Stop Playing Opt! Why Opt is a Bad MTG Card

Opt is such an innocuous card. It’s close to free card selection, and feels like such a free add to improve the consistency of your deck ever so slightly. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s not the case. Opt, and similar card flow that doesn’t provide meaningful card advantage or selection, have a subtle negative effect on the decks you put them in, and you should only throw them in if you have multiple other cards that reward you for doing so.



Header - The Base Issue: Lands and Spells

Opt (FNM)

The base issue with Opt is simply the slots it takes. It provides little enough card selection that you can’t reasonably replace spells with it and avoid flooding, so you’re forced to replace some combination of lands and spells instead. Unfortunately, this forces you into awkward spots with the hands you are forced to keep. Decreasing your land count leads to you drawing a lot of hands with not enough lands and a couple cantrips, and as any player of Pioneer Izzet Phoenix will attest, you have to keep some of these hands. You then need to spend the first few turns of the game cantripping to try and hit lands. The obvious downside to this is that sometimes you miss on lands off your cantrips and your hand ends up unplayable. The slightly sneakier downside to this is that in the games where you do hit lands, you’ve still spent some of your first few turns canttripping rather than affecting the board, which can leave you pretty far behind.

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2 thoughts on “Stop Playing Opt! Why Opt is a Bad MTG Card”

  1. This is an argument to play opt intelligently. opt has a lot to love. One mana and it triggers draw, instant/sorcery, and graveyard synergy. Blue decks play the early game on the opponent’s turn, with flash spells to spend the mana set aside for counterspells, and opt is a fantastic eay to spend the leftover mana you set aside before your own untap phase. Beyond that, you mentioned some problems with using draw to support early game curve out intelligently, but that is not just a problem with opt. Many blue and red cards force draw-and-discard choices, and experienced players know to decide in advance how many lands they will need before they start looking to (re)fill their hands. This is why top decking and scrying are so powerful and are often featured in blue and red.

    So I can’t get behind “opt”ing out of opt (sorry) but you are absolutely correct it needs to be playing off synergies and you need to practice with it. Very good article for these reasons.

  2. Opt is a bad card only because consider is just a straight upgrade in almost every situation. Surveil is just a more powerful mechanic than scry in general actually.

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