Welcome to the first ever Make the Play Monday!

It has been 1,148 days since my last article for TCGplayer.com. I must say the last one (featuring, if memory serves, the first ever Bella Flores guest spot) was pretty fun.

Great to be back!

A journalistic triumph in the making, Make the Play Monday can only be described using the so-called Five W's and One H.


Who?

Me, you -- yes you! -- and a rotating cast of guest stars. All-Stars. It'll be super cool! (And quite different, I hope, than anything else anyone is doing right now.)


What?

An all-new / all-different brand spankin' column here on TCGplayer.com! Well, two columns actually. Every week! We'll post an instructive question at the top of the week, give you a few days to stew (and respond) and then discuss the solutions at the back half.

The goal here is to put our focus on something that other great writers aren't necessarily concentrating on. I'm all for hawt gnu tek but honestly, new ideas are kind of cheap; and in the words of the great Kai Budde, any good rogue deck is a net deck a week later. There is no shortage of playable decks to choose from, or articles focusing on decklists.

However if you compare the trajectories of two players -- one an aspirant and the other a sheer master -- playing ostensibly the same [net] deck...is the difference the deck? No the difference is in the plays and other decisions they make throughout the day given essentially the same tools. How does a wannabe start making those better plays that differentiate players with consistently superior performances?

How is all the way down the page! This is "what."


Where?

I just told you! Where do you think?


When?

Twice a week -- [Make the Play] Monday and [Flores Rewards] Friday.


Why?

Idealistic Answer: Because many of you want to actually get better at playing Magic: The Gathering.

Cynical Answer: Prizes! Free prizes! To the best of my knowledge Make the Play Monday / Flores Rewards Friday will be the only Magic: The Gathering column that not only makes readers better Magic players but bribes them (read: "you") along the way.

You're welcome.


How?

Here's how it's going to roll --

Every Monday I will post a question. It might be an opening hand -- mulligan or no? Or some interesting decision to make: What land do you play? Do you kill a particular creature or not? How would you approach getting your beaters in?

You are invited to respond with your proposed play in the comments. Every week maverick editor Frank Lepore will pick a couple of the "correct" respondents and we will hand out fabulous prizes on -- you guessed it -- Flores Rewards Friday.

Prizes will include $25 TCGplayer store credit and possibly other cool stuff that we haven't thought of yet.

But really, the important thing here is improving thousands of players' decision making and technical play.

We have lots of articles featuring deck lists, or discussing The Decks to Beat / Top 8 decks / net decks, but relatively few about how to use those decks in specific tactical situations. Which land do you play? Which land do you tap? To what degree does the opponent's choice of sac land instruct your choice of two-drop deployment? The theory behind how to play a popular deck is probably a given for most of you, but I would guess relatively few readers actually make the same decisions with these powerful tools that world class Magicians do.

Ideally, Make the Play Monday and Flores Rewards Friday will help to change that, given time.

So every Friday, I -- and a [probably much more qualified] special celebrity guest -- will talk through Monday's scenario; what we would do / did, and why.

Grok?

Great.


Here is our first Make the Play Monday scenario:

This is your deck:

DECKID=1184499

You are on the play with this opening hand:

Mountain
Mutavault
Temple of Silence
Shock
Mizzium Mortars
Chandra's Phoenix
Stormbreath Dragon

Simple question: Presuming you kept this hand, what play(s) would you make Turn One?

Does your play change if you drew this hand instead?

Mountain
Mutavault
Temple of Triumph
Shock
Mizzium Mortars
Chandra's Phoenix
Stormbreath Dragon

Post your answers in the comments below for a chance at this week's fabulous prizes.

See you Friday!

LOVE
MIKE