboard against you," Jay says, and shows me at least five cards that would wreck the living piss out of me. I respond with, "Then I won’t either," but Jay is way past the point of any sense of humor.

Game 2:

I keep a two land hand and discard for six turns, while Jay lays land after land after land until eventually he runs out of land and is also forced to discard. At this point it is indeed an effort to keep it together and not just jump over the table and trounce him. I really don’t care that he intended to drop, but little comments like, "Since you’re mana screwed, I’ll take it easy on you," and "it’s a good thing I keep drawing enough land here" are about as direct an insult to me as they are to the game.

When the match slips arrive, Jay grabs it, marks off a 2-0 victory for me and signs it. Then he asks if it’s his turn yet.

Finally, I get out a dude and serve. Jay’s response is to scoop with a cute little, "I can’t deal with THAT dude!" thrown in for good measure.

After I pack up my stuff, Jay says something along the lines of "I bet you are wondering what’s going on," to which I reply "I think I’ve figured it out. If you give me enough time, I can usually figure stuff out."

Of course, that’s not good enough. Jay wants to make sure that I KNOW he could’ve beaten me like a bitch if he wanted and says something like, "I could’ve played, but there’s this little thing called a flag, and Wizards is screwing me so now I screw them."

Fine. Screw them. Heck, I’ll help (not really). I’ve always been one to salute those who stick it to the man, but when the innocent become pawns in another’s twisted crusade, I think I have to um, get a little pissed.

Before he leaves, he grabs the match slip and puts his pen to the drop line. He hesitates for a few seconds, puts down the pen and says ‘[EDIT] it, let THEM drop me!"

Um, there is no picture because, while I like to snap a pic here and there, I don’t like to waste disk space, nor would I ask The Ferrett or Joe to take the time to format a pic that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day. If you really cared enough to find out who this guy is, I’m sure you could dredge through the matchups on the Sideboard, but I ask you to not bother to waste your time.

Dan Bock’s All-Land Deck is one thing, but Jay’s behavior is quite another. Even if you disagree with Bock on spirit of competition grounds, you can see that we are talking about two different animals here; Bock did it for fun and no one was directly insulted (well, maybe a few were, but Dan intended no malice…That much I’m sure of), but Jay made sure that I was POSITIVE that I was the recipient of a generous "gift," and he made no bones about spitting all over my idea of the spirit of competition.


Round 6: Ingrid Lind-Jahn

Introduction: "I’m fairly bad at Magic." I know I already used that one, but I was too exhausted to think of a new one, damnit!

Aaron told me that he had just beaten Peter Jahn, so I knew I was going to lose this match, based solely on The CMU Curse: Whenever a CMU guy beats someone that has relevance to my next match, I have to lose. I think that’s the upkeep on a scrub getting to play at CMU. I’ll take it, for it seems like a fair trade.

I ask Ingrid if she’s any relation to Peter, and of course she tells me that he’s her husband. Did you get that? She didn’t say "I’m his wife," she said "He’s my husband." Very cool. I mention that I read Peter’s columns, she says she reads mine, and she also mentions that she’s sent in a few submissions to CCGPrime. Oh, you’re THAT Ingrid?

Dear Husband,

You may write your column about games that involve me, but be warned, I may write some too, dammit!


Wives everywhere


Game 1:

Ingrid’s deck is WAY better than mine, and she proves it by a) killing anything I play that she doesn’t like, b) casting creatures that are detrimental to my life total, and c) killing me softly with his song.

Game 2:

I come out like a crack whore, casting dudes left and right and serving like it ain’t no thang. I get her to nine in record time, but Ingrid looks so nonplused that I know she has a handful of gas. Quietly, and without so much as a "booya," she mounts her comeback by killing this dude, that one, and to make the board nice and clean, that one too.

After she Recoils and Repulses my kicked Lancer, she Plague Spores one of two white mana sources. Sorry, Mr. Lancer, but you don’t get to be big again, at least for a while. When she reaches ten mana, she casts Cavern Harpy, which gates a Ravenous Rats. Bad times for me upcoming. They got worse.

Next turn, Ingrid isn’t so satisfied with just getting a card from my hand, she feels like she’d rather cast a DOUBLE kicked Nightscape Battlemage. Hi, name’s Ingrid, and I can kill you slowly or quickly, it’s up to you. Did I mention that she had a Cavern Harpy in play?

However, I do make her kill me the long way, just because I am so friggin’ exhausted and, since I have long since lost any ability to make cool (or even good) plays (or for that matter, ANY plays at all), I want to see the Battlemage get jiggy. Jiggy is as jiggy does.

2-4 (I lost to a girl!)

(Despite the beating that Ingrid gave me, I am still nearly conscious. I think.)

Claytor and I were out shooting breezes when I brought up my "You either have it or you don’t" idea to Claytor (by the way, when Josh told me how much he gets to write for Scrye I nearly fell of my chair, which is very odd because I was standing up). We discussed this and that and Mike Turian eventually ambled over; why don’t I just ask someone who has been often accused of "having it?"

