3/16/2010 LI: "Keeping with a Plan"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I don't block.  When determining whether or not to block, you must consider both the potential upsides, and downsides.  Here, there isn't much of an upside, just a trade (and not a great one at that).  On the downside, he could have a lame combat trick, and my Marauder is worth more than a combat trick.

The fact that the opponent is on the play and is possibly more aggressive than me, does yield some credence to blocking as I don't want to fall too far behind.   However, I have the Nighthawk in my deck, which could get me some life back if I draw it.  I also have the Searing Blazes, which will take out a dude, and hit the opponent in the face for 3.  In other words, I am not actually behind, even if I don't block.

I just let it through.
I wouldn't block. Their deck appears to be agressive as well so the game will probably come down to a race. While being on the draw isn't great in that scenario with 3 searing blaze and a nighthawk this deck should be able to win out in a game of bears swinging back and forth, particularly with this hand. Furthermore it's possible that our opponent has bombs that we can't easily answer very well and since we don't it's best to try to end the game sooner instead of going for a drawn out attrition war.
I would let the attack through, for several reasons.  First of all, you have 20 life at this point in the game, so unless there was a cheap white or red "hit for 18 life" spell that I've completely forgotten about, your not in any immediate risk of being killed.  Also, as ZursApprentice said before, your making a pretty poor trade, a 2/1 with evasion for what is effectively a vanilla 2/1.  

However, unlike what ZursApprentice suggests, I'd play the swamp on my next turn, followed by a second Surrakur Marauder, and attack for 2.  That would set us to equal life totals.  I wouldn't use searing blaze on the shortcutter yet, its a weak 2/1 that won't be doing anything game winning.  I'd rather save it for something slightly more dangerous, like a creature with evasion (such as the aeronaught or the apex hawks).  Or something more dangerous if it comes out (you didn't get to see any of his better cards, and its unlikely that he'll have nothing but hawks and Highland Berzerkers). I'd wait until I got my Hedron Rover out and as a 4/4 to take care of the Goblin.  Assuming you're able to keep both Surrakur Marauder's attacking, you'll have your opponent on a 5 turn clock, 4 turn if you use Searing Blaze, and 3 or lower if you can get an unblocked 4/4 Hedron Rover through.  

In short, let it through, play the Marauder (unless something better comes along), and reserve Searing Blaze for anything that will be a real threat.   
I didn't mean to suggest that I would play the Blazes the next turn.  I only meant to say that the Searing Blazes would help in a race, when I used them at the optimal time.
No, I would not block.

He is attacking with a 2/1. There are different factors you must consider. 

1.) You would be trading a potentially unblockable (Intimidate) creature with a vanilla.

2.) You have two lands in your hand, so you have three draws to make up the lands you will need to hit the landfall triggers for the Surrukar.

3.) Doing the math, you have about a 1/2 shot of drawing a land every turn for the next three turns AND every turn you DONT draw a land, the percentage increases. 

4.) As stated above, this will probubly come down to a race. You have ANOTHER Surrukar, a Stonework Puma, Searing Blaze, and a Hedron Crawler but more importantly, you have a 2 two, 1 three, and 1 four drops to play so you can consistently be bashing for 2-4 unblockable every turn and have removal + blockers to back it up. 

5.) Your opponent is playing red, and so are you. Not only is the black making sure you can out removal him but even if he HAS red creatures with intimidate, you can block them. 

Since it's 1am, these are just off the top of my head but if it was me, it would be more than enough reason to not block. 
Well, I'm pretty sure nobody's going to block, if only because there's plenty of reason to believe that the enemy has the three-drop +3/+0 First Strike instant in his hand, counting on a block, but also because you're at 20 life.
An important thing to remember that the only time that you would really want to make this kind of block is when it would be one that could be possibly fatal (five life, with a possibility that the opponent has the previously mentioned spell in hand) or will place me in a situation where I could die from an out-of-combat spell.

I'd also like to apologize for not being able to remember the name of the spell, its 2R, target creature gets +3/+0 and first strike until end of turn, instant. I blame the fact that its 1 AM.

(at)MrEnglish22

I would not block.

Usually you block early to make the game go long since you are afraid of being dead before you can take over the game against an opponent who has a weaker late game, or because you have the option to gain some kind of card advantage or tempo.

I don't think either apply here.

