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Jeffrey Zeldman's Match Preview

When We Were Kings

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for the game of all games, a design denouement one incredible year in the making, the ultimate test of two unlikely heroes with even less likely names.

In this corner, sporting 150 lbs of visual muscle and inspiration, the design butcher of Chicago, the thrilla of Threadless if not Manilla, the braggadocious baker of Humble Pied, the spigumus of digamous, ladies, for your pleasure, it's the undefeated Mr Mig Reyes.

Facing Mig from the opposing corner, making the earth quake as if dreading a design debacle not seen since the days of Cicero and Nero, it's the Romanian Romancer, the illest of illustrators, the animus of animators, the baron of Bucharest, the king of design rope-a-dope, none other than the negatively named but positively talented Noper. No first name and no quarter given. To know him is to fear him.

Folks, what drama, what tension! The atmosphere is heavy, uncertain, with overtones of ugliness. A reminder, in a way, of how it was in March of 1964 at Miami Beach when Ali met Liston for the first time and nobody was certain how it would turn out.

Both players are at the top of their game; both have sweated blood and bled sweat to get here. In a closely contested battle of wits, Mig defeated Jessica Hische, then in the playoffs bloodied Armin Vit and bruised Mark Weaver.

No wallflower himself, Mig's opponent Nope handily won a "Qualifying Match" against James Donaldson, then spanked Aaron Draplin and abused Greg Hubacek in the ugliest, most brutal playoffs this announcer has seen in many a season.

And thus from all contests throughout the year we come down to just two combatants. Ladies and gentlemen, visit the rest room now, because you won't be able to leave your seats once this gladiatorial death-match of giants begins. Two designers enter the field of battle legends, but only one will attain to greater glory. Depending on what happens here, about which no man (or woman either) can be certain, one designer will be exalted as a living god among us, while his defeated rival will quickly be forgotten, like a Geocities website, or a Magnolia or Delicious list of links. For blood and glory, for legend and oblivion, gentlemen and ladies, let the game begin.

The Match begins 1:00 pm Chicago time, which is 2:00 pm NYC and 9:00 pm in Bucharest.

Jefrey Zeldman directed The Web Standards Project and is publisher of A List Apart and co-founder of the An Event Apart series of web design conferences. He has written the indispensible Designing With Web Standards and is executive creative director at Happy Cog.

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A Quick Favor From LYT

Our friends and longtime sponsors at Adobe have a quick survey for Layer Tennis fans. It would mean a lot to us if you could take a couple minutes between layers to answer some simple questions. Thanks a million.

The Layer Tennis Blog

Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

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