With less than 24 hours left until May Heinous brackets are due, our writers continue breaking down first-round matchups with today’s Miller Genuine Draft Division preview. It’s not too late to fill out your May Heinous brackets and send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Pablo Picasso and James K. Polk
Up and coming pong player and artist extraordinaire Pablo Picasso has drawn a lot of mixed criticism from this season’s staff for his unusual habit of pausing between shots to do some shrooms and paint portraits of his opponents. With two violations this past week, he’ll have to tread carefully. That said, his unorthodox play-style could go a long way towards helping his team take the win on this one, with determined Polk likely taking the cleanup role. A good way to judge Picasso’s mood is to watch what color paints he’s mixing. Hot colors means confidence, darks means he’s going into sissy-mode. Alongside Pablo is “Old 11,” the 11th President of the USA, James Polk, who will provide a much-needed grounding for space-cadet Picasso. A traditionalist in many ways, Polk favors a unique under-handed shooting style, something that may take opponents by surprise, scoring Polk-Picasso an early lead.
Strengths: Land theft, high tolerance for hard drugs
Weaknesses: Existential confusion, Polk’s mullet
Team Cohesiveness: 4/10
First-Round Opponents: Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Slobodan Milosevic
Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Slobodan Milosevic
Wrinkled war criminal and ex-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco are likely to be a strong team, given their similar backgrounds and lifestyles. While ruthless, old boy Slobodan is also on the lazy side, (something for which the more active, forceful Franco will have compensate). Milosevic also plays reliably, and tends toward neither greatness nor inferiority. Expect a steady game from Milosevic. He won’t catch fire, but he’ll definitely sink a cup every couple rounds. If luck is with them, Franco’s spirit and will-power will rub off on Slobby, and the two could easily blaze their way to victory. Franco is a top-tier player that will have his opponents up against the wall from the get-go, “heating up” with regularity, though he may or may not manage “fire.”
Strengths: Number of syllables in name, number of syllables in military rank
Weaknesses: Unfavorable remarks from the ICC, garnering public support
Team Cohesiveness: 8/10
First-Round Opponents: Pablo Picasso and James K. Polk
Tsar Catherine and Hernán Cortés
Catherine the Great wasn’t given her nickname because of her beer pong prowess. Despite her numerous military victories and sweeping reforms during her thirty-four year reign in Russia, throwing a ball into a cup doesn’t come quite as naturally. Additionally, beer doesn’t sit well in the stomach of a lady from Russia, who, at any given point, has enough vodka flowing through her veins to kill a medium-sized horse. Speaking of equestrianism, Tsar Catherine is known for having an unusual interest in the lifestyles of horses. And by “unusual interest” I mean “sexual arousal.” And by “lifestyles” I mean “enormous genitalia,” and I’ll go ahead and stop there. This quirk may make for awkward side-conversations with her partner, Hernando Cortes, who enjoys a casual gallop in an entirely different way. Cortes, as most historians have documented, conquered the Aztec empire in a heated battle of beer pong against Montezuma, and is fully ready to repeat his performance. But will he be able to make up for the horse-loving, vodka-guzzling Catherine the Great?
Strengths: Resemblance to the God Quetzalcoatl, Smallpox
Weaknesses: Equestrian genitalia, reliance on serf labor
Team Cohesiveness: 5/10
First-Round Opponents: Aristotle and Emperor Nero
Aristotle and Emperor Nero
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, which by definition of the profession means he was drunk and/or high for the vast majority of his life. As such, his tolerance won’t be a problem during this match. With his wisdom and patience, Aristotle will be a key figure in his partnership with Emperor Nero, who might not have the sanity and composure to last the match. Emperor Nero of the Roman Empire was best known for being a crazy sack of shit. Nero is not known for his athleticism, and almost died when he was convinced to participate in a chariot race for the Olympic games. If he can’t drive a chariot, will he be able to sink cups? One thing’s for sure- he will do whatever it takes to win. And it’ll probably involve burning someone to death. Because that was normal for him. Did I mention he was a crazy sack of shit yet? I did? Alright, carry on.
