That New Card Smell And Punks Galore – Torment Prerelease

Dear punks: I used to be on your side, but when you crossed over and grabbed the chance to be one of the”cool guys that pick on the nerds,” you lost my sympathy vote. Go to hell.

“I’m Shante and the rhymes are def…”

-Roxanne Shante, some song she did during her 15 minutes back in ’85

Speaking of Shante…

“In consecutive order I played: Walamies (with Oath of Druids), The Rock And His Millions, Tinker, Cradle-Elves.”

Sean McKeown

I only pick on Shante because he was nice enough to list the decks he played in the past season’s Extended qualifiers. In a fifth qualifier, he played The Rock and His Millions again.

Let’s make a few assumptions:

1) Shante has a decent grasp on what constitutes a good deck.

2) Shante has a decent grasp on what the metagame should be.

3) Shante is a decent player.

Now, with knowing good decks and understanding the metagame and being a decent player, you’d think that Shante could’ve squeezed in a Top Eight or two, right? Four net decks (for the most part) should equate with at least some success, ain’t it?

Point: If Shante can’t make a Top Eight in five tries with four net decks, then why the hell are you playing net decks?

Think about it for a moment or two…

Shante (or if you prefer, the latest incarnation:”Shonte”) is likely at least as good as most of us in the”zero Grand Prix bye” ranking category – and perhaps better than that since his core of playtesters is fairly strong. Again, he went oh for the season with four top-notch decks.

Why the hell is everyone playing a friggin’ net deck? If you think you’re going to win, or have a legitimate shot at winning the qualifier, then go ahead and net away. But for most of us, winning the qualifier is pretty damned unrealistic. Are you there to go 4-2-1 or maybe 5-2? Are you there just to have fun? If you can admit that you have very little chance of actually winning the qualifier, then why in the freakin’ hell aren’t you playing your own deck?

What do you have to lose?

Uh oh, someone might tease me if I use my own deck!

Oh no, not that. They’ll tease you anyway, chief.

For arguments sake, let’s say there are a hundred guys in attendance and each of them has an equal shot of winning. That’s 99-1 against you, yo. You could also look at it like this: You’ll play eight rounds of swiss and three elimination matches if you happen to win. That would still be 10-1 against you. That’s an incorrect way to analyze your chances, but some may think along those lines. Of course, very few guys have odds those short; for most of us, it’s more likely to be 40 or 50-1.

In reality, less than 10% of those in attendance have a strong shot at Top Eight, with another ten or so percent having a decent to fair chance. The rest, as they say, are filler. Or need some serious good fortune.

I just read that Randy Wright won another qualifier in Columbus. You may have heard of Randy – he had a little love in the Duelist a few years back and has played in a handful of PTs, but one thing I’ve noticed is that he always comes back to the qualifier circuit – he usually ends up in 100-something place (or worse) when he gets to the dance.

Now, I’ll give you that Randy is a very good player when compared to the majority that play in the qualifiers week in and week out. Thus, when he attends a qualifier, he’s probably a 4 or 5-1 to make Top Eight, and if he does make it in, his odds to win it all can’t be much worse than 50/50.

However, he just can’t hang with the big boys.

Randy Wright is a better player than Sean McKeown, but Sean can expect to squeak out a win against Randy now and again, or even more often than that, just as you or I finagle a win against our local”best and brightest” once in a while. And Randy also has a chance to eke out a win when he faces the big boys… But it just doesn’t happen often enough to keep him on the tour.

I have a theory as to why Randy can seemingly dominate the qualifiers, but fall on his ass at the PT level: Net decks.

At a qualifier, Randy can most likely take his net deck du jour and breeze through the first few rounds of random guy’s homemade.dec on sheer playskill alone. However, when he gets to the tighter rounds, the fact that he is usually facing net decks (or IDing) gives him a distinct advantage. He is a strong enough player that by knowing all the net decks inside and out, he can plan accordingly – and then, when he has you all figured out, he simply outplays you.

He can’t do that at the PT level; he isn’t going to”outplay” Kai, Zvi or Farid (heh; Farid) often enough. While his skillz shine at a qualifier, he is the little fish on the tour.

Most of us will never be as good as Randy Wright – and at the risk of sounding insulting, he isn’t even that good. Sure, he’ll kick my ass six days a week and dominate side drafts and win States and Prereleases and even more side events, but he’ll probably never win a Pro Tour. His rating will always be in the mid to high 1900’s, and he’ll always be the guy that no one wants to face in the Top Eight – in a PTQ, that is.

Randy has seemingly maxed out; he’s better than tons of players, and that’s still not good enough. If all you want is to make it to the tour once, then by all means keep playing net decks. If, however, you want a little more than that, which may not even include making it to the big show, although you wouldn’t mind it, then don’t play net decks.

If you can be realistic and admit to yourself that you will likely never win a PT, GP, or heck, even a PTQ, then be realistic when you answer this question:

Why the *&^% are you playing a net deck?

Guys like Randy Wright and Jason Means always pissed me off. Not them personally, but they represented the top of the qualifier food chain. They were always at the freakin’ qualifier and seemingly always stealing Top Eights from us – the little guys. Once per season, they’d win a qualifier and then be beaten into oblivion on the tour – thus, they came right back to where they didn’t truly belong. They are a little too good for the qualifier circuit, but not good enough to make a dent in the tour.

Stuck in a no-man’s land of Magic skillz, they belong neither here nor there, but spend a lot more time here rather than there – which pissed me off, because they seemed to prove that net decks do absolutely nothing but get the good local players to the tour, where they promptly fall on their faces when crunch time arrives.

