Do It For the Kids, Yeah

Person 1: Who are you teaming with for the Grand Prix?

Person 2: John Pelcak and Gadiel Szleifer

Person 1: Who?!

Person 2: They’re, um, children.

Person 1: What the hell are you thinking? Why not team with good people?

Person 2: They’re good. We’re gonna do fine. Just you wait.

Person 1: Who are you teaming with for the Grand Prix?

Person 2: John Pelcak and Gadiel Szleifer

Person 1: Who?!

Person 2: They’re, um, children.

Person 1: What the hell are you thinking? Why not team with good people?

Person 2: They’re good. We’re gonna do fine. Just you wait.

Person 2 is, naturally, me. I’ve lost count of how many people have been”Person 1″ at one point or another in the past few months. Nevertheless, it is quite an odd grouping: a random eighteen-year-old from Minnesota, who is hopefully not too offended by me calling him a little kid considering the frequency with which I do it, a fourteen-year-old former JSS master from Illinois, and a thirty-seven-year-old out-of-work, oft-misunderstood misanthrope. This could be a sitcom or something. Oh, you’d watch it. Don’t kid yourselves – would it really be that much worse than Friends? Not that I’ve seen the show in over five years or anything, but… and I’ve lost my train of thought.


Yeah, my team is quite random. Take a gander: http://users.drew.edu/aburman/dc.tim-aten.jpg So how, you might ask, did this particular grouping come about? Then again, you might not. You might ask yourself why you’ve clicked on a link sure to be full of meaningless gibberish written by some guy who keeps qualifying for the Pro Tour on nothing more than good fortune and better looks (pause for laughter). This guy, you might be thinking, is rather arrogant and not that entertaining, plus he doesn’t own a single visor. Heck, I’m wondering why you clicked on the link myself. But don’t worry; you’re in good company. Some of the other five people reading this alongside you are Antonino de Rosa, Jill Costigan, and yes, even my editor Ted”The Ferrett” Knutson. I must have something to offer the world with a loyal following like that.

Before I get into the genesis of my team, I have a few observations. One, this article seems as though it’s going to be mostly exposition, so hang tight thurr. I’m a rich, snobby, famous writer, and I can do whatever I want. Second, I’ve noticed that I complain a lot about not having more fans, and yet I’m not particularly nice to my general readership. I wonder why that is. I guess I’m hoping to parallel the part of Private Parts: the Movie where Howard’s exec-barn-duders are talking about how the people who hate Stern tune in twice as long as those who love him. I haven’t been pissing you off nearly enough, then, it would seem. So starting next week with my embarrassing tale of Regionals failure, I’m gonna be outright mean.

You ignorant pieces of filth.

Several months ago, before my late January excursion to Nowthen, Minnesota (home of the world-famous Nowthen Perkins), Gerry Thompson, the ‘cak and I decided to team together for just the Grand Prix. Weeks after that, Gerry realized that he owed several hundred dollars to the Russian mafia, and hence could not afford to go. I was disappointed, but the ‘cak was nearly inconsolable. Nonetheless, he had already purchased a plane ticket, so we set out to find an acceptable mutual acquaintance as a third.

I only really recall asking one person before we decided on Gadiel, and that was one of my favorite people in the world, Matt Rubin. He said that he didn’t want to team with the ‘cak, but he would if he had to. It sort of reminds me of the episode of Friends where Tom Selleck kept saying he would have kids with Monica”if I have to,” the last part repeated several times. This lack of enthusiasm perturbed Monica, and they ended up breaking it off. Such was the case with MattR. He made it seem like it really wasn’t something he wanted to do, and once we confirmed him he might try to convince me to ditch the cack. I do regret not teaming with MattR – our one event together remains one of my favorite tournaments of all time – but at that point, considering he already had his ticket, the cack was my number one priority.

Do you like that? Very childish of you to giggle at that last line. At least I did it on purpose, unlike Rodman in this next excerpt from a meal at Applebee’s:

Rodman:”I’m not sure about that Gadiel guy yet.”

(food arrives; 10 minute gap in conversation)

Rodman:”I am a big fan of the cack though.”

Me:”We suspected as much.”


It sorta reminds me of the episode of Friends where Chandler’s at Applebee’s and he goes”I am a big fan of the cack though.”

