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The Bell or Hunt Dilemma: Hunt!

When considered in a vacuum, Order of the Sacred Bell is a stronger card than Kami of the Hunt. Unfortunately for us drafters, there are many more factors to consider than raw power; if there weren’t, we’d all be cramming our decks with Kashi-Tribe Warriors. The most important points to consider are synergy and mana curve… And this may not be Onslaught Block, but creature type still matters.

You will all be pleased to know that I have a new scapegoat for my lackluster writing: Adam Chambers. (That’s right, THE Adam “Real As the Streets” Chambers of GP: Chicago and 2002 JSS renown). Simply put, you don’t know what it’s like to have your sanity taxed until you’re asked, “Have you seen You GOT Mail? It will change your life.” literally every hour every day of the week. It’s not always You GOT Mail; sometimes it will be SuperSIZE Me, sometimes it will be a random selection from Whoopi Goldberg’s extensive catalogue, and often it will be a movie that he knows for a fact I saw because he’s watched it at the same time as me.


Also, he and Jill have this song that they keep singing throughout the day, and I use the term loosely since the “song” in question doesn’t have any melody, rhythm, or rhyme scheme, and its lyrics are as follows:


“Kashi-Tribe Waaaarriors!!

…even Venerable Kuuuuuumo….”


Yup, that’s all the lyrics. I guess sometimes they toss in the names of other mediocre creatures, still without a melody, as though they made sense in some context. You can’t put me in an environment like this. I was half-crazed to begin with. All this is actually making me miss the days when Chambers would just ask “Are you excited?” at random intervals for no reason whatsoever.


I’ll tell ya right now what I’m not excited about – PT: Nagoya.* I’m still not looking forward to spending an entire month on a plane going to a country where I don’t have the first clue about the language or the culture and will stick out like a sore thumb, especially the way my hair looks now (picture my old feature writer photo), and will undoubtedly get lost, contract chlamydia, and die, upon which time they will send my rotting corpse on a month-long plane ride back to the Good Ol’ where many of you will doubtless micturate on my burial plot. Additionally, I’m less than optimistic about my chances, even if I am The Future of American Magic ™. For a few nonconsecutive weeks, I slipped into the zone and just seemed to “understand” the format’s workings as a whole, draft good decks, and win a lot. Unfortunately, as Buh-weet says, “Id been a nong time din dem days.” I determined that I would probably have to Top 8 to make the trip worth all the stress, and I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. Let’s not dwell on that, though.


When I was writing the last Dilemma, I felt somehow constrained, as though I had to limit myself to the topic at hand. That really throws me off my game. Therefore, I make the following solemn vow: I promise to never be hampered by professionalism ever again. Granted, there’s a chance my article will still blow, but I have to at least give myself the opportunity to be masterful. And if “The Man” a.k.a. Mr. Hoefling doesn’t like it, he can kiss my big white…


Um….Myojin? My big white Myojin? Don’t fire me. I need the loving adulation of that stalker guy in Mississippi who sent me one of his socks as well as the loving support of all my other fan. I’ll fall in line and write only about strategy strategy strategy and wear a StarCityGames.com shirt every time I leave the house and buy a pink Miata. Anything. I’m really desperate.


Changing gears for a moment, I’m somewhat disappointed that more people weren’t clamoring for my GP: Chicago report, since I’m actually a closet egomaniac. [Closet? – Knut] Now that I have somewhere in the vicinity of 50 million billion pro points,** If y’all don’t clamor, I don’t make with the goods.


Okay, fine. I was emotionally distraught for the weeks following the Grand Prix, so I didn’t write about the tournament while it was still fresh in my mind. By the time I may have been ready to pick the pen back up, I didn’t remember too many details of my mastery.*** Plus, it’s hard to successfully pull off one’s typical pseudo-arrogant tone when he wins a tournament unless the tournament in question is a Friday Night Magic or a Marvel event or somesuch. That notwithstanding, I will now give you my official GP: Chicago report.


Round One + Two: Byes.


Round Three: We bashed.


Round Four: We bashed.


Round Five: We bashed.


Round Six: I bashed, but we got bashed.


Round Seven: Paul Jordan LOL.


