So you want to win the TOC- You will have to beat a new aff

Why do people read new affs?

-to catch people off guard

-deprive them of a strategy

-make it harder for coaches to be useful

-link turn politics/other topic generics

So when you debate a new aff you want to neutralize as many of these as you can. Obviously preparing new generics in advance is a good way to do this, but what type of generics work the best?

1. Plan inclusive counterplans- new plans become entirely irrelevant. These neutralize basically all of the affs advantages in breaking a new case, so they are often the best option. Even politics link turns- since the CP is a PIC it will solve them.

One thing people seem to have forgotten was that running multiple counterplans can actually help the neg – ala the affs wines about conditionality. The classic example of this is states and an agent CP. In the 2AC a lot of affs will read “federal action sends signal” to answer states- these cards are very rarely about a specific branch. If they do that, you kick states, extend fed. action sends a signal and that proves the cp solves.

2. T/Procedurals- new case or old, if it doesn’t specify its agent it still ignores 90% of policy making. One thing I have written about before is to have 2 mutually exclusive T violations all blocked out, so that you can always go for one or the other. It will make you a lot more comfortable when debating a new aff if you know you have a tried and tested backup like this. Plus many new affs play fast and loose with their connection to the topic, so T is oftentimes a good choice. Even if it isn’t the exact word they violate, judges will be more sympathetic to your pleas.

3. impact turns- moots the new case smell entirely (unless they have an adv you can’t turn cause you don’t have cards). Also usually sucks up a lot of 2AC time. You can fully prepare these in advance.  A lot of times new affs will also read generic add ons like heg/economy. This is your lucky day- unload on those things. They may be killing you on politics link turns but when the 1NR is 5 new minutes of heg bad how much time can the 1AR spend reading more evidence on politics?

4. Bad politics DA’s- against new affs I would always like to have a dumb/contrived politics disad to throw out there- the other team never knows if its really legit or not. But since its something they have never heard of before they won’t usually be able to straight turn it, and if its the net benefit to a PIC they will be worried about it anyway and probably spend an equal amount of time. This is a good point for many things- if you know you are going for T or a generic CP that is entirely plan inclusive, impact turning advantages or reading an additional cp you have no intention of going for is fine because it can never hurt you (obviously 2 absurd cp’s is marginally worse in terms of conditionality but lets be honest its prob pretty marginal).

So in debating a new aff, if you have all those tools, most of what you are going to do is set. So you say “what aff?”. They say “new”. You go to your tubs, and you stack up the 1NC


-Generic CP, possibly 2


-Generic K

Then you get out your impact turn files. 1 minute has elapsed, and you are almost ready. When the aff starts speaking, immediately get your advantage answers ready, and tweak anything you need to in the 1NC pile.

Now what else can you do with your pre round prep? Hopefully all the stuff mentioned above is highlighted, blocked, and prepped. If not, obviously work on that. One thing I would avoid is the “guessing game” where people sit around and try and guess the aff based on the team/judge etc. This is a total waste of time. Get focused- highlight things a 2nd or 3rd time if you can’t think of anything else to do. Practice the 1NC as you have it together now and see how long it takes so you know what you can add.

Talk about block division with your partner/coaches- who is going to take what. One thing that really helps is to play through hypotheticals so you know what to do. So lets say vs your new aff you are reading

-exclude native americans

-Cap K

-Lopez CP



-Military trade off

-impact turning the advantages if u can

Hypotheticals you will want to discuss include

-what if you have no cards on the advantages- what do you fill time with

-what if they impact turn federalism

-what if they straight impact turn cap- who takes it/for how long/is it a viable 2nr choice?

-if after the 2AC its clear you have to go for T- who takes it? For how long? What else do you extend as a charade?

-If its an aff someone else has run, do you want to abandon your above strat even though you will only have minutes to get the case specific one together?

In response to that last one I would advise no. You have committed, 8 minutes to get ready for a debate does not produce good results. Unless your other strat is really REALLY ready, stick with what you planned for. Last minute audibles are always volatile decisions.

Also, think about your judge and who you are debating. If you are debating someone bad on the K in front of a good K judge, then obviously slant your prep in that direction and vice versa.

In closing, I have gotten a few questions following up on how to prep things/make the transition to the k- using the example of the security K here is basically what I think you would need to do:

1. Take a few days to track down the cites of people who are reading similar arguments and make sure you have the best cards you can to supplement your file

2. Write a 1NC. I don’t think it should ever be longer than 2 minutes since you need to put other things out there, a good 1NC would contain

-the alternative

-a diverse impact card- you want to cover the bases like root cause, epistemology, v2l etc

-a reps key kind of card

– a generic link card in case u dont have a better, specific one.

