Mixed Knuts: Get Yer States On

The question everybody wants to know right now, though, is what are you packin’ this time? You’ve got a tough job ahead of you, I’ll tell you – because you’re losing a lot of power from the Invasion Block and not getting much back from Onslaught. That leaves many thinking the top decks might just be Standardized Odyssey Block decks.

Hello, States, it’s been a long time… Good to see you again. Even though you don’t mean anything to the greater Magic world (yeah, I’m still stumping to give each States Top 8 byes at Regionals – or something, anything, else – but so far Wizards isn’t listening), you’re still my favorite tournament of the year – because you represent a completely-open Type 2 event that incorporates a set rotation. No Pro Tour preview for you; yer straight rawdoggin’ it out here in the boonies with the rest of the scrubs. Gotta give a brotha props for that.

Oh yeah, and you don’t include ten rounds of Swiss, so that makes you much smoother going down than Regionals. So between you and me, it’s all good.

(Except for the aforementioned prize support, but we won’t let that come between us.)

So what has happened since last time you rolled out? Well, the biggest news is that a card that was overlooked (it was a nuclear bomb sitting in the uncommon slot, and nobody paid attention) at States last year -some call him Psychatog – became the engine for this year’s best deck. One of the big hits from last year’s States (Upheaval/Zombie Infestation) turned into a sleeper Block deck, your girl Braids (I know you dig the psycho chicks almost as much as Billy Bob Thornton) got to see a lot of play, discarding became something you often want to do – and with the right cards, you can play Game 1 with your sideboard as well.

Oh yeah, and Kai won. A lot.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad year.

The question everybody wants to know right now, though, is what are you packin’ this time? What sickness will you break out for all the world to see? You’ve got a tough job ahead of you, I’ll tell you – because you’re losing a lot of power from the Invasion Block and not getting much back from Onslaught. That leaves many thinking the top decks might just be standardized (remember kids, verbing weirds language) Odyssey Block decks. Here’s an example of what many consider to be the”deck to beat” entering States as posted by Eric“I see London, I see” Franz:

U/G Madness

3 Aquamoeba

4 Arrogant Wurm

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Wonder

4 Careful Study

4 Circular Logic

3 Deep Analysis

4 Roar of the Wurm

3 City of Brass

10 Forest

9 Island

We all know what this deck does, as it made starring appearances at Nationals, Worlds, and OBC tournaments throughout the summer. It has every ability to go Calvin and Hobbes on a brotha, making your opponent’s life nasty, brutish, and short. As Geordie Tait might say, this deck can be a complete asshammering, so if you aren’t playing it, you better be prepared.

Aside from U/G though, the playground is open. Straight Odyssey Block Mono-Black control will find its play growing limp in the move to Standard, because any deck that only has four win conditions (even if they are straight gangbangas like Nantuko Shade) and no counterspells (always keepin’ a brotha down… White ain’t the color of the man, Blue is!) is highly unlikely to win in Type 2. Not only that, but OBC was a time where kids ran the place and swinging was hot – and while the new Standard may be kid-intensive, it doesn’t have to be, and that means OBC MBC ain’t gonna hold up (though Carl Jarrell provided an updated Corrupter version that could be solid).

OBC MBC’s impotence doesn’t mean that the power of the black man will be held in check, however. OBC’s Pirates! deck (who the hell calls a pile of black men Pirates? Makes me mad just thinkin’ bout it) was a good start on a heavily-disruptive deck that applied a steady amount of beats. Mix that posse with some old-school love from Duress and some new fat in the form of Grinning Demon, and you’ve got yourself a party… At least until your opponent top decks an enchantment, but I’m not ready to rain on anybody’s parade just yet. Especially a bunch of black men.

