Removed From Game – YOU Name The Baby

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Wednesday, November 26th – At last, the wait is over. An article so original that Rich personally guarantees that this particular contest has never happened before. Probably. Bringing you an insight into the hideous complexity of finding names for Magic cards, Rich invites you to try your hand at Naming The Baby. Yes, the Hagon brand is set to release a new expansion next Summer, and we want you to find the perfect Magic name for Hagonling Number 2. Simply agree with Rich’s choice, and you get to Name The Baby! (Terms and Conditions apply.)

Yes indeed boys and girls (or maybe that should be boys or girls given the subject today), you get five minutes between rounds of a Magic online draft, and just look what can happen. I’ve managed to fill a hole in my Magic résumé, by ensuring that not only will my daughter Elizabeth win the Pro Tour in about 10 years time, but that her as-yet-unnamed brother or sister will be able to join her as Two-Headed Giant champs about 15 years later. There may be many near-miraculous things in the world of Magic, but there’s nothing more magical than the miracle of new life, coming to chez Hagon circa early July 2009.

The key bit of information in that opening paragraph wasn’t that you have no chance once Elizabeth hits the Pro circuit (although that’s empirically true), nor was it the rather fine fact that I’m going to be a Dad for the second time (or is it the seventeenth? I lose track.). No, the key bit of information was the ‘as yet unnamed.’ When Elizabeth was on the stack, we had a difficult time coming up with a name for her. There were just so many factors at work, all tugging us in different directions. Now that I’m older and wiser, or at least older, I understand that what went wrong during that arduous process was that we weren’t sufficiently focused on what really matters in the world. This time I know what really matters in the world — Magic. Therefore, I’m going to turn to the world of MTG, and specifically you, my loyal band of friends and fellow sojourners, to come up with the name that will identify Sprog the Second forever more.

Armed with a fresh copy of Scrye, all those days and weeks of fretting over getting the name just so will be gone in a flash, as I simply lift a perfectly serviceable name from the annals of the game. What could be easier, or indeed more appropriate? The perfect name from the perfect game for the perfect child. Ten minutes tops, we’ll be done.

Better start at the beginning. Besides, an Alpha male (or female) deserves an Alpha name. For a girl, Gaea is a bit New Age, but workable. Chatzuk, with or without his Helm, feels very Eastern European. I’m going to be drawn to anything starting with H, because that links with our surname. Plus, nobody pays any attention to middle names, so all those classy two-word card names can be used safely, secure in the knowledge that he/she/it won’t get to see the birth certificate for many years, or ever if I have my way. For a boy, that makes Hurloon Hagon an early front runner, and who wouldn’t want the middle name Minotaur? Mons is of course named after Mons Johnson in R&D, and I like the idea of a nod in that direction. However, I’m not a massive fan of Goblins. Perhaps something inspirational, like Prodigal? Biblically, he did alright for himself, eventually. Rounding things out, for a girl we have Serra. This is a nice name. Any daughter of mine will obviously be angelic, powerful, wise, and men will want to spend lots of time in her company, as long as she’s on their side. She’ll be a high flyer, tough, vigilant, faithful. I think we’re sorted… but now I’ve started, I suppose I owe it to the Urchin (if he arrives in the evening I could just call it Dusk Urchin) to wade through the whole canon.

Current leaders: Boy — Hurloon Minotaur Hagon. Girl — Serra Hagon.

Alpha seems like the only base set I need to visit, since pretty much everything we’ll bump into elsewhere. That means that our next naming source turns out to be Arabian Nights. On the plus side, it’s packed with names. On the downside, they have an unsurprisingly Arabic tone to them, and while as names I’m happy to entertain any regional offering, I’d like it to have some authentic resonance, and the closest link I have to being Arab is that I like watching thoroughbred horse racing on a Saturday afternoon. Abu Ja’far Hagon sounds like a basketball college player, so no dice. Ali Baba… am I just being overly sensitive, or is baby Hagon likely to be mocked in the schoolyard? Still, with Ali, I can give him one heck of a role model. Float like a butterfly, sting like an Unyaro Bee. Continuing the boxing theme, any pugilistic possibilities could only be nurtured with a name like Ifh-Biff. When he ends up in prison at 17, he can have entertaining conversations like this:

