Welcome To Buehler Block: What Would Your Puppet Be?

Muddy pictures and a contest (with no prize) to name Rizzo’s amazing ferret puppet sidekick. Oh, and he bashes pros again. What a surprise.

Yes, Randy Randy was the lead designer (or so I hear) on Odyssey, so naturally he took it upon himself to”fix” Manakin, turn him into a Millstone, and piss Nate Heiss off to no end. But”Mafia King” was always screaming for one card to put it over the top: Manakin. Stay tuned.

Oh, and there is some graveyard manipulation in the set as well; not much, just like every other friggin’ card.

Welcome to Buehler Block Limited, where the boneyard actually matters.

Oh, yeah, before I forget…

While I am Issue Boy and all, it appears that I’m coming a little late to the party. On Friday, Star City and Mindripper were pure bastions of issues – except for blisterchief, who has plenty of his own issues, and Alongi, who is so independently wealthy that he hires others to”take care of” any”situations” that may occur.

Still, it’s good to see others taking a stab at giving a damn, even though those that defended The Ron are wrong.

So let me get this out the way (and see if you can tell that I’m getting more worked up with each paragraph, just as I hope you will be) and get to the jist in a roundabout sort of fashion, just like I learned at Julliard. If you just wanna see the perty pictures, then scroll down to where the perty pictures are. Did I really have to tell anyone that, though?

I received a little bit of”concerned” mail regarding my”trashing” of some pros in last week’s article. The general tone was that of”dude, um, maybe you went a little overboard.” Perhaps I did indeed go a little nutty, but I don’t think that anything I wrote about any of the pros was too far off base. Ergo:

Dave Williams, even though he has his defenders, was booted for a year. Wizards said he cheated, and I am inclined to believe them. Of course, I already had a few strong opinions of him beforehand; Wizards giving him the boot simply acted as an affirmation or justification of my prior feelings. And they did kick his ass to the curb, so, no, I don’t think I was out of line at all.

Darwin Kastle does play slow as molasses. While”slow” is subjective, taking ten minutes to split a Fact or Fiction is ridiculous, especially for a pro (or even for a human being). Granted, if the FoF revealed Aids, Cholera, Whooping Cough, Polio, and Tuberculosis, then perhaps ten minutes would be warranted. Other than that unlikely situation, split the damned cards and quit playing like you’re trying to memorize the Talmud. I would very much love for another pro to take a chess clock into their match with Darwin. The result would likely be hilarious. Can you say”35-25,” or”45-5″ if FoF is ever cast?

Ryan Fuller did talk massive trash to Gary Wise, and it did involve references to a matriarch. Friendly trash talk is one thing, but does a game full of nerds need to have malicious baiting as well? And now I read BPShuler’s article about his (and other Babes who are Righteous) little”escapade” with our happy-go-lucky talker of refuse. Again, if I ever needed affirmation of my beliefs, BP provided them in spades.

I can hear many of you mentioning that the trashing he gave to Gary Wise was well deserved. It appears (from multiple sources) that Gary likes to chatter now and again as well, and perhaps the tongue lashing Fuller gave him was his just desserts. However, Ryan Fuller never took the time to write me mail encouraging me to write what I feel (after the Wakefield article – back when I was still Johnny Who Are You?), and then continue to offer little nuggets of encouragement from time to time with no provocation (even through the bloody as all hell Writer’s War), nor did he ever pull me aside and take a few minutes to chat it up with the scrub that is Johnny Mints.

Gary Wise doesn’t need anyone to defend him; would you pick a fight with the dude? But when someone who has been very helpful to me with no ulterior motive gets trashed, especially by someone I already had a Mad-On for, I feel the need to hop in the trenches. So there. And then again when the B to the P and crew get to deal with the utter funniness.

Where were we? Oh yeah, jagoffs.

Chris Benefal did throw a chair, and don’t forget about that”questionable” match against Ryan Fuller: the”bad” plays Benefal made that assured Fuller won a spot on the Canadian National team; but that’s just an”allegation,” although it was alleged by people much more in the know than this dumbass writer guy. Ditto again for the affirmation biz from B to the P.

The point is this:

Who the hell do these guys think they are? In real life, they are friggin’ outcast nerds who can probably only get laid by other outcast nerds (and only after the imbibing of much alcohol) – but since they’re Magic pros they somehow think that they are above reproach and unaccountable for their actions?

