Dec 052011

I’ve been talking with a lot of newer players lately. They’ve been bringing it to my attention that many of them don’t understand simple concepts or maneuvers that effect the balance of power between players. These concepts or maneuvers, as I like to think of them, are card advantage, card quality, tempo, and board control. All of these can be quite simple to explain and quite difficult to master. Part of that might be because they are often so closely related that a player might not be able to tell them apart. For example at times it isn’t that difficult to confuse card advantage with card quality. Which in turn could also be tempo. But wait a minute, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Lets talk about what each of them is before we get carried away in debates.


Card advantage is a series of plays, or a play where a player has gained an advantage in the number of cards drawn and or used from their deck. In short card advantage is staying ahead of your opponent by drawing more cards than your opponent, or making plays that force you opponent to use more cards than you.


The classic expression 2 for one can easily be applied to card advantage. It makes perfect sense to everyone, I hope, that if one player plays 2 cards for every one of the opposing players he will not have cards for long.


I have taken the time to find some examples of card advantage.

Cards that allow you to do something and then draw a card. One of my recent favorite draft picks is a good example of this Slice in Twain.


Cards that impact the board and replace themselves. One of the best examples I can think of is Phyrexian Rager.  You can also argue card quality and tempo here.


Cards that deal with multiple targets. One of my all time favorites is Fireball.


Good creatures are more likely to fall into tempo and card quality , but even a Craw Wurm that is double blocked can create card advantage and it certainly has something to do with board control. I play a lot of aggro or weenie, as a result I have found my self double blocking things like titans more than I care to admit.



Well that is all for now. Next week we will talk about either tempo or card quality.

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