Fun With Flavor
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
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.
FUN WITH FLAVOR TEXT
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
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
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
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
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
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
POJO: Hey! I think I could develop a talent
for winning at Magic if I worked hard
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
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
GARFIELD: Some schools aren’t worth getting
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
GARFIELD: You aren’t invited.
POJO: Uh, look, let’s just talk about some
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
POJO: Did you have any accidents while
learning to operate your flame thrower?
GARFIELD: Pain teaches lessons no scholar
POJO: I can imagine! I even heard you
accidentally burned down a little town close
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
GARFIELD: That does it! I’m going back to
POJO: Hunting chickens, really? Whatever
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
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
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
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
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
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
GARFIELD: Think of it as a butcher knife
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
GARFIELD: If it didn’t hurt, how would I
know it worked?
POJO: Good point, I guess. Thanks for the
GARFIELD: Let’s do it again!
LIST OF FLAVOR TEXT AND ITS SOURCE
Exclude – Invasion – “I don’t have time for
you right now”
Hate Weaver – Invasion – “Let my hate fuel
Molimo, Maro Sorcerer – “The world calls and
Angel of Mercy – Invasion – “In times like
these, people need to be reminded of
Benalish Trapper – Invasion – “I’m up here,
you’re down there. Now who’s the lower life
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
Frantic Search – Urza’s Legacy – “Motivation
was high in the academy once students
realized flunking their exams could kill
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
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
Reparations – Mirage – “Sorry I burned down
your village. Here’s some gold.”
Goblin Offensive – Urza’s Saga – “They
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
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
Ertai, Wizard Adept – Exodus – “was that
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
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!
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online