Welcome back to What’s the Play?

Last time I presented a scenario featuring a different Command, mainly because Commands are just that interesting.

The Situation

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We are casting Dig, and while there look like a lot of choices, we can narrow them down pretty quickly. We already played a land this turn, and don’t particularly need another, so let’s rule those out. Next, Satyr Wayfinder is a bit anemic, so he’ll have to find his way out from the bottom of the deck.

That leaves:

As most people figured out, Dromoka’s Command is automatic, as it does the most of all the cards you see. Disdainful Stroke isn’t particularly appealing, given that we already have one, so the last choice really comes down to End Hostilities and Glare of Heresy. Glare is a duplicate as well, but looking ahead a little, we are almost guaranteed to Glare Dromoka this turn, and I’d rather have Glare plus Stroke than two Strokes in hand (especially against Dromoka).

Now we have to do some looking ahead. Clearly, any decision we make on Dig is predicated on what we are doing the rest of the turn, and Glare vs. End Hostilities is close enough that I want to see what that is.

Regardless of which we take, I want to do the following:

Cast Glare of Heresy on Dromoka, then cast Dromoka’s Command to make Den Protector a 3/2 (I assume it was a 2/1 in the first place because it got brought back by an Ojutai’s Command earlier) and to force the opponent to sacrifice Mastery of the Unseen. Attack the Xenagos with the 3/2 Den Protector, which now goes unblocked.

At this point, the opponent has a morph, two Satyrs, and a Haven of the Spirit Dragon facing down our Wayfinder and tapped Den Protector. Let’s see how each line goes depending on whether we selected Glare or End Hostilities.

If You Take End Hostilities

With End Hostilities in hand, we can chump block a 2/2 and fall to either 4 or 6, depending on if the opponent attacks with the morph. There’s a chance the opponent gets back Atarka in their main phase and flips Rattleclaw (which is what we assume the morph is) to cast it. That’s fine, we let it resolve, take 4, and then End Hostilities the board, leaving us with Stroke, Encase, and a draw step against the opponent’s two unknown cards in hand. Given the board we started with, that’s not too bad. It’s a little worse if the opponent just waits on Haven, but even then you have Encase/Stroke to deal with whatever they get back (though both are imperfect answers against Dromoka).

If You Take Glare of Heresy

By taking Glare, we know that we can’t just chump and take 2-4 damage, so we are going to cast Encase in Ice on a 2/2 if the opponent goes to combat. Then, we just take 2 at most by chumping, and have Den Protector to trade with one of the other 2/2s. If the opponent gets back Atarka and casts it, we counter it, and if they get back Dromoka, we Glare it. This still leaves us with an unresolved 2/2 or Rattleclaw, which means we need to draw something in the next few turns or we die to it. This line deals with Dromoka better, but in every other case I think you end up in a worse spot.

My Play

Take End Hostilities and Dromoka’s Command off Dig. Cast Command to kill Mastery and make Den Protector a 3/2. Attack and kill Xenagos, then pass the turn. Plan on chumping a 2/2 and letting any Dragon the opponent casts resolve (especially if it’s Dromoka). End Hostilities the next turn, and hope that Stroke + Encase + draw steps keeps up with the opponent’s draw steps. If your opponent not only gets back Dromoka but also refrains from casting it, this line ends up worse than taking Glare, but this at least gives you a good chance of stabilizing in most scenarios, and I don’t know how likely it is that the opponent does exactly that.

Unlike last scenario, in this one you start out very behind and end up somewhat behind, but here you end up with the best possible outcome: This game is very winnable, even though it will be tough.

LSV

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