“You must idolize the pros, for you wish you could be like them!” seems to be the overall impression that I’m getting. Pardon me, but I was raised to a) not cheat, b) play fair, c) not try to embarrass or humiliate anyone I was competing with, and d) not throw chairs, at least in public. Forgive me for laughing my ass off at that idea of them being too mighty for a scrub like me to take them to task. And take”sacrosanct” and put it somewhere painful. Twice.

You know your sweet bippy? Well don’t bet it that I (or you or you or even you) want to be just like them.

Do they think they’re special because they can play better than ninety-nine percent of us? Or does Magic just”intensify” your personality, allowing the real you to come front and center? Whatever the reason, being a putz is annoying – except to other putzes, of course.

When pros quit doing stupid crap and acting like jagoffs, then maybe we can all get along like Rodney King and Reginald Denny. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the power from the pews of the dirty little people.

And then I hear that The Ron Martin is suspended for five years (that’s thirty-five dog years!) for fraudulent tournament reports. After reading his”defense” article, I was left with one feeling in my guttiwuts; it was the same feeling I got after reading Ed Fear”defense” articles: Guilty. Simply guilty.

I’m not a detective (anymore, not since the accident), but I think I can spot insincerity and irrelevance with the idea of trying to obfuscate (heh) the real issue at hand from a country mile away. And The Ron was oozing both all up out of his pores.

Odd thing: Fear wrote two or three”defense” articles then just up and went away. The Ron wrote what appears to be his one and only”not guilty” piece; see a pattern here? If I was to be booted for something that I was not guilty of, I’d scream from the rooftops and post an article per day until people would no longer bother to listen, or at least until no one would post them. Then it’s be all newsgroups and message boards up in here.

Free Mumia? Hells no – his apologists would pale in comparison to how much of a stink I would raise if wrongfully accused. But Fear gave up, and The Ron looks to be going down without much of a fight as well.

All the rationalizing in the world, and all the placing blame on others did not convince me of The Ron’s innocence, nor Fear’s. However, I can feel for The Ron, what with us sharing a”writer guy kinship.” Still, gone is gone, and I can’t help but wonder: what is the underlying cause of all these shenanigans?

Oh, maybe this…

Rizzo’s Irrefutable Rules Of Life:

Rule #1: It’s all about the money.

Christ, does Magic need to eliminate all cash prizes and go back to the kitchen table? Eliminate the lure of the big money and the Masters, and perhaps people won’t mark cards, draw from their sideboard, throw chairs, tell mom jokes, stall into oblivion, drop to preserve their ratings, or file false tourney reports. Maybe.

Just think about how many times you’ve heard this (or something similar in the last year):

“The lure of the increased paydays and the masters series lured him out of retirement.”


“He’s devoted much more time to the game since the payouts have increased.”

Eliminate the financial incentive to play Magic and then we would see who really”loves” this game and who is just in it to win it, with”it” being big cash, lotta prizes. I bet that The CPA would still maintain a website, and Star City as well, but I’m not so sure about many of the others. Oh, and I can hear the pros right now:”If the Pro Tour disappeared, so would Magic.”

Well, all y’all that think that can up and kiss my grits (I provided my own preemptive editing there).

Magic existed before the Pro Tour – some would say that it even flourished – and it would survive the nuclear holocaust that would be the demise of The Tour. And it might even continue to prosper. Call me kooky.

And when the kitchen table again became too small, some intrepid former tournament organizer in a past life would step up and make the table bigger by organizing a tournament. Hold that thought…

How many pros do you think would still play without the potential of the fat check? A lot? Maybe. But I can only say maybe, which is a friggin’ shame. I can’t say for certain that some of the best and most visible players in the game would play for the fun and profitless competition of it all… And that is ass with a capital ass.

But I’m certain that I would. And I’m certain that many people reading this column would as well. Well, what do we know? Us, the scum, the little people, the wannabes – of course we would play for the”fun” of it because we suck, thus are relegated to preaching the”fun” aspect since that’s all we’ll ever be able to accomplish in this game, unlike all of the above pros who are quite above the fray of the PTQ and Prerelease circle. We can’t possibly know the pressure that is the Pro Tour… If we did, then we wouldn’t dare criticize those who employ assy means to get the big ass ends.

“Walk a mile in my shoes!” they might offer.

“Dude, go barefoot, then shoes no longer matter,” would be my response.

