If It Ain’t Broke, Break It

Rizzo chokes a horse with his page count in this mammoth undertaking, but it includes his thoughts on basically everything Magic, Sex, and the Internet. Oh yeah, and it’s got a heaping helping of roguetastic decklists for those who enjoyed that element of the other Jonny Magic and pictures are back too.

Table of Stuff

1. The Adventures Of Fish Hook Boy

2. Dear Extended, Rotate This!

3. Are We All Set On The GFR?

4. The Rishadan Crack House

5. Ah, Ichorid, I Knew Him

1. The Adventures Of Fish Hook Boy

July 21, 2005: And so it begins. Kinda.

Actually, that’s when I realized Magic was Johnny Stranglehold. I had been happily ignorant of current Magical happenings for two-plus years, when, in the span of a few days, complete and utter weirdness – that would mean nothing as singleton events – conspired to give me a buzz cut and John Barrymore robe like Pacino, outstretch my arms and plead to Nicholas Cage’s aunt:

“…they pull me back in. Just like they did to Mike Mason.”

The goose is loose.

July 8

Event One:

Brother-in-law Shante Leftfeet, he of “introduced Rizzo to Magic way back when” came up to Maine for vacation. After “hi, sup” and banging on some drums and whatnot, he gave me a look. That look.

Despite protestations from the wifey – much in the vein of Mama Rizzo’s famous 1981 tirade “Throw out those old baseball cards, you little bastard!” – I still have upwards of six or seven Magic cards; Forsythe isn’t just a deck-thinning cantrip for 1U.

Most of my old decks that sucked were still together, and with thousands of foilies in a big box (Nate is sexy) ready to be exploited, I returned his look of with my look of “ask nicer, punk.”

He did.

We gamed.

With foilies.

And Pro Tour 1 decks.

Hours later:

Shante: That was neat.

Me: While you still suck at Magic, I will suck no more forever.

July 12

Event Two:

I spent some time on the road: travel high, travel low, nights in hotels, you get the picture. Yet to come down from the high of Face Smashing 101, I packed a few decks to keep me warm in those big ass beds. Figured I’d better get this out da’ system…

I kicked my ass all up and down the room! Ichorid, love, and Gravedigger and other stuff that was cooler than your all stuff combined… but not cooler than Nightscape Familiar.

I played Magic.

In my hotel room.

By myself.

For hours.

If you have Aluren in play, cast Spike Feeder, Man-o’-War and Cavern Harpy, you may never hear anything so pathetic in your infinite life. Just don’t add Wall of Roots, Stroke of Genius, a bunch of counters and Vampiric Tutor to find everything.

Hey, I just invented a deck.

frigginrizzo: <-invented that deck.

Room service, bring food. And hand me the remote control, woman: let’s see if I can’t find some… Hey: replay of the 2004 WSOP. Hey: that looks a lot like Dave Williams, he of “got myself banned for a year” fame. Hey: Dangling Chad said “David Williams folds.”

Tip: bring up the AK incident and watch for signs of tilt. But he has three-and-a-half mill, while I have 42 cents.

By the way, when the chyk comes to bring food to your room, she always brings a friend – safety in numbers. If I was a psychopath who intended to do bad stuff, or offer much cash for fun, whatever, they both look at me and know what I do when I’m alone. They just know.

July 14

Event Three:

Fresh from my reintroduction to smashing my own face and dissecting the holes in A to the K’s game, I typed “starcitygames.gov” into my browser. And there, amidst a blaze of busy design was an article by…

Jamie C. Whofield?

Jamie C. Whatfield?

Jamie C. Wherefield?

Jamie C. Whenfield?

Jamie C. Whyandhowfield?

Kamiwhoga Block?

White space? Dude, I’m like so past that.

Or not.

I had finally gotten Magic out da’ system; didn’t even remember to forget States; it just passed me on by. Two semi colons in one sentence for no reason.

True, occasionally I’d wander into a convenience store and spy Magic boosters hanging out, wondering if anyone wouldn’t be too embarrassed to buy some. Poor Magic players; the shame, the horror; perhaps someday, if only by accident, one of them may get laid.

How do you accidentally get laid? Seriously, Sabbaticalfield’s back? The hero to the downtrodden and displaced! I wonder if he ever accidentally got laid.

July 16

Event four:

Whilst rummaging through the scary closet with little ventilation for something I can’t even remember, I came upon a stack of old Duelist, Scrye, Top Deck, Inquest and Sideboard mags. “How old are they?”

  • Sixth Edition rules changes are the big news.

  • Ring of Gix is considered the best card in Urza’s Legacy.

  • Nate Heiss has like 14 pro tour points.

  • Mike Long won the Invitational and gets to make a card.

  • I have little tick marks next to the cards that I own.

  • Some of the cards have little notes written nearby to remind me what they do. Like Ancestral Recall.

The above four events happened within a two-week period. I had a girlfriend back in the day who had a two-week period. Said events led me to believe that while I was done with Magic, apparently, it wasn’t done with me.


Jamie C. Shutterbugfield did pictures.


Jamie C, where the “C” stands for “Copycat.”

What’s next, Jamie C. Weaselfield, gonna make a PTQ Top 8 with a deck that contains Verdant Force?

frigginrizzo: <- did that.

frigginrizzo: <-invented [card name="Verdant Force"]Verdant Force[/card].

Jamie C. Ripperfield’s book is worth eighty bucks? Good thing I lent my copy to Mike Turian – over five years ago. I’ll take solace in the fact that he’s still pissed I beat him in a draft where he was mana screwed, and no one can take that away from me.

turian: <- tries to take that away from Rizzo.

frigginrizzo: <- calls Turian a book stealer.

