Opening hand - how to play it



  • So I had this opening hand the other night on cockatrice:

    black lotus, demonic tutor, tinker, mana crypt, time vault, fetchland, echoing truth

    It was game 1 against an unknown deck. Do you:

    1. crack fetch for a sea, play crypt and DT up a force and go for the combo t2

    or

    1. Go for lotus, crypt, tinker for key, play vault, use fetch and just go for the T1 combo?

    2. Slow play it, dropping fetch and lotus and drawing a few turns to sculpt a more stable hand.

    If you go for it and either tinker or key get countered you are kind of dead in the water. If you are playing shops or hate bears style deck with a null rod or a sphere effect and a strip effect, you are dead in the water if you don't go for it. (sphere effect means you get the pieces on the board but unless you draw a land, have to pass the turn before you can activate with a single land in play which is vulnerable to a strip).

    Slow playing it means combo could go off in your face turn 2 before you know what hits you.

    For the record I went for it and my opponent said, "g2?" without me seeing any of his deck. I think this is actually easier to decide in the later rounds of a tournament as you may have an idea of what your opponent is on. But completely blind each archtype you are likely to see suggest a different route to victory for the same cards. I thought the hand was very interesting from this perspective and was curious how others would approach it. Say its round 1 of a tournament vs an unknown opponent.



  • @Khahan The opponent is like 40% to have force of will in their opening hand, if they are playing it. Probability of having it plus the blue card is less. That means that even if you KNOW you are against the blue deck, youre still like 65% or so to win the match on the opening turn. Then we have to factor in the non blue decks that h ave zero interaction with you, and your 65% number starts to shoot up big time. Those percentages are way too tempting for me to pass on, so I would jam it.

    There is another method to this decision as well, which is that if you brought a deck that can turn 1 like that, and you hit your turn 1 on the opening grip, then you just do it. If youre going to not go for it, it's probably best to be playing some other deck.



  • said:

    black lotus, demonic tutor, tinker, mana crypt, time vault, fetchland, echoing truth

    Go for it. I'd open with time vault and then tinker for key. If opponent forces vault (not likely) then you don't have to tinker for key anymore. If tinker gets countered, on T2 you can demonic for key or ancestral.

    If you wait to get a force you can face double answer from opponent, or answer+counter, so it's probably not much of a difference. By answers I mean discard, artifact destruction, rod, revoker or force, among others.


  • Administrators

    I like xouman's play, which seems like a variant of option 2. - alternatively you can lead with the Tinker for information. If Tinker resolves you can be reasonably sure they don't have a counter, and just go for the kill - if it doesn't resolve you still have 3 mana to DT for key or ancestral, whatever you want.

    With option 1, Consider that DT-> Force doesn't protect you from all possible hands. A Flusterstorm, a Wasteland, or any 2 lock pieces out of shops stop you until you draw more mana

    option 3, Fetch-Go isn't that exciting to me, as there are a lot of cards you could draw that mean you're no better off ... if your turn 2 play is draw-discard that's basically a loss.

    Personally I'd keep this hand and lead with Tinker



  • @Brass-Man said:

    I like xouman's play, which seems like a variant of option 2. - alternatively you can lead with the Tinker for information. If Tinker resolves you can be reasonably sure they don't have a counter, and just go for the kill - if it doesn't resolve you still have 3 mana to DT for key or ancestral, whatever you want.

    With option 1, Consider that DT-> Force doesn't protect you from all possible hands. A Flusterstorm, a Wasteland, or any 2 lock pieces out of shops stop you until you draw more mana

    option 3, Fetch-Go isn't that exciting to me, as there are a lot of cards you could draw that mean you're no better off ... if your turn 2 play is draw-discard that's basically a loss.

    Personally I'd keep this hand and lead with Tinker

    Lead with tinker is good. This is excellent because you are tinkering around mental misstep which cuts down free outs against you. I think if its the other way around with key in hand its may not be so straight forward though.

    Maybe the hand/question is a bit more straightforward than I thought. While its true this can play different against different archetypes, the %'s suggest one course of action is the best.


  • TMD Supporter

    Sometimes you open up your hand and then say "Time to ask the good ol' vintage question... Got force?"



  • So the consensus is definitely go for it right away. But the major difference I would have is going with DT and not tinker. It's the same mana investment this turn but if DT/key get countered you still have mana from the crypt turn 2 to tinker or do whatever else you need to the following turn. So my play would be:

    fetch -> Sea
    Crypt
    Lotus
    Play time vault off of crypt
    Crack lotus for BBB
    DT for Key (with B floating and untapped U Sea)
    Play Key and hopefully win from there

    Depending on where that gets broken up you have a few different options. If you have a tinker bot you can go for that turn 2 if Time Vault gets answered on their turn 1 or if the vault got countered originally. If DT/Key got countered you only need one more mana source to try and tinker for the win again turn 2. I understand wanting to keep the DT to try and recover from early counter magic but with that hand is so explosive that I think you're better off just trying to jam the combo and win right away.



