Category Archives: Affirmative Strategy

Opening tournament prep

There are many factors that go into how you should prep for the beginning of the year: the size of your squad, how much time you have, what tournament you are going to etc. For the purpose of this series I will assume the following:


1. Your squad has 2-4 people (coaches or debaters) who can reliably be counted on to produce useful debate work

2. You will be making your debut at Greenhill or a similar large TOC tournament

3. You have a decent chance of making it to the doubles (4-2 record or better)

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Going for Framework on the Aff: Its hip to be square pt 1

Debate arguments often operate like fashion trends; they emerge on the scene, gain popularity, that popularity peaks and then declines. Some arguments, like multiple counterplans, then experience a resurgence years later. For some time now it has been very difficult to gain any traction by going for framework arguments on the affirmative vs negative critiques. This is partially because judges get tired of hearing trite theory debates, and also because as the K has gotten more and more mainstream the idea that it is “abusive” has become a tough sell. However, many greedy negatives are not content with 4 entirely plan inclusive counterplans- they also want to use framework to moot the remaining shards of 1AC so that they can pick up an easy win. Because of this, you as an affirmative must be able to pick up on when it is happening, and competently extend framework.

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1AR Choice

The 1AR, like the lamer Matrix movies, is all about choice. A good 1AR picks from the options presented in the 2AC and hammers home a few key points, it doesn’t crappily extend every argument. I feel like past posts have gone into why this is so ad nausea, so this post will take for granted that you agree the 1AR must collapse and will instead focus on an example. In the attached xl document you will find the flow of a politics debate through the 2NC. The 2NC has done a decent job of extending the disad- no arguments are dropped, there are diverse answers to each 2AC argument, and there is some impact jive at the top. If you give the 1AR you will find yourself giving politics 1AR’s like this frequently because people have blocks to most of the 2AC arguments given in the demo speech.

Below the fold I am going to discuss ways to chose what arguments to go for and why, but before you read that look at the flow and think about what arguments you would select to go for and why. Think about different circumstances

-do they have a cp?

-is the cp plan inclusive?

-are you going to win a big risk of the case or a solvency deficit?

Then think about why these factors might affect what arguments you chose to extend.

1AR demo

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Legitimate or Illegitimate? A Politics DA Hypothetical

Suppose that the 1NC presented the following politics disadvantage shell:

  1. Obama will get START ratified in the status quo.

  2. The plan kills Obama’s political capital so he can’t get START ratified.

  3. START ratification increases U.S.-Russia relations, decreases the risk of terrorism, and decreases proliferation.

  4. Proliferation causes war.

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Asking better cx questions vs a K

Many people follow a script when debating any kind of K and ask the same cross x questions regardless of what the neg’s argument is. These questions often follow a general trend started at a camp or by a dominant team, and like fashion trends they can’t all be fleece vests- some are going to suck. So in an attempt to improve the quality of your cx’s I am going to go through some current popular lines of questioning criticizing them and then offer some alternatives (omg its just like a k inside of this post about k’s… braaaaaaaaaaaaaahm)

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Kritik Concept 2- We don’t need uniqueness

Inevitably each summer when students are asked what makes a k different from a da one of the answers given is that a k doesn’t require uniqueness. This view is reflected in many debates I see where a team reading a k will respond to arguments about uniqueness by saying “duh, we are a k” and act as if that fixes everything.

The idea that k’s don’t “need” uniqueness relies on a basic misunderstanding of a few concepts I will now attempt to elaborate.

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Tips For Answering Global Warming Impacts

The 2008-2009 alternative energy resolution provided high school debaters with an opportunity to research and discuss one of the most important issues of the day: global climate change. Summer institutes collectively spent thousands of hours researching all aspects of the climate debate and students invested many more thousands of hours preparing blocks, organizing files, and practicing speeches on these issues. The complexity of this debate had an interesting effect, however; instead of being the core focus of the season’s debates, it became only a side issue from which most teams shied away.

While climate change was not as prominent on the alternative energy topic as one might have predicted, it has become an extremely popular impact in subsequent seasons. It is now conventional wisdom that “warming is the only existential threat” and that it is the largest of all possible impacts. In order to bolster their advantages and disadvantages, teams have begun to read (often contrived) internal link chains that culminate in the ubiquitous “Tickell in ‘8” card. In combination with a “try-or-die” impact frame, this technique has won a lot of debates.

But this doesn’t need to be the case. How can debaters respond to these impacts effectively? A few suggestions are below the fold.

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Debating the case in the 2AC

Many, many teams are having some 2AC trouble in the debates I am judging. Some of this relates to poorly written 1AC’s, some to poorly written 2AC blocks, and a lot to misunderstanding where cards need to be read. There are definitely other problems, but those are for another post, perhaps by Roy if he ever gets out of his coma.

In order to highlight some of the issues related to these problems, I am going to go through some simple examples that come up most frequently, but the general idea is applicable everywhere.

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Kritik Concepts 1: Inevitability is a Link not a Turn

It seems no matter what kritik is run in this day and age, the affirmative responds with some kind of gripe about “inevitability”. Realism inevitable is probably the most well known, but it has recently been joined by capitalism, calculation, patriarchy and many other children in the “it’s inevitable” family. And for good reason- the inevitability question is often not responded to well by the negative, and provides the affirmative with both a strong uniqueness claim and an indict of the alternative.

Claims of inevitability, however, are not as powerful as they appear. In fact they are often the strongest/easiest to articulate link to whatever K you may be reading.

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