Limited Is Teh Suck

Limited has been viewed as the more skill-intensive format of Magic for a number of years… JFR, however, disagrees. Be warned: John is at his cranky best. According to the man himself, Limited is, as they say, Teh Suck. This monstrous, light-hearted, vitriolic rant is sure to fire up the forums, with fans of the forty-card format facng down stalwarts of sixty-card spell-slinging. So, where do your devotions lie? With Constructed, or with Limited? Cast your votes now!

I want you to understand my pain, k, pls, thx (hug), for if you do, I think we’ll get to know each other a little better. You know, get all close and cuddly and maybe spoon for a while — first me on the inside (coo, purr!), and then I’ll make you feel all safe and secure in my big, strong arms.

But first, while there is bonding sans agony, a story from way back: mid-1992.

During the Alpha playtesting sessions, Tester A found that his deck was constantly being beaten to death by the deck of Tester B. So A made another deck, which also failed to beat B. Another deck and another, the result was the same: Tester A could not build a deck that beat Tester B. He sought help…

Tester A: I’m going on to The ‘Net.
Tester B: There are no decks there yet. Foiled!

But Tester A was not to be deterred by a simple lack of affordable, reliable or gee, even available ‘net access, not to mention a complete dearth of Magic sites. He decided to level the playing field. Thus was born out of necessity, his mother’s invention:

We each take a starter deck, open it, and play – completely fair!

As such, Limited was created, and teh suck followed shortly thereafter.

Truest story ever. Ask Mark Rosewater Tester A.

The start of the pain of which I need you to fathom began in round 2 of a run-of-the-mill and yet my absolute maiden voyage on the RGD draft boat. My first pick was Faith’s Fetters, my second Moldervine Cloak, and oh so sexy from there – Spoonman to the rescue.

The problem came when, in game 2 of round 2, Brian Bringthefunk broughtthefunk with Oracular Halo on Junktroller. I actually picked it up and read it (Halol!), twice – and was fairly certain that I knew what both cards did.

Playing badly is teh suck

So I promptly dumped Faith’s Fetters
On the Halo.
Faith’s Fetters, targeting Ocular Halo.
On the Halo.
On the purpose.

Brian giggled like a schoolgirl — fingernail in the teeth, toying with his pigtails.

Yeah, I lost that game, and obviously the game after ‘cause hi two lands, and that’s the most I deserved after demonstrating such stellar targeting skills. This was someone pulling down my pants and telling me they’re about to hit me in the balls, like, real hard.

The next round, I’m playing Mike Carter, after beating his dad in round 1.

“Yeah, we’re takin’ over The Carter.”
Nino Brown, New Jack City

“With Carter, he thought I was bluffin’.”
Porter, Payback

I lost game 1 because I opened two lands and never found a third, which is fine since I’m on the inside and you’re whispering “it’ll be okay” in my ear. I believe you, not because you’re giving me goosebumps and hard nipples, but because I have now paid my dues, since it’s like, um, two games in a row now.

Game 2 goes like this:

Me: Land.
Mike: Land.
Me: Land, Dryad Sophisticate.
Mike: Land.
Me: Swing, go.
Mike: Land.
Me: Swing, go.
Mike: Land, Hellhole Rats and serve…

I discard one of the two Cytospawn Shamblers in hand, take seven thanks, oh and another two while you’re at it.

Me: Swing, go.
Mike: Swing, play Mark of Eviction on Rats.
Me: No attack, hold my breath, go.
Mike: Bounce Rats, play Sparkmage Apprentice killing Dryad, cast Hellhole Rats

I discard Moldervine Cloak, take three, oh, and two more, k, thx.

Me: Draw land, examine my life total of four and the contents of my hand: everything costs four or more. I just lost to Hellhole Rats. No, not the way you’d think, a la Mikey P’s “Best Rats ever!” but really, to Hellhole Rats, completely. I took twenty freakin’ damage from Hellfreakin’holefreakin’rats.

Twenty. To the face, neck and chest, groin, ass, and dome area. Testicles too, both of ‘em.

This was the someone who told me they were going to hit me in the balls, like, real hard… hitting me in the balls, like, real hard.

Did I mention that I had quit smoking three days prior, and was “oh, gee, sorry, my bad, a little f***in’ goddamned holy sh** (kill you all right now slowly)” f***in’ edgy?

I shook Mike’s hand, smiled pretty for the camera, then took my deck to the counter and gently started to desleeve, all the while wearing a silly little grin that belied the desire to stab everything in this world many times in a row.

Brenden noticed me taking apart my deck, calmly, serenely even, with flowers and soft sea foam mist and the hum of a thousand Krishnas chanting lovely sh**, and queried why, Johnny Lover Of All And Sexual Dynamo, would you desleeve at this particular moment, when there remains one more round to play?

