Northern New England Regionals: Night of the Flying Plants

John Friggin’ Rizzo took his Black/Green aggro-discard deck, sporting inexplicable Breeding Pools, to his Regional championships. The inventor of Friggorid had a merry old time, signing Ichorids galore and administering hardcore beats. He overcame a few personal barriers, including one that involved urinal abuse, and finished far higher than expected. A fabulous report, full of the fun that only Rizzo can command…

Northern New England Regionals: Night of the Flying Plants

Last week, I wrote about a deck I thought I liked. The problem is that I sent in the article late Sunday and it wasn’t posted until Thursday. We all know that I’m liable to up and change my mind (and deck) at a moment’s notice, and that is exactly what I did.

Because I needed to prove something. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, k?

Friday was fairly bad: work outside, in the rain, with no factory support on a miswired cable. About 4:00, the boss called and asked if I could work tomorrow. I let loose a string of expletives, some actually out loud, then said “fine.”

Whatever, it’s only Regionals.

Ten minutes later, he called back and said, “meet the guy somewhere tonight and give him part x and you don’t have to work tomorrow.”

Oh, all right, if you insist.

I get home about 6:15 and rush Berto to FNM, mostly to hang out and trade, since we’re too late to actually play. Since he won’t be able to go to the Saturday Casual, I figure the best I can do (other than take him to Regionals, which seems a little advanced at this stage), is let him bug the sh** out of Brenden for super-beneficial trades for a few hours while I playtest.

Chet was supposed to drive, but he had car troubles, so our ride is in jeopardy. Thus, let’s see if we can’t bum a ride from… Hey, isn’t that Brainburst columnist Brian Smith? Swoon, flutter, fawn! Let’s ask him. Kewl, he says, but only because he wants to pick my brain for technology on the way down. Five minutes later, Abrams informs me that Chet’s ride is good to go.

I thank Brian for the potential niceness, then tell him if he wants technology, buy Premium like everyone else you cheap bastard! He says he’ll think about it, though I suspect he’s lying, and intends to get Premium the same way everyone else does: write for StarCityGames.com!

After Brian leaves, Chet calls back and says “psyche, I ain’t goin’, beatchoo!”

Alas, Mike Grimmett, a.k.a. Grimm (go figure), is riding down with Smith and says he’d be happy to fit us in the trunk. We agree that so long as I don’t have to give out free tech, we’ll take him up on his offer.

Mikey was there, piloting his newest creation: R/W/B, which was basically the best creatures and burn in those colors. Skyknight Legionnaire was also present, which gave me pause, but only until I realized that hey, that makes sense.

I beat him a few games, he grabbed another deck and I beat that too for spite. He promised that if we met tomorrow, he’d extract vengeance from my ass, then out he went to lick his wounds and deck.

Grimm and I apparently played in States a few years back. I didn’t remember until we discovered it was the year I played Zombies. Then it all came back: we were sitting over there, you had out a couple Troll Ascetic and kept blowing up my land but took about an hour to win. I also recall that my Festering Zombie ended up taking one of my own guys with him to the ‘yard.

Amazing what I can recall years after the fact, ain’t it? Oddly, I went back and looked up the report. It turns out Mike, and I, were both dead wrong. Look:

Decree of Pain. Note to self: that card is good.
Yes, I like it because it kills your team.

I have hate in my board, tough guy.
I have… Um, Bottle Gnomes.

Blah, blah, blah, JFR plays stuff it dies. Mike collects mana and plays… Riptide Replicator for four! What will he name…
I’m going to lose to 4/4 Merfolk.
That is correct.

Oh the times, how fun it is to completely misremember, and yet, have my complete memories archived. If I ever wanna write an autobiography, I’m all set. Except for those um, thirty-some years that aren’t catalogued by date on StarCityGames.

So we meet Grimm and Smith and off we go. No major problems occurred, until we came to a major jam in Mass. I stepped out, since we were, er, stopped, and for as far as I could see ahead, cars were not moving.

At this point, Smith jumps out and casually traipses to the woods, muttering something along the lines of “I’m going to piss on a tree – I dare you to come and help me try and stop me!”

I wondered if, with probably a hundred cars watching him make his way into nature’s restroom, might he encounter an incidence of pee shy? No matter, he’s back and looking much less tepid, and off we go, after Abrams and I had a bonus smoke on the middle of the highway.

Props: Grimm for the ride. Only 8 bucks!
Slops: People who don’t let smokers filth up their car and lungs just ‘cause.

Mapquest is fairly ass, yet we all know this: they’ll get you to within, say, ten miles of your destination, after that, ask a street urchin. Rather than suggesting we take the exit that gets you pretty much at the hotel door, they recommended we take the previous exit and go over a bridge that was closed so instead follow the fifteen mile detour. Will do, thx.

Anyway, we got there in plenty of time ‘cause Grimm’s good at driving.