Round Eight: We bashed.


Round Nine: We bashed.


Round Ten: I blew it, but we bashed anyway.


Round Eleven: We bashed.


Round Twelve: Intentional draw w/ Mike Hron, the most masterful master the Midwest could muster.


Semis: We bashed.


Finals: We bashed.


Cool, cool. Stay tuned after the article for my actual appraisal of the team names of GP: Chicago. Heed my advice and get a jump start on the next Team PTQ season. It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about winning or losing in style. And as anyone who has ever seen me knows, I’m all about style.


It’s going to be hard to live up to the brutal smashing I gave BDM last week, especially since I probably got the short end of the stick this time. I’m writing this between rounds of embarrassing 8-4 drafts on Magic Online (which used to be winnable by people not named “Jeff” or “Lillian”), and as I write this sentence I’m actually in the process of taking an Order of the Sacred Bell over a Kami of the Hunt, so I really have my work cut out for me.


My name is Tim Aten, and I take Akki Rockspeaker over Ragged Veins.


We’ve all seen the scenario: There’s only two cards left in the pack, and neither one of them is playable, rare, foil, or even uncommon. How is one supposed to make such an important decision? I would like to state for the record that going to the kitchen for a delicious can of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper and letting Magic Online auto-select the card is copping out big time. You have to put your heart and soul into each and every one of your picks, or you don’t really stand a chance of realizing any long-term benefit as a Magic player or a human being. There are a plethora of reasons to choose the little Goblin Shaman over the Stupid Enchantment, including that it has a redder picture, the fact that people might actually play Ragged Veins against you if you pass it because of Nick Eisel, or the fact that it lets you tap both your lands on turn 2 to play a creature and still have mana left over to Lava Spike (or burn for one to help circumvent Reverse the Sands). Ultimately, I’ve determined the most relevant criterion to be the number of K’s in the cardname. Rockspeaker wins, four to zero. Suck it, Ragged Veins!


That’s all for this week. Mr. David-Marshall, I eagerly await your rebuttal.


It's a face-off, folks.

Ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa butseriouslyfolks. When considered in a vacuum, Order of the Sacred Bell is a stronger card than Kami of the Hunt. Unfortunately for us drafters, there are many more factors to consider than raw power; if there weren’t, we’d all be cramming our decks with Kashi-Tribe Waaaarriors. The most important points to consider when choosing between Order of the Sacred Bell and Kami of the Hunt are synergy and mana curve.


This may not be Onslaught block, but creature type still matters. In Green, the pertinent tribes are Snakes and Spirits. There are several uncommon and rare Snakes that enhance other members of their species and even more cards across all the colors that encourage a deck loaded with Spirits, but there’s not a whole lot of demand for Human Monks. Putting aside the snakes for a second (as they go in an archetype that is only infrequently optimized), let’s explore some of the details of the Green Spiritcraft deck.


Basically, no matter which G/x color combination you choose (excepting white), the most powerful route to attempt is a focused Spiritcraft deck. The most important consideration when compiling one of these is that as many of your cards as possible interact favorably with one another, generally taken to mean that they are either Spirits or Arcane. Naturally powerful cards like Kodama of the South Tree and Kodama’s Might and run-of-the-mill spirits like Feral Deceiver and Burr Grafter are interwoven with marginal spells like Lava Spike and “questionable” creatures like Dripping-Tongue Zubera and Venerable Kumo to make a powerful, cohesive unit. Lava Spike may read “This deals 3 damage to target player and 2 damage to target creature. A different target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.” Kami of the Hunt may read, “When this comes into play, target land you control becomes a 3/3 creature until end of turn, and your opponent’s only untapped creature cannot block this turn.” Order of the Sacred Bell? Nope. Nothing but italics in that man’s text box, no matter how many Mights, Souls, Fire’s Roars, or Soilshapers you may have.


In some of the most ridiculous versions of the deck, Kami of the Hunt can deal 10 damage on turn 4. It’s not particularly likely, but I’ve done it before. Lava Spike splicing Ray and Might is either eight to the nugget, killing a creature in the process, or it may simply halve your opponent’s life total. With draws like that, Kami of the Hunt can be the only creature you need to cast. As that draw won’t come up very often, it’s fortunate that you probably will cast other creatures at some point in the game. I have sympathy for your hapless opponent if you play a second Kami of the Hunt on turn 4.


