Playing To Your Outs – Lessons From An HOU-HOU-AKH Draft

This is my first attempt at using videos on the site, and using Youtube. If it looks terrible, let me know and I’ll see if I can fix it.

 

I had an interesting MTGO game recently. Here’s a replay video.

The format was HOU-HOU-AKH draft (as I’m terrible at Ixilan so far…), and after taking the best cards without regard to colour for the first couple of picks, it became clear that an aggressive WG strategy was open. However, I had enough good red cards to merit a 3 mountain, 1 Desert of the Fervent splash.

After going 2-0 and winning game 1 of the final, I see a dubious, colour screwed hand in game 2 and decide to keep it.

I fall way behind early, as a result of having 4 uncastable white cards. I spend my turn 2 cycling trying to find a Plains, and then spend my turn 6 actually fetching one. That’s the cost I paid for a greedy splash.

On my opponent’s ninth and tenth turns, it’s clear that they are just a second away from sealing the win.

Then, you’ll notice that I draw absolutely perfectly for about three turns in a row, while my opponent fails to find gas, and I end up stealing the win.

There’s a lot that can be taken from the decisions I make on the 9th and 10th turns.

Firstly, as I’m forced to accept a horrible 5-for-2 block on the opponent’s tenth turn, I accepted that there’s a lot of circumstances in which I cannot win.

If my opponent has (almost) any combat trick, I lose. So I play under the assumption that they have no tricks. I lose nothing by doing so – if they have one and cast it, I lose whether I play around it or not.

Likewise I just die if the opponent draws Open Fire or Blur of Blades on their 10th or 11th turn – so I just assume they will not draw it.

Secondly, the only chance I have to get out of the hole I am in is to win via the Pride Sovereign. That card is obnoxiously overpowered in Limited, and so I decide to protect it at any cost.

On several occasions I make plays during my opponent’s turn that will result in me losing outright if I draw a land (or another blank card like some combat tricks).

When you are behind, this is often the correct play.

After the Sifter Wurm wrecks my board, if the top three cards of my library were not all live cards, I was guaranteed to lose. So I played under the assumption that I’d get runner-runner perfect draws and the opponent would not draw perfectly.

Usually, you lose anyway. But sometimes, you get lucky enough to eke out a win from a game you would otherwise have lost.

Magic is a game of tiny advantages. Sometimes, you are a hundred-to-one longshot to win a game. In those situations, don’t concede. Play for the miracle, because sometimes they do happen.

 

As a side note, here’s a game where that deck didn’t draw particularly well, but still beat a turn 6 God-Pharoh’s Gift that triggers three times. Don’t pass so many Dauntless Avens, the card is nuts.

 

420 total views, 1 views today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *