Selecting 10th Edition: Ravenous Baloth!

Teddy Card Game, fresh from his glorious victory with the mighty Paladin en-Vec, is convinced that this vote is a complete no-brainer. In the battle between Beasts and Trolls, it’s Boom Boom all the way…

Weeeee did it. That’s right my friends, we overcame lifegain and the offer to beat the unholy bejeezus out of me with a baseball bat in order to keep Paladin en-Vec around for another two years. The competition on this one was fierce. In fact, the closeness of a vote between two cards that don’t even play the same sport, let alone exist in the same ballpark, shows exactly what we are up against. I’m so proud of you. It almost makes up for that Hurricane silliness back in week 1. Almost.

We also found out that 52.5% of you are men, and 47.5% of you are sissies. I just thought you’d want to know. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

After last week, I noticed a disturbing trend in the forums: some of you are actually attempting to think for yourselves. I have one word for that sort of behavior: don’t. No good can come of it. If you start thinking for yourselves, things become complicated, and complicated is bad. Ever tried dealing with women? Complicated? See what I mean… Once you start thinking for yourself, it is likely you will try to read into what you think I’m saying versus what I am actually saying, and then start to try and make the jive with not only your own opinions, but those of others as well. Let me tell you right now people, that path is one giant downward spiral into hell.

Don’t even get me started about what happens when you try and figure out what Bleiweiss is actually trying to tell you. Ben is a professional crazy person. He does crazy for a living. He even found crazy cats to stroke while he writes his crazy articles. In fact, there are only two sane people in Ben’s life – Pete Hoefling and his girlfriend Kate (who plays a much nicer – and more attractive – Nurse Ratchet role to Ben’s McMurphy). Crazy works for him, but let me give you a piece of advice: you do not want to be inside Ben’s head.

Let me put this another way: You’re Tom Cruise. Ben’s head is like the truth. You can’t handle it.

Stop thinking for yourselves and let me be your guide. I’m like an evil Jiminy Cricket on steroids – how could I be wrong?

Return of the Boom Boom
Erhnam Djinn. Troll Ascetic. Ravenous Freaking Baloth. Only one of these creatures has a middle name, and only one of them deserves your vote.

Look, I am a mortal f***ing lock to win this week. You guys could all be homophobes and I could print giant banners and campaign buttons that say, "A Vote for Baloth is a Vote for Penis" and it wouldn’t matter because Baloth would win this menage a trois in a landslide. I have lifegain on my side. I have 4/4 fattie on my side. I have “does not give my opponent’s creature Forestwalk” on my side. I am not losing.

Notice I said I could do that, but I am not going to because I… am not that guy. No, instead of coasting on my luck of the draw in getting the lifegain boom boom like some people would do, I will instead tell you exactly why Ravenous Baloth is DG and the other two are DS. (Those of you who are confused by these two terms should go back and read Tim Aten archives, which not only contain the key to zis obscure lingo, but also contain damned fine writing and enough angst to make a large horse break down in tears or listen to emo music, depending on the availability of an iPod.) Note that this is contrary to the original plan for this week, which was to produce a peer-reviewed mathematical equation that actually proved why Baloth was the right pick and cured halitosis (contrary to rumor, it will still not get you laid), but forum dweller corncob spilled the beans, and now I have to use actual words with letters and meaning instead of obscure symbols.

You know that time where a hacker broke into the Valve offices and stole the source code for Half-Life 2, rogering the rest of us by forcing us to wait an entire extra year to play the greatest game of all time? This is like that. Nice work, buddy.

Anyway, Ravenous Baloth is one of the most popular creatures of all time. Though he debuted as late on Onslaught, this awesome 4/4 for four was good enough to have an entire archetype created around him (Beasts) and immediately found a spot in Extended, a testament to any creature’s strength. Mr. Baloth (as he likes to be called) is a weenie beatdown annihilator, demolishing opponents’ undersized men with fat stats and excellent lifegain, but he also does double duty at the top end of a Green beatdown curve. Like Deion Sanders and David Bowie, Baloth goes both ways.

