On Monday we laid out scenarios with Antonino De Rosa's brand new Waste Not delve deck.

Ant's deck is s super exciting synergy machine and just so deliciously different than everything else that is going on in the format. Plus, it uses fan-driven card Waste Not (to the best of my knowledge the first competitive deck to do so).

DECKID=1232167

Scenario One

Caption: Make whatever sequence you would Foresee for your pre-combat main phase.

"I would cast Hero's Downfall on the Favored Hoplite.

"It is too risky to cast Dark Deal and get six Waste Not triggers since your tokens can't even block the Favored Hoplite the next turn.

"Most Likely next turn you get five triggers on the Waste Not when you cast the Dark Deal anyway. Also if he untaps it will be hard to throw removal at the unblockable creature for the remainder of the game. You would consider casting Dark Deal if the Favored Hoplite weren't enchanted by Aqueous Form. At a healthy seventeen life, and with him most likely casting only one creature next turn (because he will want to keep up or at least represent a protection spell of some sort), and with him having (probably) no way to stop your Dark Deal in game one it seems like the correct choice is just to kill the Favored Hoplite while we can.

"Casting the second Waste Not is indeed very juicy…but it is just too greedy and dangerous to go that route. :)"

Antonino De Rosa's Play: Hero's Downfall the Favored Hoplite.


This scenario is a great test of personal discipline.

On the one hand we have the opportunity to "go off" the way our deck is advertised to do.

"Play a Waste Not!

"Then play a Dark Deal!

"See what happens next! It'll be ca-razy!"

If you've ever actually played a Waste Not into a Dark Deal (when the opponent has been flush with cards, anyway) you won't quickly forget the experience. On Magic Online, anyway, the screen becomes covered with trigger windows as more and more mana is added to your mana pool, creatures appear out of the aether, and you get to draw more and more cards.

That third one is of particular interest: remember, you draw some number of cards whenever you play a Dark Deal anyway, but drawing even more cards from your opponent's hand feeding the Waste Not will generally put you way ahead…even to the point of discarding if you're not careful.

...not that discarding is necessarily the worst thing. Discarding, among other things, can feed future Treasure Cruises; or Gurmag Anglers; or Tasigur, the Golden Fangs.

So Waste Not (already on the battlefield) into Dark Deal is one possibility.

We have three lands on the battlefield already, and the possibility of playing a fourth (the Swamp in our hand) in concert with either Hero's Downfall or Dark Deal (or, I suppose, a second Waste Not). We don't actually have the mana to play two of our cards, whichever one(s) we choose…at least not among these cards.

I am skeptical that many mages would consider a second Waste Not here, so I'll focus on Hero's Downfall versus Dark Deal.

Hero's Downfall is the generally tighter option.

All other things held equal we know what is going to happen.

The opponent is all tapped out. That means that the opponent does not have the mana open for a Gods Willing. That is pretty important because when you are playing a deck with cards like Hero's Downfall against UW Heroic, the thing that you really don't want to see is a Gods Willing. That is in particular important here because we only have three total Hero's Downfalls in our main deck. Any Hero's Downfall we cast is precious, so losing one to Gods Willing makes it increasingly likely we just lose to a large Heroic creature (and remember, Ant listed UW Heroic as one of the tough matchups in Part One of The Face That Launch'd a Thousand Ships).

The scarcity of Hero's Downfalls is one of the main reasons playing it right now is the right play. We have one in hand. That's great! That means that if we cast Dark Deal we will lose the one to a Dark Deal discard and there are only two more left in our deck.

I knew in the game that Hero's Downfall was the best move and ultimately my vote is for Hero's Downfall (or more specifically, to play the Swamp and then cast the Hero's Downfall, leaving the Bloodstained Mire intact for now).

But in the actual game I actually gave it a swing with the Dark Deal.

Why?

I just wanted to see what would happen.

In the general case, Waste Not into Dark Deal gets a ringing endorsement. After all, that's what the deck is meant to do! In the general case -- especially against a deck like UW Heroic, that is a mix of lands, creatures, and buff spells for those creatures -- we get 2/2 Zombie Tokens to defend ourselves, we draw cards, and we even get black mana triggers to play the cards we draw…even if we tap out.

But this is not the general case.

The opponent's creature is enchanted with Aqueous Form. We could have six Zombie Token triggers and not be able to defend ourselves. That Favored Hoplite is gigundo already and given the Aqueous Form he's not only going to be able to race past however many zombies we make, he is going to get the next attack before we can do anything, putting racing even more to his advantage.

