You Make the Play… Starring Elite Vanguard!

It’s the return of You Make the Play! this episode pits M10 uncommon Elite Vanguard against longtime Kithkin one drop Goldmeadow Stalwart in a thought provoking turn two scenario.

You are playing the Rhox Meditant Deck in a post-M10 tournament (nice choice); so now you have Lightning Bolt in your sideboard (huzzah). Your opponent is White Weenie / Kithkin, and you are up a game playing for Top 8. You were able to tempo him in a triumphant Game One. He didn’t hit the dream curve of Honor of the Pure, Spectral Procession, and Ajani Goldmane, so you had time to slow him down with Naya Charm. You just littered the floor with your threes to block and chump block with Kitchen Finks and Borderland Ranger, Time Walked him turn five with Primal Command on his Windbrisk Heights, and then showed him Enlisted Ultimatum. That card gave you a 5/5, a dead Knight of the Meadowgrain, four life and a re-buy on your Bituminous Blast. Wanting to preserve time against your sluggish and methodical deck, your opponent shrugged into Game Two.

To open the second, your opponent led with Goldmeadow Stalwart and showed you a second Goldmeadow Stalwart.

You played your Jungle Shrine, then passed.

He got in for two, screwed up his face a little bit, played his second land… and instead of running out the Stalwart, ran out complimentary one drop Elite Vanguard. Now there are lots of different reasons he might do this, from not having another Kithkin for this second Stalwart to some kind of shenanigans running on the back end. But the fact is, this is the board you are looking at when you untap for turn two:

You untap your Jungle Shrine, pull a card and assess these eight cards for your second turn:

Jungle Shrine.

Eight-card hand:
Savage Lands, Exotic Orchard, Lightning Bolt, Borderland Ranger, Borderland Ranger, Captured Sunlight, Hallowed Burial, Enlisted Wurm.

So… Play your second turn 🙂


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#1 zsievers on 07.12.09 at 3:42 pm

So unless I am missing something, the real debate is the timing on the Lightning Bolt, as it seems pretty clear we are playing the savage lands this turn. There seems to be 2 options, Bolt a dude on your turn or Bolt a dude on his turn. If you Bolt the guy on your turn, this leaves open him Path-ing his own guy and hitting Ajiani or 2 guys or just actually hitting land number 3. If you Bolt on their turn nothing completely awful can happen to blow you out, as the Anthems are still in Bolt range. So, out of those 2 options I am going to sit on the Bolt, the other play is just to not play the Bolt, but he seems to be short on guys, and you have 2 Wayfinders to possibly trade or at least slow him down until Burial gets on line, so this is how I would play it:

Savage Lands Go
Bolt the Kithkin on his turn.

#2 Zygonn on 07.12.09 at 4:02 pm

What I’m more worried about here is Harm’s Way. I think you play Savage Lands, go. Then, after he attacks, you Bolt the Elite Vanguard. That way he can’t wreck you with a Harm’s Way.

Does Human Soldier mean he isn’t playing Wizened Cenn? That’s the card that scares me, but it looks like he doesn’t have it because he didn’t play the second stalwart. Crusade is also a little scary, because you want your Borderland Ranger to be able to block a creature and trade, making a Bolt on the 2/2 more attractive. I think you just bolt the vangaurd and expect your Borderland Ranger block to not go as planned. You’re still fine because you’re just working your way up to Hallowed Burial (with a captured Sunlight on the way) into Enlisted Wurm. Playing around Harm’s Way I think puts you in the best position in that case.

#3 Haiiro on 07.12.09 at 4:09 pm

My second turn would be Savage Lands, go. 😛

#4 Dold on 07.12.09 at 4:13 pm

I agree with that play, except with this being a post m10 tournament, the chance of the Kithkin player playing Harm’s Way is probable, as it is pretty good against Lightning Bolt. If he does have Harm’s Way, Bolting the Stalwart would result in Flores taking 6 that turn, and no dead creature. I would bolt the Vanguard, so if he does have Harm’s Way, the creature still dies. If Kithkin player has Path it won’t make a difference, as both creatures have 2 power.