Back to that thought…Perhaps the aforementioned tournament organizer would even take it upon him/her/genderless self to assign and track ratings, just like The DCI currently does. Maybe he’d even throw in a few boxes as prizes. Ah, then the elite pros could come back into”The New Magic” and begin the cycle anew, but this time with a clean slate. Hey, then we’d eventually come right back to where we are now.

People suck. Allow me to clarify: a few people suck and make it sucky for the rest of us. It’s the one bad apple syndrome that’s all up in here, but this time, we get a whole bunch of apples; more apples than I would think is statistically likely.

I would take a gander and say that ten percent of any given group that you’d care to bother grouping is total pond scum. Perhaps it’s higher, but I doubt that it could be lower by any significant amount. Let’s say that there are three hundred dudes (and a lady here and there) at the average pro event; are you telling me that only thirty are total pond scum and would lie and cheat and do whatever they thought they could get away with to win?

Are you telling me that with a straight face?

How many have bitten the dust in the last few months? I can count McCarrell, Fear, Williams, Ben Stoll, and Justin Schneider off the top of Dave Meddish bean. Since I’m too lazy to go and check Wizard’s suspended list, I can only guess that there’s been a couple more high to semi-high profile guys in the last few months as well. And there are certainly a few more free men running around that could be described as”shady.”

As much as Wizards might think that these guys are good for the game – and I’m not sure that they do think that – they aren’t. There are enough bad guys in the world to root against; do we need to have our nerdy little kid game infected as well? Is there nowhere we can go to escape the clutches of pure, unadulterated ass?

Or perhaps, Rizzo’s Irrefutable Rule of Life #7 is in effect:

“Everybody thinks that they want to be famous.”

Let’s face it: It’s bringing out the dead all over again. Everybody and their dead relative wants to be on TV or in the papers. Everybody wants to be somebody – and in the Magic world, being is pro is being”somebody.” Forget the fact that 90% of all Magic players have probably never even heard of Finkel, let alone Budde; we’re trying to be a”somebody” for the other 10%, fifty percent of whom don’t care anyway.

Seems like a lot of work, cheating and covering up and all, just to be”somebody” in a world of only a few thousand. Whatever floats your boat and all that, I guess.

What the hell is wrong with everyone? How many defenders of the”interesting” tactics are out there? I bet there are a lot more pros who can number themselves a card-carrying member of the dead than I originally thought.

Does anyone see the correlation between all of the above noise and Intentional Draws and Net Decks yet?

Didn’t think so, but perhaps someday you will.

I’m tired of being pissed off.

Movin’ right along with absolutely no segue, unless you wish to count this sentence as an idea divider of sorts.

Are you friggin’ kidding me with Flashback and Threshold? Not only is it impossible to build decks now – with the myriad of fashion colors and accessories – but now we have to actually pay attention to the graveyard? How hard does this game have to become until players start busting embolisms and having random brain hemorrhages during upkeep?

And somehow, I like Magic a little more each day. Friggin’ Wizards – all y’all did good, and I believe it started with Invasion (actually, I was a big fan of Masques Block as well, but whatever). Hey, wasn’t that the first set Buehler worked on? Coincidence? Well, I guess it could be.

Heh, FrigginWizards. Kind of catchy.

Yeah, the spoiler is up, mostly, and I’m struck with one thought….

Holy cow, Magic is impossible!

La Magie sainte de vache est impossible!

Heilige Kuhmagie ist unmöglich!

A Mágica holy da vaca é impossível!

La Magia santa della mucca è impossibile!

See? The whole world thinks it’s impossible!

Elvis met Harry Carey in the revolving doors (okay, that’s kind of a tough reference).

Hi, I’m a starter and two boosters of this set, nice to meet you. And you only get thirty minutes.

Out of the mental gymnastics that Magic is becoming comes one thing that seems certain: Cremate isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Or Pyre Zombie.

I remember my first encounter with Cremate like it was yesterday – which of course, I remember like it was yesterday. I was playtesting with Aaron Brockovich in preparation for States 2000, when during my upkeep I contemplated recurring my Pyre Zombie. After a few seconds, Aaron said,”Are you gonna bring back Pyre Zombie?” with the look of”I’m trying to help you here, ya’ scrub” in his eyes. I took this as a tip from a pro – and so taken with Aaron’s tender thoughtfulness was I, that I immediately said,”sure thing, chief.” Not one millisecond later, Aaron said”I’ll Cremate it in response” and manically laughed his ass off like he was Vincent Price in one of those old movies where he manically laughed his ass off.

