Magic: the Gathering
By Arinaldo, 02/26/20
Preordainhave a great differential: they make a very efficient card selection. We all know that Magic is a strategy game, but it also includes a bit of luck, and what makes card selection so important is the ability it has to reduce the impact of that factor. That's exactly why Wizards has been more careful with the power level of this type of feature in the game. One of the characteristics of our format is that card advantage based strategies end up standing out. It is no accident that Tron is the most relevant control of the format today. As a Big Mana, Tron can afford to bet on heavier cards like
Mystical Teachingsto make an accurate card selection, but I like to give the example of Snow Jeskai to explain the importance of cantrips, since Jeskai was a Boros with a blue splash, and whoever played this match will remember the importance of
Preordain. Certainly Pauper's powerful cantrips would do a lot of damage in other formats, but they work well in a format that doesn't have major threats capable of winning games on its own. Perhaps in a future where the power level of spells and creatures grows significantly, these cantrips can become a problem, but for now I prefer to consider it a privilege for Pauper players to have these cards at their disposal.
Preordainin hand, play Ponder first, draw what you think is useful, and then cast the
Preordainto put what is useless at the bottom of the library. This statement may even be true for a large number of situations, but be careful when taking this as a rule, as there will certainly be times when this will not be the most correct move. Anyway, I think it is worth mentioning some heuristics already published on the internet. According to Wikipedia, heuristics are cognitive processes used in non-rational decisions, being defined as strategies that ignore part of the information in order to make the choice easier and faster.
BrainstormThe ideal is to have a way to shuffle or put on the bottom of your library (or to the grave) the useless cards that you returned with Brainstorm. Cards that can do this: Fetch Lands,
Augur of Bolas. Do not hold hands with a land if your only cantrip is a
Brainstorm. You will run the risk of being cornered from the
Brainstormand stay several turns without drawing a land. Keep in mind that the
Brainstormcan be useful to transform a
Delver of Secretsor enhance a
Augur of Bolas. It is also worth remembering that it allows you to hide cards from your hand in response to a
Duressfor example. So take this into account when casting a
Brainstormjust because you have mana available.
PonderGenerally, you will want to play a
Preordain, but in critical situations, when you need an immediate card, casting a
Ponderallows you to potentially dig up to seven cards from your deck. And why not cast the
Ponderfirst, since we would also dig the same amount of cards? It seems obvious, but in the heat of the moment we may not take into account that when we play Ponder and shuffle the deck, it is possible that the same cards remain on the top of the deck.
Swirling Sandstormto the bottom of your library at the beginning of the game because you needed to find your second land. Knowing that the card you need is at the bottom, the option will first be to shuffle the deck with
Ponder, counting on
Preordainand a little bit of luck.
SideboardIt is not common to side-out cantrips, even if you have many options to include, it is recommended that you leave out something that you consider "just okay" against your oponente deck to maintain a cantrip that can help you find an answer that is better than "just okay". An interesting approach to understand Pauper's cantrips is to know more about the function they have in each archetype.
Cantrip x Archetype
Tempo:A Tempo deck's game plan is to play one or two threats on the field and be able to protect those threats while disrupting the opponent's game plan. In this archetype the role of the cantrips is to find these threats, the means to protect them and the means to disrupt the opponent's game. Mono U and UB Delver have these characteristics and make excessive use of cantrips, but while Mono U uses
Preordain, UB opts for
Ash Barrens. I confess that I'm not a fan of
Brainstormon Mono U. There are those who consider it a mistake to play with the card on the deck, and there are those who prefer to have one more option to guarantee the transform of the
Delver of Secrets. If one day I were to use this tech, it would certainly be on a list with four
Augur of Bolasto enhance the card in the deck.
Mid Range / Control:Usually these are decks that take the game to the late game, the function of cantrips in this archetype is to offer more quality in the draws, we usually don't want to flood, but we also need to keep our land drop working.
Preordainends up being unanimous on the lists.
Combo:It is usually in these decks that most of the cantrips are concentrated. In Tribe, for example, in addition to the set (
Brainstorm) we also have cards like
Inside Outand even the
Augur of Bolasitself. The main function of cantrips in this archetype is to find the parts of the combo and the ways to execute it safely. I think it's worth mentioning that Tribe's more combocentric lists end up giving up playing with four copies of
Preordain, precisely because this cantrip digs fewer cards in the deck. Currently the combos are low in format and although the Tribe is gaining more and more characteristics of a Mid Range deck, the cantrips end up performing additional functions such as buffing the
Seeker of the Way.
ReferencesMagic’s zero-level spells Brainstorm Deck Heuristics