#5 Kha on 07.12.09 at 4:17 pm

Play Savage Lands, pass the turn and bolt the Vanguard in opponents upkeep,

We have no other turn two plays so don’t lose anything by playing the savage lands, this also sets us up nicely to orchard into Ranger on turn 3.
We hit the Vanguard in their upkeep, before they see their card for the turn and playing around a possible Harm’s Way on the Stalwart. This ensures that we don’t take the additional 2 beats if they have a trick, stops them gaining any tempo boost this early through pathing their own dude and “wastes” that one mana they left open during our turn IF they did have a tricksie play.

#6 kbreid on 07.12.09 at 4:43 pm

If he has another Kithkin in hand, he’s playing it here. Given that Stalwart is a Soldier and he’s running the Vanguard, we can assume he’s running the Tribal version of Soldiers and probably not a stock Kithkin list (which wouldn’t be caught DEAD with Vanguard). The only way we can effectively use our mana this turn is to drop the 2nd Savage Lands and leave Bolt mana open, so we do so.

Now with a board of Savage Lands, Savage Lands [T], we have 3 options. Bolt a guy, pass the turn. Pass the turn, bolt a guy on attack. Pass the turn, don’t bolt a guy at all. Let’s consider what his turn 3 play might be:

Armorsmith, which keeps all guys in Bolt range.
Swordsmith, which keeps all guys in Bolt range.
Honor of the Pure, same deal.
Spectral Procession
Stalwart and a Kithkin 2-drop

Of those plays, none justify bolting the Stalwart on your turn. You won’t worry about the Vanguard as in a Kithkin deck, he’s awful and in a Soldier deck he’s strictly worse than Stalwart on the board. So we can rule out all plays effecting the Vanguard, all plays on our turn, and all plays before he plays a spell/declares attackers. Going over potential plays now, we see that the play that causes the most damage is an Honor of the Pure. We can’t remove it, and we will take 6 if we don’t remove an attacker. He may have the Honor and decided that board position is more important. I’d even go so far as to say that the “Screwing up of the face” is a possible tell of making a tough play, so the worst case scenario is Honor of the Pure, Kithkin off the top to play the Stalwart.

Looking over the deck list, we need Maelstrom Pulse to remove Honor this matchup. If he’s playing Soldiers he has probably got Cap’n Crunch of the Watch, which is a 3-Butt creature. We have Bituminous Blast to take care of the Captain even if there’s a Crusade effect out so we can probably afford to use the Bolt to gain tempo. Our turn 3 play is going to be Borderland Ranger since we haven’t got our 4th land yet (unless we find a Pulse for the Honor that may not be coming). Bolting the Stalwart before combat damage is probably the right play. Even if a Swordsmith comes down pre-combat, Bolting the Stalwart saves more damage over the next few turns.

Our hand has a 3-drop chump blocker that gets us to Captured Sunlight, which will either produce removal or a blocker. It’s probably safe to assume that if the Stalwart is taken off the board we won’t be taking all that much damage. Assuming the worst-case scenario, we remove the Stalwart in response to Honor of the Pure, a topdecked Kithkin allows another Stalwart onto the board, and we go to 17. Untapping, we play the Borderland Ranger and fetch a Plains so we can cast Hallowed Burial when we need to. Borderland trades with Vanguard if no other effects are added to the board, and probably chump-blocks on the following attack. His board presence is less important than keeping our life total high so we can blow them out with Hallowed Burial into Enlisted Wurm. If the 5th land hasn’t arrived by turn 4, it might make more sense to drop the 2nd Borderland Ranger than the Sunlight. In fact, considering that the Sunlight is likely to plop down a blocker that dies to Burial, or pop a removal spell that’ll be rendered irrelevant by 5th turn mass removal, I think that the play is to cast both t3 and t4 Rangers and ensure that the Enlisted Wurm Train arrives on-schedule. Obviously this all changes if any of the reads were incorrect or some substantial information is revealed, but the Game Plan for Rhox Deck Wins in this matchup involves survival, stealing tempo, and finishing the game with an Enlisted Ultimatum if possible.