I oughtta headbutt Gary BH Wise for spite.

After the four nutty events got me leaning a little to the left, I downloaded Apprentice (still free!) and immediately realized wow, I have no idea. This is not to be confused with the “Wow, I have no idea” of my “prime” playing days, but rather a kindler, gentler “Whoa,” much like the sheer disbelief popularized by that amazing thespian Keanu Reeves. Cuba Gooding wishes he could act that well.

I missed what, ten sets or something? S’okay, ’cause I invented not only Verdant Force, but Nightscape Familiar, Repulse, Recoil, Millikin, Black Lotus, the Twenty-Sided Die, Booster Packs, Harley, Davidson, and the Internet. Oh, and porn. Or pr0n even.

You’re welcome for that last one.

2. Dear Extended, Rotate This!

August 13

[An hour after I discovered Extended rotates all my friggin’ cards.]

So then. A deck. Okay.

//NAME: All My Children

4 Ravenous Rats

2 Skinthinner

2 Crypt Creeper

4 Nantuko Shade

4 Phyrexian Rager

4 Hypnotic Specter

4 Braids, Cabal Minion

4 Ichorid, love

3 Gravedigger

1 Hell’s Caretaker

4 Mutilate

20 Swamp

4 Quicksand

Perhaps you remember how much I loved this deck, and pretty much this exact friggin’ deck way back when. If you don’t, ask someone who knows how much I loved this friggin’ deck, and pretty much this exact friggin’ deck way back when.

Two Korean Hyppies + Portal Ravenous Rats and Gravedigger + white-bordered Hell’s Caretaker = welcome to Black Magic Marker Man, a.k.a.: Johnny Sharpie. I did that to my Birds of Paradise and wrote “BETA!” on them. Not funny, but try it, then ask Pete if he’ll buy them from you.

But yes, I did beat Nick Eisel in a PTQ. Sucky player beat good player: see, if you eat your vegetables, you too can get lucky! But oh well. Actually, our entire match can be summed up like this:

The seventh round: Nick Eisel, U/B/R

Nick…has no Nightscape Familiars in his deck.

In a hotel room (only $125 a night plus will be here for four nights equals dude) somewhere in New Hampshire = wi-fi buoy = Mike Patnik took 4th at Nats?

frigginrizzo: <-beat Patnik at a prerelease.

frigginrizzo: <-beat [author name="Nick Eisel"]Nick Eisel[/author] in a PTQ.

frigginrizzo: <-beat Turian in a draft.

I am good.

At Magic.


How positively fruity.

Zap did one damage for three mana, and we played the hell out of it. This simply proves that Wizards can get away with anything as long as they include the magical words: “draw a card.”

Play This Card



You may play Play This Card as a sorcery.

Draw a card.

frigginrizzo: <- went something like 15-23 in five Invasion Block PTQs.

!!!!!!!!!And I Wrote A Report For Each Friggin’ One!!!!!!!!!

No Nightscape Familiar? Jamie C. Whofield?

3. Are We All Set On The GFR?

What is the most brutal, insane, unfair, disgusting, nauseating, one-sided, sick ass as-close-to-broken-card-as-possible that I remember?




//NAME: Untitled Domain, or something else

4 Lay of the Land

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder

4 Sunscape Familiar

4 Worldly Counsel

4 Harrow

4 Collective Restraint

4 Allied Strategies

4 Global Ruin

4 Tribal Flames

2 Wrath of God

1 Nostalgic Dreams

2 Ordered Migration

6 Forest

4 Island

4 City of Brass

3 Plains

1 Swamp

1 Mountain

Yes, but why four Global Ruin? Because I can’t do:

30 Global Ruin

30 Land

SB: 14 Global Ruin

SB: 1 Healing Salve

Turn 3 Restraint.

Turn 4 The GFR!!!!!!!

Well, it could happen.

Global Freakin’ Ruin is ass. Ass is Global Freakin’ Ruin. Are we all set on THE GFR?

I’ve spent 928 minutes on this article already.

Boss: Smithers, are we all set on the GFR?

Smithers: Indeed, sir, we are hip and trendy.

Boss: Swing from these.

Smithers: Carrot included, sir?

Boss: Alas, no carrot would be Bad Times For Becky.

Smithers: Yes, sir, we’re all set on the GFR!

I wrote a play like that that became a screenplay – 108 pages of peeps talking just like that. People really, really didn’t like it much.

Have a whole salad.

I found myself traveling a path that led a little too closely to Crossroad Games, which, since I chose said path on purpose, makes sense when you get right down to brass tizacks, as you wacky bastard latchkey kids with no guidance nor restraint say nowadays.

While Rampant Growth makes a good proxy for Sakura-Tribe Elder (same casting cost LOL!), why not just bend over and buy a few? Or four, since that’s kinda what I need.

I sneak in and find boxes upon boxes of commons and proceed to dig up in them. I then realize I’m not sure which set D’Elder’s in and still aren’t. But I found that sneaky bastard times three.

Meanwhile, I’m not trying to overhear on purpose a couple Magic nerds chatting about nerdy stuff. Hyppie comes up and keeps coming up. I gots yer Hyppies right here! Actually, scroll up a few pages, he’s there.

I’m reminded that discarding at random for anything other than Rites of Initiation is not a good thing, so long as it’s not happening to you.

Guy at counter: Find everything you need?

Me: D’Elder times three, sans the set.

Guy at counter: Gots another rhy cheer.

