If you've been reading my articles for a while you know that I think that Quicken is the mother------- truth and that I played a bit with Quicken / Planar Cleansing and Quicken / Terminus last year. I like Quicken because it is a card that can perform early and late. Early on you can "cycle" it for only one mana and late it can help you land a very powerful big sorcery turn or at least something unexpected. For instance if an opponent lines up a pair of Mutavaults you can Quicken into Supreme Verdict and murder those Mutavaults to death.

This is the UW deck we will use as our launching pad for today's hypotheticals:


You may have seen at the recent Grand Prix Chicago, Adrian Sullivan got back on the Pro Tour with a UW deck that didn't play Detention Sphere. You can't really play Detention Sphere and Planar Cleansing at the same time. In fact, one of the main reasons I wanted to try bringing Planar Cleansing back is that other UW players are committing Jaces and Detention Spheres (and maybe Banishing Lights and monsters of one kind or another) to the table and can have everything swept up in a single swoop.

And it's not just UW players!

I played in an Open a short while ago and everywhere I looked -- table after table, sometimes on both sides of a table -- there was a Courser of Kruphix, an Eidolon of Blossoms, a couple of Legendary fatties, and a Planeswalker or two. Just tons and tons of commitment to the battlefield. Planar Cleansing is really powerful against opponents whose decks are spread all over their boards, but sometimes you can get your hand slapped by tapping six mana main phase. Quicken can help with this, but then again so can Cyclonic Rift. Cyclonic Rift itself is kind of like a one-card Quicken + Planar Cleansing. You don't necessarily care that the cards you are dealing with go to the hand rather than the graveyard. Many of these decks have so many cards in hand already that they will just end up discarding a ton. In either case you don't end up tapped out on your own turn, so you can hopefully pass with Dissolve up after doing something more exciting for for our five mana.

Cyclonic Rift is a good bridge card to talk about. There are lots of two mana instants in this deck: Cyclonic Rift, Last Breath, and the return of all four copies of Azorius Charm. There is a Xerox element to this kind of deck. Cards like Quicken and Azorius Charm give you flexibility because they can help you draw into your lands on the first couple of turns of the game; but of course these cards continue to have text as the game goes on. Especially if we are not playing with Detention Sphere we need fast defensive action to avoid getting run over by fast decks.

Here are two-and-a-half scenarios that can scratch some of your decision-making itches:

Scenario One

We do not know the opponent's archetype; only that he won the roll, chose to go first (go figure) and kept his starting seven cards.

These are our starting seven:

Azorius Charm
Supreme Verdict
Cyclonic Rift

Things to think about:

1) We are on the draw.
2) We don't know what is across the table.
3) This deck plays 27 lands.

Scenario One Question - Keep or no?

Scenario Two

Same matchup as the previous Scenario One; it turned out the opponent was also a UW deck, but a UW creature deck leading on Soldier of the Pantheon. His deck seemed reminiscent of the RW or BW versions, but obviously with a different splash.

Highlight of game one? Dealing with the supposedly Indestructible Ephara, God of the Polis with Azorius Charm.

Anyway, heroes won game one, putting the opponent on the play in game two. The opponent led with Plains → Soldier of the Pantheon. No frills. Five cards and twenty life on the other side of the table.

Our hand after our first draw step:

Azorius Charm
Supreme Verdict
Last Breath
Azorius Guildgate
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Enlightenment

Scenario Two Question - Which land do we drop game two, turn one?

Scenario Two Point Five

[Please consider this completely different from Scenario Two; so your answer can include something other than "play Temple of Enlightenment."]

You've played a Temple of Enlightenment, revealing Quicken.

Scenario Two Point Five Question - Keep Quicken or push to the bottom?

Per usual, this is Make the Play Monday, the column where you are rewarded for sharpening your in-game skills while sharpening your in-game skills. Every [Make the Play] Monday, I offer a scenario or series of scenarios like these and the TCGplayer audience hashes them out in the comments.

Post your answers to our two-and-a-half questions in the comments!

On Friday, I'll post a follow-up article discussing what I did / would do in these scenarios, and bring on a Celebrity Guest for some additional insight. One lucky reader who posted answers conforming with our Celebrity Guest's will receive a $25 TCGplayer gift certificate! Similarly, a lucky reader who agreed with my plays will also get a $25 TCGplayer gift certificate!

...And hopefully, over time, because Magic is a game lacing decision into decision, all our skills will be elevated by going over the plays, and especially getting insight from some of the best players in the game.

What are you waiting for?

● Scenario One Question - Keep or no?
● Scenario Two Question - Which land do we drop game two, turn one?
● Scenario Two Point Five Question - Keep Quicken or push to the bottom?

See ya Friday,