Last note: I forgot that this was game 2. What do we know is in his deck from Game 1? Did we see any thing out of the ordinary? Honestly this matchup seems awful for Kithkin, since you can very easily steal tempo with efficient removal and get a lot of 2-for-1s. This combination should keep his Windbrisks offline, so you really only have to worry about 3 things: Honor, Spectral and Ajani. Your guys stall the ground long enough, so really only Honor and Ajani matter. Unless you have a reason to suspect he’s not running the Planeswalker it might even make sense to save a Bolt for Ajani! In this scenario, it looks like you can stifle his offense until you can wrath the board and then win with a Wurm so the Bolt is probably best used on the Stalwart. Still, it is an option that should not be ignored.

#7 kibler on 07.12.09 at 4:47 pm

Savage Lands, go.

Hard turn Mike. 😉

#8 bjbrains on 07.12.09 at 4:56 pm

Savage lands, go. I would be cautious about using the bolt now because of the dual possibilities of path or Harm’s way, both of which would put you in a bad position.

#9 moblin88 on 07.12.09 at 5:06 pm

Play the tap land, then bolt his vanguard. You do it now to rob him of the chance of drawing a path, and you bolt the vanguard since bolting the 2/2 you risk being blown out by harm’s way. Likewise, don’t wait for him to play honor the pure, since then he can save even the vanguard with harm’s way. One white for shocking your face and stripping a lightning bolt from your hand is bad times for you

#10 GRat on 07.12.09 at 5:23 pm

Honestly , who cares what they have?…Savage Lands, go, FTW. :p

#11 Alfrebaut on 07.12.09 at 6:42 pm

Savage Lands, go… followed by Lightning Bolt, probably during combat step or in response to Honor or something. If they’ve got W open anyway, might as well make them commit to the mana on their next turn.

#12 whatisfgh on 07.12.09 at 6:47 pm

Do you even have to play the bolt now? You have two blockers in the next turn, unless he anthems, in which case you can bolt later. Captured sunlight to gain life, hallowed burial to reset the board.

If he has anthem, bolt to save your life. If he has procession probably bolt. If he just plays another 2/1 save bolt for goat/captain if he was playing them. If you know he’s playing ajani bolt is a nice answer for that as well.

So just play savage lands… and pass… and base your decision on what happens later… like everyone else has said.

#13 BitterSting on 07.12.09 at 7:17 pm

Okay… first thinking about what he’s got. He may be missing the Kithkin to play the Stalwart. So we aren’t reading much.

I don’t understand why he’d be playing Elite Vanguard at all though. Looking at Cedric’s list the only reason he’s playing it is because he can’t afford Figure of Destiny. Its curious to me how it made it into the deck. Just doesn’t seem to be as strong as pure kithkin. I must be missing something. Maybe he’s playing the Stalwart in a soldier deck (its other type) which seems weak but might be possible.

Anyway, I don’t think any white weenie deck will be playing MD Harm’s Way, just not vital unless you see bolts. However, I do expect it’ll be a great sideboard card for them. 2 toughness + Honor of the Pure + Harm’s Way survives Bit Blast and everything below. Its definitely a card I’d expect in this match.

He has five cards in his hand, and I can’t imagine a reason he’d play Elite Vanguard over Stalwart if he had the option of both (Harm’s Way + 2 toughness will survive your probably expected bolt). He is probably without Kithkin in hand right now, which is probably the sad face he made. (He might also be tricking us because he has Harm’s Way it oddly doesn’t matter to the decision).

So I think to myself, he has 5 cards.. probably no Kithkin. I’m expecting he has the Harm’s Way.

