Understanding in a MODO Crash: An Affinity For Self-Hatred

When people evaluate cards for drafting Mirrodin, they often go astray because they consider the best possible scenario. Broodstar is a prime example of this phenomenon. It is not a 10/10 for two mana; it is not an automatic first pick. It is more likely a 4/4 flier for six mana, even in an artifact heavy deck. Sometimes you’ll scowl at your board of an artifact land and a Yotian Soldier as you play your splashy 2/2 flier; other times you’ll Lightning Greaves up a 14/14 and smash for the win on the sixth turn. Like the Archmage, its usefulness hinges on the number of artifacts at your disposal, so draft accordingly. If you’re Blue, you’ll probably want to snag it.

I stepped off the bus with no personal effects save the empty guitar case on my back and the $1.73 jangling in my pocket. Scant winds rustled the carpet of leaves on the sidewalk in front of the orchestra house, as the self-important collegiate body marched in all directions to change the world – or at least score some cheap beer and Ramen noodles. I glanced toward the infamous”corner of altruism” by the bus stop, and it did not disappoint. Today’s social agenda: Save the Immigrants.

Trite postmodern industrial rock lyrics flooded into my head. I was grateful that the usual suspects had a cause to pursue to allow them to remain out of society’s productive flow, but I was in no position to give the immigrants more than a passing thought. I had my own problems, real problems to deal with…and not just the asinine preoccupations of carbohydrate counting or not being Aryan enough.

My trained feet had soon found the way back to room 213. After some small degree of exertion, the key turned in the lock, and the door swung open to reveal the familiar squalor: Scattered papers, an unhealthy layer of dust, dirty Nirvana t-shirts, empty bottles, and leftover boxes filled with Styrofoam. Home sweet home, indeed. I would have to relegate my deep-seated problems to the back of my mind for a few hours. There was work to be done.

I perched on my crusty, stained ottoman and began to type. I despise moonlighting as a writer for some big, important web site, but as the King says, gambling debts don’t repay themselves. It was thankless work to be sure, but I was in no position to judge whether I should resent my relative worth, my station in society.”It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.” Somehow, reassuring cliches have lost their power of catharsis.

1. Vedalken Archmage

So I got an interesting e-mail in response to my last article from a Mr. Ken Bearl (1). He asked me if I had some sort of bet with Gerry Thompson (2) as to how many Minnesota gamers I could reference in one article. Ha ha ha. What a card. No, Ken, but if I had, I’m sure it would look a little something like this.

Oh, right – the Archmage. For a one-time investment of four mana, you have the potential to generate overwhelming card advantage. For this to be a windmill-slam first pick, you just need to make sure you’re playing enough artifacts (probably ten or more) and that you can stay alive long enough to capitalize on your gains. If your opponent doesn’t remove this before the artifacts start hitting the table, he will be in a rather tough spot.

This is a combo with Nuisance Engine, in that when you cast Nuisance Engine, you draw one card. That’s right – it’s”when you play,” so it doesn’t count artifact lands and the like. And it’s not optional.

2. Looming Hoverguard

Even in a fledgling format, it’s beyond me why I’ve seen these go as late as 7th. This thing is more ridiculous than the Brian(3)-and-Paul-Ziegler(4)-barning done by one Matt Johnson (5) in the forums of my last article.

First of all, it’s a 3/3 flier. Evasion wins games, and with all the acceleration, this will often come down on turn 5 or sooner. Second, because it’s a Person of Color, it can block Tel-Jilad Etceteras and cannot be killed by Shatter, Deconstruct, or the like. It’s too big to kill with Electrostatic Bolt or Pyrite Spellbomb. And lastly, let’s not forget about the comes-into-play ability. Your opponent must skip his next draw step and spend mana to replay his artifact, amounting to a Time Walk for you and making it that much harder for him to deal with the 3/3 flier. It’s a huge tempo play in the mid-game, removing a choice blocker or making an opponent recast and re-equip a piece of flair. A more than respectable first pick.

3. Crystal Shard

The Shards are playable in any color, but the reduction of their activation cost to a single mana improves them significantly. This means that if you aren’t blue, you probably won’t be seeing this. The threat of its activation means your opponent must leave one or two mana open at all times; if he leaves a single land up, you can attempt to bounce a creature he controls at end of turn, untap, and successfully bounce it on your turn. The turn you play it, your opponent may be tapped out as a result of not knowing it was coming, so you will often get a free Man-o’-War effect. This isn’t even the best use of the card, though.