Let me make one thing clear: Aaron was not”rolling on the floor laughing,” nor was he”laughing out loud” or typing smiley faces. But he was LHAO! (that’s”LMAO” with the”H” indicating the proper pronoun in this case)

Pavlov’s Dog equates Cremate with betrayal, thus never recurs his Zombie against an opponent with black mana available, thus starts down the long and winding road, destined to lose by two points because he was too scared to recur his Zombie.

And now we’ve come full circle with an expansion, and a large one at that, utilizing the graveyard as yet another as yet untapped and largely-ignored-until-now-except-for-Agenda resource. Cremate is for breakfast, brunch – and, if the tourney goes long enough, dinner and a movie and hopefully (crossin’ the fingers) a little kissy-face as well.

Dear Everyone Who Evaluated Invasion,

I won’t mind if you wanna take another look at Cremate.


A guy who doesn’t review sets – well, for real anyway

“Bedways is rightways now. Best we go homeways and get a bit of spatchka.”

-Dim, A Clockwork Orange

See you all tomorrow.

Guess what? It’s tomorrow already.

If I ever make it to the Tour, I’m sure guys will be lined up around the block to punch me in the face. And I’m a bleeder, too. Pobre si.

On Thursday afternoon, my brother-in-law, Shante Leftfeet (a left-footed drummer, as is your humble narrator, hence the moniker), who first introduced me to Magic and with whom I flop on every non-tourney Saturday, came over to the cribbo to take the wifey out for lunch. He had a list of Seventh Edition in his hand, with a bunch of cards circled.

“These are the cards I need from Seventh Edition,” said Sean.

“Archivist? Don’t you have about ten of the Destiny ones?” queried I.

“I burned all my cards, except for Seventh,” said Sean, matter of factly.

You could put about ten pages of white space here and it still wouldn’t be enough to indicate just how speechless I was.

“Um, why?” I finally managed to utter.”And did that include the two hundred rares you got from me a few weeks ago?”

“Just because, and everything except Seventh is gone.”

And he does plan to buy a few boxes of Odyssey. And he makes almost fifty grand a year. And he’s twenty-three.

I hope you are as speechless as I am and will be… For friggin’ ever.

And people think I’m nuckin’ futs?

At this point, I must retreat to my cave and find my power animal, which is likely a donkey.



(White space for all y’all to realize that my power animal is an ass.)


(White space for all y’all to realize that my power animal being an ass is pretty damned appropriate.)


Insert tourney report here, sucka duckz.

There I go again, up on the stage, and also to pick up The Bag and Deuce Deuce Revolver, who lives close enough to The Bag that I couldn’t really think of a good excuse as to why I couldn’t pick him up. Proximity is ass.

Everyone from the C to the MU and their mothers, well, Turian’s father, was in attendance, except of course for Nathan Jessup Heiss, who came down with a terrible case of Whipped, courtesy of his girlfriend.

If there is a more fun format that really isn’t a format than Foil Five, I’ve yet to meet it. Sure, Five can be a blast, but nothing beats spitting the Foily Five into quads and doin’ a little four-way melee beatdowns, but in teams, sort of.

The Bag and I took on Acrobatic Aaron and D.D. Revolver, with people with bags and cameras emerging victorious, thanks mostly to a Stalking Assassin (signed by Aaron no less, complete with two extra abilities: 3U, T: Swing from these, and 3B, T: Have a carrot). I’d explain in more detail, but I’d much rather someone else build a Foily Five and let them run it down for all y’all. Plus, I can’t remember much anyway.

The Bag did get Treva into play (the Sean McKeown signed one, with the words”Sucky Dragon” enscribed for all the world to see, and since it did a total of zero damage, I’d have to say that Sean”Puffy” McKeown is correct: that dragon does indeed suck), and a kicked up Verdoleth (twice, heh), which, coupled with my superior skillz at Foily, brought home some bacon, yo.

But enough of that. Or maybe more later. But probably not. Although, you just can never tell what that crazy Rizzo will do next.

Who be playin’ in the main event, y’all:

Teabaggin Turian LOL!

Eugreen Harvey

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Aaron Forsythe

The Bag

Spikey Mikey Pat-Ass

Freakin’ Rizzo

The Brother From U.N.C.L.E. Forsythe

The Wife From U.N.C.L.E. Anne Forsythe (invite the whole family!)

