Playing Your Temples

Sorry about the downtime. Fucking Internet. As if taking over our site actually accomplishes anything. Although, they can’t know that and the whole process is probably automated, so from their point of view, no harm done. Whereas from out point of view, downtime, bit of panic, lots of frustration and maybe even unexpected expenses.

I’m telling you this partly because Lauri felt he might have to take out the plugin which lets me show the cards. I don’t know why, really, but since its in his hands… This just means that some posts might look really awkward in the future, including this one.

In other news, I didn’t do very well at the prerelease. Blue was definitely the right choice, as the two matches I lost were against blue decks (actually, blue-black, which I was playing as well), but I just wasn’t at top form. I dropped out at 1-2 after three rounds, because there was a competing offer of some boardgaming. The thing that put me over the top on this decision went as follows: I had Arbiter of the Ideal in play, but due to me being on the phone at the same time, I missed the Inspired trigger, which meant I missed putting Prescient Chimera on the table for free on the following turn, I got only a swamp and then drew a Tromokratis instead of being able to put that on the board for free. It even got countered.

Generally I don’t like to drop out, because I go to these events to have fun playing, but that mistake was so severe it would have eaten at me and I just didn’t have the chance to reset.

.. but I did come up with topic for today and its not about missing triggers.

One thing I noticed at the prerelease was that the even though everyone played cards from the temple cycle, such as Temple of Enlightenment, if they happened to get any, even if they were off color, even the more experienced players played them wrong.

Well, not necessarily wrong, but the instinct to put the tapped land into play first, always, is wrong. Yes, with pretty much any other dual land cycle, if you don’t have one drops, you play the tapped land first. Temples, however, are a wholly different beast.

Lets take a look at the following. You are on the play with an Esper Control deck and you have mulliganed to six, after which you got this pretty good hand.

Your Starting Hand

DivinationSyncopateSupreme VerdictTemple of SilenceIsland

Because you took a mulligan, your incentive to scry is pretty strong, as you feel you are already a bit behind, but say your next card is a Azorius Charm. What do you do? You can’t really go wrong with it, in the sense that you can always cycle it, but on the other hand, if you are just cycling it, you are using extra mana, you could use for your Syncopate. After all, you can reach the next card simply by putting the Azorius Charm on the bottom.

Then again, the Charm is also a good tempo card and can get rid of a creature played by your opponent. What if your opponent plays a turn one Soldier of the Pantheon? You can’t hit that with you charm and if you cycle it, you are not only using extra mana, but you are also giving you opponent a point of life. Than again, you don’t really care about that with a control deck, but still, its something.

So, this is actually pretty much a corner case, but lets take another example. What if you have the same opening hand, you play the Temple to scry and find yourself looking at a Doom Blade. What do you do? If you’re playing against say GR Monsters it would be pretty much the best card to have. If you’re playing against a monoblack deck, its going to be a dead card.

Ok, so if you don’t scry at this point, you’ll draw the Doom Blade in any case. However, without the information you need in to make the decision, you have now effectively wasted your scry. (Well, unless you put it on the bottom in any case, because all you are digging for is more lands or a Sphinx’s Revelation.)

So, even if you might want to use your scry immediately, it might not always be the best idea. Your scrys (scries?) are going to be more valuable if you have the requisite information. This is one of those things were individually each time you use it this way might lose you just a little bit of value, but it will accumulate over time. Most of you won’t care about this, but if you are a serious Spike, you should definitely think about this stuff to get just a little edge against your opponents.

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