You Make the Play – Trusting Your Celestial Colonnade

It’s the first You Make the Play of the new year… or for that matter over three months! Featuring Celestial Colonnade and a host of new Worldwake cards!

The scenario:

You are playing a Raka control deck… U/R/W board control, no counters main deck, but lots of good cards. For sake of argument, this is your deck:

Celestial ColonnadePretend Raka Control Deck

4 Everflowing Chalice

2 Divination
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Spreading Seas
4 Treasure Hunt

3 Ajani Vengeant

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Day of Judgment
4 Path to Exile

2 Celestial Collonade
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Halimar Depths
4 Island
1 Kabira Crossroads
2 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Scalding Tarn

Before you make any comments (and I’m sure there will be comments), I am not pretending this is the optimal Raka-colors deck; this is just a with some stats that you can use to help formulate your solution to today’s You Make the Play.

The reason you went U/R/W over Grixis or Esper is that Everflowing Chalice can ramp you to Day of Judgment or one of two very good Planeswalkers on the third turn. Given the interaction between one of those and Treasure Hunt (as well as Halimar Depths and Treasure Hunt), it seemed worth running around Esper Charm and Cruel Ultimatum.

To you are putting a lot of faith in Treasure Hunt. You’ve cut down to 23 lands because of Treasure Hunt’s “cantrip” capability as well as the presence of Everflowing Chalice (aka Motherlovin’ Cup), which should help you get action.

Okay! The problem:

It’s a simple one… given the above deck, do you keep or no?

On the play?

On the draw?

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Treasure Hunt
Ajani Vengeant
Lightning Bolt
Day of Judgment
Celestial Colonnade
Scalding Tarn

I think this should make for an interesting discussion; I think you should think so, too.

So I am not going to work on the solution until we have at least 25 comments 🙂

That shouldn’t be a problem. This You Make the Play drew 38!


facebook comments:


#1 dyee418 on 01.31.10 at 11:15 pm

I would probably keep this hand on the draw and play; because, you’ve got scalding with bolt and treasure hunt to hopefully dig up some good action. Although it seems really risky, I would be comfortable with keeping because the chalices are the equivalent of having extra lands, despite having to tap out and you’ve got two lands in hand to kick it to get that one extra mana in.

#2 Alfrebaut on 01.31.10 at 11:49 pm

I wouldn’t keep it in either case because, knowing my luck, I’d treasure hunt into some expensive card, and draw nothing but 4+ mana cards for the rest of the game.

#3 Frelance on 01.31.10 at 11:49 pm

If you can’t>?I> keep a hand with two lands covering all your colors between them, and multiple cheap plays including card draw, then the question isn’t interesting because the problem with the hand isn’t the cards in it, it’s the deck you drew them from.

#4 fork203551 on 02.01.10 at 12:13 am

personaly i don’t like the odds if there going first. the way it’s setup you hunt turn 2 and hope for a land or chalices. if you don’t you only bolt to hold them off. at that point you rely on drawing the right card to save you until you draw your land. not 1 but 2 land. in most cases if you stall that long you lose. now if your going first it’s a little better. since you get to hunt on your turn 2(there still on turn 1) if you don’t get what you need. you still can hold them off with a bolt for a bit. and hope to draw land. the fact of all these draw spells that cost 2 is throwing it off a bit. you keep thinking what if i draw another draw spell for 2 mana. all in all if you do draw one. that eats another turn of damage coming your way.

so it all depends on what deck your facing and if you draw or play. all in all it’s not wise to keep either. you rely on drawing a white or lose the game. i don’t like the odds

#5 ALaflamme on 02.01.10 at 12:46 am

KEEP! without a doubt. in the words of Fabiano: “I never mulligan. Ever. It’s just too bad.”
you’re playing a control deck, trying to get as much card-advantage as possible, you have early removal, bombs, an easy way to stabilize once you hit 4 AND a draw spell you can play with the lands in your hand?… keeping that! on the play it’s a but sketchier, but keep both ways.

#6 wobblesthegoose on 02.01.10 at 2:30 am

Yeah, pretty sure I’d keep that vs most decks. Consider the cards you can draw to help you get out of this: Any of the lands, chalice, another hunt, or spreading seas. I mean, the first two get you to a pretty comfortable 3 mana, and the last two mean that over your first three turns you are probably going to see 5-7 cards over your first 3 turns. That makes over half your deck live draws. and even then, you can definitely stabilize if you miss that third land drop but make the 4th and fifth.

The better question are these: You’re on the draw with that hand. You draw a Plains on your first draw step. Which land do you play first? Which land do you play first if you’re opponent played a first turn stepp lynx? noble heirarch? hedron crab? What if you drew a chalice instead?