“I just lost to Hellhole Rats,” say I, knowing Brenden could never understand.
“I understand,” he says, actually not understanding d*ck sh**.
“Kill me,” I plead, “and leave my body in a humiliating pose for the cops to find.”
“No, you must live,” Brendan assured me, “and suffer the tortures of the damned.”

Grab the nearest textbook and open it to the definition of “lolz.” There you will find a photo of me taking the twentieth damage from Hellhole Rats.

Idea: do something every day for sixteen years (say, like smoking), and then, one day, just stop kinda for no reason, just ‘cause.

And then take twenty f***in’ damage from Hellhole Rats.

Sob cry tears omg did that really happen I’m such a victim.

I hear you saying “Why the hell didn’t you mulligan that hand?” In my defense I offer: “Who mulligans in Limited?” followed by flipping your ass off because I was trying to make an emotional argument so stop bringing logic into the equation — what kind of liberal are you, anyway?

Flash forward one week, and apparently the pain doesn’t remember where it came from since I’d just been suckered into a post-Casual Sealed tourney. Going in, I was fairly certain that I had just taken fifteen dollars out of my pocket and set it ablaze, though I did hope to open a rare I could quickly sell. I got a foil Char, which makes going 1-3 feel so much better. Oh wait, noes. Doesn’t.

In round 2, my opponent played that goddamned son-of-a-bitchin’ bastard of a four-drop, Hellhole Prick Bastard Rats. It got me for six on one turn, then I actually had to foil Char that lil’ *sshole prick, which means it hit a brother for eight, all told. Added to the wonderful twenty from above, this means that, at least in my world, Hellhole Rats are worth fourteen damage per game. First pick much?

I want Flores or Zvi to do an article on the average amount of damage/return expected per card slot. Or maybe I will. Here’s the first article in its entirety:

Hellhole Rats is expected to do fourteen damage per game.

The end.
Have a nice day, you bastard.

Anyway, teh suck that is Limited is not that way because you’re left to the fate of what you open (in Sealed), or the randomness of the You Sandwich (Draft), but because it’s simply not Constructed, where, net deckers be damned, you take the results of what your mind hath wrought into battle.

In the last two months or so, I’m about 10-25 in Limited matches, and my Limited rating has dropped precariously close to the prestigious 1600 line, if it hasn’t completely submerged. While I realize I’m bad at (anything that isn’t Constructed) Magic, I don’t think I can possibly be this bad in real life.

I did manage to beat Brianburst Smith in the Casual ‘cause he sucks at countering my Wastelands. See, it wasn’t too hard to throw in that amazing Constructed victory in a Limited article, and I thought it would be, p’shaw.

I know why Limited became my teh suck initially – people dropped so many Entrancers in my lap that I had to go with the mill deck — and this is a valid excuse, at least for a solid month. I tried to draft anything but mill, but it’s hard to say no when you open Glimpse. Thus, take a dozen losses against a scant few wins, get ridden hard and put to bet wet.

Even after I learned that the mill isn’t the proverbial bag of chips, I still met with teh suck. Boros splash something, Orzhov splash something else, Gruul here and there, none of it mattered: welcome to the land of 1-2 drafts, thanks for coming, don’t let the door hitcha sorry we just bent you over and splitcha.

I resigned myself to the fact that I missed the boat when it came to Rav Block Limited. Perhaps it’s because I can’t bring myself to look at someone’s list and actually think about how I would build this deck. I can’t even look at my own lists, and remembering the cards I passed is out of my skillset. That sh**’s hard, man!

About fifteen years ago, I purchased the Harry Lorayne Memory System that you’ve seen on late night tv. The funny thing is… it worked.

So freakin’ well that me and my roommates were so freakin’ good that we could memorize the order of a shuffled deck of playing cards in thirty seconds.

So good that we could remember the order of a just-made up and random two hundred digit number in one minute.

So good that it never got any of us laid, especially since we spent untold hours at Barnes and Noble reading every memory book ever written, though it did end up making us more than a few bucks due to sheer circus freak status.

I hear you saying “yeah, whatever, that’s easy, you’re lying, who cares, what does this have to do with Limited being teh suck and I still don’t believe you, though I bet I could do all of that too since it’s easy.”

Sometimes I’m able to tell when the pack I opened comes back to me, if it has an odd card, such as a really bad rare that’s easy to remember. Sometimes I’m able to remember that Kodama tramples, Blinkmoth Nexus flies, and Ink-Eyes regenerates. But usually only after I take the worst of it from those guys at least once.

