PTQ: Tokyo, Akron, Ohio

Can I blame the fact that I suck on Friday the 13th? Preamble, Friday the 13th: I done built some decks, woman! In anticipation of improving my 1-7 record in the (flat as hell) state of Ohio, bought a box of starters and boosters and built mad (as those wacky kids are known to say…

Can I blame the fact that I suck on Friday the 13th?

Preamble, Friday the 13th: I done built some decks, woman!

In anticipation of improving my 1-7 record in the (flat as hell) state of Ohio, bought a box of starters and boosters and built mad (as those wacky kids are known to say from time to time) decks. I found out a few things that might not be obvious to some. Then again, they may be gospel by now, as I do tend to follow my own learning curve.

If cracking hundreds of packs taught me anything, it was that white is more sickening than I realized. Oh yes, white can bore your opponent to tears, but how the hell does it win? Ever?

Any color but white: I wish to declare attackers.

White (making kissy faces in pocket mirror): Pardon me sir, but I hereby request that you tap that guy, and THAT guy, and THOSE two massive brute-like guys over there, and I also plan to gain fifty life as a result.

Any color but white: How do you sleep at night?

White (applying eyeliner): I sleep very well, thank you… oooh! Before I forget, I’m also going to prevent the next three years’ worth of damage that would be dealt by to me by anything. Please proceed.

FrigginRizzo: <—Really loves white, but is in denial.

And green is quickly becoming the Godfather of Invasion Limited. The former color of fatness now seems to be some sort of bastardized mana-pimpin’, loan-sharkin’ pawnbroker, always ready to "solve your problems" for a healthy fee. (And without getting the authorities involved)

Any color but green (whispering): Um, Godfather, I got this mana problem, can ya, um, help a brother out?

Green: Are you prepared to pay the costs?

Any color but green (nervously sniffling and shaking): All right Godfather, whatever you want! Just help me out!

Green: Someday I may ask you for a favor… now kiss my friggin’ ring!

FrigginRizzo: <—Surname "Rizzo," hence, big time Mafioso.

That leaves black, red, and blue, which I will try to force from my deck. Black, mixed with red, mixed with blue is just plain groovy. It makes a really weird purplish color, but it has a tendency to just roll over things that are not black, red, or blue – and usually rolls over those too.

I’ll do my little Magic dance that will result in a deck with a bunch of black, a bunch of blue, with the rest being whatever red had to offer – usually a couple removal spells and a Kavu or two. White is, well, white, so it’ll go into the cheerleader pile where it can she-bang and sha-bop to its heart’s content. Green usually had something worth splashing, although Serpentine Kavus are about all that really tickles my fancy.

FrigginRizzo: <—Not sure where the "fancy" is located. (I believe it’s near the fanny – The Ferrett)

Black/blue/red was my agenda; PTQ-Tokyo, Akron, Ohio was where I would take my stand.

***This is the part where spooky stuff starts to happen***

While considering the phrase "changing of the guard," ponder this:

I will be bringing my copy of Jamie Wakefield "Tournament Reports," which I am going to lend, on request, to Aaron Forsythe.

If the above sentence doesn’t give you chills, then you need to check straight into a cemetery, chief, ’cause it just don’t get no spookier than that. (Actually, it does… read on)

In playing around with ideas for States, I noticed that I bought a case and a half of Invasion and pulled exactly three Blazing Specters. Analyze that print run, slapnuts.

(This may seem odd, but I just stopped writing and opened up my last starter deck and pulled a Blazing Specter. Weird.)

(After I wrote the above paragraph, I opened the last of my boosters and pulled a…Blazing Specter. Did you ever have a dream that you were dreaming that you were having déjà vu and woke up and had déjà vu all over again?)

FrigginRizzo: <—Never watching "The Exorcist" again, ever.

***This is where the spooky stuff ends, hopefully***

Since I am currently a 1653 Limited, my goals are realistically simple: Top 16, and a gain of 25-30 points. Hey, you should see my Constructed rating.