Thus forth, four random Mainers came to play: Grimm with Owling Mine, Smith with his silly lil’ U/W Forsythecast dot dec that is actually fairly awesome, Abrams with Critical Mass Because Flores Said So, and me, just along for the ride and more than willing to dole out DCI points.

Additional Crossroads Nerds en su casa included Adam Schaff, playing B/W control with Yosei, Condemn, Wrath of God, and Kokusho; and Brett Coggan and Frank Cushing, both playing Husk.

Damn, we’re good, all of us. Look out Boston, er, Fitchburg, I guess. Kinda.

When it comes time to register my deck, Grimm tosses me two Forests, which I intended to add in place of the Breeding Pools that were there only to activate the *other* Dimir Guildmage ability.

Since he hit the bin after I picked up two Hand of Cruelty, there seemed to be no need for the Pools. After a moment of thought, I decided against replacing the Pools, instead choosing to be l33t. Why:

Because it’s techy.
And funny.
And may or may not make my opponents play differently if they think I may have a random Remand or Mana Leak available for just such an occasion, or at the bare minimum, make them say Stone Rain, targeting Breeding Pool because they want to keep me off my, ahem, “splash color.”

It is written: use Wood Elves to fetch the Pools at every opportune moment to put this theory to the test.

This is what I played:

I felt okay about the deck, even if looking at the list may cause physical pain. Some guys may expect to make Top 8, or at least believe it’s theoretically possible, but I was thinking that I’d be pleased as punch with a 5-2 at the end of the day. Having no illusions about my play skill, I realize that it would take an extraordinary amount of good fortune, not to mention a minimal number of play mistakes, for me to qualify for Nationals.

Smith sort of felt the same way. He wrote about his deck for the past three, four weeks, and took a reasonable amount of criticism in the forums, so obviously he wants to do well. Not only to silence the critics, but to affirm that his beliefs in his deck were not unfounded.

This reminded me a little of Nate Heiss and his Mafia King dealio from Regionals 2001 – you laff@ me, thus I must wreck all! Or at least do kinda good.

While the StarCityGames.com forum dwellers have come to realize that giving me advice on deckbuilding, or flaming me out for my ideas, is often akin to beating your head against someone else’s ass, I knew how he felt.

Thus, gimme a good finish and I’ll be happy.

After we registered, out to the car we went, mostly so Grimm could add Eye of Nowhere to his deck, since he realized that playing six copies of Boomerang might raise a red flag. While cavorting around like the geeks we are, I spied Jackie Lee sashaying to the venue.

Our eyes met, ever so briefly, and in that moment of sheer heart-stopping, end-of-the-world fireworks for the soul, I noticed an odd look: a glare of subdual that said “if you Look At Me For Like Three Days™ I will cut you into little pieces, eat the good flesh and sell the rest on e-Bay.”

F33r mode: on.

278 peeps, 9 rounds of action.

Round 1: James Tepper – Zoo

In game 1, James goes first, drops Stomping Grounds and Kird Ape. My hand offered a turn 2 Hyppie, turn 3 Jitte suit-it-up, but I’m wondering if I already lost this game.

The next turn he swings and drops another Ape and now things are looking silly. I take beats, but he misses land, then ASAP equip and serve, grabbing Burning-Tree Shaman for my trouble. One turn later, Hyppie eats a Shock and I eat four to the face. But he still doesn’t play another land.

I decide to Persecute, and snatch another BTS, Rumbling Slum, and Lighting Helix, which makes taking the Ape damage a lil’ more palatable. Thus I do, then start to drop guys like I just decided lesbianism was all that, which of course it is. I Jitte his Apes to death, and James cooperates by never drawing a third land that would allow him to play stuff that my Nekky in hand would kill anyway.

I side in Hideous Laughter for some reason, though James drops turns 2 and 3 Watchwolves, and runs over or burns anything that gets in the way. Follow along with me:

Minus two minus two is less than three

The third game sees us both come out slow, but my slowness is actually sped up with turn 2 and 3 Wood Elves, which eventually begat Kodama and his friend the Flying Plant. James did help matters by drawing plenty of lands, so word up to mana bases that only Craig Jones could love.

James was a very cool guy, and every time we bumped into each other, he was quick to ask how it was going. These are the kinds of opponents that make the very long day seem not so long at all. But it was still long.


Abrams: W versus Orzhov Aggro 1-0
Grimm: L versus B/W/R Beets 0-1
Smith: L versus G/W/B Control 0-1

Thus we begin the routine:

Go have a smoke.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

It’s all good, so long as every one of these steps is followed exactly.

Round 2: Jack McCarthy – Angel Control

I get Jack all the way down to 24 in the first game, which is highlighted by him countering my Bob and a pair of Hyppies.

At the end of turn 5 or so, he casts Gifts Ungiven and offers Firemane Angel, Lighting Helix, Wrath, and Compulsive Research. I give him Angel and Research, fully expecting him to tap out for Angel, which would be cute since I’d just drop Nekrataal to kill it, and Shinobi after that to dump his hand.