Assuming each of these is a 30 second card, which is generous, thats still only 2 mns

3. you need to make 2 lists

A. a list of every advantage you would want to read thsi K vs

B. a list of every concievable aff 2AC argument-realism inevitable/realism good, specificity outweighs, war on terror good etc etc

4. Write blocks to all of those, for links you want a 1NC card, and an extension block of maybe 2 more plus some analytic explanation. For things like alternative solves/fwork you will have a lot more analytic arguments you will get by reading hte evidence. Block writing is really where you get to know the ins and outs of your arguments, make sure you know all the warrants in the cards, and really internalize the information.

Let’s go through an example, say I am writing blocks and in the 1NC I have read this card:

Philip Slater, A.B. and Ph. D. from Harvard and taught sociology at Harvard, Brandeis, and UCSC, 11-12-08

Obama’s election provides an opportunity to reconsider the utility of realpolitik, the guiding principle of American foreign policy for the past sixty years. Realpolitik is supposed to be ‘practical’, but one can’t escape the feeling that it would be better termed dummheitpolitik, since it has been the major cause of almost every foreign policy problem we face in the world today. Building up Osama bin Laden to harass the Russians in Afghanistan comes to mind, not to mention building up Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. And of course there’s Iran–possibly the most democratic nation in the Muslim world before we sabotaged Mossadegh and installed the Shah’s dictatorship, whose oppressive regime opened the door to the fundamentalist Mullahs.  When you get right down to it, realpolitik is merely macho politics–a kind of Johnny-one-note foreign policy. You rattle sabers, hoping someone will wimp out. When they don’t, you waste billions slaughtering civilians for a few years, then carry on as before, only with a considerably weakened economy, fewer resources, more enemies, and less real influence. Or you subvert other countries–overthrowing their democratically-elected governments, as we did all over Latin America, achieving nothing beyond a few years of easy sailing for American corporations followed by a huge loss of influence and goodwill all over the continent, so that today more than half of Latin America either views us as the enemy or simply ignores us altogether.  The dinosaurs are already wetting their drawers over Obama’s suggestion that negotiation with Iran might conceivably be an alternative to another stupid adventure. Our media are also appalled, for the media are consistently more knee-jerk-macho than the American public. War, after all, is so much more newsworthy than peace. Violence sellsWhy is talking considered so fraught with terrible peril? Why is it, when we’ve been pushing the rest of the world around for the last 60 years that negotiating with countries much weaker than we are is considered ‘dangerously naïve’? Why is the assumption always made that American diplomats will be outwitted by evil, sly foreigners? Why are Americans such Nervous Nellies that they want get out the nukes every time anyone disagrees with us? When a huge giant acts like a timid little victim in a cartoon, it’s humorous. When the world’s only superpower, having bombed and/or invaded sovereign nations on four continents–none of them having threatened us in any way–tries to pass itself off as a poor little weak victim, it’s just disgusting, and unworthy of a great nationRealpolitik means reacting to every tension spot in the world by throwing bombs at it.  Realpolitik means making sure an entire nation is against us, when only a small minority is. Realpolitik means choosing foreign policy leaders on the basis of their belligerence and paranoia. It’s time for Americans to grow up, get their heads out of the sand, and put Realpolitik to bed. Our policy of bombing wedding parties, torturing prisoners, ignoring international law and international treaties, and treating every nation’s territory as our personal property is not ‘realistic’, it’s just short-sighted. Realpolitik has always been contrasted with internationalism, which was seen as idealistic. That was true a century ago. Today, internationalism is the only reality. The problems we face all require international solutions. The world has shrunk, and the nation-state is obsolete as an ultimate authority. Corporations are international, terrorism is international, the economy is international, nature is international, pollution is international, labor is international, poverty is international, disease is international.  The credit crisis should have been a wake-up call. Banks and other corporations have for a long time taken rich advantage of the fact that politicians cling to meaningless national boundaries. Nations compete with one another, allowing multinationals to play them off against each other. But when trouble came, the banks were forced to reveal the truth to their nationalistic suckers: unite or we all go down.  The world we live in today is one of networks. The largest network will succeed, the others will fail. When Citibank tried to maintain a closed network of ATM machines, for example, several smaller banks banded together to form an open ATM network, which Citibank was ultimately forced to join because it was larger. Isolationism today is a losing strategy.  And networks are not empires–they’re composed of equals. The United States can no longer dictate to the rest of the world–by attempting to, under the Bush administration, it has seen its influence around the world sink to its lowest depth in history.  It’s time to conduct our foreign policy like grownups, living in a grownup world, not like hyperactive ten-year-old boys living in comic-book dreams of superheroes.