While your opponent is stepping lightly to avoid being punished by the Shard, you can freely bounce any one of your creatures – with damage on the stack, or in response to removal – for a single mana. If you have a lovely, abusable, comes-into-play ability like Viridian Shaman or Duplicant, this becomes a little too sick. Many games can be won in this format by capitalizing on the synergy of two powerful cards (like this and the Shaman, or Spikeshot and Bonesplitter), so be on the lookout for these combinations, as they can help you break a tie between an otherwise rough pick.

4. Domineer

This uncommon Control Magic spinoff is yet another reason why you should consider a high count of colored creatures. Since this isn’t always feasible, Domineer is basically a combination of Clone and Shatter for the low, low cost of 1UU. Your opponent never wants this played against him, whether you’re snatching their turn 2 mana Myr on your third turn or gaining control of a Platinum Angel or Clockwork Dragon. If no Regresses or Elf Replicas are on hand for this juicy, succulent peach, the game will be over faster than you can say Erik Elm (6).

5. Quicksilver Elemental

The Elemental provides a sizeable body for a reasonable price, and its ability is good for using up your late game mana. I’ve seen this guy pump itself using Clockwork Vorrac’s ability, shoot things for three damage using Spikeshot’s ability, regenerate using Tel-Jilad Exile’s ability… You get the point.

In a recent game, Jason Opalka had a Quicksilver Elemental and the choice of an ability from the following cards: Viridian Joiner, Lumengrid Augur, Viridian Longbow, and Lodestone Myr. If there are no utility creatures on the board, just swing away.

I went a little overboard on the examples, there, huh? What else can you really say about this card, though? I just needed to give you some idea of what this guy’s capable of.

Will I provide an exhaustive list of Things You May Imprint on Soul Foundry once I get to”artifacts”? You bet your sweet bippy* I will.

6. Broodstar

So I was talking with Iain Telfer on AIM the other day (so much for my street cred), and he told me something interesting that Mark Rosewater told him: When people evaluate cards, they often go astray because they consider the best possible scenario. Broodstar is a prime example of this phenomenon. It is not a 10/10 for two mana; it is not an automatic first pick. It is more likely a 4/4 flier for six mana, even in an artifact heavy deck. Sometimes you’ll scowl at your board of an artifact land and a Yotian Soldier as you play your splashy 2/2 flier; other times you’ll Lightning Greaves up a 14/14 and smash for the win on the sixth turn. Like the Archmage, its usefulness hinges on the number of artifacts at your disposal, so draft accordingly. If you’re blue, you’ll probably want to snag it.

7. Neurok Spy

Most of the time, this is completely unblockable, making it an annoying clock for your opponent. He has three options when you play this card: kill it, race it, or lose. Clearly, it gets even better with equipment. Sure, it can’t block fliers, but like David W. McElhattan (false alarm – he’s from Ohio), blocking is not this guy’s job. I value this above Somber Hoverguard because it comes down as fast (or faster, usually) than the Hoverguard and is much harder to block.

8. Somber Hoverguard

The Hoverguard, of course, is a quality pick as well. You may remember him from the ShatterIron MyrBonesplitterSomber Hoverguard common run. Even as a 3/2 flier for six, this guy warrants inclusion in most blue decks. Thankfully, it’s almost never going to cost that much. Sometimes you’ll be able to play it on turn 3 just by having a mana Myr and an artifact land. If I were more of a whiner, I’d waste your time and mine by complaining about how this dies to Pyrite Spellbomb and Electrostatic Bolt, but fortunately for everyone involved, I’m not.

9. Lumengrid Augur

Coming in ninth place, like Justin Bing (7) at a Grand Prix, is Lumengrid Augur. This is a difficult card to assess, as its power depends on the goal of your deck and the composition of your opponent’s. The Augur thrives on the long game. It seems like every time I have this out, I’m getting my ass handed to me by a flying cat with an axe. Barring this scenario, the enhancement of card quality will greatly assist your cause, which I can only assume includes winning the game. You don’t really need a lot of artifacts to make the Augur worthwhile; unless you’re desperate for an answer to somethingorother, you can be perfectly content with drawing a card then discarding a land every turn. This would be worse in a blue/white tempo-oriented equipment sort of deck. Even then, you can always Scimitar it up and bash!!

