So sorry for the bait-and-switch recently of mad updates followed by the lull the last couple of days (for anyone reading this, that is — which means you, if you are reading this)… Especially the short-lived / zoink! of the hilarious-but-tragic tale of How I Missed My Flight to the Star City Open (no, no don’t bother — it’s still gone).
One of my all-time favorite songs, originally recommended by Joshua Ravitz, and previously embedded on this here blog(sphere):
Originally I wanted to post How I Missed My Flight to the Star City Open on Friday night, ideally from the airport, in order to create a furor and fever across the Internet… Only to triumphantly appear on camera on Saturday morning, next to my man Joey Pasco.
For no reason whatsoever:
Just putting it out there.
No, Evan didn’t *ahem* bite when I asked if SCG would reimburse my $50 change fee for, you know, missing the original flight that they had booked for me.
It is actually possible that I will release some audio-only version of the events, as Joey could not contain himself [so great was the hilarity] when I read it out loud, and even attempted to immortalize the above by photo-stalking YT from our hotel room as I read the tearful tale into… the iPad mic which I had my hand over.
Pics or it didn’t happen. Happened.
The objections from @chicgrit (previously @craftyK) and @famousPJ got me to pull it down; the story — as written — seemed too negative (keep in mind these are nicer people than I am)… But it is possible that with different vocal inflection everything would fall into place like Dominoes. Written and spoken words can be quite different. The anger and violence that you might imagine reading my telling you to…
Can be quite different from Elaine from Seinfeld’s trademark ejaculation, even as she shoves a larger man in the chest.
None of that has anything to do with today’s actual topic, though; which is the politic delta between Think Twice in Standard versus Caleb Durward’s re-adoption of vanilla Counsel of the Soratami, Divination.
U/B Control, by Caleb Durward
2 Grave Titan
1 Karn Liberated
2 Victim of Night
1 Tribute to Hunger
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Doom Blade
4 Drowned Catacomb
2 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Go for the Throat
3 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Solemn Simulacrum
3 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Darkslick Shores
1 Twisted Image
2 Mana Leak
SB: 2 Sorin’s Thirst
SB: 3 Azure Mage
SB: 2 Spellskite
SB: 2 Surgical Extraction
SB: 2 Flashfreeze
SB: 1 Dissipate
SB: 1 Black Sun’s Zenith
SB: 1 Negate
SB: 1 Volition Reins
Divination is a comically-low penny on Amazon.
Anywho, the default in the format is Think Twice; and for the most part, Think Twice + Forbidden Alchemy. You will sometimes even see three copies of Think Twice / four copies of Forbidden Alchemy; this can happen. Caleb Durward, with his brilliant B/U anti-creatures control deck opted to develop his board (or stunt his opponent’s board) with his first couple of mana, rather than “merely” sculpting his hand. He played neither.
Caleb is quick to make the point that you get an actual two cards for three mana with Divination, rather than two cards for five mana with Think Twice. And of course you can “build your own Mulldrifter” with Snapcaster Mage + Divination, which is great (though this Mulldrifter requires a preexisting Divination, is only 2/1, and doesn’t fly). His arguments are strong and probably fit for his deck style; perhaps most compellingly, Caleb only spent two slots on Divinations where most B/U or Solar Flare-style decks gobble up 6-8 slots on hand-sculpting Flashback card draw.
Obviously there are potential arguments for either card.
Just a couple of points to make from the Devil’s Advocate side (BTW I qualified for US Nationals the last time I played with Divination [Cougar Town], but this Saturday I intend to play with the full eight Think Twice and Forbidden Alchemy):
- There is no loss of mana when you are playing against another control deck. That is, you can do nothing with two mana in a Divination deck (you have no play), or you can play the front half of a Think Twice; there isn’t much difference. At the point you pay the back half of the Think Twice or you tap out for Divination on your third turn (which you probably wouldn’t do in a world of Liliana of the Veil), you haven’t actually been forced to back up the three-versus-five difference on the two spells.
- This is a not-irrelevant point, and one of the things that has always made Think Twice so compelling for me, personally: It is a legitimate Xerox cantrip. Think Twice is a one- or two- (in this case two mana) mana cantrip that can help you hit your land drops. Whatever other virtues Divination has as a self-contained spell, it lacks this one. There are lots of reasonable two-land hands you can keep with removal spells and a Think Twice, etc. Divination doesn’t always get you there.
So… All mad respect to Caleb for producing another out-of-the-box implementation of available cards (and of course a happy high five for Top 8 on Saturday).
Further thoughts on Think Twice and Divination? Comment below (if you dare).