And no one seemed to notice, nor care, that net decks were at the root of the problem.

I belong in qualifiers and little tourneys – and most likely, so do you. However, if and when (okay, if) I do manage to qualify, the odds are great that I’ll finish somewhere near the bottom and be right back where I belong. But I accept that, while Jason and Randy and a few other guys don’t. Kudos to them for fighting the good fight (even if they are using a bad weapon) and getting up, dusting themselves off and giving it the old college try. Again and again and again.

But, dudes, quit sucking when you get to the tour, for Christ’s sake.

And then there is a guy like Josh Smith, going Rogue and still kicking ass. I watched him use a heavily-modified Walamies deck to beat poor Alex into infinity and barely miss qualifying when Jill found a way to smash him with her nutty Junk deck. So he missed qualifying, but he comes right back with another Rogue deck at GP: Houston and proceeds to up and win the whole damned shebang. Against”real” players, no less – players with ratings over two grand.

Did people take that as a sign of encouragement – a glimmer of hope that yes, Rogue can still be good? Hells no, they copied and pasted and printed his decklist and used that at the next qualifier.

<this is where I swear a lot>

I took great guilty pleasure this Extended season – until Super Gro, that is. Miracle Gro was the shot in the arm that smacked all you lamers Donating Illusions upside the diz and left many of you scrambling for new decks…Er, I mean,”new net decks.” For the deck you were going to play all season suddenly became utter crap. Until that point, the metagame was crap – play Trix or something to beat it. But did anyone leave well enough alone? Nope – they had to go and make Miracle Gro even better.

However, with Comer’s nutty creation came new light: We could attend a qualifier and not worry about Trix. We didn’t have to play bad enchantment removal that was often irrelevant anyway in the maindeck.

For a couple of weeks, all was fine on the western front. Heck, even Sligh was starting to be good again, and you know that’s gotta be healthy for the environment.

But towards the end of the season, Super Gro started to become the new Trix. While I’m disappointed to see the season end just when I was having fun with Enchantress, I’m happy it’s over because the metagame was becoming”Trix or beat Trix” all over again, but with Super Gro taking the reins.

I just don’t understand net decks. It’s unbelievably frustrating to not be able to convey just how much I despise them. There are no words in the English language that can describe the feeling. Still, there is hope: If the pros can keep shifting the metagame from week to week, then the net deckers at the qualifiers will always be one step behind, scrambling for the latest tech… Er, I mean,”latest net deck.” And someone like me might just get lucky and catch them with their guard down.

Maybe, just maybe.

After thinking a lot more about Wizards MOL pricing, I can now say the following with 100% conviction…


Introducing Rizzo’s”Deez nutz could be some good” section:

Pitchstone Wall

U, Creature – Wall, 2R, 2/5

Whenever you discard a card from your hand, you may sacrifice Pitchstone Wall. If you do, return the discarded card from your graveyard to your hand.

It’s a freakin’ combo wall, but this…

Is the biggie…

False Memories

R, Instant, 1U

Put the top seven cards of your library into your graveyard. At end of turn, remove seven cards in your graveyard from the game.

I have a sneaking suspicion that False Memories will be called”broke all to hell” more times than anyone can count. It seems so awful at first glance…and second. Seven cards is a lot; instant-speed Threshold sounds nice, but damn, this card smells like teen spirit all up in here. I believe that this is one of those cards that proves that R&D knows more than we do – they know what’s coming, while we gauge cards on how effective they are right now.

However, Jay Schneider, Rogue extraordinaire, has this to say about Da’ Mammaries:

“The ability to gain Threshold for a single turn isn’t worth a card and 1U.”

I have to believe that”gaining Threshold” isn’t what this card is all about. In an environment that uses its graveyard as a hella resource, often more so than cards in hand, this card seems to read:

1U: Draw seven cards. Remove the ones you don’t care about from the game at end of turn.

We all remember than drawing seven cards in one turn, at instant speed no less, is kinda good, right? For perspective, allow me to note that the seven cards you mill into you graveyard with False Memories don’t get removed from the game at end of turn if they’re not there. Perhaps they’re in play, or back in your library, or maybe even back in your hand. Is there a chance that the card is much more about”instant-speed Threshold?” Methinks that is a distinct possibility.

And so does Seth”no nickname yet, but I’m working on it” Burn. So there.

How to evaluate the new cards: a primer by a guy who, despite Oscar Tan insistence, cannot play Type 1. Seriously, Oscar, I can’t. So change your column title to”You CAN Play Type One, Unless You’re Rizzo.”

1) Look at the card.

2) Look at your knee.

3) Watch it jerk – your knee, not the card.

4) Stop thinking what you’re thinking.

5) Put the card down and start over.

If you evaluate a new card based wholly on your knee-jerk reaction, you are going to miss more than you should. I could give a myriad of examples, but a) I don’t feel like doing any real”research,” and b) none of you care anyway.

But you should because… Okay, no you shouldn’t.

Q: How do you know that your Constructed rating is pathetic?

A: You go 3-4 at a PTQ and gain 7 points.

By the way, I plan on making a Top Eight during the Odyssey Sealed qualifiers. Just thought you should know. With only three qualifiers within a large-ass driving area, I’d, as The Bag would say, better get a move-on. Wish me luck and hope that I don’t get caught cheating. Yet again.

Did you happen to notice that the Writer War has started anew or do you live under the thing that lives under the thing that lives under the rock?