Chiggitty Chas Tressler

Downtown Andew Brown

Jeremy Seemed A Harmless Little [edit]

Nick”Cards In Hand?” Eisel

Mike Thieving Magby

Dhuse Dhuse Revolver

Elliott”Little Man Tate” Beck

Bryan Band-Ass

And that’s just the CMU’ers and affiliates – there were another a hundred and fifty people too, but I didn’t get all their names. I apologize for my laziness.

And these CM’ers were scummin’ around in the side events:

AndyJ, of the AndyJ.dec Clan – won a draft or something

Andrew Cuneo Blue – won a draft or something

Rating Point Ronnie Kotwica – won a draft or something

Ho hum, let’s go win a draft and gain three whole points. La-di-da-di.

I built this pile, that I wasn’t really happy nor unhappy with – which, since you probably won’t know what most of the cards do, is optional reading. In fact, might as well skip it, chief:


2x Flame Burst

Pardic Firecat

Ember Beast

Frenetic Ogre


Molten Influence

2x Nantuko Disciple

Wild Mongrel

Muscle Burst

Springing Tiger


Junk Golem

Cephalid Scout


Cephalid Broker

Aven Fisher


Laquatus’s Creativity

Rites of Refusal


6x Mountain

5x Forest

5x Island

Timberland Ruins

Cephalid Coliseum

The following cards were just insanely nuts:

Cephalid Broker – This guy drew me so many cards that I was embarrassed, and I almost decked myself in one game. Nutty. Insane. And damned good.

Lithatog – Nuts. Do you like to make your opponent think? This guy’ll do it, along with the rest of the Alongitogs.

Wild Mongrel – Pretty damned good for a bear. Pitching stuff that can be recurred (or Flashed) is good times, especially when you have this guy too…

Springing Tiger – This guy is a 5/5 for four so damned much that it’s funny. Do math: serve with Mongrel and this dude:

Opponent: No blocks.

You: In that case, instead of taking five, I’ll pitch three cards to the Mongrel… Oops, I accidentally went and gave myself Threshold! Um, take ten.

Firebolt – The Flashback is about the most fairly costed thing I have ever seen – it’s just a damned good card, yo.

Cards that everyone who checked out my deck said were ass:

Molten Influence – This thing did four damage a lot more than it countered spells, but it was lovin’ from the oven all up in here either way. Win/win.

Junk Golem – I played a couple games vs. Band-Ass before the tourney, and this guy wrecked house. However, he sucks when there are blockers. Okay, he’s very ass when there is even so much as a 1/1 in front of him.

Rites of Refusal – Ditch a card for a Mana Leak? Seemed like great times for me, and even though no one else liked it, it did counter about ten spells, and I’d say that’s worth pitching a card or two. Well, I liked it, damnit.

Laquatus’s Creativity – Five mana to draw and discard what was usually three or four cards might not seem so good, but my deck was all about looking for answers. Maybe this card sucks, but I thought it was pretty good. So there.

Cephalid Coliseum – Yeah, you ping yourself early, but you dig for answers late, and combined with all the rest of the nuts drawing in the rest of the deck, I always had a handful of gas. When I ran out, this guy helped a brother out all over again.

Round 1: John Gadinski

Game 1: Boy, John’s Ember Beast is good when he has someone to attack with and nothing in the way. Boy, Junk Golem is ass when you have to keep pitching cards to him because you can’t find a real creature.

Game 2: Boy, Wild Mongrel is good when you can keep pitching Dematerialize and Firebolt to him, especially when there are no blockers in his way. And he gets even better when there are two Nantuko Disciples pumpin’ his ass up like he was Arnold in the late Seventies.

Game 3: Boy, is Cephalid stupidly good. He’s even better when he your opponent lets him live long enough (and most did) to find a ton of dudes and burn. Of course, when your opponent is mana screwed, everything’s better with Cheddar.

(Two John’s wif major attitude problems saying”what the hell are you lookin’ at, yo?”)

1-0 Johnny disappointer off and running!


Round 2: Will Klein

Game 1: Wild Mongrel turn two, Ember Beast turn three, burn your dudes turn four is about as Sligh as it gets in Buehler Block Limited. While Will did manage to eventually hold off said dudes, Firebolt has this neat little ability, as does Dematerialize. I figured that 5UU for Da’ Materialz Flashback was overcosted and stupid, but I’ll say this: It’s good the first time at 3U, better the second time after an Anarchist brings it back… And by that time, 5UU is a piece of cake.

Game 2: Will’s fatties overpowered my fatties, since he achieved Threshold in record time. His Springing Tiger was better than mine, and that friggin’ Rabid Elephant is ridiculously good. No, I mean ridiculously good.