#7 MTGBattlefield on 02.01.10 at 3:25 am

You Make the Play – Trusting Your Celestial Colonnade…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#8 grayseeroly on 02.01.10 at 5:13 am

I think i would keep this hand though i might be leaning to hard on treasure hunt to pick up 1+ land by itself. It has all the colour you need and in the 4-5 cards you draw you only need two lands to really pop for the rest of the game. This is chancy hand on the play, but a very good hand on the draw, but I’d keep both ways as the wrought to victory is so clear and powerful.

#9 browndr on 02.01.10 at 7:18 am

Definitely keep on the draw. Gives 3 draws plus hunt to hit 2 more mana sources. Drawing a Spreading Seas or another Bolt will add draw steps against aggro. And you already have the sources necessary for the deck in hand.

Kinda Sketchy on the play though. Might still keep, but that one extra draw step is the tipping point.

#10 bigheadjoe on 02.01.10 at 8:28 am

My rule (which I break all the time) is “never keep a 2 land hand.” I have exceptions to that rule, but three 4 mana spells, and 2 lands is not one of those exceptions. I would pitch this on the play or on the draw. Because you need that Treasure Hunt to flip over 2 lands, it will flip over another Jace. Maybe that’s a lack of “faith in the heart of the cards,” but that’s a Yu-Gi-Oh phrase and we play Magic. 🙂


#11 juzamjedi on 02.01.10 at 9:43 am

In this type of deck I like this hand.

2 mana sources, with 2 card drawers, and 3 board control cards. Bolt can stop some early pressure if Treasure Hunt whiffs and you already have DoJ to play clean up. The whole plan of the deck is to Jace + Ajani early and gain board control so this hand seems fine to me.

#12 Teflon_Jeff on 02.01.10 at 9:47 am

On the play, no way do I keep. You need two lands by turn 4 to make this keepable, with not very good odds. First draw, 21/53 for a land, and then treasure hunt is 20/52 to hit. Overall, i think that’s not good enough, considering you need to hit another land in the next two draws. Is it awesome if it gets there? Yeah, but I don’t think you get there enough on the play.

On the draw, you have the extra draw step, so it’s a higher chance. If I don’t know what I’m up against, I probably keep, but not super confident.

#13 Ulyssesm90 on 02.01.10 at 9:56 am

Keep on the draw, but not on the play only because of the presence of four 4-cost spells. At least on the draw you have two land, hunt hopefully finds you a mana source or Chalice (or both), and you have an extra turn with Lightning Bolt. It’s too risky on the play. The deck is pretty high on the curve anyway, so seeing three lands quick is important, you you can draw into land no. 4, but in this case (on the draw only) your spells will probably pull you out of any tempo loss, assuming you find land. I guess it’s not terrible on the play either, but you are really banking on Treasure Hunt in a 23 land deck.
Naa, forget it. Mulligan that junk everytime.

#14 GarMan on 02.01.10 at 10:32 am

Hmm I tweeted a response, but probably better here.

You have 2 lands, you have early removal, and you have TH. Worst case is TH finds a useless expensive spell, you are still 1 card nearer to the land you need. If you find either a land or a chalice.

Put it another way, what card would you rather not have in your starting hand and have a land instead? Jace is the most probable answer to that, but your deck has 4 Jace and 23 land. You are much more likely to find 2 more lands than a Jace.

As an aside, if you have a deck with just 23 lands, I think treasure hunter becomes a suboptimal card, with 23 land you only have a 38% chance of hitting a land, so only a 14% chance to hit a 3 card draw. With 27 lands (replacing the chalice) you go up to 45% chance of drawing 2 cards, and 20% chance of a third card, and even almost 10% that you will get 4 cards. Is ramping really worth it?

#15 GarMan on 02.01.10 at 10:35 am

So assuming you are on the play, you play a land, go, _draw_, play a land, play TH, draw.

So you will have drawn 3 cards(at worst) by the time you need to drop your 3rd land and you have 23 lands, 4 chalice, and also 4 spreading seas, so 31 cards out of 53 that you want to hit, so over 50% each and ever draw for 3 draws.

#16 rockbard on 02.01.10 at 11:05 am

I would not keep it neither on the play nor on the draw, because (following Steve Sadin) I could be better with a six-card hand than with these seven, and because my hand does not affect the board very much. If we had a Path to Exile instead of any of the Planeswalkers, I’d have kept it, because I get three plays out of my starting hand. Even with a Spreading Seas I’d have kept it.

#17 KramlmarK on 02.01.10 at 11:30 am

You’re need 4 land by turn 4 for this hand to be worth keeping.
You crack the scalding tarn on turn 2.

