(Illustration by Barret Chapman)
Beating the summer heat with a trip to the corner store for a taste of that magical elixir known as a “Slurpee” offered me a joyous encounter with a rack of vintage blogs known as “Magazines”. There I spied my favorite wastes of paper ever (no, not that, Perv-o’s, this is a family store): The Fantasy Hockey Guides! Was it that time of year already? “Squee!” I was giddy with anticipation for this year’s rankings. Their annual dose of wit and wisdom has never failed to lead me to mighty mediocrity in my keeper league (oh, this shoddy workman will blame the tools, people!) but, I realize, they can only provide limited insight.
How do you go about selecting players for much, much deeper leagues? Leagues where you will need to explore the depths of places like The Black Dragon Valley or the Mountains of Phantasmagore? Who has your back in an Orc brawl or at the Coven of Malevolent Wizards’ Summer Solstice Chili Cook-off? We all know which of our winsome Jets are going to provide the best bang for buck in our Fantasy League but what of the Fantasy Fantasy League? This is a trickier proposition and several of the nascent Jets may prove worthy allies or wily adversaries during your weekly head-to-head’s this season. Let’s assess some of the notable selections to draft or avoid for the 2013/14 campaign! And may Clawthorn, God of Silk-Lined Codpieces, watch over you on the battlefield.
Andrew Ladd (AKA Valor The Windy, Captain of Souls, Retainer of Past Victories)
Known Companions: Storm The Berserker, Pit-Pat The Fool, Patrick Kane
Ladd is a Class 27 Swordsman and Class 19 Smithy – not too shabby! In a 2012 campaign riddled with impetuous assaults on Weather Nymphs and Fire Gibbons (whose tactical concept was that, Claude Noel?!) Ladd was outstanding both in attacks and in defense of his own realm. Look for another strong year from the truehearted Captain!
Evander Kane (AKA Cain, Cane, Kayne The Eviscerator: Holder of Benjamins)
Hat size: 7-1/8
Kane is much feared in magic-based battles. His command of the dark arts is unrivaled in Winnipeg as a Class 45 Warlock. That can only be interpreted as one thing: bad-ass. He will melt your spleen and cast you into a cruel parallel universe where only Glenn Healy is there to talk to, all in one spell! Seriously, if you haven’t drafted him then stay alert when you have to face him – he will cross-check your psyche. (Secret Weakness: YouTube videos of narcoleptic dogs. If you can deploy these against him early in the battle, he will be a non-factor for the rest of the melee. He loves those sad, little dogs!)
Blake Wheeler (AKA Wheels The Very Handsome Boy, Blake The Rake, Susan)
Ladybugs at the ladybug picnic: 12
Gel: Garnier Fructis
Blake is a solid .252 at the plate this season with 29 home runs and 72 RBI’s! A must-start in any format! He is also a werewolf.
Olli Jokinen (AKA The Spectre, Joki Bear, Finn the Overpaid)
Jump Street: 21
Your best bet here is to try and trade him for a bag of farts. That sounds silly but when you face the Two-Eyed Cyclops of Frack Bog, you’ll be glad you heeded my advice.
Dustin Byfuglien (AKA Dustin Diamond The Screech, Muffintop, Lipitor: Eater of Beef)
Puck Handling: 8 (as noted by Faerie King, Puck, in the Ancient Faerie Scrolls of Turpitude)
Mighty hero of the tundra, born and raised in the tiny hamlet of Calamitous Bluffs, Dustin has the speed and strength of a water buffalo and the cunning of a snow cheetah! Someone please buy him Cross-Fit for Christmas. (Secret health tip: Byfuglien actually gains hit points for eating at Wendy’s! Something to keep in mind for long road campaigns.)
Tobias Enstrom (AKA Robaxacet The Achy, The Mugger’s Mark, Plenty of Upside)
Ninja: 3, The Domination
Check: 1…2… Sibilance…
Enstrom had a rough go last year, what with being victimized by his traitorous countrymen during the Frost Giant Charity Flaying in Huntsland, Earth Prime. Who could have predicted such treachery? His time-shifting abilities were never going to be protection enough. This year, with a proper Spell of Parsimony in his pocket, his plus-minus should be pretty sweet.
Jacob Trouba (AKA Jacob Tuba… heheh, his name sounds like tuba…)
Play him at your own peril. Despite much promise he is untested in top-level campaigns. His name does sound like “tuba” though and that is hilarious to minotaurs.
Ondrej Pavelec (AKA Ond-Red Light Pavelec, Ondrej The Limber, Cap-Hit The Albatross)
Queen: 2 (So good! Ogre Battle? Come on, that’s a rawwwk song!!)
He’s a bit of a sieve, isn’t he? Forget it. Who wants to come over and listen to Queen 2 with me? Brain May shreds like a combine, babies!
(What’s an Al Montoya…?)
Fellow gamers, this is going to be a challenging and unpredictable campaign. The Mages are conspiring and the Sirens of Timidor are calling, albeit meekly. Will there be any Jets in your fellowship? I think there’s room for a few, especially if Scheifele The Narrow-Hipped should blossom into the warrior of destiny he’s, uh… destined to be. Good luck out there this year, on sea or or on land, Earth Prime or Earths 2 through 8. No one said freedom from tyranny and the ceaseless gratitude of tavern wenches was easily won. The road to the Clawthorn Cup starts here, my brave warriors! For glory, honour and the good people of Calamitous Bluffs: Chaaaaarge!!!