Me: Is it a case of either having it or not?

Mike: To a point…

He also said a lot of other stuff about how to get better and stay that way, but mostly mentioned that he had been playing since he was fifteen or so. I suggested that he take the next three years off so I can catch up to him in mad skillz. Mike said he would think about that wonderful idea, but I suspect he really won’t. Damnit.

Round 7: Terrie Dolloff

Introduction: "I’m fairly bad at Magic." Hey, that’s three times now. I am so very much no longer an original human being.

Two girls in a row! I am machismo personified! But I still suck at Magic and life. Oh, and I’m sort of losing my voice by now. Weird.

Game 1:

Hi, name’s Terrie, I have Darigaaz, and imma open up some ignition on yo’ pathetic ass! And if you DARE cast any dudes, imma stomp a mudhole in dey asses too with my boatloads of removal!

Game 2:

Hi, name’s Terrie, I have Darigaaz, and you have no black mana, dammit! So, that Terminate, Smoldering Tar, Annihilate, and Agonizing Demise make my neat little activated ability a tad easier.

At twelve life I finally drew a Swamp and cast Tar. Chas was watching and almost fell out of his chair. "Riz, don’t you have Terminate in your hand?" A cursory glance revealed that I did indeed have Terminate in my hand. "Why, yes Chas, I do have Terminate in my hand."

(Space for you to, well, I don’t know. Maybe this white space is for me.)

Oh, Terrie also had seven OTHER creatures in play by the time I drew my Swamp. Terminate? Ha! I can make you lose a life during my upkeep! And I did! Johnny finally did damage!

2-5 (I lost to two girls in a row!)

(My sad face is just for effect because I’m not really sad, although I’m kind of tired. A little.)

After the match, I wandered around half dead, and bumped into Aaron,

who was watching the finish of Sean McKeown vs Someone I can’t remember (Alan Comer perhaps?). There were about fifty dudes in play, and Sean ended up needing to draw a direct damage spell. He didn’t, but he DID peek at the next card: Scorching Lava. He let out a "Ugh" or two, then did the unthinkable: he looked at the card after that: Magma Burst!

Talk about an ever bigger "Ugh!"

Then Sean became technology and did just about the coolest thing I have ever seen: He turned over each remaining card in his library in a rhythmic fashion, and kicked an "Ugh!" in perfect timing with the slapping down of the cards. It sounded a lot like "We Will Rock You" so much so that I almost started to say "Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise…" Almost. Still, it was some funny stuff from a guy that was likely not feeling too jubilant, and isn’t exactly known for his stand-up comedy routines at the Improv.

After a few minutes of me making a mental note to do "The McKeown" after my next failed attempt to topdeck, I went over to Sean, offered a "Sup?" and a handshake and put an end to the bitter feud that we’ve shared online (okay, mostly there was no feud, but it makes for a better story, dammit, and it is name dropping too).

Also, I was amazed that Sean wasn’t made out of paste, having seen the picture that precedes many of his articles. Most people look better in posed pictures than in real life (guilty), but Sean decided to buck the system once again. Those damn Rogues!

"You wanna do some Feature Match coverage?"

-A guy who I don’t know, but really should

"Um, okay."


"Go see Randy."


"Um, okay."


I go to see Randy and he seems pleased that I didn’t pull some kind of altruistic speech out of the woodwork at throw it all up at him.

Randy: Do you have a laptop?

Me: Yeah. At home.

Randy: (holding back laughter) I’ll see if I can get you one.

Me: (thinking) Hi, I’ve had seven minutes of sleep in the last two days, and I’m about to cover a Feature Match for the Sideboard. Um, okay.

From there, Randy gave me a list of suggestions that I thought made a lot of sense, but I totally forgot them the instant I sat down to cover the match.

Jeff Donais lent me his laptop, which I thought was pretty cool of him until I tried to type. See, Jeff’s laptop may work very well for him (a guy who has handsome fingers that gracefully glide across the keys), but I found my meat hooks struggling for space. Half of the report was typed in friggin’ CAPS ’cause the damn Caps Lock key was WAY too close to the letter "A." Don’t get me started on the typos!

Live match coverage. Talk about something that seems so easy but is damn near impossible! I found myself constantly leaning way too close to Scott Johns to see his cards in hand and in play, and I was so busy trying to keep my oversized paws off the Caps Lock key that I had to ask a bystander who was attacking who at one point.

Struggle. Effort. Difficulty. Cool as hell.

After the match, Jeff came over to see how my editing was going, and after watching me struggle with the miniature keys and whatnot, offered to take over. Whew! If he didn’t, I’d probably still be editing that report right now.

You can read it here:


Wow, is that some bad match coverage or what? And I got a foil DCI Vampiric Tutor for that? I was slightly ashamed when I picked it up and put it in my bag.

