The Black Perspective: A New Dawn

The Magic Invitational is most often described as Magic’s All-Star game, and this year would prove to be no different. Fifteen of Magic’s best players, and Berkowitz, gathered in Los Angeles to fight for the right to design their own card. The E3 Convention proved to be the best back drop for this event, because I never had such a good time at a tournament before.

“Isn’t naming your Invitational report ‘A New Dawn’ going to confuse people into thinking it’s a Fifth Dawn review.” – Ted Knutson

Is it just me or are the titles of Oscar Tan articles getting ridiculously long. His most recent article was entitled”You CAN play Type 1 #134: The Control player’s Bible XXXII.I-‘The DECK’ is Now Aggro-Control?” By the time I’m done reading the title I’m too exhausted to read the article itself. I’ve been taking vitamins though and I hope to not only get through the title but actually read his next article entitled”You CAN play Type 1 #135: The Aggro players Torah XXXII-II-“Gro-A-Tog” is now redefined by its own parameters of aggressiveness?”

[Actually, Oscar’s original title was,”The Control Player’s Bible, Part XXXII.1:”The Deck” is now aggro-control, Simon Cowell is Mister Congeniality, and other Great Truths (or, an exercise in spotting the beatdown and spotting the control)” – Knut, not remotely kidding]

The Magic Invitational is most often described as Magic’s All-Star game, and this year would prove to be no different. Fifteen of Magic’s best players, and Berkowitz, gathered in Los Angeles to fight for the right to design their own card. The E3 Convention proved to be the best back drop for this event, because I never had such a good time at a tournament before.

My Card

Ebony Liespewer
– 1B

During your upkeep, you may discard a card to put a +1/+1 counter on Ebony Liespewer.

Whenever Ebony Liespewer deals combat damage to an opponent, they must discard a card for each counter on Ebony Liespewer.

Remove a +1/+1 counter from Ebony Liespewer: Regenerate Ebony Liespewer.


At first glance, the card may appear to be overpowered. At second glance, you’ll realize that it is actually overpowered.

The Venue

There’s a line in the movie Swingers that mentions that the hottest 1% of all women in America move to LA at one point or another. I have to say that’s a pretty accurate assessment. The women were out in full force, it was as if they knew Zvi was going to be in town. Our hotel was the Hyatt on Sunset Blvd., it was the same hotel where they filmed a scene in Almost Famous. Clubs like the Roxy and Skybar were all withing walking distance, and there were celebrities like Lindsey Lohan, Chris Klein, and Kai Budde walking around all over the place.

I flew in on Sunday night and I wanted to get some sleep in because I had gone out the night before and was pretty tired. Since I had to wake up early on Monday for Media training, I didn’t think it would be wise to go out that night. Of course, I rarely make the right decision in situations like that, and I soon find myself at a club next to our hotel called the Saddle Ranch with Finkel and Berkowitz. I order an LIT and the bartender asks me if I want the regular or the large. I’m not a regular type of dude so I go for the large. She informs me that it’s $14 and she’s not sure if I can handle it. I slam a twenty on the bar and say”you obviously don’t know me very well.”

She brings out a pitcher of LIT and buys Finkel and me a shot each. I down the first pitcher and move on to my second. Meanwhile, we meet up with some Aussies that are down for E3 as well. These guys were hardcore drinkers and we hung out with them for most of the night. Jberk and I split a third LIT and then the Aussies started buying us all drinks. Pretty soon, I couldn’t see straight. so I felt it was a good time to go back to the hotel. We left Finkel stranded with a woman who had to have been at least a deuce and a half that he had been hitting on all night. I get very ill and throw up the entire night well into the morning. Yeah, I’m ready for eight hours of media training.

