Mental Shortcuts in MtG

You have a Duress in your starting hand and the land needed to cast it. When should you use it? Magic is a complicated game, so the answer depends on a multitude of factors. The thing is, if you have learned some basic rules on this and understand, you’ll probably make the right call without too much effort.

This is the kind of shortcut I was talking about yesterday.

It feels right to use the Duress right away, but there are instances where you might be wrong.

Situations where its a good idea to use it on first round:

  • When playing in quick formats, like Legacy, where first turn disruption might be very important
  • When on the draw
  • When you have a two-drop you want to play next round

Situations where you might want to save it:

  • When on the play in slower formats (because you will generally have more targets this way)
  • When playing against control decks when you might rather play it right before your opponent has access to enough mana for sweepers to maximize your chances of hitting one
  • If you don’t have many targets, but the information might be important later on

Since this is a game of complicated interactions, there will be many situations where you have to make decisions about how you’ll approach a situaion.

All in all, this is what testing is about. Often people think of testing as the process of designing and choosing a deck, which is important too, but being comfortable with the deck and having as many of the mental shortcuts as possible at the ready are actually more important facets of testing.

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