I’m Only Happy When It Snows, or Something

Since I didn’t play in a tourney this weekend, does that mean I have to write a real article? Does that mean I actually have to think about a topic and get busy with my awesome arguments which will sway a grand total of zero people, but fire up the troops who already see things…

Since I didn’t play in a tourney this weekend, does that mean I have to write a real article? Does that mean I actually have to think about a topic and get busy with my awesome arguments which will sway a grand total of zero people, but fire up the troops who already see things the way I do?

John Friggin’ Rizzo, King of Preaching to the Choir.


Last week, The Dojo went under for a few days. This is not good.

At all.

You might think that Star City and The Dojo are competitors, and you’d be correct to believe that… but only to a point. Perhaps I am speaking out of school when I say that The Dojo and Star City (and all the other Magic sites) need each other to prosper for the good of our game. (No, you’re right — The Ferrett)

Since The Dojo doesn’t actually sell cards, they don’t really effect Star City’s bottom line too much (I think), and having them out of business, even temporarily, throws many monkeys into many assorted wrenches of the community. Star City needs competition in content to stay vibrant and at the top of its game. If every other site except Star City went under, I think that while Pete would be raking in the cash from card sales, Magic would have to seriously consider packing it in, at least Internet-wise.

Monopolies suck.

You probably noticed a gigantic upswing in the number of new columnists who just happen to be pros. That is not accidental by any stretch of the imagination. For quite a while now, Star City has been likened as "the scrub site," and while that isn’t the end of the world, a little credibility never hurt, right?

To gain "credibility" in the eyes of the community, a few pros here and here were added to our mix of casual play, issues, and outright weirdness. Now, it seems, Star City has the best of all worlds: Pros, casuals, and oddballs (guilty). Something for everyone.

Starcitygames.com is now the Official A La Carte line at the local cafeteria: I’ll take a fat cut of Prime Rib, a little chicken, a bowl of chili, a Caesar’s Salad, and, because I can, a big ol’ fat chunk of homemade Italian bread.

No one goes through the a la carte line without finding something they like, or can at least tolerate. And everyone goes away fulfilled. Right?


Eating exclusively from the a la carte menu is not extremely healthy. You need a little variety; now and again a big ol’ fat Whopper tastes pretty damned good. And you would be remiss if you didn’t just veg out in front of the tube and order in some Chinese or nuke up a huge-ass (Hugh Jass?) Hungryman macaroni and cheese dinner.

If The Dojo is hurting, we all should feel it a little. If they go away and never come back, we should mourn the loss – the a la carte line is pretty damned good, but without competition, even the food line of endless choices will begin to look limited.

Dear other Magic sites,

Even if we are the best site, we still need you.

A concerned citizen

By the way, how annoying is it to check out Mindripper at 8 a.m., then…um, just sit there stupidly until Star City updates at 10 a.m.? Barring the Tuesday and Thursday updates at CCGPrime and the few-times-a-week updates of the Sideboard and The Dojo, there is not much joy in Mudville; not quite bad times for Becky, but pretty friggin’ close.


Limited season is coming up on us – you know what that means, don’t you? Yep – White Space! Oh, how we have missed the "Space for you to think about what you would’ve built!" Although it seems that not everyone enjoys the beauty and solitude of the textless bandwidth. (But those who dismiss White Space as a useless anomaly might just be wrapped a little too tight… right, Uncle Ferrett?) (Hey, I don’t edit the suckers out, as is the right of my fiefdom – I just don’t LIKE ’em. – The Ferrett)

In order to rectify the White Space situation, and to please both the pro and con-White Space fanatics, I propose two solutions:

– If someone really wants to figure out what they would’ve built, they friggin’ will! And they don’t need White Space to do it!

Solution number one: stop it.

– If you choose to use White Space, you should instruct the webmaster to put a direct link that whizzes right past said White Space. Like so:

"So, that’s the pile I built, chief. I now will offer up some White Space for no apparent reason whatsoever. If you would like to skip the following White Space, click here and you will bypass said White Space and be redirected to the rest of the article. Thank you for your support. Drive safely."