10. Thirst for Knowledge

Since I’m hoping you haven’t forgotten everything about limited in the months since my last series of articles, it should go without saying that this is not an ideal turn three play. In the midgame, when you and your opponent are at parity, this can give you that game-winning edge.** As Mister Eisel said, this format isn’t all about tempo. Well, neither was Onslaught block – otherwise, Rush of Knowledge wouldn’t have been worth the paper it was printed on – but the point is, this block is less about tempo than last block. Reusable effects, seven-mana two-for-ones, and yes, card drawers are quite strong in the world of Mirrodin.

11. Annul

This card is in fact overrated. Hopefully my wise and attractive editor, whomever that may be, will link you to Mister Eisel’s article so you can read what he had to say. (Oh that Tim Aten, he’s such a flatterer. Check that; if Ferrett had edited this article it would have been flattery, but since it’s me, he’s merely an astute observer of the masculine form – Knut) If not, let me sum it up and add my own comments.

First, I really wouldn’t want to play more than two in any deck. Second, it’s clearly not as good as Shatter and Deconstruct, since you don’t have to constantly keep mana up with those and can kill a problem artifact at any time, not just the turn it’s played. That said, Annul is a one-mana solution to many problems you will encounter in this format. There are few things more breathtaking than countering a turn 2 mana Myr with this… Except maybe countering a Loxodon Warhammer or Oblivion Stone. I think the best use for this is countering Artifact Lands, since it is totally illegal and will get you banned from the DCI like Sai Cha (8), meaning there’s one less player standing between myself and PT glory.

Respite remains an elusive concept for the starving artist. Even after the last accursed word is written, even after the last stinging droplet is siphoned from the bottom of the bottle, the thoughts remain. Every night I pray to whatever higher power is deemed fashionable, if plausible, that my dreams are reality and life is the nightmare, as though I could somehow muster the capability to recognize the distinction.

With my civic obligations met, my mind was cleared, allowing the events of the night previous to resume their position. Sure, the girl was young, but I couldn’t get it out of my consciousness that perhaps there was something amiss with my friend. Maybe all the years of solitude and abandonment finally started messing with his head, and he could no longer tell up from down or black from white. After I dropped him off at his mom’s house, I wondered how soon it would be before his intentions became explicit. I surely didn’t want to be there when it happened.

It had been hours. I needed to get out.”People die in places like this,” I continued to tell myself. Sometimes a solemn mantra isn’t quite enough. Existential anguish is a powerful, unforgiving muse. The day was already a wash, anyway. There was no reason to postpone the work.

12. Fatespinner

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not easily influenced by the opinions of others. It comes with the territory of being completely worthless. But it’s hard to gauge this one too, since I haven’t seen it in play very often, and I end up hate drafting it a lot since I know people should be taking it higher than they do. Its body is negligible, but its ability is rather useful.

Since Mister Eisel just talked about this (sigh), I don’t need to say too much. Keep in mind that as long as this is in play, if your opponent wants to both equip something and attack with it in the same turn, he’s going to have to skip his draw. While you get to draw a card, play creatures, and attack, your opponent only gets the choice of two of the three. Nick”Beverly” Lynn attested to the power of this when discussing his deck in the PTQ where he bought me out in the finals. The more decisions a card forces your opponent to make, the better it is, especially against inferior opponents. Since most people in PTQs won’t be as good as Nate Siftar (9, Limited rating – 1899), you’ll be able to have a field day with this one.

13. Silver Myr

I’m tempted to sing an AFI song here, but I’m sure y’all want to hear that as much as you want to see Tim Bulger (10) naked, so I’ll dispense with it. Because of Affinity, Blue is one of the colors that wants mana Myrs the most. Looming Hoverguard comes down one turn earlier, Somber Hoverguard comes down two turns earlier; you can tap it for mana early and equip it later on. Since the more powerful spells cost more mana (head point a la Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead), if you can play your expensive spells before your opponent, you have a better chance of winning.

It’s that simple.

Oh, and if you have enough Myrs and Talismans (two to four, depending), you can play sixteen or even fifteen land, increasing your threat count and explosiveness. Wow wow wowee.

14. Cobalt Golem

How boring. This may be the most average card in the set. It is a 2/3 for four mana, and it can get evasion, although paying two mana every turn is irritating. I guess since it’s so mundane, you can sort of use it as a benchmark. If your opponent doesn’t mind seeing this, his deck’s probably pretty good; if you can tell that he’s struggling with it, his deck’s probably bad.

15. Wizard Replica

It flies and it has three toughness. For these reasons, it’s not terrible even if you aren’t blue. Being blue is just icing on the gravy, since sometimes your opponent will be forced to play key spells several turns late because of the threat of its activation. Cobalt Golem beat this out because of the fact that one-a-turn isn’t an appreciable clock. Remember, evasion is good, especially with equipment, and it’s sort of rare in this format. Blah blah blah. Next card.