Me: Cool. I mean “kewl.”

I pull out a buck: two bits times completed D’Elder is easy math.

Guy at counter: This guy’s a dollar apiece.

Me: He’s a common.

Guy at counter: F***in’ swear words and Sakura Tribe-Elder!

I understand datguysgood, and understand that everyone knows datguysgood, but is he four bucks better than Rampant Growth? Apparently so.

Thusforth, I sit in a crappy hotel in Ashland, Maine, the proud owner of mi familia du D’Elder.

I threw Domain together, and Berto pounded the ever-lovin’ piss out of me with a goblin deck. While I don’t expect to see many decks that sport Lighting Bolt, Goblin Grenade, Fireblast, Cursed Scroll, Goblin Lackey and Chain Lightning at the Extended PTQ, one must be prepared.

We’re all set on the GFR, but I suck at control even more than I suck at beatdown, but not as much as you suck at writing 100 page articles.

Domain = hard deck to play = doesn’t apply early pressure = that’s a lot of thinking = discard a card at random, jerky, and Recoil a land while you’re at it.

You know how it feels to have the domain on turn 3, Restraint in place, play THE GFR on turn 4 and then draw five turns in a row of Lay of the Land, Harrow and other stuff? If you don’t, guess.

I’m going to bed.

In a crappy hotel room.

In Ashland, Maine.

Without a clue.

About anything.

Okay, I didn’t go to bed. My bad. Your bed.

Blinding flash of the obvious alert:

Top is a good card.

To play with.

In your deck.

You could suck at Magic.

A lot.

Like me.

But it will help.

Good thing it’s not an artifact so that every color can use it.

Guy at counter: Dude, Tops are like, 37 bucks each.

Me: Trade ya’ mi familia du D’Elders?

Back to the matter, to the matter I get back to/all hyped up make me think I wanna smack you… That rhymed. Tooth is good. But I wonder if I know how to play it properly. Considering that I played about 20 games before I realized Sylvan Scrying lets you get


land, not just a basic, I’d say I don’t. I even own one Sylvan Scrying. I can’t wait to use it, now that I know what it does!

Affinity is simply annoying in so many ways. I know I can’t play this deck properly, but do you really have to? Turn 3: win. Or wait until turn 4. I think. I don’t know.

I just caught a glimpse of Temple Garden. Two words:



And a prerelease on September 24th… might have to make that one. This way, I jump in, albeit half way, on somewhat equal footing with y’all, at the start of a block. But I still will not be very good at Magic. But kinda shexy in my own way.

Jump in? Like you jumped out, you bastard?

I just checked my email and saw new sexy mail from Lauren Passmore in which she professes her love over and over again and again. Or perhaps I read into things. A lot.

Becky posed for pics with me = dude, she wants me so bad.

Jill talked to me a couple times = she lies awake at night fantasizing that I seduce her to submission then take her old-school-style.

11152005rizzo6.jpg 11152005rizzo7.jpg

::staring at a blinking cursor::

Darksteel Colossus is very hard to kill with Red and Black and White and Blue and Green and artifacts. Solution: add Recoil! Um… Tired.

Aaron Forsythe, Mike Turian, Nathan Peter Heiss, Paul Sottosanti.

Q. What do these guys have in common?

A. Well, obviously I made them famous, but I mean other than that.

Hone your skills at CMU and move up to Wizards!

CMU = triple A affiliate of WotC.

Maybe I should have listened when they said “learn this, grasshopper,” or “take the stone from my hand to grow strong and prosper.” But I didn’t. Because I’m a d*ck.

frigginrizzo: <-invented four members of Wizards' R&D team.

Blinding Flash of the Obvious Alert:

Ravenous Rats is really good in a deck that uses Mutilate. You know why, but if you don’t, consider how good Mesmeric Fiend is in a deck that uses Mutilate.

While I yelled and screamed at how potentially not good Fiend was in my earlier mono Black decks, I confess to loving the little bastard in any deck that doesn’t kill everything on the board and pop a card back into my opponent’s hand.

Turn 1: Duress

Turn 2: Wrench Mind or Distress or Fiend or Something Else

Turn 3: Hyppie

Turn 4: Attack with Hyppie


Turn 1: Swamp, Ritual, Hyppie

Turn 2: Hymn you, attack with Hyppie

Hyppie: Good Beatz. But they don’t make ’em like they used to, even if the “’em” is exactly the same as it once was. Speaking of ’em, the new Masty looks cool, tho’ I’ll go out on a limb that for every review you’ve read of whatever set he’s in you saw this:

“He’s no Masticore.”

I wonder if they also added: “without Squee, he’s blah blah friggin’ yadda yadda.”

Masticore + Squee = too good divided by error.

Apocalypse puns are the best.

Veldt: it’s no Savannah!

Brushland: it’s no Savannah!

Vec Townships: it’s no Savannah!

Elfhame Palace: it’s no Savannah!

Tranquil Garden: it’s no Savannah!

Temple Garden: it’s no Savannah!

Blinding Flash of the Obvious Alert:

We get it. Really, we do. If it doesn’t do exactly what the original way-too-good card did, it isn’t exactly the same. We understand.

Super Land


T: add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

Strictly better than City of Brass, and a good fit for decks that use more than one color of mana.

Big Fat Cheap Guy



Big Fat Cheap Guy can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. But feel free to Rancor up this sumbitch!

He’ll fit well in aggressive green decks and is certain to give decks that rely on targeted damage or removal fits!

Please stop using exclamation marks after phrases such as “Obliterate gives blue mages fits.” Check out how bad it looks:

Obliterate gives blue mages fits!

