Wednesday 20 September 2017

We've rated the BBC's world championship snooker pundits as if they were collectible cards

By Max McLean

We’d all play this, wouldn’t we?

The snooker World Championships offer the chance to watch some of the finest cuers in the game compete in a marathon tournament to decide the finest player in the land.

However they’re not the only draw, with the BBC’s commentary team playing a key role in the snooker-watching experience too.

That got us wondering, what might snooker’s family of pundits look like as playing cards? Well, that fantasy has been realised.

Dennis Taylor

Dennis Taylor is a gregarious character, and always worthwhile having in your deck for his unusual damage add-ons – for example the 1985 world champion is great at rubbing a victory in with his patented finger wag. Often seen with a snooker cue in both hands, Taylor is ultra-effective against Steve Davis.

Experience points: 68

The finger wag: Taylor may use the finger wag to add 10 damage at the end of any move.

Glasses: Deploy Taylor’s glasses to gain an extra turn.

World Championships: 1

John Virgo

Virgo is the most experienced card in the deck, and represents an interesting option with his trick shot capacity. The 71-year-old also has a penchant for cue balls and their location on the table, and while this comes in handy as a strong move to play, other players may deploy the cue ball card in order to distract Virgo, whereupon he misses a turn.

Experience points: 71

The trick shot: Play the trick shot in the middle of an opponent’s move to reverse the damage in their direction.

Cue-ball alarm: Virgo has seven “Where’s the cue ball going?!” shouts in his locker, which do 20 damage as standard, and 40 if the cue ball actually goes in (flip a coin to decide if the cue ball drops or not).

World Championships: 0

Willie Thorne

Don’t be fooled by this card’s gentle persona – Willie Thorne’s whisper is legendary round these parts, and can be used to the great commentator’s advantage. Furthermore, keep an eye on that ‘tache…

Experience points: 63

The whisper: Thorne can attach his trademark gentle whisper to any opponent for up to three turns – unnerving in its volume, the whisper softens any attack made by the opponent by 15 points of damage.

Moustache attack: Thorne’s surprise attack is all in the facial fuzz, able to detach his moustache and set it upon another card for up to 25 damage.

World Championships: 0

Stephen Hendry

The Stephen Hendry card may be low on experience points, but has two of the most dangerous attack moves in the game, on account of his seven World Championships and immense break-building potential. The Crucible card can be paired with the Hendry card to add to his defence.

Experience points: 48

Seven is heaven: On account of his record seven World Championship titles, this Hendry move multiplies damage by seven, but can only be used once per game, and must also be deployed BEFORE a move is made.

Break builder: Start with 10 damage, and flip a coin three times. For each time the coin lands heads, multiply the damage you do by two.

World Championships: 7

John Parrott

A solid card to have, John Parrott has both the option of defending himself, by retreating to the pundit sofa, or attacking with the highly effective whitewash move.

Experience points: 52

The sofa defence: Parrott may retreat to the comfort of the TV studio sofa with Hazel Irvine, and in doing so is immune from damage for two turns.

Whitewash: John Parrott became the only snooker player to have won a World Championship match in the Crucible era without conceding a frame in 1992 against Eddie Charlton, winning 10-0. Use the whitewash in tournament play to inflict 50 damage upon your opponent.

World Championships: 1

Steve Davis

Davis has a middling level of experience on the punditry scene, but paired with six world titles, he’s a nice card to have in the collection. Davis is vulnerable to Dennis Taylor, and can also be damaged by deploying the 1985 World Championship final card.

Experience points: 59

Nugget: Inspired by his nickname, the Davis card can attach nuggets to any opponent’s card, rendering it useless for six turns.

DJ Damage: A blast of electronic music emanates from Davis’s sound system, doing 30 damage to anyone who attacked him in the last two turns.

World Championships: 6

Ken Doherty

A hybrid of sorts, this card represents Ken Doherty’s desire to work as a pundit while continuing on as a player, making him something of an all-rounder to have in your deck. Doherty is weak when attacked with a 147 card, having famously missed a black ball for a maximum once, but is the only card with an advantage over Steven Hendry, having beaten the Scotsman in the 1997 World Championship final.

Experience points: 47

Player-pundit: The Doherty card can attack two players at the same time as an all-rounder card, but only every other go.

The missed black ball: Does seven damage as standard – roll a dice to multiply damage, but roll a one and take seven damage from your own score.

World Championships: 1

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