Your chances of drawing a land in the first two turns falls between 35 and 40%, depending on what you have already drawn, when you crack your scalding tarn. On the play, this means you have about a 40% chance of getting a land in your first draw step. On the draw, you have about a 64% chance of getting at least one land in you, and a 14% chance of getting two. In other words, this hand would be an easy throw-away without divination, the chalice, and treasure hunt.

I don’t have time to do the math now, but it seems to me that the 4 chalices aren’t going to make a huge difference. The fact is, you need two mana sources in 2-3 draws for this hand to be interesting. Spreading seas is worth less than half a land, treasure hunt is worth less than half a land, divination is only worth about 8/10 of a land and is dead unless you draw a land before you draw it. Hell, even if you do draw the mana you need, there’s a small but very real possibility that you won’t be able to produce the UU you need for Jace, if the mana comes from two of your 9 non-blue producing sources. If you knew you were playing a slow-ish deck, I’d be tempted to keep on the draw because of the absurdity of having DoJ, Jace, AND Ajani. Against an unknown opponent, though, you risk being run over by Bushwacker or even a particularly fast build of Vamps.

Verdict: Mulligan on the play no matter what, and on the draw unless you know your opponent is running a slow deck with little disruption.

#18 smoore on 02.01.10 at 11:34 am

Something to consider here is the EV of your mulligan hand. To get what would be considered a better hand- “mana-wise” at least- there would need to be at least three sources of mana. Three plus lands would satisfy this, as would two lands plus a chalice. The odds of getting either of these grips is right around fifty percent- slightly above it actually. Given that you have coin flip odds of doing better in the mana department alone- not including whether you have any relevant spells- seems to indicate a keep. Compare that to your on the play odds of hitting a land/chalice in your two draw steps plus a treasure hunt lottery (around 79 percent) or on the draw (upwards of ninety percent), its clear this hand would be keepable- though certainly risky.

#19 KramlmarK on 02.01.10 at 11:39 am

Aside that I forgot to put in the previous post:

More than anything, this exercise demonstrates why decks with Treasure hunt should not cut land. With even 26 lands, this hand becomes very keep-able (on the draw) because of the treasure hunt’s significantly increased chances of hitting a land and a chalice or a land and a draw spell.

#20 schwarzott on 02.01.10 at 1:11 pm

keep. instantly.

#21 MCosta on 02.01.10 at 4:06 pm

I would ship both play and draw. I haven’t run the exact math but I can tell from the 23 lands that I wouldn’t like my odds on the play.
As for the draw, the number of CIPT lands (as well as having to use tarn for mountain and therefore shutting off fortress) means that a relevant percentage of the hands that hit still can’t cast the 4 drops until turn 5 on the draw, which seems much to slow for me. If I knew it was a control matchup, I’m even more likely to ship a land light hand.

#22 nwonder on 02.01.10 at 6:26 pm

Keep-keep. I don’t think I can hope for a 6 card hand to be stronger.

#23 rmoore on 02.01.10 at 6:28 pm

I don’t think you can even consider mulling. You’re not that likely to have more than 2 lands after mulling with this decklist anyways. This hand is better than most 6 carders you’ll pull.

#24 Joe on 02.01.10 at 7:27 pm

Mulligan on the play for sure, probably mulligan on the draw as well. My biggest issue with the hand is the Scalding Tarn. Having one less land in the deck when you need 2 more is rough. It’s not helped very much by Treasure Hunt either because again there are less lands in the deck.

#25 wobblesthegoose on 02.01.10 at 7:56 pm

@joe Really? Scalding tarn is the difference in 1.7% pulling a land out of the deck, and it doesn’t effect your first draw on the play at all. It might not even effect your second if you don’t play the treasure hunt turn 2. I think this deck has the option of either digging deep or drawing a mana producer that assuming your deck’s plan is valid, you’re going to be fine. I mean, this deck strikes me like the cascade, where it’s really slow in getting to the phase 3. It seems like most games you won’t be casting more than a 1 for 1 removal spell and some card drawing before turn 4-5 any way. I mean, if the format is slow enough were this deck is viable in the first place, it’s slow enough to keep this hand and draw out of it.

Also, 25 Ding.

#26 pinoy_magic on 02.01.10 at 8:01 pm

on the play = ship
on the draw = ship

easy decision as its a 23 land deck and banking on treasure hunt to hit at least 1 land doesn’t quite make the cut. i know that on the draw we get an additional card but hey just 1 hiccup on not hitting your land drop basically means GAME. there’s is pretty much no coming back from that game. and like the other people that posted because of the other cards costing 4cc makes it even more sense to ship in both scenarios. i’ll put my chances on getting a new 6 than playing this.

