Ask Ken, 04/23/2004

So do I need bellow at my opponent”Any Responses To My Pump” twenty times when playing Tog, or”No Responses To The End Of Your Main Phase, Are We In Your Attack/End Phase Yet?”, or is there a cleaner, quicker way that doesn’t allow your opponent to jump through a loophole?

You can please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time. This is Ask Ken, I’m your host, Kartin’ Ken. It seems that ever since Janet decided to give us some soft-core porn in primetime, the world has become hyper sensitive. Well, things sometimes get personal here at Ask Ken. It is the nature of this column, as we cover the broadest spectrum of Magical info around. I am only one man (except on Thursdays). I do what I can. Today, I can answer a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Ben Snyder. Ben writes:

This question was spurred on by your 4/19/04 question from the reader who did his baggy or not-so-baggy thing (whatever that means?).

I ran into a similar situation at GP Columbus at the 4-0 or 5-0 table (and yeah, I was a byeless scrub as well). I had a blinkmoth nexus and a leonin sun standard down in the 3rd game. My opponent had just solar tided but he had no answer for the nexus and was at 4 life. I sent the nexus in and pumped with the standard. Mind you, I didn’t pump it by 3 at once, I pumped individually, waiting about 5 seconds between each pump so he could respond. After the last pump he wail of the nimed and claimed he was responding to all 3 pumps. After a long ruling the judge finally ruled in his favor. I was a bit torqued, since I was sure he knew my intent, although it was lessened by the fact that I barely managed to pull it out in the end. I guess my question is, in a tournament setting, what all the specific nuances you need to remember in these cases?

The people I play with always assume that if you pump, your not doing it in response to each individual pump (everyone that’s played for more than a week knows better than that), as well as if you say”done” or”attack” and your opponent does something he intends to do it during you declare attackers step or end step, not at the end of your main phase. I’m sure there’s some other cases I’ve forgotten as well. So do I need bellow at my opponent”Any Responses To My Pump” 20 times when playing tog, or”No Responses To The End Of Your Main Phase, Are We In Your Attack/End Phase Yet?”, or is there a cleaner, quicker way that doesn’t allow your opponent to jump through a loophole?

As an aside, I think anyone that steals a game by enforcing a technicality when they clearly know what their opponent’s intentions were, should be ashamed.

Thanks for the letter Ben. I am gonna be honest, I don’t know the exact ruling here, but my gut now tells me you should have been given the benefit of the doubt.

The main reason I chose to answer this, however, is to talk about two other points. The first point where I think you went wrong is your discussion with the judge. People tend to get emotional when a judge is called. Even though you think you were the epitome of poise and articulation, I am gonna bet you didn’t explain yourself well enough, because if you paused the way you said you did, the ruling should have certainly been in your favor.

More importantly is this. When you are playing, there are accepted shortcuts. In Stephen King’s attack phase case, the judge made the wrong ruling. This happens more often than you might think. Judges are human, they make mistakes. The best way to avoid situation like this is to be very explicit. Or at least define the short cut you wish to take. So either say”pump, let it resolve” before each pump, or before you pump say,”I intend to let each pump resolve.” If you do this, your opponent has no case. I understand this isn’t necessary with the”accepted shortcuts,” but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

One final note, if you are the least bit unsure of a judge’s ruling, appeal to the head judge. It is your right, and often it will get an unfair ruling overturned. And don’t forget to ask for extra time after the ruling is made!

The source on dealing with judges,


Well that’s about all for this week. Join us next week when we look into some Limited questions, field some Constructed, talk about the price of Magic, and welcome another guest host on Thursday. Speaking of which, I would like to thank my Floridian friend Antonino for stepping in yesterday. I hope you all enjoyed the column as much as I did. Have a great weekend everybody!

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Oh man! What an honor. When Ken asked me to do a guest appearance for his column, I couldn’t feel more loved. Following in Osyp’s footsteps will be quite hard, I mean he is much smarter and funnier than I will ever be, but needless to say, I am up to the challenge. The good thing is that when Osyp wrote his guest column, he didn’t even answer his question – he got tangled up on trying to be funny while eating his chicken wings, so as long as I answer the question with a touch of wit, your Fat Italian buddy will do better than our random mad Ukrainian.

