Category Archives: Negative 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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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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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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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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Some thoughts on permutations

One thing that has annoyed me a lot recently is the proliferation of a million rapid fire permutations in the 2AC. These things work because oftentimes the other team won’t here them all, or the judge will allow the affirmative to clarify later in the 1AR/2AR what the 3 words said in the 2AC meant and how that avoids the net benefit. So I’ve put together some thoughts on how judges should evaluate permutations and how debaters should respond to them.

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