We knew that! Even before you exclaimed!

In fact, never use “mages” and “fits” back-to-back. Ever. There is no cool way to do it, so don’t. Because it’s positively fruity.

I like to say that.

You will to.

I mean “too.”

Homonyms, man.

Just try it once.

For me.

Then try “have a carrot.”

Yeah, this one rocks.

The Players Club – talk about a fantastic idea – that seems to be one or a couple. However, I imagine there’s been some not-so-idle chatter: what’s next: get them hookers too? And a big Tony-Montana-sized pile of cho-caine?

Those are wonderful ideas, but if Wizards is willing to invest that much, then I’d say the state of Magic is not only alive, but pretty freakin’ well.

magic: <-better off than when you left it. You bastard.

And gee, is Star City a “real” site now? Pro Tour winners write here? No longer the site of scrubs, wannabees and casual players? Zvi, Flores, Wheneverfield? The F and Teddy Ballfield must be some freakin’ good at something freakin’ good.

starcity: <-better off than when you left it. You bastard.

Maybe I should leave my wife and kids. Give them a chance at life.

frigginwife: <-hit the powerball after you left. You bastard.

frigginkids: <-get to spend that money too. You bastard.

Domain with only three win conditions is funny. And sucky.

//NAME: Beatdown Domain

4 Lay of the Land

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder

4 Worldly Counsel

4 Tribal Flames

1 Nostalgic Dreams

3 Call of the Herd

3 Harrow

4 Collective Restraint

2 Mystic Enforcer

2 Lightning Angel

2 Reviving Vapors

2 Wrath of God

3 Global Ruin

1 Spiritmonger

2 Draco

6 Forest

4 Island

4 City of Brass

3 Plains

1 Swamp

1 Mountain

Lookee: stuff to do on every turn other than search for more and more land and shuffle until the wheels come off! And won’t peeps laff when they see Call, Restraint, The GFR and Lighting Angel? Well, no.

This still tickles me like it’s the first time:

EOT I’mma catch da’ Vapors:

Card, card, oops, guess I’ll gain sixteen life.

frigginrizzo: <- not in a hotel right now.

The Perfect Beatdown Domain game:

Turn 1: Lay of the Land.

Turn 2: D’Elder, sac him EOT.

Turn 3: Restraint with four types.

Turn 4: Are we all set on the GFR?

Turn 5: Fattie du jour. Repeat turns one thru four to flavor.

Is it just me, or have you noticed “or not” is everyfreakinwhere?

frigginrizzo: <-invented that.

Or not.

But I did.

frigginrizzo: <-invented "heh."

Or just typed it so many times it became ingrained in the fabric of society.

Neat note:

I passed by the tube awhile back, Crossing Jordan or one of those “Verb, chyx name” shows was on, and a teen chyk was asked by an older chyk “how would you say I looked in this outfit” or some other asinine question. Her response:

“I’d say you looked tight.”

Tight meaning “cool, neato, awesome,” etc.

Mike Flores, a bad player himself, beams with pride. And he should.

Chyk: Do I look fat in this?

Guy: No, honey. You look great.

Chyk: Liar! I look fat as a cow!

Guy: No, it’s just…

Chyk: Oh my God! My feelings!

Let’s go to bed, me and you. And don’t worry, I’m not as gay as I used to be.

Or maybe I am.

Hey, Aether Vial and Disciple are banned in Extended. Um, what does that do to Affinity? Off the cuff, I’d say it makes it, well, a little not in the least bit better.

Damn, and just when I almost figured out how to not lose to it every single friggin’ time ever no matter how godly my opening hand was.

Is Tooth potential Extended beats? Really, can a competitive deck based on a nine mana sorcery kick it over here baby pop? Guess what:

I have no idea.

U/G madness dudes?


Some kind of ‘Tog deck?

White Weenie?

Green Weenie?

Posh Spice?

4. The Rishadan Crack House

September 4

How is it that anyone can afford to play competitive Magic? It’s not like the packs are expensive, or the cards, or the sleeves, or the tourneys cost 25 beans or anything at all. Don’t even mention ten bucks for a draft, mise well only do three or four of those a night.

It’s certainly not like the good ol’ days where I plop down too much for entry fees and drive to Detroit and even afford Burger King and could write for three months then find a case of the newest expansion on my doorstep.

Oh, and Magic Online too? Okay, here’s my left testicle so I can play in real life, take the right so I can play online all night. Then, for fun, take me from behind, since I’d like to attend an actual tournament that involves putting too much gas into my car and driving too many miles, hopefully not paying to park, 25 beans see ya’ later, food?/drink? where, when, and who’s buying?

All for a potential 0-2 drop. Or 0-2 draft, ten more beans. As an added bonus, you get to drive all the way home at $3.75 a gallon. As another bonus, when you get home, log on and pay ten more to draft online.


I did that for almost three years sans the Magic Online part. It helped that I was rich at the time, or at least pretended I was. But it never dawned on me that this is one expensive and addictive hobby, nearly as bad as cho-caine. But with da’ Cho, you at least get laid now and again by some skanky skeezers looking for a take-it-out-in-trade high. [I’m not sayin’ nothin, but this sounds like a story from a man in the know, you know? – Knut, not sayin’]


Now I sit here thinking “gee, I’d like to get a set of Bringers.” Back in the day, I’d have a set. I’d never use them, but if I ever wanted to, and I never would, they’d be there. Because I could. But I probably wouldn’t.

