Removed From Game – You Really Did Name The Baby

Read Rich Hagon every week... at StarCityGames.com!
Wednesday, December 3rd – When last we left them, Zap and Willow Titania Hagon were busy contemplating staying in the womb forever, or at least until the StarCityGames.com readership could come up with a better name for them. Now Odyssey through to Shards and beyond lead us to the final choice, before Rich’s Missus threatens him with a rolling pin, and they call the baby Billy, after her great-great-grandad. Still, just in case…

Crikey. You people really do have time on your hands, don’t you? There I was, thinking that one or two of you might offer a desultory suggestion or two for my upcoming Hagonling, and you got stuck in by the bucketful. A big, big thank you to all of you who posted in the forums and who melted my inbox with congratulations and comments. For those of you checking in at the halfway point, here’s a recap…

A couple of months ago a momentous Combo occurred, featuring a Shards of Alara Prerelease shirt, my wife in it, and a third missing piece of the go-infinite Combo that I’ll leave to your hyperactive imaginations. As a result, July 1st 2009 is now the date when the Hagon family gets a +1/+1 counter on it. That led to my unleashing the creative hordes of hell in last week’s missive from the front line, offering you the opportunity to create some long-lasting Magical flavor by, that’s right, Naming The Baby. Kicking off with Alpha, we waded our way through to the end of Invasion Block, and then paused for breath, and input from you.

For a boy, things started promisingly with Hurloon Minotaur Hagon from Alpha, before getting beaten by Ifh-Biff Hagon from Arabian Nights. By this point, the early leader Serra Hagon had been supplanted by Titania (those are girls names, in case you’re wondering.) Nicol Deathlock Hagon came from Messrs. Bolas and Tuknir respectively, while Titania remained in place. Now it’s important to canvas plenty of opinion when you’re looking to do something as important as choosing a name/wife/Metagame deck choice, so I shared last week’s article with my 74 year old Mother. It’s always wise to expect the unexpected from this indomitable lady, but I confess I hadn’t considered her particular angle.

‘Dear, you do realise that if they’re twins, then Nicol Deathlock and Titania are just going to be known as Nick & Tits?’

Good to know that otherwise Nana would be fine with these names!

Never one to shy away from a humorous opportunity, Deathlock became Istvan, and then both went out of the window when Ice Age brought us Marton Norritt Hagon. Even money says anyone with that name grows up to be the villain out of ‘Tess of the D’urbervilles’ or other Hardy-style bucolic frolic. Ice Age also brought us a middle name for our girl, Freyalise teaming up with the long-standing Titania.

Fyndhorn from Alliances briefly held sway, while Homelands brought us Willow, kicking Titania and Freyalise along one, and eventually relegating Freyalise to the also-rans. Marton came back into favor, but only as a sidekick to Sirocco, or just ‘Rocco. We struck gold in Weatherlight with Gerrard, which in all seriousness is of course a fine name, only for the multiple neatnesses of Alexi from Prophecy to take the lead. Ultimately, Invasion proved to bring us the ‘overnight’ leader, since Zap is kind of irresistible, while for a girl Willow Titania Hagon remained firmly ensconced.

All right, bang up to speed, so let’s wade through the rest of the thoughtfully-provided Baby Name guide courtesy of Scrye (although unfathomably they’ve called it their Price Guide. Weird.)

Odyssey Block gets us going in Part Two, with Amugaba, and instantly I’m going to do a gag designed entirely for the UK audience at home, because nobody else will understand it. Rest of the world, come back in three sentences time. Hi, Brit readers. Somehow this reminds me of a certain African ‘leader,’ and as a sidenote you should ensure that any child of yours goes to Oxbridge, because you can’t become a despot without a degree from one of these fine institutions. Anyway, it turns out that Robert Mugabe backwards is Trebor Ebagum, which is my nomination for the best anagram ever, right up there with Virginia Bottomley as I’m An Evil Tory Bigot.

Welcome back, rest of the world.