Incidentally, my stance this week may seem contradictory to that in the Ray/Dragon dilemma, but 1) Kami of the Hunt benefits from a larger portion of cards than Ray (i.e.. Feral Deceiver doesn’t pump Ray, nor does Rootrunner soulshift it back)**** and 2) Order of the Sacred Bell is no Dragon.


Another version of the Green/x Spirit deck features Blue, which takes advantage of Reach Through Mists and the other instants as well as the all-powerful Teller of Tales. It’s easy to see that Kami of the Hunt just plays a lot better in this kind of deck than some random human monk. In addition, that one extra mana in the Order’s casting cost is relatively prohibitive, as I’ll explain in more detail a little later. Over-simply put, if you have a solid body in play on turn 3, you can start splicing Kodama’s Mights onto Reach Through Mists on turn 4.


My current favorite archetype, and not just when considering G/x decks, is the Green/Black Spirit deck. If I could sum up the reasoning behind this in one word, that word would be “Soulshift.” If you don’t plan ahead during the draft, you leave yourself open to fate; your success can depend on whether your opponent draws more or better spells than you. Working some sort of card advantage engine into your deck eliminates this problem. Unfortunately, most decks have no choice but to live off the top of their deck. The Red/White jank deck has no card advantage tools unless you manage to get Glacial Ray. If your opening hand has four lands and three spells, you’re probably going to lose even if you only have 11-12 lands left in your deck. Every draw step has a significant chance of yielding a watered-down creature or, worse, another land. Blue/black decks like Jeff Cunningham likes to draft and you should try to draft in front of him if you’re going to be in Nagoya have just enough gas to finish an opponent off. If one of your creatures, like a Mirror-Guard or Teller of Tales, is killed, you may find yourself with no offense and will often need to peel Soratami Cloudskater to get back in the game. Nonspirit Green decks suffer from the same drawbacks. If Order of the Sacred Bell dies, or if it’s one of only five spells you’ve drawn in a given game, you may find yourself in the losers’ bracket.


Cards like Honden of Seeing Winds and even Moonring Mirror are excellent, as they give you a good chance of outdrawing your opponent. There’s a chance that you won’t draw those, though. The best solution is to make almost every card in your deck a potential for card advantage, and that’s exactly what G/B Spirit decks do. Which would you rather have in your opening hand to go with your 2 Forests and 2 Swamps? Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Order of the Sacred Bell, Rend Spirit, or Kami of the Hunt, Burr Grafter, Scuttling Death? That’s a loaded question since I suppose the cards in the second grouping are more powerful on their own than those in group one, but when considered together, it’s not close. Sometimes you just get a land nearly every draw step for the rest of the game. The non-shift deck really can’t recover from that, but the shifty deck still has a fighting chance.


Incidentally, how many people have Soulless Revivaled back a Scuttling Death? Did you win that game?


Green and Black have two solid four-mana soulshifters in Gibbering Kami and Burr Grafter, but they don’t have very many three-drops to get back. I suppose it’s fine to recurse an Ashen-Skin Zubera or a Cruel Deceiver, but the Kami of the Hunt fills an important part of the curve and lets you make the most out of your soulshift.


In addition to Gibbering Kami and Burr Grafter, the deck also might play a Feral Deceiver in the four-slot. Sometimes you find yourself short on Spirits and have to play an Order of the Sacred Bell or a Smashy-Tribe Reaver, which is fine, if not optimal. This brings me to my next point – Look at all those four-drops. Considered by itself, Order may be the second-best one of these (next to the uncommon Smashy-Tribe), but it’s so much more replaceable than Kami of the Hunt. In Green, your other three-drop option is Matsu-Tribe Decoy, a solid card (but not as good as the Kami). The four drop options are the aforementioned Order, Deceiver, Grafter, Reaver, and also Rootrunner, Sosuke, and maybe even a nice South Tree. There aren’t any Green rare or uncommon creatures that cost three that you’d really like to have in your deck. You could cast a Kodama’s Reach, but that accelerates you to five mana anyway. You’d probably rather play a Kami of the Hunt and a four-drop than Reach and a four-drop, leaving one mana open.