He untaps and drops Meloku, and the best-laid plans don’t mean sh**. Nevertheless, I do manage to cast Kodama, which isn’t much against his two Angels and Meloku.

Good play alert:

I attacked with Kodama into his Angel, thinking at least I killed one creature and hit him for two trample. Hey, guess what: the Angel has first strike. Bad. Player.

In game 2, I drop turn 2 Hyppie and really, that’s all she wrote. It snags so many good cards that I should be ashamed of myself, although a Shinobi also got into the mix and helped a brother feel less self-conscious. How kewl is it to win a game on turn 2? Kinda. [Hey, it’s a turn too slow for Steve Menendian. – Craig.]

Game 3, Jack apparently kept an opening hand of two Islands, because that’s all he played. Turn 2 Bob, turn 3 Hyppie, a couple bouncing Wood Elves thx to Shinobi, and Jitte made quick work of an opponent who kept a speculative hand that never developed. Although two land hands: who doesn’t keep on the draw; 80% of the time, I do. ‘Course, I’m a tremendous Magic player, so don’t try this at home, nor Regionals.

Still, it felt good to win from being down a game, which is a something I usually can’t pull off. Because I have no character.


Abrams: W versus Wildfire 2-0
Grimm: W versus Heartbeat 1-1
Smith: W versus Aggro U/W 1-1

Go have a smoke.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

So good to go.

Round 3: Tyler Young – IzzeTron

Apparently, Tyler was sick as a dog, and to demonstrate just how ill he was, he’d cough and phlegm up a lung every few minutes.

In the first game, Tyler drops turn 1 Top and abuses it to not only get a quick Tron, but put two Mana Leak and two Hinder in the ‘yard, allowing me to put a grand total of zero pressure on him. He hits me with Meloku and Demonfires for 16. I’m good.

The second game, however, saw a turn 3 Shinobi hit him three times, dropping a total of five cards into the bin before he peeled Pyroclasm. Unperturbed, I drop a reserve Hyppie, Jitte it up and prepare to start over. Tyler peels (I think) Ryusei – I peel Nekky and I’ll make that trade, gg.

Game 3, Tyler keeps an opening hand Tron and turn 1 Pithing Needle, naming Okiba-Gang Shinobi, since he has seen the terror that guy wrought. Thus shut off from silly ninja tricks that I probably won’t draw anyway, I simply make a pair of Hyppies and, well, do exactly the same thing, but more randomly.

He does eventually drop Meloku, which I wax with Nekky – Hyppie nabbed the Keiga that was in his hand (bonus!), but he drops another Meloku next turn.

I have another Nekky and Putrefy in hand, and being good at Magic, forgot that Meloku could bring friends to the table. No matter, I drop Nekky, he makes four guys and then I drop and equip Jitte, though none of this matters because he had a license to ill.

As sick as he was, the match was still quite enjoyable. Now you may imagine that it was mostly enjoyable because I am a vicious advocate of discard and he was demonstrating the textbook definition of “last gasp” to the surrounding crowd, but…

… it felt good to win from being down a game, which is a something I usually can’t pull off, especially two rounds in a row. Swoon@ me.


Abrams: L versus ‘Tron 2-1
Grimm: W versus Husk 2-1
Smith: W versus ‘Vore 2-1

Go have a smoke.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the…

After following the routine with zealous dedication, the master plan hit a snag. Upon entering the bathroom and finding my lucky urinal safe and secure… Wait! There is someone next to my lucky urinal! I considered waiting him out by washing my hands or some other stall tactic, but didn’t want to mess with the feng shui of 3-0.

I calmly approached my lucky urinal, unleashed the fierce empath, fully aware that the chances of overcoming pee shy were virtually nil. Yet, it is time, master, guide me on my way.

This is my moment.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
I must fight my demons.
I must dig deep, into the reserves of bravery I know lie deep within me.

Ten seconds later there is nothing. But there also seems to be nothing going on in the urinal beside me. Could it be, no, it can’t… perhaps he came in mere seconds before I, expecting the place to empty so he could banish his pee shy?

It matters not, for I am strong moral fiber, and to that end, will stand here holding my manhood, starting straight into the tiled wall…and wait him out. I will miss the next round if I have to, because I am not moving until I piss! The Pee Shy Invitational: Let the games begin!

After about twenty seconds or so, away he goes, zipping up in a transparent façade of “Yeah, that felt good, hu-rah, Da’ Bears!” I considered gloating, but I had other things to attend to. Insert my victory dance right here.

I am courage and character.
I am the light at the end of the tunnel.
I am inspiration personified.

And the routine is a-okay, sorta, well, maybe.

Round 4: Chris Canavan – Boros

At table one. Um, jinx much?

