Here at Ethos, most of our writers will advocate a shell and extend strategy for TP debaters. I’ve used it for the majority of my debate career myself, and it’s served me pretty well.
Sometimes, though, I like to change things up and try out a new strategy, and sometimes those strategies prove to be very effective. Well, one of those such times I happened to go 9-1 (undefeated on neg) at an NCFCA national open. And the kicker? We were briefless every single round. In this post, I’d like to share that strategy with you.
It’s called blitzing, and it can be deadly when used correctly.
Blitzing is essentially the opposite of how most teams split the neg. The idea is that, by switching speaker responsibilities, you can overload the AFF with the power of the negative block. I’m not saying it’s the best choice for everyone, but sometimes it can be quite effective.
Ignore the majority of the 1AC and focus on the big picture. A 1N blitzer leaves all the mitigation arguments up to the 2N, and instead dives right into the off-case stuff without a single glance back. Run your DA’s, topicality presses, and anything else that doesn’t directly deal with the affirmative’s case. Your partner will get to that later. This forces the 2AC to respond to what really matters (to you) right off the bat, giving you extra time to dig deep into your positions.
Focus on on-case arguments and 1AC mitigation, with specific emphasis on source/credibility critiques. Because if you can effectively put the affirmative team’s credibility on ice, the 1AR will have a very hard time refuting all your main points without the judge constantly second-guessing the integrity of their claims. Don’t refute anything your partner brought up in the 1NC – he’ll get to that in a second.
Bring through everything from your 1NC, but don’t just refute what aff said; go as deep as you can. The deeper you go into the reasons behind your arguments, the harder it will be for the 1AR to refute.
Obviously, the main advantage here is simply that you force an overloaded 1AR. It’s the same idea that drives splitting the neg, except in this case, instead of simply “running more arguments”, you actually give yourself more time for your main arguments (typically DA’s), and hopefully, your opponent less. This gives you depth in argumentation instead of breadth. Instead of merely trying to just bury your opponent’s in a list of arguments and win on the technicality of a dropped one, you’re forcing the 1AR to beat you on content. This is how your neg strategies should look.
But not only does blitzing give your main off-case arguments added development, on-case arguments benefit as well, as the 2NC gets an extra 16 minutes to look over affirmative evidence and claims.
Partnering with a beginner? Blitzing actually has an added benefit for you, as it can be especially useful when the experience scales are unbalanced. With a split neg, the 1NC can be daunting for a novice, but with blitzing, all they have to do is bring up prepared off case arguments they can spend the entire 8 minute 1AC going over.
Is blitzing the best strategy out there? No, of course not. No one strategy is the end-all-be-all-way-to-debate-every-single-time. Blitzing is just another neg structure that, when run effectively, can put affirmative teams on skates and help you win rounds when it counts.