There is a decent chance that both of you are playing aggressive decks, but based on the amount of good removal+faceburn spells you have (3 searing blazes and a hideous end!) and the fact that your curve tops out at Hedron Rover, you are likely to be faster. You probably don't want the game to go too long as a big red or white bomb could really set you back as you have few good answers for them.

Also your Surrakar Marauder is likely to be unblockable for most of the game and is almost certainly more valuable than your opponent's shortcutter. If you think of it from your opponent's perspective, on turn 6 or 7 when you are swinging for unblockable lethal damage, your opponent will be thinking "If only he had traded his Surrakar Marauder for my vanilla 2/1 before he could have gotten any value out of it!"

On my turn, I would play the swamp (representing disfigure if he's seen it) and the second Surrakar Marauder and attack through whatever my opponent plays (unless it's a Bladetusk Boar, in which case I'd play the Puma instead and attack).

The only thing to worry about with the second Marauder is overextending into sideboarded Seismic Shudder, but there is a good chance you will know if your opponent has one based on the draft. A turn four from your opponent consisting of connecting for 2, followed up by Sejiri Steppe (giving his shortcutter pro red) and a Seismic Shudder will be a bad news.
hello sparkmage
/scoop
Blocking in Zendikar Limited? Are you a madman?
That mentality aside, you are best served not blocking.
1.) You want a target for Searing Blaze for the race.
2.) You are trading an evasive beater for a vanilla.
3.) Considering your aggressive hand; you want to race.
hello sparkmage
/scoop

You are holding the removal for him though. it's a 2-1 which is annoying, but it could be worse.
"Do I want to race?"

How many times have I asked myself that question during Zendikar Limited? Certainly more than any other set I've ever drafted.

If the answer is no, we block, and if it's yes, we don't. In this case, we definitely want to race. We're going to have two marauders down that can't be blocked unless Villain produces an artifact creature or we run out of land drops. We have three more draws to find our next land, which is pretty likely, so we can predict that the marauders will be mostly unblockable coming up.

By the time we are drawing for our fifth turn, we will be helped by anything we draw. The deck is filled with cheap beaters, so we will either draw additional pressure, or we will draw lands to keep our rover a 4/4 and our marauders unbloackable.

Another reason not to block is the Stonework Puma. If for some reason after a couple of turns our answer to the question, "Do we want to race?" has changed, I'd rather run out the puma to trade with the likes of the Goblin Shortcutter rather than give up one of our premier threats in this matchup.

The final straw is the Searing Blaze. In a deck like this one, Searing Blaze is better than Hideous End. It does the same job (clearing away early blockers while dealing additional damage), but it deals 50% more player damage for 50% less mana. We may be behind a turn, but eventually that Searing Blaze will vault us back ahead by doing a Plated Geopede's worth of damage and taking out a threat.

This is close to a nut draw for this deck (although there are plenty of upgrades to that puma), and near-nut draws for cheap black-red aggro decks don't generally produce much blocking.
hello sparkmage
/scoop

You are holding the removal for him though. it's a 2-1 which is annoying, but it could be worse.



can't we all enjoy the neophyte quality of the columns' exercise(s)?
5 tix to the man who blocks...
I wish he left us with a more complicated scenario, the obvious answer is not to block as mentioned by pretty much every post before mine.
Agree with not blocking.  But I almost certainly play Puma turn 3 instead of Marauder #2.  Both creatures are virtually equally effective in the early game (when there are few blockers).  And by keeping the Marauder in hand instead of the Puma, I can guarantee being able to play two spells on turn five (or Blaze+Marauder on turn four) if I draw another three-drop or miss my fifth land (both likely).  I think that might be more important.  Also protects against random mass removal.  And gives us a better trade if we want it -- considering that we are on the draw, we actually end up as the "control" player if he curves out.

I'm probably in the minority here, and I'll probably change my mind in the morning.  But it's worth throwing out there.
I would not block here.

Next turn you can play your stonework puma and block with that

By not blocking you can set him really far behind with a turn 3 puma, turn 4 marauder and searing blaze.

The worst case scenario I can see by you not blocking, is that he plays a guy, kills your stonework puma with something cheap like a burst lightning, then plays another guy.

your deck is built for racing, as you have hideous end, 2 more searing blaze in the deck and a nighthawk as well as a nemesis trap that could screw him over if he has a white guy out. Thats five  cards right there that could punish him for trying to race with you.