His first play is a turn 2 Boros Swiftblade, which was followed up by Thundersong Trumpeter. Yes, my jaw was agape as well, but not as agape as when Skyknight Legionnaire hit the board. I had two Vulturous Zombies in hand, and an unequipped Jitte on board, so which creature do you think I chose to Putrefy?

No, not the one who can forever keep counters off Jitte. Bad Player.

Game 2:

Hand of Honor? Is that okay?
Well, if he’s cool, how about Paladin en-Vec?
Sh**, if you don’t got a problem with that, how ‘bout I ram a Jitte up your ass!


I’ll take the blame on game 1: bad decision that I didn’t even realize until about an hour later, but game 2…? I gotta hand it to the guys who had the balls to play Boros: it can just flat out win, sorta, and in an environment filled with Black and Red, eight maindeck (or sided) guys that are immune to so much of the expected removal is just l33t.


Abrams: L versus Gruul 2-2
Grimm: W versus G/W/B Control 3-1
Smith: W versus Wildfire 3-1

Go have a smoke.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

Back to bizness, y’all.

I’m tooling around, watching the boys’ matches, when ‘round come Zach, Pat and Secret Agent Man, interested in obtaining a signed copy of Ichorid. Happy to oblige I am, since that guy, while not very good at all, is so very freakin’ good at all.

I ask their records and it turns out there’s a pair of 1-3s and a 2-2 in the mix, all of whom are still playing, and have no intentions of dropping. We all hug in the commonality of playing it out, and sing a few bars of the official song of the loser’s bracket “Who Drops?”

Obviously, pros drop now and again, so Zach spits out that pros suck. While I’m certain that some of them may, I attempt to imbue a sense of humanity into the mind of an innocent. The pros I know/knew ran through my dome, and I asked myself whether I truly thought they sucked.

Well, the CMU guys were always mean to me and made me clean up after their drafts and stole my basic lands and made me drive them everywhere and “borrowed” money and made me pay an initiation fee and rented me out for the weekend to the Aryan Brotherhood for a carton of smokes, but do I think they suck?

You decide!

Round 5: Justin Straus – ‘Vore

In game 1, I cast turn 3 Persecute for Blue, nab Research and see a pair of ‘Vores and Demolish. I figure I better get rid of that nonsense, so I Persecute on turn 4 as well. Good player.

He took serious Wood Elves beats for a while, since that’s all I could administer until Kodama joined in the fun. On a positive note, I did fetch out Breeding Pool with the Elves, and Justin threw a Stone Rain at it to keep me off my Blue.

I cast turn 3 Persecute again in game 2, and seeing Justin’s two Mountains and single Island in play, I deduced that if he had Blue cards he would have Researched or Slighted by now. I named Red, and saw the following hit the bin:

Volcanic Hammer

Seven for one.
omg I’m so good at Magic.

Justin’s life went 19, 18, 12, 6, dead because it’s awfully easy to resolve Kodama against a guy playing off the top with only three lands.

Turn 3 Persecute for seven, targeting you.

“I guess I’d be good at Magic too if I could pull turn 3 Persecute in both games!”
-Every Forum Member Ever


Abrams: W versus Boros 3-2
Grimm: L versus G/W/B Control 3-2, drop whatever
Smith: W versus Gruul 4-1

Go have a smoke.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

I am unstoppable.

Round 6: Brett Coggan – Husk

I’ve had occasion to test against Brett now and again, so it feels somewhat fruity to have to play against a local, especially one who is the most savage cheater the game has ever known. To wit:

He has out Husk, Bob, and two Orzhov Pontiffs, who did exactly what I always feared they would: kill my Birds and Bob and leave me nearly helpless. However, being a man and all, I fought my way back: I have Hyppie and I just peeled Jitte and equipped, ready to serve.

I’m fairly certain that Brett will sac both Pontiffs to Husk in order to kill Hyppie, and that’s what he does. The only problem is that when Pontiff dies, the creature he haunts must also die to trigger the -1/-1, and he didn’t sac the Husk. Yes, we all know this, don’t we?

Still, I buried target Hyppie and he won the next turn. Grimm was watching the match and told us how bad we are at rules. Oh snap, say Brett and I in unison, but that’s what we get for being so awful at noticing things.

All we could do was laugh, sorta, but it was fine and dandy and Brett’s not really a savage cheater so stop flaming him in the forums. Flame me instead, I like it, even if there was pretty much no chance I was winning that game anyway.

My opening game 2 hand included Night of Souls’ Betrayal and Hideous Laughter, with a lil’ Bob and Hyppie action thrown in: keeper. He Last Gasped Bob and played his own, which turned up more guys than you can shake a stick at.

Good Play Alert:

He has out Bob and Promise of Bunrei to my Hyppie equipped with two Jitte counters. I cast Hideous Laughter at end of turn, thinking that when Bob dies and the tokens show up, they’ll die too. Judge Philip (of the Montblanc Philips) does not agree. Good play much? Wouldn’t wanna use a single counter to kill Bob, trigger Promise and then Laugh At Them.