Game 3: Oh, how I tried to do eighteen to Will’s dome on the last of the extra turns, but the spirit of Darwin would not let me.

(That look is meant for Darwin, not Will.)

1-0-1 Darwin’s in the hizouse!

Round 3: Tim May

Tim has played at CMU a few times, and I’ve seen him beat upon The Bag in an Extended PTQ, so I know he’s no slouch, but I wonder if anyone has ever called him”Timmerian Fiends.”

Game 1: Look at Johnny:

Tim’s at twelve, and I attack into no blockers with a Mongrel and Lithatog. He has 3U open, and my beanie searches and searches for an instant that bounces dudes. Finding none in my memory banks, I proceed to slowly discard cards and sac lands (one at a time, yo, for I’m a good player), waiting for him to try to respond. He allows each to resolve and is looking quite perturbed at the possibility of, well, dying this turn.

I pitch six cards to the Mongrel and sac four lands to the ‘Tog, thinking I’m the shiz, but still worried that dude may have a trick. I knew that he had some skillz, so any kind of instant Fog effect was not going to be in his deck – but, heh, ever hear of”Repel?”

Dear Assy Me,

Is that what they call an”eleven for one?”


The Smart Me

Oh, for the love of Becky!

Game 2: Dude has like six counterspells. Man, that’s annoying – but not as annoying as that friggin’ Rabid Elephant, with Nantuko backup.”Datguyzgood,” as Nathan Jessup Heiss would say. The Uber fatties of Buehler Block Limited don’t always appear to be fatties, but make no mistake: D’Elephant is one fat-assed hooka.

(There’s no one around to snap the pic? No problem, it has a timer…lemme set it up. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’ll get us both.)

1-1-1 Joshua Claytor before he got good is in the hizouse!


Round 4: Elliott”Little Man Tate” Beck

Ah, Mr. Tate, he of the”someday I yearn to be just like Darwin” pace of play, sits down prepared to smash my face. However, my face has something to say about that.

Game 1: Turn two Mongrel, turn three Ember Beast is bad times. It gets even worse when LM Tate casts Acceptable Loses on the Beast, and I just Muscle Burst it. I found that loss very acceptable, but Tate looked like he was going to cry. I had two Acceptable Losses in my sideboard, for the cost seemed quite unacceptable to me.

Afterwards, I suggested that he target the Mongrel, since the Beast tends to just hang out and grow moss if no one else is around.

Ember Beast


Creature – Flunky

When you control no other creatures, Ember Beast becomes a wall that can’t block. (Walls can’t attack.)


Game: Turn two Mongrel, turn three Ember Beast is bad times. It gets even worse when LM Tate casts Acceptable Loses on the Mongrel, and I… Let it die. I simply throw down Pardic Cat, Springing Tiger, and kill the one or two 1/1’s he drops in front. He was pretty much mana screwed – if you can call seven black cards in hand and no Swamp”mana screwed,” that is.

(There’s no one around to snap the pic? No problem, I can just hold the camera up real high and it’ll get us both.)

2-1-1 ‘Sup with the upward mobility?

Round 5: Cole Foust

Game 1: Mongrel iz good beatz. When he’s joined by Lithatog and nine mana, he beatz even harder. And a Firebolt and two Flame Burst never hurt. I arrived at this sexy situation with the help of our good friend the Cephalid Broker. I’d draw my card and bust out the Brokerage action right away. And dude always found me good stuff. I like dat guy.

Game 2: Cole gets mana screwed after a mulligan, and I come out like coming out is going out of style. Mongrel, Aven Fisher, Brokerage Whore, and Frenetic Ogre are all very good when a Nantuko is up in here. Much better than anything Cole could’ve played for four mana in Buehler Block Limited.

(The bastard that took the pic snapped it before I was able to maneuver into my famous”arms crossed” pose, which is like, def as hell.

3-1-1 Rolling up on ya like Christopher Reeve! (Don’t blame me – blame Eminem, dammit.)

Round 6: Nicholas McGough

I’m feeling all”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” so why not just win this match, too?

Game 1: I beginnith the smackdown with Cephalid Scout, who does five alone until he is joined by Ember Beast. Nicholas is holding cards and holding cards and holding cards, until he finally gets so sick of holding cards that he draws the right color lands. While he was keeping the maximum allowable hand size, I was busy dropping dudes that, while, not fat, did very much like the fact that they could attack unimpeded.