I feel that I have a decent grasp of Invasion Sealed, having built about ninety decks thus far, and with Sealed probably being my best format (the word "best" is most assuredly inaccurate), so top 8 isn’t even out of the realm of possibility. Don’t bet the mortgage, but holding your breath is recommended.

Having never Rochester drafted, If I, by some chance, do make top 8, be prepared to read reports that include something like this:

"Rizzo messed up the Rochester for everyone."

"Who the hell taught this newbie how to Rochester?"

I’ll cross that bridge when (if I ever) come to it.

The meat, Saturday the 14th: Gettin’ trounced builds character, right?

"Where the hell is Moga-Friggin’-dore Road?"

"See that ‘Verdun’ street sign?"

"Why, yes, you random Ohio streetperson."

"Well, that’s really Mogadore Road."

Retarded street signs and no helmet law. See a correlation?

There’s a PTQ in a Friggin’ bingo parlor? I guess Professional-events services can’t run every PTQ. But they should.

I realize how spoiled I have become by attending only PES-run events. Apparently, I became too accustomed to "bonuses," such as easy to find locales, large playing areas, and restrooms that were built in the twentieth century. I hereby resolve to French kiss every member of the PES staff at the next event.

By the way, the guy who figures out how to ventilate restrooms is gonna’ make a friggin’ killing.

(Psst… how about a ventilation system?)

Before I sit down to deck registration, I make my rounds; briefly chatting with the total of four people there that I know. I put Chas Tressler into a sleeper hold, Neil Forsythe into Chinese handcuffs, Scott Teaman into a straightjacket, and Aaron Forsythe into a tight-fitting pink spandex catsuit. Rounds complete.

When I hand over Wakefield’s book to Aaron, I swear I heard the ghost of Jon Becker, chanting "Booya!"

So, I register a blah, blah, who really cares what you registered, blah. The deck I get back has playable black, red, and blue. Green was also playable, but, hey, a plan is a plan. And white? Yes, there was white.

Your Mother and My Mother Were Hanging Up Clothes.Dec

2 Shivan Zombie (he’s such a stick – okay, he’s not)
Void (what a bomb – okay, it sucked)
Backlash (’twas fricky-fricky fresh all day long)
Recoil (will this ever be a 2cc Desert Twister for ME?)
Do or Die (bad-ass – okay, it really was bad-ass)
Agonizing Demise (just plain… Friggin’ good)
Mourning (this should’ve been a white card)
Exotic Curse (should’ve been called "erotic curse")
Nightscape Apprentice (the draw phase is highly overrated)
Firescreamer (more like "little bitch screamer")
Phyrexian Slayer (so very average)
Goham Djinn (6 for a 3/3 sounds cool)
2x Thunderscape Apprentice (what an annoying little bastard)
2x Maniacal Rage (keep laughing, chief, these ruled)
Callous Giant (man, is this guy lame)
Zap (well, at least it’s a cantrip)
Crosis’s Attendant (just to make them think I had a Dragon)
Alloy Golem (okay, so everyone names black)
Worldly Counsel (pretty friggin’ good)
Fact or Fiction (pretty friggin’ better)
7x Swamp
7x Mountain
3x Island

Space for you to consider if he really loves you:

I thought this deck was top 8 when I built it. When I looked at it again, after I had turned in my deck registration, I figured it would top 8 if everyone but seven players dropped before round 1.

Round 1: Steven Estok, some colors and WHITE

Game 1: "Is it okay if my double-Raged Shivan does 32 damage?"

Game 2: "Mind if this Raged Shivan and Backlash kill you?’


Round 2: Chris Pait, Friggin’ flyers and WHITE

Game 1: "Would it be okay if I just drew perfectly?"

Game 2: "I attack with these 200 flyers, any response?"

Game 3: "I attack with these 201 flyers – die, bitch!"


Round 3: Chas Tressler, everything but WHITE

Game 1: "I play a bunch of 4/4s and attack…are you dead yet?"

Game 2: "I wanna get lunch, hurry up and Friggin’ die!"


Round 4: Mike, just plain ole’ Mike, broken.dec

Game 1: "I’ll kill this, this, this, and you."

