One of the most crucial ways to improve in Magic is to look back and revisit our mistakes and try to learn from them. This is often difficult, especially when a draft goes well, but it’s important to take the time to see what we could have done better.
Last night on the Monday Nights w/ Parney Stream, we went 3-0 with a blue-white fliers deck, but had to do 35 punt pushups for our mistakes. 10 of these pushups came from mistakes last week, but the other 25 came from 5 huge mistakes made throughout the draft, which we will examine here.
Mistake #1 – Processors can snag cards underneath Quarantine Field
In the middle of our first match while grinding through a very close game, we mistakenly held a Murk Strider back in our hand for 3 or 4 turns in a row when we really needed to bounce something. My thought process was that due to our opponents 0/6 wall, the 3/2 body wouldnt be super relevant, and I wanted to wait until I could process something, because the bounce would be crucial to get back my Benthic Infiltrator (which had been snagged with Exert Influence). Unfortunately our opponent didn’t have any cards in exile…or so I thought. I had forgotten that we had resolved a Quarantine Field earlier in the game, and so there were 2 exiled cards hidden under the enchantment that could be processed.
Mistake #2 – Bouncing the non-Smothering Abomination creature makes it sac itself
During our second round our opponent played out a Smothering Abomination alongside a 4/4 creature. We didn’t have any flying blockers at the time, so I was more worried about the Abomination than the random 4/4. I wanted to try to force through some damage and race our opponent, so I used Roil Spout on the Smothering Abomination, leaving his 4/4 in play and getting in some important damage through that turn. I did not even realize at the time that Smothering Abomination must sacrifice a creature during our opponent’s upkeep. If we had bounced the 4/4 instead, our opponent would have untapped and during their upkeep would have been forced to sacrifice the Abomination itself. It’s important to remember all the text on cards and not just shortcut to “Its a 4/3 flier that can draw cards.”
Mistake #3 – Quarantine Field cannot exile awakened lands
During round 3 our opponent was beating us down with a 3/3 awakened land and a Tide Drifter that we wanted to deal with. Lucky for us we drew into our Quarantine Field! My thoughts: “Perfect, lets see here…tap 6, x=2, exile the Drifter and the …” Well the 3/3 creature is still a land, and thus spells that say “nonland permanent” do not effect them. We almost made the same mistake in game 2, but caught it just in time.
Mistake #4 – Counterspells are not removal spells
During the deciding game of Round 3 we were at 1 life but stable, as our 0/6 Fortified Rampart was holding back his 4/4 and we had a Benthic Infiltrator slowly hitting our opponent to zero. We were also both in topdeck mode, so when we drew Horribly Awry with only 2 Infiltrator hits away from the win I was pretty pumped. Our opponent untaps and slams Mist Intruder – a flyer that can deal the last 1 point of damage needed. In my head I had shortcutted Horribly Awry to be a “removal spell for CMC 4 or less” and was so excited that I let the Mist Intruder resolve, waiting to kill it EOT. Of course, Horribly Awry is a counterspell not removal, so it was useless after the spell resolved. We were very lucky to topdeck Murk Strider here, bouncing the Mist Intruder and countering it on the way back down. We nearly threw that match away because of a really obvious error and should be more careful about our mental shortcuts in the future.
Mistake #5 – Why is our opponent playing strangely?
During game 2 of round 1, (we had taken game 1) our opponent began playing very defensively. While we didn’t think much of it at the time since it was a very grindy matchup, we should have stopped and thought about what was happening (More than just a quick clock check to make sure we weren’t behind on time). All of a sudden a message window pops up that says our opponent won the game. This is of course a huge surprise as we are way ahead on clock, and then I notice that there are 0 cards left in our library. We were so focused on playing solid and not overextending our board into Planar Outburst than we didn’t even notice that we were in danger of running out of cards. Given this information, there are a ton of plays we could have made differently to increase our chances of winning that game.
Thanks for reading and hopefully this was helpful for you as well. Come join us every Monday evening at 10p CT for some drafting and hopefully not too many punt pushups!