And I’m a guy who has four of just about every card from Revised to Torment; how can you, mister-not-that-guy, jump into Extended? Perhaps you figure out what you want to play, test the hell out of it, and when you’re certain that’s the ticket, trade like mad to get the cards you need. Of course, in order to trade like mad, you need stuff that’s tradeable like mad. That costs money, and two fistfuls, damn it.

Here I am thinking I want to go to the Ravnica Prerelease. Back then: I’m going. Pow.

Now: Well, Crossroads is like 30 miles times two equals might have to put some gas in the tank for the lil’ woman; the tourney’s 25 beans; probably want to draft a time or two afterwards add 20 more; might need a drink or six – see ya’ later ten dollar bill; another fiver results in nosh nosh… Seventy bucks gone. For a Prerelease.

And God forbid I rummage through any boxes or display cases and something catches my eye. Only five bucks for that guy? Better snatch up a couple at that price!

How can a sixteen year-old with little disposable income even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion that this is a hobby they could get into? Or even a 21 year-old college student with a part-time job? Or even a 36 year-old with a real job?

I have no idea how and don’t have to as long as Wizards does.

Since I’ve been toying with Domain for a few days now, I must turn my attention elsewhere, for there is where you will find another deck, for there is where your mind will be permitted free reign, to construct a deck that is not only affable, but probably laughable, rhymed.

Put together a U/G/tiny slice of Red Madness deck, and if it isn’t circa 2002, then nuthin’ is. Well, when Wizards reprints more madness cards in really old blocks that I currently own and don’t have to pay four bucks for, I’ll put some in. So there.

The previous reference is a reward to those readers who remembered the “su casa D’Elder” saga from up there. And yet, even if you don’t, it is a reward unto itself; bask, just bask, y’all.

You know what this one does, why and how, usually even when and where. Sometimes it gets the broken draw, sometimes it wishes it could do more than draw cards and play dorks for three turns. But it’s another avenue, if I choose to go down that road. Heh, two street puns.

Why not play a net deck and get it over with? If I do well with a net deck it proves I can’t build decks for ass. If I still suck with a net deck, it proves that not only can I not build decks for ass, but I can’t play for ‘taint.

‘Taint [noun] you either know what it is or you don’t. Kudos if you’re past the “oooh, scary!” stage and have graduated to the erogenous zone.

Per-i-ne-um [noun] see ‘taint.

Heh [noun, adjective, verb, everything] See Perineum.

That concludes today’s anatomy lesson. Onto poli-sci, and everything you’ll ever need to know to be an educated voter:

Bush steals elections, created Katrina in a lab, lied about the war so the oil companies could make record profits, invented crime, poverty, aids, outsourcing, global warming, date rape, racism, sexism, slavery, built the comet that killed the dinosaurs, and forced Eve at gunpoint to tempt Adam with the apple.

But you are not alone against this terrible monster. The entire music industry, all of Hollywood, the news and print media, and even Michael Moore are on your side. They spent untold millions to beat him and somehow he still won. By a lot. This can only mean one thing: if Bush can’t get his brother to fix the election, then he must posses the ability to Jedi Mind Trick the Electoral College. Send all your money to the DNC!

frigginrizzo: <-realizes 75% of younger magic nerds are libs.

But when you grow up and see what life is really like you’ll realize that there is one inalienable truth in life. Yep, you sure will.

5. Ah, Ichorid, I Knew Him

September 12

Whilst cleaning out the garage, I came upon yet another three huge boxes of cards, and lo’ and behold a pale horse if there wasn’t a Grave Pact right on the freakin’ top.

“Hey, I remember how fun that card-DUDE! ICHORID, LOVE!”

After a quick verification that yes, unfortunately for me and my itinerant deckbuilding skillz, that bad boy is legal, I had at it.

frigginrizzo: <-invented [card name="Ichorid"]Ichorid[/card], love/[card name="Grave Pact"]Grave Pact[/card].

Blinding Flash Of The Obvious Alert:

You won’t ever, if you live to be infinite, hear the following:

“Damn, I sure wish I had four Carrion Feeders!”

Feeder + Ichy + Grave Pact = call a judge ’cause dat’s plain wrong.

By the way, D’Elder + Grave Pact = sickening.

Try it.


You’ll love it.

Too much.

If I pretend not to mention Squirrel Nest, you pretend too.

Just downloaded the Ravnica spoiler and oooooh. Sorry, I meant “ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.”

About five years ago, I remember talking with Turian and Forsythe at CMU about what we would do if we could design cards. I distinctly remember saying something like:

What if you could design a few cards that could use either of two colors of mana? Not colorless, but more like a gold dude that cost 2BG but you could spend any combination of Black and/or Green, like 2BB or 2GG even.

They thought it sucked, but said so nicely. Still, I must take a little credit for Guild, for if nothing else, I planted the seed up in their domes, and they passed it on to Rosewater.

Okay, I made it up. All of it. Except for the talking with “Turian and Forsythe at CMU” part. But I probably made that up too.

Extended rotates all my cards in October = I get to lie about stuff.

frigginrizzo: <-hung.

Blinding Flash Of The Obvious Alert:




Counter target spell unless its controller discards his or her hand.

This could be really awful if your opponent has no cards in hand.

We get it.


Stinkweed Imp + Strands of Undeath = Good.

But someone already told you that in their worldbeater review:

Strands of Undeath


Enchantment – Aura

Enchant creature

When Strands of Undeath comes into play, target player discards two cards.