Hey, I went 0-2 in The Trial. I went 2-5 in the Grand Prix. I went 0-3 vs. Buehler in Five, and 1-2 vs. Dan Rowland’s Five as well. Wow, sometimes I really suck at Magic.

Other stuff that happened:

No Pittsburgh guys made Day Two, But Andy J beat Darwin, which helps a little. If I wasn’t still exhausted, I’d go to the Sideboard and find out where everyone finished, but I’m spent as all hell.

I introduced myself to David Price and he didn’t kick me in the ‘nads.

I met Adrian Sullivan and didn’t kick me in the ‘nads.

I introduced myself to Gary Wise and he didn’t kick me in the ‘nads, but almost did when I tapped him on the shoulder. Tip: don’t tap Gary on the shoulder.

Shvartsman, Senhouse, Hahn, and Becky didn’t kick me in the ‘nads.

Sean McKeown probably wanted to, but didn’t kick me in the ‘nads.

Joshua Claytor figured that if I got a bye it’d be a Feature Match, but didn’t kick me in the ‘nads.

I forgot more stuff that was cool because there was so friggin’ much of it.

After the lunch break, I found myself a quiet little corner to chill, and in ten minutes no less than five people came up to me, offered their hand and told me they liked my articles. Exhausted or no, that is always going to be a pick-me up.

I had a deal with my wife: if I didn’t make Day Two, I’d come back home to her lovin’ arms and stuff. Well, I didn’t, so I figured I’d keep up my end of the bargain, despite having seven minutes of sleep, ever. To the garage and beyond.

It was only $27.00 for the Marriot’s parking garage. Can you kiss me at least? And they gave me the change in dimes. Hi, we’re a billion dollar corporation, do you have any quarters you could sell us?

Like an idiot, I figured the best way to get back to the interstate was to retrace the steps that got me here, but in reverse. What I really should’ve done was to make a random right turn for no reason, which would have lead me directly to the interstate. Instead, I got to see Comerica Park and a really crappy part of town that had me rolling up my windows post haste. Heck, it only took an hour to get back to the friggin’ hotel and make that random right.

Ever been so tired that you hallucinated? After a fifth house appeared in the middle of the road and I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting it, I did the math and realized that maybe the house really wasn’t there after all. Well, I’d better find a rest stop soon or imma take someone out and stuff.

It was weird to see a school bus that was melted to the road appear in front of me. But it was really weird when I saw 2:03 on the clock, passed my exit and blew through a red light, noticed that I was asleep, jolted myself awake and saw 2:05 on the clock. I was asleep at the wheel for two minutes and didn’t die. How fair is that?

Eventually, in between dodging the castles and submerged buses in the road, I found a service plaza that sported a Hardee’s. Food might be good right now, and a little breather might make the pretty pictures go away as well.

I tromp on in and see a familiar spikey-head shape that turns out to be Mike Patnik. Upon further investigation, I notice Bryan Bandes is there too. No one else in the whole friggin’ place, but two CMU/Pittsburgh biatches are. I was pretty sure they were just a hallucination, but, just like Pinnochio, they turned out to be real boys.

Patnik: Man, you look tired.

Bandes: Man, you look beat.

I was.

Two double cheeseburgers and a full tank of gas later I feel a little better, at least able to discern what is real and what is imagined. And Frampton’s "Do You Feel Like We Do" just came on. Turn it up, sucka! And look out for that dancing horse in the middle of the road!

I eat. I drive. I hallucinate. A lot. I finally hit the next service plaza, which seemed like it took about three days to get to, pull over, and get some sleep.

Contact lenses feel neat when they stick to your eyeballs.

I think I finally got home about noon on Sunday, and my loving wife asked if I had a good time finishing 466th or wherever I ended up. Heh; my wife is technology for figuring out where to find live match coverage. She also thinks that I said "annoying" way too much in my match against Josh. I told her that I didn’t say half of that and it’s just that crazy Jeff Donais who makes stuff up because he is a really evil human being.

She didn’t buy it, but she did tell me to go take a shower because we have to go to Cassandra’s birthday party in about twenty minutes.

Someone kill me. Right now.

I did a lot of stuff and had a lot of fun. Now I must pay. Honey, I’ll trade you this foil DCI Vampiric Tutor if I can just stay home and sleep. It’s amazing how a day-and-a-half of nonstop Magic makes birthday parties for spoiled kids a little more tolerable.

Anxious would be a fine word to attach to how I approached heading to Detroit for my first "premiere" event as a known Net entity of love and/or utter hatred. I’d only been waiting for about a friggin’ month now, and figured that anytime I look forward this much to an event, it usually disappoints.

I played very bad for a very long time, probably lost eighty points, and got seven minutes of sleep, but Grand Prix – Detroit did not disappoint: ’twas the shiznit, yo. When’s the next one?

Until next time, swing from these, have a carrot, and some Good Times for Becky (I’m sure she can spare a few).

John Friggin’ Rizzo