States: Tech For The Stupid

Look at this: Limited: 1628 Rating 25 Matches 4 Events Team Limited – Trios: 1578 Rating 6 Matches 1 Events Composite: 1585 Points 4 Events Constructed: 1542 Rating 33 Matches 7 Events Say it with me (a la on "Friends") OH MY GOD. Now look at this: 04/29/00 2000 US Regionals Columbus, OH: 367th place…

Look at this:

1628 Rating 25 Matches 4 Events

Team Limited – Trios:
1578 Rating 6 Matches 1 Events

1585 Points 4 Events

1542 Rating 33 Matches 7 Events

Say it with me (a la Chandler on "Friends")




Now look at this:

04/29/00 2000 US Regionals Columbus, OH: 367th place



<insert random worshipped being(s) of choice>.

(Sorry, Mr. Lute, but I was dead last and most assuredly NOT grinnin’.)

(See why Mr. Meeson is no longer "Super Wrong Guy?")

Now, I could offer up many excuses and/or explanations for the above pathetic numbers, but no one would care – especially me. Apparently, there is a price to pay for being a Rogue, and that price is general communal mockery (as well as getting your head bashed in a few times). I think my dues have been fully paid up for, oh, about the next two to three hundred years. So this time I will actually put in the effort to actually do well, as I feel like treating myself to (at least) a taste of mediocrity, as opposed to the regular bottom feedings that I have become accustomed to.

You needn’t be stupid to read this; the stupid part comes if you actually use the afore-referenced "tech for the stupid," considering my pedigree thus far.

So, on with it then, because Barbra Streisand is annoying.

(Begin traditional introductory paragraph.)

With the coming of Invasion, a whole block rotates out.. blah, gone are… blah… ramble, blah, still rambling, blah, whatever… oooh… Fact
or Fiction… blah, Five-Color Green… blah, etc., misc., et. al…

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

States is the newest Event Horizon (no, I never saw it), and Type II is back with a vengeance or at least a whole bunch of confusion. So I figure I’ll offer up some tech that is guaranteed to drop your ratings like a bad habit:

Speed kills, screw the late game.

A nice little Sli(gh), my curve backed by some speedbump removal is going to be as relevant as it ever was. The only problem is that there is no more punch. There is a total of one 2/1 for 1, but it’s so bad that I can’t even remember what it’s called. (Ferrett, please do not insert the name of the card here – make them boot up Apprentice.) So speed is still going to be all of that – chips and dip, and a remote control – but there really isn’t much speed to speak of, save for (steps behind turntables and goes off).

Dicky, dicky, dicky Dark ricky, Ritual.

Speed kills. And it doesn’t get any faster than Dark Ritual.




Be sure to pack at least five in your deck. After all, what are the odds of a deck check? Even if you do get caught, just claim ignorance; it always works with cops and speeding tickets, right?

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

From dropping a first turn Hidden Horror, Chimeric Idol, or even three Molting Harpies (all of which will die during your next upkeep, but try it anyway, it’ll be cool), Dark Ritual is to speed what Keanu Reeves is to wooden dialogue.

Turn two Blazing Specter, Derelor, or even Armageddon (if you ever did that, then you Friggin’ rule) can just cause your opponent to ask for priority during the Scoop Phase. (Not yielding priority during the Scoop Phase is generally considered bad form.)

Elves and Birds are cute and all, but Dark Ritual is damned sexy – however, "Meet Joe Black" was not a good movie, although Larry King loved it.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

Because there is such a noticeable void in the early power creature Sonny Chiba to the Geeba curve, we will have to use dudes that, although decent (not really), just don’t compare to the likes of Jackal Pup and Da’ Mogg Fantastic. That’s okay, though, for we make do with what we have. And what we do have is a shadow of the former early game, which, of course, is on the utter coolness tip.

Then that must leave us in the absolutely nutty situation of using bigger creatures to round out the Slighness, ain’t it? And, since we NEED to use Dark Ritual, we might as well use black, righto? Well, you are correct – twice, actually – but don’t get ahead of yourself, buckeye.

The best (well, least crappy) Sligh-infected things, as deemed by a 1542 Constructed feller:


Flailing Soldier
Kris Mage
Raging Goblin

Blood Pet
Kjeldoran Dead
Molting Harpy (despite what Phifer thinks)

The pickings are slim indeed, as Flailing Soldier comes complete with his own death warrant, Molting Harpy requires us to spend mana we’ll need elsewhere, the Dead can’t realistically be cast on turn one, and Stephen King writes a lot of books.

