Ask Ken, 05/19/2004

What is the correct way to pronounce Pikula? This is relevant when playing decks full of Invitationalists, so that one can call each by name.

We do love our Wednesdays here at Ask Ken. The week is half over and this is yet another lovely payday here in the little corner of New York state I like to call”hell.” I’m your host, Ken Krouner. So sitting in a cubicle has finally done it to me. I went to the bathroom today and discovered my very first gray hair. It was not unlike staring Death in the face. I am only twenty-six. What am I doing with a gray hair? That sense of urgent responsibility can mean one of only two things. Either it is time for me to leave this silly game behind, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! Alright, much more gaming in my future!

Today’s letter comes to us from the Great White North. Rahul Chandra writes:


How do you pronounce Pikula, and what is the correct way to pronounce Pikula? This is relevant when playing decks full of Invitationalists, so that one can call each by name.

Rahul Chandra

This is a question that has plagued Magic before even there even was a Pro Tour. Chris was one of the All-Stars in the Northeast, respected by all who played him. This founding member of Team Deadguy racked up a list of accomplishments early in the game’s life that would make most gravy trainers nowadays blush.

No one really knew how to pronounce it. Up in the Albany, NY area we pronounced it (pik’-u-la). Still, others I have heard pronounce it (pik-que’-la). As time went on, I learned that the accepted pronunciation is (pik-oo’-la). Sadly his departure from IRC has prevented the continued use of his name on there, Paluka.

Chris is not the only old-timer with a difficult name. Take a stab at Tom or Pete Guevin. Pronunciations of that last name that I have heard are (gave’-in) (Mark Rosewater pronunciation), (gwev’-in), (gev’-in), and the least heard, but most funny (goo’vin). Unlike Chris, Tom and Pete seem to relish in the mystery surrounding this pronunciation and refuse to tell anyone the proper way to pronounce it. I love having these guys around.

Chris is currently qualified for Pro Tour: Seattle with Igor Frayman, and GP: Detroit top 8 competitor Josh Ravitz. Tom and Pete will be competing in that Pro Tour with rising star Paul Reitzl.

The source on all that happened in Magic before you started playing,


Well, Gary Talim was unable to make the tight deadline this week so another Pro Tour luminary will write tomorrow’s column. I’ll give you a hint, he top 16’d Pro Tour: San Diego this past weekend. G’night Everybody!

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May 18th will always hold a special place in my heart. It is my area code, and the birthday of one of my oldest friends. This is Ask Ken, I’m your host, Ken Krouner. I have to admit, when I started this column I had visions of all sorts of questions coming in. However I primarily get strategy questions. I’m not complaining. I am flattered you would bring these questions to me. That sense of adoration and respect I feel can mean one of only too things. Either the Academy finally recognized my efforts in Harry and the Hendersons, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! Looks like all that time suffering in that body wig was for nothing. [You can stop wearing that thing any day now, Ken. – Knut]

Today’s question comes to us from one of our favorite Riverfolk. Tom Smegel writes:

I’m playing in a sealed deck league. I have a blue-black evasion deck with two nims and a myr enforcer (no other affinity guys). I also have two bomb equipment in Sword of Fire and Ice and Specter’s shroud. Should I play welding jar? It seems like in sealed, there simply isn’t much artifact removal compared to the number of artifacts everyone has to play.

Tom Smegal

Smegal wants his precious? Smegal has it… but will he use it? His precious… my… precious?

I actually love the card Welding Jar in the right decks. The card is unbelievably powerful in conjunction with Myr Enforcer. Often it will just take this card and one other bomb artifact to make me play it.

While both of these conditions are satisfied in your example, this is a rule I use for draft. Sealed is different as you pointed out. There does tend to be less artifact removal in sealed deck.

I would pass on using Welding Jar at this stage. However, as your league progresses and your card pool expands keep the Jar in mind as you get other bomb artifacts or more Affinity cards.

One item I wanted to address before I signed off, Specter’s Shroud, while playable, is not a bomb. You need a lot of early evasion to make this card good, and at least a decent amount of evasion or Equipment dependent cards to play it. It isn’t a bad card, but I wouldn’t factor it in when contemplating Welding Jar.

The source on the little Jar that could,


It’s nice to know that Middle Earth is still into Magic. Stay tuned the rest of the week, much more exciting questions on the way and hopefully Gary Talim will write a response that can get by the censors.

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It’s a beautiful summer day here at Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. That icy chill on my shoulder can mean one of only two things. Either the Death has finally caught up with me or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! That’s right kids, don’t fear the Reaper.

Today’s question comes to us from Rusty Shackleford. The Rust Golem writes:

Hey Ken,

On Friday, Mike Flores wrote a very good article on tempo. Speaking of tempo, would you ever want to go second in MMD draft? If the rules offered 2 cards to go second instead of 1, would that be the best choice, and is there a number of cards that would make you want to go second in standard right now?

Have a good weekend,

Rusty Shakleford

Well Rustspore Ram, I don’t think it is ever the right play to draw first. In fact, the last time I remember it even being reasonable was in certain matchups in OTJ Sealed Deck. Board development is everything these days, and with powerful Affinity and White beatdown starts, even the control decks can’t afford to go second.

As for your second question, Rust Elemental, I think you would always go second when given an additional card. Consider how much of an advantage it is when you are going second and your opponent mulligans. Two additional cards is a much bigger deficit to overcome.

For your third question, I am not certain, but I believe two extra cards in Standard would be enough to make me go second there as well, but I could imagine times I would go first.

Hope this answers your question, Rust.

The source on tempo issues,


Hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the card/tempo trade off. Join us for much more fun throughout the week. G’night Everybody!

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