Seether Is The Center Of It All

I’d venture a guess to say that the top hundred players in the world are interchangeable in their level of skill.

“We’re doomed to use the slang, outbreak of drug roulette

"A church burned to the ground not even noticed yet.”

-Pantera, 13 Steps

First off, let a brother get something straight that likely seemed wack, since I’m no longer shooting heroin, snorting coke, or smoking crack.

“…I can finally realize that Magic players aren’t necessarily something special; most of them don’t ‘know’ what this game is really about…”

-Me, last week and stuff

Allow me to clarify the above statement in a manner that isn’t so simplistic. There should be much emphasis on the word”necessarily,” so there really isn’t as much need as you might think to go ballistic. The last few weeks of Net Magic Shutdown led to some inflammatory topics on the mailing lists I’m subscribed to and the CPA – combining that with my already apathetic (and bad) mood pushed me into some sort of evil morass for much more than just the usual day.

As such, I didn’t exactly come off as lucid as I would’ve wanted, and it does appear that virtually every Magic player is being ridiculed, picked on and generally taunted. That was certainly not my intention; it’s more of a realization that it was me that put Magic and it’s players up on some sort of idealistic staircase of ascension.

I guess I’m still searching for whatever that one writer’s spirit and stuff was, and when it was written that it seemed others weren’t, it was the angry words of a thirty-two year old guy who was pissed that perhaps others weren’t looking at the big picture as much as he does.

I still think that Magic players are so very far from being the dead, but it still is depressing to see actions that seem to dispute that claim and read some of the contradictory words that others have said.

Apparently, controlled apathy isn’t immune to having some concern jump up in here without warning, and even if everything isn’t perfect there doesn’t really seem to be a need to start mourning.

I failed (for a long time) to realize that people want different things from this game; assuming that others are as passionate as me regarding a few peccadilloes here was, well, pretty damned lame. So you go your way and I’ll go mine — and when we meet you don’t have to stay on your side and I don’t have to stay on the other, because there really is no Ideological Magic Line. Even if there is, it’s quite blurry and difficult to define, so I’ll erase the invisible marks and I bet everything will be just fine.

In short, the times still be good for My Dear Aunt Sally, so let’s hop in the ‘Vette and keep Going Back To Cali.


“Every man is evil yes, an every man a liar

"an unashamed with the wicked tongues sing in the black soul choir.”

-Sixteen Horsepower, Black Soul Choir

It’s kind of funny how people write articles about tech. It’s also funny how they tell you the proper way to play a certain deck. Perhaps it’s not really”funny” as in”make me laugh,” but maybe it’s more like”funny” in that we need to be told the difference between the good stuff and the chaff.

You know who’s writing about decks with candor and altruism? It’s the scrubs and nerds that don’t have to worry about”Pro Tour Schism.” Everyone and their yummy mummy has their ideas, and some go as far as to share them — but those guys aren’t”real” playaz, their decks are kind of goofy. Grab the”real” decks and the”scrub” decks and compare them. You’ll see some similarities and common ideas between them, but the”scrubby” guys get no credit for bringing cool decks to the forefront – everyone will have claimed to already have seen them.

Let’s rip on”Turbo-Chant,””God,” and”Mafia King” because of the guys who built them and grew to love them, while going gaga over the similar decks that the pros made that use many of the same ideas, yet are somehow above them. That’s not to say that once in a while a”nobody” doesn’t bring the good stuff to center stage, but there are those who will crotch punch said ideas like they were Johnny Friggin’ Cage.

What the hell was”The Solution” if not a take on Team Binary’s”God?” No, there weren’t any Glittering dudes, but Crimson Acolyte and Galina’s Knight use the same idea that Binary did, but did they get a kudos, a shout-out, or even a nod? Sean McKeown“Probe-Go” qualified a handful of dudes for Nationals — but who lines up to give the credit? The only way I know that it did so well is that Sean took the time to look up the results, and he was the only one who said it.

No one else was searching to see how well their”tech” did because most of them kept it under wraps, but Theron Martin said,”I will play Skies and it will qualify me” (or something to that effect), and it was his name at the top of the list after the swiss in bold and caps.

“Morphling might be a decent finisher in control decks” – you can still find that somewhere on Mindripper, chief. And Blastoderm”is just on the edge of Constructed quality” – whew, glad I only have to sweat that guy in Limited, what a relief. Rancor”might even see some Constructed play,” and”High Market is the best land in [Mercadian Masques]” — what more can I say?