My pick for best new kid on the block has to be Chris Romeo from 7Towers. Dude came up in here like gangbusters and is Rogue, which means he must suck and I can really relate to that, and tends to drop obscure random pop culture references like its coming back into style. Perhaps you would appreciate his stuff. But he doesn’t say”heh.” Yet.

Mr. Kotter: Washington, use the word”officiate” in a sentence.

Washington: My uncle got sick from a fish he ate.


Deal with that, older-than-you-old-school, chief.

Of course, I feel honor bound to cast a vote here and there for my fellow Star Citians, and then I feel a duty to vote for my dearly departed CMU guys as well. I am torn. But there is one guy who has written some mind blowing stuff this year; stuff that made me go”dude?” answer myself with”yes, dude?” and then go”whoa.”

He be called Zvi, king of base which are belong.

But enough about bombs and just who set us up with.

AFC Championship: Steelers vs. Patriots.

Hey! I used to live in Pittsburgh, but I now live in New England. The humanity, oh.

Why do football announcers always say stuff like this:

“They’ve had the ball for seven minutes now and that really wears down a defense!”

Um… Does the offense get worn down too?

“For the <randoms> to win, they need to (choose all that apply…and they all friggin’ apply)…

…establish the run

…establish the pass

…make big plays

…avoid turnovers

…force turnovers

…control the line of scrimmage

…manage the clock.”

Please, someone kill football announcers. For fun, do it with”a sense of urgency” while in”the red zone” and be sure you”execute the fundamentals,” preferably with”nine men in the box.”

And for the record, let me state outright that if [author name="The Ferrett"]The Ferrett[/author] can find the word”Rouge” in any of my articles that is not an obvious jab at the guys who can’t spell”Rogue,” then I’ll consider him to be very much the man. Otherwise, I expect a full retraction and a tearful apology. And porn. Of course, he’ll just say that he repaired the many instances of”rouge” during the editing stage.

But he’s lying. I think. Dammit, now I’m starting to doubt myself, just as he intended. (No, you did it… At first. – The Ferrett)

Here’s a funny anecdote for all y’all.

In packing up my bag (no relation to”The Bag,” who, despite sounding like he could be used to store deckboxes, is a real boy) for Friday Night Magic, which was supposed to be Sealed Deck, I accidentally dropped the Millikin deck I used at States alongside my Foily Five. Turns out that, upon arriving at Crossroads, the format for FNM was to be Type 2.

Nostradamus said”the white pig.” And it was served.

Since I had not even thought about Type 2 since States except for a previous FNM in which I used a borrowed deck, I figured Millikin and the boys would be a sure oh-for-the-tournament.

The truly funny thing is that I went 5-1 and won the whole shebang (and a shiny Soltari Priest – heh, shadow creatures in the Foily Five?), beating U/R Counter-Burn, a Desolation Angel deck, Snaketongue, Psychatog with Upheaval and also, my worst matchup – R/G beats. Going 11-3 against current Type 2 decks with a four-month-old hasn’t-been-touched-since-States-except-for-Plague-in-the-board deck is some friggin’ cool.

I guess Millikin still rulez – and yes, it is mostly Nate’s fault, with a smidgen of blame to fall on the shoulders of Jon Becker. Here’s the decklist once again for all y’all Psychatog netters who might wanna try something different:

Mannakin Skywalker – by Flores, Becker and crew, with a little love from Heiss, none of whom had the balls to actually play the friggin’ thing at States:

4x Duress

4x Firebolt

4x Millikin

4x Terminate

3x Pyre Zombie

4x Urza’s Rage

4x Blazing Specter

4x Flametongue Kavu

4x Shower of Coals

2x Crypt Angel

8x Swamp

5x Mountain

4x Urborg Volcano

4x Sulfurous Springs

3x Barbarian Ring


4x Engineered Plague

4x Ensnaring Bridge

3x Coffin Purge

3x Shatter

1x Shivan Dragon

With sixteen ways to kill Johnny Magic and Call tokens maindecked, perhaps B/R is finally ready for primetime. Nah, give it up, chiefs; it was just a fluke. My 5-2 at States was as well. Noticing that the deck now has a 10-3 record in sanctioned tourneys means nothing – I live in Maine, for Christ’s sake. Right?

Oh, find a way to put a fourth Pyre Zombie in the main. It is that damned good, yo. And put four Nightscape, the Chocolate Love Machine, in the side just for Psychatog. And then beat up on stuff. Or just download your favorite deck and think you’re oh so kewl when you beat some newbie scrub.

“You’re so cool, Brewster.”

-Stephen Geoffreys, Fright Night

Since the Prerelease was deemed too expensive by a great majority of Crossroads guys, only Alex, Pop, Stoic Mike and Brian made the trek of love. Upon arriving at 8:15 or so, I was stunned to see around two hundred peeps already hanging around in their typical Magic player gangster leans and B-boy stances.

And, wow, was I tired or what. There is no question mark because that’s a declarative statement, which is taken to mean”Christ, I’m friggin’ exhausted, damnit!”

What, no pics? Well, I was tired. (Thank God – Rizzo, personifying The Ferrett splendid relief.) (I control the footnotes, dammit! – The Ferrett)

Roberto Dougherty, some guy who owns a store or something, announced that everyone would be allowed to start signing up at nine. Heh, that’ll be fun – two hundred-plus dudes in one line. Can I get some of that? And can I inhale deeply?