B: Regenerate enchanted creature

The discard effect isn’t bad, but put this on Stinkweed Imp and watch if give your opponent fits!

frigginrizzo: <-invented Imp/Strands in Limited.

frigginrizzo: <-hasn't had to wrap that rascal or pull out in 10 yrs.

Be advised that even though I don’t have to, I still pull out, on rare occasions, for aesthetic/medicinal/video footage purposes only. Metagame that, you rascal wrappin’ puller-outers.

//NAME: Preliminary Black Thing

4 Carrion Feeder

3 Nantuko Shade

4 Golgari Thug

3 Crypt KEEPER

4 Dark Confidant

3 Necroplasm

3 Stinkweed Imp

4 Ichorid, love

4 Braids, Cabal Minion

4 Grave Pact

22 Swamp

2 Cabal Coffers


When you use Darkie, build in ways to wax him when he starts to hurt.

Ways to do that:

Carrion Feeder



Cabal Therapy

Dark Man (no relation to “Text Man”)



Cr33ture – Dark Man

Blah, blah, text goes here.

The life loss would give white mages fits!

Dredge is awesome. No, really, try it out, but more so: dredge 10 or dredge 15 would be too sexy for your cat. Dredge like a man! Dredge 20! Dredge 30! I want serious freakin’ dredge!

Serious Freakin’ Dredge



You may put your library into your graveyard. If you do, Serious Freakin’ Dredge becomes an enchantment that reads “Skip your draw phase.”

I heart dredge.

Dredge hearts me.


No, really, dredge is not only down with the sickness, but it’s in bed with the sickness in a 69 under the covers, nibbling and exchanging sweet nothings and/or saliva and/or bodily secretions and/or whatever the hell else with the sickness.

//NAME: Untitled Dredge

4 Blood Pet

4 Putrid Imp

4 Bile Urchin

4 Carrion Feeder

2 Darkblast

3 Golgari Grave-Troll

2 One with Nothing

4 Golgari Thug

4 Zombie Infestation

4 Stinkweed Imp

4 Necroplasm

4 Nim Devourer

4 Ichorid, love

1 Legacy Weapon

12 Swamp

One With Nothing = kewlest card that probably got this review:


Someone will build a deck like this for Extended – probably a pro. But said pro won’t use Ichorid, love, for the sole reason that I invented him. And when said pro builds deck, feel free to copy it, change one card, then claim it as your own, all the while knowing full well that


Turn 1 Imp = never having another draw phase again and loving it! While attacking for four on turn 2 is nice, attacking for eight on turn 2 is slightly better.

I was wrong, Princess Bride puns are actually the best.

The perfect Dredge Pirate Roberts Game:

Turn 1: Swamp, Imp. Pitch 2 Ichy, black d00ds and Troll EOT.

Turn 2: Return Ichies, dredge Troll. Serve w/Ichies and threshold Imp- opp: 12.

(happy hopeful note: opponent used a pain land to do something useless)

Turn 3: Return Ichies, Dredge Troll. Serve – opp: DEAD!

If your opponent happens to play a creature, well, that sucks. Hey, what do you want from me? You draw zero cards and play one single land the entire freakin’ game and you still deal 19 damage by turn 3. Isn’t that enough? Well, not really, but nice try fella.

Golgari Grave-Troll is not a creature; he has no power and toughness, nor casting cost. His +1/+1 counters = so what? The only thing that guy has that matters is:

Dredge 6

That’s insane.

Six cards.

In the bin.

Now, if I could just figure out how to draw more cards and not really draw them but dredge doods in their stead.

“You can have my nigra, he’ll fight in my stead.”

-Slave Owner Guy, The Patriot

Infernal Contract



Put the top 15 cards from your library into your graveyard, supplying the existing Ichy with bodice(s) and maybe even dropping another Ichy or two into the bin as well.




Sacrifice any number of artifacts, creatures, and/or lands. Dredge yourself into unconsciousness and someone will steal your trade binder.






I fondly recall the first time I was introduced to “LOL!” ‘Twas in ’99 in an aol chat with some skank named “sexykittyluv” or “hotNhornymama” or something equally ridiculous.

SexyLadyOrNot: LOL!

Me: What’s that? “Lots of love?”

SexyLadyOrNot: LOL! It means “Laff Out Loud” silly! LOL!

Me: You are quite gay. GG LOSER!

Me has disconnected.

How good is this:

//NAME: Untitled Deck

3 Duress

4 Blood Pet

4 Putrid Imp

4 Mesmeric Fiend

3 Nantuko Shade

2 Life from the Loam

4 Golgari Thug

4 Zombie Infestation

4 Stinkweed Imp

3 Necroplasm

4 Ichorid, love

1 Nim Devourer

2 Golgari Grave-Troll

10 Swamp

4 Llanowar Wastes

4 Tainted Wood

I don’t know either.

Serendipity alert!

I was testing against Madness – not that I’d expect anyone to play that – and making 2/2 zombies like they were going out of style and recurring Ichy like a nightmare (Magic card pun, people – try and keep up), when I looked down and saw five mana. And Grave-Troll in my hand.

You mean I can actually cast him? You mean he keeps the counters, even after I remove six dudes from the yard next turn? You mean he’s a 15/15 and LOOKTHEF***OUTPUNK?! You mean I have an army of zombies, too many Ichys coming back and a 15/15?

Gee, if only he regenerated.

Dude: Pyroclasm.

Me: Why not Wrath?

Dude: Earthquake for two.

Me: How about cycling Decree of Pain?

Dude: Deed for zero.

Me: Oblivion Stone even.

Dude: Cast Necroplasm, EOT your tokens die.

I get it, I really, really do.