16. Aether Spellbomb

These go pretty late, which may be a testament to the distaste for Blue at a given table. Since Mirrodin isn’t available on Magic Online until next Easter, I only have experience with this set in the context of my store in Ohio, just like Corey Ferguson (11) only has experience with it in Godknowswhere, Minnesota, so it’s hard to tell how late you’ll see this in your area. Depends on how steep the learning curve is.

Anyway, this helps toward Affinity and can assist in your quest for temporal advantage. Bounce your guy with damage on the stack or in response to removal, bounce your Domineered creature, bounce the opponent’s lone blocker to get in a quick eight damage… The key thing to remember is”bounce.” Don’t be afraid to cycle this if you don’t have any action. Using this to save yourself one attack from a Neurok Spy hardly seems like a good use of a card.

17. Inertia Bubble

I don’t remember correctly, but I don’t believe Mister Eisel mentioned this one in his”underrated cards” section. It can serve as an Arrest on an Artifact creature, and it provides a blue answer to pesky on-the-board artifacts like Icy Manipulator and the Shards. It doesn’t do anything against some artifacts (such as equipment), and it can be removed with a bounce spell or enchantment removal (even though these are both scarce) so I certainly wouldn’t maindeck more than two. There’s no reason for these to be going fourteenth.

18. Wanderguard Sentry

See what I said earlier about People of Color, and also see what Mister Eisel said about this card. Basically, what it boils down to is that a Blue 3/3 for five mana is much less fragile than an artifact 3/3 for five mana. A healthy dollop of colored creatures will ensure that you don’t lose to Needlebugs and Tel-Jilad Archers. Just don’t overdo it; in other words, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re losing to Dross Prowler either. Balance is key. Lastly, looking at the opponent’s hand, even though it’s not likely to contain many cards, can provide worthwhile information.

19. Thoughtcast

I was never too thrilled with this card, as it only nets you a single card. I remember being incredulous to the point of frenzy*** when I read Brian David-Marshall glowing review of this for Limited. It’s mediocre, and it’s even prone to getting cut in an Affinity-oriented deck.

Since that’s pretty much all I have to say about the Cast, I should take this time to say a few other things. Yes, my Mirrodin articles are shaping up to be daunting – long and convoluted wrapped up into one. But they’re not bad, I hope. You just need to read them multiple times from many different computers to make sure you don’t miss anything. Oh, and James Beltz (12), Steve Simon (13), Brent Heaser (14). You think that’s cheating? Tough. You don’t make the rules.

20. Regress

This card begs comparison to Aether Spellbomb. Regress has more surprise value and can bounce any permanent, but the Spellbomb is slightly cheaper and is an artifact for Affinity, Krark-Clan Grunt, Nim Lasher, and the like. In the end, the main consideration was that Aether Spellbomb can cycle if it isn’t useful at a given point. In this format, that’s the sort of edge a card needs to move from the margins into the maindeck. Again, like the noble Awe Strike, this card will have its days in the sun. It’s a perfectly respectable maindeck if your deck is tempo oriented or if you came up a bit short during the draft… Or if you have twelve Viridian Shamans. (Shamen? Does anyone care?)

21. Assert Authority

In the early game, this is naturally worthless. It’s also purely reactive and reliant on you having mana up when your opponent plays a crucial spell. That said, Assert Authority can deal with just about every card in the format; it’s a nice li’l catchall. Ideally, you’ll have several artifacts in play, so you can go about your business while only leaving a few mana up each turn. I might as well again stress that it’s probably not a good idea to refrain from adding creatures to the table to save mana for this unless you have a solid premonition that your opponent is about to drop something horrible on yo’ ass. From”premonition” to quasi-Ebonics. Let us boldly shape a new millennium where consistent diction is a thing of the past.

22. Lumengrid Sentinel

Oh, what a difference a point of toughness makes. Granted, another reason you must take Wizard Replica higher is that there’s more demand for it, but I digress. Even one-power evasion men are passable in this format, but they aren’t too exciting. (I hate using that word, but you can’t just keep using”good” and”bad” over and over).

