I decided to continue messing around with two-for-one 187 green strategies with this update. Over last week's straight green Two-for-Ones, this version actually plays no cards that will be unavailable post-Return to Ravnica Block rotation (i.e. no Scavenging Ooze, no Sylvan Primordial, and no Mutavault). Obviously I am playing super handicapped against present-Standard decks (especially since so many of my opponents continue to play Lifebane Zombie!)

DECKID=1213797

Surprisingly (or perhaps not that surprisingly given the sheer volume of card advantage in this deck) I've been able to stay relatively competitive nevertheless.

If you aren't familiar with this kind of deck, it embraces the Aaron Forsythe "mana and bombs" template of playing green decks. Of the thirty-six spells in the deck, eight (Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid) are pure mana acceleration, with the bulk of the rest of the deck some kind of immediate opportunity at card advantage (Satyr Wayfinder, Reclamation Sage), a setup for future card advantage (Courser of Kruphix or Polukranos, World Eater), or a giant bomb that may or may not give you a look at card advantage before taking over the game (Scuttling Doom Engine, Genesis Hydra, or Garruk, Apex Predator). While possibly more vulnerable to being attrition'd out than last week's build, I would still expect that a fair deck playing one-for-one will eventually be buried under some combination of card advantage or haymakers.

Whether this kind of a deck would ultimately prove viable once Khans of Tarkir is actually making its powerful wedge cards present is not knowable right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if it could kick butt. The speed differential between a deck whose lands all come into play tapped and one whose lands all come into play untapped (all minus mighty Temples, at least) is a vast one. Plus almost everything in this deck draws, smashes, or gains above and beyond its casting cost, meaning you can run the opponent out of resources if he is caught playing fair.

[Reclamation Sage] [Temur Ascendancy]
My Reclamation Sage + Your Temur Ascendancy = Mondo Combo

In any case it has been fun, pre-Khans, to try out something different and to flex the X on a Genesis Hydra.

The big difference in this deck versus the one we looked at in last week's Make the Play Monday - Two-for-One, beyond playing a tighter array of non-rotating cards, is the addition of black rather than monogreen. We are eschewing the Yisan, the Wanderer Bard engine for the pure thuggish card advantage of Genesis Hydra here. I equate the two to the various Mythic-esque Bant decks of the summer of 2010; one group played Fauna Shamans to assemble their combos and find bullets against opposing battlefields…the other just played four copies of everything that made big mana plus four copies of Sovereigns of Lost Alara and attacked with whatever they had on the battlefield; this b/G version is more along the lines of the latter.

That black mana only brings us one spell, two cards total, between deck and sideboard (at this point): two copies of ultra high-end threat Garruk, Apex Predator. In addition to just being able to cast the seven drop with our 24 lands, four Elvish Mystics, four Sylvan Caryatids, and assistance from Courser of Kruphix and Satyr Wayfinder, when we find ourselves with a truly obnoxious nine mana on the battlefield, Genesis Hydra gets really uppity and can put the big Planeswalker on the battlefield for us. No brainer on nine!

Unfortunately…

This Genesis Hydra situation is a bit of a head-scratcher. Not a no-brainer at all!

Here is the spot we are in:

It's a head scratcher, right?

How did we get here?

Well, even though our opponent is a powerful (and all-too-common) Thoughtseize / Lifebane Zombie deck, we were able to weather game one via a combination of Scuttling Doom Engines (mondo combo with the opponent's Desecration Demons) and resilient four drops…surprisingly through a turn two Pack Rat!

Maybe too arrogantly, we kept a bit of a marginal one on the draw:

Only one land, but an Elvish Mystic and a Satyr Wayfinder. This hand was probably a mite vulnerable to Thoughtseize to snap-keep and missing lands on cards eight and nine was not great.

Luckily we were able to pair Forest and Elvish Mystic to make Satyr Wayfinder and we haven't missed a land drop going into turn four.

Tapping our Elvish Mystic for that Satyr Wayfinder did tip the opponent off though, and he immediately sent Ultimate Price at our 1/1 accelerator. He then made the Pack Rat and sent a Thoughtseize our way. I thought he'd take the Genesis Hydra, but he took one of the three Scuttling Doom Engines instead.

We mised a Temple and are back…um…you know, where I said before:

The Temple of Malady showed us Garruk, Apex Predator. We shipped that to the bottom of the deck.

The way I see it, there are two ways we can go here: try our hand at a Genesis Hydra for GG2, or pass.

So which is it? Why?

If you're just joining us today, welcome to Make the Play Monday!

Every Monday here on TCGplayer.com, we propose a situation (or more) like this one; a point in a game where we can puzzle through a potentially pivotal play. The theory is that Magic is a game that strings together many such plays, and every time we make a decision, we can bring ourselves closer to winning…or push victory a little bit further away.

The point of this recurring column is to bring such decisions to the TCGplayer community, hopefully to help all of us make our decisions a little bit better, and improve all of our play as a result.

To that end, I ask readers to submit their plays in the comments below.

Go do that! Right now!

Every Friday (Flores Rewards Friday to be exact) we discuss available plays. But not just me! Every Friday I bring along a Celebrity Guest to work his Magic (and submit his opinion, his play) as well.

One lucky reader who agrees with the Celebrity Guest earns a $25 TCGplayer.com gift certificate.

Plus, one lucky reader who agrees with Yours Truly earns a $25 TCGplayer.com gift certificate as well.

Every week!

So…Genesis Hydra or no?

Submit your response, and your reasons, in the comments below.

LOVE
MIKE