(And as a quick sanity check his opening hand was probably something like 2 Stalwarts, the Vanguard, and four of land/tricks which is very keepable for him, so my assumptions are plausible).

So, assuming the Harm’s Way. Time to think a little strategically.

First, there is no reason to kill anything now and not during his upkeep. In theory he could have 2 Harm’s Way I guess which would let him bounce my entire bolt, but I think I win that game because he’s down to 2 action cards and he’s going to bounce into rangers until he dies. So, I’m happy to wait.

The question I ask myself is how far do I wait.

Do I do bolt now or wait.

It occurs to me that I really want to kill his Stalwart and not his Vanguard. The Vanguard + Honor of the Pure dies to my Rangers, the Stalwart + Honor smashes through my Rangers. If he really has no more Kithkin (which seems likely as he didn’t play his stalwart instead of the Vanguard) then he may be out of creatures expect a 4 cc Stalwart. Which is an easy win if I can trade my Ranger for his Vanguard.

So I want the Kithkin dead, and not the soldier. (Plus he might be playing some mix of Cenn and Honor which is another great reason to concentrate on killing Kithkins).

I can’t kill the Kithkin with W mana available, but… maybe I can kill it anyway.

Let’s project a little bit.

First, I’m not killing anything my turn. Killing it on his turn is basically the same thing except for some weird scenario where he plays two Harm’s Way in response, then plays a land then drops the Stalwart. Which I think is a good game for me because he only has four cards when he starts that and the other one has to be a Kithkin so my rangers are trading… plus he has no real hand. So let’s ignore that strange scenario. I think that works fine.

I quite like killing the Vanguard during upkeep. Bolt it. We’re assuming he plays at most one Harm’s Way, and the Vanguard dies whether we go for it now or during his upkeep.


I think there’s a stronger play. I think I hold off until the combat step.. unless the board changes.

If he plays a land, and then casts Honor of the Pure … which is I think his best likely tactic then I can hit the Vanguard with Honor on the stack. Same place I was.

However, 23 land decks don’t always get their land drop on turn 3. And if he draws it he has a chance to misplay, and even if he doesn’t misplay it might be a CIPT land (Windbrisk Heights). So I really think there’s a reasonable chance he plays his enchantment (or Cenn) and taps out during his turn.

If he gives me that opening I can kill the Stalwart. Killing the Stalwart makes me happy.

The only hitch might be him drawing Path to Exile and trumping my bolt by turning my target into a plains. I’m honestly not sure I’m unhappy with that either. Either way I’m playing Rangers for the next two turns to block and then I can wipe the board if I need to. Not something I’m worried about as long as I can stop the beats now I’m happy.


Okay so summing up.

My turn: Play Savage Land… go.
His turn: Wait.
If he plays untapped land + Honor (or Cenn for that matter) bolt the Vanguard.
If he plays no land or a tapped land + Honor: bolt the Stalwart.

The only real question in my mind is if he does nothing (except maybe play a land) do I let the Vanguard hit me so I can bolt at the end of the turn assuming no land. I don’t think I do. If he plays a land and then attacks then I’m pretty sure he has no pump spells (his correct play is to play it first for more damage). With no pumper my Rangers will win the early game for me and I can quite happily bold the Vanguard because my Rangers are probably trading with his Stalwart on their own.

And of course, if he taps out after combat for a pump spell then the Stalwart is dying.


If attacks without casting anything (and likely doesn’t have any pump effects). Take the face smash and see what happens after combat.
If he taps out kill the Stalwart.
If he still has untapped land at his end step then I’m quite happy to bolt the Vanguard.

#14 JedDavies on 07.12.09 at 7:21 pm

“Likewise, don’t wait for him to play honor the pure, since then he can save even the vanguard with harm’s way”

Well, you can just bolt in response to the honor…

I think you should bolt the vanguard in the upkeep.

