Winning the Information Game

One of the first things that old players will tell new players is not to play spells before you attack. It’s been so ingrained as one of the early MTG lessons that it is almost a clich√©. But what is the reason for playing spells after combat? The reason is information. Playing the spell second denies your opponent information. At the same time, it gives you the most amount of information about what to play in your second main phase.

Information is a resource that is often overlooked in MTG discussions, but it’s something that you can use to your advantage. If you have the information, you can play around a sweeper, make good blocks and choose the right targets for removal. There are too many ways that having the information can affect a game for it to be overlooked.



Header - Gaining and Denying Info

There are two aspects to the information game – gaining information and denying information from your opponent. Denying information can be pretty simple. The most straightforward way to do this is to try to use your cards at the last possible moment.

For sorcery speed cards, this means playing your spells in your second main phase after you attack. If you attack first, you have all your mana and cards in hand available to react appropriately. Your opponent has to respect the possibility of combat tricks and removal spells. You might get free damage if your opponent respects your bluff.

For instant speed cards, playing them in your opponent’s end step is the most common play pattern. Keeping your mana untapped during your opponent’s turn can represent any number of possibilities. Even if your only play is to cast a card draw spell, your opponent might think you have a counterspell and pass the turn, giving you a big tempo advantage.

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