Yes, 2/2 zombie tokens can be killed.

Ichy can be removed.

Zombie Infestation can be Disenchanted.

I understand, thank you.

How good is Life From the Loam? Not only does it put doods in the yard, but it keeps your hand full assuring a steady supply of zombies. Lather, rinse, repeat. Hey, a “washing your hair” joke. But you don’t have any hair!

Lots of love!

Blood Pet



Creature – Laughingstock

Sacrifice Blood Pet: Add B to your mana pool. This ability can be played as an interrupt, mana source or poly artifact.

He’s no Dark Ritual!

Untap, start my upkeep: There’s like, a million things to do, all of which cost zero mana. And I Can Do It All Over Again Next Turn Gives Mages Fits!

Nope, not a thing wrong with dredge.





I’m going to have sex-er, “make love” with the wifey. Actually, I’m going to put on the moves and hope she responds by saying “As long as I can read while you do it.”

I’ll let you know how it was.

“After I get brutally owned…and watch my sub 1500 ranking sink even lower…”

-Jamie C. Notsogoodatmagicfield

Just one more reason to want to have sex with him.

[Editorial Interlude: What’s with the old dudes discussing their sex lives in Magic articles? First Wakefield, then Rizzo, then both and now talk about… nevermind. I just wanted to throw that out there and let you know I’m thrown off by this too, ya know. Maybe we can hear about Rosewater’s adventures in making Babyville soon, or Forsythe’s secret tech with Anne that got her to the preggers too. Maybe Bleiweiss will run all Magic sex day while he’s covering for me at Worlds (I hope he gets Dave Williams involved). But hopefully not. – Knut]

Oh, sex, yeah. The wife had a book open when I went to bed. I made a tame and lame move which was duly rebuffed = Irving went to bed cold. But at least I have a kewl combo that I invented!

Rathi Dragon + Life From the Loam = kewl combo that I invented!

4 Peace of Mind + 56 other cards = another one!

Eradicate + Natural Affinity = five years later, still can’t pull it off !

Greater Good + Grave Pact = killah kardadvantage kombo! Kinda!

God, I suck.

So I’m in the garage smoking a fatty and listening to CYY – the local modern rock station – when on comes a commercial for Crossroad Games. Highlights from the ad:

“Stop playing with yourself and play with others like yourself.”

“With the largest selection of Magic cards…”


When’s the last time you heard “with the largest selection of Magic cards” on the radio? Yep, right: never. I also saw a little blurb on Crossroads site:

“A PTQ in Maine? I don’t want to start any rumors but…”

You mean I wouldn’t have to drive three freakin’ hours to Massachusetts – which should be avoided at all costs because trying to get the Ted Kennedy stench out of your clothing is a horrorshow. Sometimes, when the wind is right, his flavor floats up to Maine and infects our brilliant political minds, all zero of them.

I would like someone to explain to me, in no uncertain terms, just how is it that Ted Kennedy continues to get reelected? Perhaps you live in Mass and can offer insight. Then again, if you do live in Mass, you probably can’t afford the tax on offering insight. Especially to an out-of-stater.

Hey, I started writing this a month ago today. I’ve been officially “re-hooked” for one month now! Kudos to me on my anniversary!

Total editing time: 2252 minutes

Tons of pages gives editors fits!

//NAME: I Heart Dredge

3 Duress

4 Blood Pet

4 Putrid Imp

4 Mesmeric Fiend

3 Crypt KEEPER

2 Life from the Loam

4 Golgari Thug

4 Zombie Infestation

4 Stinkweed Imp

3 Necroplasm

4 Ichorid, love

1 Nim Devourer

2 Golgari Grave-Troll

10 Swamp

4 Llanowar Wastes

4 Tainted Wood

This is probably worth fiddling around with because attacking for 10-12 pieces of love on turn 3 puts on the pressure. You have two lands, twelve life and now have five lil’ monsters comin’ up on ya’, and they’ll keep coming back and back so stop killing them.

I can’t help thinking that Necroplasm is bad in this deck, since it kills all the Zombie tokens at the end of the first turn it’s in play. Did you realize that? Oh, you did. But I can keep making more and my creatures never ever die and Ichorid, love, makes a terrible blocker.

chyx: <-tubular. And rad.

I was perusing the new Penney’s Christmas catalog, and, huh?- two turntables and a mixer – they’re belt-drive tables, and the mixer is an ass neck – but for 200 beans? I remember paying well over $400 each for used Techniques 1200s (for all you aspiring DJs – real or otherwise – there is no substitute) and upwards of 300 beans for a mixer. This was in late 1984.

Me: I was rockin’ the wheels of steel ‘fore yer folks even met!

You: Okay. So what?

Me: Well… So nuthin’.

Oh, but you can’t really buy records anymore, kinda, lo siento, pobre si, mi hermano enjoys dredge. Which brings me to my point:

You can afford to become a dj, but how can anyone afford to play competitive Magic?

Phyrexian Arena



Dude, dredge two cards and put ten or so in the bin. Or draw a couple. Either way, you still have two cards in hand to make a zombie token.

Again, allow me to reiterate:

Nothing wrong with dredge.

At all.


Not broken.


When you can have 20 cards in the bin on turn 2, there is nothing to worry about. So don’t. It’s a fair and balanced mechanic. But you know that already.

Maine’s first PTQ is coming!

November 12

Doors open at 9 AM

Entry Fee: $25

Format: Extended

Is this the format that rotates all my freakin’ cards in October?

1st place: Wizards buys you stuff.

2nd – 16th place: Crossroads gives you stuff.