Obviously no block.  We give up more than we gain (even though it's a 2 mana 2/1 vs. a 2 mana 2/1)

A sparkmage doesn't make sense though.  Why even offer a trade when you can 2:1 or better, guaranteed? 
The smart move in this is to not block. 

But let's consider the other side, if I block and kill his creature what am I really doing? trading a semi unblock-able for a one trick vanilla. On top of that there is a 24% chance that he will have some combat trick in his hand and then all that happens is I loose a creature.  

By not blocking I ensure that there is something he has to target with his removal, which he might have, and I get a shot at doing continuous damage unless he drop and artifact creature. In which case I can most likely blaze it. 

Also I wold probably drop the second marauder next turn. More then likely he will get another blocker out on his turn or remove one of them, this way I keep a beater out in either event. Plus turn four I can either go and drop the rover or play searing blaze and leave the two mana open for the mind game. It really depend on what I draw and what my opponent has done. 

 
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Dear Steve,

          Im too tired to do the exercise right now, but I wanted to say, This is the one article I look forward to every week.  You are one of the best at limited discussion and should be commended.  Now I hoe you read the boards.......
I see no need to block. Plenty life, plenty removal in the library.
I agree with not blocking, then dropping the Puma next. You could block on that if you particularly wanted to - trading a vanilla 2/2 for a vanilla 2/1 is better than trading off a good 2/1 for it. Or better, don't trade, and smack for 4, then 6 the next turn.
Last week I mentioned (as did others) that the exercises in these articles were depressingly obvious. This week's question does nothing to reverse that trend whatsoever. It seems to absolutely clear that the answer is NOT to block that I feel I must be missing something. Don't think I am though.... So far everyone seems to agree.

The reasons not to block are legion: he may have Slaughter Cry. We have removal for the Shortcutter if for some reason we started to feel threatened by it. Zendikar Limited is always about the race, which we look set to win (although he's attacking first we will have two mostly unblockable guys next turn), so trading is better for him than us.

Perhaps the strongest reason is this. We have no creatures with a base power over 2 in our library- this means that if the game goes long our Intimidate creatures (and our flyer) will be our best chance to win once the possible Battle Hurdas and  kicked Apex Hawks come down and outclass our other weenies. The Marauders and the Nighthawk are really our "finishers" in this deck, and we need to protect them, and certainly get as much damage in as we can with them. We have two more lands in hand so we know he should be good for at least four more points of damage. Only if we are out of lands and in real trouble should we think about sacrificing him. Our Marauder is worth many, many times more to us than Shortcutter is to him. It's an unthinkable trade.

Also, he clearly needs to get Marauders off the board or they will kill him - so if he's got removal for them let's make him use it, rather than let him keep his possible Searing Blazes for the Nighthawk.

It's (another) no-brainer as far as I can see.

[also, I'm probably playing the second Marauder next turn, to start swinging for 4 per turn. If we won off a Nighthawk in game 1 he has probably not seen enough reason to board in Seismic Shudders, so we're not risking a blow-out there (except rare DoJ). I'd rather get Marauders down and swinging before I run out of land. Puma will still be fine later. Why are we talking about playing the Puma to block next turn? We are presumably on 20 or very near it, I am nowhere NEAR being worried about a Goblin Shortcutter yet.]
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It seems that the only arguement that you would block is that if you don't block now then there is no point blocking later, as the trade gets progressively worse and worse the amount of life you have already lost to that creature. The way your hand stands now would be 6-8 life from just a Goblin shortcutter. On the other hand The searing blaze is a good way to mitigate the life lost from one creature so I would still not block, as you are well positioned to win the race even on the draw.
Agree with not blocking.  But I almost certainly play Puma turn 3 instead of Marauder #2.  Both creatures are virtually equally effective in the early game (when there are few blockers).  And by keeping the Marauder in hand instead of the Puma, I can guarantee being able to play two spells on turn five (or Blaze+Marauder on turn four) if I draw another three-drop or miss my fifth land (both likely).  I think that might be more important.  Also protects against random mass removal.  And gives us a better trade if we want it -- considering that we are on the draw, we actually end up as the "control" player if he curves out.

I'm probably in the minority here, and I'll probably change my mind in the morning.  But it's worth throwing out there.




This.