I untap, still bad at Magic mind you, drop Betrayal and his guys accidentally die this time. From there, a Hyppie with counters has a tendency to own, which he did.

Game 3 is all about my Bob dying again and his Bob turning up Grave Pact on consecutive turns, though without four mana on the table. Despite the prospect of repeatedly being hit for four a turn, I remain calm and cast Persecute to snatch ‘em away, and a Mortify for spite, fully preparing to take mo’ beats like a man…

…and then cast Wood Elves, grab Breeding Pool ‘cause I’m tech, and Hideous Laughter at end of turn and put Brett with no board and no cards in hand, which will make the Kodama I’ll cast soon after even mo’ six/fo’, yo.

Oddly, this is exactly how it happens, although the card he drew was Tomb of Urami, and since he’s at nine and I’m at four with no flyer, this is a race I can’t win. It was fortunate that I had a Bird in hand, which was worth more than two in the bush at this point. It was gravy that I drew Hyppie heh on flying being so good.

I serve him to three, drop the flying pair and accept Brett’s hand when he doesn’t draw an answer to Kodama, of which there must be tens.

Sure, I’m good at drawing sideboard cards, but it felt good to win from being down a game, which is a something I usually can’t pull off except when I draw my sideboard cards.


Abrams: L versus Husk 3-3, drop whatever
Smith: W versus Gruul 5-1

Go have a smo-

Oh snap, I gotta open a new pack. My lucky pack is all done. Well, maybe I can stick the new smokes into the old pack and it’ll never know the difference.

Abrams and I are outside poisoning ourselves and shooting the breeze with Adam, who’s been in and out mostly at the same times we have – you know, how’d you do, what’re you playing, are you good at Magic like me? The usual.

Somehow, Abrams says “Yeah, Rizzo did” and motions to me. Adam goes “You’re Rizzo?” like he couldn’t possibly fathom that the guy he was chatting with at random intervals throughout the day could have gotten so close and infiltrated his circle without leaving even a fingerprint.

frigginrizzo: ← dimir.

So I sign his Ichorids and he compliments me on my masterful stealth skills and say hi to Lord Szadek for me. Oh how we laughed at my complete lack of a goatee.

Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gu-

Oh snap, the last piece on that row is gone. I gotta grab one from the other row – the unlucky row? I know what, I’ll open a new pack and start at the beginning of the lucky row, that’ll do it.

Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

Two ghosts in the machine that is the routine. I dunno either, yo.

Hey, me versus Smith? Yeah, it would make for an interesting story, probably. Well, we didn’t, so this foreshadowing was just to add fire to the StarCityGames versus Brainburst war that has taken such a miserable toll on both sites.

War equals hell, and, as all the chyx who will never let you do them say, “friends first.”

Round 7: Jim Dyke – Boros

Table four, awfully close to table one, jinx much?

In game 1, Jim mulligans to five. On the plus side, when he was beating me about the neck and chest, he did look awfully confused as to what the hell he was playing against. He killed a Bob, saw a Jitte, Birds, Wood Elves and Nekky (as opposed to Persecute – mistake or no?) and that’s about it.

The turn before he swung for the win, he was looking at Nekky and Birds and contemplating what the hell I might have to save my ass – I’m at 8 and he has a Seal of Fire on the table. Finally, he turned his men sideways and said “seems right.” I can’t do much with Hand of Honor, so he Chars me and Hammers me and Seals me to put me at negative three, which means I start the next game at 17. No fair!

Again, Jim mulligans, though I have Swamp, Ritual, Hyppie Land, Birds, Land, Hyppie. He plays one and two drops, which makes Nekky happily relevant. On turn 4, Kodama hits. At this point, his board has the 2/2 White flyer and Hand of Honor – he’s at eight with cards in hand, so I look and look and look.

Obviously, the conclusion I come to is to turn my guys sideways and say “seems right.” He scoops, informing me that it was indeed the right thing to do.

Game 3, Jim, on the play, opens his hand and says “seems pretty good.” He also asked me to even up the mulligans, so naturally I mulligan in game three of round seven – for the first time today. I wind up with a decent hand, or so I thought…

Jim plays turn 2 Hand of Honor
Jim plays turn 3 Paladin en-Vec.
Jim plays turn 4 Paladin en-Vec.


After our match, a few peeps told me that Jim’s an arrogant bastard and is the type to, um, hurt wittle feelings now and again. But after spending a half hour in his company, I’ll conclude that he’s much better at Magic than you, was polite enough during our match, and sour grapes aren’t all that.

Plus, if he was such a d*ck, don’t you think I would tell the world? Oh noes – he was being polite because he f33red my worldwide vendetta reprisal!

I’m such a fool!


