Jeff Zandi is a four time pro tour veteran who has been playing Magic since 1994. Jeff is a level two DCI judge and has been judging everything from small local tournaments to pro tour events.

Jeff is from Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where his upstairs game room has been the "Guildhall", the home of the Texas Guildmages, since the team formed in 1996. One of the original founders of the team, Jeff Zandi is the team's administrator, and is proud to continue the team's tradition of having players in every pro tour from the first event in 1996 to the present.



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Fun With Flavor Text
A Very Special FAKE Interview With Richard Garfield by Jeff Zandi

The holidays are a good time for being with family, for spreading good cheer, the holidays can even be a time for honest reflection. Don’t worry, there won’t be any honest reflection HERE this week, because, luckily, the holidays are also a time for FUN. During the early winter of my Magic discontent (there hasn’t been much going on in competitive Magic this month) I’ve been looking at some fun and creative ways to enjoy the greatest game ever invented. To this end, I have decided to devote this last article of 2004 to honor the great man behind the great game, Dr. Richard Garfield. Dr. Garfield was born in a log cabin in Illinois and became one of our greatest presidents. Wait, that’s a different guy. Garfield is the one that hates Mondays and loves lasagna. Wait, I’m screwing it up again…let me try ONE MORE TIME.

Dr. Richard Garfield invented Magic: the Gathering as a humble assignment given to him by Peter Adkison of the then-tiny company (if you want to call it that at the time…) Wizards of the Coast. Richard was MORE interested in moving forward a game he had already created that would eventually be known as Robo Rally. Adkison more or less gave Richard Garfield the assignment of creating what we know as Magic in order to justify the later publishing and distribution of Robo Rally.

This week, I was looking for a fun way to play with flavor text. I know a lot of your SERIOUS players don’t care at all about flavor text. Some of you might prefer that Wizards of the Coast not waste their time working on back stories for their card game, that this kind of admittedly contrived “flavor” just clutters up an otherwise outstanding game. Well, I disagree with the most hardline (stay hard) of those guys. I like flavor text, always have. Magic’s back stories sometimes DO give me a pain, but I really don’t think the game would be the same without the broad storylines that run behind the card images, the card names and, finally, the card flavor text.

I have this dream where Wizards of the Coast finally wises up and hires me to make Magic cards. I blow the job on my first very simple assignment. They ask me to come up with flavor text for a new special land card. I panic and can only come up with “Most land does not have flavor text.” I guess their job can be harder than it looks.


This week’s gag revolves around an entirely FAKE interview between me and the creator of Magic: the Gathering Dr. Richard Garfield (the PhD is in Applied Mathematics, in case you were wondering if Garfield was delivering babies or performing laser eye surgery…)

In this FAKE interview, however, the creator of Magic speaks in kind of an odd way. If you have ever actually met Dr. Garfield, and I am thrilled to have had this pleasure several times, you might notice that he DOES have a rather special way of speaking. Garfield is not like anyone you have ever met. He has a kind of Willy Wonka quality about him, kind of a pied piper thing if you will. Well, in this FAKE interview, Garfield’s speech is limited to the flavor text found on the cards from the game that he created.

The cards that each piece of flavor text is from are noted, in order, at the bottom of this story. For those of you that hate flavor text, tune in next week when I expect to be helping to get people ready for some hot Team Pro Tour Qualifier action. If you think flavor text is kind of funny, stick around and see if you can guess any of the flavor text pieces that Garfield uses as his replies to my questions.

JEFF ZANDI FROM POJO: Dr. Garfield, I know you don’t give a lot of interviews, but since it’s the Holidays, I was wondering if you would like to take some time and talk to your many fans.

RICHARD GARFIELD, PhD.: I don’t have time for you right now.

POJO: Oh, surely you wouldn’t mind taking just a few minutes? That’s not asking too much, is it?

GARFIELD: Let my hate fuel your fury!

POJO: Wow, that’s dark. Would you feel any better about it if I offered you half of my sandwich? It’s from Quiznos…

GARFIELD: The world calls and I answer.

POJO: (breaks sandwich in two and hands half to Garfield) Thanks! That’s very kind of you to take this time for the Pojo readers!

GARFIELD: In times like these, people need to be reminded of compassion.

