Mana Leak, Jace’s Ingenuity, and “Stuff”

Yesterday I posted what I thought was a pretty good article on

If you want to read it (and you should, as it is pretty good), click here.

Jace’s Ingenuity (overrated)

Inspired by Mana Leak — or more precisely, Jace’s Ingenuity — the article was primarily about beating Counterspells and Blue players who are not as good as they think they are.

Oftentimes with these kinds of articles I have more ideas than I can remember to get down on paper before I hit the “Send” button to my editor. In this case I think that a number of cases would be supported by more / more concrete examples.


It is pretty imperative that the Counterspells played in the Draw-Go deck are mana efficient. You will see in an example later in this blog post that Sigurd Eskeland is able to compete with the speed of Jon Finkel’s Deadguy Red deck only due to the speed of Force Spike.

Part of the reason for this is that the Draw-Go deck must be able to not only answer threats at commensurate speed, but at some point, must be able to play at least one reactive card per turn while drawing additional cards, even if only by Impulse or the equivalent.

Force with Force

A super iconic example of this would be with literal Force of Will.

That is not to say that you have to use Force of Will. The modern “I win in the context of a tight mana situation” today might be Pact of Negation (though I suppose that will not last much longer, even in Extended).

Play Cards That Can’t Be Countered

Someone in the forums suggested Gaea’s Revenge.

I don’t know if I actually buy that.

I mean 10 years ago, if there were a card like Gaea’s Revenge and the default Blue deck was pure permission… I might see it. In 2010 (that is, the only context in which we can actually consider a Gaea’s Revenge), I would have been very happy to play against Gaea’s Revenge with my Nationals deck, which was a 4x Mana Leak deck that actually sided in Spell Pierce against Gaea’s Revenge decks with Rampant Growth, et al.

The problem is that while that card can’t be countered, it is super slow and the pieces that get you there can all be countered. Realistically Gaea’s Revenge can’t kill you until like turn eight, and you can actually just get raced.

Am I being unfair here? I liked Banefire quite a bit against Blue last year… Is there a huge difference?

Tempo Attack

I was doing some research to help AJ Sacher tonight and came upon a segment from a Jon Finkel — yes Jon em offing Finkel — tournament report from like 1998. Consider:

I played Sigurd Eskeland, as we were the only two 7-0s. He won the coin flip, and we prepared to play the first game, in which I felt I had a huge advantage. I played a first turn Pup, and it got Force Spiked. I was now in a bad position, because I hate to let Draw-Go use their counters. I’d rather just keep hitting them for one or two points per turn. Because I had no threats I was forced to try for a second turn Orc, which got countered, and then I had to cast a Hammer, in the hope that he didn’t have a Dissipate.

(some edits; emphasis mine)

This actually intersects with Do Nothing as well. See how Jon’s plan is to get a small advantage and then have his opponent drown in Counterspells? He will not start playing must-counter threats until it becomes annoying for Sigurd to use his mana in a non-advantageous way.

Just some thoughts.

I hope you like the article over there (if you haven’t already read it) 🙂


facebook comments:


#1 aberosh1819 on 09.15.10 at 5:33 am

Now I’m all intrigued about the rest of the Finkel report referenced above. Could you provide a link to read the rest? I love reading the old reports…

#2 MTGBattlefield on 09.15.10 at 9:25 am

Mana Leak, Jace’s Ingenuity, and “Stuff”…

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

#3 juzamjedi on 09.16.10 at 7:58 am

To the person that wanted to run Gaea’s Revenge: wouldn’t you just run Great Sable Stag instead? Not relevant for standard after it rotates, but it’s a better clock / has protection / has evasion against blue.

#4 Five With Flores » Cautiously Whelmed by Thrun, the Last Troll on 01.23.11 at 8:06 am

[…] are relatively few answers given our current Standard framework for Thrun. You can’t point a Mana Leak at it, and — at least the turn after the turn it hits — Thrun is difficult to remove […]

#5 Gatecrash: Bad Habits and Urban Evolution — Five With Flores on 01.09.13 at 11:57 pm

[…] Jace’s Ingenuity When Jace’s Ingenuity first came out, I called it overrated. My system doesn’t really care if you are an instant or a sorcery in terms of CMC, and Jace’s Ingenuity was therefore just one more than Concentrate. Of course the first time I played Jace’s Ingenuity I ended up spiking a $5K. Jace’s Ingenuity was great! […]

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