Smith: Unintentional Draw versus Husk 5-1-1 and still in it to win it

Go have a smoke – new smokes in the old pack.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum – from the new lucky row.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

At this point, and the routine being so compromised, who the hell knows?

Dreams of Top 8 duly dashed, I meander around trying not to look like a guy who’s 5-2 and actually somewhat pleased about it.

I’m watching Smith’s match, and much like all his previous matches, this one looks like an absolute slaughter. He’s got out Arbiter, a boatload of tokens and about thirty cards in hand, while his opponent couldn’t look more completely helpless. In the hands of a pro, and not someone almost as bad at Magic as me, his deck might be one of the best, if not the best, in the format. Quote me, f***er.

Zach and Pat and the other guy whose name I didn’t catch because he didn’t give it because he works for the CIA wander over, newfound Ichorids in their mitts, and ask if I could sign these as well, but differently. No problem, chaps, I’m always happy to oblige the little people…

Until I have a Sharpie in hand and it’s time to alter the artwork. Short of drawing a smiley face on what could be one of Ichorid’s many heads, I have yet to come with true inspiration. It’s not artwork that is conducive to impulsive goodness.

The Invitational Art continues to improve

If it only had art like the old school Northern Paladin. Quick: look at Brian Smith’s pic on Brainburst, and compare it with the aforementioned card. Same freakin’ guy.

Anyway, on the day I finally conquer pee shy, I discover yet another enemy: the pressure to perform with a Sharpie in my mitt. However, I am a strong and proud man who will find the intestinal fortitude to mutilate five-dollar rares come hell or high water.

Speaking of high water, Judge Philip (of the Martha’s Vineyard Philips) asked me to present an idea to all y’all under the guise of YMG Opinion Poll Or Something, and since I’m a savage cheater nice man I intend to kiss as much judge ass as possible to curry favor in order to solicit shady calls to my benefit acquiesce.

(Some foreshadowing up there.)

YMG Opinion Poll Thang Or Something:

After the Swiss rounds, the final standings will be posted. This will allow the prize support to be based on the Swiss standings, where the guy who finished first gets two boxes, runner-up and the rest of the top eight receive one box, and et cetera down the line.

The idea is that doing it this way will allow players in the top eight who may not be able or willing to attend the event in question – in this case Nats, to drop and still receive product prizes. This would likely prevent shady dealings of guys that make Top 4 who don’t intend to head to Nats, and would allow those players to take their box and get the hell out of dodge and let the real players take a shot at the invite.

In short, this appears to be an attempt to allow those who want to battle for the golden ticket(s) to sidestep those who are simply there for the product… and no one loses.

If you have an opinion about this matter, discuss in the forums. Much like democracy in action, attach target tag line: if you don’t vote, bitch anyway.

Round 8: Charles Couchaine – Enduring Ideal

In game 1, I drop early Wood Elves, cast turn 4 Persecute, because I’m good at Magic, name Blue and see Seething Song, Wrath, Fellwar Stone, Enduring Ideal and that Blue guy who gives everything -x/0.

I make a mental note to, um, name White next turn and stop trying to figure out what his cards do just make them go away! Thus I do, and he has but a lonely Song in hand to go with his Signet and lands. He draws, plays land and passes.

I beat with Elves, then have a decision to make: play Kodama and put serious freakin’ pressure on – which is something this deck sometimes lacks against an opponent with no hand, or play Hyppie in case he top decks Wrath.

I go balls out and drop the fatty, intending to end this game in two turns.

Obviously he peels Wrath of God; who doesn’t?

I curse myself for making a good decision but still taking it in the ass, then cast Hyppie.

Obviously, he peels Enduring Ideal and Songs it into play with the Signet. It took a couple of minutes for me to verify that he had enough mana, and mind you I’ve never seen Song in real life, so those rrrrr mana symbols perplexed me. Nevertheless, he casts Ideal and wins, but not before I call the judge at least twice this match.

He Confiscates my Jitte, who’s leeching off Hyppie, and here I am wondering if the Jitte moves to his side of the table or not, er, does he get to remove the counters, er… I Putrefied Jitte or Hyppie or something because I think I had to – this is all very confusing: cards and interactions I don’t understand, but really, when does that happen? He drops Genju of the Realm next turn and I die to a five-color monster-face land.

By the way, using your cards to kill stuff that only gives you back what you originally had is the real principle of card advantage, just like, different.

Game two is nearly identical, save for Naturalize that I brought in for Ideal. Hey, Ideal isn’t an enchantment. Booooing!

I empty his hand with Hyppie and Distress and Persecute, and he still gets Ideal into play. More Confiscate action ensues, but this time he steals the creature that’s wearing Jitte. I have Naturalize and want to verify that there really isn’t a window after Confiscate resolves that I can blow it up and keep the Jitte counters. But does it really matter after he goes Epic?