Solution number two: Stop it.

(Solution number three entails continuing with White Space, but making an attempt to spice it up if at all possible.)

<delete the bunch of White Space that was here for effect>


Fun with stereotypes: if you like to play Blue…

You got picked on in high school…
You feel small and unimportant in the grand scheme…
Your wife/husband/significant brother like no other wears the pants…
You tend to abuse your authority when you get it…
You like to be the center of attention…
You are in touch with your inner child and it scares you…
You have, or more likely are, a psychiatrist…
Your favorite actor is Woody Allen.
Your favorite musical group is The Smiths or The Cure.
Your favorite movie is any Woody Allen film.
Your favorite book is "I’m OK, You’re OK.


Here’s a cool activity for you to try:

When you loan cards to someone for use in a tournament, have them sign them before they return them (Did I just use the word "them" three friggin’ times in that sentence?). Yes, even the rares. Trust me, it is quite on the cool tip.

I have over one hundred cards signed by Beho, a handful signed by Mike Turian and Aaron Forsythe, a few by Scott Teamann, and an entire friggin’ Trix deck signed by Mike Patnik. While you may think that a signature will ruin the value of your cards (and you would be right), it does help to cement a little bit more of the community into the game.

And we are all about community. And stuff. Right?

(Not to mention how pissed some people get when they see your fifteen-dollar-rare with ridiculous scribblings)

(Oh, my, do they get pissed!)


Fun with stereotypes: if you like to play Black:

You like to cheat…
You like to steal…
You are basically evil…
You are angry at your parents…
You like to deny and deprive people…
You like to lift up rocks and search for maggots…
And pull the wings from flying critters…
Then eat them…
You really friggin’ love Halloween…
Probably steal candy from babies too…
You go to bars and start fights…
Your favorite actor is The Terminator!
Your favorite musical group is Marilyn Manson or Gwar.
Your favorite movies are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, and The Evil Dead trilogy.
Your favorite book is "Being and Nothingness" or "The Satanic Verses."


sn’t it funny how we all thought Thwart was going to be total ass when we read the Masques spoiler? THREE Islands? Who the hell is going to pick three Islands up?

Isn’t it even funnier how every time someone uses Thwart on you, they end up winning?

"[Blastoderm] is right on the edge of being Constructed worthy."
-Someone evaluating whatever the hell set Blasty was in.

Dear readers,

We really don’t know jack.

Random New Set Evaluator of Choice


Fun with stereotypes: if you like to play Green:

You love to eat bugs and random whatnots covered in moss…
You think treehouses are ass…
You voted for Ralph Nader…
You like to beat up hunters for no apparent reason…
You think showers are ass as well, preferring to bathe when it rains…
You think Santa is a bastard for working those elves too hard…
Your favorite actor is Smokey the Bear.
Your favorite musical group is The Oak Ridge Boys.
Your favorite movie is…hell, you don’t even own a television.
Your favorite book is made of recycled paper.


Yes, I am as sick of bitching about ID’s as you are of reading them.

I’m still right, though. Really. I am.


Fun with stereotypes: if you like to play white:

You get pissed that Miss America didn’t promise world peace…
You watch every second of The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon…
and wish it was longer…
You are/were a member of the pep club at your high school…
You think Rodney King belongs in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations…
You are such a nice friggin’ person…
You don’t even squeeze the Charmin…
Your favorite actor is the entire cast of "Touched by an Angel."
Your favorite musical group is Michael Bolton.
Your favorite movie is any movie where the good guy wins.
Your favorite book is well… picking a favorite would be unfair to the others, who are also very good, and you wouldn’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings and all that endless White sappy stuff.


I am still (two pages later) confused about Star City. On one hand, I wish for the site to kick some serious ass, make some serious money, and stay at the top of the Internet heap. On the other, I would like the site to retain a touch of the "scrub site" feel that endeared it to many of it’s readers.