#27 Dochetwas on 02.01.10 at 9:04 pm

Keep, on the play or on the draw. You’re playing this deck because you trust in the power of the Hunt. Why the sudden loss in faith? 🙂

More seriously, though, you’re playing all these 4 cmc cards because they do powerful things. I think you can trust in them to get you back in the game even if you happen to stall out for a little bit. You have a Bolt to give you some action, if needed. Treasure Hunt is going to hit a land for you, obviously (in testing, my Treasure Hunts never drew less than 2 land, in a similar 23 land deck). You’ll be perfectly fine.

I Believe in Harvey Dent Treasure Hunt!

#28 Brightbo on 02.01.10 at 9:25 pm

As far probability of not missing your third land drop, I think you’re fine to keep especially with 2-3 draw steps and treasure hunt. You’re probably going to hit your third land drop; however, the hand has a problem with developing as far as colors go. Scalding Tarn is not a Volcanic Island, and you have a good chance of not having the luxury of waiting to decide whether you play Jace (with his UU for which you would need to get an island) or Ajani (with his RW for which Scalding Tarn needs to fetch a mountain) because you will want to play Treasure Hunt on turn 2 not to mention the fact you may need to bolt a steppe lynx or other card.

While, you can probably decide what to get with the tarn once you rip your third land, you have critically fewer draw steps to really have the colors develop and you will need to decide before treasure hunting, which could bring you the wrong land and and lock you into a forth turn play that may be suboptimal, but your only choice because of colors.

In short I would have trouble keeping mostly because not only do I have to rip land, I have to correctly gamble which land to get with Scalding Tarn more times than not.

#29 eightoffires on 02.01.10 at 11:08 pm

Ship the hand on both play and on the draw. You only have 2 land and will be taking one of the 21 remaining cards out your deck and you need 2 of them before you get ur business on. Lightning bolt is more or less a currently dead card because u might as well just wait for the day of judgment to get you some card advantage. Treasure hunt is more or less irrelevant in the decision. In the end you need either double white for wrath or double blue for jace and ur unlikely too get the one you need. Easy decision in my opinion

#30 von_sparron on 02.02.10 at 7:17 am

I think this is a keep-but-I’m-not-too-happy-about-it kinda hand. People have been over the maths so I won’t bother but I think you have a better chance with this 7 than you would with 6. Plus Having DoJ gives you the chance to recover if you do miss a drop for a turn.

#31 von_sparron on 02.02.10 at 7:18 am

I should add I would definately take a trip to Paris on the play.

#32 ibanez on 02.03.10 at 6:20 am

I would keep on the draw and play because, even if you’re on the play, you’ve got 1 draw to hit a land before playing treasure hunt, if not you may quite posibly get a spreading seas or divination, wich would be ok until you get jace out. If you’re playing against aggro youve got the bolt and day of judgment to keep up( or even ajani and jace using 2nd and 3rd ab.) and for controlish you’ve got ajani and also jace.

#33 ProdigalT on 02.03.10 at 3:26 pm

This is nice – very divisive. It’s a really close call. You could easily get blown out if you don’t draw your land, or completely take control if you do. Absent any outside information, I’d probably keep on the draw, but it’s too risky on the play.

#34 invisible on 02.03.10 at 11:26 pm

I would mulligan. Even if you rip mana sources, you need at least 2 pretty soon to get in the game. And looking at the manabase, out of the 21 lands left in your deck, 6 are guaranteed to come into play tapped, plus the 4 glacial fortress will need some help if you fetch a mountain with the scalding tarn, like people are suggesting. Play or draw, you need to think about the very good chance that your fourth land will come into play tapped and you’ll be another turn behind.

#35 GerryT on 02.05.10 at 4:32 pm

Keep both ways, not close. You have Bolt and at the very least a cantrip, and Wrath to stabilize even if you miss a land drop or two.

As far as the deck is concerned, why would Treasure Hunt make you cut lands? If nothing else, I would play more lands with Treasure Hunt.

#36 JedDavies on 02.12.10 at 4:25 pm

This seems a little obvious. We’re playing 23 land, and one the reasons given is that we are trusting our Treasure Hunts. Two lands and a Hunt seems to be decent, because we aren’t likely to get more through a mulligan. Whether or not it is correct, I think Flores is leading us towards keeping.

#37 Fox Murdoch on 02.23.10 at 6:19 am

I’d keep on the draw, trusting my deck and poo-pooing random card draw if I lost the game.
On the play, I’d ship it back. 2 land then stalling is far more embarassing and costly.

#38 Five With Flores » Sovereigns of Lost Alara Update on 08.31.10 at 1:38 pm

[…] Celestial Colonnade 5 Forest 2 Island 1 Marsh Flats 4 Misty Rainforest 2 Plains 1 Sejiri Steppe 3 Stirring Wildwood 3 […]

You must log in to post a comment.