<insert random swear word here for no apparent reason>

That leaves Kris (try and tap ME, you little annoying Apprentice) Mage, Raging Goblin, and Blood Pet. Only the Mage appears to have any reason to be thrown into any deck, as it has a cuter ability than adding a mana, or useless haste that doesn’t matter after turn two, and is embarrassing on turn one anyway.

For consideration:

4x Kris Mage


Goblin Elite Infantry
Mogg Toady
Rage Weaver
Ruby Leech
Veteran Brawlers

Cateran Persuader
Silent Assassin
Agent of Shauku
Hate Weaver
Nakaya Shade
Ravenous Rats
Spineless Thug
Whipstitched Zombie

Shivan Zombie

The Goblin is Elite in that he is the first to be eliminated from consideration, while the Toady, Brawlers, and Leech go next as they either hinder us too much or have nutty attack criterion, and almanacs make a great last-minute Christmas gift.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

The ROGUE isn’t much of an effective ROGUE after some of his boys come to hang out with him, and both Weavers, while semi-cute, have abilities that we don’t plan on using much, ever.

The Persuader and Assassin are Mercenaries, and Masques Block is over, so get on with your life, chief. Say bye to the Shade, who needs extra mana to abuse. The Whipstitched’s upkeep is going to be too annoying, not to mention that he just sucks, which leads me to the Thug, who’s so much like a bitch that no self respecting gang/posse/crew would let him in. The Rats just don’t get me all hot and bothered like they used to. Pity.

For consideration:

4x Shivan Zombie (Pro WHITE!)

And now for the really cool 3cc slot:

Balduvian Barbarians
Lava Runner
Orcish Artillery
Arc Mage
Kavu Aggressor
Spur Grappler
Viashino Grappler

Hidden Horror
Nether Spirit

Cinder Shade
Vicious Kavu
Pyre Zombie

Chimeric Idol

This is where it gets tough. The Barbarians, Aggressor, both Grapplers, and Vicious Kavu all have 3 power or greater. So, let’s take out the trash: Lava Runner, Orcish Artillery, and Cinder Shade go out on the curb Monday night for the G-Men to pick up. Why? Because this is my Friggin’ article, chief. I make the rules and eliminate with extreme prejudice. (Well, they WILL suck… that’s why.)

FrigginRizzo: <—Owns Orcish Artillery with casting cost of "1R."

<insert random smiley face emoticon right here, chief>

The Barbarians can go, because I don’t have any black-bordered ones. Viashino Grappler also gets kicked, as he has green mana in his activation, which is annoying. Arc Mage is my boy and we go way back, but three mana for essentially a Shock on a stick just ain’t cuttin’ no mustard up in here.

The Aggressor be ghost because he has the worst kicker in the short, but storied, history of all things to be kicked; he can go away and try to figure out why Wizards made a typo and didn’t recall it. The Grappler is funny in a Tap-out Deck, but, hey schlep-rock, this ain’t one of them. Hidden Horror? Um, is there much bounce out there?

<insert random credit to Aaron Forsythe for da’ wisdom on da’ Horror>

Did I meet my Ebonical Quota in the above paragraphs?

The Idol requires first main phase casting of creatures, which sucks, and so does he, and, amazingly, "Lucky" was not Lucky Luciano’s real first name.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

For consideration:

4x Vicious Kavu
4x Pyre Zombie

4cc bad dudes:

Balduvian Horde
Lesser Gargadon
Fickle Efreet
Keldon Berserker
Viashino Warrior

Pit Raptor
Enslaved Horror
Phyrexian Prowler
Trench Wurm

Blazing Specter (not "Spectre," dammit)

Complex Automaton

The Horde is chubby, but I like it better when my opponents make me discard. The Gargadon was fine in MBC when I was using twenty-six lands, but I’m over that now. Fickle rhymes with pickle which rhymes with Travis Bickle. The Warrior’s two toughness angers me. I saw that dinosaur movie, and none of them looked like Pit Raptor. I’m thinkin’ bout killin’ stuff, so ixnay on the Orrohray, eihcfay. Fading was fun while it lasted. (that’s a pun, sort of). The Berserker just isn’t berserk enough for me. Yes, I love the complex one, but, sometimes love just ain’t enough, although Al Gore invented The Internet.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

For consideration:

4x Derelor
4x Trench Wurm
4x Skizzik
4x Blazing Specter

Added to what we already have: (What’s this "we" stuff?)

4x Kris Mage
4x Shivan Zombie
4x Vicious Kavu
4x Pyre Zombie

All of these guys can be on the board by (or come out on) turn two, aided by a DARK RITUAL. Fast enough for ya? Thought so.

<Insert random apology to League of Women Voters for lumping Kris "love ’em and leave ’em with a dagger in their chest" Mage in with "the guys">

So far, we have a thirty-two card deck with no burn/kill, utility, or lands. This is easy, huh? Well, let’s take a look at the burn.