How is that balance to be struck? We want to be taken seriously, but we also want to be able to let it all hang out now and again. We want to be THE strategy site, but we also want to deal with the issues that might not be at the forefront of the Pro Tour.

AND we don’t want to alienate the loyal readers who started clicking on Star City because of the wide spectrum of variety.

The Ferrett and Pete are fighting a two-headed monster. But, they can win (as long as they have two flyers that can block that big ol’ beast).

How I see it:

Dear pros,


The Ferrett and Pete

Dear nut jobs,

You guys stay here.

The Ferrett and Pete


Are we glad that Meridian Magic is back online? Yes. Are we going to check it every day? Yes. Is asking and answering your own questions unbelievably annoying? Hells yeah. But, football coaches do it all the time, so it must be quite cool.

Speaking of cool, I found three links to articles I did (or had a hand in) on Meridian. If you needed yet another sign that the apocalypse is upon us, Meridian just hooked you up.


Fun with stereotypes: if you like to play Red:

You are really pissed or something…
You are always in a friggin’ hurry…
You like explosives…
And fire…
And Beavis and Butthead…
You like Ronald McDonald’s hair…
You like thunderstorms…
a lot…
Your favorite actor is any stunt man who’s been set on fire.
Your favorite musical group is anyone who will set their guitars on fire. At every show.
Your favorite movie is "Mississippi Burning."
Your favorite book is "Dante’s Inferno."


A Little Aside, by John Friggin’ Rizzo, copyright Chill The Hell Out Productions and stuff.

By the way, stereotypes were not born in a vacuum. Do you know why stereotypes piss so many people off? It’s because they are absolutely, one-hundred percent true in the "bottom-of-the-barrel" case.

The "bottom-of-the-barrel" explained:

Every segment of every group has the bottom-feeders; those who are the dreck of said segment or group. Take teenagers, as an example. Not every teenager is a cocky, self-centered jerk. They are not all rude, loud, offensive, lazy, ignorant and annoying. But the bottom-feeder teenagers are. They are the ones who justify the stereotype; the ones who are a black mark on the teenage segment – the ones who live up to all the crappy stereotypes of what a teenager is.

Not all Irish people are alcoholics. Not all blacks are on welfare. Not all homeless people are just drunken losers. Not all single teenage mothers are sluts. Not all French people are rude. Not all homosexuals are sex-starved deviants. Not all union members are fat and lazy pigs.


Some of them are. Enough of them are that some people will be able to justify the stereotypes of said group. What does this have to do with Magic? Well, Aaron Forsythe, Michelle Bush, and Paul Jordan touched on the subject of stereotypes a while back. While their articles mostly addressed stereotypical slang, they, apparently, did not realize that they were discussing the so-called "bottom-of-the-barrel" segments. They were sickened by the some bottom-feeders behavior, but what do they expect? The lowlifes are going to pull out every offensive stereotype that they can think of for their own personal justification and/or general amusement.

Point: sticks and stones may break my bizones, but names will never bust through my armor, chief.

If someone calls you a fag, a little woman, or asks if your breasts are real, why would you let that affect you? You are obviously dealing with a bottom-feeder. Why let them win?

The next time someone asks Michelle Bush, "Are those real?" she should come back with, "My plastic surgeon assured me that no one would notice! Did the doctor who gave you a penile implant tell you the same thing?" Or even…

"The one on the left is real, but the one on the right was built by your father in the late Sixties."

The next time someone calls you a fag, you should come back with, "Well, I’m not really gay, but I am strangely attracted to your Cro-Magnon level of intelligence." Or, better yet…

"I’m really not gay, but I do think that someone like you could persuade me to give it a try. Shall we adjourn to someplace a little more private?"

The next time someone calls you a little bitch or little woman, you should come back with, "It’s my mother’s fault for making me wear those friggin’ dresses!" Or perhaps…

"Subconsciously, you wish I was a woman so you wouldn’t feel guilty for fantasizing about me, right?"

(EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s a good thing the boy’s funny, or I’d be cutting all of these vulgarities out like Ginsu knives were goin’ out of style – The Ferrett)

When someone uses a stereotypical insult on you, you should, for lack of a better term, "be a man about it." Or, at least, consider the source enough to consider the source a borderline moron.


"His name is Ronald Reagan! Now sit the [expletive] down!"
-The lady at the unemployment office, Moscow on the Hudson.

This has no relevance to anything, but that scene if so friggin’ hilarious that I felt compelled to drop it in here.


There are two types of people in this world: those who say "there are two types of people in this world," and those who don’t.


There are those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, and those who say "what the hell just happened?"


There are those who play Beatdown, those who play Control, and those who play white.


I bet waitresses never get tired of hearing, "Here’s your tip: do not look directly at the sun."


I won Zvi’s Invitational deck for $325. Yes, Virginia, I could be tempted to give it away in a reader contest. But it would have to be one hell of a cool contest. As for why I made the last five bids or so? Pete had a friggin’ reserve. I kept upping the bid and eBay kept telling me to raise the roof, chief, for you ain’t hit the reserve yet. But… I finally did. So there, Pete! So much for trying to keep a brother down and whatnot!

FrigginRizzo: <—Fights the power and sticks it to da’ man (Pete)!


Ban Force of Will?

I say ban a card that does all of these things:

1) Said card is so good, alone or in combination with another card, that any random street monkey could abuse the piss out of it. Way too much.

2) Said card is so good in a certain deck type that any random street monkey can pilot said deck to victory. Way too much.

3) Said card is so good in a certain deck type that any random street monkey can eliminate all aspects of luck (bad draws, mana screw, opponent interactions, bad matchups, etc.). Way too much.

4) Said card is so good that everyone uses it, or metagames against it. Way too much.

As of this writing, I am not aware of any random street monkey that
has won an invite to Tokyo.

Ban Force of Will? Hells no. Ban Necropotence? Hells no, part duex. Ban nothing. So there.

Now, I know many of my fellow Star Citians have lobbied hard for the banning of Force of Will/Necropotence/Something Else, and I probably am not making any brownie points with them, but, I think they are wrong. As usual, I’m going off on my "solve your own problems" tangent; looking to the local governing body to toss you a cookie of "fairness" is not my idea of the proverbial "good thing."

I tell you to play it out. I tell you to build your own decks. I tell you to dig into yourself and pull out the best…

…now I tell you to figure out how to beat Force of Will. YOU figure out how to beat it; leave WoTC alone (well, except for Mark Rosewater), they have REAL problems to worry about. Force of Will being "too good" is not one of them.

Last season, Three-Deuce beat Trix – Trix WITH Mana Vault and Dark Ritual. In Slowing down Trix, has WoTC somehow made it better? Nope, they made it worse, yet everyone now finds a new "problem" card that needs to be dealt with RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW! They slowed it down by at least one full turn, and you still bitch.

Face it, WoTC will ban Force of Will, Necropotence, Survival of the Fittest, Fireblast, etc., and you STILL will bitch about the next powerful card/deck. Imagine:

Sligh is too good. Ball Lightning needs to be banned. NOW!

<Lightning gets banned… ban Incinerate. NOW!>

Stompy is too good. Rancor needs to be banned. NOW!

<Rancor gets banned… ban Rogue Elephant. NOW!>

Dual lands are too good. Everyone uses them. Ban them NOW!

<Dual lands get banned… ban Invasion tap-lands. NOW!>

Wasteland is too good. Everyone uses them. Ban it NOW!

<Wasteland gets banned… ban artifact mana. NOW!>

How about this:


Pardon my shouting. Wait, don’t pardon it, just quit your friggin’ bellyaching. Quit being whiny little wusses (not the word I would prefer to use there, but you get the idea) and dig up some mad skillz, chief. Dammit! You friggin’ Democrats.

Dear Government of Magic,

Solve all of my problems for me.