Game 2: I’m fairly certain I have this game wrapped up, with three or four average dudes in play to Nicholas’ none – when he drops a Beast Attack up on me, twice, and then started to play real creatures as well. That dramatically impacted my molar, which was enough to cause me to concede the game due to emergency root canal surgery that I was in dire need of.

Game 3: Mongrel is very good when he attacks for eight turns, especially when I’m able to burn his dudes out of the way, even getting rid of a Pilgrim of Justice, by serving with so much stuff that he had to sac it to live. A Flame Burst for at least three finished him off, one turn after he dropped Vampiric Dragon, I think – but it was some piece of immoveable fat that could’ve been unpleasant times for the man with the mints that he still had from Neutral Ground’s last tourney.

(Did you ever play”let’s pretend we’re JC Penney’s catalog models” when you were a kid? C’mon, you know you did. Well, I know I did.)

4-1-1 They call me”Johnny Locomotive!”

Round 7: Sean Ianucci

Game 1: Sean drops a Roar of the Wurm, Flashes back, and I somehow kill both tokens with zero casualties on my side. I think it had much to do with the fact that I had Mongrel, Lithatog, and Springing Tiger chump the first token, wait for Sean to assign damage, (three to the Tiger and three to the Atog – yeah, boyeeee!), and then sac three lands to the Atog, which gave me Threshold. Rizzo’s team: Lives. Token: Not. Hi, I’m a combat trick, nice to meet you.

The second token goes away with Da’ Materialz, and I swarm to get him to three. I’m holding a Flame Burst, but I need to kill him this turn or it could get ugly for me, since he had plenty of other dudes that were playing D in support of his tokens. I look through his yard, praying for a Burst, and finding none, look through my yard three times until I finally find Pardic Firecat. Booya.

Game 2: Sean drops Vampiric Dragon. I draw a card, and since it doesn’t say”Destroy target Dragon,” I am forced to concede in an attempt to win game three in ten minutes, lest Darwin jump up in here again.

Game 3: Sean’s at eleven, and I have Lithatog and Springing Tiger in play, with three cards in my yard and five in my hand. He does not block – thus, Lithy eats five lands and I attack for eleven. Good thing too, since a dude that was watching saw his hand: Roar of the Wurm and Vampiric Dragon – one of which was coming down next turn. Buehler Block Technology.

(Sean had never seen anyone do The Twist. I amused him much, since I insisted upon singing as well. And right now you are likely going”Come on baby, let’s do The Twist. Chubby Checker and The Fat Boys, we’re doing The Twist.” Damnit! I hate when the cover version is suckier than the original, but you can’t get it out of your damned head!)

5-1-1 One more win and I can ID into T16!

From the desk and twisted mind of Neil Forsythe:

Neilio, aplomb in my silver Mercedes Benz rope from my carefree Hip Hop days and Aaron’s”I am Hip Hop” T that first garnered fame at States 2000, walked out with me to the dirty smoker’s al fresco lounge, and began his chatter of squirrels:

Neilio: Riz, you should have your own sitcom, like”Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” but we could call it”Smokin’ With Mr. Rizzo.”

Mr. Rizzo: Dude?

Neilio: It could be on the WB.

Mr. Rizzo: Dude?

Neilio: And you could have a puppet.

Mr. Rizzo: Dude?

Neilio: What would your puppet be? (after a moment of reflection) And what would his name be?

We finally settled on”Smokin’ With Mr. Rizzo,” featuring a ferret puppet, but did not come up with a name. If you can name Mr. Rizzo’s ferret puppet, please drop me a line. (“Steinmetz” – The Ferrett) You win nothing, except for the respect and admiration of very few people, although Neilio might be impressed.

I think Neilio took one too many line drives to the bean when throwing batting practice down in the minors. And that’s why we like him: Because of his dented melon.

Round 8: Steve Defelice

Game 1: Dude has two Lithatogs in play by turn four. I have one. The times, oy, they were bad indeed.

Game 2: Dude has a bazillion dudes in play, but I have Lithatog, Mongrel, Springing Cat with Threshold, and an Anarchist coming at him. He’s at eleven, and this is pretty much a desperation play, since I have four cards left in my library from abusing Da’ Broker, and I know that one is a Flame Burst.