POJO: That’s very nice of you to say. A lot of people might think that you might separate yourself from a regular Magic guy like me.

GARFIELD: I’m up here, you’re down there. Now who’s the lower life form?

POJO: That seems a little uncalled for. Do you really want all your fans to find out that you have such a condescending attitude like that?

GARFIELD: There is nothing you can do that I cannot simply deny.”

POJO: I can’t stand it! I kind of want to end this interview right this minute!

GARFIELD: Temper, temper.

POJO: You’re right, I’m sorry. Can I have just a second to calm down a little?

GARFIELD: Take your time.

POJO: Is it true that you are part of a group starting a special school to teach Magic players how to prepare for the Pro Tour?

GARFIELD: The academy educates; I employ. It’s a perfect arrangement.

POJO: I see. How is your academy able to graduate great players?

GARFIELD: Motivation was high in the academy once students realized flunking their exams could kill them.

POJO: That sounds like one serious Magic school. I’d like to get in but I think a lot of my Magic talent has eroded over the ten years that I’ve been playing…

GARFIELD: You’ll never miss what you never had.

POJO: Hey! I think I could develop a talent for winning at Magic if I worked hard enough!

GARFIELD: If you weren’t born with it, you don’t need it.

POJO: Oh yeah…well, as a matter of fact, I’m building a Magic school of my own right next to your fancy-pants academy.

GARFIELD: There goes the neighborhood!

POJO: A lot of my students have been leaving to join your academy. Do you have any idea why?

GARFIELD: Maybe they wanted to be on the winning side for once.

POJO: Maybe so. I’ve been lowering my tuition prices, but I can’t seem to get any new students…

GARFIELD: Some schools aren’t worth getting into.

POJO: Well, maybe I better think about just shutting my place down…

GARFIELD: Good riddance.

POJO: Is there any way I could get into YOUR Magic academy?

GARFIELD: You aren’t invited.

POJO: Uh, look, let’s just talk about some other things…

GARFIELD: We shall start small, I think.

POJO: I heard you liked to do some hunting when you get a chance. I even heard you liked to hunt with unusual weapons, even a flame thrower. Did your flame thrower come with any warning labels on it?

GARFIELD: Proximity guarantees injury or death.

POJO: Did you have any accidents while learning to operate your flame thrower?

GARFIELD: Pain teaches lessons no scholar can!

POJO: I can imagine! I even heard you accidentally burned down a little town close to Portland.

GARFIELD: Fire is the universal language.

POJO: Whoa! That’s harsh. What did you tell to the people of the town?

GARFIELD: Sorry I burned down your village. Here’s some gold.

POJO: Do you think people are greedy enough to overlook ANYTHING for money?

GARFIELD: They certainly are!

POJO: I also heard you liked to hunt the bald eagle. That’s the national bird, one of the very symbols of the United States of America. You could be put into jail for doing that!

GARFIELD: That does it! I’m going back to hunting chickens!

POJO: Hunting chickens, really? Whatever for?

GARFIELD: They’re not worth much, but they’re easy to catch.

POJO: You don’t want to keep chickens, Richard, they’re nothing but a smelly mess.

GARFIELD: They are called ‘fowl’ for a reason.

POJO: Well, Dr. Garfield, it’s been a pleasure interviewing you, but I think this is a good time to wind up our little talk.

GARFIELD: …but I’m not tired!

POJO: Well, it’s just that I need to type up this whole interview into my computer and email the story to Bill before midnight…

GARFIELD: Humans and machines working together can be fearsome indeed!

POJO: One more thing…did you get that copy of Pulp Fiction that I mailed to you as a Christmas present?

GARFIELD: I got it! I got it! I ---

POJO: I was wondering, there’s so much good dialogue in the film, what was YOUR favorite line from the movie?

GARFIELD: “Oh, I’m sorry – did I break your concentration?”

POJO: Ha ha! I love that scene, too! If you were a hitman like Samuel Jackson was in that movie, how you go about doing your job? Could you really just shoot someone in broad daylight like they did?

GARFIELD: Expect my visit when darkness comes. The night I think is best for hiding all.

POJO: See, now that makes a lot of sense to me, too. No chance of catching me at night, though, my eyes are ALWAYS open!

