I’ve been having a ton of fun writing What’s the Play? and the reaction has been great. Seeing everyone’s different take on each play and discussing the options is exactly what makes Magic great, especially when you have scenarios where there are lots of viable lines. As such, I’ll be expanding the column to twice a week, so check back for the next situation tomorrow! Thanks for making this fun to write and thanks for sending in great situations—the more good scenarios I get, the more interesting things I have to talk about. Remember that if I pick your scenario, you win $25 store credit! So send the best ones you’ve got to [email protected]
Let’s take a look at the scenario from last week:
The first thing I notice about this situation is that the opponent is dead if she doesn’t have a Burst or Bolt. Either Fortify or Sigil Blessing ends the game, so to assume she has a burn spell can be useful (though that doesn’t mean you should necessarily avoid playing into it).
You can also rule out Tezzeret’s Gambit very quickly. If the game was to go longer, getting an extra counter on Tumble Magnet could be appealing, but this game is likely to end this or next turn, and dealing 2 to yourself just gives the opponent more ways to kill you.
From there, you get to cast Plummet plus either white spell. Which one to cast, if at all, is part of the question, with the attackers chosen being the other component.
There are a couple main factors influencing my decisions here. One is that you can likely end the game by attacking, using a pump spell—and if the opponent has a burn spell to survive, doing it again the following turn. Another is that Tumble Magnet is running out, and Mirran Crusader will be a huge problem once it does. As I mentioned earlier, using Gambit to get another Magnet counter opens the door to getting burned out (or at the very least taps you out such that the Shikari gets a lifelink hit in, assuming the opponent burns one of your creatures when you go for the kill).
In many situations like this, attacking and trying to bait a burn spell to then go over the top with Sigil Blessing for the win would be better, but here I think you want to be the first person to cast a spell. It forces the opponent to have the burn spell or lose, and even if she does, you aren’t in bad shape. Making sure your creature gets burned also saves you from that fate, which is relevant.
Given that information, here’s what I’d do:
Attack with everything, and cast Fortify for +2/+0. If the opponent has Bolt/Burst, pass the turn and tap Mirran Crusader when she goes to attack. If Kitesail gets equipped on Shikari, cast Plummet. Plan on attacking with Sigil Blessing for lethal on the next turn (it’s lethal even if Shikari hits for 3).
I like Fortify over Blessing because it deals more damage in the event of a burn spell, since even Scion can’t survive Lightning Bolt.
In the actual game, the opponent had the burn spell to survive, but Batuhan (the person who submitted this situation), was able to Plummet the Kitesailed Shikari and win easily the following turn.