Devin Merget
Assistant Coach, Nicolet Debate


Nicolet, Slinger


As a judge, I’m rather impressed by debates involving rapid delivery and technical prowess. That being said, I still appreciate a debate that is pleasant to hear. A debater who can speak very fast and clear, slow down at the right times, be exquisitely organized, and display a thorough understanding of the issues in the round, all while being articulate and funny will get high speaker points (and likely my ballot as well). I can hear and flow almost any speed, so go as fast as you’d like. If you are abysmally unclear, I’ll let you know. Line-by-line work, comparative analysis of evidence, and thorough extensions will all help you in the round. Having warranted evidence will be important for you, but a thoughtful and brutal analytic will often outweigh a sketchy two-sentence card. Note: “extend our advantages” or simply repeating the taglines of your cards doesn’t really count as extensions. If you have a kick-ass round-winning card, you need to do more than mention it in each speech of the round. If you want to win on an argument, you need to extend the warrants and your analysis of the card. Open CX is fine, but if you want speaker points, you shouldn’t allow your partner to completely tool/dominate you in the round. Executing an illuminating and funny CX will also reflect favorably in your speaker points.


T can certainly be a voting issue, but the negatives will need to do the work to get my ballot. In round abuse is the most persuasive reason to vote on T, but I can also be persuaded by in depth explanations of the world justified by the affirmative. I’ve voted for T more times than I would have expected this year. Often my decision comes down to the limits debate. Warning: There is nothing I hate more than a blippy T debate with a slew of one-word standards and voters. That style of T debating will almost never win my ballot.


I don’t necessarily believe that CPs must be non-topical. I could be persuaded either way on that debate. I tend to find that most PICs are legitimate and are smart strategy decisions. I’ll rarely be persuaded to vote down a CP on theory because it is too strategic. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t go for theory on the counterplan; you should, but you should make warranted and impacted claims. I do despise the States CP as well as Lopez. If you go for these positions, be ready to defend their theoretical legitimacy. If you go for a word PIC, you should be able to explain why the affirmatives absolutely must be stuck with every word of their case.


I am rather fond of the K. That does NOT, however mean that I like how it is commonly run. I think that one-off is the best technique for a K, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. I find that Framework and Perm debates are the most important aspects of the K flow. Explain how the K functions in the round, tell me how to make my decision, show me how the impacts of the K interact with the impacts of the case, explain why the perm solves or why there is no conceivable permutation between the case and the K. I don’t think that Ks necessarily need an alternative, but a good debater could persuade me that they do. Critical affirmatives can also do well in front of me. I will definitely vote for a reps K, but teams running them need to prove that the affirmative is inseparable from the representations it advances. To reiterate: framework is the most important part of this debate. I’ll be just as happy to vote from a schizoanalytic framework as from a pure policy framework - you need only to prove which is superior.


I tend to think it is legitimate for the negative to advance a handful of conditional positions through the negative block, so long as they collapse the debate by the 2NR. I haven’t seen a very persuasive condo bad argument, but I believe that they exist.


I enjoy hearing theory debate, but I find it very difficult to flow blippy theory blocks at top speed. If you want to win on theory you should slow down and thoroughly explain your arguments. A 20 point theory block that takes a minute won’t be very persuasive to me. As with topicality, in-round abuse comes first but potential abuse can be persuasive too.