Game 2: "Tsabo Tavoc and Crosis=bad times for Becky."


Round 5: Chris (I really had to pee)

Game 1: "29-0 isn’t that bad of a beating."

Game 2: "Can’t you just beat me so I can pee?"

Game 3: "23-0… see, you are getting better!"


Round 6: Charles Robinson, mirror match

Game 1: "I hate to kill a guy with Backlash."

Game 2: "I REALLY hate to kill a guy with Backlash."


Round 7: Bye

Game 1: "Dude, at least cast something."

Game 2: "Good match, but your deck just didn’t cooperate."






A lot.


"It must be cool to draw everything you need."
-Steven Estrok, round 1 opponent, after watching me draw everything I needed.

"I didn’t even put that Maniacal Rage on his Shivan."
-Chris Pait, round 2 opponent, to his friend, who also didn’t approve of my use of Maniacal Rage.

"My deck came to play."
-Chas Tressler, round 3 opponent, stating the obvious.

"You have to be kidding me!"
-Me, in response to Mike, round 4 opponent, casting Tsabo Tavoc and Crosis, in consecutive turns, AFTER I Backlashed some dumb 3/3.

"He’s a 9/11 flying, trampling, Spirit Link."
-Chris, round 5 opponent, seconds before I vomited.

-Charles Robinson, round 6 opponent, who was not pleased to be
Backlashed to death, twice.

"Rizzo’s mad at me, and I didn’t even rip on him."
-Scott Teaman, who didn’t even rip on me.

"How the hell did I get in the middle of this?"
Aaron Forsythe, forgetting that he ripped first, I ripped back, Jon Becker ripped back with a booya stick and Josh Bennett kicked all of our asses.

"Riz, you’re better than carrots."
-Neil Forsythe, who probably doesn’t even like carrots.

"Why didn’t you wait until he attacked to Agonizing Demise that?"
-Andy J, 10 grand richer, but still not aware that I suck at Magic.

"This is gonna be savage."
Aaron Forsythe, after casting his fourth Frenzied Tilling, in anticipation of casting Collective Restraint with four basic land types.

"Check out that Sligh curve!"
-Chas Tressler, after watching Neil Forsythe cast a turn 1 Apprentice, turn 2 Nomadic Elf.

"7 bucks for 2 packs."
Mike Turian, $20,007 richer than he was last week.

"Too bad I can’t play that well."
Nate Heiss, who I finally met, in response to my compliments on his articles.

"Riz, two Explosive Growth in your sideboard!"
-Neil Forsythe; if lovin’ green is wrong, he don’t wanna be right.

"I thought that article about your vasectomy was funny."
-Andy, the winner of the "Be the first to recognize John Friggin’ Rizzo from his StarCity picture" contest.

"Um, how does it win?"
-Scott Teaman, checking out one of The Universal Net Deck submissions.

"I’m not sure."
-Me, responding to above question.

Goal check:

Top 16: Well, there were 15 tables for the final round and half of them lost. So, 15 divided by Pi, carry the one, apostrophe-s… nah, didn’t happen.

Gain 25-30 points: I did say "gain," right? Damn.

Lessons learned: (for the two or three players worse than me)

Void is NOT a limited bomb. Unless, of course, you’re playing
Neil Forsythe and he overextends by casting FOUR Apprentices.

Everything you’ve heard about Fact or Fiction is wrong. It’s better than that.

If you cast an Attendant and try to trick your opponent into holding his best removal for the Dragon that you are representing, you are on crack. It doesn’t work. Ever.

Flyers are annoying. Still.

The tap Apprentices are completely balanced and fair.

You will get at least two Phantasmal Terrains in every deck you open.

Shackles/tap-Apprentice is like cheating. And you should be ashamed of yourself.

Armadillo Cloak is not as good as everyone thinks. (The previous statement may just be an indication of how bad I am, but I stand by it, sort of)

Sometimes the lettuce eats the rabbit. Sometimes the lamb kills the butcher. Sometimes I don’t suck at Magic.

This was not one of those times.

John Friggin’ Rizzo
[email protected]