Braids is a beautiful name, while another that’s really old-fashioned is Earnest Fellowship Hagon. This is the counterpart to the Faith, Hope and Charity school from last week, and although quaint, an outgoing personality would soon have this shortened to just Ernie. Gail isn’t a name that appears on a Magic card, but at least if she was called this I could give her the nickname Howling. The other name that caught my eye from Odyssey was Soulcatcher. I think there’s a decision to be made about how many names that sound like a Native American-themed X-Files episode we can consider. It’s beautiful, but, wracking my brains, I can’t think of a single link I have with that culture, beyond the fact that we both enjoyed Visions. Torment and Judgment bring us two sides of the same coin, with Balthor a decent name, especially as I can claim Battlestar Galactica links with Balthar a mere stones-vowel away. Trouble is, I’m not sure I want him to be Stout, and I definitely don’t want him to be Defiled. Defiling, possibly. Filing, highly likely, preferably in a Summer job as an intern for the President of the United States. But Defiled? Nah. If memory serves. Commander Eesha was a guy, as far as birds go, but it wouldn’t be bad for a girl, and one more movie reference before we move on — Aliens is obviously one of the best films ever, and the girl in that film was cunning, resourceful, caring, sensitive, oh and both her parents were utterly destroyed and torn apart by the vicious predators from outer space… maybe I’ll put Wormfang Newt Hagon on the backburner.

Boy – Amugaba Earnest Hagon. Girl — Eesha Braids Hagon.

As we enter Onslaught Block, I’m reminded that sometimes a middle name seems surplus to requirements. Take this next one for example. Quite clearly, Graxiplon Hagon needs no adornment. More promisingly, Jareth is an awesome name, but as usual there’s a catch. Won’t everyone call him Gareth? And is it JA-reth, or Ja-RETH? Or indeed JAY-reth? Jay-RETH? Shame, because Titan would have gone well in the middle too. Another that’s very close to a real-world name is Rory becoming Rorix, and Bladewing would be awesome in the middle. As I went down the checklist, I made sure that my pencil mark was very carefully placed against this name, because I wouldn’t want to end up with the one next door by accident, Rotlung Reanimator Hagon, which I’m sure would go down well at parties of a certain kind. Of the many open-mouthed and laugh-out-loud moments I had when wading through the forums, the fact that someone had actually named their child Visara left me utterly disbelieving. Truly? I mean, truly? Given that Legions was a set made up of nothing but creatures, it’s a surprise to find almost nothing of use. Yes I know Akroma’s there, but that’s never struck me as a great name, reminding me of a stereotypical pantomime Italian car salesman:

‘And you looker, herer, at the fronter, and seeer? It has a chromer bumpera, nicer noer?’

Hundroog reminds me that anagrams could be the way to go — I could call my daughter Lube as an anagram of the only real color in Magic. Or maybe not. The Block rounds out with Pemmin, which could be anything, and Karona. Now this is nice, but I’m teetotal, and I refuse to name any child of mine after a beer. Or a lager. Whatever.

Boy — Jareth Rorix Hagon. Girl — Eesha Lube Hagon.

As someone cleverly pointed out in an email, having looked at Mirrodin, the technically correct answer would be to name a boy or girl Duplicant, which still makes me chuckle one week on. Glissa has a few things going for it. In the game, she’s Rare, she had a niche but important place in the world, and I get a nice musical reference from glissando. That’s two Italian references in as many paragraphs, surely a record. In Darksteel, Geth has a nice Celtic ring to it. The Native American angle is back again with Vulshok Morningstar Hagon. For the record, I think that pretty much all the ‘star’ names are gorgeous. The Evening Star, The Tide Star, The Pizza Star, all awesome. Trouble with this one is, I think we’re pretty well established in the town we currently live in, and with a large Polish community, that guarantees assumptions with a name like Vulshok.

‘And we welcome our new member of the class, Vulshok Hagon. From Warsaw, Vulshok?’
‘No miss, Scunthorpe.’