Block vs. No-Block: We are an agressive deck. Our main plan is to race. Evasion creatures are very important in our plan, as they might be needed to press the damage through after our opponent gets some defense down. Nothing beside being on the draw suggest we might be behind in the race, and we do have Searing Blaze in hand to swing the scale way further than our opponent can count on, plus 3 more damaging removals in deck, plus Nighthawk to gain some life back if needed. And all our creatures can trade with the vanilla 2/1 later if needed. Rule of Thumb: Never trade a superior creature without pressure unless you have a very good reason.

Now, what do we play next turn? Really depends on what our opponent plays, and what we draw. Since our opponent didn't play anything T1, it's most likely he won't play more than one creature this turn. Since he is R/W and looks like he plays an agressive deck, not many of his creatures will have more than 2 toughness. Whatever he plays is most likely not worth a searing blaze (unless it is an artifact creature, which would hinder our evasion badly enough to consider killing it right away).

If we want to race, we really want to use our mana as efficient as possible. Playing the Stonework Puma first will allow us to play the second Surrakar Marauder plus Searing Blaze the turn after that. We don't mind trading the puma if he gets some crazy turn, and it will most likely be able to attack into his creatures and at least make a trade. It is very likely that we will draw at least another land over the next 3 turns, so landfall won't be an issue early on. Plus, if he has a Mass-Ping, he won't get both our evasion creatures early on. Oh, and if we don't hit lands, we really might want to play the Searing Blaze by T4.

If his deck stumbles and he doesn't play anything and if we draw another land, we might consider playing Surrakar Marauder first and the Hedron Rover the turn after that, and then Searing Blaze and Puma on T5, which would make most of the Landfalls and gives us the biggest pressure.



First, I am assuming I am at 20 in this hypothetical.

In which case....

No block.

Mr. Sadin talked about the revelation that happens to all new players when they realize how a good hand right now may not be a good game, and how to properly support your deck in limited with the right mana.

Another revelation that occurs as players get more comfortable is the concept of life as a resource.

If I were to win this matchup, it would be with the landfall induced fatties and evasion beating out his speed.

Not to mention my removal.
I don't dismiss blocking here. I would not block, but the only reason for that is the tempo-gaining turn four play of playing Surrakar Marauder and Searing Blaze. If that play wasn't available, I'd surely block. What people seem to not take into account here is that the opponent has still five cards in hand, and most likely also plays a new threat here, and he is favored in the race as he gets the first beats. And what is this talk about not blocking because of Slaughter Cry? That would be very nice for the Surrakar Marauder player, as the opponent has to use all his mana for the trick and therefore can't advance his board position.

Reasons to block:
-Against a red-white deck that is on the play, and likely curving out with 2-drop into 3-drop, there is no reason to risk racing and losing to stuff like Windborne Charge.
-We still have another Marauder and Hedron Rover for offense, so losing one Marauder here is not a big deal.
-Because our deck has stuff like Vampire Nighthawk, we might even want to have a long game (especially because we have plenty of removal to answer possible bombs).
-If the guys trade and he plays a new guy, or he Slaughter Cries, he will have 2-3 power on board and you're still at 20 life. That way you can freely play a turn four Hedron Rover (which is when you really want to play him) and you can leave the Searing Blaze for a really annoying creature as there is no need to use it on a random 2/1 to prevent falling too low on life.
-Besides the Searing Blazes, you don't have a way to quickly push through the last damage. Tuktuk Grunts, Mark of Mutiny or some such would advise to race, but the deck actually has no such cards. You have to deal your damage fair and square, and as the opponent is naturally leading the race by going first, by racing you instead give him a bigger chance to win if he has these kind of finisher cards.

Also, if the decision is to not block, unless the draw step brings something relevant, I can't really see us playing another Marauder on turn 3. Puma uses up mana better, is the preferred blocker if there's need for that, and leaves up the two-spell turn four possibility.
I don't know that the opponent rates to be particularly threat-rich, five cards in hand or no.  He did lead off with Goblin Shortcutter, wasting its ETB effect. It may be a thin thread but at this point I'm liking our chances in a race.  No block.

The scenario has no mention of life totals, so I presume both are at 20. If that is not the case then obviously the discussion changes, but let's reason on the basis that it is.

Having cast his third land pre-combat, your opponent is either a) not aware that he's giving away free information, b) trying to signal that he has Slaughter Cry, or c) actually has it. Seeing that his deck didn't seem too strong in game one a) is a real possibility, but let's pretend worst case scenario and evaluate accordingly. That way it's never more than a calculated risk.