Wizards decided that it wouldn’t be necessary to include all of us for the training, so only eight of us got the privilege of waking up at the un-godly hour of 7 a.m. Kibler, Finkel, Budde, Berkowitz, Maher, Zvi, Justin Gary and myself had to hone our skills with the media by doing practice interviews and learning what Magic is really all about. The best part of the training was watching some of the game’s best make fools of themselves during their practice interviews. Here are some excerpts that I enjoyed;

Interviewer: So, what Fantasy aspects of the game appeal to you the most?

Kai: Zere is nothing that interests me in respect to Fantasy. I play Magic because zey pay me. If I could play soccer in Hamburg and get paid for it I would.

Interviewer: So what do you do for a living?

Zvi: I design a card game called . . .

Rosewater: Excuse me Zvi, but since you’re here to promote Magic, can you refrain from promoting other games.

Zvi: Oh of course, I’m sorry.

Interviewer: So, do you play Magic professionally?

Zvi: No, I have a regular job.

Interviewer: Oh really, what do you do?

Zvi: Well I design a card game called. . .

Rosewater: Zvi!

Kibler: Well, I started playing Magic when I was about fourteen years old. I was always a very competitive kid, I used to wrestle, so I enjoyed the competitive aspects of the game. I’m also very charismatic, so it’s no surprise, to me at least, that this is my third appearance at the Invitational. Many consider me to be the best deckbuilder in the world and I consistently do well at every event I attend.

Waiter: Listen dude, all I want to know is if you want soup or salad as your starter.

After the Media Training, Wizards took us out to a fancy dinner on the Sunset strip. Efro and Neil tried to barn, along but once they found out that Wizards wasn’t paying for them too, they decided to hit up dinner for two at the Olive Garden.

Aftewards we proceeded to do the Auction of the People and the Pack Draft. I didn’t really have a set plan for either format, but I figured if I could wheel two packs of Torment I would, otherwise I’d just try for as much Planeshift or Apocalypse as I could get. It turns out the Japanese had the best strategy, going for as much Darksteel as they could get. None of us knew why at first, until we realized Drooling Ogre was a common and none of us had great ways of dealing with a second turn Hill Giant.

I ended up with two packs of Invasion, Planeshift, and one pack of Scourge. My deck turned out fine but underpowered, with some solid creatures and multiple bounce effects. The Auction ended up going much worse for me than I could’ve imagined. I ended up bidding seven cards and sixteen life on what turned out to be the worst deck in the Auction. I had sixteen creatures in my deck, four of which were Revenant’s. Now, I thought Revenant had power and toughness equal to the number of creatures in all graveyards, which isn’t too impressive, but with Bog Downs and such I figured it would be fine more often than not. When I realized that it was only creatures in my graveyard, I actually wanted to die. There were times in my match that I would have to cast a Revenant even though I had no men in the yard just so I could have the other one in my hand be a 1/1.

The Tournament

I ended up going 1-2 in the Pack draft and 2-1 in the Auction somehow.

I thought I could make up ground in the Constructed portion, since I felt my Online Extended deck and Mirrodin Block decks were both great. I had never done an 8th Edition draft, before so I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, my coaches Bill Oppenheimer and Mario Mellilo knew more about the format than I did and told me to draft W/r if possible.

In the draft I was being fed by Jordan, who decided to first pick a Howling Mine and ship me a Diving Griffin. Afterwards he decided to go into White and cut me off. I end up in B/W and my deck is mediocre, but has some potential with two Master Decoys and a Phyrexian Plaguelord. I manage to go 2-1. losing only to Mattias and his ridiculous mono-Green deck with two Blanchwood Armor.

It was around this time that Jim Ferraiolo stopped by the Magic Online booth. It seems he attends E3 each year and wanted to stop by and see what was up. It was cool seeing him there, because he brought my attention to two Playboy bunnies in the area as well as hook me up with some real cheap Marvel boxes. [He has a nose for these things. – Knut]

The Constructed portion of the tournament didn’t go as well for me as I hoped. I end up going 1-2 in both the formats. I wish I had done better there, but I can’t say I’m disappointed because I at least know my decks were good. Gary Wise did well with my block deck, and Maher ended up winning with my Online Extended deck, so you know, every cloud.