We didn’t do much practice for the GP as a team. Gadiel and I did a few practice Rochesters with locals in our respective states, and we planned to do a few at the GP. I guess we were counting on natural ability and familiarity with the”regular” MMD format to carry us through.

There’s a narrow chance that you noticed the absence of a cast of characters this time around. It would be rather long this time, plus it was too tedious and doubtless went under appreciated, as helpful as it may be to prospective readers hoping for that priceless namedrop. Instead, I will provide a (hopefully) brief list of people that I was meeting for the first or second time that I liked for one reason or another.

Brandon and Eileen Biondo: I knew these two from IRC, and they are quite amicable”irl” as they say in the biz. It takes me forever to warm up to most people when I meet them, but it was seamless with Mrs. Biondo and her husband. Plus his car’s license plate says”PWNJ00.” I nearly fell over into the street when I saw it in all its absurdity. I still owe them $8.75 for Kill Bill 2.

Taerthrum Bluett and Kevin Quirk: These Floridians are the nicest, most gracious opponents one could ever hope to play. They enjoy themselves and are polite and courteous whether they are winning or losing. When I happened to manascrew Taer in one of our games, he nonetheless smiled the whole time. People could certainly learn by example from these two. I regret getting irked by losing to Quirk at GP: KC now.

Phil Napoli: Another fine opponent. He kicked my ass twice that weekend, but he didn’t seem to care whether he was winning or losing. Mostly what I liked about Mr. Napoli is that he’s blatantly connected with the mob. He’s a short, stocky, soft-spoken Italian guy with a hat that only people with a last name derivative of a region of Italy could wear without looking foolish. This guy is utter gas.

Big Dougy Conway: I don’t know why I’m a fan of Big Dougy Conway at all; I’ve never once spoken to the guy or even heard him say a word. Maybe it’s just because he has this cartoonish aura about him. Dr. Conway, if you’re reading this: Please money draft with me against the filthy Euros, just once, in San Diego. We’ll take em down. And if we don’t, I’m sure the loss won’t cut into your savings that much. You bastard.*

Mike Krumb: I know Krumb better than the other people on the list, but I just got the impression that he thinks I hate him. Every time I said something to him at DC he told me to shut up, presumably because he thought I was being insulting. Well, I wasn’t. You’re gas too. Unless you hate me, in which case, drop dead.

Valentin Moskovitch:”Tell them how many Tel-Jilad Woolf I play! Tell them! I only have three ball of fire in my decks but I play five woolf. How can I win against the turn 3 Wulshok War Boar with my woolfs?”

Other cool people: Don Smoot, Pearl Luebke, Igor Frayman, Joe Weber**

And everyone from Boston of course. But that goes without saying.

I suppose a tournament report of some sort would be in order, right? Traditionally, tournament reports tend toward the lowest hit counts, so I’m not really helping my cause here. Maybe I should just leave the report out since I don’t remember anything anyway and hope Ted puts it at the top of the page as a”Strategy” article, despite the fact that the only strategy you’ll find here is how not to create a team name. Or I can just proceed as usual, occasionally making stuff up, pretending like people care, and so on and so on. I get my check for $3.79 either way, so I’m not that concerned.

I suppose I can just claim what Mr. Napoli claimed in his Monday article… that one of his teammates would provide greater analytical detail in the near future. Gadiel was the one who did all the winning at the GP, so he may as well write the”important” article too.

I would like to take this time to complain that not a soul commented on the fact that I replaced most of my opponents’ names in my Amsterdam PTQ report with modern rock singers’. I hate you all so much. And I’ve lost my train of thought again. And my mind, it would seem. Tis’ to be expected.

Round One vs. Last Name First

Our first round opponents were sort of… uh… inexperienced. Not that I’m complaining. My Green/Black deck performed to the best of its ability. I stalled on three lands for all of game 2, but I drew enough playable spells to defeat an equally awful draw on my opponent’s part. Viridian Shaman both games was nice. Since he had a lot of artifact removal and I think an Electrostatic Bolt, I sided out the clunky, easy-to-kill Tangle Golem for the clunky, impossible-to-kill Trolls of Tel-Jilad. I’m not kidding, and I think it may be the right call. Gadiel slightly outdrew and greatly outplayed his opponent in the Affinity mirror, so it didn’t matter the cack’s draws were too abysmal for a win.