Who the hell has the market cornered on being right? Well, no one does, since even the guys who are usually correct sometimes have to hide in the shadows of”oopsy daisy” instead of basking in the light. Isn’t that part of the fun? Tell us what’s good — but if you’re wrong, slick, you’d better run. I realize no one likes to be second-guessed, but when a scrubby guy is wrong he gets the ear-beating worse than the rest… But he does get less than the credit he deserves when he hits the nail on the head. What’s not to love – when he’s right we forget it, when he’s wrong we forever remember what he said.

Tech can be ass and ass can be bigger than any tech could be, and that’s probably exactly the way that it should be. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – but get it wrong and you’re a loudmouthed idiot who’s reputation is stained.

What makes a card”good?” Does it do things that other things only wish they could? Does it break the rules that have seemingly been carved in stone:”One land per turn,””Dudes have to wait a turn before they can jump into The Red Zone?” Does it give you cards for life or mana for free? Does it have so much text that you need a microscope to see?

What makes a card”bad”? Does it cry for the abilities that it wished it had? Does it cost too much to cast or too much for what it can do? Does it cost 2RR for a friggin’ 2/2? Does it do more damage to you than it’s worth? Or is it Planeswalker’s Mirth?

Comparing cards to the older versions seems to be the most popular way to determine if it’s got potential, but when there’s something sort of new about the card is comparing it absolutely essential? Kicker can be likened to this and the Familiars to that, but who really cares if Duress is followed up by a Ravenous Rat? There are some strategies that don’t care about card advantage, mana curve, or the waste of an occasional resource — and if those nutty strategies weren’t exploited by Rogues, would we have ever seen Secret Force?

Natural Order is a”bad” card because it costs you two cards to get one. I guess someone is pissed ’cause they think saccing an elf and tapping three more mana for an uber fattie that will likely win you the game is dumb and not very fun. It wasn’t too long ago that gaining life was about the worse offense any player could make, but all of a sudden cards that gain life are being cast without shame, for Christ’s sake. I wonder how such a disgusting game mechanic somehow became accepted almost without notice. It wasn’t fine to cast four Healing Salves, but it was fine to drop Mox after Mox after Mox after Lotus.

At the Invasion Prerelease I was sitting next to Aaron Forsythe and debating over my twenty-third card for more than a New York Minute. Aaron noticed a Heroes’ Reunion I had set aside and asked/stated,”You aren’t going to put THAT card in it!” Since he is Pro Tour guy and I’m, well, kinda not even close to being one, I figured he was probably right even though seven life for two mana to me seemed pretty damned cheap and possibly funny if not just fun.

And I’m still pissed that he”talked me into” not using a card that I thought was a potential fit for my deck. But I understand that he’s a pro and is required to abhor lifegain in most forms (unless it’s black), ’cause gaining life is oh so very much not tech. Although, maybe by now he’s seen the lifegain light. If I can use white in my decks, then maybe a little lifegain can work out all right.

Weirdness abounds in exactly what is accepted and true; if lifegain can become anti-ass technology, then maybe people who got picked on in high school don’t immediately rush to play mono blue.


Weirdness from the Casual Players Alliance (currently working on their ISO 9001 compliance):

Question: How often do you play in tourneys?

1: Every chance I get! 22 votes

2: Just the prereleases. 7 votes

3: Only at my local store 6 votes : Once a week 8 votes

5: Once a month 13 votes

6: Thought about it… But no. 17 votes

7: Tourneys? You must be mad! 10 votes

While the voting is incomplete, the results for answers one and seven seemed to have switched position. Do we have yet another blurring in the lines of the”casual vs. pro” war of attrition? If so, then it’s even more utter coolness that laughs at the”segregation” and”us vs. them” mentality and grief, which also goes a long way in proving that it is indeed a big bag, chief.


“What happened to you? you’re not the same,

"something in your head made a violent change.”

-Minor Threat, Filler

Apocalypse appears to be a difficult enough set that the Prerelease is going to be one damned interesting time for Rebecca. Especially for those nutty guys like Scott English and others who won’t check out the spoiler, because they are trying to refresh their love for the undiscovered Mecca. Hey, chiefs, I wish you luck ’cause I’ve been pouring over the spoiler for quite a while, and I still have no clue except for the fact that I’m fairly certain that I’ll take the full forty minutes to build my deck and still end up with a multicolored pile.

It sure seems like Wizards wants one- and two-colored decks to come to a complete and sudden stop, but they’ve neutered search to the point of basically hoping to peel stuff off the top. Although there are a bunch of very good ways to filter through your deck to get what you need, you won’t be tutoring for bombs and you won’t be drawing your entire deck with any semblance of speed.

