I play a few blue decks but most commonly doomsday and grixis thieves and my friend plays a lot of white eldrazi. He plays a humans package that includes 7 Thalias and 4 caverns. I have recently run into a strategic puzzle and want to find out what you all would do so I can improve my play. Would you force a mox blind? The play pattern I fear if I do not is: mox, resolves, cavern naming humans, Thalia. Then I am at a great disadvantage but if I force it I am 2:1ing myself on a mox. What am I supposed to do? Thanks in advance for the thoughts.

@botvinik I think you let the mox resolve. The odds they have cavern AND thalia is about 20%. If they don't have cavern, you counter Thalia. If they do have cavern, they may not have thalia. If they have both, odds are they will have a 2nd land drop and you'll still be facing thalia on turn 2 while you 2-for-1nd yourself to stop a mox they wouldn't need after turn 1 anyway.

Save the counter. The exception being if you have a one-turn win in hand with doomsday. Then anything you can do to take your turn unimpeded will be gg, so the counterspell will be unneeded later game anyway.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69 said in FOW vs White Eldrazi:

@botvinik I think you let the mox resolve. The odds they have cavern AND thalia is about 20%. If they don't have cavern, you counter Thalia. If they do have cavern, they may not have thalia. If they have both, odds are they will have a 2nd land drop and you'll still be facing thalia on turn 2 while you 2-for-1nd yourself to stop a mox they wouldn't need after turn 1 anyway.

Save the counter. The exception being if you have a one-turn win in hand with doomsday. Then anything you can do to take your turn unimpeded will be gg, so the counterspell will be unneeded later game anyway.

First thanks for answering my question and that is solid reasoning. But what if I say in return, any hand where they have a cavern force will be effectively dead? Also, does the equation change if the card I am pitching is another force of will or even force of negation that would be blanked if a cavern were to be played?

Also would you make a different argument for belcher, a deck that folds hard to Thalia on the first turn?

My point in raising that idea is that the downside of a resolved Thalia and a blanked force is much grater the downside of force pitching something that is not vital in the match up, like preordain or dack, and not countering a particularly good spell. So a raw odds of success v failure like you run there may not be a good way of understanding this problem. Forces often go blank versus eldrazi and if that happens to yours before you can make use of it that is a 0 for 1 whitch as far as card advantage goes is as bad as forcing a random mox on turn 1.

Not claiming you are wrong or bad but I think the problem may be more nuanced than that.
PS. White eldrazi runs reality smashers they need the mox for a while.

I was thinking more "humans" build, since you said "humans package", but Eldrazi is a bit different. Even still, with DD or belcher or anything that will win the turn it plays means you counter the mox. If you can win on your turn, the rest of their hand is irrelevant.

If you can't win on your turn, then you are basically saying you will 2-for-1 yourself to hopefully provide a speed bump you can't capitalize on in your next turn. And that's assuming they don't have a second mox. If they don't have cavern, your FoWs are still very useful. If they follow with ancient tomb, thorn of amythest, how much would you wish you held that FoW now? Sometimes the math is important. Yes, if they have cavern and thalia in their other 6 cards in hand, you are in rough shape...but any of the other 4 games out of 5 where they don't have one of those, you just dropped a counterspell and a potentially useful blue card on the hope you could slow that worst case 20% scenario by a single turn for no great followup (we already ruled out the times you would win on your next turn). Playing against the math and playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win is how poker players go home empty handed. Follow the numbers and make your decisions based on the odds and you will be rewarded more times than not - that's actually the whole point of odds.

@thewhitedragon69 said in FOW vs White Eldrazi:

I was thinking more "humans" build, since you said "humans package", but Eldrazi is a bit different. Even still, with DD or belcher or anything that will win the turn it plays means you counter the mox. If you can win on your turn, the rest of their hand is irrelevant.

If you can't win on your turn, then you are basically saying you will 2-for-1 yourself to hopefully provide a speed bump you can't capitalize on in your next turn. And that's assuming they don't have a second mox. If they don't have cavern, your FoWs are still very useful. If they follow with ancient tomb, thorn of amythest, how much would you wish you held that FoW now? Sometimes the math is important. Yes, if they have cavern and thalia in their other 6 cards in hand, you are in rough shape...but any of the other 4 games out of 5 where they don't have one of those, you just dropped a counterspell and a potentially useful blue card on the hope you could slow that worst case 20% scenario by a single turn for no great followup (we already ruled out the times you would win on your next turn). Playing against the math and playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win is how poker players go home empty handed. Follow the numbers and make your decisions based on the odds and you will be rewarded more times than not - that's actually the whole point of odds.

Slight quibble with this here, odds of happening are not all that must be considered when rationally acting with statistics. This is most easily shown with money would you take a 80% to win 5$ knowing you will loose 500$ if you fail? As a rational actor no. The magnitude of the outcomes is important.

This is not to contest your conclusion I think you are generally correct, but the way you used math to back it up perpetuates a misunderstanding of statistical analysis that I take issue with and feel obligated to point out.

P.S. Also belcher usually does not win the turn it plays, there is no variant with the current B&R list that I have seen that kills on one more that about 35-40% of the time.

If the loss were severe vs a negligible win, I'd agree - and that's part of the math. So your argument is using the thinking that "if my opponent lands turn 1 thalia by having mox, cavern, thalia, I lose the game 100%." What you're not considering though, is that by countering that mox, you still are not winning - you delayed them a turn and have now gone to 5 cards...when you are not going to win that next turn and they can easily follow with second land, thalia on turn 2 (or 2nd mox, thalia on turn 1 - and now they don't even need cavern because you blew your FoW - or tomb, thorn/sphere).

The "win" you get by countering that mox is like hitting your one out on the river card, when odds are many more scenarios could happen. The likelihood of them following that mox with non-cavern land + thalia, tomb + thorn/sphere, or just passing and playing thalia turn 2 or a thought-knot seer, or a null rod is FAR greater than you countering their mox and they kept a 1-land + thalia hand on the hopes they resolved the mox and thalia to ride it 10 turns to victory.

In essence, by countering, you essentially are saying that countering their turn one ability to play thalia (not the thalia itself) is so critical it will win you the game. You'd have to think the tempo of giving you one turn is more important than your ability to counter the actual thalia, a null rod, a sphere, a TKS, or anything they could possibly do on turn 2 and beyond...but yet you would not be winning on your own turn 1 and going down to 5 cards or less (if you mulled) to start.

In terms of payoff, countering the mox will likely guarantee you will live to have a turn 1 play. But if you are not winning in that one turn, the opportunity loss of the FoW + blue card is massive on the chance they DON'T have the mox/cavern/thalia draw OR any second land to play thalia and beat you anyway.

The exception to this, I think, is if you are pitching Force of Negation and a blue card that is not very useful (like a hurkyl's in that matchup), because FoN is largely dead in that match anyway and would only help to counter a null rod or thorn or sphere, which they may or may not be playing. If you know your friend's list and he plays 7-sphere and null rods, I'd even say to hold your FoN. But if they play trinisphere/lodestone only, or something like that, FoN is fine to use on the mox. Even with FoN though, pitching a time walk or ponder or something solid just to hit the mox is probably not optimal. You're better off adding some kind of sweeper that will kill thalia, like dry spell, pyroclasm, contagion, gut shot, etc.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69
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