Foily Five came up in here in an old school way – on the floor in a circle. Myself and the Crossies, Mike Clauss and Karl”I did it all for the” Rookey slapped each other silly for the better part of an hour, with Stoic Mike emerging the victor. Seven guys might be a little too many for a multiplayer game, but I added a new rule, effective immediately. Ergo:

At any point a player stares at his or her hand for more than ten seconds during his or her turn, an opponent may declare”you have ten seconds to do something or you must sacrifice a land.”

Heh, that’ll get those pain-in-the-ass thinkers, for The Double F is not about thinking. At all.

Seriously, that was a long-ass line. No, I mean it was, as they say in wacky Magic lingo,”some long.” Well, they should say that.

Needless to say, I was none too eager to wait in said crawling in my skin line, so I made my rounds and checked out all the”we used to be fat but since we’ve started to take and sell Herbalife we’re now thin so we need to dress like skanks in little skirts” chyx at the Herbalife party and recruitment brainwashing seminar next door.

There was a fifty-or-so chick with some sexy ass gams (that means”legs,” or at least did in the 40’s, which was likely when she was born) who was so very much wanting to take me into the coatroom and, ahem,”enlighten” me to the benefits of A.A.R.P. But of course, I am a very pure man with nothing but love in my heart.

And I was tired as all hell.

A.A.R.P = American Association of Retired Peeps. Or something.

I finally met Jack Yates, Star City submissionist extraordinaire, who was not in his early twenties as for some reason I expected – he’s like an old guy and stuff!

Old guys rool. Okay, actually we drool, but hey, having to shave your friggin’ ears ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!

A few guys offered me the chance to cut in the line, but you know me. Aside from being down with O.P.P, I am too honest for such shady dealings. But, damn, it would feel good to be a gangster. Probably.

Here’s the dealio:

The first four flights contained 64 peeps, and subsequent flights would start at 32, until much later in the day (Flight 15 or 16) when 16 players became the norm. It was $25 for your first Flight and $15 for each one after that. They ran seventeen Flights, so you can do the math to end up with the staggering sum of”Wow, dat’s a nice chunk a’ change dem boyz collected.”

After the line died down, I managed to grab a spot in Flight 6 and opened the hardest deck in the history of decks, made more difficult by the fact that I was, well, a little sleepy.

With green cards like Werebear, Metamorphic Wurm and Krosan Avenger, the deck really wanted Threshold. The problem was that I also opened Gurzigost, who will do everything in his power to ensure that Threshold either never arrives or goes away in a hurry. Although, in retrospect, and after a whole five hours of sleep, one super fattie should not have precluded me from the traditional Threshold Green build. But the black was messing with the program as well, so perhaps I was right.

If you open Gurzigost, you play Gurzigost!

Okay, I was wrong.

During deck construction, the loudspeaker boomed a message:

“We’ve run out of Swamps.”

And you thought that Misetings article about Wizards buying all the world’s Swamps was made up, huh? They had seemingly infinite Plains and Islands, but they really and truly had run out of Swamps, but only temporarily, for some guys actually didn’t play black, thus refreshed the supply.

They ran out of Swamps.

Heh. And once more…


Rather than subject myself to annoying decisions and awful synergy, I bypassed the green and went with this:

Flight Six

Ghastly Demise

Morgue Theft

Chainer’s Edict

Organ Grinder

Cabal Torturer

Patriarch’s Desire

Cabal Surgeon

Faceless Butcher

Waste Away


Reckless Charge

Sonic Seizure

Barbarian Outcast

Fiery Temper

Pardic Firecat

Pardic Collaborator

Pardic Arsonist


Darkwater Egg

Cephalid Scout


Balshan Collaborator

Cephalid Broker

8x Swamp

5x Mountain

4x Island

Seafloor Debris

I tried like hell to build a two-color deck with a two- or three-color splash, but this was the best I could do, and it took me three minutes past the allotted deckbuilding time period to do so.

And I was tired.

Comments on the new stuff…

Chainer’s Edict is great – and while the Flashback of 5BB seems excessive, I’d have to say that it’s perfectly costed and not as hard to attain as it seems.

Organ Grinder is the best of both worlds: An early beatdown dood and a late game”bitch, Im’ma kill you.”

Cabal Torturer is ridiculously good. No, it’s better than that. Dare I say that it’s almost first-pick worthy? (None of us know until Gary Wise tells us – The Ferrett)

Cabal Surgeon was never activated, but for some reason was always killed immediately. I guess that means it’s good, but I’m not sure.

Faceless Butcher is the shiggitty shizzou. Wow, is this guy great or what? Yes, he is great, and thanks for asking.

Waste Away was always sexy. The discard often feels like an advantage, and the fact that it gives -5/-5 instead of dealing damage is tailor-made to kill whatever needs killed right now.

Sonic Seizure is everything Lightning Bolt was, with an added opportunity to randomly discard …

Fiery Temper, which is quite the Bombay little card that could.

Barbarian Outcast suffers from the”red 2/2 for two” syndrome – it’s neither great nor awful. It just is.

Pardic Collaborator, on the other hand, can be simply sick, and if you are nutty enough to play with Swamps in the same deck, then boo freakin’ ya.

Pardic Arsonist is actually decent enough without Threshold that I often cast him on turn four and sent his ass into the fray. With Threshold, he is as close to Flametongue Kavu as one could hope for in Odyssey Block.

Petradon is the typical big, dumb red creature, who seems like a game-ender when he hits, but so was Ashen Firebeast. Often enough, they hit and then die or otherwise become neutered.

Aquamoeba is plain stupid with Reckless Charge or other pump. Otherwise, he’s often a very good imitation Wild Mongrel. The threat of activating his ability is his real strength. Sort of. Maybe.