Drafting and playing this card will all come down to synergy. If you have Nuisance Engine or Pentavus, the ability becomes abusable. If you have a decent number of artifacts and your deck is aggressive, you can settle into a pattern of”play an artifact, tap your blocker, attack.” Also, your opponent must be cautious about when he plays artifacts, so that’s good. Unfortunately, this guy doesn’t do enough on his own. That’s bad. I may be underrating this card since its ability creates a complex dynamic. That would also be bad.

I was stirred from my unwavering fervor by a knock at the door. Gently nursing the lacerations on my tongue from remnants of the illness, I crept silently toward the source of the disruption. It was almost certainly the landlord. I mustered an excuse and an apologetic expression as I opened the door. I was really going to have to sell it.

My moment of panic was for naught. The door swung open, casting light on McBoob and Money. Was it the ninth already?

“I see you’ve finally decided to invest in maid service,” McBoob smirked. Considering the ever-dwindling list of certainties in life, it was nice that one could still count on inane, sarcastic commentary. Based on the presentability of her domicile, she was really in no position to critique.

I just shook my head.”What time’s the concert again?”


Interpol was in town. Interpol was always in town. For some reason it seemed that McBoob got to pick who we saw with an alarming frequency. She’d be in her element, as usual, but Money and I would probably sequester ourselves at the back of the club, watching the other concert-goers sip chai and just plain look like the disaffected menchildren of the 21st century. Truth be told, it would beat the Hell out of another night of Leno and sleeping pills.

23. Neurok Familiar

Naturally, this card is deck-dependent. So’s everything else. Here are the optimal conditions under which to play this:

First, you’d like a high”hit” rate. That means a lot of artifacts, ideally including some artifact lands. Second, you’d like some equipment. Evasion is good, but one damage per turn is a little slow, so this li’l birdie could use some help. Third, as mediocre as this is as an attacker, it’s an even worse blocker. You’d prefer this in more aggressive decks (unless you have eighteen or more artifacts, in which case it could be considered”card advantage”).

And if the name Shaz Iqbal (15) is”familiar” to you…you may be from Minnasoter. Ha ha ha killmenow. Or as Brian Ziegler would say,”omg die.” I’m not going to count duplicate references. That would be cheating.

24. Seat of the Synod

Basically, if your deck wants artifacts, and you don’t need any more”filler” spells, snatch these up like Josh Day (16) snatched up G$’s Magic Online accounts. If you’re at a reasonable pace to have enough cards for your deck, this becomes a considerably higher pick. For cards that are dependent on artifacts, like Neurok Familiar, Myr Incubator, and Atog (aren’t lists fun?) artifact lands help you achieve a higher artifact density than you could with artifact spells alone. As long as you have a handful of cards that benefit from artifact quantity, there’s no reason not to run these. Be careful when you play them, though. If you’re land light, for instance, save them for later in case a savvy opponent decides to Shatter one. In my now-legendary Double-Incubator, Double-Tog deck, I had six artifact lands. Ask me about that deck sometime.

25. Fabricate

Sure, the format isn’t about tempo, but I’d like some really good targets for this before I’m willing to spend the time and effort. Cobalt Golems and Bottle Gnomes ain’t cuttin’ it. This makes good cards better, basically, since you increase your chances of getting to play them – if you have a Warhammer or a Pentavus, this may warrant inclusion in your deck. Since a person would need to a) be Blue and b) have a few first-pick caliber artifacts to play this, the demand for it is low, and you should get it fairly late.

26. Lumengrid Warden

I regret to inform you that I have played this card in a”money” draft. I use the term loosely since it was only a”pack replacement draft,” per se, against Mark”Cameron Frye” Zajdner and John”Finally a Relevant MN Gamer Reference” Pelcak (17). We won. Anyway, this card is cheap and blocks all the Tel-Jilad men. It blocks a lot of unequipped things. Maybe I’m not giving this enough credit either…I just can’t see myself being happy to run a 1/3 vanilla man. I suppose if it looks like your deck has problems with the aforementioned pro artifact creatures, you should take this higher.

27. Psychic Membrane

The same applies to this. Except it can’t attack and costs more. If your opponent has several 2/2s, this may deter an attack where the Warden wouldn’t, but I think any distinction between the two would be meaningless.

28. Override

Except in the most dedicated artifact decks, this is far too situational to see play. Basically, it asks if your opponent has fewer untapped lands than you have artifacts. There’s no point in the game where this is especially likely, and at the points where it is, you’d rather be developing the board. Ah, the failings of situational counters in Limited Magic.

29. March of the Machines

I love talking about the real stinkers. Okay, let’s tear this one apart.