Me: 1-0 Squad: 1-0

Round Two vs. The Trailer Park Boys

Another set of less experienced opponents, another Red/Green deck for me. I followed the same sideboard plan as the first round, but I never drew the Trolls, so it seemed largely irrelevant. A key point in one of the games involved Screams from Within and his insect tokens from One Dozen Eyes. I didn’t know whether he would figure out to use his Longbowed Gold Myr to fizzle the spell, so I played it safe and got him to tap the Myr before I annihilated his insects. He was somewhat landflooded both games, but I doubt it would have mattered. Give me some credit here. The children both won as well. I’m pretty sure Gadiel hit up his opponent with some well-placed sarcastic remarks this round (as foreshadowed by Will Brinkman), which only served to further demoralize him. The opponent I mean. You’re not retards; I shouldn’t have to clarify my antecedents even when my sentence structure is suboptimal.

Me: 2-0 Squad: 2-0

Round Three vs. Thaaaaaaat’s Me

And here’s where we gave the eventual winners of GPDC their only loss of the tournament. I sure didn’t win though. I think part of the reason why tournament reports are so awful is that there are rarely masterful plays. It was either”I lost because my opponent got better draws” or”I won because I got better draws.”

Well, I won the first game and then got out-topdecked the next two. Isn’t that incredibly interesting? I played against one Chris Fennell, who seems to be a pretty nice guy, despite being a little too arrogant for my tastes. I liked the play in game 3 where I tapped out to play my first creature (a ground guy) on turn 3, then he played a guy and passed without attacking through the open skies with his Pteron Ghost. Sometimes that one point matters. This was not one of those times.

Sometime before we started playing, Fennell made a good-natured wisecrack about having to play against a feature writer. Bill Stead gave me a nice dry snubbing by looking at me for half a millisecond and saying something along the lines of”A feature writer? Who?” You know, to indicate that I’m too small time for him to be familiar with my work. I can’t complain too much, since I probably would have said something similar had I been in his position. I did make one of my typical”poker barn” comments when he announced he was”folding” his game 2 opening hand. The cack beat Gindy and Gadiel finished a game 3 where Stead used his Wail of the Nim too early (a judgment call that ended up turning sour as opposed to an outright misplay) with a Shrapnel Blast to Stead’s Converse-wearin’, crappy-music-listenin’ nug. No, he wasn’t wearing shoes on his head. That sentence sorta petered out at the end. Apologies.

Me: 2-1 Squad: 3-0

Round Four vs. Tired Lost Souls

This would be Taer and Kevin’s squad. We happened to handily defeat them on this meeting, but rest assured that there was no one I would rather have lost to than them. One particular game against Mr. Bluett’s Affinity deck involved kicking up a Betrayal of Flesh, getting back a Viridian Shaman. *points up*

Me: 3-1 Squad: 4-0

Round Five vs. The Chicken Sandwiches

We weren’t too happy with our first set of sealed decks, but we were left pining for them as we constructed our second set. Gadiel’s deck was ridiculous, but the cack and I were left with mediocre R/B and G/W decks. There wasn’t too much we could have done to spread the love, since most of the quality of Gadiel’s deck came from affinity synergy. My draws were awful against one of my new favorite people, the aforementioned Phil Napoli, and my teammates both lost. C’est la vie.

Me: 3-2 Squad: 4-1

Round Six vs. 3.69 a Pack

Oh, nice team name. I lost the G/W”mirror,” if you could call it that, to one Michael Zaun. His deck had tricks like Stand Together and a good curve; mine had crappy clunky cards and Equipment in lieu of tricks, since there simply weren’t any in our card pool. Gadiel won, bringing his record to 5-1 on the day, but the cack lost, bringing his to a less-than-impressive 3-3. As though that matters. It’s a Team Effort. Either your team wins or it doesn’t; at the end of the day does it matter who carried whom? Nothing is more disgusting that someone who is sanctimonious about his personal record despite a team’s losses even when that person got the deck with the Exalted Angel, Mike.

Me: 3-3 Squad: 4-2

Round Seven vs. Frayman 3: Katzless in D.C.

We debated dropping, since we figured we were out for sure, but Gadiel has the heart of a champion and refused to give up. I’m thankful for that, since this round included the funniest occurrence of the entire weekend. Oh, right, and we made $400 and got a slot for Seattle. In all fairness, though, witnessing what I witnessed this round was priceless.