  • Is there another option in this situation where you tinker and do not get combo? Maybe instead you DT for Force and get blightsteel or (insert other robot)?

    Blind I guess you never have the info to make that call, but I imagine there are some match ups where that is correct. There is also the fact that if you tinker Blightsteel you can also still topdeck combo.



  • @chaosofslayer said:

    So the consensus is definitely go for it right away. But the major difference I would have is going with DT and not tinker. It's the same mana investment this turn but if DT/key get countered you still have mana from the crypt turn 2 to tinker or do whatever else you need to the following turn. So my play would be:

    fetch -> Sea
    Crypt
    Lotus
    Play time vault off of crypt
    Crack lotus for BBB
    DT for Key (with B floating and untapped U Sea)
    Play Key and hopefully win from there

    Depending on where that gets broken up you have a few different options. If you have a tinker bot you can go for that turn 2 if Time Vault gets answered on their turn 1 or if the vault got countered originally. If DT/Key got countered you only need one more mana source to try and tinker for the win again turn 2. I understand wanting to keep the DT to try and recover from early counter magic but with that hand is so explosive that I think you're better off just trying to jam the combo and win right away.

    Issue with this play is not only gives our opponents a chance to have FoW and Blue card, but also Mental Misstep, which increases their chances for interaction fairly significantly.



  • @msg67183 said:

    Issue with this play is not only gives our opponents a chance to have FoW and Blue card, but also Mental Misstep, which increases their chances for interaction fairly significantly.

    That's definitely true, tinker first cuts their outs down to just force but I think if they have it you're almost certainly losing that game. Going DT first will lower your percentage to win on turn 1 a little but give you more options going forward.



  • I go with option 4 which is cry because I usually don't play decks with Force of Will.


  • Administrators

    Opening with DT->Key, play Key, opens you up to removal, Null Rod/Revoker, too ... don't forget we don't know what the opponent is on!

    I'm curious what else is in this deck to Tinker for. I'm not sure it changes your play, but it definitely changes the opponent's decision tree if Tinker is threatening Colossus or not.



  • I'd DT for Force first, then combo out game 2. I'm clearly shedding some percentage points against Shops decks that have 2 relevant first turn plays, and a few odd incremental percentage points elsewhere, but to me Force + extra card draw still wins the vast vast majority of the Shops games and does wonders to the Blue matchup that otherwise could easily be a nightmare if they have Force.



  • This post is deleted!


  • I prefer xoumans line of leading with vault and seeing what happens. If the vault gets forced, you can still tinker for a robot. If they force tinker instead, you still have DT as your failsafe, which you can use to get probably ancestral to get back in or yawgmoths will to try again.



  • @Brass-Man said:

    Opening with DT->Key, play Key, opens you up to removal, Null Rod/Revoker, too ... don't forget we don't know what the opponent is on!

    I'm curious what else is in this deck to Tinker for. I'm not sure it changes your play, but it definitely changes the opponent's decision tree if Tinker is threatening Colossus or not.

    It would really only be DSC in this case.


  • TMD Supporter

    I would definetelly go all-in with Vault Key and win on the spot without protection. If opponent has FOW or MBT congrats and well played. My ratio of all-in vs. pass the turn increases severely with a mull to 5 for instance.

    However, if you want to pass the turn I would rather go Lotus, DT for FOW. Fetch, Crypt, Tinker for BSC with FOW backup.



  • If the plan is to DT for something that beats one FoW, I would rather play Crypt, DT for Will and pass, then T2 play Tinker which gets Forced, then play Lotus for Will for Lotus, Crypt, DT for Key.



  • can't we go for:
    fetching U sea, mana crypt, DT for FoW, black, tinker sac crypt for robot with fow back up?



  • @CwaM said:

    can't we go for:
    fetching U sea, mana crypt, DT for FoW, black, tinker sac crypt for robot with fow back up?

    If that's the only single target for Tinker, sure. But its vulnerable to dack, swords, hurykls, chain of vapor, echoing truth - all of which are present to some degree or another. If that's the only line you have go for it - lets face it, we're all happy when we get to do this.

    But if you can tinker/win on turn2 or tinker/hard lock on t1, which do you think is better?



  • But if you can tinker/win on turn2 or tinker/hard lock on t1, which do you think is better?

    The one most likely to win. So address his analysis directly, which I guess was simply a legality question. You took step one, which is to address weaknesses of his plan (although you didn't evaluate likelihoods). Next, do step 2 which is to compare those weaknesses to the weaknesses presented in the control group. Now, what's your answer?


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