I personally found myself thinking back to ze German Nationals and pondering what Ziegler’s Burning Bridge deck lost and realized that it lost very little. In an environment where beatdown is always prevalent, running a deck that shuts it down often seems like a good idea. Here’s my updated version:

Big Boobs and Fire

4 Volcanic Hammer

3 Lightning Surge

3 Browbeat

4 Firebolt

4 Fiery Temper

4 Flame Burst

4 Ensnaring Bridge

3 Words of War

4 Violent Eruption

4 Grafted Skullcap

16 Mountain

4 Barbarian Ring

3 Petrified Field

The deck loses Ghitu Fire, Fire/Ice, and Urza’s Rage – but in place of it, I’ve added Lightning Surge, Browbeat, and Words of War. With a Grafted Skullcap and Words of War on the board, you get 4 uncounterable points of damage for two colorless mana each turn. Browbeat also combos well with Words of War, as it forces your opponent to take five, or either let you draw three cards or take six from the Words (thanks to James for that slice of tech). Somehow, that seemed like an interesting combo, provided you are sitting comfortably behind an Ensnaring Bridge or two. You also have unpreventable damage at Threshold in the form of Lightning Surge, and you have colorless, uncounterable points of damage with your Barbarian Rings. Overall, the idea leaves me somewhat gruntled.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of monkeys hanging around, waiting to throw wrenches into your gears. Monkey #1 comes in the form of 6/6 Wurms that will make you lose if you don’t draw and play a Bridge by turn 5 or so. Monkey #2 (close kin to Monkey #1) comes in the form of Naturalize, which gives U/G a legitimate way to break out of the Ensnaring Bridge lock and kill you before you can respond. The U/G matchup after sideboarding suddenly goes from interesting to problematic.

My gruntleness was further turned into dis when thinking about what Mono-Black’s disruption would due to my plans… Duress is a major problem for a deck that relies on getting down Ensnaring Bridge every game, and with the sudden infusion of fat from Grinning Demon, a Mono Black creature deck may have threats that Big Boobs and Fire can’t deal with.

My dawg Jimmy Bean is of the opinion that Seismic Assault may actually be better to run than Words of War in the deck (particularly against decks that don’t run any counterspells), since it allows you to draw your cards that can potentially do more than two damage a shot while still turning your lands into two damage each.

Unfortunately, glaring holes in two of the major matchups do not a good deck make. Allow me to change the name to”Flaming Pile of Poo.”

Regardless of the quibbles, Flaming Pile of Poo should provide you with an interesting rogue deck to add to your test gauntlet, as it is streetwise (it uses previously proven technology) and it’s always possible that some yahoo (like me) could show up playing it in the early rounds.

Moving on, Seth Burn posted his version of Sligh 2002 last week, and as always it looks quite tasty (and just like this):

4 Goblin Piledriver

4 Goblin Sledder

4 Goblin Taskmaster

4 Grim Lavamancer

4 Raging Goblin

4 Sparksmith

1 Final Fortune

4 Firebolt

4 Lava Dart

4 Reckless Charge

4 Shock

4 Bloodstained Mire

1 Goblin Burrows

10 Mountain

4 Wooded Foothills

Allow me to promise you that Sligh will be played at States this year, and that some peeps will do well with it. Could it be a Tier 1 deck? Who the hell knows at this point? But if you get beat by it in the first three rounds, that won’t matter much. I’m not entirely convinced that it can handle U/G with any consistency, but Seth has an interesting discussion on how the deck could be played and sideboarded – so if goblins and fire turn you on, I suggest you go check it out.

The bottom line is that my brotha States is a quiet man and rarely spills his best tech until the day of the tournament. This year’s Type 2 rotation is actually stranger than in year’s past, because Odyssey and Onslaught seem to have very little synergy right now. That creates a rift for deckbuilders, where they either need to make minor enhancements to existing Odyssey archetypes – or alternately, jump into Onslaught with both feet and examine the posse (tribal) element or try to break the few power cards that Onslaught hath delivered unto us.

In the meantime keep your eyes peeled for those articles where new tech is spilled, because unless you feel like playing U/G for States, those articles (and playtesting, lots of playtesting,) are where you’ll find your edge.

Looking into the Holy Kanoot’s crystal ball…

Other promises about States that I will make you now and conveniently forget should you bring them up later:

Somebody will annoy the hell out of their opponent by having Worship and Mobilization in play at the same time.”Can you kill me now? Can you kill me now? How about now?” This may result in the first ever Magic tournament homicide.