The match count stands at 1-1, but I’m up a game on Igor Frayman and feeling confident. During his upkeep, he tries to use Vedalken Engineer to untap his Goblin War Wagon. I tell him he can’t. He asks me,”Really?” I confirm that I’m not kidding, and he looks at Pikula with a sly grin and complains,”You told me I could!” It’s pretty clear that he believes me somewhere around 97%, but since there’s a judge standing nearby, I figure I can quell any suspicion with a simple questioning.

We call the judge over and explain the situation to him. The judge’s first question:”Did this just come into play on your side?” Gee, thanks for that, we weren’t aware of the concept of summoning sickness. What would we do without skilled professionals like yourself? After some eyerolling and giggling from myself and Frayman, we tell him that it doesn’t have summoning sickness. The judge examines the cards and decides,”You cannot use it. You may only do this during your upkeep.” We then, naturally, explain that it is Igor’s upkeep. While the judge is standing there in a stupor of puzzlement, or a puzzled stupor if you’d prefer, Igor laughs to Pikula and me,”There’s no way the judge is ruling your favor. And I’m DEFinitely wrong.”

Next up, the judge picks up the Goblin War Wagon, observing”This is an artifact.” The entire area erupts in laughter. After a pause, presumably to allow that startling revelation to sink in, the judge finishes his train of thought:”So during your upkeep you may spend two mana…”

Appeal!!” I cut him off.

Undaunted, and probably a little scornful of my frustration-spawned rudeness, he continues,”You may spend two mana and untap the Goblin War Wagon.”

“I’d like to appeal.”

“Well, alright, that’s your right, but the card says…”

The judge thought I was some sort of moron for not understanding why the combo doesn’t work. Igor restates his position that, based on the sequence of events, there is no way that I was incorrect about the ruling. The head judge arrives and asks me why the Engineer can’t untap the War Wagon. I explain that it’s because it’s a triggered ability and not an activated one, an important distinction. I heard the head judge later explaining that he wanted to see if”he thought it was because the War Wagon had Lightning Greaves on it and couldn’t be targeted.” Contextually speaking, I guess the”he” in question was me. Sigh. Either way, the head judge was rather bemused at the incompetence of the initial judge.

On Igor’s next turn, he attacked with a Greaved Leonin Skyhunter. A different judge noticed that Igor had tapped his Greaves along with the attacker and made it a point to remedy the situation. Hot on the heels of the previous incident, this was a rather bothersome intrusion. Igor explained that it didn’t matter, but the judge asserted that oh, it could in fact matter, and Igor reluctantly untapped his Greaves to make the judge go away.

Not that the following statement is the least bit interesting at this point, but I won the match. Go me.

Me: 4-3 Squad: 5-2

Round Eight vs. Allan Can’t Think of a Team Name

Being a remarkably adept pattern-finding sort of nerdasaurus, I predicted to Mr. Cack that we would all win our match this round. After getting our new sealed decks, we had gone 0-3, then 1-2, then 2-1 in individual matches; this would be the logical conclusion. Lo and behold, I was right. Sometimes you can just sense the ethereal force that is”momentum.” With my team up 2-0, I topdecked an Arrest for an enormous Slith Bloodletter to win an irrelevant match against Allan, who evidently could not come up with a team name. Perhaps one of his teammates could have picked up the slack in that department.

Me: 5-3 Squad: 6-2

Had this been an individual Grand Prix, my record would not have been good enough to make the cut, as you can see. I could explain why my record was 5-3 through more ranting about bad decks and worse draws, but I find it a much more heartwarming story to simply say that the children carried me. They thought I was good since I’m a StarCity writer, so they decided to team with me. I tricked them both. They would have been able to do just as well with any StarCity writer on their team. Including Geordie Tait? Oh, especially Geordie Tait. He has a 1913 rating on Modo.*** I don’t think their chances would have been as good with Eisel though. He’s banned.

As you probably surmised from the article title and/or synopsis, depending on how Ted decided to run them, my team made the cut for day 2. Ten teams with a 6-2 record made it, and something like a dozen did not. Do lucky little children ever miss day 2 of GPs or top 8 of PTQs on the basis of tiebreakers? Laughable.