1: You block.
Marauder dies and you lose a superior creature that's guaranteed unblockable the next two turns. On the upside, your opponent has no other plays.

2: You don't block
. The Marauder will live to serve its purpose, and your opponent will most likely play a threat instead. This time around he will have his Slaughter Cry in hand, but that's less of an issue as you can Searing Blaze in response to it, which makes for a favorable 2-for-1 scenario. There's the risk that his third land is merely a result of his plan to play Sparkmage, but the odds of that are remote. And then you know something about your opponent: he's sloopy.

Considering the above I wouldn't block.

I don't know that the opponent rates to be particularly threat-rich, five cards in hand or no. He did lead off with Goblin Shortcutter, wasting its ETB effect. It may be a thin thread but at this point I'm liking our chances in a race. No block.


That probably just signals he's out of two-drops, or may have another Shortcutter. I wouldn't count on him missing plays on subsequent turns, and if that is the case, it doesn't matter whether we block or not. Our hand is gas and wins from that situation either way.

The scenario has no mention of life totals, so I presume both are at 20. If that is not the case then obviously the discussion changes, but let's reason on the basis that it is.

Having cast his third land pre-combat, your opponent is either a) not aware that he's giving away free information, b) trying to signal that he has Slaughter Cry, or c) actually has it. Seeing that his deck didn't seem too strong in game one a) is a real possibility, but let's pretend worst case scenario and evaluate accordingly. That way it's never more than a calculated risk.

1: You block. Marauder dies and you lose a superior creature that's guaranteed unblockable the next two turns. On the upside, your opponent has no other plays.

2: You don't block. The Marauder will live to serve its purpose, and your opponent will most likely play a threat instead. This time around he will have his Slaughter Cry in hand, but that's less of an issue as you can Searing Blaze in response to it, which makes for a favorable 2-for-1 scenario. There's the risk that his third land is merely a result of his plan to play Sparkmage, but the odds of that are remote. And then you know something about your opponent: he's sloopy.

Considering the above I wouldn't block.




No sane person is using a Slaughter Cry to save a Shortcutter. Only if he has no other plays he's going to do it (and this is a reason to not block, but the likelyhood that he has Cry but no other play out of 5 cards is small).
No sane person is using a Slaughter Cry to save a Shortcutter. Only if he has no other plays he's going to do it (and this is a reason to not block, but the likelyhood that he has Cry but no other play out of 5 cards is small).

You and me wouldn't, but why else would he play his land before attacking? If it's because he's sloopy then nothing is lost, as the Marauder will punch through no matter what other threat he plays. But until he's proven to be sloopy, I think you need to address the possibility.

The fact that not blocking puts you in a sweet spot for a race only strengthens the incentives not take the damage.
This is sealed, so he has three Worldwake boosters. Probably some Pilgrim's Eye in there. If he didn't play them first game, he probably boarded them for game two. So the race might not be that much in our favor. Still, no blocking this turn.

But how about this: We don't block, and he plays the Pilgrim's Eye. What do we do next turn? Do we go aggresive, or stay back and consider blocking?

Go draft, young man, go draft!

I didn't read the whole thread, but it's clearly a 'not blocking' situation.

even if he casts an Ally after attacking, you still have the choice of hitting him with a "landfall" Blaze, or bringing in your second Sarrakar (giving you two unbockable as long as you hit landfall against red/white).

Don't block.
This is a non-blocking situation.

I would play Stonework Puma on the next turn for blocking Goblin Shortcutter and/or stalemating his Goblin, then play my second 2nd Surrakar Marauder on the turn after that, all the while using the available lands in hand to trigger Marauder's Landfall abilities. Moreover, if Stonework stalemates his Goblin, you can play Searing Blaze to deal with the Goblin (and get 3 points of direct damage via Landfall) and now have 3 attacking creatures with 2 having Intimidate. Of course, we don't know what he'll be playing either on those turns, so Blaze with Landfall may be used for something else
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I would block. simpli by what i know of the format.

with three mana the opponent can use a slaughters cry, which i think would be ideal.
If don't have the cry, i would also presume that he had no Goblin Bushwacker, and because he playes a land i also presume he don't have Plated Geleopede. So i think that he is either mana skrewed or have a pilgrims eye, or have a shutter.

pilgrims eye would make my creature that much worse, so i would rather lose it and hope for winning late game.

if he have the shutter, then it would be good to have fewer creatures to loose.