Blue is currently weaker than it’s been since the Rath cycle. All of you Green mages out there may officially stop your bitching. I’m still reeling from the fact that I have to play around Disenchant against Green mages now.

While (in my opinion) the Wizards deck is not ready for primetime (though U/B Wizards recursion could be brutal down the road), is there any doubt that Kai has gone from being the Best Player in the World to the Most Annoying Creature in the World with the introduction of Onslaught? I sense a great deal of Rue-age forthcoming, and predict that players will be cursing his name before the 2 years of Onslaught have run their course.”Grr. German Dance, my ass!

Speaking of Kai, appropriate catch-phrases to use when casting him include”I must break you” and”Schnitzel!””Colonel Klink” also works, but most people won’t understand the reference.

Somebody will win a match as a direct result of casting Biorhythm.

Dave Meddish actually tossed Tim into his U/B Wizards deck. Tim back in constructed? The idea is just too cool to contemplate.

Between U/G Madness, White Weenie, Mono-Black, and Sligh, all five colors should be well represented on November 2nd.

In spite of the wishes of all opponents who have played against it, I have a feeling that the Mirari’s Wake Combo deck will live on to wreak havoc on the unprepared. Is there a card out there that is less fun than Time Stretch? Bleagh!

Blue mages across North America will start to get twitchy as their brains and bodies attempt to reconcile the fact that the best counterspell printed in the new set has a one butt.

Obligatory Cheesecake Discussion of the Week

Massive (Dave Meeson) requested that I write about hot chicks more often, so I’m going to attempt to incorporate a weekly segment that features some attractive women and maybe a few photos. If I get enough requests, I’ll even toss in a few beefcake shots for the ladies (see the EDT and Pat Chapin items below).

When going back to check on the link to the German National costume from the Miss Universe contest, I realized that the site there contains photos of delegates from two other pageants (ack, Scholarship Programs), so I’ve got material for at least a couple more articles.

Since they have a treasure trove of info about the contestants I’ve decided to start with the Miss Teen USA contest. And for those of you out there who are complaining that I’m discussing swimsuit photos of girls between the ages of 15 and 18 (translation: WAAAAY to young for me), I’m not the one who hosts these contests and posts the pictures. I’m just the one that makes fun of them when they are done.

A legal caveat before I begin… All of these girls are very smart, very motivated, and attractive (they weed out the dumb, lazy, and unattractive ones earlier in the process, which makes it a lot like dating) and I recognize that. The things I say are meant for comic effect only and are not meant to reflect the real life situations, status, or blah blah blah. Humor. That’s it.

Besides, a lot of my readers are the same age as these girls, so I’m just pointing out potential candidates for them in the Game of Life. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

Anyway, here are my notes:

Miss Teen Arkansas (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/AR.jpg): And I quote – a”figure of comfort and confidence.”

Miss Teen Arizona (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/AZ.jpg):

Favorite Author? Hans Christian Andersen. Translation: I haven’t read a book since elementary school.

Favorite Accessory: A Cute Guy on my Arm. Ah… a feminist. Good for her.

Miss Teen California: (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/CA.jpg) A blonde girl from California… How surprising!

Miss Teen Colorado (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/CO.html).”15 years of professional ballet.” Favorite author is Dr. Seuss. This one’s a keeper. Just be aware guys, her favorite musician is Amy Grant, so there’s probably a low corruption factor here – which, as my friend Stoakley might say, makes the endeavor so much more worthwhile.

Miss Teen Georgia (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/GA.html): She’s a six-foot-tall, flame-haired model. Aside from my own misgivings about dating redheads (they always screwed me over, and I kept coming back), what’s not to like? Like a moth to the flame…

Miss Teen Iowa calls this look”Liberty Belle” (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/gown/IA.jpg).

Apparently, there are no attractive teens in Kansas (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/KS.html).

Miss Teen Kentucky (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/KY.html): Helloooooo, pediatric nurse! Not only that, but she’s an award-winning gymnast! ‘Nuff said.

Miss Teen Maine (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/ME.html): She’s kind of cute – and she can kick your ass, too. This is the type of woman that every man needs.