Balshan Collaborator is plain old nuts. A pumpable flyer in two colors that have massive removal is amazingly sexy.

Round 1: Jeff Quinn, big deck with at least 4 colors.

Game 1: Balshan Collaborator simply owned the game enough to do twenty. Jeff drew no removal, while I was able to dispatch his dudes with the quickness.

Game 2: I drop a turn 3 Organ Grinder and Reckless Charge it up wif’ da buybacks, doing nine to J’s dome. Two turns later, with an added Broker and a Butcher, which took out Jeff’s fresh Juggernaut, the game was over.


Round 2: Leon”Savage B” Ting

Game 1: When Leon drops a turn 2 Cabal Inquisitor (yes, old Mr. 15th pick), I figure this will be a cakewalk, but then I remember that I got my ass handed to me the last time I assumed my opponent was a supa scrub.

Apparently, Inquisitor was the worst card in his deck. He dropped more direct damage on my dome that a human being should ever have to tolerate. Fiery Temper, 2x Firebolt, Sonic Seizure, Violent Eruption, and I’m not sure, but I think he Raged me wif da’ kicks and Channel/Balled me for the rest.

Game two was a little more reasonable until I discovered that B had two Faceless Butchers. Fair? Not really. With his burn taking care of my little guys and the Butchers grabbing the bigger dudes, his Sarcatog sucked his graveyard dry and, for fun, he sacced his Mirari to do the final points. Yeah, he needed Mirari.

Heh; I called him”Savage B.”


Round 3: Chris Carbone

He decided that he’d much rather do something that wasn’t playing me.


Do you have any idea how annoying it is to have forty minutes left in the round and be unable to find a nice, cozy couch (covered in Playboy Bunnies and Nightscape Familiar) to lie down and take a nap?

In between rounds, I was chatting away with Scott Byam and took a look at his deck. After I was finished vomiting at the disgusting array of amazing cards he had, I remarked that I was glad I wouldn’t have to face that monstrosity of a, well, monster. I must have misheard when he told me his Flight number.

Round 4: Scott Byam. Heh.

The first game was sexy. I came out like Sligh, dropping dudes from turn 2 to 6 or 7, while Scott simply ran out of dudes to cast as blockers.

Game two was complete and total ownership by Scott’s deck. I kept a no-action-until-turn-four-but-still-sexy hand which stayed that way until turn four, while Scott dropped a turn 1 Carrion Rats, a turn 2 Boneyard Slasher and a turn 3 Organ Grinder. I was able to stave off death for a while with Pardic Collaborator (first strike owns), but it was to no avail. I did get to serve for seventeen with Collaborator, a double-Charged Organ Grinder and Broker when it became evident that I suck at Magic.

I kept a one land hand in game three that had an Egg and a bunch of 1 and 2cc stuff.

Dear Me,

Ever read that Bruce article? Oh – you wrote it?


Wow You Suck


No, you really have no idea how exhausted I was. When you’re really tired, the best thing to do is pay $15 to engage in an activity that is fraught with mental activity.

Flight 13

3x Carrion Rats

Cabal Torturer

Dirty Wererat



Faceless Butcher

Soul Scourge

Carrion Wurm

2x Waste Away

Patriarch’s Desire

Diligent Farmhand

Seton’s Scout

Krosan Avenger

Nantuko Calmer

Possessed Centaur

Chatter of the Squirrel

Muscle Burst

Squirrel Nest

Elephant Ambush

Ivy Elemental

9x Swamp

8x Forest

Cabal Coffers

The new stuff:

Carrion Rats are obviously amazing if dropped on turn 1 and met with zero interference. Otherwise, they’re still pretty damned good. Three, however, might be overdoing it.

Soul Scourge never hit play, but I bet he would’ve been, well… Great, good, or somewhere in the middle.

Likewise, Carrion Wurm saw no action, but I’d be willing to bet that he’s some good. Probably.

Seton’s Scout is one of those guys that’s just good early and better with Threshold. Um, duh.

Calmer, Centaur, and Coffers are probably somewhere between great and crap. You’re welcome.

I was less than pleased with the deck – thus, expected a quick 0-1 sign up for another Flight. I was not disappointed and got my ass handed to me with the quickness by Ron White, who beat me so badly that I felt bad for him when I tried to figure out how he would go about giving me the”your deck looks pretty cool and if it wasn’t for <insert sympathetic event>, it would’ve been a whole lot different” speech.

I was so tired that I can’t remember how he soothed me, but I think he nestled me to his bosom and told me that if I don’t eat all my beans, that somehow kids in China would starve to death.

Or something.

Flight 16

3x Basking Rootwalla

Chatter of the Squirrel

Wild Mongrel

Seton’s Scout

Crypt Keeper

Boneshard Slasher

Dusk Imp

Nantuko Cultivator

Centaur Chieftain

Krosan Constrictor

Krosan Archer

Soul Scourge

Rabid Elephant

Metamorphic Wurm

2x Acorn Harvest

Chainer’s Edict

Sickening Dreams


2x Crippling Fatigue

8x Forest

8x Swamp

Centaur Garden

Bog Wreckage

Basking Rootwalla is the real dealio; a great turn 1 play and it’s as sexy as you thought it would be to pitch him to a Mongrel.

Boneyard Slasher is one of those”whatever” cards that are often enough going to make you deck.

Nantuko Cultivator is retarded. If you need me to draw you a picture of this guys possibilities, then, well, too bad.

Centaur Chieftain…a 4/4 for 3G with haste that Magnifies and grants trample to all your dudes? Heh and double heh.

