Red Fish, Blue Fish

Posted in Serious Fun on February 28, 2006

By Anthony Alongi

One Tuesday, one winter, one dreary work day,
An ornery writer had something to say.
The theme was the Izzet,
A challenge for his wit,
Yet editor guidelines he wished to obey.

"Izzet," he admitted,
"A quiz here submitted:
Commit to a tightly knit bit of show biz?
Or quit, throw a fit, and tell Scott* how it is?"
And Ted** if permitted?

(* Scott manages content for this site right here,
** Ted makes right the sights you see here without fear,
Together they steer us,
And then volunteer us,
To write on themes dreamed up while steamed up on beer.)

Izzet may seem easy,
Why rhyme and get queasy?
The theme weeks, extremely convenient for us,
Seem bleaker when freak muses kick up a fuss.
(Those muses are sleazy.)

"Forget it!" readers fret, upset in cold sweats,
"Not one word yet on the Izzet, we regret!
Return to the topic,
Avoid the myopic,
The theme week demands it; your debt is unmet!

"And what's with this meter?
It could be much neater.
The lines with eleven beats turn into six,
Vice versa the six-now-eleven-beats tricks,
Alongi's a cheater."

You're right, of course – Serious Fun's gone astray.
As I said above, I've got something to say.
It might take a while
But swallow your bile
There's actually Magic content on the way.

Izzet is red-bluish,
An idea that's not newish,
A theme deck named Sparkler came out with Stronghold,
Remarkable sorceries, hot to behold,
But extremely few fish.

No fish, (that means merfolk, you'll want to recall),
Were found in the creatureless Sparkler at all!
What's in there? A red glare
Of burn, while blue fare
Can counter your enemy's spells for a stall.

Izzet is blue-reddish,
For those with that fetish,
Tough instants and sorceries are all you'll need
And Guildpact has strengthened this approach, indeed!
Which is just what we'd wish.

Let's go down the list of splendiferous spells,
That buzz all the buzzers and ring all the bells,
An Izzet-y seven
Like manna from heaven,
Will taste to us mages as good as it smells.

The first on our list is an obvious pick,
It offers a 3-for-1 tradeoff (how slick!).
A word to all the wise:
Play four Electrolyze.
You'll burn nasty creatures and draw cards real quick.

Turning to number two,
We find a double crew,
Tibor – and Lumia, too! – can do for you
Things that other single cards simply can't do.
A closer for red-blue.

"But wait here!" the clever reader might point out,
You told us you'd build this list without a trout,
(Trout are a fine finned dish,
But Sparkler had no fish.)
What's all this list hypocrisy here about?

It is true what I said,
Sparkler prefers things dead,
However, I can't just help creatureless fans,
When creature-light options are viable plans.
I regret I misled.

Atoning for that, we look now at choice three.
A spell that can be all you need it to be.
Whatever you're facing
Can stand some light tracing
And Mimeofacture's a fine guarantee.

Returning to creatures, we discover quick
A Misdirection (or a Shunt) on a stick.
Goblin Flectomancer
Is a clumsy dancer,
But trips well enough to divert a strong kick.

Let's mention at once, both the fourth and the fifth,
So we can be done with the creatures forthwith.
The Guildmage for Izzet
Stands tall with the jet set,
And Steamcore Weird reflects Flametongue Kavu pith.

The last card is not what you might think of first,
But combat tricks pay off in surprising bursts,
And nothing bursts loud
As a Thunderheads cloud
Which quenches attackers' insatiable thirst.

That's it – that's all seven
No time for eleven
You'll just have to –

"Wait" you curse, ending the verse,
"I doubt your omissions could be more perverse!
You forgot Niv-Mizzet,
The chief of the Izzet!
It's time to put your article in reverse!"

"And others you dissed," you add now to the list,
"Include Gelectrode, who like Mizzet, is pissed!
And Illuminatus?
How come you forgot us?
How can you explain all the good cards you missed?"

The answer is simple, my fine reading friend:
These rhymes are much harder to start than to end.
They're frightfully thorny
While some are quite corny
And some don't come out at all like I intend.

I'll finish this effort at praising the guild,
By posing three questions for you as you build.
Your decks in construction
Require instruction
Without which you'll almost for certain be killed.

Question Number One: are your spells cheap enough?
You cannot tap out every turn and still bluff!
Red-blue needs much mana
(Though don't try Savannah)
So while you build up to Fireball, use small stuff!

Question Number Two: will enchantments stop you?
One Opposition and blue-red is goo.
You might try to stop it
Or steal it, or pop it
But pick one (not three) paths you'll try to see through.

Question Number Three: do you need cards in hand?
If so, mind the guy who has group discard planned.
Direct all your instants
At this little dark prince
And keep up the pressure 'til his a** is canned.

This one-time effort to stay far from the prose
May or may not entertain you – who knows?
I sought a diversion
From sentence immersion
And had fun this week with the format I chose.

Hope you did too.

Anthony asked for his bio this way,
Hoping some readers would click the gateway.
You know the details –
The heartwarming story of dragons today.

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