Strengths: Violin, Metaphysics
Weakness: Physics, Fire
Team Cohesiveness: 7/10
First-Round Opponents: Catherine the Great and Hernán Cortés
William Shakespeare and Jean-Paul Sartre
Considering Shakespeare and Sartre barely made it out of the Literary Conference qualifying tournament, thanks to a few inconceivable celeb shots by Albert Camus, the two playwrights are considered the two largest underdogs in May Heinous history since the absurd, incest-riddled 1972 victory of Franz Kafka and Vladimir Nabokov. Assuming Jean-Paul Sartre can even break out of his surfeit of existentialist melancholy to listlessly toss ping-pong balls into cups of liquid languor, expect for the philosopher to go off on a depressing hour-long dissertation on how humans are stuck in a cycle of ceaseless tedium, in which “existence precedes essence” and “beer before liquor” are the precepts that govern human experience. Shakespeare, meanwhile, will most likely be far too busy devising new ways to bore the living shit out of AP English high school sophomores to contribute little more than trash talk, like referring to his opponents as “Thine gorbellied swag-bellied clotpoles” or “Saucy idle-headed ratsbane.” Sartre’s refusal of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, meanwhile, puts his team at a distinct 1-0 Nobel Prize deficit against their opening round opponents.
Strengths: Greatest writer in the English language, metaphors
Weaknesses: Ennui, thirteen-year-old Capulet girls
Team Cohesiveness: 9/10
First-Round Opponents: Nelson Mandela and George Wallace
Nelson Mandela and George Wallace
It remains unclear what twathead put one of America’s most popular racist and rabid anti-segregationist on the same team as the beloved South African president, but this will be a team with unstoppable potential if the leaders could just get over the whole “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” thing. The two men certainly have pluck, though. When asked what political figure he most admired, Wallace immediately answered “Myself,” exactly the kind of confidence that sinks some cups. When asked about Wallace’s comment, Mandela simply smiled, pulled out his accumulated 250 awards, and reminded Wallace that only one member of their team was both elected president and portrayed by Morgan Freeman. So long as no busing is involved, this team could go far.
Strengths: Appeals for reconciliation, being a boss, appeals to alienated white voters
Weaknesses: Democratic Primaries, being a bigoted racist during desegregation
Team Cohesiveness: -5/10
First-Round Opponents: William Shakespeare and Jean-Paul Sartre
Martin Luther and Harriet Tubman
Religious reformer Martin Luther is one of the more unpredictable characters in this tournament. Amid concerns that he’ll spend too much time nailing documents to the beer pong table and printing out Bibles in German, there are some who think that his spiritual balance will ground the team. His partner, Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman, is expected to be a bit of a hustler; while she may have some other things at the top of her mental agenda (like, I don’t know, maybe rescuing slaves), she is a headstrong pong player who is surprisingly good at sinking cups in the clutch. Between Luther’s pent-up aggression toward Pope Leo X and Tubman’s pent-up aggression toward Southern white people, this team could really have some powerful energy.
Strengths: Religious well-being, mental health
Weaknesses: Disdain for well-established institutions, presumably low tolerance
Team Cohesiveness: 7.5/10
First-Round Opponents: Otto von Bismarck and Charles De Gaulle
Otto von Bismarck and Charles De Gaulle
German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was one of the most skilled politicians in modern history, and it’s safe to assume that those skills apply to beer pong. Even if he fails to make cups, this diplomatic juggernaut could easily use his persuasive skills to sabotage opponent re-racks or manage a few extra behind-the-back shots. De Gaulle, on the other hand, brings significantly less to the table. His military experience is effectively canceled out by the fact that it occurred in the French military, and his presidency of France had no lasting effects other than the loss of Algeria and the name of an airport. It’s probable that whatever De Gaulle adds to the team is simply going to be dwarfed by what he detracts from it in the team dynamic – especially considering Bismarck’s well-documented hatred of the French.
Strengths: Diplomatic prowess, three-word names
Weaknesses: French heritage, Hubris-filled mustaches
Team Cohesiveness: 2.5/10
First-Round Opponents: Martin Luther and Harriet Tubman