The Scourge still didn’t see any play, so I guess he sucks.

Acorn Harvest pretty much reads”4GG and 3 life: put four 1/1 Squirrels into play.” As if a green deck would be concerned with that”3 life” thing.

Sickening Dreams was pitched to Mongrel and other stuff because my dudes rooled, thus wanted to live.

Much like Acorn Harvest, Crippling Fatigue is very undercosted. Giving a dude -4/-4 for 2BBB and 3 life, or simply offing any number of annoying 2/2’s for 3 mana, is ridiculously cheap, and I suspect that you won’t see too many of these going as late as 5th or 6th picks in your next draft.

Just looking at that deck gives me the willies, a chubby, and a longing for some quality”alone” time. Allow me to clarify: The above deck is pretty freakin’ damned good. I fully expected to go 4-0 (4 rounds since this was the last Flight) and claim my 18 packs. I also figured that I’d go 8-0 in games for the hell of it – mmm, mmm, mmm, for the smell of it.

Round 1: Scott Cameron

If I was depressed before, I was no bordering on suicidal after this match. You could use the words”bad luck” or”shizzou happens,” but damn, this was the worst luck and more shizzou than a guy who had been awake for forty hours can ever figure on seeing.

If Wild Mongrel and Gurzigost wasn’t enough to make my cry in game one, Screams of the Damned to kill my six Squirrels certainly pushed a brother to the edge of random weeping. Mongrel-Gost hit again in game two, and I was left with a feeling of utter reverse-euphoria.

Gurzigost – datguysgood.

Man, that sucks. However, I know my deck is quite on the sick tip, so I plan on winning the next three matches and claiming nine packs for my trouble.

Round 2: Brian Normand

In the first game, I come out da’ closet like I was fifteen and confused, and simply ran over Psychatog and assorted white 1/1s. But the second game shows just how good Psychatog can be, and how much better he is with a Delaying Shield backing him up. Jeez, I had to throw my guys into the breach all the live long day, hope he would block with the ‘Tog and try to get his graveyard down to less than”I die in one attack” size. However, the Shield prevented so much Rootwalla damage that Brian was eventually able to build up more guys than me (fair?) and swarm over for the win.

The third game: Rootwalla, Mongrel (pitch a Rootwalla end of turn), double Chatter, Chieftain, a.k.a. Overrun Man. That guy makes Text Man seem mildly playable. Okay, he’s not that good.


Round 3: Jake Meersman

All I can remember is saying”If you wouldn’t have been mana screwed, it would’ve been a different game.” I remember saying that because I said it after games one and two.

Oh, and I was still a little tired.


Something so unbelievable happened after round three, that I feel compelled to take a few pages to give y’all the hook up. But I must warn you, it’s fairly disgusting.

Alex, who was in Flight 15 or something, was playing some kid I don’t know in what was their last round.

I wandered over to catch the last few plays of the first game. Some kid had a few fatties and Alex had a couple of fatties of his own. However, I and Pop, who was also watching, knew that Alex had Vengeful Dreams in his deck – and by the way he was playing, it was obvious to both Pop and I that he had it in his hand. He also had the mana to cast it, presumably after some kid sent with everyone to try to kill Alex.

Alex tapped two of his three Plains and an Island to cast a blue dood and dies on the next turn. Duh?

But that’s not the unbelievable part. That was just flavor text.

In the second game, some kid is beating Alex down a little at a time with two dudes and a white dude that doesn’t tap to attack (who had been on the table for at least two turns). His attacks are kind of sloppy – this is a Prerelease, after all – and some kid is also sort of carrying on a conversation with a few of his buddies that are also watching the match. The game play is lax on the technical front – for both players.

I was watching, but not paying close attention, to the following events:

After Alex declares blockers, he then gets ready to take damage by saying”I’ll take three?”

(That much I heard for sure.)

Some kid agrees and both players mark Alex’s life from fourteen to eleven (according to Alex). The next turn, Alex casts Lieutenant Kirtar, at which point some kid asks what Alex’s life total is (I saw that happen). Apparently, Alex didn’t take damage from the guy who doesn’t tap to attack for one of two reasons:

1) He was not clearly declared as a blocker.

2) Alex was cheating.

After a lengthy debate on whether or not the non-tapping dude attacked each turn (and remember, the attack was kind of sloppy, but also note that there would be no reason that I could see on the board for the non-tapper to not attack), it became heated, wholly by some kid.

After flat-out calling Alex a”F****** cheater,” many times and loudly at that, some kid starts to insult Alex with”cheating scrub” and assorted nice terms. Alex remains calm throughout and says something along the lines of”my rating is almost 1800,” to which some kid laughs. One of some kid’s friends says”he’s on the tour” or”he’s been to the tour” or something, so I look at the match slip trying to find out who some kid is. Turns out that I’ve never heard of him – so if he’s on the tour, then he must be simply awful, but it’s more likely that he’s just been there a few times.

Either way, I never heard of him, and I can’t recall his name, but have no reason to doubt his friends claim. But some kid certainly wins no points in my book by constantly berating Alex by calling him a cheater and asking him if this is how he wins all of his games.

After a few minutes, Alex wins the game, and it’s on to game three. By this time, eight to ten of some kid’s buddies have come over to see what the commotion is about, and that’s when some kid tells them that”this kid is a f****** cheating piece of s***!”

He explains how Alex”cheated” and makes sure that anyone who would care to hear does.

