Ask Ken, 03/31/2004

First off, you have the congrats of all of #mtgplaty for your
engagement/marriage to JB Smith, documented and revealed in
this weekend’s Sideboard coverage, but i must ask: is this true?

Well here we are, back at good ole Ask Ken to address the most burning issues facing this great community of ours. And what better way to find out what you want to know than by opening a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter hits on a personal note and comes from New Jersey’s own Alana Burman. Alana writes:

First off, you have the congrats of all of #mtgplaty for your engagement/marriage to JB Smith, documented and revealed in http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgevent/gpcol04/fm4, but i must ask, is this true?

The portion in question is this”Patrick was sitting just to her left in a match-up with Ken Krouner. It was perhaps the first side-by-side match-up of engaged/married players in feature match history.”

If so, you have disappointed all the hot girls of the world.

Well Alana, there seems to be a mix up. The reference there was to the engagement of the lovely Kate Stavola to TOGIT’s own Patrick Sullivan. Join me in wishing them both the best of luck. For more information on this wonderful news, please see Pat’s Good Man of the Week.

And of course, as all you ladies (and some of the guys) have realized, that means I am as single as they come. That’s right ladies, feel free to flood my inbox with letters of devotion, because that gorgeous hunk of a man I modestly refer to as”me,” is single and looking! I know you find it hard to believe a sexy, charming, dashing, and talented mage such as myself is still not spoken for, but it is indeed true.

The hottest thing to hit the Pro Tour since Dennis Bentley,


Well folks, I need to go sort through several thousand propositions from all the ladies out there, so won’t you join us next time when I share with you some of my strongest influences. G’night everybody!

[email protected]


Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope this column hasn’t grown stale. I am looking forward to doing some fun things with it in the coming weeks, but for today all I will be doing is answering a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Nick Halgren. Nick asks:

Hey, I’m a bad Magic player, but I draft on Netdraft every now and then. In a recent online draft I took Fireball over Barbed Lightning (which is obviously correct,) but I think the main reason it’s better is because it can hit two creatures at once instead of a creature and a player. It always seems correct to split a Fireball in the early game. Six mana kills two creatures with two toughness each, which is very powerful. So… splitting seems right to me usually, especially since it can kill two decent creatures for 6 mana.

What do you think?

My answer to this is in the vein of my answer to the omission of Shrapnel Blast from so many of the Kobe decks. The temptation to gain card advantage is strong, but I truly believe that the game ending capabilities of Fireball are too much to pass up on. If it is in your opening hand it allows you to play the game very differently squeezing through damage at seemingly low percentage moments.

I am not saying the card is exclusively for that. There will be emergencies that require the Fireball to be aimed at creatures, but it is indisputable to say that killing an opponent is strictly better than killing a creature or eight.

You always want to be looking for the best way to win, and with Fireball it will more often than not be aiming it at your opponent’s nugget.

The source for lighting up your opponents like a Christmas tree,


Come back tomorrow when I clear the air about my future marital status. G’night everybody!

[email protected]


It’s a brand new week here at Ask Ken. Soon we will be celebrating my one-month anniversary of giving you all you wanted to know about everything. You will all be invited to the gala affair that will inevitably ensue, but in the meantime I am just going to read a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s question comes to us from Nick Hamilton. Nick writes:


What ever happened to Team AlphaBetaUnlimited?

-Nick Hamilton

Well Nick, this is an intriguing question. This team was arguably the most successful team for the amount of time it was together. The powerful team included such luminaries as: Chris Benafel, Ryan Fuller, Noah Boeken, Phil Freneau, and Brian Hegstad and wore the shirt of their sponsor to many events. Their”A-team” (in team competition) was made up of the first two members on that list. They also brought in hired guns such as Dan Clegg, Dave Williams, and Bob Maher to team with them.

As powerful as this team was, they one by one stopped playing the game we all love. Most left for poker. Here is an update on each of these members (this isn’t an Osyp update, so no matter how hilarious you find these they are all true):

Chris Benafel – Poker player and part-time card dealer. Everyone once in a while you will find him at events, rarely playing.

Ryan Fuller – MIA

Noah Boeken – Grinded into Pro Tour: Amsterdam, but failed to make any noise. Last seen dating a super model and playing semi-professional poker on the side.

Phil Freneau – The most active of the group in Magic, but also a semi-professional poker player.

Brian Hegstad – Moved to LA to attend flight school and pursue a film career. Also a semi-professional poker player.

The source on life after Magic,


I hope you enjoyed learning about the current exploits of Team AlphaBetaUnlimited. Join me tomorrow when I discuss the merits of splitting Fireball. G’night everybody!

[email protected]