Another one bites the dust. While we’re with the ‘okay’ names, I accept that Neurok might be a bit unusual, but Prodigy is hard to resist. That leaves the option of Pristine Angel for a girl. I suspect I’ve mentioned before here a play called ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ by Pirandello (good grief, more Italians!). In it, the father visits a House of Ill-Repute, only to find his daughter working there. Every father wants to believe his daughter will grow up to be chief brain surgeon for the law society of the UN, but we have to plan for multiple career paths, and at least with this name, she won’t have to change it for the clients. And one final word before we leave Darksteel. If I was basing this purely on such venal considerations as how much fun I had with a card, boy or girl would be Skullclamp. Never before or since, for me, has a card felt so deliciously filthy. Fifth Dawn has nothing in the cards, although I suppose Dawn would be serviceable, but oh so dull.

Boy — Geth Jareth Hagon. Girl — Pristine Eesha Hagon.

And now we come to the truly contentious Block, since there’s absolutely no way of avoiding the Japanese vibe. I documented our personal cultural links last time, but as one of you pointed out, naming your child after one of the great players would be an excellent way to honor the game, while still allowing for an actually sensible name. Osamu, Kenji, Tsuyoshi, Tomaharu. Now Tomaharu Hagon has a nice ring to it. Maybe he’s on to something. In Champions of Kamigawa, Azami and Azusa are pretty. Ember is a beautiful name, and in current use, although Fist kind of spoils that one as a middle name. For a boy, I feel Godo has at least four neat things going for it. First, it’s not far off Kodo, as in Dragons. Great link. Two, it’s really close to Modo (insert hacked-off Magic Online joke of your own devising.) Third, it’s really close to Frodo, and for any fantasy fan that’s got to be good news. And fourth, I’ve just realised I can save myself approximately 27,467 hours of shouting. How? Well, currently you might hear me say things like:

‘Elizabeth, it’s time to do your reading for school now.’
‘Elizabeth, it’s time to come down for tea now.’
‘Elizabeth, it’s time to be locked in the shed now.’

With a subtle but crucial mispronunciation, changing ‘doe’ into ‘dooo’, my son will quickly learn, just like a well-trained house-pet, that this new form of his name is the sign of command:

‘Godo read.’
‘Godo tea.’
‘Godo shed.’

Genius. Even so, there’s stiff competition in the Block, since Ben is a great name, and you can make the case for liking it so much you gave the boy the name twice. Ben-Ben Hagon? Nice, as is Keiga, and if we’re going down the double-barrel route, Kiki-Jiki is cute for a girl. Another K for a girl would be Kira, which I’d be morally obliged to pair with Nerys as a middle name, courtesy of Deep Space Nine. Miko is fine, but my brother in law already has a Neko in the family, and that sounds like far too much of a comedy double act. I like Erayo from Saviors, and another stealth name would be to call him Adam, and only let him know when he started dating girls that his full name was Adamaro First to Desire Hagon.

Boy — Godo Geth Hagon. Girl — Kiki Jiki Hagon.

One of the most wonderful of all the Magic kingdoms comes up next, with Ravnica Block. Surely with 10 Guilds, one of them will come up with the winner? Initially, things don’t look promising. Circu is far too Romanian-centric, and although I can see myself shortening it to Roy, Moroii never quite lived up to expectations, and who wants that in a child? Savra is nice, and has royal connections, while Tolsimir Wolfblood takes us back to Native American land. Only Teysa stands out from Guildpact, while Dissension is equally disappointing. Only Augustin is usable, but since our current school is Saint Augustine Webter, the capacity for teasing seems limitless. Then it hit me. I didn’t need to be looking at cards from the guilds, I needed to be looking AT the guilds. Regular readers will know that I regard the Ravnica block guilds as having been culled from a Yugoslav soccer teamsheet of 1967:

‘Dimir, passes across the back four to Simic, on to Orzhov, now out to the left wing, Azorius has it, inside to Selesnya, Gruul and Golgari running the midfield, Rakdos on the overlap, he crosses high, over the head of Boros, Izzet there? IT IS. Gooooooooaaaaaaaalllll to Guild City.’

