Ask Ken, 07/26/2004

Today Ken details the risks and rewards of intentional drawing in the later rounds of PTQs.

Time is going by so fast these days. Here we are in the last week of July and this is still Ask Ken. And I’m still your host, Ken Krouner. Alright, no speeches, let’s get to work.

Today’s question comes to us from He Who Has No Name. HWHNN writes:

So, at the Rochester PTQ this weekend, I was playing Crystal Witness; at 3-1 and paired up against a 4-0. Great, here I am sitting at table 2… Round 5 of 6 for the main. 

This is clearly less of a Magic question, and far more of a metagame / tournament rules question: Opponent offered an ID. Should I have taken the draw there to take the guaranteed 1 point, and planned to refuse a draw in the sixth, or played it and risked the 3-2 going to the sixth that I ended up with? 

Actual results: 0-2, Raffinity with Hoverguards buzzsawed me with great drops both games.

This is always a tricky position. Many people will tell you it is never correct to take the draw. I will outline some scenarios where it is correct.

The hardest time to do this is Limited. When you need a draw and a win to make top 8 and you are 3-1 and paired up against a good player who wants the draw, what is the best course of action? Even trickier is what to do against a bad player. When a bad player is x-0, you can count on them having a very powerful sealed deck. Then it is a matter of confidence. Are your skills and your deck enough to get you a win this round? If the answer is yes, play it out.

Constructed is a whole different animal. In Constructed, you need to have scouts. There is no excuse for being in the penultimate round and not know what the undefeated players are playing. Once you have this information, you should base your decision on your current matchup and your probable matchups for the next round.

As a corollary to this, if you are playing a friend and you are both x-1, do not draw. It is better to get one of you locked into top 8 and the other out of the tournament than to leave the possibility that you will both be knocked out. When you are on a team, three points is better than two.

The source on the ID,


Well folks, we are just gearing up for an exciting week here. Hold on to your hats and enjoy. G’night everybody!

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