Same guy, different skill set, but both involve memory. Go figure it out. Plus I’m good in bed.

Sandwich Limited is teh suck ‘cause you need to ‘member stuff, kinda.
Sealed Limited is teh suck ‘cause you can’t use Nekrataal or The Flying Plant.

Speaking of The F to the P, Josh opened a foily one, and in round 4 he had six freakin’ counters on that sumbitch. It kinda helped that he had Dimir Guildmage right there beside him. Yes, that’s a combo, and I’d even add two Breeding Pool for that sickness!

Limited: ←Constructed wannabee.

Speaking of my-style-tech, an additional problem may be that I put too much time into Constructed, which, net deckers be damned, is the only real format, and the official format of those who are secure in their masculinity and obviously tremendous between the sheets.

The Kobe qualifiers are Sealed deck, and I think I’m going to throw up. In planning the next couple months worth of gank moves, Abrams and I questioned the actual worth of driving three hours to Brighton and spending oh, say, fifty bucks, for a crapshoot.

In my case, it’s not really a crapshoot — I suspect I’ll do poorly because I’m all about the positive attitude. In the past, this was not an issue, but when you’re riding such a pathetic Limited streak, it hurts to consider that going 0-4 can-I-finally-drop-now is a distinct possibility, no matter how good my pool.

Heck, we’ll just go to Nationals and grind. Better odds, least for me.

While I’m sure you’re all familiar with my ability to suck it up and squeeze even more courage and conviction from my endless well of bad ass, there are NACs (North American Challenge — really mostly New England, but pretense is the soup du jour up here in el norte) to prepare for.

Apparently, the final event pays about as well as your typical Grand Prix, though with fewer name players that I might be able to finish above.

For reference, here’s how I fared at the last Limited Grand Prix (610 players) I attended:

600 Rizzo, John
601 Dalton, Ryan
602 Raymo, Thomas
603 Castrello, Brandon
604 Kolbig, Kyle
605 Williams, Justin
606 Tessier, Adam
607 Layman, Keith
608 Schettino, Alexander
609 Rego, Tj
610 Pierce, Chris

Additionally, I did manage to go 1-1-drop at the last Limited PTQ I attended, so good times can abound, as long as sucking badly (as opposed to sucking goodly) is your goal.

Hey, guess what!

I, me, J to the F to the R, have a Limited PTQ Top 8. And you don’t.

I know, I can’t believe it either, especially considering it was a Sealed event during Invasion Block and it wasn’t even in Maine! Maybe it’s fate! The gold is back! The Sealed gold is back! I really want a freakin’ cigarette right now! But no, I will not because I am the wind beneath your wings!

I dunno, just ‘cause Limited is teh huge nut and ball suck doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t give it a go, does it? When the going gets tough, the tough, well they mulligan and hope for a decent six carder, but not in Limited ‘cause no one mulligans in the 40 card format.

Maybe this is a character test: go to Brighton and face your demons. Face Hellhole Rats! And come out alive! Naked!

Have I mentioned that my formerly hottie-in-law is preggers? I know I have, so that’s rhetorical. Alas, the egg some dude deposited up in is about to head out the tube within the next week or two or other bad possible moment for me, which means wifey gets to fly down to Pittsburgh to be all comforting and all that other Julia Roberts let’s-have-tea garbage.

The spawn will probably drop on June 15th, absolutely not permitting me to attend the PTQ in question on the 17th, since I will be in charge of my lil’ squirts, and can’t really pawn them off on neighbors or friends, because I kinda don’t have either.

Hottie-in-law, by her own actual existence, has already destroyed two PTQs and a Prerelease. Either she was coming into town, or leaving town, or we had to attend her freakin’ baby shower, and now, push push all that sh** and maybe Johnny can’t go to Brighton.

And I never even got to see her naked.

Whatever, Limited is teh suck.
Even if I still kinda wanna go.

Anyway, let’s get back to Constructed for a moment and lemme tell you how fascinating it was to read all those Regionals Top 8 reports:

Hi, my name is and I made T8 at Regionals with .

For the most part they were enjoyable filled with complete non-rogue technology, unlike Me, Romeo, Smith and Eisel, but come on, can’t you guys throw in phrases like “I got laid a few times,” or “chyx with nice asses are hot?”

Props to Nick for trying to give credit to peeps for tech and getting yelled at anyway. See, this is why everyone should just net deck — it avoids hurt feelings.

Psst… I beat Nick Eisel in a PTQ. A Constructed PTQ. Just sayin’.

By the way, the guy who made Top 8 and wrote a report for the Regionals I attended apologized for not immediately accepting an invitation to intentionally draw into the Top 8. He apologized twice. For not immediately accepting an offer to ID.

He apologized.