Before I get into the question, I wanted to mention two very funny incidents that happened in Washington D.C. over the weekend. The first was watching Osyp brush his teeth with John Sonne’s rash medicine by mistake, and the second [censored]. Okay, maybe that one isn’t true, but the first part definitely was. How do you think Osyp stayed motivated all day? Needless to say, Washington will remain as one of the funniest tournaments I have ever been to.

Dear Ken,

A week ago you said that you would first pick a Pristine Angel and splash it even though you had no other cards in that color. I don’t think I would ever splash a spell with a double colored casting cost, but I’m curious which other spells you would pick in MMD regardless of what the rest of your pack looked like.

Chris Scoggins

Chris, your question is very good, but I don’t think you understood Ken. Ken was saying he would take the Pristine Angel and just play White. Pristine Angel is so powerful that once it hits play, it’s near impossible to lose. I believe that Pristine Angel is the only Darksteel card that could make me switch colors. I mean, if the draft is going poorly and you don’t have a good deck, there are countless cards that warrant the switch. The other scenario is having Talismans and Myr of the same color as a bomb. If that happens, even a card like Stand Together or Memnarch will be good as a splash.

In Mirrodin the story changes. Mirrodin is opened so early in the draft that if you open a card like Solar Tide, Grab The Reins, Megatog, Molder Slug, or Glissa Sunseeker, you can easily pull off the audible and be rewarded during your games by the sheer power of these cards.

Chris, I hope I answered your question, I hope you enjoyed to have me as your guest star, and I hope everyone will tune in tomorrow as Ken takes a look at one of my favorite topics: Morals and Ethics.

Antonino De Rosa


Wow it would seem I have gone and stirred up another hornet’s nest. Well these are the kind of issues that we tackle here at Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. I want it cleared up that I was again wrong in my assessment from Monday. The answer in question is that of the declaration of the attack. The judge made an improper ruling, the great Stephen King made an illegal play, and I was just plain wrong. We all make mistakes people, let’s move on and answer a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s question comes to us from Michael Churchill of Buffalo, NY. The descendent of the great Winston had this to say:

Mr. Krouner….

recently in a 2 on 2 money draft a friend of mine made the horrendous first pick overall of spikeshot goblin OVER the far better spell shrapnel blast. i was wondering what your thoughts on the matter were, i mean, which card is better? i am of the firm and staunch belief that the blast is by far superior to the goblin, especially first-pick, first pack. am i i just deluded to think that the blast is better, or am i right, and my friend just mispicked??? thanx so much for your sagely advice on this most pressing issue.

M. Churchill from Buffalo

Well Mike, it would seem a love of 1R Instants runs in your family. Of course, it would seem your tastes are slightly higher class than your brother’s. Not that I have anything against Fists of the Anvil, but Shrapnel Blast is Filet Minion and Fists is the fat many people trim off their steak, but a precious few love.

Your friend in this draft was horribly mistaken. I discussed this favorite of mine in a previous Ask Ken. While this answer referred to Constructed, the same pro hang-ups hold true for Limited.

Shrapnel Blast is not an elegant card. It does one thing and it does it well, and it costs you an extra card to do it. The fact of the matter is that this card kills nearly every creature in the format and often kills a player. With the existence of Artifact Lands, the drawback on this card is even more minuscule.

Your friend was simply wrong in this case. I don’t take Spikeshot Goblin over Electrostatic Bolt, most times and I will even take Shatter over it. What happened was Spikeshot Goblin, while he was in development, hired himself a great PR guy. The PR guy convinced R&D to release him in Mirrodin, right after most players had just had their last morph killed by a Sparksmith. With this fresh in everyone’s mind, Spikeshot was considered a bomb.

Now don’t get me wrong. Spikeshot is a fantastic card in a fantastic color. But it was way over-hyped.

Short answer: Shrapnel Blast.

The source on card valuation,


Well folks, I bet you were hoping that I would give more info on the Pat Chapin story, but I can’t do that. I am truly sorry. What I can tell you is that Shrapnel Blast is pure octane. Tomorrow we have another special guest, so tune in! G’night Everybody!

