You Make the Play, You Make the Play

Hello beloved readers!

Before we get to the next You Make the Play (in case you hadn’t yet noticed You Make the Play is about Ajani-times more popular than anything else to read on this site!), I wanted to tie up some older installments of You Make the Play. First, regarding Thoughtseize v. Rampant Growth – Fight! (itself a response):

The opening hand consisted of these pretty pixels:

And the question was how to spend a first turn Thoughtseize. My opponent took the Rampant Growth (which I at the time didn’t want him to take) and I beat him up with a Civic Wayfinder on the way to winning the match.

What do the kiddies have to say?

#1 Apprentice Asher ManningBot Hecht
“Civic Wayfinder, obv. You probably did like six before he stopped it. That matters.”

I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective, but good old Civic Wayfinder did in fact get in for relevant damage!

The Pennsylvania Champ, Brett Blackman
“I would have taken Rampant Growth.”

Isn’t this what we spent the preceding post debunking? Well, this isn’t the last time YT clashes with his betters.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself…

Next: Deciding on Disappointment 

Zack Hall has four cards in hand and a Figure of Destiny (1/1) in play. You have four lands including a Ghitu Encampment. Zack is up a card due to playing second, and is presently nuking you with Blightning. This is your grip:

What do you pitch?

Now before we get all the way settled, let me just ask you a question. Which side of this divide would you rather be on?

GP Top 8 competitors Zack Hall and Gerard Fabiano…

… or Magic commentators, Evan Erwin and Mike Flores?

Choose carefully.

To answer Dave Petterson, the life totals were 19-14 my lead.

Interestingly, most of the earlier responses favored holding onto a Flame Javelin, and most of the later responses –especially after the absolutely superb response by Alexan — had us holding Demigod of Revenge. The Demigod of Revenge camp, which included the newly wedded BK, were much more strategic: “We’re probably losing… now how do we find a way to win, however improbable?”

At this point it probably won’t surprise you to learn that…

Team Keep the Demigod: Fabiano & Hall

Team Keep the Flame Javelin: Erwin & Flores

Of course my favorite response was from wobblethegoose:
“Pitch a Demigod of Revenge and Flame Javelin. Prior scouting lets me know that Hall is running Unwilling Recruit, significantly reducing the EV of a resolved Demigod.”

What a savage metagamer.

Anyway, this is what I was thinking… Two things:

1) I am behind, but I can predict what Zack is going to do with his mana. Unless he has a Demigod of Revenge, he is going to put four mana into the Figure -at some point- if not next turn, and I can steal mana and take out his key threat, potentially buying me the time to topdeck out of this situation.

2) I lost a fair number of Demigod mirror matches in Block Constructed because I tried to play the Demigod beatdown. I went for it with Demigod of Revenge and my opponent sat and waited, Flamed my Demigod, then counterattacked with his Demigod when I was tapped.

It’s as Kowal said, we’re probably not going to win… and maybe I wasn’t playing to win… but I did. This is how it went down:

I pulled a land and immediately played it. I coyly looked at my graveyard and eyed the Demigod.

Zack’s eyes rolled back. “Please don’t slow roll me!” I had previously double-pumped both fists and danced about when he shipped to Paris in Game One (you may have seen this dance on The Magic Show). I smiled and didn’t have it this time, passed with all five lands open.

Zack played his fifth land and played Demigod of Revenge. He did not attack with his Figure of Destiny, no doubt worried that I might eat it with Ghitu Encampment.

Of course I killed the Demigod with Flame Javelin.

Along the way I got a little card advantage back with a Blightning of my own, revealing a pair of Unwilling Recruits. Had I kept the Demigod of Revenge, I am pretty sure I would have lost to those on the spot. My last turn, I got in with a Hell’s Thunder when Zack’s remaining removal spell was a Lash Out, and landed the last three with a topdecked Incinerate.

I obviously got immensely lucky on topdecks, and that Zack’s last removal card couldn’t stop the four from Hell’s Thunder, but I was just so used to getting beaten up when I “went for it” with my own Demigods in Block that I was almost “trained” not to try. I don’t know if this is faulty thinking, but in this case it got there when the alternative might have cost me the game.

More to come, of course!


facebook comments:


#1 Gifts Ungiven on 12.19.08 at 1:15 am

I think this quote is right in intent, but wrong in decision:

“The Demigod of Revenge camp, which included the newly wedded BK, were much more strategic: “We’re probably losing… now how do we find a way to win, however improbable?””

Pitching Demigod is significantly more likely to lead to a win than keeping it. When you choose to keep Demigod, you have immediate action to prevent impending death via threat-on-the-field or topdecked threat from your opponent (via Javelin, which kills everything), and you get a swingy turn from hell if you subsequently topdeck a Demigod. My skepticism about the play definitely comes from the fact that you’re keeping highly killable action that may pay off if you fairly immediately draw into a second Demigod, whereas if you kept the Javelin, you can buy a lot of extra turns in which to see another Demigod and start swinging with two in the air.

Or, more briefly, I think keeping the Javelin /is/ the “way to win, however improbable” play. In contrast, keeping the Demigod is the triple gamble — I hope I get a non-CIPT land, I hope no removal kills my Demigod, and I hope I don’t get killed while I’m waiting point 1.

#2 Gifts Ungiven on 12.19.08 at 1:17 am


“When you choose to keep Demigod, you have immediate….”

Should read:

“When you choose to keep JAVELIN, you have immediate…”

#3 Alfrebaut on 12.19.08 at 11:59 pm

I haven’t commented before because I previously was too lazy to make a comment, but I would have kept the Flame Javelin, though I’m now unconvinced of how right it was. My mind went instantly to both getting a 2-for-1 by casting a topdecked Demigod and to making my opponent waste his mana(and therefore time) on pumping up his Figure. You’d have to topdeck a land to even cast Demigod, and even then, it’s likely you’d lose in a race against a player with a Figure AND four cards in his hand. Now I’m not sure either way…

#4 Five With Flores » B/W Tokens Part Two on 12.21.08 at 1:01 pm

[…] think Jund Mana Ramp is the control in this matchup (consider Asher ManningBot’s comment from You Make the Play, You Make the Play), which is as dodgy as it is unexpected (Game One is not exactly the most stable pillar of […]

You must log in to post a comment.