Some plucky readers may comment that they’d rather just play a mana-snake on turn 2 and skip right past the three-drop slot. First, if there’s even one more Green drafter at your table, you can’t count on getting an appreciable number of these. Second, and more importantly, what if you don’t live The Dream of turn 3 Order? What if you have Order but no acceleration? You’re going to want a three-drop, and as I said, those are at more of a premium than four-drops. What if you draw the Elder late game? I’m not dismissing these cards or this strategy as weak; they’re actually pretty good. I’m just suggesting that there might be better options. All told, it’s quite possible that I’d rather strive for a deck that plays turn 2 random spirit, turn 3 Kami of the Hunt than turn 2 Sustainer/Tribe Elder, turn 3 Order of the Sacred Bell.


As one last point, a few instants make it very hard to block the Kami in complicated combat steps. Opponents must consider the possibility of Kodama’s Might or Blessed Breath annihilating them before they can put a 2/2 or 2/3 in front of your Kami of the Hunt and a random 2/2 in front of your random 2/2. Some foolish opponents won’t see it coming, and others will be in too poor of a position to be able to play around such tricks. Order of the Sacred Bell offers no such opportunities to trade a one-mana instant straight up for two creatures.


The following scenario actually occurred as I was putting the finishing touches on this lil filly, and it seems to summarize my arguments nicely. In the finals of an 8-4, a competent opponent declined my offer of a split. In game two, I played a turn 3 Kami of the Hunt. He answered back with a turn 4 Order of the Sacred Bell. On my fourth turn, I dropped a Burr Grafter and smashed in for 3 with the Kami. Determining that it was best to eliminate the problem before it got out of hand, my opponent blocked with his Order of the Sacred Bell. Several turns later, I soulshifted the Kami of the Hunt back with Burr Grafter, and that same Kami got to take part in the alpha strike that won me my 8 packs.


For your reference, here’s a brief primer on drafting Green/Black. Creatures are far more important than spells in this deck. You’ll want 1-2 finishers like Devouring Greed or Dance of Shadows, a Rend/Befoul or two and maybe a Kodama’s Might or Serpent Skin, but the basis of the deck is Soulshift. Basically, take whatever your deck needs more at the time in terms of casting cost and Soulshift. If you already have 2 Scuttling Death, take the Burr Grafter. You really want at least one Scuttling Death, though, so take the first one over just about anything or else you’ll find yourself playing Venerable Kumo. You also certainly want one or two Soulless Revival, as returning the top link of your Soulshift chain can yield massive amounts of card advantage. Fortunately, these will come late, as many decks won’t be able to optimize them.


If you have any questions on this deck, i.e. questions about specific picks (taking into consideration what you already drafted), feel free to email me at expirydates1024@yahoo.com. Yes, that’s real. As the streets.


Well, I must be on my way now. I have a big day ahead of me of karting Jill and Chambers to the mall to play DDR, packing for Japan (shudder), and losing every nickel at pok..umm….pokemon. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Go Charizard. Almost embarrassed myself there. And I don’t care how uncool it is, I’m gonna sign off with some song lyrics. (They’ll be the lines right after I repeat my email address). I was born to rock, myan. Look at my picture. Look at it.


Tim Aten

a.k.a. Donnie Dynamite

a.k.a. Napoleon Darko

a.k.a. Nerudsaurus Rex

1981-2005, and that’s my final answer

KKrouner1 on AIM

theroboticarm on MODO

expirydates1024@yahoo.com

Sing like you think no one’s listening.

Smile like you mean it.

I don’t remember, I forget.


Bonus: The actual GP: Chicago Name Grading


:B – I’m not gonna lie. It feels good to be on a “marquee” team with a “marquee” name so that I get to transcend the whole dubbing process each event in perpetuity. I still had my game face on for this GP though, as I’d like to believe I was responsible for the best team name of the event. More on that later. Colon Bee itself is an above average moniker, but it’s all irrelevant now since we’re a household name like Phoenix Foundation or Lester Smerling. Once a name achieves a measure of ubiquity, people pay little heed to the words themselves. For proof of that, think of all the times you or someone you love has said “Freshmaker” with a straight face.