#15 RealEvilGenius on 07.12.09 at 7:22 pm

You play Savage Lands tapped and pass. During his upkeep you bolt vanguard. Why? As already explained, bolting vanguard prevents Harms Way from saving his guy. It also makes the land he could get by Pathing his own guy that turn tapped, keeping him off a turn 3 Ajani. Why do you bolt now and not later? To prevent yourself from being blown out by Hams Way even later. If you don’t bolt Harms Way. If you wait that potential Harms Way eats your chump block with the Ranger while they still have Vanguard, Stalwart and whatever they played on their third turn. Your tempo could be completely disrupted while you allowed them to establish their own.

#16 moblin88 on 07.12.09 at 7:34 pm

I now see I was wrong, and you should wait for his upkeep. I think you still want to bolt before he sees another card, but if he has path it’s much worse for him to path his own dude durring his upkeep since he isn’t accelerated and has to commit a white mana at the start of his turn before he see his card. If he doesn’t have a third land in his hand he may end up losing his entire 3rd turn, or even better for you, decide not to path to make a turn three honor. Hence the play is to play the tap land and pass.

#17 zsievers on 07.12.09 at 11:55 pm

I honestly don’t think Harm’s Way will be seeing much play and didn’t take it into account.

#18 argus on 07.13.09 at 12:39 am

just play savage lands and say go and bolt the vanguard in upkeep! you rob him of a mana for his turn, if he has path he cannot use the mana, harm’s way doesn’t save his creature.

#19 ReeceP on 07.13.09 at 5:41 am

Oh WOW did we ever win the cascade lottery in game one.

Also, I think CIPT land/bolt smaller guy in upkp is right too.

#20 winzzz on 07.13.09 at 7:26 am

Savage Lands and pass.
If you’re worried about Path, bolt during upkeep. I couldn’t imagine you would care about Path though. He two for ones himself to get his third or fourth mana source on turn 3. I’d be fine with that.

Bolt Savannah Lions in response to any anthem effect.

Force him to play out second Stalwart and Cascade into Pulse. You luck sac you.

#21 winzzz on 07.13.09 at 7:43 am

Don’t bolt Lions during his upkeep.
Path is irrelevant. He loses too much tempo.
Bolt in response to crusade if he has it.
Bolting his creature now or during his upkeep will force him into developing his board with more creatures whereas waiting to bolt will set and entirely new play. He might see the Crusade as the correct play as he is already ahead on the board.
And if he’s so far ahead there’s no reason to over extend.

As the WW player sees it, if he does have a Harm’s Way, Path to Exile, Stalwart, and Crusade in hand and 2 more cards (possibly creatures) the correct play would be to cast crusade and attack. Bolting his lions in response to Crusade is devastating as his board presence diminishes.

#22 DeadLions on 07.13.09 at 10:18 am

@winzzz: He can still play a crusade effect and a harm’s way on his next turn if he plays a land. Glorious Anthem casts two now (and only affects white creatures).

I think you just drop the savage lands and pass your turn, carefully considering bolting the vanguard over the stalwart if has mana open before attacking or with an Honor of the Pure on the stack.

Of course you are (almost) definately going to hit hallowed burial on turn five if you need to and you have the option of gaining four life aswell. You might not need to play the bolt at all. Depends how strong his next turn play is. If you’re just taking four, I would definately hold the bolt back for dealing with creatures post hallowed burial.

#23 sinzer on 07.13.09 at 10:25 am

lay the savage lands and pass the turn. If on his next turn he misses a land drop and plays honor the pure. Bolt the Kithkin, if he leaves himself with 1 white mana open, bolt the elite vangaurd due to Harm’s Way.
If he taps out for another threat that is bigger than the previous 2 but is still in bolt range then bolt that.

Bolt on his turn whichever threat you know you can kill. Your next turn your playing the exotic orchard into the borderland ranger to give yourself captured sunlight mana.

If he does miss the land drop and plays an honor of the pure. The land dropping might be what he is skeptical about as well. So when he taps out for the honor, bolt the kithkin, your next turn you can trade the borderland ranger for the elite vanguard. and your turn after, you can captured sunlight or play another borderland ranger to speed into the enlisted wurm.