Ghitu Fire
Hammer of Bogardan
Rhystic Lightning
Scorching Lava
Seal of Fire
Urza’s Rage
Zap (okay, just kidding)

We want instants, mostly to burn blockers out of the way, or end-of-turn gettin’ our groove on – and we want cheap, effective, maybe even dirty or cheesy spells to do it, as Playstation 2 costs like three hundred bucks.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

Blaze, Cave-In, Ghitu Fire, Flameshot, and Thunderclap must go away. Our sorceries and three wacky ACC costs do not sufficient burn make. Earthquake could be neat, but a Quake of any real magnitude that kills virtually our entire army=Bad times for Becky.

Rhystic Lightning is well, rhystic, therefore, requires strategy, which is a definite no-no. Hammer is too red-intensive, and one of us should be dead by turn eight anyway. Shock is, well, Shock, but Seal of Fire just sits there and dares people to come with it.

Seal of Fire: "Yeah, bitch, bring it on!"

Tom Sawyer: "But Huck, I’m afeared!"

For consideration:

4x Scorching Lava
4x Seal of Fire
4x Urza’s Rage

Now, here come da’ Judge:

Agonizing Demise
Seal of Doom
Snuff Out
(Massacre and Vicious Hunger don’t kill, but let’s throw em up in here.)

Annihilate has a nice little cantrippy feel (probably because it’s a cantrip), but it might be a little slow – then again, I suck, so who knows? Seal of Doom is a big glut in the three slot, plus we want to kill with some stealth. As for Terror, well… you’re cool, but I just might want to kill a Chimeric Idol now and then, since no one else realizes they suck. Agonizing Demise and Snuff Out won’t be killing Specters, Derelors, or Slavers, so they go. Massacre wrecks WHITE, which normally would be enough, but not this time, for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss. Huh?

And Vendetta:

Friggin’ : "Vendetta your Elf?"

Evil Green Mage/Minion : "I respond with Giant Growth, Explosive Growth, Rampant Growth, Monstrous Growth, Overgrowth, Regrowth, Stunted Growth, and Wild Growth."

Friggin’ : "Mama mia, chicken cacciatore!"

Well, it could happen.

For consideration:


And our previous Blues Brothers:

4x Scorching Lava
4x Seal of Fire
4x Urza’s Rage

Now, let’s add some utility:

To Tutor or no? No, because Sligh doesn’t like to search, slipknot.

Discard or no? Nah. Specter should be fine. Or not.

Enchantment removal? Um…

Artifact removal? Whatever.

Tricks? Um… Kris and the Blues Brothers got it going on already.

Land kill? That’s not nice.

Life gain? You bastard!

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed.

For consideration:

Utility is for the birds and, perhaps, good players, but why the hell is Billy Crystal famous again?

The finalized rough draft, version 1.0, yourmomdotcomdotdec:

Men without hats:

4x Kris Mage
4x Shivan Zombie
4x Vicious Kavu
4x Pyre Zombie
4x Derelor
4x Trench Wurm
4x Skizzik
4x Blazing Specter

Mean stuff:

4x Scorching Lava
4x Seal of Fire
4x Urza’s Rage

Okay, forty-four cards. Now let’s add some land and head to States.

Dear Ferrett,

Kill that [DELETED] Rizzo!

Pete Hoefling, President and all around Head Honcho,
Star City Games.com

Dear Pete,

Sorry ’bout editing your email.

With Love and some Booya,
The Ferrett
<insert random longer-than-the-actual-email signature>
(For the record, my email signature is currently: "I used to be frumpy and plain-looking," said Kelli Froemer, one of the 2,500 focus-group subjects upon whom Pantene tested their new shampoo-and-behavioral conditioners. "Now I spend at least an hour in the bathroom each morning, elaborately styling my hair and applying a vast array of cosmetics and sprays to my hair and face. Why? Because if I don’t, it feels like somebody has set my head on fire." – The Ferrett)

After trimming the fat, so to speak, we have this, sort of:

(All decks in ".dec" format to appease J to the M to the Salazar.)

Keanu nabs yet another Oscar.dec

4x Kris Mage
4x Shivan Zombie
3x Vicious Kavu
2x Pyre Zombie
1x Trench Wurm
2x Derelor
3x Skizzik
4x Blazing Specter
3x Scorching Lava
4x Seal of Fire
3x Urza’s Rage
10x Swamp
10x Mountain
3x Sulfurous Springs

And, for the bomb of the deck:


Say it with me now… DARK… RITUAL… Ah, feel better?