Miss Teen Massachusetts (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/MA.html):”This is my sincere face. Look, see these eyebrows? I really mean what I say. Honest!” She has received the”Most Creativity in Math” award. Is it just me, or does that award sound like a) there are too many awards given in her school, and b) She had an affair with her math teacher, and he doesn’t mind the fact that she’s got the wrong answers to the math problems, so long as her answers are creative and she doesn’t tell his wife about their little tryst?

What? Cynical? Me? Nahh.

Miss Teen Michigan (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/MI.html): Okay, her favorite musician is Jimmy Buffett. This girl will go far in life.

Ohhhh! Miss Teen Missouri (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/MO.jpg) has opted for the dreaded”tankini” swimsuit. Choosing this officially sounds your death knell for the pageant. Nice evening gown, though.

By the way, who has All-County cheerleading squads? Have the last eight years changed things so much?

Miss Teen Montana (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/MT.html): First of all… There are women in Montana!?! She likes Madonna, shoes, and her dream job is to be physical therapist for the World Cup soccer team. She’s also 15, so all the lewd jokes I would normally make can’t be said for this one because she’s not a legal target. Dammit!

Little known fact: Women who like really Madonna are 100% more likely to let you get to second base on the first date. It’s true, I swear!

Miss Teen Nevada (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/NV.html): Caption:”Hey, baby, I set the school record in pole vault.”

Miss Teen New Jersey (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/NJ.jpg): Yowza! She’s cute, tiny (5’1″) and has been in a commercial for Bentical Spread (I don’t know what it is, but it sounds kinky) – what more do you need to know?

Miss Teen New York (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/NY.html): She’s been a hand model! Seinfeld lives!!

Public service announcement: There are lots of hot girls (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/OK.jpg) in Oklahoma. I mean lots. You find yourself randomly tripping over them all the time; that’s how many hot girls are there. If you’ve never been there, you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Advice to those choosing colleges this spring… Choose a Southern State school (Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and dear god, Florida!) You will not regret it.

Miss Teen Oregon (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/OR.html): This girl was on the boys’ Varsity soccer team for three years. Wait, I mean… She played with the boys Varsity soccer team for three years. No, I mean… Well, dammit, you know what I mean. Aside from my wife (a non-soccer player), soccer chicks are the hottest women in the world and they have amazing legs.

Rhode Island (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/RI.html): 16 going on 12. No comments here (even if she does look a little like Britney without the boob and dye job), it would feel too dirty.

Miss Teen Tennessee (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/TN.jpg): Cute, tall, stunning. She’s also very Christian and has appeared in an Enrique Iglesias video – two things that I would have predicted could not co-exist.

Little known fact: John Mayer is the official cutest musician-that-can-actually-sing-and-is-completely-innocuous of the Miss Teen USA pageant.

Miss Teen Texas (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/TX.html): Everything about this girl screams Texas; the hair, the name (wow, Brittany is SO original!), the big smile, the evening gown. Poor girl.

(http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/UT.html): Caption: Barbie strikes back!

Miss Teen Vermont (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/VT.html):”She has done charity work with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.” But not the Tooth Fairy? What gives?

Aside: I can’t be the only one who made it into National Honor Society with”Starship Captain” listed as one of my qualifications, can I?

Miss Teen Washington (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/files/WA.html): Okay, someone is taking the favorite Hero or Heroine question a little too literally… But she really fills out an evening dress and a swimsuit, so all is forgiven. Combine that with the fact that she’s practically a certified electrician and the plans to make her a saint upon her death in Mexico, and you have an amazing young lady.

It’s not all inbreeding in West Virginia (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/WV.jpg).


Caption: No, the only interesting information I have is that Bob Mackie designed my dress. Oh yeah, and I’m the current Miss Teen USA.

Her favorite musician is Mandy Moore. She should have been disqualified on musical taste alone.

Miss Teen Wyoming (http://www.missteenusa.com/delegates/2002/images/swim/WY.jpg): She’s 5’10”, looks like this in a swim suit, and has a blown ACL. Oh well, you can’t have everything…

Wow, that turned out a lot longer than I expected. Hopefully some of that was actually amusing, and if not, hopefully the scholarship contestants provided enough of a distraction.