#24 ProdigalT on 07.13.09 at 3:40 pm

General agreement. Savage Lands, go is the play. I probably wouldn’t Bolt right away on upkeep, as he certainly has something else in his hand, and it’s probably worth taking 4 if he’s going to tap out for something, leaving Stalwart or a follow-up open to removal, but Bolt Vanguard if he goes for Crusade with W open. I’d rather kill the Stalwart, if he gives me an opening, since even with Crusade, Ranger can block and kill the Vanguard. In any case, you’re not going to miss any land drops and Burial will come online right on schedule if you need it.

#25 Tekanan on 07.13.09 at 5:07 pm

This would be my play.

T2: Savage Lands, Go (EoT lightning bolt if he plays another creature or i would still consider doing it if he hits honor of the pure.
T3: Borderland Rangers, land, go
T4: Captured Sunlight or borderland rangers (if he plays more creatures, this is probably the toughest play from my whole start as it will determine your outcome)
T5: hallowed burial
T6: enlisted wurm yay!

#26 winzzz on 07.13.09 at 7:23 pm

@ DeadLions: (He can still play a crusade effect and a harm’s way on his next turn if he plays a land. Glorious Anthem casts two now (and only affects white creatures).
Obv Which is why I referred to it as “Crusade”. Read a little deeper.

No reason to bolt at the EOT of your opponents turn.
Mono W is a tempo based deck. The only creature you’d want to kill over Savannah Lions or Stalwart would be a Knight of the Meadowgrain, Wizened Cenn, or Swordsmith. Since they’d play either Cenn or Swordsmith before attacks, the only creature they’d play post combat would be a Knight. And it’s still not worth taking the extra two damage for.

If you had Volcanic Fallout I can see waiting until their EOT to try and pick up an extra card off them. But 1 for 1s don’t bother.

#27 matt_sperling on 07.14.09 at 10:16 am

Here’s how this plays out if I’m the one playing RhoccoMediate.dec:
I savage land, pass.
attack step I bolt his 2/1, he double harm’s way’s, I take 7. He drops plains, Stalwart, showing me a knight of meadowgrain he just drew.
Next turn I wayfinder, he ajani’s, and I cry myself to sleep that night.

#28 matt_sperling on 07.14.09 at 10:19 am

OK maybe that’s 1 too many cards. He would actually crusade instead of ajani.

#29 rockbard on 07.14.09 at 3:16 pm

It’s more interesting if you think from the WW player point of view. If Flores bolts my Vanguard, do I Shock Flores or do I save my Harm’s Way to save a creature, possibly take out one Borderline Ranger? That’s the most interesting play in this exercise.

If I have a 3cc creature and Honor of the Pure, but no 3rd land, do I play the Crusade leaving mana open for my Harm’s Way? Can I kill him before the Hallowed Burial?

– Gabriel

#30 BitterSting on 07.14.09 at 10:54 pm

After some thought I think I want to change my answer.

It occured to me the only sequence of play that I’m actually likely to lose is one that involves him casting Spectral Procession on his next turn and then Honor of the Pure on the turn after that.

2 damage last turn + 2 damage this turn + 7 damage next turn when (Range blocks a token hoping to kill it) + 2 damage when the ranger block gets Harm’s Way’d back to our face – 4 from the OMG I need to stay alive Sunlight+7 (assuming Sunlight gets us removal or a blocker which I think it has to) = we’re at four when we wrath is just out of dying to a single Harm’s Way when he starts to rebuild and we drop our wurm. Should be winnable barring him responding to our wrath with a 2nd Spectral Procession… but we can’t eat damage this turn (by not bolting anything) and ideally we want him casting his Honor this turn and his potentical Spectral next turn.

So try to sucker him into tapping out during his upkeep by bolting the Vanguard and hoping he has the Path.

#31 TheJugador on 07.15.09 at 6:36 am

No reason not to play Savage Land, so that’s done. Now what to do with the lightning bolt?