I would then go through and make a list of all the arguments I thought I could make based on this card. I would not write these on the piece of paper this card was on however since that would broadcast it to the other team. So here is a list

-Uniqueness- Obama election provides key time to rethink realism

-AT: Empirics- goes neg- realism cause of every fopo problem we face today

-Alternative solves better- realism offers unidimensional solutions, alternative opens up space for multiple approaches

-Turns the case- realism weakens the economy, US leadership, and wastes resources needed to address the harms

-Epistemology- newspapers make bank promoting violent solutions- creates distinct bias based on paranoia

-Self fulfilling prophecy- realisms violence creates enemies abroad- turns entire countries not just dictators against us

-Internationalism key now- realist indicts are outdated- no longer realistic

-Timeframe- realism offers short terms solutions, not lasting peace- problems re-emerge

Having this list, I would then plug these arguments (more indepthly explained) into their various blocks. A lot of people wonder where analytic arguments come from when people are reading a K. It’s true that you can just make them up, but its better if you can ground them in a piece of evidence. While the card above isn’t the best card on any one of those issues, its a good 1NC card because it provides so many diverse claims. If you didn’t think it was that good when you read it I would encourage you to go back with that list and see if you can’t find where I might be drawing those arguments from (I wrote them out in order so this could be done easily).

Once you have all your blocks written, edit them for efficiency and highlight them. Then time them and read them over and over again so that you know how to allocate your time when the speech comes.

One thing people don’t do enough is that you can easily put together a practice 2NC and give it a few times to get more comfortable on a position. Lets say you debate a new aff with  Hegemony and poverty advantages and want to go for a security k. You can guess the 2AC will say things like

-fwork/plan focus/poverty advantage o/w

-security good- heg k2 deal with threats, threats are real, collapse causes transition wars

-realism inevitable/based on human nature

-war on terror good/alternative kills it

Assume they read 1 or 2 cards on all of those and you have a pretty big 2AC to practice against. Since you already have the blocks written its just a matter of getting them in order and trying to mentally allocate how much of each you can read and still cover. In order to do that you need to know which cards are important/have to be read, and what you can get away with not reading.

You can easily do all the steps above in a week or so, and if you do you will be fully competent to extend an argument you have previously never gone for.

To take it to the next level though, you need 5 2NR blocks. That is because if you can win these issues decisively (not all of them, oftentimes just 1 of them) you will win most debates.

1. Fw- if you are reading a reps K a good team will press you on FW or “role of the ballot”. Having a efficient, offensive 2NR block ready is no easy task, it will probably take you at least a half hour to brainstorm all the explanations/responses to likely aff arguments , but if you do it once it will serve you for years.

The next 2 are where most K debates are lost

2. Impact block- explain all your impacts and have your defense vs the aff. Having this in block form guarantees you will never forget a crucial component. Also anticipate common aff strategies like try or die, time frame, specificity etc

3. The alternative- think this part through and explain it well- how does it address the case, how does it provide uniqueness, why is it relevant

4. The permutation- odds are you unloaded on the perm in the block, now is the time to collapse down and go for 2 or 3 of your best arguments. One component most people forget is framing- how should the judge evaluate the perm? Don’t leave this question open, answer it.

5. Links- if you have 10 link arguments in the 2NC, you don’t need them all in the 2NR. You only need your best one or two. In your rebuttal you don’t want to laundry list all the links and move one, you want to take one and fully explain

-what it is

-how the aff links- what pieces of evidence or argument show this

-why you are winning it

-what is the internal link from this specific argument to your impact and why is it meaningful- i.e. why is the aff’s heg discourse uniquely destructive as opposed to the concept of heg in the abstract or discourse propagated by others.

A lot of that you can write out ahead of time- extend your key pieces of evidence and explain the warrants.

These blocks should be detailed- but if they are detailed you won’t have time to read them all obviously. So you will need to chose- where is the part of the debate you need to win, and dedicate time there. Then for the rest of the time you are just covering your bases. A 2NR that is great on FW won’t need as much on impact calc since your cheating will already have rigged the game, ditto the alternative. Likewise a huge 2NR on impact turns won’t require as much link etc.

1 thought on “So you want to win the TOC- You will have to beat a new aff

  1. Morgan

    Just a small thing –

    in that example the poverty advantage is not exempt from the security k rendering the judge choice framework stuff irrelevant, depending on their rhetoric and the cards they read, like the Gilligan evidence, here's an article about it,

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