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Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. Yesterday’s article sparked a lot of response. The best player in the world and one of the top judges in the U.S. disagreed with my take on the issue, but I would like to get input from more judges. It’s not that I don’t trust Sheldon, it is just that I am prejudiced against facial hair. Perhaps this will all get ironed out, but for now let’s take a look at a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s question comes to us all the way from Pittsburgh where local Andrew Brown writes:

Hey Ken,

Whatever happened to Pat Chapin?


Thanks for the question, Andy. This is a topic very close to my heart, as Pat is one of my closest friends. If there is one thing I am certain of in this crazy, mixed-up world, it is that Pat Chapin loves the game of Magic.

While Pat pops on and off the Magic radar all the time, when he does rear his head, he always makes some noise. He is currently on hiatus after his job with Wizards fell through, but the man famous for Top 8 PTLA 2000 and making his own set for his friends to draft with assures me that he will return and will be ready to take on the pro tour.

And when Pat Chapin makes a statement, it is always level headed, controlled and accurate. If he says he’ll be back, you can bet your bottom dollar he will be.

The source on Magic pros past, present and future,


Well, I hope you are all up to speed on one of the true greats in the game. Join us tomorrow, when I return to the topic I feel I know best: Draft picks. For those of you who know what today is, I want you to enjoy it. For those that don’t, I’m sure you aren’t missing anything. For those of you in Amsterdam, I am pretty sure it is a national holiday. Wherever you are, happy 20th of April! G’night everybody!

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The weeks just seem to be flying by here at Ask Ken. The e-mails keep coming and I keep answering them. Some of you may have noticed some older e-mails going up here. That’s right, I save them all, and just because it doesn’t go up right away doesn’t mean it won’t get answered, it just means I don’t really know the answer and it’ll take me a bit longer to make up something plausible. Anyway this is Ask Ken, and I’m your host, ken Krouner. I just had a great idea, let’s open a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Stephen King. The master of horror writes:

At GP Columbus, during round 5, I was playing this guy who clearly just wasn’t that good. He had 0 byes, he lost game one largely in part to him forgetting that Blinkmoth Nexus required a mana to pump itself (actually, I think you were sitting right there laughing about it), and we were in the middle of game 3. He had out a Leonin Bola that was negating my Sword of Light and Shadow, and had Betrayaled my Pentavus. Now, the only way I’m winning this game is if I can get back Pentavus with the Sword, and his only flyer is white. So I say”attack”, he taps a random myr, then I use it for mana and put the Sword on my Arcbound Stinger. He screams”judge” so loud that Mark Zajdner almost has a heart attack, and the judge of course rules in my favor. Pentavus wins the game.

Now, was this a baggy thing to do? He clearly wasn’t very good, didn’t realize I could do it, and was extremely pissed that I did for the rest of the match. I don’t really feel bad about it, since he should know the rules at a GP in the x-0 bracket, but I’m just curious about what others might think.


Stephen King

Well Spooks McClooks, I was in fact sitting next to you. I actually realized after the match something else about that infamous Blinkmoth Nexus block. It was a gang block on a creature with Sword of Light and Shadow attached and one of the blocking creatures was a Leonin Den-Guard! Sadly, I didn’t realize this until sometime long after the match.

As for the second part of this little tale, I am not really sure what to make of it. My competitive side tells me this joker got what he deserved, but my moral compass takes issue with it. I think it was pretty clear what he intended to do. In my social circles the phrase”inside your attack step before you attack…” has become assumed, with the much more rare”before your attack step” becoming necessary to be said explicitly. I don’t think it was that he was unaware that he could tap inside your attack, but rather was just sloppy.

So now the question becomes should you capitalize on his sloppiness. My answer is that it is up to you. I personally won’t judge you if you choose to do it the way you did here in the future. I personally would probably not do it, but I have lost much of my competitive drive.

So no, Mr. King, I do not think you were a bag.

The source on dilemmas, draft and moral,


That’s all the time we have for today. Join us tomorrow when we look into the future of one of the greats of the game who is bidding us farewell. G’night Everybody!

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