We did a few practice Rochesters with Rodman, Smoot, and Krumb, and we learned virtually nothing. We were going to have to hope to mise…

On Sunday morning, right before the first draft, I spot the ridiculously inept judge from round seven. Gadiel waves him over and asks with a smirk,”Can you untap Goblin War Wagon with Vedalken Engineer?” I brace myself for retribution, but my fears were for naught, as the response was:”Well, I’d have to see the cards…”

Round Nine vs. The Chicken Sandwiches

So since this is starting to resemble an Oscar Tan article in length and a londes.com article in quality, I better get to the f*%^ing point. I play Phil Napoli. His deck is awful. So is mine. His is better against mine and gets better draws. I lose. Gadiel wins. The cack is down a game. Fireball For Six, Fireball For Six Again and the cack has won the match. If you have incredibly keen eyesight, you’ll note in the picture of my squad waaaaaaay up there in the article that he had a Grab the Reins too. Those kids love their Fireballs, though, and the Fireballs love the children. I am a genius.

Me: 5-4 Squad: 7-2

Round Ten vs. Uh-Oh Oreos

I couldn’t tell whether we got out-drafted, out-opened, both, or neither this draft, but I didn’t like our chances. My opponent made some sort of claim about being undefeated on the weekend. Then I smashed him. Game 1, turn 3 Emissary of Hope + turn 4 Vulshok Morningstar = 20-16-12-8-4-dead. Game 2, he kept a land-light draw and stalled, and when he finally drew a Plains, I Creeping Molded it. Condolences. Gadiel was horribly outmatched and lost, but when I looked over at John’s game (John is”the cack,” remember), his opponent, who had lost the first game, was stuck on two land. Iiiiiiiiiiiiii’m sorry.

Me: 6-4 Squad: 8-2

Round Eleven vs. Truly Lazy Men

Oh boy, the obligatory feature match. BDM, I don’t really hate you. Just keep doing what you’re doing, no matter how much I complain. I don’t really mean to tell you how to do your job. If you think I should have a feature match, give me one. I no longer care either way.

Read the introduction to the coverage of our draft. See the nice paragraph for the other team? See the nice sentence for my team that doesn’t even mention my teammates? I don’t care anymore, but it seems as though some writers make it a point to make me look foolish. He said I was a”popular” writer, too, which just makes it worse, since I’m clearly not. I have a small cult following, but that’s it.

I’m in a peaceful place with what people write about me now. I was complaining to Geordie, but then I realized how stupid it was to care. I am foolish, dammit. To quote the great Faulkner,”I am whatever you say I am… if I wasn’t, why would I say I am?” In other words, what people write about me doesn’t really change anything, so I’m not going to stress over it. Am I better than my press? Perhaps. Am I just a crappy writer who somehow luckily finds his way into a modicum of Magic success? Perhaps. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Paint it with whatever brush you like; I’ll just keep playing when I feel like it without worrying about the respect of my nerdy peers and doing my best. Can you do me one small favor, though? Can you not mix up my children’s team names in the draft coverage? That’s not about me. It’s about the kids. Do it for the kids, yeah.****

We got outdrafted by the superior squad of Tsang, Tsang, and Rood, but it wasn’t a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination. I was sort of surprised to hear Terry Tsang offer the draw when we sat down to play. It made sense, though. To play out the match was basically to flip a coin with the winners getting $500 and the losers getting nothing. A draw would ensure each team $400. Plus I wouldn’t be getting a feature match after all; they can’t write about what doesn’t happen! Heh heh heh.

Afterward, my squad was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t play it out in an attempt to secure the slot for PT-Seattle. I wasn’t even considering the invitation; I was just thinking about the monetary benefits of a draw. I found out the following Thursday that three of the teams ahead of us would be qualified for Seattle on pro points, and Kevin Pettinger, being the scrumtruculescent individual he is, took it upon himself to waive his invite since he knew his rating would be sufficient. These factors meant that the slot dropped to exactly 8th place… and hey, that’s where we finished!

I told you all. Everything fell into place perfectly.

That’s all for this week, folks. Tune in next week to see how horribly I failed in my attempt to qualify for Nationals on rating by playing in Regionals.

And when I say”that’s all for this week,” what I really mean is,”Brace yourself for an excruciatingly long addendum.”

Recently, I was chatting with Brian Ziegler (he’s the one who doesn’t drink his own [censored]), and the subject of team names came up. During this conversation, I realized that I could easily have some fun filling up space by berating (or in some cases praising) people for their pitiful efforts at describing their collective entities. And I will do so now.