‘What’s your name, son?’
‘Ifh-Biff Hagon.’
‘I didn’t ask for your nickname laddie, I asked for your name.’
‘That is my name, based on an Arabian Nights rare that also features in the online Masters Edition. You got a problem with that, Billy ‘The Hit Man’ Nosecarver?’
‘Sorry, Ifh-Biff, didn’t mean to offend. I’m a Yu-Gi-Oh man myself…’

Hitting the Bottle brought me to Suleiman, and shortening it to ‘Sully’ is the kind of thing I can imagine yelling up the stairs. ‘Eliiiiiiizabeth, Suuuuully, teatime.’ El-Hajjaj Hagon just has too many Js, and Ma’ruf sounds like something I’d name a dog, if I ever had one, and wanted to pretend it was intelligent enough to say its own name.

Boy — Ifh-Biff Hagon. Girl — Serra Hagon.

Antiquities isn’t a set I know well, but it turns out to have some useful leads. Ashnod, of Altar, Battle Gear, and Transmogrant fame, could all be shortened to Ash, ideal for either boy or girl as Ashley (they presume). However, as we’ll see later, I have my eye on another Magic Ash, so have to pass here. Drafna sounds like a hangover cure, while Mishra could easily apply to a boy or a girl, although not authentically within the game obviously. (I do recognize how offended some of you would be if I named a daughter Mishra.) Staff of Zegon is interesting, because then you get Zegon Hagon, which, assuming the whole world is on drugs from now until the end of time, might not seem too bad. ‘Hey, Zegon dude, how’s the flying fish, man?’ Golgothian Sylex drew me for two reasons. As Roman Catholics, the Golgotha reference isn’t lost on us, and Sylex is close enough to the Heroes bad guy for me to claim it’s intentional when I want to, and deny it utterly when I don’t. The big reveal in this set though comes from the real world of literature, and kicks Serra off her perch at once. We’re a musical family, a theatre family, and a literature kind of family, so getting a Shakespeare and music reference plus Magic seems like a devastating Combo.

Boy — Ifh-Biff Hagon. Girl — Titania Hagon.

Now we come to one of our enormous offerings, Legends. Since my boy or girl will obviously be a legend in their own lunchtime, this seems appropriate Adun Oakenshield Hagon is pretty funky, positively reeking of upper-class toff-ery, but everyone in the known universe will think it’s ‘Adam’ not ‘Adun,’ and that can be a burden on a child, or even a grown man (current count of the number of times I’ve explained the ‘o-n’ bit of my surname? 4,372,465). Angus Mackenzie Hagon is brilliant, but I’m as Scottish as Kenji Tsumura. I am, however, descended from marauding Vikings, probably from Denmark about a thousand years ago, (roundabout the time that Bram Snepvangers and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa were debating turn 2 of their Mirari’s Wake mirror match, current score 0-1). That makes Axelrod Gunnarson a bit tempting. Plus, a career in heavy metal guitar is a given. Boris is a solid responsible name, and only in later life would he come to know what that middle ‘D’ stood for. Dakkon sounds too close to Darren, Hazezon Tamar Hagon is exotic, but unhelpful gender-wise. Jacques le Vert is useable, but my breakfast baguette and my wife’s fluent speech of that language is our French connection dealt with. Johan is just too normal, a fate that befalls Tobias Andrion, although every Toby I know works at Wizards, so at least there’s a guarantee of a job. If I wanted normal, I’d call it Dave. Even if it was a boy. Of the three Ladies, Evangela defeats Caleria or Orca. Livonya is nice, while Nicol Bolas Hagon has all sorts of things going for it. 3 sets of five letters. A good, workmanlike first name. Unusual, but not outlandish, middle name. Best surname ever. Somehow I don’t think any daughter would appreciate Lucrezia, much as any boy might have parental issues with Rasputin. ‘Rasputin, stop muttering under your breath. Rasputin, what are you doing in the medicine cupboard? Rasputin, why are you always visiting Buckingham Palace?’ Finally, I’m not a big fan of Tuknir, but as middle names go, Deathlock strikes me as a winner.