Eventually, two of some kids buddies get in on the action. One in particular, another kid I don’t know, but was fairly skinny and maybe seventeen or eighteen, really gets into his part:

“You f****** cheater! I’ll take you outside and beat your f****** head in, you piece of s***!”

(Yelling loudly and gesturing to Alex)”This kid is a f****** p**** piece of s**** and I’m gonna beat his f****** ass!”

This goes on the entire time in between games, and later, another buddy, who was over six feet, not a lightweight by any stretch of the imagination, and probably twenty-one or twenty-two, joins in with much of same crap that the skinny kid was spouting.

A few other buddies would shout random insults or”you’re s***” here and there, but those two, along with some kid, were the major contributors. This lasted pretty much throughout game three, and really escalated when Alex called a judge for a Shelter ruling.

“You f****** stupid piece of s****!” was uttered by three or four different guys, and after the judge ruled in some kid’s favor, then everyone except Pop and I joined in the fun.

Why didn’t Alex, or Pop, or I call a judge? This situation breaks every rule on unsportsmanlike conduct that has ever been written, and probably breaks a few more for spite. If a judge had witnessed even some of the actions of the three loudest guys, I have no doubt that they would be kicked out of the DCI for some period of time.

Three reasons that I did not call a judge:

1) I felt, and Pop probably did as well, that if this kept up that eventually a judge would wander over out of sheer curiosity, and some kid and both of his loud buddies might get ejected from the tourney, and possibly subjected to DCI penalties, which they richly deserved.

2) Alex was taking it so much in stride that I was amazed. His face was emotionless, his play didn’t suffer, and he was ignoring everyone except some kid, with whom he only acknowledged when the game dictated so. I know that Alex is kind of a psycho, so I realized that when and if they went too far, he would let them know in one way or the other. In other words, if Alex is taking it in better stride than I was, then I’ll let it be.

3) I would be lying if I didn’t admit this right now, but I almost hoped that either the skinny kid, the tall kid or some kid would go too far, with”too far” being determined as physical contact with Alex. How sick am I to almost wish that one of these punks would, to use a popular phrase,”throw the first punch?” I’m sort of embarrassed that I would feel that way, but those kids are in serious need of a major ass kicking.

Tangent: Magic players are, for the most part, wussies. You could soften that term by saying that most Magic players would choose to avoid situations in which it would be likely that a fight would break out. I know that I would avoid fighting in almost any manner I could which wouldn’t involve losing any dignity. Also, consider that many Magic players already feel alienated or segregated from the rest of the”cool” society.

So, when these three kids, all of which have to be social outcasts (that’s just my judgment of them from their appearance and demeanor), acted like little gang members in trying to belittle, embarrass, or otherwise intimidate Alex, I became enraged. Pop is also a friggin’ psycho, and I know he was feeling a little antsy as well. Still, Alex was a rock. I can think of no other person in this world that would’ve remained so calm during such a disgusting showing of the basest display I have ever witnessed during a tournament. And it ranks right up there as one of the top three or four most disgusting acts I have witnessed in my entire life as well.

It’s Shirley Jackson’s”The Lottery” all over again, but instead of the townsfolk taking great joy in stoning someone to death, they joined hands and threw insults. Either way, the mob mentality (and a part of who they are) shone through.

Dear three kids,

That’s a literary reference that you’re too stupid to get.


Johnny Still Pissed

I’d like to tell you that Alex won the match, but some kid had a very strong deck and took home the glory. When Alex scooped, some kid offered his hand, which I thought was an indication that perhaps he felt that he and his buddies had gone a little too far.

Alex extended his hand to meet some kid’s, but some kid gave him the finger and laughed, as did six or seven others, all of whom are as frightened of the world as some kid, the skinny kid and the”I’m over six feet so I must be tough” kid.

Knowing Alex, I am fairly certain that he was at most taking advantage of the fact that some kid was a little sloppy and vague in declaring his attackers. Not knowing some kid, I can’t say with any certainty if he felt justified in his treatment of Alex, but I can say with absolute assurance that I know his type – I’ve run into plenty of versions of”some kid” and his buddies, and the one thing that I can take away from this incident is that I know all three of them are going to go home and revert back to being the loser, scared of the world and going nowhere in a hurry white trash that they are.

Yeah, I know that I’m a no-job loser, but I have never taken part in such a malicious, disgusting and unfair event. Those who did take part are deemed by me as total pond scum and will never be able to elevate themselves to anything more, at least in my eyes. I think I have a decent grasp on what constitutes fair play, good sportsmanship and the like, so I feel not the slightest tinge of irony in branding them all as scum. It’s the”let’s join up with the ‘cool kids’ and pick on this other kid because we’re just glad it’s not us this time” mentality.

Guess what? Next time, it will be you. And while I will be miles away and oblivious to you being picked on in your school locker room or bathroom, I will still be laughing my ass off at your plight. I used to be on your side, but when you crossed over and grabbed the chance to be one of the”cool guys that pick on the nerds,” you lost my sympathy vote.

I wish that I had taken names. Really. For then I could tell everyone reading this column that”kid x” did this and”kid y” did that. And then kid x could laugh about it with kid y, neither of them having a friggin’ clue as to the repercussions of their actions. As a strong believer in karma, I don’t need to look forward to the day when their goes around comes around to bite them on the ass, because I know that they live it everyday. Instead of digging out of their pits, they went and dug themselves even deeper.

