Please see the hand below. I am playing URW tokens. This is game 2 versus Dredge. I lost the first game. I sided in 3 Cages, 2 Tormod's Crypts and a Swords.

0_1508034062564_G2 vDredge on Play.JPG

This hand does not have additional mana sources or card selection/acceleration.

Is this a keep or mulligan?

I should expand, opponent is playing Hollow Ones main with no indication of MM/Force or Trap.

@pugsuperstar keep. You have a cage and a swords. You have to draw well to win but I'd guess an average six would be worse.

The main knock against your hand that you didn't even mention is that your hand doesn't apply any pressure; even if you draw mana, you are going to give your opponent a lot of draw steps to find their counter-hate. That being said, it is true that you do have a lot of live draws: (a) any mana source or (b) any 1cmc cantrip or (c) any one of the other 4 sideboard cards that you haven't drawn yet. That is probably more than half your library.

I think this is actually a very close call and I wouldn't fault you for throwing it away, but I think given how live the top of your deck is, and how you have a StP to interact with their plan B of an early Hollow One, I'd probably try it. Depending on your exact list, you're probably like 75% or better to find a relevant draw in your next two draw steps, and this hand + any relevant card feels like a keep even if it's slow.

last edited by kenan

Your hand is Tundra, Grafdigger Cage, Swords to Plowshares, Blank Magic Card, , Blank Magic Card, Blank Magic Card, Blank Magic Card.


@13nova said in Keep or Mull?:

Your hand is Tundra, Grafdigger Cage, Swords to Plowshares, Blank Magic Card, , Blank Magic Card, Blank Magic Card, Blank Magic Card.


I don't think its as simple as that. After side boarding he has 8 (or close to) relevant cards in the match. Having a hand with 2 of them is an accomplishment.

@John-Cox My problem is if Dredge Opponent Misteps or otherwise handles the Cage, we're dead to their Zombies, not even having the chance to care about the Hollowed Ones and Gurmag Anglers.

More than 1/2 the placing Dredge lists run 4 Derpstep. If the hand had a derp to derp the derp it's keepable as is its a mull.

@nedleeds every time you post the word "derpstep" I find myself uncontrollably yawning.

@brass-man I registered for TMD in order to upvote this post.

@brass-man Thank you.

Seeing "derpstep" always makes me cringe. It's ableist, and it isn't clever.

last edited by nucleosynth

I think its a mulligan. Yes, you can slow them down, but you are counting on getting going before they find an answer when have no back up and need more resources to get started. On top of that since you are on the play - this is all you get until turn 2. they can still go bazaar, activate and dig for answers before you draw your first card. You have no counter to stop their answers to your hate and you need a second mana source before you do anything else other than play draw-go. And as said, they will play draw-go much better than you.

Even if you get that second source, you have how many turns until baby jace is actually online? Then how many turns till 1 of those 5 is worth using for value.

I think I would keep this hand? It definitely doesn't have everything you want, but I'd be afraid to go to 6. Note that 3 Cage, 2 Crypt isn't a TON of hate, and Cage is probably better than Crypt, meaning the chances of getting equal-or-better-hate plus more early game action might be low? I'm a little squeamish when it comes to mulligans though, so hard to say.

There's a pretty straightforward (if labor intensive) way to solve this though. Because this is a turn-0 game state in an un-subtle matchup, it's easy enough to just simulate and rate a ton of 6 card hands. There's probably an app or script online to do it, but you can also do it manually and take notes. It should be boring, but not difficult, to get a hundred 6-card hands and count how often they would be better than this.

My instinct says this hand is a keeper ... but unlike many more complex situations in magic, we don't have to rely on instinct here.

Thanks all for the feedback!

I did keep the hand as I had Cage and Swords and I am also not comfortable with a mulligan having a hand with a mana source and Dredge hate for a random 6. Also, I suspected my opponent was not running a pitch Dredge list (though they were playing Amalgam) as I didn't see a single counter spell. I saw 4/5 of their library game 1.

My next draws were Mentor, Island, Tundra with JVP finding Mystical. I was able to slow down the Hollow Ones with Swords and BabyJace's plus ability before pulling ahead with Mentor. Opponent mulligan'd to zero game 3.

Great discussion, I will post another close hand in the near future!

@nucleosynth said in Keep or Mull?:

@brass-man Thank you.

Seeing "derpstep" always makes me cringe. It's ableist, and it isn't clever.

I had to google that. "discrimination against disabled people" You are reaching pretty hard. Keep searching though, there's always someone out there to be shamed by great white knights like you.


I agree with your assessment of sideboard tactics against Dredge. I will test out Pithing Needle as it is much more flexible against other archetypes that Crypt is. Do you have a suggesting on numbers/configuration? 3-4 Needles, 3-4 Cages? Cages do work against Oath so my first thought is 3 Needles, 4 Cages?

Ancient Tomb decks should be playing Sorcerous Spyglass over Needle, if nothing else, to avoid Misstep issues (vs. Dredge or Two-Card Monte).

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