<insert random snotty tears and postnasal congestion here>

The good cards are not the problem. The problem is that it is easier to bitch about the good cards than it is to solve the problem for yourself. So there.

P.S. – I still like you "ban Force of Will" guys. But you can be mad at me if you want.


Last year, in AOL’s Magic Chatroom:

PiMpDaDdYmAcK69: does ne1 have cores, cradles, morphlings or squees for trade? IM me if u do.

This year, in AOL’s Magic Chatroom:

BrAnDnEwPiMp69: does ne1 have fires, waves, angels, glacial walls, or evil eyes for trade? IM me if u do.

Why the hell did no one use Glacial Wall and Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore until the friggin’ pros did? Are you all lemmings? Well, yeah. Too bad your local shop ran out of the new "cool cards," huh?

The stunning lack of originality I find in this game is staggering. Ninety percent of you guys using Glacial Wall forgot you even had any, but you searched up ’em up real quick-like after Adrian used ’em, didn’t you?



Ever wonder how much your favorite columnists get "paid?" Yeah, me too. Apparently, though, that information is sacrosanct. What that means is this: it’s none of your friggin’ business! Or so I have implied. Yes, I too wonder how much Gary Wise and Zvi and Theron and Alongi and Chad Ellis make per article. No, I don’t really care, but I must admit that I am curious, and I bet you are too.

Again, that’s none of your friggin’ business! Are Magic writers (and site readers) so shallow that the money aspect is relegated to the smoke-filled back-room discussion only? Hell, we all know how much the pro players make – why are the writers’ egos handled with kid gloves?

Who knows? Who cares? What-the-frig-ever.

When the every-day-petty crap (for instance, "salary-envy") that is usually relegated to real life starts to infect (to a point that amputation is a viable option) this game that I love, that’ll be the day where I offer you one final "Later, chiefs." Because, that will be the day that Magic ceases to be what it should be – a game – and becomes just another activity that wastes too much time, money, and time and money.

The guys I play multiplayer with have never read any of my columns. Because they don’t care that I am Mr. Big Net Writer, which, of course, is them keeping it real. And keeping it cool. How is this relevant to anything, ever? It’s not, but I think that it is (figure that sentence out, chief). And they’ll still target Mr. Big Net Writer with multiple Black Vises. And I’ll like it. Sort of.

They don’t know about Net Decks, ID’s, cheating, concessions in the Top Eight, binder theft, and any number of issues that us "enlightened" players are aware of. But, they are aware of the single most important aspect of Magic:

You put your whole self in, you put your whole self out, you put your whole self in and you shake it all about…


That’s what it’s all about.

When you stop having fun playing Magic, do us all (and yourself) a big favor: quit. You won’t need us and we sure as all hell won’t need you by then.


There is one week or so left in 1.x. Try this on for size:

Crappy American Breakfast at McDonald’s Drive-Thru.org, or Fifty minutes is Way Too Friggin’ Long.gov, or even How Much Did You Want to Necro For Again.edu:

4x Contagion
4x Nether Spirit
4x Lurking Evil
4x Bottomless Pit
4x Unmask
4x Duress
4x Pox
4x Mox Diamond
3x Cursed Scroll
3x Mind Swords
22x Swamp

The most exhilarating deck you will ever play? Nah. The most nerve-wrecking deck you will ever play? Hells yeah.

Turn one: Swamp, Duress, Mox.

Turn two: Swamp, Lurking Evil.

Turn three: Swamp, Pox, pitch a Spirit, activate Lurking Evil, serve.

Turn four: Return Spirit, Mind Swords, serve.

Turn five: Win, if opponent didn’t already scoop, due to having virtually no permanents or cards in hand.


There is something insanely erotic about paying tons of life for no valid reason whatsoever. Well, having a 4/4 flying body coming with the deal is cool too. How many times will your heart stop when you are facing Sligh?







I am almost back to 1600 in each rating category. Deal with it.

(sticks tongue out, pulls out pocket linings and tells elephant joke)

And that’s about as random as I wanna be. For now.

John Friggin’ Rizzo