Boy — Nicol Deathlock Hagon. Girl — Titania Hagon.

Four possibles emerge from The Dark, not bad for a set with just 119 cards. Tivadar isn’t bad for a boy, although Niall is much better. Niall Silvain Hagon? Too Irish, and too French. That’s two too many two’s to tutu. My colleague Lee Singleton has already pitched his vote, looking some years into the future, when Elizabeth will be married and have children of her own, and as they’re packed into the car, she’ll say, ‘And who shall we go and see today children?’ And they’ll excitedly reply, ‘Uncle Istvan, Uncle Istvan. Yay!’ And before we leave The Dark, one I’m going to save you from suggesting, because there are some places even I’m not prepared to go — Frankenstein’s Monster Hagon.

Boy — Nicol Istvan Hagon. Girl — Titania Hagon.

Fallen Empires brought nothing useful, so that takes us to the next big set, Ice Age. Quoz doesn’t sound right. Arcum isn’t bad for a boy, except the trouble with our surname is that the H often goes missing, turning it into ‘agon, and then you get things like ‘arcumagon,’ which might not be too bad a name for a Magic card somewhere down the line (Arcumagon, 1UUU, 1/1 human wizard. 3, tap, counter target spell.) Arnjlot is a killer to spell. Freyalise is very, very pretty, and would overtake Titania were it not for the theatrical resonance. Elkin isn’t bad for a boy, while I actively like Marton, of Stromgald fame. Although no use as a formal name, I could certainly see us using Norritt as a nickname, especially as Little Norritt, referencing Dickens. ‘And how’s little Norritt?’ ‘Splendid Mrs. Turtlington, simply splendid.’ Although fine, I don’t see Remora making the grade, but that’s still a long way clear of the two big losers in Ice Age, as far as this contest goes — Lava Tubes Hagon (which naming would probably constitute child abuse) and the one that would at least guarantee global notoriety as the only child ever to have been so named, Hyalopterous Lemure.

Boy — Marton Norritt Hagon. Girl — Titania Freyalise Hagon.

In Homelands, I’m instantly drawn to Autumn Willow. It’s my favorite season, of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ etc, and it has the massive bonus of the Buffy reference. Yes, I’ve watched them all, yes, I know all the words to the musical, yes, I now acknowledge that I was wrong to prefer Charisma Carpenter over Alyson Hannigan. Feroz, Hazduhr, Soraya, nothing comes close here, but I think I need to get that Willow in somehow.

Boy — Marton Norritt Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Freyalise Hagon.

A girl with a name like that’s going to be pretty high maintenance, wouldn’t you say? ‘Willow Titania Freyalise Hagon, charmed to meet you, I’m sure.’ Probably needs pruning. Alliances has little to add. Gustha could be boy or girl, Varchild doesn’t work, although I quite like Fyndhorn for a boy, shortened to just Fyn of course for all practical occasions. In fact, strangely, I think that takes the lead.

Boy — Fyndhorn Norritt Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

In we go to Mirage block. Asmira is a super-pretty name, but again feels very regional. Hakim Hagon isn’t bad. Much as I loved Jolrael’s Centaur I can’t squeeze him in here. Kaervek was just too naughty, and I want a well-behaved child. Mangara is fine but doesn’t make it. One possible avenue I’ve yet to explore has just cropped up. Perhaps I could split a single name, and hide the reference? So I could call either boy or girl Pat. And then give them the middle name ‘Agia,’ after the Golem. Sirocco has real potential, since he’d be called ‘Rocco throughout his life, and yet have a really cool-sounding name on his passport. I adore Teferi in-game, but just can’t make it sit right as a name, and although Zuberi is an awesome name for a girl, I already have a friend called Zuber, and feel like two would invoke the Legend rule. The other name to give serious consideration to is Serene. I’ve always loved names that reflect a characteristic. So, for example, although they became a truly hideous all-girl pop band a while back, Faith Hope and Charity all strike me as great names, and they’re names that have been lost over the last century, at least here in the UK. Names this beautiful should be kept alive, but not by me, at least this time round. Serene narrowly misses out. Then of course comes the elephant in the room, at least for a boy. Maro may not be a great name, but could I really give my boy a better start in life than to be named after one of the greats of the game, the living legend that is Mark Rosewater? This would be a case where only the true connoisseur would appreciate the subtlety of the name choice. Indeed, it’s possible I could sneak this one past my wife without her even knowing what I was doing. Hmm. Mark Rosewater Hagon. It’s close, but I’m going to have to stick with Sirocco, at least for now. One for the short list.