GARFIELD: Just because your eyes are open doesn’t mean you are awake.

POJO: I guess I don’t have any more questions.

GARFIELD: Was that it?

POJO: That sandwich was pretty rich! I think one of us is a little gassy.
Was that one of yours or one of mine?


POJO: That’s a pretty smelly weapon you’ve got there!

GARFIELD: Think of it as a butcher knife with wings.

POJO: Well, it was still great getting together, sharing a sandwich AND some Magic talk with the most amazing man in the world of Magic: the Gathering.

GARFIELD: It’s not always clear who’s the master and who’s the servant.

POJO: That’s so nice of you to say. I think I could have been a great game designer like you if I had just worked harder on some of my ideas…like the time I made this mat, you lay it on the ground and then you…


POJO: Sorry. Sometimes I will just go on and on if someone doesn’t stop me…

GARFIELD: A good whack on the head usually has the same effect.

POJO: I guess, but isn’t that kind of painful?

GARFIELD: If it didn’t hurt, how would I know it worked?

POJO: Good point, I guess. Thanks for the interview.

GARFIELD: Let’s do it again!


Exclude – Invasion – “I don’t have time for you right now”
Hate Weaver – Invasion – “Let my hate fuel your fury”
Molimo, Maro Sorcerer – “The world calls and I answer”
Angel of Mercy – Invasion – “In times like these, people need to be reminded of compassion”
Benalish Trapper – Invasion – “I’m up here, you’re down there. Now who’s the lower life form?”

Dismiss – Tempest – “There is nothing you can do that I cannot simply deny.”
Chill – Tempest – “Temper, temper.”
Standstill – Odyssey – “Take your time.”
Treachery – Urza’s Destiny – “The academy educates; I employ. It’s a perfect arrangement.”
Frantic Search – Urza’s Legacy – “Motivation was high in the academy once students realized flunking their exams could kill them.”

Wand of Denial – Visions – “You’ll never miss what you never had.”
Dissipate – Mirage – “If you weren’t born with it, you don’t need it.”
Stone Rain – Portal II – “There goes the neighborhood”
Insurrection – Onslaught – “Maybe they wanted to be on the winning side for once.”
School of Piranha – Exodus – “Some schools aren’t worth getting into”

Snap – Urza’s Legacy – “Good riddance.”
Repulse – Invasion – “You aren’t invited”
Thumbscrews – Tempest – “We will start small, I think”
Laccolith Titan – Nemesis – “Proximity guarantees injury or death”
Burning Sands – Odyssey – “Pain teaches lessons no scholar can”

Tribal Flames – Invasion – “Fire is the universal language”
Reparations – Mirage – “Sorry I burned down your village. Here’s some gold.”
Goblin Offensive – Urza’s Saga – “They certainly are!”
Freewind Falcon – Visions – “That does it! I’m going back to hunting chickens!”
Moggcatcher – Nemesis – “They’re not worth much, but they’re easy to catch.”

Screeching Harpy – Tempest – “They are called ‘fowl’ for a reason.”
Curfew – Urza’s Saga – “…But I’m not tired!”
Urza’s Engine – Alliances – “Humans and machines working together can be fearsome indeed.”
Mogg Fanatic – Tempest – “I got it! I got it! I –“ Disrupt – Weatherlight – “Oh, I’m sorry – did I break your concentration?”

Juzam Djinn – Arabian Nights – “Expect my visit when darkness comes. The night I think is best for hiding all.”
Stupefying Touch – Torment – “Just because your eyes are open doesn’t mean you’re awake”
Ertai, Wizard Adept – Exodus – “was that it?”
Cannibalize – Stronghold – “Mine.”
Bog Imp – 7th Edition – “Think of it as a butcher knife with wings.”

Indentured Djinn – Mercadian Masques – “It’s not always clear who’s the master and who’s the servant.”
Breaking Point – Judgment – “Enough!”
Skullscorch – Torment – “A good whack on the head usually has the same effect.”+ Sparksmith – Onslaught – “If it didn’t hurt, how would I know it worked?”
Time Warp – Tempest – “Let’s do it again!”

Next week, back to serious Magic talk. Until then, have a happy new year!

Jeff Zandi
Texas Guildmages
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online


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