Dear Players,

Let’s have nice face-to-face slow-paced games from now on, okay? If you don’t like the”New Magic” all you have to do is remember”Hatred for eighteen,””Stroke you for infinity,” and”Wave out every single permanent you own because I friggin’ say.”



Hey, the cards are telling us that the environment is looking to be healthy and reward Rogue deckbuilding for a change, which is much better than playing eight rounds and never telling an opponent”Whoa, putting THAT card in your deck seems strange!” Because everyone’s decks will probably be using odd cards and there may be a lot of”What does that card do?” being uttered by this guy, that guy, and yet another. If I was to ask you if that’s cool as all hell, you’d likely get all nutty on me like Vanilla Ice by busting a B-Boy stance, copping an attitude, raising your eyebrow, and saying,”Word to your Mother.”

So, word to mothers everywhere, damnit! Wizards took Magic, picked its sick ass up, posed for pictures, then bodyslammed it. They did it because many of us asked them to, that’s why, and Jim Ross was over by the Spanish Announcer’s table yelling”Oh, my! Oh, my!”

“She was black as the night,

"Louie was whiter than white.”

-The Stories,”Brother Louie”

Can it be that good and evil have finally kissed, made up and decided to work together for the betterment of each? Apocalypse sure thinks so by trying to meld black and white together in some sort of”Uber Color” – ain’t that a peach? Both color’s weaknesses are nullified by the other’s strengths; Wizards combining two diametrically opposed colors in furtherance of viability is proving that they will go to virtually any lengths.


“It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.”

-Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, The Message

Who the heck would even want to be on the Pro Tour, anyway? It certainly seems that results aren’t really about who is The Best on any given day, but more like who is the on The Hot Streak at the moment – it doesn’t seem to matter much who came for a visit and who came to play.

I’d venture a guess to say that the top hundred players in the world are interchangeable in their level of skill, but that doesn’t mean that one of the”scrubby” pros can’t bring home the bacon and be king of the hill.

Yeah, there’s enough luck in Magic even at the highest level, and figuring out who’s the”best” is simply an example of the devil in the details and the details in the devil. That’s why they play the games, right? That’s why they stay up drinking Coke, eating crappy food, and playtesting all friggin’ night.

Player X can win a Tour, then turn around and go 0-4. Does that mean he just stunk the joint up and deserved his side-event fate? What the hell is the difference between the guy who can’t get off the schneid and the guy drawing into the Top Eight? How about Tom Swan and Kurt Hahn’s amazing performances at GP – Boston? Are those results aberrations of the system that they dove into and got lost in?

Kurt Hahn doesn’t beat Kyle Rose – it just shouldn’t happen, especially with the Top Eight on the line and even with Kurt kickin’ his patented nonstop gum flappin’. Ryan Fuller doesn’t go 14-0 – that’s ridiculous, impossible, and downright unbelievable. And he certainly doesn’t follow up that performance by winning a damn Grand Prix – like the dude said in”The Princess Bride”: inconceivable! But stuff like that happens, and we all watch, jaws agape, bearing some serious witness. Does everyone get their day to be broken, their day to suck, their day to be fat and out of shape and their day to promote physical fitness?

In Magic, apparently so. In life, I’m not so sure, although I don’t really know.


“I’m mad at my desk and I’m writing all curse words,

"expressing my aggressions through my schizophrenic verse words.”

-Beastie Boys, Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun

Deranged Friggin’ Dad hit about eighty columns, then decided that’d make a nice jumping-off place, but was I the only one who read his final article NOT looking for a reason why he was putting down the quill, at least in cyberspace? Although part of me would’ve liked to know why or at least liked to see his reasons, since the D to the Diggitty Dawg has been ’round like the changing of the seasons.

I guess his reasons don’t really matter, because if he wanted to tell us he certainly had a forum to do so; when you’re heading out, sometimes it’s better to just set a course for that island, like Robinson Crusoe.


“Keep the music pumping…and we outta here.”

-Rakim, Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full

I’m not the answer and I’m not the question either, but I’ll put two cents into my pocket because I absolutely can’t fight The Seether.

A lot of guys don’t know a lot of things yet they rarely take a breather, but I still listen because I absolutely can’t fight The Seether.

Black and white aren’t meant to go together like a baby and a teether, but I’ll go with the flow since I absolutely can’t fight The Seether.

“Yo, what happened to peace?”

Eric B., Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full

With apologies to Anthony Alongi and other rappers everywhere…


John Friggin’ Rizzo