This week we have to evaluate some opening hands.
This is our Weapon of Choice: Naya Midrange
Justin Crandall's Naya Midrange build shows off many of the hallmarks of the archetype. It plays Courser of Kruphix -- one of the most impressive two-way creatures in Standard. Courser of Kruphix helps players develop at a heightened rate and can rate a solid source of card advantage.
Crandall's Naya Midrange deck plays a nice mix of big threats including the white-hating Stormbreath Dragon.
Often thought of as a color combination running on a backbone of great creatures at various curve points… Well… Crandall's deck deviates from that particular philosophy somewhat. Though this version does play a good number of two-drop creatures it doesn't run the once ubiquitous Voice of Resurgence. Instead, the two's mana acceleration redundancy is rounded out by Keening Apparition.
And while Crandall's three does play the aforementioned Courser of Kruphix it doesn't play Naya stalwarts Loxodon Smiter or Boros Reckoner. Or Planeswalker Domri Rade.
Domri Rade is actually a pretty big deviation. In terms of scratching the old noggin we not only don't see Domri Rade, but we don't see Domri's turn one/turn two setup man Elvish Mystic. We do however see a ton of other Planeswalkers that provide a diverse and powerful high end. All of Xenagos, the Reveler; Ajani, Mentor to Heroes; and of course Theros Block superstar Elspeth, Sun's Champion are capable of taking over matchups and winning games by themselves. Chandra, Pyromaster gets along with Courser of Kruphix, three-four, like peanut butter and chocolate.
This deck has a lot of good stuff going on. It's part -- ahem -- "good stuff" deck, part mana Ramp deck, mostly threats, but a flexible palette of answer cards too.
So...how do we play any of these hands?
Hand ACourser of Kruphix Sylvan Caryatid Chandra, Pyromaster Stormbreath Dragon Keening Apparition Keening ApparitionSacred Foundry
Hand BCourser of Kruphix Sylvan Caryatid Chandra, Pyromaster Stormbreath Dragon Keening Apparition Keening Apparition Temple Garden
Hand CCourser of Kruphix Voyaging Satyr Chandra, Pyromaster Stormbreath Dragon Keening Apparition Keening Apparition Temple Garden
Hand DCourser of Kruphix Sylvan Caryatid Chandra, Pyromaster Stormbreath Dragon Keening Apparition Keening Apparition Temple of Abandon
Hand ECourser of Kruphix Sylvan Caryatid Xenagos, the Reveler Stormbreath Dragon Keening Apparition Keening Apparition Temple of Abandon
Here's the game this week:
In all our cases, we are on the draw.
1. Rate the hands 1-5, best-to-worst.2. Which, if any, of the hands do you keep on the draw?3. Feel free to add any color you want to why (though not required).
Submit your answers in the comments below.
Per usual on Make the Play Monday, one responder who agrees with me will win a $25 TCGplayer.com gift certificate on Flores Friday. And another responder who agrees with an as-yet-unrevealed Celebrity Guest will win another $25 gift certificate.
And of course, on Friday, we'll talk through the hands and why we might or might not want to make (or not make) and keep (or not keep) any particular play or hand.
Prizes on the line! Better play on deck! Get to it!
See you all on Friday.