1337-187 – I’m gonna throw a curveball to 95% of you and state that I like this team name. Online 1337-speak is delightfully anachronistic, with a rich boutique of campiness and nuances of self-mocking. Set the time capsule for 1998, and take a wond’rous journey with Chris, Jeremy, and Tim.


2-7 off-suit – *cracks knuckles* Welcome to harsh reality, guys. If you want to know my stance on poker references, the answer is inside your oven. Simply turn the oven on, stick your head inside, and stare in the top right corner until you see the magic picture. As to the members of this team, I would like to send your parents my condolences for wasting their efforts. You three are probably their most meaningful contribution to the world, and “2-7 off-suit” is the fruit of your labor. The future is not promising.


46 & 2 – my SHAAAADOOW!!!!nsldjfnd


7:25 – Let me check my watch…yup, there’s still time to come up with a team name that isn’t asinine. I still have a mild obsession with 10:24, but at least I have the tact not to name a team that.


A Tribute to Poison – Very nice work. It’s a name that suggests a group of people, and it’s not lacking in the “tone” or “content” departments. This name gets a solid B, if not a B+.


Age Discrepancy – Good work, Team One of Us Is Older Than the Other Two. Oh yeah, bang-up job, The Thing We Have in Common is That We’re Not All the Same Age. Very cutting edge, members of We Weren’t All Born the Same Year.


Appollo Clubber and Dango – Why do I get the distinct feeling that I’d loathe this name if I knew the meaning behind it? I’m also sure there’s a very good reason “Appollo” is spelled like that.


Arrest Artest I don’t like this name for the same reason I don’t like most drug references. This alludes to a current event with which about everyone in our age group is familiar, hence providing an instant, effortless icebreaker. “Yo, dude, did you hear about Ron Artest? Yeah, man, that was some effed up shizzle. Wanna go to the bar?”


Black – Ambiguous and, naturally, dark. It could be an inside joke of some sort, but it seems open to multiple interpretations. Elegant in its simplicity. All in all, a solid name.


Brock’s Bottom I seem to be skipping a lot of names because they seem to be passable but not exciting. I don’t care for this name because it’s an attempt at a clever spin on something that was already a clever spin. Brockbottom was a very good team name, but this one’s kinda lacking. It is a decent play on the pre-existing name, but I don’t think it holds well as a team name itself. It’s similar in quality to the quality of writing in this paragraph, basically. And just so Hoaen doesn’t get too mad, I would like to mention that I once lost a match to him in MMD where I played turn 3 Troll Ascetic, turn 4 Glissa in 2 of 3 games.


Buck O’Five – See entry for “Appollo Clubber and Dango.” But, you know, without the heckling of the spelling of Apollo.


Bum Fight Krew – If this had been spelled with a C and I were in the right mood at the time, I could see giving this a good mark. As it stands, though, they crossed the line. Typically, changing C’s to K’s or end of word S’s to Z’s is not the correct play.


Captain Oblivious – This one’s not bad. Probably an inside reference, but it certainly stands well on its own. If my assumptions are correct, then this is proof that you can allude to something only a select few people know about without torpedoing your team name ship like I just torpedoed this entry with one of the worst metaphors I can even fathom. If my assumptions are incorrect, then I hope I get hit by a bus.


CCR – Phew. We were already down to the letter C and no one had run the “Hey, guys! You know what would be great? What if we named the team after our initials?!” yet. I was starting to get worried that the world at large had somehow obtained a touch of class which would hence threaten my job. If this is your first offense, I can allot you the tiniest smattering of forgiveness since you didn’t know any better. If you ever do it again, I’m going to hold a gun to your head and make you sign the lease to my apartment so that you’ll get asked hourly whether you’ve seen the life-changing movies “Corrina Corrina” and “Sister Act 2.”


Check Minus – Check plus in my book.


City of Compton – I couldn’t possibly come close to giving this a fair appraisal because I’m such a giant fan of Mike Abraham. If he can manage not to OD or end up in jail, he’ll probably become famous in the near future, for his rapping or otherwise. He just needs a manager to exploit….er to help him realize his true potential. Durf durferoo.