The Kitchen Sink

Some things to ponder while remembering that every man’s wildest dream (aside from that whole”two girls, one guy” fantasy) is to be able to go back and relive his college years while still knowing everything he knows now…

Does Cabal Archon represent the Catholic Priest cleric card?”You are weak. I am strong. The protocol is obvious.” Oh boy…

After learning just last week that there are hot German girls, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps that Kai’s secret powers are shared by Ronaldo

Anybody else ever worry that there are pictures floating around out there from when you were drunk and looking like this? I know that there are photos like that of me, but what I’m really worried about are the ones I wasn’t sober enough to remember. File that under”Reasons I can never run for public office.”

Does anyone else ever have those moments where you think”Hey Bob Mackie is Cher’s designer,” and subsequently wonder”How the hell do I know this!?” Just checking…

Holy sh*t – two major events on the Green Bean front happened last week. 1) Snoop Dogg says he’s given up weed! Previously the things I could count on in the world consisted of Death, Taxes, and Snoop smoking weed. Now I’m not so sure.

On a related note, High Times has stated they are considering taking back their ‘Stoner of the Year’ from Snoop, but they’ve been sidetracked by the decision whether to get up off the couch or not.

2) A Canadian Senate Committee recommended that the Canadian Government completely legalize pot. I always had a good feeling aboot our neighbors to the north.

I am in love with both Nina Totenberg and Cokie Roberts for their minds alone. Amazing women…

Beefcake Photos! Randy of the Redwoods or EDT?

Beefcake Photos! Pat Chapin… I don’t even know what to say about these.



I went one-for-four in my Division Series baseball playoff picks (dead guy mojo), which would still be able to net me about 1.5 million a year if I were a baseball player.

There is never an acceptable excuse for answering the question”What the hell is on the radio? This sounds like some Backstreet Boys crap” with,”Actually it’s Justin Timberlake from N’Sync. He has a new solo album out.” The amount of things wrong with that answer are staggering.

  1. You can tell the difference between N’Sync and Backstreet Boys.

  2. You know something about Justin Timberlake, other than that he’s the guy who wasn’t getting any from Britney.

  3. You actually know Justin Timberlake has a solo album coming out..

There is no way to recover from a blunder of this magnitude… Just commit ritual suicide and pray for absolution.

Alright, isn’t it about time that Wizards made Texas Hold ‘Em for Rares an official side event? This is another one of those unofficial formats that simply makes the game better. Not only that, but to increase player awareness of this splendid diversion, I demand that Georgie Tait (a card shark if I ever saw one) run a weekly column on it. There he can give beginnners tips on appropriate plays, valuation of cards, tell stories about the best one-liners at his games, and detail the worst of his bad beats. Call it The Daily Hustle or something. Hell, eventually we’ll probably see a book released by Sklansky, Malmuth, and Tait titled”Hold Em for Rares for Advanced Players.” This is one of those unstoppable phenomena that will happen, mark my words…

Alright, I’ll admit it… no matter how many times I hear it, The Gourds bluegrass rendition of”Gin and Juice” still cracks me up. There’s just something about a Southern hick voice saying”I got a pocket full of rubbers and my home boys do, too” that brings a smile to my face.

Reader Geoff Speare points out that the traditional favorite performance at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts is of course… The Nutcracker.

Last but not least, you have to feel bad for Sammy G: The poor guy has two completely adorable younger sisters still in high school, one of whom is named Jenna. Grif is such a boy scout that he had no clue of the significance the name Jenna carries in the adult entertainment business or the world at large. A high-school senior who doesn’t know who Jenna is? (I’d link somewhere, but we’re still a family site.) Yet another thing that I thought wasn’t possible.

Probably better not to cross his wires up and show him any of her videos, as he’d just be seeing his sister the whole time anyway (Noooooo!).

On a related note, I will never name my daughter(s) Jenna, Chasey, Sky, Tara, Kobe, Aurora, Luna, Inari, Houston, Devon, or Krystal.

I might just name my boy Ron, Jeremy, Long John, or Dirk though. You can’t be too careful about these things.

Until next time, keep your wang up.


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