No doubt about it, Godo’s gone.

Boy — Azorius Chancery Hagon. Girl — Kiki Jiki Hagon.

Coldsnap is next, and I’m hopeful of finding something here too, since I really enjoyed Coldsnap, along with three of you. Darien feels like a great name for a boy, and he would have plenty to aspire to, given the provenance. Still with royalty, I’m not convinced by Garza Zol, though it could be useful for a career in Israeli lapdancing clubs — ‘now here she is, it’s time for the Garza Strip.’ I mentioned our Viking ancestry, and that would make Haakon Hagon as strong contender, and Heldar wouldn’t be bad either. So far we seem to have a plethora of options for a boy, but little in the way to excite for a girl. Although Lovisa is pretty, it’ll always be Louisa to most, and Coldeyes isn’t something I want my daughter to aspire to.

Boy — Haakon Heldar Hagon. Girl — Kiki Lovisa Hagon.

As we head into the largest chunk of Standard ever, we get Time Spiral and assorted purple goodness to go with it. If we liked Ben Ben Hagon before, we’ve got a worthy successor now, in the form of a card that lived in my Sideboard for many a tournament. Dan Dan Hagon, although that still feels like one too few, since with three he could be a sound effect out of the 1960’s Batman series:

‘Will the caped crusader survive this latest encounter with the Doctor of Death?’
(Dan Dan DAN)
‘Will Commissioner Gordon find the Boy Wonder in time?
(Dan Dan DAN)
‘And will Adam West still be making a living going to conventions in 40 years time?’

At last, there’s a girly name to get rid of Kiki, although the i’s still have it, with Mirari. Whilst being pretty in life, it’s also pretty serviceable in death, since we can invite everyone to Mirari’s Wake. There are good reasons to like Saffi, but two reasons not to. First, we have one in the near family already, and second, she would be Saffi Richardsdotter Hagon, and that just doesn’t work. If we’re going for heroic, Stonebrow does the job, while for fun and quirky Norin is an awesome nickname. Now I ask my next question in all seriousness, since I imagine somebody somewhere reading this will actually know the answer. Are there laws about what you can and cannot name your child? See, I’m presuming there must be. Death To All (insert derogatory term here of choice) must be illegal, mustn’t it? Something to do with Freedom of Speech laws and incitement to assorted badnesses? The reason this crops up is that, should I feel the urge (and I won’t), am I breaking the law by calling my son or daughter Phthisis? Tuberculosis Hagon. Surely that can’t be allowed? Anyway, onto Planar Chaos, and while Damnation Hagon has a certain apocalyptic ring to it, better contenders are Ana Battlemage Hagon, Radha for the perfect role-model (gentlemen beware), and another nice alliterative possibility in Hammerheim Hagon. The girls get another couple of options from Future Sight. I’ve already discounted Jhoira, but Linessa is a gorgeous name, and Zoe could grow up quite happily not knowing about the ‘tic’ in her name.

Boy — Dan Hammerheim Hagon. Girl — Zoe Linessa Hagon.