Clair Jordan – I already mentioned my thoughts on this one. They lucked into a B+ or possibly A-minus on the sheer fortune of having those surnames and thinking about them when they named their team. P.S. Paul Jordan LOL.


Crsimakah – I dno’t remember what show this wsa from, and it mya be a funny reference, but it jsut doesn’t sound like a team name.


D.P.S. – Stunning work once again, guys. Maybe iff you kick Peter off the team, your thought-provoking, original naming process will yield apter results.


Daddy No! – Nice, nice.


Desperate Housewives – I would love this one, Ervin, if it weren’t RECYCLED. You can’t use the same name over again unless you have the same team, or unless you’re Rodman and the team name in question is Rodman Team.


Digger Nick – Are you kidding me? This one actually made it past the censors? Mind-boggling.


Don, Sam, and Omid – I don’t know what to say about this one. If they’re trying to be clever, they failed horrendously, but if they simply couldn’t think of a team name, I suppose this makes a better default than using just their initials or calling themselves Team Two ____s and a ______.


Drop it like it’s hot! – May wanna drop this team name like it’s hot. If you want to reference music, put a little more effort in than just writing in a song name. Single out a choice passage from the song. If you could somehow write down that clicking thing that Pharrell does, that name would be awesome. I have no idea how one would go about doing that, though.


Each Hit – I came up with this one, and Krumb at some point improved it to Each Hit and I. It’s quite sophomoric and also probably shouldn’t have gotten around the censors. If anyone had at any point said the name aloud, that woulda been. It would have been nice if they had gotten a feature match.


Edible Breakfast Products – No.


Elevator Dilemmas – This one looks like it’s probably pretty stupid, but since Gary Quinn came up with it (I assume), there’s probably a funny anecdote behind it. GQ is secretly one of the top 10 funniest gamers.


Eugene Has Hat – Skipping sooooo many entries. People are getting better. Not these guys, though. Eugene Levin wore a stupid hat to the Grand Prix, and then they decided on this abysmal complete sentence team name to commemorate the momentous occasion. Can you imagine if I had named a team Tim Has Medal? People get eccentric when they get their first taste of success. Not only did I wear a tie to Pro Tour San Diego 2002, but I also wore a stupid earflap hat nearly identical to the one ELevin had on to the first PTQ I played in after winning regionals in 2001. Maybe it’s just my desire to have everyone conform to my sometimes-arbitrary-sometimes-not standards, but I think these guys should have been named Finger ELevin.


Fellowship of the Clamp – It references a Magic card, but it’s so ridiculously dorky, hopefully intentionally so, that I have to give it a begrudging half-hearted thumbs-up.


Freaks of the Industry – See, this is what I’m talking about. There’s nothing wrong with this team name. I can’t belittle it. I bet if the team names were worse I would have been motivated to write a tournament report.


Gindy’s Sister Fan Club – Think you used this one already, BFA. I expect better from you, even if you’re only 7 years old. Incidentally, “Fan Club” is officially on the “banned words and phrases” list for good team names.


Girls Girls Girls – Greg Lowe is awesome.


GP Chicago Champions – That’s quite the misnomer, there, Gerard. Sure woulda been cute if you’d won, though. Gotta give yourself that vote of confidence heading into a tournament.


Gratuitous Poker Reference – Just dandy. The last name having anything to do with poker anyone will ever need. No seriously. This was a fine team name, but if anyone else mentions poker in a team name in any context, I’m going to feed you to my tarantula. Catch that reference? Anyone?


Hareeb al Saq All-Stars – “All-Stars” is on the list with “Fan Club.” It’s tempting to fall into that trap, I know.