For those of you who plan on playing in any trials for Grand Prix: Orlando or GP: New Jersey, I believe the format is block, and for the Orlando ones at least, I don’t believe it will include Fifth Dawn. If that’s the case, I strongly recommend you play my deck at the trials. I tested it a lot during the event, and it consistently beat every deck people threw at it. Here’s the list for reference.

4 Seething Song

4 Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

4 Fireball

4 Detonate

3 Pyrite Spellbomb

2 Shatter

2 Talisman of Impulse

2 Talisman of Indulgence

4 Furnace Dragon

4 Arc-Slogger

4 Solemn Simulacrum

4 Great Furnace

4 Darksteel Citadel

4 Blinkmoth Nexus

11 Mountains


4 Electrostatic Bolt

4 Molten Rain

3 Shunt

3 Vulshok War Boar

1 Mountain

E3 and the rest

One of the coolest parts about playing here was the fact that in between rounds we could run around playing some really cool game. I got to try out Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy 12 and City of Villains. I’m not a huge video game fan, but it’s hard not to get excited when you surrounded by them. Not to mention the women. Our booth was right next to this action game that decided to hire strippers to promote their game (a practice Magic should seriously look into). It was really hard to focus, because you could tell they were purposely trying to distract us by constantly bending over to pick things up and arching their backs. Former World Champ Carlos Romao made several misclicks during his match with Masashi Oiso while getting a back rub from one of those lovely ladies.

There were also plenty of interviews that had to be done. E3 is a high profile event, so the press was out in full force. Finkel and Kai had an interview scheduled with Fox Sports, Maher was interviewed by ESPN, and Zvi was interviewed by Fishing and Gaming Weekly. However, the most coveted interview was given to yours truly and Justin Gary. Playboy TV stopped by and asked to speak to Magic’s sexiest spokesman and Justin Gary.

Joe Smooth

So Osyp, why are you so awesome?


The Wrap Up

I have to say the best part of the week for me was the times I had with my fellow competitors. I learned a lot hanging out with the guys and I figured I’d share some of it with you now.

Zvi Mowshowitz: Some of you may have noticed the change, but for those of you who haven’t let me tell you, Mr. Mowshowitz had some serious work done. Zvi must’ve lost at least 200 pounds and he also added highlights to his hair, making him the most attractive man in the Mowshowitz household. I got to hang out with Zvi on Wednesday night and it was quite the experience. Within the short amount of time we actually got to hang out, I got to see Zvi get drunk off of one and a half Smirnoff Ice, sing a Karaoke melody of Styx’s Sailing Away, Lady, and Mr. Roboto, and ride a mechanical bull. Zvi, I salute you.

Nicolai Herzog: Nico’s a very cool guy to hang out with because he’s very mellow. Nico would chill out every night sipping a white Russian and tell tales of his experiences in Norway. I won’t go into all the details, but I will say this:

Nicolai Herzog won PT: Amsterdam

Nicolai Herzog won PT: San Diego

Nicolai Herzog once fell asleep while a girl was making out with him.

Nicolai Herzog is not European.

One of those statements is not true.

Bob Maher: Bob is one of the best Magic players in the World, but when it comes to female wrestling, he has much to learn. There was this one game that all of us were enthralled with called Rumble Roses. It was a very provocative female wrestling game that I probably spent most of my free time mastering. Bob tried taking me on but failed miserably, being distracted by the virtual thongs.

There are some other secrets still to be revealed, but I’ll probably save those for my next Ask Joe Black.

Later Y’all,

Osyp”Joe Black” Lebedowicz

Next Time on the Black Perspective:

Elf and Nail? Is it all it’s cracked up to be.

Why are the Beacon’s too good for block?

What card is more devastating to Constructed than Skullclamp?

Why is Ken Krouner such a buffoon?

All these questions answered and more . . . next time.