I ran into some more interesting situations in Dominaria, so once again you’ll get a chance to vote on the play you’d make, and then read my answer to see how yours lines up.
You’re playing a Jeskai deck, and you play a turn-3 Skittering Surveyor. What land do you search for?
You’re clearly not searching for a Plains here, but either of the other two are reasonable options. Getting an Island lets you immediately kick Blink of an Eye, but getting a Mountain lets you cast Skizzik with kicker if you draw any other land.
There are two reasons to get Mountain. The first is that the deck has four Mountains and six Islands left, so you’re more likely to naturally draw an Island. The second is that Skizzik is a more powerful card, and you can’t even cast it if you don’t draw a second Mountain, whereas you are already able to cast Blink of an Eye, though unkicked.
The argument for getting an Island, however, is that it’s just more important. You don’t have to play Skizzik on turn 5—you’re trying to control the game. In fact, it’s debateable whether Skizzik should even be in this deck at all, and there’s a chance a generic 5-mana 4/4 would just be better. You’ll have some draws where you rush them out of the game with Skizzik and a million removal spells, but you don’t have to do that. What you do have to do, however, is draw more lands, and being able to kick Blink of an Eye helps with that. I think that with a deck and a hand like this, you’re more likely to lose because you didn’t draw your fifth land in time than because you were unable to kick Skizzik. So, even though it’s close, I’d choose to fetch an Island.
My play: fetch an Island.
You’re playing an aggressive U/W deck. You mulligan your opening hand, and these is your six:
I understand the appeal of bottoming the Island—you really want to play History of Benalia on turn 3. But I think it’s too greedy to do that. Playing Dub on turn 3 and History of Benalia on turn 4 (or even 5) is still going to be reasonable, and you want to make sure that Teferi can come down as early as possible, before the opponent can amass a big enough board to kill you through anything.
My play: Keep the Island.
You’re playing an aggressive U/B deck and you’re on the draw. This is your hand:
Even though your hand is curved out and the Confessor would get maybe 4 or 5 damage in before you could kick it, I don’t think it’s worth it. The difference between a 3/3 menace and a 1/1 menace is just too big, and worth the 4 points of life your opponent would gain.
As a general rule, I never play Stronghold Confessor for 1 mana unless I’ve already mapped out the game and know that I won’t have a chance to play it for 4 in time. This is not one of those games, so I like holding it to cast for 4 mana.
My play: No.
You’re playing this G/W deck at the GP:
You start with a Forest, your opponent plays two Swamps and passes. This is your turn 2:
The picture is kind of small, so if you can’t see it, you have a Forest in play and your hand is:
This whole hand is rather awkward, and you could be punished regardless of what you do. Not only that, but, regardless of what you choose, you might end up with the exact same decision the following turn unless you spike something good.
To my mind, all the options have merit. Playing a Forest offers the highest possible reward, but also the greatest cost—you skip your turn-2 play and then you are forced to play a tapped land much later in the game (or you’re forced to skip your turn 3 as well).
Playing Memorial to Glory is the safest option. You don’t get to do anything now, but you’ll be able to play whatever you draw in the future. In the actual game, I drew Baird, Stewart of Argive and I was unable to play it until turn 5, for example.
Playing the Shanna hedges your options a little bit. You develop your board, and if you draw a playable 2- or 3-drop, then you’ll have a real creature. If you draw Saproling Migration, you’re in a great spot.
In the end, I think Forest is the best because the reward is much bigger than any other choice. You’re not likely to draw a Forest but if you do, then playing your 5/4 a turn earlier is overwhelmingly better than playing a 1/1 Shanna, or setting up for a card that you don’t even have yet. If Shanna was a different 2-drop, then maybe my decision would be different, but I feel like getting it to play as early as possible is not a priority. It’s also relevant that you’re playing against a turn-1 Swamp, and if you play Shanna right now you expose it to Fungal Infection.
My play: Forest.