17th – whatever: GG LOSER!

I’m weirded out by what’s happening. For “weirded,” read: the above Big Four Events and all the divine grab-you-by-your-ballsack-and-pull-you-back-in stuff that occurred since. S’like, fate, y’all. And none of you care!

No one loves me!” Rizzo bleated. And then there was silence.

The end.

Life From the Loam is insane, ridiculous and well, a rare after all, which equals: after non-arduous playtesting, I can safely say that:

Phyrexian Arena + dredge = girl ain’t right.

No, girl’s just plain wrong.

She’s touched in the head.

We’re all set on The GFR, but in this case “The GFR” is taken to mean:

The Girl’s F***in’ Rong!

One way of the other, we’re fixin’ to be all set on The GFR.

The board idea is to shore up the weaknesses, which, since I have no clue about the metagame, or the microgame, or the magicgame, looks a little like this:

SB: 4 Coffin Purge

SB: 4 Ghastly Demise

SB: 4 Ray of Revelation

SB: 2 Innocent Blood

SB: 1 Legacy Weapon

I do declare that peeps are going to figure out how sexy dredge is. However, I find it inconceivable that they’ll use Ichy, preferring to dump Nishoba and Akroma or assorted FatOnez in the bin. See, I can read old decklists filled with cards due to rotate in October too.

Was I awake or dreaming when I discovered Ray of Revelation? A little of both, for I shook the cobwebs out my dome and refocused. It kills enchantments for G. It’s a white card. And gosh darn Mary Sue I’m so shy if it don’t just up and fit like up in here like a man with five penises.

Dredge = a mechanism created for the sole purpose of breaking the goddamned freakin’ hell out of Ichorid, love.

Dear Wizards,

Do you deny it?

**silence speaks volumes**

Here I was thinking he was broken in a deck that used Mutilate and Braids. Silly little bastard fruitcake I was, eh? Thanks to Wizards, I no longer have to bother casting his never-ending ass: pitch ‘im end of turn one and – feel free to sing along:

Run, run, Ich-o-rid, love, run, run, run, run, run. Ba-dar, ba-dar!

Those wacky sounds mean nothing to you, but they remind me of “tarroo, tarroo!” which is the punchline of what is one of the mostest bestest articles Jamie C. Articlefield ever wrote. But nunya ever read it because it was in Top Deck way back when magazines existed.

Feel free to mail Dubya for a detailed explanation. I’m sure he doesn’t get much mail, and would be pleased to receive five or six hundred from eager beaver net denizens too cheap to buy Top Deck when it was a real mag just because it had Pokemon inside.

How to play Pokemon:

Step one: flip a coin.

Dear Wizards,

Flipping coins is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really,

really, really, really, really, really annoying.


Everyone, Ever, Seriously, No, Really, We Mean It

Molten Sentry


Creature – Stage 2 Pokemon


As Molten Sentry comes into play, flip a coin. If the coin blah blah we stopped reading at “flip a coin.”

The coin flip adds an element of unpredictability and is sure to give thumbless mages fits!

One of the coolest aspects of working for Wizards R&D must be reading the set reviews by set reviewer peeps. Especially when R&D knows what’s coming in the next couple sets and we don’t. Ie:

Masticore’s drawback is so obscene he’s unplayable.

R&D: When you see Squee, you’ll change yer freakin’ tune, dumb ass!

The Rebels are okay, but don’t bother building Rebel.dec.

R&D: Ever heard of Lin Sivvi? Oops, no you haven’t, dumb ass!


Imagine how they laugh, how they dance a jig as they read reviews aloud at the morning office meeting and take in the “wisdom” of those “in the know.”

Played around a ton with Arena, and yep, she’s sickening. Especially since the Arena draw happens “at the beginning of your upkeep,” which is exactly the time that Ichorid’s ability triggers equals Johnny Active Player Stacks Stuff To His Benefit.

It’s so sexy, y’all. But. So many times I’d watch Arena float right into the yard when dredging. If only there was a way to simulate Arena in a card that I could get back from the grave-



Deep Analysis.

1U, pay 3 life: Dredge stuff, or draw a couple real cards as a lark.

Cephalid Coliseum

U, Tap and sac: Dude, you don’t even wanna know. As an instant.

Too bad I can’t get this land back forever ever, forever ever.

Life from the Loam is disgusting. Nauseating. Worse than that. Do you really understand how ungodly superbly awesomely goodly thisly cardly isly? Okay then, least we’re on the same page.

Dredge: the bastard child of madness and flashback ‘cept it ain’t neither.

By the way, I missed the prerelease in Mass today: the kids had their soccer games they weren’t allowed to go to ’cause Wifey was punishing them in lieu of beating them into unconsciousness for something bad but probably not so bad they couldn’t play soccer and she couldn’t tell me so I could wake up on time to go.

Hey! Let’s for fun pretend I went! Here’s what I received:

1 Followed Footsteps

1 Light of Sanction

1 Twilight Drover

1 Firemane Angel

1 Doubling Season

1 Duskmantle, House of Sha-

Hey! Let’s for fun not pretend anymore!

Berto used to be so proud when he’d manage to use only four cards to kill my Verdant Force. Nowadays he gets pissed when one of his dudes has to trade with Ravenous Rats.

2 4 1 4 LIFE!

But when you get really good, you can go shorthand:


Dudes, it’s like a little secret code ‘tween me and y’all.



Rizzo’s secret codes give newb mages fits!

Two for one for life = 2414L!

This is the last thing I will ever so brazenly explain. From here on in, good luck.