Disclaimer: I’ll show you my "ROGUE" DCI card if you ask nicely.

So, twenty-three creatures with a nice Sli(gh)my curve (not really), and ten ways to hurt stuff. Here’s a happy scenario:

Turn 1:

Dude: "Hey, your name is Rizzo! Did you ever hear of The Jerky Boys?"

FrigginRizzo: <—Pulls out da’ gat and flatblasts dude up in da’ grill.

Here’s a more realistic scenario:

Turn 1:

Turn 2:

Turn 3:
Attack for 2 (18), that angry Kavu.

Turn 4:
Skizzik (no kicker, slappy, or maybe with kicker), attack for 11 (7)

Turn 5:
Die in any number of ways which are equally cheesy.

Sideboard options:

Fact or Fiction
Floppy disks
Your ATM card
Hammer, Hammer, I am, Hammer, Hammer
Extra Scorching Lava
Marauding Knight
Bobby Knight
Arcane Laboratory
Big Daddy Kane
Mark McGwire Rookie Card
Big bag of sunflower seeds
The Ferrett driver’s license
Clean underwear
A Get out of Jail Free card

By the way, this deck can’t deal with Blastoderm, Rising Waters, Story Circle, Teferi’s Moat, Tangle Wire, Pro-black stuff, Pro-red stuff, Land Destruction, Counterspells, Wrath of God, Discard, Parallax Wave, Parallax Tide, Saproling Burst, Cowardice, Rush decks, Control decks, Medium tempo decks, 5cG, 4cG, 3cG, 2cG, Mono green, Red decks, Blue decks, White decks, Black decks or Combo.

Other than those rare cards and archetypes, this deck is a Friggin’ Stick!

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll just play this, or a very close variant, instead:

I’ll be pissed after driving four hours to Harrisburg, so I want to be mean to as many players as I can for as long as I can.dec

4x Counterspell ("The best spell in Magic," said Andy McNish)
4x Undermine
4x Thwart
4x Opt
4x Fact or Fiction ("No sell out," said Malcolm the tenth)
2x Mystical Tutor
2x Vampiric Tutor
1x Cateran Slaver
1x Air Elemental
1x Plague Spitter ("It spits on everything," said Clinton Marchant)
3x Recoil
1x Yawgmoth’s Agenda
1x Bribery
1x Wash Out
1x Massacre
1x Desertion
1x Tsabo’s Web

4x Salt Marsh
5x Swamp
14x Island
1x Underground River

Tutor/Opt is a combo. You’re welcome.

This deck is a real Friggin’ stick, man, for real, really. Well, okay, it’s really not, but it is enjoyable to play Islands AND Swamps at the same time. A nice assortment of No, draw/search, and what-the-hell-kind-of-metagame-is-out-there silver bullets make the world go round.

Oh, by the way, if you weren’t already aware, Yawgmoth’s Agenda is


(and back)

The above decks are actually a serious attempt on my part to put together an assortment of cards that may actually resemble a decent deck. If they prove to just suck, while that would be par for the course, it will still piss me off to no end. Staring at a 1542 Constructed rating is not enjoyable, even though it’s better than 1508, which stared at me from Regionals until I finally built a decent deck for Masques Block.

It seems as if many people believe that I like having a 1542 rating; let me assure you that is not the case. I did have a 1591 Standard and 1578 or so Extended rating when the two combined to form the Constructed rating category. You figure it out, because the math seems to not make sense. Alas.

I am probably the lowest-rated Magic writer on The Net.

For now.

Eventually, I will hit paydirt. It might not happen at States, but it will happen, and when it does I won’t be yelling, "I told you so!" Okay, I might.

FrigginRizzo: <—1542 Constructed. For now.

So, take this tech with a grain of salt, a shot of Jack, and a bologna sandwich.

To Infinity and beyond!

Or Harrisburg, whichever is closer.

Thanks for reading David Phifer,
John Friggin’ Rizzo
[email protected]
Michael has no financial interest in Hasbro. He’s lying.

The Universal Net Deck is still alive and, well, not well, kids. For fun, I have put up the decklists I have received so far right here:


Names not included to protect the guilty.

You can go to www.frigginrizzo.com to check out the card pool, or just keep downloading porn while you’re at work.

After using the winning Universal Net Deck submission on November 10th in Columbus, be prepared to see this:

FrigginRizzo: <—1502 Constructed.

Keep those decks coming, chiefs. Chieves? Oh, I must really love this game. Really.

All right, AFTER I get smacked down with The Universal Net Deck on November 18th, I will begin my ascent to respectability. With 1.x tourneys on December 9th and 16th, I will dive in head first looking to make my dent, and a Top Eight or two. For I am on a mission, or something.