He lets eight come through, going to three in the process. I have one Mountain in play. He serves me to nine, and has about infinite guys coming next turn. During my upkeep, Steve gets nutty and sacs his Dreamwinder to turn my Mountain into an Island. Damn kids! My draw was not the Flame Burst, but it was still a good play, and such a sweet story, huh?

(See boys and girls, if you eat your spinach, you can grow up to be just like Steve, and get two Lithatogs in your deck!)

5-2-1 One more win and I can squeak into T16, maybe!

Round 9: Micheal The Dreamcrusher

Sitting next to me is Ol’ Flametongue Forsythe, who is next to The Bag, who is playing Dhuse Dhuse, who is near Dahntahn Andrew Brown who is playing Little Man Tate. It’s like a festival! Reunited and it feels so good.

Game 1: I get crushed after a mulligan.

Game 2: I get crushed because I suck, and because I was outplayed, by a better player, with better cards, and likely a better hairdo.

Take off my belt and beat you like I’m your dad,

Then take the mic in my hand like a maxi-pad.

-Me, as a twenty year-old rapper/DJ guy

Flametongue goes down in flames, Dhuse Dhuse times out The Bag but scoops because The Bag has a better record, thus will get half a box, and Tate Darwins out DT Brown, but concedes for the same reason…Boy the way Glenn Miller played, songs that made the hit Parade. Guys like us we had it made, those were the days. Yes, they keepin’ it All up in this Family, yo!

(I’m looking at the lovely standings, remembering when I was just a stone’s throw from respectability – I was all the way at table six! Alas, Rizzo, we knew him – we knew he’d go in the bin when he had to play against real decks.)

5-3-1 Hey, it’s better than 3-5! But there’s a three and a five, and that’s what life is all about: he who dies with the most 3-5 records (or some derivation thereof) wins.

Look what happened:

Second place: Teabaggin’ Turian LOL! – was this close to making it back-to-back Prerelease wins.

Third place: Eugreen Harvey – oh, I do good at Worlds and all of a sudden I’m good at Magic?

Fifth place: Neilio Forsythe – hi, I never play Magic, but I always do good.

Sixth place: Jeremy Clearly I Remember Picking On The Boy – that’s a T8 in back-to-back Prereleases for chiefy.

Eighth place: Chiggitty Chas – that’s a T8 in five of the last 6 Prereleases.

Tenth place: Dahntahn Andrew Brown – he was the only guy I beat in the Planeshift Prerelease – yeah, the one where I entered four events and played three whole matches.

Thirteenth place: The Bag – look for him to Q on October 7th in the first Pittsburgh Buehler Block LImited event, for he likes to hang out for the rest of the season.

Seventeenth place: Nick”Nathan” Heisel – ah, good ol’ first-runner up. He gets to wake up every morning living with the knowledge that I beat him in a sanctioned match, and I bet it makes him really mad – which of course, it should.

And the sucky guys…

24th Thieving Magby

26th Thieving Pat-Ass

27th Thieiving Dhuse Dhuse

28th Thieving Eron Forsythe

31st Jon Jon, Lord of the Mints

33rd Little Man Tate

That’s some tight-ass representin: we all close together like birds of a feather and shiz.

And as for the”my wife can beat up your wife” First Sanctioned Tournament Challenge:

48th Anne Natural Born Killa Forsythe

And last but not least:

? Band-Ass because I forgot to look and he left real quick so screw him.

That’s thirteen guys that were in contention (even me, The Puppeteer!) for at least T16 (which was half a box) going into the last round. Sexy.

(L to R: Johnny Demonic Eyes That Chicks Love, Eron Brockovich and his happy box of Odyssey, Ryan”I take posing for pics very seriously” D.D. Revolver, Neilio, Eubroken Eugreen Harvey, Teabaggin’ Turian LOL!, The Bag)

What a motley group of nerds, ain’t we?

Buehler Block Limited looks to be a great set with many powerful cards that are good enough to be damned good but not broken. Although I did hear horror stories about Haunting Echoes, and, it is my sad duty to inform you that there really is a creature that says”protection from all colors.” Heh – have fun with that one at States, chiefs. Not just some colors or even three or four colors, but all friggin’ colors.

I’d tell you to expect bold predictions about what may be good and what may not, but I have no idea, and I know for a fact that I won’t be ready for States in a mere (as of this writing) forty-eight days. Ask Bennie Smith, he of”I do good at States every friggin’ year” fame, for some advice, for this well has done run dry. Blame it on IBC. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on Canada.

But don’t blame it on Buehler Block Limited.


John Friggin’ Rizzo