I Don’t Care – You also didn’t make money. I’ll say it again, man. If you don’t put any thought into your team name, you aren’t going to win. I don’t think there’s a causal link between the two; I think instead that both team name quality and team results are products of the same factor. If you and your teammates are cunning and work well together, you’ll not only come up with a good team name, but you’ll probably also have success in team limited. I should stop being so mean to stupid people. They can’t help it. (I’m not calling this team in particular stupid; I’m guessing they fall under the category of “don’t care.” Just a hunch). Ah, well. Try this exercise. Scan the draft room for the dumbest nickname you can find, then look at the person’s rating. Unfortunately, the complimentary “look for a good name” tactic doesn’t work, since some people put all their efforts into coming up with a good name and subsequently forget how to tap their lands properly.


Josh Day Loves Pudding – I can appreciate this team name since I know Josh Day, and he is a funny, funny man. Nonetheless, most people don’t know him, and this is a complete sentence, so as TBulge knows by now, I have to give this name a D. For the PTQ, he switched to a Josh Day reference that can stand on its own, Triple Delicious. For more information on the fabled Triple Delicious, please talk to Cavedan.


Knights Who Say Nee – If anyone can come up with a more obvious reference to a dorkier movie than this, I will eat a pair of EFro’s underwear (while it’s in use).


MP3 – Please tell me there’s more to this than that Mike Pustilnik is on your team and there are 3 of you. Regardless, this falls under the “license plate taboo.” If it sounds like a late-90s pop punk act, it ain’t a team name.


Nacho!Nacho!Nacho! – Start with a random item of food. Banal at best. Repeat it twice more and add exclamation points? Sheer. Gold. I know it’s hard to tell, especially with my inconsistency, so I’ll spell it out for you. THAT WAS SARCASM. THIS NAME IS AN EMETIC.


Never Undervalue Good Spells – That’s solid advice. I think I’ll name my team Don’t Major in Psychology Then Move to Albany For a Year Instead of Going to Grad School. Here’s the catch with this name, though. While the name is pretty pointless, its initials do spell out “NUGS.” If that was intentional, this team name passes. Otherwise, it fails. We’ll never know. This reminds me of when I was pushing to name a team A Final Indignity.


Nogstraordinary – Nog? Hulluh?


OMG! RTFC Id10T! – See entry for 1337-187. But don’t try it at home. These guys have already done it, so you’ll have to think of something groundbreaking on your own.


Portly Washboy – Very nice. I love team names with absurd or foolish imagery, like this or Sweaty Ballerina.


Pot Committed – My pride and joy, and with all due humility, my vote for best new team name of the GP. This name ostensibly has two strikes against it, but I think the multiple levels of interpretation here, especially when taking the team members into account, more than makes up for any negatives.


Project GS – Project DS if ya ask me.


Rather Play WoW – Rather drop dead if ya ask me.


Red Neck Wins – Masterful. Good work, Bill. Yeah, I met Bill Stark at the GP, and rather than some sycophant PT-wannabe, he actually seemed pretty cool. For a dork. You know what I mean. Regardless, I’d like to apologize once more for formulating ill-conceived presumptions about the man. I do that sometimes. For its clever and relevant play on words this team gets an A-.


Red Team Wins – A poor attempt at a play on the deck name, this looks even more pathetic next to the strictly superior Red Neck Wins. Bill kept with the rhyme scheme and poked fun at his Iowa citizenship. These guys just swapped in an arbitrary word. No, it wouldn’t make it better if they were all wearing red.


Re-elect Mayer Daley – As I said during our feature match, this is a respectable name if they are actually avid supporters of the Mayor, but pretty lame otherwise. Having some sort of political agenda in a team name is functional, like naming a team after the website that sponsored you. It’s not funny, but team names don’t have to be. If this was a joke, I hate it, especially since it’s a complete sentence. To be honest, I don’t really know whether Daley is the Mayor of Chicago still, or if he ever was, or if it’s spelled correctly or anything since I’m a retard in the realm of politics, so I’m just gonna chut up for now.


RTFDJ with Mr. T – EATPOOP with Mr. AndDie.


Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author] – It’s rare that a Magic card name actually works, but I think this one does since it could also, obviously, refer to these people being from “Scrubland,” hence referring to them as “scrubs.” A little lame for my tastes, but it’s certainly passable.


Smug, Snobby, and Arrogant – Apparently, this is an allusion to something I said about the Canadian populace in general at GP: Austin. I assume this to be somewhat self-parodic as well as something of a diss/prop to me and/or America. Truth be told, I’ll never really know what those smug, arrogant bastards are really thinking.