Form of the Dragon hits, and much like Ideal and Song and that blue -x/0 guy, I take about five minutes to read and comprehend that, well, unless I draw another Naturalize real quick like, whatever, I don’t and this match was confusing and I’m scared and this is what it must feel like to play against me, but you get to win, someone hold me close, naked. Twice, thx.


If I end up 5-4 I will likely break down in tears.

Go have a smoke from the bad luck pack.
Come back in through that open door.
Set my bag on the table.
Grab a piece of gum from the new pack.
Enter tourney area.
Hit restroom and the lucky urinal, the one on the end.

I didn’t have to pee, damnit. Routines are ass anyway. I can beat this stupid curse!

Smith: Draw versus G/W/B Control, though he got the W: 6-1-1… I’ll let Brian tell it, if he has the balls to not write an article that is bereft of all funnies ‘cause he’s a serious strategy writer now!

Round 9: Scott Tarbell – IzzeTron

Jackie was sitting at the next table, ready to play, so I cleverly sat in a way to avoid her glare, but would permit me to Steal A Glance For Like Five Seconds™. More than that, I thought, would be risking genital mutilation. And I like my genitals, they’re my favorites.

My notes from game 1:

WE/Jitte over red dragon.

I think that means I got so freakin’ many counters on Jitte that Wood Elves beat up Ryusei and survived killing him.

I mulligan game 2 – for the second time in nine rounds damn inconsistent deck!, but come out decent with a bunch of stuff, all of which dies to Pyroclasm. On about turn 6, with me putting a little pressure on Scott with a soon-to-be-wearing-Jitte Nekky, he filters about a hundred mana through three or four signets and casts both Keiga and Ryusei.

Hmm. I have Putrefy in hand and a first-striker, and when I take my turn and equip, I look at the board like it’s Jackie and it’s only day two of the three day lookfest. It must have taken me two full minutes of solid thought before I realized that I want Jitte counters, and well, Nekky is dying this turn no matter what the hell I do and I can Putrefy something and Scott, help me here. He did by seconding my emotion that Nekky was dying and no he doesn’t have double strike and how do you think you can still win this game!

I served, got the first strike counters, then, like an *sshole, tried to pump up Nekky like he’s double strike, despite kinda knowing the difference between “first” and “double.” That damned Swiftblade from round four was still haunting me. So, Nekky died, I got two counters and I had four mana left: Putrefy something or cast Shinobi. Yes, cast Shinobi for four mana – that’s what I did.

Judge Philip, hizzonor hizbadself, asked me how I cast Shinobi for four mana. I pointed to Overgrown Tomb and said it was a proxy for Golgari Rot Farm. He didn’t buy it and handed me a warning: procedural like he was a dentist handing out tooth decay pills to impoverished children. He didn’t even apologize for penalizing my ridiculously sloppy, reckless and feckless and retarded cheaty-pants play. Friggin’ judges, man: how do they sleep at night?

As a bonus, Scott untapped and cast Wildfire to seal the deal. After the game, he was nice enough to point out that I could have killed both dragons after Wildfire by removing two Jitte counters. I imagine he thought I wouldn’t have the balls to write about just how bad I am, but yes, Scott: I do, did and will continue to do so.

The third game is a blur, since I’d been up for, oh, a few hours and eaten, oh, like nothing, but my scoresheet looks like this:

3 lands


Let’s see if we can’t just make something up:

Scott played Steam Vents untapped for two and said “go,” intending to Brainstorm end of turn. I played Swamp, Dark Ritual and mana burned for three. Scott Brainstormed and randomly revealed Demonfire and 3 lands to pay for Brainstorm’s triggered ability. I shot him with Prodigal Sorcerer end of turn.

I dropped two pain lands, tapped one for colorless and mana burned, while Scott again played Steam Vents untapped and ended his turn.

I took five during my upkeep due to the two-and-a-half Yawgmoth’s Demons I had in play and passed the turn. Scott cast Volcanic Hammer targeting himself, then shipped it back. That was a strong play, but I did him one better by activating Pestilence on myself so he would get my Wild Dogs. Tou-freakin’-che.

Erm... heh

Knocked on his ass by my skillz, all he could do was activate his Bottle of Suleiman and hope. He lost the flip and took five, and then conceded.

That was a wild way to end Regionals, but I’ll take what I can get.

6-3 and not bad for a net deck

Smith: L versus U/G/W 6-2-1 and not bad for a net deck

Speaking of dirty net deckers, Mike Morissette, co-creator of Nearly Mono Black In Standard, and Yukora Advocate was nowhere to be found. Guess he never got done licking his deck, which is what should happen if you play net decks.

Frigginrizzo: ← net decker.
Smith: ← net decker from a rival site.

All the boys came over and told me how great I am at Magic, then Zach challenged me to a game. Since I’m a coward in real life, I accepted.