And now we’ve made it to the cards we’re still playing with, week in and week out. It won’t surprise you to learn that there are a ton of options here, especially as so much of the Lorwyn mythology has a United Kingdom slant to it. So let’s kick off with Ajani. Now this is great, and obviously in the game Ajani is a male, but isn’t this a great name for a girl too? If we go for this, we don’t even need to bother looking to find out which we’ve got, we can just call it Ajani straightaway, and find out later. Brigid is a name straight from Ireland, while Doran has a similar feel. I like Doran, but it doesn’t work well with the surname. Garruk does rather better, since there are a couple of neat interactions. In-game, Garruk has been incredibly successful, a real trailblazer (for the planeswalkers), and has been part of winning a Pro Tour. These are all things I’d want for my son. Garrick Hagon is an actor who is best known for playing Biggs (Red Three) in the original Star Wars. I’d like to make it clear that until 18 seconds ago, I did not know this fact, and went to imdb.com, where you can also find Kelly Digges, should you be so minded, our Editor of all things Pro Tour. Add in the Garrick Theatre in London, and you have lots of good reasons to put Garruk at the front of the queue. Liliana I’m less thrilled by, and Wydwen is pretty but uninspiring. Following the stealth route allows us to have the perfectly innocuous Warren, with the middle name Pilferers arguably not being ideal. Morningtide adds one contender for each. Maralen Mornsong Hagon strikes me as a gorgeous name, while Rhys is as Welsh as it gets, and I like the idea of son explaining:

‘That’s a good Welsh name lad. Were you named after the Legendary Rhys of yore from the hill-singing valleys?’
‘Er, no, actually. I was named after the Legendary Rhys of yore from Shadowmoor, because I have an astonishing ability to procreate in my own image.’

Boy — Rhys Hammerheim Hagon. Girl — Maralen Linessa Hagon.

Shards then, and unfortunately I’ve blown it. Fact is, there’s a truly fabulous name in Shards for my daughter to be, and I can’t use it. The name? Elspeth. And the reason? I foolishly already have an Elspeth, or at least a version of it, Elizabeth, and that rules it out. On the plus side, I can claim retrospectively that Elizabeth was named in anticipation of a future Magic card, but that’s not quite the same thing. With no time for Rafiq, that brings me to an unsatisfactory conclusion, until I glance down the page, only to find fresh inspiration. Thank you Wizards for printing the ‘Un’ sets. Jack-in-the-Mox Hagon sounds awesome, and although I thank the multiple readers who suggested it, I can’t go with Richard Garfield Hagon, because (as you may know) Rich is my name, and I don’t go in for ‘Junior,’ a peculiarly American affectation that I can only presume stems from an inability to remember your own name, let alone that of your offspring. No, the winners here are those delightful names to describe entire groups of Magic players. Allow me to present T.J. Hagon — Timothy Jonathon Hagon to be precise, or just Timmy (Power Gamer) and Jonny (Combo Player) for short.

Boy — Timothy Jonathon Hagon. Girl — Maralen Linessa Hagon.

And now, the results…

For A Boy:

I confess that I was a little disingenuous last week, since I omitted the one name that I thought right off the bat would be perfect. Nothing in the forums, or through our second trawl through the archives this week (even Phthisis) has persuaded me that I need to change. As a first name, it has the name of an angel, and also one of the greatest Magic players of all-time. It has an incredible middle name of power and majesty, and is the kind of name one could be proud of, once you came to know and love the game. From Legends…

Gabriel Angelfire Hagon.

For A Girl:

Maralen is such an attractive and unusual name, I’m exceedingly tempted. Nonetheless, it was one of your emails that sent me down the right path. Amongst a welter of bizarre suggestions came the idea that I should care much less about the name itself, and much more about what it stood for, and what message it sent out. At the very beginning of this exercise, I claimed that there were few things more miraculous than new life. That may be true, but it’s also true that every father believes that this is one miracle his daughter can do without thanks very much. Indeed, the phrase ‘lock up your daughters’ is something we’re genetically wired to do, ideally from the onset of puberty to, ooh, round about 70, just to be on the safe side. (To all my octogenarian sexually active Magic playing readership, I apologise for the disgraceful stereotypical slur on your prowess.) Since this is almost certainly illegal, us Dads simply have to instil in our daughters the will to resist the wily charms of men that caused them to exist in the first place. In short, I want my girl to Just Say No. And there it was, perfect in every way. Whatever they want, whenever they want it, they’re not going to get it. Ladies and gentlemen….

Counterspell Hagon.

Until next week, and a bumper preview of the World Championships in Memphis, as ever, thanks for reading.