Stoned Slackers – How can they permit the word “stoned” in a team name? Children read that website, man. If you insist on referencing drugs since they’re so darn cool, there are better ways to do it. One of the aforementioned names would be an example.


TB INC. – TB is right. Man is this getting tedious. From the looks of things, we’re almost at the part where a buncha morons start off their team name with the word “team.” That bottle of Nyquil is looking better by the second.


Team 66 – I guess “Team 65” was already taken. AAAAAAAAAAAAhahhahaha. BAaaaaaaahahahaha. BaaaahCOUGH COUGH COUGH HACK HACK COUGH.


Team Caffeine – First, nice word “Team.” Second, yeah, no one else here is a caffeine addict. Gamers don’t drink Mountain Dew or anything. Why stop there, though? Let’s bring out alllll the tired “gamer” cliches. At the next event, I want there to be a Team Don’t Have Girlfriends, a Team What’s a Shower, and a Team Star Wars, bare minimum.


Team Strangers – Look. If you’re so sad that you’re going to show up to a team event without an actual team, at least have a good name at your disposal. People will respect you for it, and I promise you will win at least $2,000 each. I remember at a Question Mark thingie at Origins fifty billion years ago, myself and Lee McLain needed a third for the trivia contest. We found some long-haired hippie space cadet who seemed to know his stuff. When we were brainstorming team names, he produced some sort of fox figurine and suggested that we be Team Fox. Speechless but undaunted, I overrode any protests and dubbed the team Team Flores. I was young then, so I didn’t know about the then-unspoken “Team” faux pas, but as you can see, I was still one classy individual.


The Alliance – Booooorrring.


The Fighting Mongooses – Funny-sounding animals are sooooooo 5th grade.


The Freeman Five – This is fine if not overused. There’s only three people on the team, but they have “five” in the name. You know, like, with Ben Folds? I think?


The Max Fischer Players – Still the best.


The Sofa Kings – I don’t get it. I must be as stupid as the Sofa Kings. Yeah, I must be Sofa-King stupid. You morons. Is this or is this not the oldest gag on the planet? This is pathetic on the level of “Why is six afraid of seven?” Although…hm. Now that I think about it, I’d like to hear Gerard tell that joke to the Japanese this weekend.


Three Came Down Two Go Home – I certainly hope this indicates some form of seppuku. I don’t know any of these people, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick Edd Black because I can’t say I care for the extra D in his name. I don’t watch the Cartoon Network show Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy, so I don’t know for sure whether it’s awful, but I find it completely deplorable that whatever douchebag was pitching that show successfully got in on the premise that the three major characters all have virtually the same name but not quite.


Voracious Cobra – Hron? A Magic card name? C’mon.


Walking on Moonshine – This name is still good too.


Watermelon Chicken & Grits – Joshua X Claytor is hands down the blackest person I’ve ever met.


We Paid How Much for Parking – I can only hope that it was so much that you could no longer afford food and hence starved to death on a Rosemont, IL street corner.


Who’s Boseiju? – Unless I’m mistaken, he’s the chap that shelters all. Y’all get an F for effort.


Win or Lose – Lose.


World Police – Timely pop culture reference, sounds like a team name, no complaints here.


WoW FDD – Wow is right.


This probably wasn’t nearly as inspired as my previous efforts, but those were when people were less familiar with the rules. Plus I get worse and worse at writing with each passing “Have you seen You GOT Mail?” Now it just feels like I’m shamelessly making fun of people. Just remember: If you were insulted, I was kidding.


*I haven’t lost my masterful power of segue. Ying.


**It’s really somewhere in the twenties. (Ted: Is there any way/need to put some sort of disclaimer that I’m not really bragging about my pro points? Do you think people would understand the tone? Is it worth changing it for the handful of readers who see it and go “I’m never reading anything by this cocky bastard again? What are the odds that you just leave this personal note to you in the article itself? Would that solve the problem, or is it too cutesy and contrived? Holla back at me). [Woo, Woo. – Knut]


***And believe me, it was mastery.


****No, I’m not saying to take this over Glacial Ray.