I was able to play a few games on Cockatrice the other night; Thanks to SirTrae for letting me test Razorclaw more and take screenshots like this:
SirTrae is playing a Battle of Wits deck in that picture and I'm doing pretty well against it, using my Cream of the Crop to help filter up a steady stream of threats. Shortly after the screenshot, my board was wiped but I still have threats in hand (including the critical Wickerbough Elder) so that's OK.
The critical play comes when I have four lands in play and after casting Hound of Griselbrand, I see a Temple of Abandon and a Mountain. This is my thought process:
"If I take the Mountain, I'll be able to cast Elder AND activate its ability on the same turn, which is a solid warning sign to my opponent.
But Battle of Wits isn't out there and I have no idea if he has it so why worry? Temple let's me dig further into my deck if the next Cream of the Crop trigger reveals nothing helpful! Let's play Temple!"
I do, pass the turn, where SirTrae plays Battle of Wits and I lose.
Do you see the thought process that was my mistake? I exchanged the future for the present and lost because of it.
It can be very challenging to live in the now because Magic is so complicated. I often feel that I have to be looking at a hundred lines of play because so many can be shut down that re-routing the thought process quickly is an important skill.
Sometimes, though, choices are simple: Do I lose if my opponent does this?
If yes: don't let them do that. If no: continue hounding them.
In this instance, I didn't take my thought process far enough: If I take the Mountain, I'll be able to cast Elder AND activate its ability on the same turn, which means they cannot win via Battle of Wits until Elder is dealt with.
That would have told me everything I needed to know. But I thought that seeing another card would be more valuable, traded the future for the present and lost.
Next time: do better.
Also, I have discovered where my Temple of Abandons are! They are in Viceroy, which is the all-creature deck. Drat.
Now I have to make a choice: pull the Temples from Viceroy (which sorely needs every little bit it can get, due to the limitations of it's build), buy more Temples (which evokes the 'my money > less of my money' rule) or run another land that can provide Red and Green.
For now, I have plenty of Gruul Guildgates that need a home so they will do just fine.