:B – That’s my team. Basically, I had severe writer’s block and couldn’t think of anything. The cak suggested this one, and since it wasn’t abysmal, I ran with it. On the absolute scale,”:B” is mediocre, but it was easily one of the top 5 names at GP:DC. I declare this a moral victory. Other choices I had debated were Fat Emo Kids, Fat Girls Eating Waffles, Bleed Black (AFI song :B), and Fluffy Kitty Assassination Squad.

0-2 Drink:”We suck at Magic since only losers are good at Magic, but we do like alcohol because alcohol is cool.” To these three”innovators:” please don’t beat me up unless you intend to finish the job.

3’s a Crowd: Oh delightful.”Unlike some of the teams out there, I think what really sets us apart is that there are three of us. So wouldn’t it be clever to somehow incorporate that into our name?”

Air Pustilnik: lol. Imagine MikeyP in SpaceJam or whatever the Michael Jordan/Warner Brothers movie was called, in a basketball jersey and headband with his tongue out making the slam dunk from halfcourt. Usually I’m not too keen on team names that name some or all of the players, but this one is ridiculous. I’m man enough to admit when I’m beaten, and these three have beaten me.

AJJ: Their names are Anthony, James, and Joe. Wow. How did they ever think of this name? It seems that a lot of people who give up easily resort to this one. I wonder why people think it’s a good idea. Some people don’t care about team names, I guess. Well If You Can’t Control Your Team Name, How Can You Expect To Win. I bet if I’d have thought of something better than :B we could have won the GP.

Allan Can’t Think of a Name: Well Allan didn’t win. See the correlation? Okay then.

Aquamoebas Anonymous: This is probably the best”bad” name I’m including. As I mentioned about a year ago, Magic card names are generally taboo. This could almost be an exception – a Magic word inserted in a phrase so as to make a pun -except that the focus is still on the card name and not on the pun. A very subtle distinction.

Bad Husbands:”We should be home with our wives since we’re old, but we’re off at some Magic event carousing and gallivanting. What a jolly old time.” (Unless these three are teenagers, in which case this name’s pretty good).

Boo: I don’t know if it’s an inside joke, and I don’t care. This one, taken at face value, is obnoxious and beautiful in its simplicity. A fine team name.

C.O.P. Barn: A combination Magic card and overused piece of lingo? Sign me up! As you will see later down the list, there actually are tasteful ways to incorporate your favorite lingo into a team name.

Cephalid Vandals: They had shirts with their team name on them.

Chambers of Manipulation: Jill’s team. My brother was on this team too, but he couldn’t possibly have cared less what they were called. Jill dropped the ball and she knows it, so there’s no need to say more here. At least it’s better than Troll Ecstatic.

Chola, Josh, and Dan; CMS: Please and please. CMS, believe it or not, did not use the time tested technique of taking their first initials and smashing ’em together as a”team name.” Ever the trend-setters, CMS used their last initials instead. Well done.

Day of the Dragons: I don’t care that you get the point that Magic cards shouldn’t be team names. Each team who violated the rule gets its moment of ignominy today.

Demented Mustard: Personification of condiments? C’mon guys.

Drop It Like It’s Hot: I guess I’m a sucker for foolish ebonic phrases of yore. I actually like this one, but you’re allowed to hate it. Not all of these are set in stone.

Dutch Masterz: These guys didn’t win too many matchez, did they?

Ebola Jefferson: I would like to know the origin of this name. Sounds like it could be from something. Either way, it has a ring to it. I’ve never taken a class on the rules of comedy, but I could almost write the book at this point. For some reason these words go well together, and they ostensibly make no sense.

El Duderinos: Almost passable since it’s a Big Lebowski reference, but as my brother said:”There’s nothing worse than a bad reference to a good… I don’t want to be quoted. I hate you.”

Fold PreFlop: For more information, please go to pokerbarnsdude.com.

GG Unit: Not personally a fan, but I have to give it to them. They managed to find a clever way to insert lingo (lingo I happen to abhor) into their name, so good for them. Quality work.

Go Scrub Go:”Scrub”?! Are you kidding?

HCAS Delta and HCAS Epsilon: What the Hell? In all fairness to these buffoons, one of the ideas I was kicking around but never said out loud was to name my team Shinobi and have a friend name his team Dragon Ninja, so when we played in the finals it would say”Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja.” Knowing my luck with Sideboard coverage, it would probably end up saying”Dragon Ninja vs. Shinobi” or something, so this never materialized.