All the responsive spells he’s likely to have are one-drops, so no point in bolting now, so you pass the turn.

Key question is whether he taps out before combat. If so, then it is safe to blast something, and my vote would be for the stalwart, since even with an HOTP in play you can trade a Ranger for the Vanguard.

If he keeps mana up and swings with his guys, then you bolt the Vanguard to play around Harm’s Way – he could Path his own guy, but there aren’t a lot of ways to play around that move, and he is down a Path.

One more consideration – how worried are you about Spectral Procession tokens? Do you sandbag the Bolt? Cause you can tie up his dudes on the ground with Rangers, but don’t really have any answers for fliers…

#32 winzzz on 07.15.09 at 6:39 am

No WW player is going to 2 for 1 himself on the upkeep of their third turn. It’s just stupid.
The WW player isn’t going to tap out for a spectral procession this turn if he has Honor of the Pure in hand either. Why would the WW player not play Honor of the Pure during his turn if he has it? Why would he fill the board with 1/1s a 2/1 and a 2/2 in a format filled with Fallouts, Jund Charms, Pyroclasms, and Infests (it is game 2)?
You’re playing the WW deck from the perspective of Flores and not the WW player. You know Flores doesn’t have a 3cc sweeper and you’re playing the WW deck like the WW player knows that.

He is going to ride the Lions and Stalwart all the way until Flores handles them. Especially if he has Honor of the Pure.

#33 winzzz on 07.15.09 at 6:43 am

And again I stress that if the WW player is marginally good at playing his deck, he won’t 2 for 1 himself with a Path during his upkeep.

If you bolt his creature during his upkeep he’ll be FORCED to develop his board. If you wait to bolt the WW player might fall into the trap of playing Honor of the Pure. It’s a trap because it steals tempo away from the WW deck when you bolt the 2/1 in response.

#34 BitterSting on 07.15.09 at 7:17 am

You’re playing the WW deck from the perspective of Flores and not the WW player. You know Flores doesn’t have a 3cc sweeper and you’re playing the WW deck like the WW player knows that.

You’re making the assumption that he has Honor, or that the game plays you think it does. Maybe he playtested enough to know his only winning plan is make dudes and hope we don’t have sweepers. If we have a 2/3 cc sweeper on turn3 doesn’t he always lose that game? If it looks to me that his only winning play is T3 make dudes, T4 Honor (or Ajani or what have you) maybe he’s realized that during his playtesting?

And you have to stop thinking Path is a 2 for 1. Its an even trade. We lose LB, he loses the Vanguard and Path but gains the Plains. Its an even trade (but a small loss of tempo depending on what he had in his hand for T3).

If he has Ajani in hand (which is almost as likely as him having Honor) then its quite possible that he can play 2 1cc critters this turn and Ajani next turn off the Path. Which could be a pretty good plan if his (currently 4 card hand) is Path, 2 1cc (or the Stalwart + 1 land) critters and Ajani. Which is also pretty bad for us.

You’re assuming Honor, and Harm’s Way. Ajani and Path are as if not more likely (Harm’s Way may not make WW sideboards and probably isn’t maindeckable).

I think bolt Vanguard during upkeep to try and push him off Spectral is the right play if the only way he looks like he can win is to play spectral now and a pump next turn.

That does become an interesting debate though.
– do you play as if he were playing according to the standard play rules (ride your guys till they die by playing Honor now and don’t overcommit into sweepers)
– do you play as if he will play the only winning move, even though it might be uninituitive (you need critters now and pump later or he’s going to lose)

#35 matt_sperling on 07.15.09 at 9:25 am

no one relevant path’s their own guy here during upkeep, sorry sting

#36 BitterSting on 07.15.09 at 8:28 pm

Anyone relevant going to play Vanguard and Stalwart in the same deck?

#37 MTGBattlefield on 07.15.09 at 8:51 pm

You Make the Play… Starring Elite Vanguard!…

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