Ask Ken, 06/02/2004

What do you think about the banning of Skullclamp?

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated! Sorry about Monday and Tuesday. I was away and anticipated having access to a computer on Sunday and Monday, and did not. As such, I am offering an exciting triple feature. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. That white streak appearing in my hair can mean one of only two things. Either my transformation into John Henson is nearly complete, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Our first letter comes to us from Brandon Clor. Brandon writes:

You complained that you were hoping for more diverse questions so I thought that I would help.

Who are you? Behind your”magic persona” there are definite signs that you are an actual person. Could you tell us about your personal life?


Brandon Clor

Thanks for the question Brandon. I am not sure how widely this question is asked but I’ll give you a brief look inside. I am twenty-six years old, I live in Albany, NY and I work for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

The activities I enjoy outside of Magic are primarily poker and baseball. I was in musical theater for seven years, but haven’t done a show in nearly six. I have a few different groups of friends that I like to hang out with, some that game and some that don’t.

I am a pretty quiet and reserved person outside of Magic… unless I get a drink or two in me and then, watch out. [Ten to one says KK likes pina coladas. – Knut] I don’t drink very often though. Remember kids, everything in moderation. I love movies and long walks on the beach. [See. – Knut, guessing only old folks get the reference] Turn offs include so-called”beauty marks” and a person who can’t laugh at themselves.

I hope this answers your question Brandon!

The source on KK


Our next question comes to us from Nick Hamilton. Nick Writes:


what are your thoughts about banning of the clamp? or does it really not matter since it still will be legal for nationals anyway?

-Nick Hamilton

Well Nick, I think banning Skullclamp was the smartest move Wizards has made since changing the card face. It certainly matters, since day 1 of Worlds will be Standard. I think they may have made a mistake though by not banning Clamp in Extended. It is hard to say with any degree of certainty, but I am fairly sure Affinity was the best deck in every format except Block. It took a hit in Standard, but should still be powerful in Extended and Vintage.

I am very happy they banned it. The card was far too powerful, and despite what people think, it was the problem card in that deck.

I am not that upset that they printed it. I like that they pushed the envelope… They just pushed it a bit too far with Skullclamp. I was a bit worried before I realized that it would clearly be banned. Now I think it is a lesson learned, and I don’t think any serious harm was done to the game while it was legal.

The source on the state of the game,


Our final question comes to us from Fairbanks, Alaska. Jacob Retterer writes:

Mr. Krouner,

Recently my friends, some of whom are qualified for US Nationals, have begun practice drafting in order to prepare for the tournament. When testing for a limited PT, are there any other particular things you have done with your teammates in conjunction with drafting? Do you just draft and discuss card valuations or are their other things we can do to improve the drafting experience?

Jacob Retterer

Fairbanks Alaska

Great question, Jacob. The exercise I love to engage in before limited PTs is pack discussion. This is very similar to what you see on Limited Information on www.magicthegathering.com. We open up a pack and lay it face up on the table. We then go around saying what we would first pick and why. Then a discussion starts until everyone either agrees on one pick or agrees there is more than one way to go with the pack.

Magic Online is a great tool for this. You can all huddle around the screen and do this with every pack of the draft. The only drawback to this is that there is a time limit on each pack.

The only other thing we do to prepare is wind sprints. By far the worst part of Pro Tours is getting caught in the back of the mob to look at pairings and standings. We practice running so we can beat the rush. John Fiorillo typically comes out on top in the TOGIT group. This will serve him well when he inevitably gets on the gravy train. Osyp is always far too busy lifting weights, which makes Gerard Fabiano the fastest train member on TOGIT.

The source for PT preparation,


So that gets us up to date on Ask Ken. Join us tomorrow when Gary Talim takes another stab at one of your burning questions. G’night Everybody!

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