And he is mana skrewed then the surrakar is no big deal since i would win anyway, with the rover.



another reason why not to block is that white is worse late game than black, at least from what i have seen.


And while everyone is surprised by my move i would sneake in Cheatyface ^^
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A lot of good comments on this weeks lesson have been posted and I have nothing to add.

I'd like to talk about Steves comment on last weeks discussion.
Why is this hand
Lightning Bolt, Urge to Feed ,Surrakar Marauder, Ruthless Cullblade, a four three-cost Hedron Rover, Hideous End, Mountain
supposed to be "better in pretty much every way"  than this one
Searing Blaze, Urge to Feed, Surrakar Marauder, Ruthless Cullblade, Hedron Rover, Mountain, Mountain
?
I wouldn't keep either one - I'd just like to get the comparison straight so I can learn something.
My thoughts on the one mountain hand:
The odds to draw swamps have not impoved and there is another card requiring two black mana. For two swamps we have to draw six times to even rise the probability to get them above 50% (asuming we still use the 9 mountains, 9 swamps of the original deck)
The three mana Rover is slightly better since the probability to draw any two lands is now a little better - but only by 3% if you draw 2 or 3 times.
The LB deals 3 damage with the mana we have, no landfall required - so it is more reliable as removal. But that's the only thing this hand has got going for it - and if we draw the swamp right away and get to race I'd even prefer to hold the Searing Blaze, even if I cannot yet cast it.

Can anyone help?
I think the first hand is better because the 2nd mountain in the first hand only helps to cast  the rover and both hands require drawing a swamp to become playable (to play your 2-drops).  In the second hand, the 2nd mountain is kind of dead so having the hideous end instead is better (though it does require you to draw 2 swamps to play it, it will be good at almost any stage in the game).

Either hand seems like a pretty risky keep (though I don't know the exact decklist).
I would block if I saw at least 2 pilgrim's eyes last game...

barring that,
1. my creature has evasion and his doesn't.
2. my deck IS trying to race, we just assume his is (he might still have bombs, we don't)
3. he could have some other lame trick like slaughter cry. Shieldmate's blessing + two drop would be especially painful.

on the other hand, a vanilla 2/1 against our hand and deck is likely to go unblocked for a long time if we don't block it now (barring us ripping something like a vampire nighthawk), so it is a fair bit better than the average vanilla 2/1. If our deck wasn't so desperately trying to race with its lack of late game and triple searing blaze, I would seriously consider blocking.
Either hand seems like a pretty risky keep (though I don't know the exact decklist).

I believe the decklist is at the top of the article "Keeping with a Plan."

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I think the first hand is better because the 2nd mountain in the first hand only helps to cast  the rover and both hands require drawing a swamp to become playable (to play your 2-drops).  In the second hand, the 2nd mountain is kind of dead so having the hideous end instead is better (though it does require you to draw 2 swamps to play it, it will be good at almost any stage in the game).

Either hand seems like a pretty risky keep (though I don't know the exact decklist).



Both hands have the exact same plan: sitting on one removal and hoping that is enough until you draw a swamp and can start to get going. Lightning bolt is a more reliable removal than searing blaze, the options of both hands once you do draw a swamp are equivalent, and the second hand has the significant advantage of having another good card in hideous end which will go active somewhere down the line as long as you survive. Since there are very few advantages to the second mountain in the first hand (since hedron rover was reduced to cmc 3 for the second hand), it is worse in pretty much every way. The second hand is perhaps keepable on the draw (not really). On a side note, 3 mana hedron rovers are pretty awesome, and can go a long way towards making lots of hands keepable...
This choice seems obvious.  You don't block.  Let me put it this way.  In the opponent's shoes, I would attack with my vanilla 2/1 into the evasion 2/1 in almost every situation.  I'd be happy to make the trade, as it's one less creature I need removal to deal with, instead of removal or a blocker.  If I have Slaughter Cry, I don't use it, saving it for the Nighthawk or another larger creature I might reasonably expect a red/black deck to have (Shatterskull Giant, Geyser Glider).

If my opponent then plays a Cunning Sparkmage, the Marauder dies.  Turn 3, you play the Puma to stop the beats, then kill the Sparkmage.  If my opponent plays another red or white creature, I play another Marauder.