Boy — Sirocco Marton Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

The rest of the block has very little. I’ve never got on with Sisay as a name, in part because ‘sissy’ is a constant schoolyard taunt. Sorry, just don’t like it. Having almost looked as Serene, Serenity is even more tempting. Although not replacing Willow, she might get in ahead of Titania, but for one small problem. Willow Serenity Hagon takes us a long way into geek TV land, with Buffy and Firefly references surely going one stage too far. Plus, someone might inaccurately think I was a fan of both shows, whereas we do in fact know that Buffy was a work of genius, while Serenity was a film where everyone deserved to fail the ‘worthwhile use of blood and oxygen’ test and die a horrible and painful death at instant speed, or sooner. Otherwise intelligent people assure me that Firefly isn’t eye-meltingly crap, but the key word in this sentence is ‘otherwise’, not ‘intelligent.’ [We pay the man for his opinions, folks, however hideously purblind they may be. — Craig, amused.] All is not lost however, since Weatherlight brings us the bearded hero, Gerrard. Now this is a name I can get behind, even with the drawback of the Liverpool soccer reference. Oh yes, a man of strength and honor, power and cunning, intelligence and wit, style and grace. He’s quite the role model for my new young man.

Boy — Gerrard Marton Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

Tempest block up next then. Greven is likely to get mixed up with Greville, and that’s a really old-fashioned name here anyway. Eladamri is beautiful, but at four syllables feels convoluted. If I was really content to burden my son with an intolerable cross to bear, Manakin wouldn’t be bad, since everyone would assume the Star Wars link, and only the brightest and best would spot the actual provenance. Ruby and Sapphire are obviously names for a girl, along with all the other assorted jewelry, but it doesn’t work for me. Selenia is another great girls name, but not at the expense of Titania, and I’m afraid no child of mine is getting the name Squee. Sorry, but there are standards to maintain. Stronghold has nothing for girls, and neither Crovax Hagon nor Volrath Hagon exactly trip off the tongue. Ertai has a curious Eastern European feel to it, and isn’t bad for a boy, but that’s the whole contribution from Exodus, unless you count Mirri, which I don’t. It’s getting tough at the top. Onward.

Boy — Gerrard Marton Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

The Urza’s block was probably my favorite of all time, so if I could find a name here I’d be extremely tempted for sentimental reasons. Barrin is too close to Barron, or Baron, and there’ll be spelling checks forever. As a nickname, I really like Humble, as in Gerrard ‘ Humble’ Hagon, since it’s a value I treasure in people. I thought briefly for a girl about Jhoira, since it rhymes with Moira, is exotic, flavorful. All good stuff, except when I saw what it was attached to. If you are aware of the power of the double entendre, you’re already a step ahead of this sentence, and if you’re not, long may you remain pure. Although Jhoira’s gone, there’s still Radiant, which is a stunning name, but perhaps would leave her too much to live up to. Also, there’s only room for one radiant Hagon in the house, and that’s my beautiful wife Helen. (With luck, this sentence has earned me enough points to stay up late to watch the American football on Thursday night.) Although wildly inappropriate, I can’t suppress a chuckle at the idea of my sons’ first day at school with this one round his neck:

‘And what’s your name, Miss Franks?’
‘Susie, Miss.’
‘And yours Miss Gantry?’
‘Eleanor, Miss.’
‘And yours, young Master Hagon?’