No one but me is frothing at that statement.
Some peeps in the forums chalked it up to his lack of experience.
I have no words.
That don’t involve expletives.

He apologized.
Like he did something wrong.

He f***ing apologized.

I want to be x-0 and refuse all offers of IDs and not apologize, ever, and fight every single one of you all at once and bleed all over the place.

The mere fact that he felt he had to apologize means something is very wrong here. Like it’s the birthright of those who possess the best records going into the final round: sh** no, we don’t gotta play, that’s for regular people!

I don’t have a problem with net decks anymore, I just tease ‘cause it’s fun, but come on, am I the only one in the world who thinks that guy should not apologize (twice no less) for not immediately accepting an ID?

“I’m sorry I took so long to accept your offer of an intentional draw.” In what world does that even sound right? Not my world, where anyone who IDs should never be able to look in the mirror again. But I digress, ‘cause I want a smoke real, real bad.

The last thing I want to do is discourage peeps from writing, but… is it still possible to sue tobacco companies for making a legal product that I chose to use of my own free will? Suing tobacco companies: intentional draws. No correlation. At all.

I wonder if I’m slowly losing my mind. I think probably yeah. Word ‘em up, I hear insane people get to watch tv all day! Oh wait, I hate tv.

I know I’ll never get tired of reading yet another truncated match report of Husk versus Gruul or Husk versus Wildfire or Husk versus Anything, but come on fellas, spice that sh** up a little. Dig deep for a guy like me, who is assuredly not impressed by the way you right clicked and saved your decklist. And really, is Husk that freakin’ good? Er, uh, I guess so, it made like, a million Top 8s. So what if fifty million peeps played it.

If you must net deck, do it with style, pizzazz, have a quickie in the morning with your girlie and don’t shower afterwards, call a 900 number before the last round and tell us all about it, something… different. Something else.

I bitch about everything, don’t I? That’s ‘cause I want a smoke. Real bad.

Never mind, I’m just being a girl, this is what a Standard deck should look like:

Balls. Guts. Chutzpah. To list a deck that isn’t a net deck and know that peeps are going to tear it to shreds but that’s how I roll.

Shout out to misterorange, who went and wrote convincing articles about two rogue-ish decks in the week or so before Regionals, then proceeded to um, audible to a freakin’ net deck the night before and do like, pretty sh***y. And then play another net deck at the next event less than a week later.

Orange, I’ll see you in the forums, heartbreaker! Your place or mine.

Hey, I'd buy it!

The name of the above not-net-deck could very well be “reacting to Hand of Honor and Paladin en-Vec and they also got burn dot deck,” and it would sure roll off the tongue in causal conversation.

It’s been a while that I’ve been playing with this bad boy, and while that’s not quite as fun to write as “So I get to the site, Joe throws me a random deck I never played and I Top 8,” it does get me way too emotionally involved to switch to something else, and that should be the goal of every writer: Stagnation. It roolz, girls drool.

Much like the previous incarnation of NMBIS, this version also seeks to sell its soul for the turn 3 Persecute (or even ninja’d Shinobi), and with the Elders, achieving this goal is four slots easier. Of course, I won’t argue with the sexiness that is turn 3 Heirarch, so don’t you either. Just be content to play your, er, three-mana stuff on turn 3, while I’m over here spitting out permanents like they were teeth and I lived in West Virginia.

By the way, Limited States Champs States is on the 24th. Wait, maybe preggers-in-law can go into labor on the 16th, have the pupa a day or so later, and my wife can call and tell me she’s staying an entire week to help out and I’ll be home on the 24th, right after round 1 starts. That’d be awesome.

Hopefully, you now understand my pain — the pain that is Constructed brilliance in a Limited world, and you got to spend a moment teetering on the edge of insanity.

I realize this was one-sided, but that’s what the forums are for: sharing pain in a circle of spiritual orgasma, ‘cause all y’all’s as nutty as I am; I merely have the genitals to tattoo a pair of bull’s eyes on Huey and Louie and say exactly what every one of you is internalizing… probably, though not likely. Nevertheless, and in no uncertain terms, we gather that the following is true:

Constructed 4L!
Constructed FTW!
Constructed FTW4L! because…

Limited is teh suck.

John Friggin’ Rizzo

Constructed Specialist Okay Lol!
Tester B In 1992
Member, Former Smokers Who Will Probably Start Again Club Of America
President, Hellhole Rats Love/Hate Club
The Albert Einstein Gerald Lambeau Of Shoddy Magic Theory
The Disease, The Treatment And The Cure
The Original Issue Boy
The Emotional Tampon Of Magic
Been Laid Only Once In 2006 OMG Did I Say That Out Loud