You’re playing the same deck, and this is your opening hand:
You cast turn-1 Adventurous Impulse, and see these three cards:
I think you can rule out Memorial to Glory quite easily. You are going to play Forest on turns 1, 2 and 3, and then you aren’t going to want to wait an extra turn to cast a white spell, so that one is out. The question then is between Untamed Kavu and Plains.
Getting a Plains is appealing since you can cast the Blessed Light and anything you draw in the future, but you’re also giving up something big for it. Having Untamed Kavu and Steel-Leaf Champion could be enough to win the game on its own, and if you ever draw another Plains, you’ll be regretting that decision for the rest of the game.
In the end, I think I’m OK drawing some white cards that I can’t play for the moment. At some point I’ll draw a Plains, and I’m OK waiting a couple of turns for it with this hand.
My play: Untamed Kavu.
Now, imagine you take the Untamed Kavu. Your opponent plays a Plains and passes the turn. You draw a Forest. Do you play the Untamed Kavu on turn 2 or do you wait to play it turn 5?
Before I start analyzing this scenario, you should already have the answer to this question more or less mapped out when you were pondering the previous scenario. You can’t choose to take the Kavu (or choose not to) if you don’t know what you plan on doing with it. When you play Adventurous Impulse and you have to decide between those cards, then you should ask yourself if you plan on playing it on turn 2 or on turn 5, because that’s the only way you can decide if it’s worth taking or if grabbing a white producing land is better. Of course, things might change—your opponent is going to play a turn and you’re going to draw a new card, so you might decide to do something that’s not what you originally intended, but you have to at least have an idea of what your plan is when you resolve the Adventurous Impulse.
For this actual situation, you have to ask how likely it is that the 2/2 will matter. Do you expect the game to be about rushing your opponent and killing them before they can react, or do you expect it to be about exhausting their resources?
In the end, I think you’re fine playing the slightly longer game here. You don’t have to rush them, and they could easily just play a 2/2 that will trade with your creature that could have been a 5/5 later on. Normally trading 2/2s is not bad, as it’ll stop the opponent from double-blocking your 5/4, but in this case they can’t even do that because the 5/4 is evasive, so you don’t really care about lowering your opponent’s board presence.
My play: Wait until turn 5.
Now, some Play/Draw and Keep/Mulligan:
Play or Draw?
In reality, this is a Draft. But we can imagine that it’s a Sealed deck too—it’s not unrealistic. So, in the dark, do you play or draw?
This deck is interesting because it has a lot of elements from both decks that want to play and decks that want to draw that I described last week. It has a lot of sources of card advantage, which makes it want to play, but it also has a lot of cheap interaction and blockers, which makes it want to draw. In this case, I’m happy counting the Syncopates as 2-drops, as you can just use them to stop whatever it is your opponent plays on turns 3 or 4.
The first thing you have to get out of the way—option 2 is bad. It’s veeeeery rare that you have a deck that wants to draw in Draft but play in Sealed, as Sealed is historically much slower, and this is certainly not one of those cases. So you either play in both, draw in both, or draw only in Sealed.
The next option you can eliminate is choosing to draw in Draft. I think Draft can be fast enough that this deck just wants to play. You have enough sources of card advantage to make up for it, and you are more worried about being ran over than anything else. If you play game 1 and your opponent is not fast, then I’d choose to draw.
So, what’s left is deciding if you want to play or draw in Sealed, and, again, there arguments for both.
Ultimately, I chose to play in Sealed as well. I think the fact that you have two Divinations, two Rona, Disciple of Gix, Mirari’s Conjecture, and two Caligo-Skin Witches means that you’re already covered in the card advantage department. If you choose to play, you almost never need to play the Witch on turn 2, and with two Divinations, an Opt, a Surveyor, and 17 lands, you’re likely to be able to play it on turn 6 even on the play, at which point your opponent is more likely to have two cards in hand. If it’s game 2 and I know that my opponent has a grindy deck, then at that point I will probably choose to draw, but I don’t think it’s a risk you have to take.
That said, I think it’s really on the line for Sealed. If this deck had one fewer Divination, I might choose to draw in the dark.
My play: Play in either format.