As a comparison, let’s take a look at Mouth, who has had his share of run-ins here and there. While Mouth can, and usually will, say something to offend you, in talking for more than a few minutes with him, I get the impression that if he thought he truly hurt someone’s feelings or was way out of line, that he would a) feel kinda bad about it and b) apologize. Or maybe he really is a dick. But I am inclined to believe that he, unlike the three jagoffs, knows where the line is drawn, and if and when he crosses over, he will own up to it and try to make it a little less wrong. Somehow, I doubt that some kid, and his merry bandwagon of humiliators, wouldn’t know where the line is if it sat on his friggin’ face.

Dear three kids,

That’s a sexual reference. If any of you ever get laid, it will be a friggin’ miracle.


Johnny Knows What He’s Talking About

Congratulations, guys – and yes, you are too stupid to understand one thing I just said. But don’t worry, just go ahead and live out your lives, never knowing how much of an impact your behavior had on some random named Rizzo.

I have decided that, since everyone bitches about cleaning up Magic, yet does absolutely nothing about it (other than bitching, and I’m guilty of that, big time), I will take names. When I witness something that disgusts my sense of everything that is right, I will take down the name and attempt to tell the world. That will be up to The Ferrett and is beyond my control at Star City, but it won’t stop me from telling the world that you have done things that put you in the category of scumbag. (No, I’m anti-scumbag as well – send it in, Riz – The Ferrett)

If all y’all really want Magic cleaned up, then you’ll do the same. When someone gets out of line, shame might wake them up. While this is probably way beyond irresponsible behavior on my part, and would appear that I think I am Judge Roy Bean forcing my values on everyone, I think the ends will justify the means. If you call an opponent”a piece of f****** s***” and give them the finger when they try to shake after the match, I don’t think reporting that is out of line.

We’ve all seen the groups of netdecking, trashtalking Magic bullies, who seem to attract each other like flies on flies asses, and I’m sure that many of you have wished that someone would do something about them. Well, do something. Or just hope that you don’t become their next target.

The meek shall inherit the Earth. And mess your day up, punks.

Round 4: Creed Allen

I wasn’t so tired after the above crapfest; I guess jagoffs help me to hit my second wind.

Game 1: I go Rootwalla, Rootwalla, Dusk Imp, Rabid Elephant, while Creed can only answer with sacrificial blockers.

Game 2: Creed gets out a turn 3 Ambassador Laquatus, which mills me once – but he is no match for Mongrel, Rootwalla and two Squirrels. When Creed is at six, he casts Sickening Dreams for three, wiping out the board and emptying his hand in the process. Off the top, anyone? Who remembered that Centaur Chieftain has haste? Well, I did.

3-1 = 9 packs for Becky, but I already opened them. Sorry.

Not bad – $55 for nine boosters and three sealed sets. Okay, that’s fairly bad, especially since I was in misery much of the day from being exhausted beyond belief.

Things learned:

1) Nightmares are for real.

The ability seemed kind of cool on the spoiler, but after seeing Faceless Butcher in action, I am totally convinced that he is a freakin’ beating. Opening or drafting multiple Butchers is going to be good times indeed. Mesmeric Fiend is a viable alternative to Ravenous Rats; often enough, he’ll grab a card and keep it for the entire game, which is an ability that doesn’t sound like much in theory… But in real life, it can very annoying. Johnny Duress On A Stick is going to be good times.

2) Red got some crazy ass burn.

Fiery Temper, with all the ways in the set to discard at will, is Lighting Bolt more often than not. Sonic Seizure with Fiery Temper in hand is two Bolts for two mana, and the random discard doesn’t seem that high of a price to pay anyway. Even Crackling Club tempted me to play it; it appears to have the downside that is normally associated with creature enchantments. Pardic Arsonist might see play in Constructed, since it is almost Flametongue Kavu numbers 5-8. Violent Eruption is unfair.

In an environment that houses Urza’s Rage, Firebolt, and more Shocks than you can shake a stick at, two Lighting Bolts added to the mix should keep angry mages angry for quite a while.

3) Ambassador Laquatus is going to win many, many Limited matches by his bad self.

4) I absolutely can’t wait to resolve a mid-game Radiate.

5) While G/B and U/B seem tight as hell, G/R is kinda badass as well, which makes me realize that this format isn’t going to be as easy as Invasion Block Limited (go U/B/R) or Odyssey-only (go G/U), both of which were quite simple to spot from the Prerelease. It appears that black is most definitely back (for real and not just marketing hyperbole) and will mesh well with whatever color you choose. Yes, even white.

5) It seems that I’ve finally hit upon an acceptable nickname for Jill: J to the mother f****** ill, with Brian getting”B to the mother f****** F” by default, since he is”boyfriend” or”BF” to those of you without irc. With Karl”I did it all for the” Rookey and Jack”Master” Yates, it was quite the productive little nickname session indeed.

The ride back was uneventful, other than Pop using the expression”curb sandwich” a few hundred times and me realizing that, damn, yes it is 4:45 and I just got home.

Props: My wife for waking me up at 8:30 so I don’t”sleep all day.”

Slops: The three amigos. Enjoy your time in the sun; those memories will keep you warm.

Overall, Torment is an amazing set, as was Odyssey, which should mean that OBC should be cool as hell. Odyssey sealed seems to me to be less about broken rares and more about the best deckbuilders winning; for every deck that just builds itself, ten more are filled with traps that will prevent those who fall into them from seeing much success.

It wasn’t enough to worry about Threshold and Flashback, now we get to add a ton of”remove from graveyard” effects to further challenge our domes.


Look for my next report from the Nice PTQ on the 9th, in which I’ll probably be beaten up by three kids and their angry mob of jagoffs.


John Friggin’ Rizzo