He played a turn 1 Kird Ape and won. I did one damage to him somewhere, or maybe he tapped a pain land. In the next game, I kicked his ass all up over the Best Western Trade Center, and he learned that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

Pat stepped up next, and spent about fifty turns in a row bouncing my Golgari Rot Farm and Stone Raining whatever else was left, though he paid special attention to the Breeding Pools I got with Wood Elves. Adding an irrelevant splash land as a decoy is technology that even Zvi would endorse. Although, somewhere along the line, one of my opponents (I can’t remember, but I think Justin), commented that the Pool “might be a decoy to keep me away from your black sources.” Hells to the yes, good lookin’ out.

He cast Wildfire at least once, then dropped Genju. I fought back by playing two Bobs while I was at 2 life. Okay, one had a Jitte, but that’s still ballsy. The turn before he was about to die, due to me serving with the Bobs, he moved his land around and suddenly everyone remembered he had Genju. Ah, he’ll always have a story: ‘member that time I bested Rizzo with the “Genju from nowhere?”

Alas, the next generation of Magic nerds is off and running, with nine rounds of Regionals love to whet their whistles.

Top 8:
1. Ron Chapman – ?
2. Nicholas Colby – ?
3. Jim Dyke – Boros
4. Ryan Spring – ?
5. Walter Egli – Boros
6. James Pickey – ?
7. Brian Whatever Lynch – G/W/U Control
8. Tim McMath – ?

Bunched up in 12-pack-land, our local Crossroads Heroes:

18. Brett Coggan – Husk, savage ch33tR
20. Adam Schaff – Orzhov Control, Kokusho apologist
23. Brian Smith – U/W Forsythecast dot netdeck
29. Dimir Rizzo, Flying Plants Redux, and one hell of a model American

Name players that I finished above:

Jackie Lee.

Heh, “finished above.”

Three times I was down 0-1 and came back to win the match. This is character, and combined with overcoming my pee shy syndrome (sorta), I’d call Regionals 2006 a life-affirming experience. And I’ll take my 12 packs, word, them, up.

We didn’t get lost on the way home, and we even managed to find Chili’s to grab some grub. Abrams offered to buy me a beer, and if there is an honorable way to decline that, please let me know. Thus, a twelve-ounce, baby-sized Coors Light was placed in front of me.

I took a few sips and was immediately buzzed, that’s how bad I am at drinking. It didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten anything except gum in well over sixteen hours – okay, peeps ordered the hot wings, and I ate the entire three pieces of celery.

I got nice off half a beer, a light beer at that. Lol@ yourself much?

So we chat, much like four geeks tend to do after a day filled with so much geekness. I tell them how good I am at guessing Persecute colors, and they all agree. Such a bond with these fellows, I weep at the memories.

About an hour later, we realize that hey, we ordered our food about an hour ago, and those chyx over there came in a half hour after we did, and they’re now ordering desert. I sprung into action: I will find the manager and take care of this.

I do indeed find the manager, after I stumble around all drunk off my ass from half a light beer, and ask him, um, do we ever get to eat? He gets all managery on my ass, and then I just snap:

Do you know who I am!?
Well, no.
Friggin’ Rizzo! 29th at Regionals, beeyotch!

You thought I never shut up about Friggorid? Just watch me now.

After that, he changes his tune, and really, who wouldn’t with street cred like that? It turns out they left our burgers in the fryer or something similar because they couldn’t even bother to make up a real excuse, and hey, sorry guys, I’ll take the appetizers off the bill.

Since I was into this meal for maybe nine bucks, I felt a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’ more was in order. Like a treat from that hottie waitress. But being drunk off my ass from half a beer, I was easily contained by the boys who were happy being treated like second-class citizens. Oh, all right, guys, I’m cool. Could you please let me up now?

They did.
We ate.
Grimm drove.
Abrams snored.
I had a dream about my round 5 match:

It’s turn 5 and I’m considering playing Persecute. I watch myself tap my mana and hold out the card: Persecute? Justin nods okay, and I say “Red.” He smiles and reveals his hand: all the cards are black. I wonder what my therapist would say. Oh, wait, I don’t have a therapist, I have this website right here and the psychotic *ssholes that read this garbage wonderful readers to keep me on an even keel.

So I wake up and we’re here and we kiss each other goodbye (on the mouth, like real men) and go our separate ways.

On the ride home, I take stock: about fifty bucks and 7am to 1am, just to wind up in 29th place? Sounds okay to me, in fact, stellar, in fact, if you asked me yesterday if I would in fact be happy with 29th out of 278, I think “um, yeah” woulda in fact spewed out my actual teeth and factual gums.

In conclusion, on The Day After, with time to reflect and genuflect, I have decided that one or more of the following may or may not be true:

I’m good at Magic.
My opponents are bad at Magic.
Nearly Mono Black In Standard is a good deck.
My opponents played bad decks.
I’m a savage top-decking lucksack.
My opponents drew badly.

I report: You decide!

John Friggin’ Rizzo