He’s Bigger, We’re Better: Not at coming up with team names you aren’t! omgblownout

Hi! We’re the Warlords: I wish I could remember what this is from. It may have been a stupid cartoon or a stupid commercial for a stupid toy or neither of the above, but either way, it translates into a masterful team name.

How Teamful: A reference to local hero”Hot” Karl Scott. It would seem to me that its charming stupidity holds up even for those who don’t know the man, but I really can’t be sure.

Hungry Hungry Phelddagrifs: Again, there are ways to make a Magic card reference clever. Again, this isn’t one of them.

Jim, Jake, and Johnny: I don’t know the joke on this one, but these are not the names of the players on the team, so I like it. Which one’s Jim? Which one’s Jake? We may never know. (Becker is on this team, by the way).

Joe, Jesus, and a Jerk: The last one was good, this one sucks. One of the team members is Joe, so presumably another team member is a not-so-nice guy and the third resembles Our Lord and Savior But Not Cutler’s. Not a fan of the formula of”A ____, a ____, and a _____” and its correlates.

Kicks are for Trids: Hm. My dad thought this particular interposition was clever in the eighties. I could write an entire article on my dad to better illustrate the gravity of this notion, but for now I’ll leave it that his sense of humor can be lame and so is this team name.

Last Name First: Like 3’s a Crowd, this name says nothing. Well, actually, it says that these three probably met the day of the tournament and had nothing in common, so they had to run this lame name. Lame lame lame.

League of Ordinary Gentlemen: This one’s good. It’s a clever twist on a movie/comic book name, and (this point is important) it’s a name that indicates a group of some sort. This can go a long way in saving or improving a team name. I followed this principle with one of my Modo clans (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) and a PTQ team (Rockford Peaches). But do not include the word”Team” in your team name except under extraordinary circumstances.

Loafing Giants: Magic Card!

M and M’s: Initials!

Masters of the Universe: Delightfully foonish, includes lingo in an off-handed and well-executed manner, two thumbs up.

Mongoloid Imperialists: Hehe mongoloid.

Mox Jet Lag: What do you think I think about this one? Participate in the polls on this one, folks. This whole portion of the article, not just this entry. Unlike”What deck should I play at Regionals?” or”What’s a rough pick order for affinity?” this issue really matters.

Ohtodrop: Fortunately for you, I’m getting lazy and including fewer and fewer names as I go down the list.”Look everyone! We’re predicting an 0-2 Drop with our team name, but look how clever-like we spelled it!” Go home.

Ornithopter Tastes Like Chicken: Fill in the blanks: This team name is so incredibly _______ that it makes me want to _________ my __________ until I ____________.

Pandora’s Mox: …

PB and the Real J: Initials, again. Jesus.

Plainswalkers: Sigh.

Rastafarian Conniption: Too many syllables. I don’t make the rules, I just expound them. You could theoretically have this many syllables in a team name, but you have to average fewer than four per word.

Rhymes With Orange: What rhymes with orange? Oh I can’t think of a single word! I’m gonna sit here and think about it until I figure it out! Idiots.

Rick James’s Shoes: I like it. Random imagery can be a very good thing as long as it’s not over-the-top. My team”Two Fat Guys Hugging” fits this bill, as does”Fat Girls Eating Waffles.””Fat Girls Eating Pie” would be too over-the-top though. See how tricky this can be? Yes, many people might say that this distinction is asinine and not worth being neurotic over. Is That What You Say About Concepts Like”Splash Damage” And”Asymmetrical Abjunct Reverse Disadvantage” When You Read The Works Of The Greatest Writer Of Our Time? It is? Yeah, me too heheh.

Rodman Team: This one is either awful or awesome, depending on whether you know Rodman. I like it but, admittedly, most people don’t know Rodman, so…

Skeet Skeet Skeet: I’m Rich B***Tch! Look How Tron Is Livin’!

Solar Tide With Bleach: This is an example of a decent-to-good incorporation of a Magic card name as a play on words.

Something Terrible: A forgettable name until you look at the ragtag group of misfits on the actual team. Still shoulda been The Passion of the Heiss.

South Pole All Stars: Ripoff of Antarctica, and a bad one at that.

Stephanie, Robert, and Jessica: See what I said about Becker’s name. The same applies.

