Essential Magic Articles

Article for Puzzling Phenomena of Magic

by Bryton Lam

Let’s say you played two years again when Arcbound Ravager ruled the world.  Arcbound Ravager was expected at about 60% of the metagame, sometimes even more.  At this point it’s very reasonable to have a deck with nothing but hate, because over 50% of your games are expected to be Arcbound Ravager.  It can be concluded that if you push your deck to have a lot of hate then you’ll have an advantage over 50% of the time.  In your metagame, if you don’t know what to expect every game, you have to generalize your metagame, if you do know, then you should be prepared to attack a specific deck.   

So let’s go to exactly what your question is: “Why is no one worried about their opening hand being thwarted?”

My answer to this question is, people are always worried about their opening hand being thwarted.  If you’re playing aggro with a massive creature wave, let’s say you think to yourself “Dang, My opponent might have a Damnation, and my hand’s full of creatures, I should mulligan.”   I sure hope this is not what you’re thinking!  This is what they should be thinking “Okay, this my hand is full of creatures, can my opponent stifle my attack before he dies?  How should I play this hand?  I can cast 3 creatures, and beat them down, if he doesn’t Wrath of God by turn X, that means I should do this.  Can I do this?”  This is the proper way to look at a hand and essentially play.

In terms of combo, this will be slightly different.  Dragonstorm will get an opening hand.  “Alright I have Dragonstorm in my hand, a Rite of Flame a Seething Song and a Lotus Bloom, and 2 Island (1)s.  But wait, what of my opponent has two Castigates.  I should definitely toss this hand.”  Once again! No no! Don’t do that.  Ask yourself the question “If I play this hand, how would it be able to combo off? If I mulligan, what a potentially better hand?” If your opponent is playing control, the questions are a little more complicated, but you should still be thinking “Is this a reasonable hand?”  The answer is that yes it’s definitely a very reasonable hand.  Let’s say we have Mihara’s Dragonstorm deck from worlds and he’s playing against aggro, he is right now, the most happiest man in the world, because that’s the kind of hand you want to see.  If you’re playing control, you’re still happy to see this hand, because you’re ready to go off the second you get a Gigadrowse or can hold them down with some Remands.  Competent players think about what they can do, or how they can prevent “thwarting.” Which is why Gigadrowse is played so extensively, by every Dragonstorm deck.  The reason why they worry less about their hands being thwarted is because, what good will you do yourself if you think, “this hand my get thwarted” or “if I try to play this combo on turn 4 I might get stopped”  It’s good to be ready to answer, but you can’t reject your opening hand, just because it might get stopped.

Last edited 6/13/2007 10:38:56 AM Page 2 of 5  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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