Another thing that often goes overlooked when talking about Mr. B is that he attended kindergarten during his time at R&D. In other words, he plays well with friends. His special ability allows him to not only sacrifice himself for four life, but any other wee little beastie you have lying around, of which there are 21 currently in Standard alone and doubtless more to come. By picking one of the most efficient creatures ever printed, you are guaranteed to be able to play not only the old Baloths you have lying around, but any new Baloths you open during the course of 10th Edition drafting, and that has to count for something. Ask the guys who opened the very sexy, but shockingly underwhelming Ernie Djinn whether he ever proved worthwhile in a competitive deck after his resurrection. Geddon ain’t coming back, people – neither should Ernie.

As for Troll Ascetic, you don’t want this guy in your format. Seriously, there is not a more annoying card out there in terms of having to play against it, because you can’t kill it unless your opponent makes a mistake, and you just know they are just going to stick a fat enchantment on it and wreck you. Moldervine Cloak may not be in Standard for long once the Troll comes back, but Blanchwood Armor isn’t pleasant on trollback either. Additionally, should you be so silly as to choose the Troll over our more hefty friend here, you will force Wizards’ hands into creating some particularly nasty removal spells that say things like "They cannot be regenerated." Or "All creatures get -x/-x until end of turn" where X is something bigger than an Ascetic butt. That’s bad news for any creature lover, and did I mention that he’s really freaking annoying?

There are rules in these sorts of situations that I always find helpful, and they include: Don’t vote for (or sleep with any) trolls.

You’ll only hate yourself in the morning.

The Kitchen Sink
So while I was in South Carolina, covering le Pro Tour, my wife was in Spokane, Washington, attending the wedding of one of my best friends from college. In fact, all of my college friends were there, leaving me jealous in the extreme, since I hardly get to see them nowadays. Anyway, my buddy John brought his Houston Rockets cheerleader power dancer/girlfriend Lexie with him for everyone to meet. While there, and after imbibing some drinks, my "friends" used the opportunity to fill Lexie in on the details of my – how do you say – success with the ladies from the days when I was young and stupid. My wife then showed her some current pictures of me from our trip to Hawaii, and Lexie responded with, "Huh… that guy doesn’t look like he’d pull much ass."

Good beats, and I wasn’t even there to defend myself. I didn’t earn the nickname "Mr. Magoo" for nothin’.

After last week’s Big F***er story, I was informed that some of you have now started calling Noah Weil "The Cowardly Lion" because you feel he has no courage. First of all, name-calling isn’t nice, and second of all, it’s just not true. Any one of you would have soiled your pants at the thought of what Big F***er might do to you, and since I sat next to Noah at dinner, I am fully aware that Noah did not soil any pants that evening and is therefore certainly braver than most of you. In fact, when I got out of the car I actually apologized to Mr. Weil for sticking him in the front seat on that brief journey through hell and back again, but left it out of the story because it didn’t mesh well. As such, you can call me Scarecrow.

Speaking of notsosmart, I wrote an entry for Football kNuts earlier this week and posted one of the early paragraphs as a teaser to some World Cup communities, and I have to say that never before, in all my years of writing, have I lost an audience so quickly. It might have been using the combination of fallible, idiosyncrasies, ubiquitous, and jogo bonito in the same paragraph that did it, or maybe it was just me. Regardless, I forget how spoiled I am by being able to abuse Magic audiences with big words and strange references. Enjoy the spectacular World Cup quarterfinals. You guys are swell.

Just to confirm, as Kelly Digges noted in Ben’s forum last week, I am vulnerable to fire.

The firing of Larry Brown and hiring (is that the right word?) of Isiah Thomas as the Knicks head coach is actually a boon for fans of basketball. Why you ask? Because presumably, Isiah’s stint in the front office of the Knicks will now be viewed as so incredibly disastrous that no other fan will ever have to be troubled by his incompetence in a management role. He couldn’t fix that team in five years let alone one, and he created the mess. If you are a Knicks fan and want to exercise a free waiver to root for any other team except Miami for the next four or five years, I think that is your right without sacrificing any fan fidelity.

I hate the Knicks, and even I feel bad for their fans.

That’s about all we have time for today, kids. Tune in next week when The Wiggles will be here to perform their colossal worldwide hits "Wiggle Time" and "Wiggly Safari."

Teddy Card Game
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