Such Cuts: I know the people on this one, so I’m biased. Is this one good? I have no idea. All I know is that Aaron”Cuts””The Reason” Cutler is on the team, and Kyle Boddy is, in fact, cuts… but are these people too random to be using well-established lingo as a team name?

Team (Insert Name Here):”Hey guys! Let’s be ‘Team Can’t Think of a Name!’ It’s clever since we can’t think of a name! Get it? Hey, where are you going?”

Team Cream Dream: Unless I mention it here, assume any name with”Team” in it is awful by default. This one is okay since it creates a little rhyme of which”team” is part. The question is, how did this one make it past the censors?

Thaaaaaat’s Me: Obnoxious and campy. Not bad, not bad.

The 888 Collective: Which is worse: letters or numbers? Discuss.

The Brockafellars: Brock is awesome.

The Donkey’s: I can forgive a lot of things, but using an apostrophe to show plurality is not one of them. I hope these people all rot in fat hell.

The Incredible Hull: Good work, and I expect nothing less from RyanG. If you want to somehow incorporate barning into your team name, this is the apotheosis of a How-To.

The Spanish Inquisition: Nerd alert! I only catch the reference because of commercials on Comedy Central. I mean, I’m a nerd too but I don’t flaunt it, for chrissakes.

The Untouchables: I like badass-sounding names like this for some reason.

Therapists for $1000: Poor nod to an over-referenced SNL skit. You might as well call your team”My Cat’s Breath Smells Like Cat Food.” And I’m not sure, but I think it was”TheRapists for 20,” not $1000. Of course $1000 could have been the dollar amount of the actual question that ended up being read after Connery’s tomfoolery, but I digress. The fact that I don’t even need to explain this one should hint at a level of ubiquity not suitable for team names.

TRD: Any guesses?

Underdogs: We get it. You don’t expect to win. Neat.

Walking on Moonshine: And here we have a rare example of a tasteful way to mention alcohol. For those not in the know, this would be a play on the song

“Walking on Sunshine.” I think this is very clever. Well done, Mr. Brockway.

We Need More Cowbell: This name is so bad that it actually sucks all the style right out of the entire list of team names. This could be in the top 10 worst names of all time. I appreciate the Ferrell skit and DVD more than almost anyone – I even brought a cowbell to GP: Columbus – but this cannot stand. I’m trying to think of a worse way to make a pop culture reference for the purposes of hyperbolic comparison (i.e.”This team name couldn’t be worse if it were __________), but alas, I cannot. Everyone on this team should read the speech by the Knibb High principle in Billy Madison after Billy compares”The Puppy Who Lost His Way” to the industrial revolution.

We’d Rather Be Playing Type…: That this team name got cut off may be a national travesty. Either way, complete sentences are still a no-no. (Yes, there are obviously exceptions).

You Got Served: I love this phrase for seemingly no reason.

Young Guns: The mastery of this team name has a positive correlation with the age of its members. Mike Le Beau isn’t on it, so it’s clearly not as good as it could be.

yyyy1: A modo nick. This is probably bad form, but since I keep wanting to name a team The Scum of the Earth, I really have no place to complain. Like all things in life, if I’m not living up to my own standards, I’d like to know. If I have a really crappy team name, I wanna be ridiculed.

I would just like to say for the record that, yes, I realize I am not the nicest guy alive. I’m not a perfect person. There are many things I wish I didn’t do, but I’ll continue learning. Anyone who got offended by this brutally honest list takes himself waaaay too seriously. So you’re awful at coming up with team names… big deal! You’re probably a very nice person with a lot to offer the world in other realms, like child-rearing and pizza-eating.

Wish me luck at San Diego, all five of you who are reading this. I’m certainly gonna need it. I’m just a StarCity writer. [Insert smiley of your choice here]

Tim Aten


Not Really Sure How Good He Is, But Doesn’t Care

chester6561 on MODO and AIM (don’t even THINK about messaging me)

Vermilion High School Valedictorian, class of 2000

[email protected]

“Jump to the jam, boogie-woogie jam-slam.” -Us3,”Cantaloop”

*Sigh, no I am not in love with Big Dougy Conway.

**Not an all-inclusive list, for anyone who cares. I obviously left off obvious GM that I’ve known and liked for awhile like Kevin Pettinger and such.

***I’m just kidding around Geordie. Try not to have an aneurysm.

****If you recognize this reference, I will marry you. Whether you want me to or not. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Seriously, though, figure out what the article title is from and download it. It is Awesome.