But this really isn't the general case. Our hand is good. We have not just a Dark Deal but another Dark Deal. We have our land drop for the turn. We have one of our precious few Hero's Downfalls (which, again, we will lose if we play a Dark Deal). We have a Treasure Cruise to refill after we start casting some of these other things! The corollary?

Whatever hand we end up with post-Dark Deal could easily be worse than this one, even if it is more cards.

Just a reminder to something else Ant said: This is not a Waste Not deck, it's a delve deck.

Like I said, my vote was always for Hero's Downfall but in the interest of seeing what might happen (given the potential super excitement of our deck's headlining pocket combo) I played Dark Deal.

This is what happened:

We made the opponent discard Temple of Enlightenment and Flooded Strand, so got BBBB.

We made him discard Hero of Iroas and Hero of Iroas, so got two 2/2 Zombie Tokens.

We made him discard Aqueous Form and Ajani's Presence, so got to draw two cards.

The way I played it was to play Swamp, and break Bloodstained Mire for Swamp, in order to leave up a blue mana to potentially cast Treasure Cruise.

What we ended up with was, as predicted, a bit worse than what we started with AND we couldn't even get him-get him with the BBBB we made. Waste Not, Thoughtseize, blah, blah, blah…

Still can't Stop That 4/5 Favored Hoplite.

Can't even Gurmag Angler to race. :(

Exciting or no, Dark Deal is predictably worse than Hero's Downfall in this spot. We lose the ability to trade Hero's Downfall for a large creature already on the battlefield; and the fact that the hand I got when I experimented with Dark Deal was worse than the hand I started with was fairly predictable.

Mike's Play: Play Swamp, Hero's Downfall the Favored Hoplite.


Scenario Two



"This game seems really hard to win from this position! I would play the Dismal Backwater, gain life, and pass the turn.

"I feel casting Waste Not will just make the opponent hard cast Mardu Scout. If he is lucky he will also play his Wild Slash on next the attack, giving his Swiftspear +1/+1 (or might just Wild Slash us now).

"By playing the Dismal Backwater to gain life, there is a possibility that the enemy will dash the Mardu Scout bringing you to 10 or nine if he draws another one-drop. His drawing another one-drop is probably the best thing that can happen to us here, since that would leave him with two cards in his hand on your turn three when you Rakshasa's Secret the Mardu Scout and the Wild Slash from his hand. Leaving you at eight staring down four power maybe getting the Gurmag Angler in play the following turn or drawing a Bile Blight you can somehow steal a victory."

Antonino De Rosa's Play: Play Dismal Backwater and pass.


I concur both with Ant's analysis of the game as-is and his play, ultimately.

The intuitive play here is to go Bloodstained Mire / break for Swamp / Waste Not. The problem is that play doesn't do anything but make us take a point.

The opponent already has only three cards in hand; we know that he has cheap cards in hand. At the point that we can cast Rakshasa's Secret -- a sum total of one turn in the future, and only if we draw a land that can come into the battlefield straight -- Waste Not might already be offline.

This is going to be tough to win from this position. But part of Make the Play Monday-style scenario training is finding the way to win situations that we are not likely to win. The best play is to gain life here. One life point might matter and we are likely going to have to reinvest that life point next turn anyway.

Can Gurmag Angler hold down the fort? Honestly? Probably not. But we're never going to know if we don't play to get him there, and right now our hand doesn't give us any other line to pursue.

Mike's Play: Play Dismal Backwater and pass.


This week Yours Truly and the Celebrity Guest were in sync. That means that our community winners will be, too!

For agreeing with me, Austin Johnson cashes in -- rather gift certificates in -- for twenty-five in TCGplayer.com store credit!

Ditto for Elliot Pierce. Nice job, Elliot! $25 in TCGplayer.com store credit for you, too.

Make sure you send a message (not a wall post) to our Facebook page - MTGatTCGplayer - to claim your prize!

Good discipline on both your plays, Austin Johnson and Elliot Pierce. Gratz to you both, and thanks to everyone who participated.

LOVE
MIKE

A Grand Prix Champion, National Champion, and Pro Tour Top 8 competitor, Antonino De Rosa is one of the most decorated players in the history of competitive Magic: The Gathering, plus a heck of a deck designer.