That leaves Destiny to round out the block, and although neither Jasmine nor Rayne are going to make the grade, I do wonder about Destiny. Not only would that have the virtue of a Magic link now, but there’s a guaranteed obscure pop music reference if she should grow up and have a sprog of her own, that unfortunate being, of course, Destiny’s Child.

Boy — Gerrard Marton Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

Masques block has a couple of lively contenders. A beloved comedy series here in the UK featured a character called Delboy, and Delraich isn’t too far away. Cho-Manno feels too Oriental, given our connections there include a sum total of Shuuhei Nakamura’s email address, and liking the Tokyo team in Rollerball. Until they creamed Moonpie, obviously. I think Erithizon is a staggeringly beautiful name for something, but sadly not a child. On the other hand, we could be in business with a ‘misspelling.’ Kris Mage Hagon has potential with either X or Y chromosomes. In or out of his Skull, Ramos is too Spanish. Nemesis brings us a possible in Belbe, but given Beauty and the Beast, presumably everyone will imagine we meant Belle instead. Lynn is a popular name here, and turning that into Lin Sivvi Hagon is a small step. Prophecy has an excellent possible in Alexi. My wife speaks fluent Russian, so there’s a link there. The Planeswalkers were the work of Aleksi Briclot, and Jace is one of my favorite pieces of art anywhere in the game. Most people will spell it correctly, it isn’t too outlandish. Gerrard, time to move along one.

Boy — Alexi Gerrard Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

Invasion kicks off with a cycle of dragons, but only one might work, and that’s Treva, although we’d have to amend it to the rather more normal Trevor. Still, we’d know, wouldn’t we? Galina is pretty, and there’s a massive contender in Hanna, the ship’s navigator. In truth, Hannah is one of my favorite names anyway, but two problems raise their ugly heads. First, is it with or without the h on the end? And second, we end up with the dropped h problem from the surname, so Hanna or indeed Hannah Hagon becomes ‘anaragon,’ which is rubbish. Somebody suggested Kangee to me, but the only merit I can see in that is that, in a certain type of Australian accent, it might, in a darkened room, be mistaken for Kenji. And before you ask, no, Saproling Infestation Hagon didn’t go into the hat. However, no sooner had Alexi taken the pole position than it was taken away. Now the replacement might take some time to bear fruit, since I suspect my boy won’t be overly pleased to begin with. Kind father that I am, I’m thinking ahead, to a scene some twenty years hence, when he’ll be attempting to spend some quality time with the ladies…

‘Well hello, smoking hot American lady, may I say you’re looking completely fabulous this evening?’
‘Oh my God, are you British?’
‘I do indeed hail from God’s own country. You’re not wrong. Indeed you’re very, very right.’
‘Say that again, say that again, please Mr. Brit, please.’
‘The bit about you being so, so right?’
‘Any of it. All of it. Oh my God, he’s British.’
‘May I say what an exquisite honor it is to be with you tonight?’
‘Oh you may, you may. I’m Stephanie.’
‘And I’m Zap.’
‘No sweetheart, Zap. I’m quick, I’m cheap and I’m too hot to handle.’
‘Ooooooo, Would you like a trip to my place?’
‘Baby, I can trip anywhere.’

After that, the block pales into insignificance. Harry Potter fan or not, Draco’s just wrong, and I can’t get the wimple out of my head when I think of Orim. No, it’s Zap for the win.

Boy — Zap Hagon. Girl — Willow Titania Hagon.

So far we’ve looked at 24 expansions, and there’s another 24 to go. I suspect by now you’ve got the idea, and I want to leave you at least some room for maneuver. In truth, I believe that the best names may not come from the card names themselves, but rather from some obscure piece of flavor text. Next week I’ll belt through your forum suggestions, bring you my thoughts on the remaining eight years of baby names, and start turning our attention towards the World championships, which now sit only two and a half weeks away. Although happy with the two names I’ve got so far, I’ll confess that I haven’t revealed to you my actual nailed-down choices yet, so you have seven days to convince me that Incinerate Hagon is what I need in my life.

Until next week, as ever, thanks for reading…

Richard Marton Zap Titania Hagon.