Ask Ken, 04/01/2004

You are clearly the most handsome, intelligent, charming, witty, selfless, kind, mentally-stable, engaging writer the internet, and indeed the world, has to offer. How do you deal with the jealousy of those like Nick Eisel, Mike Turian, Paul Sottosanti, and Woodward and Bernstein?

We’re kicking off a new month here at Ask Ken, so I decided to give you a double shot of your daily favorite. Today we’ve got an anonymous question from an admiring fan, and a nasty rumor that needs quashing, so let’s hit the reader mail, shall we? Hey!

The first comes from a reader wondering how I deal with some of life’s harsher injustices:

Dear Ken,

You are clearly the most handsom, intelligent, charming, witty, selfless, kind, mentally-stable, engaging writer the internet, and indeed the world, has to offer.

How do you deal with the jealousy of those like Nick Eisel, Mike Turian, Paul Sottosanti, and Woodward and Bernstein?

– Anonymous

Well, faithful reader, it’s not easy being me. I’ve had to hire security for when I travel to large cities, just to keep the ladies back. I’m always suspicious of new people who come up to me and want to”be my friend,” since these days everyone just wants a piece of me. I mean, I understand it, as I am practically perfect in every way, but it can get tiring.

As for those other guys, they may not have what I’ve got, but they all have something to give their life meaning. Mike Turian has a lovely fiance and a very good Magic career to be proud of. And he has a muppet voice, which is a huge plus in my book. Smiley Paul Sottosanti recently became a full time employee of Wizards of the Coast, so congrats to him on that. He’s also very tall.

Woodward and Bernstein are a little tougher to appease, since their careers are clearly on the decline and they were never particularly attractive in the first place. Whenever I see Bob and Leonard, I always remind them that,”Hey, you guys took down Nixon! What more could you ask for (aside from being me)?” That usually brings a smile to their faces.

As for Nick, I hear his three-card monte stand is doing very well, so his career as a card player is clearly on the rise again.

The source for making haters into lovers,


Today’s second e-mail comes from Oompah-Loompah and former teammate of mine, Jeremy Darling. Jeremy writes:

Dear KK,

Is it true that you were kicked off of CMU-Togit for hitting on Nate Heiss‘ girlfriend while staying at the Hobart House in Pittsburgh?


Jeremy Darling, Team CMU

Ah Jeremy, I see my lothario past is catching up to me. While it is true that at one time I may have stolen the hearts of countless random MtG girlfriends away from their boyfriend, those days are long past. These days I am much more likely to play matchmaker, as I did with the lovely Jill Costigan and her GP: Columbus Top 8 boyfriend, Aaron Lipczynski, than to hit on somebody else’s girlfriend.

However, if that explanation is not enough, let’s look at this problem from a different angle. The girl I was supposedly hitting on was dating Nate Heiss. Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen the Heiss or not, but he’s not exactly the adorable hunk of man flesh that I am. He is, in fact, The Heiss, with all of that term’s infinite connotations. I hear he’s quite the charmer, but let’s just say that his tastes differ from my own by a great deal. Therefore, if I were going to hit on this girl, I would either have to be extremely drunk (which I don’t remember being), or I’d have to be interested in”trolling.” For those of you who have not heard the term before, it refers to hitting on some girl or guy that is beneath your station in life (like under a bridge), usually just so you can do the dirty later on in the night. In Magic, we call this”making the safe play.” This is usually what you will find Osyp doing when he goes out to bars looking to pick up women, and I have recently made it my mission in life to avoid doing anything that Osyp does. [Including winning. – Knut]

Finally, as Brian-David Marshall explained in the Columbus event coverage, I did recently get married to someone on my last trip out to California. The wedding was quite wonderful, and Rosie O’Donnell ended up being my best man.

The source for stealing MtG player’s girlfriends… except ones dating The Heiss,

Kartin’ Ken

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Heiss. Everybody loves The Heiss. But you just don’t date The Heiss’s women. That sort of thing would not be safe for anyone.

I hope that answers your Kravings for Ken, at least for today. Tomorrow I’ll be back to tell you about my favorite drunken Pro Tour rampage, and to tell you some things about Ed Fear that you may not know. G’night everybody!

[email protected]


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]