This is a symmetric effect, meaning your opponent could benefit more than you. Many of your artifacts will be creatures and hence unaffected. Those that aren’t creatures are probably there for some utility reason, not to be beaters. In a few decks, you’ll be able to surprise people with a huge attack. Or you could be Sneaky Sneakerson and side this in against equipment-heavy decks and/or decks with many artifact lands. Bonesplitter ain’t so hot when it’s a 1/1 barn that can’t attach to any hulls.

30. Proteus Staff

This card is very slow, and its effect is erratic. You can attack and then put your tapped creature at the bottom for a fresh one… But that’s a stretch. It may only be played at sorcery speed, so there’s very little potential for trickery. If someone tries to use this at instant speed, make sure to riot like Mike Abraham (18) and get ’em banned. Far too many active players out there today…

So yeah, if you have no other answer to Platinum Angel than forestalling the inevitable, side this in. I suppose you could even maindeck this if your deck allows you enough time to turn it into a one-sided Oath of Druids. Even then, sometimes you simply won’t have a creature to work with. Maybe there are more decks that have the mana to get the engine running than I’m assuming. Let me know in the forums or whatnot.

31. Shared Fate

This isn’t dead last because I once encouraged Kyle Boddy to side this in since he had no answers to Platinum Angel. He could hope to either draw the Angel or something to kill it. I won’t discount this as completely worthless since, once it’s in play, there are a few turns’ grace where neither player can do much of anything (except play spells already in his hand); perhaps you could get a board advantage then lay this sick li’l puppy out there. Probably not.

32. Slith Strider

This costs you three mana and a delay to draw a card when it runs into your opponent’s Omega Myr and dies. One of the worst creatures in the set. Something’s horribly wrong if this thing ever gets to grow.

33. Disarm

Is it a creature? Is it equipment? Is it removal? No? Okay, then. If your opponent has gobs of equipment (which is more than a”smattering” but not necessarily more than”scads”), side this in if you think you can get a creature with it. A last resort.

34. Dream’s Grip

In one of the many ironies of Magic: the Gathering, an Extended powerhouse (I guess) is chaff in Limited. This is basically a blank card unless you run the ol’ lick-n-stick with Isochron Scepter.

35. Temporal Cascade

It costs way too much, and your opponent will undoubtedly get the first benefit from it. You’d probably be better off with a blank card.

I awoke in an all-too familiar manner: naked on the bathroom floor, sprawled in a puddle of carpet cleaner and vomit. Rivulets of water cascaded gently onto the tile beside me as I collected some semblance of consciousness.”Ah, the life of an ascetic,” I mused. This was certainly an optimistic, romantic notion given my predicament, but”ascetic” certainly sounded better than”degenerate.” I dried myself hastily, wrapped myself in the only serviceable towels left in the apartment, and braced myself to survey the damage.

Given the circumstances, it could have been much worse. Money was asleep on the couch, blanketed in flyers for the upcoming David Munk (19) a capella concert. McBoob had already departed, but she at least had the decency to leave the debris of her”cooking” endeavors spattered on the cabinet. A pair of tomcats skittered in and out of the open door, somehow managing to avoid the half dozen shattered plates on the floor. I refused to even venture a guess as to the reason for the police officer’s uniform on the ottoman.

I dispersed the errant alley dwellers with a few menacing gestures and glanced outside. A pink piece of paper was affixed to the bricks adjacent to the entryway. I didn’t need my astonishing powers of intuition to tell me what information further inspection of the document would yield. For some reason, I didn’t mind. I was swept up in a reverie both macabre and exhilarating, as I had finally determined a way to absolve myself of all my preoccupations and obligations. A smile formed at the corner of my lips.

The final count of Minnesota player references, including Forrest Sullens, Matt Bulger, Tim Bauer, Dale Taylor, and Andrew Lipkin in this sentence, comes to twenty-four!! (applause) Any more than that and I probably would have been fired. (Ahem, check yer e-mail. – Knut) Join us next time when I answer your questions and comments (real and fake), and hopefully provide you with a comprehensive Barn Glossary. I promise that the next article won’t be anywhere near as painful to read, and it will have a wider appeal. Bling bling.

Tim Aten

A Disgrace to Humanity

[email protected]

* – Nope, I don’t know either.

** – Sorry for that line. The Right Guard commercial just came on. Don’t you hate footnotes, by the way? Presumably you scroll to the bottom of the screen to look at them while they’re still applicable, and that can be a real nuisance. I like to”challenge” the reader, you know.

*** – I’ve exaggerated recklessly like a million billion times in this article.