Ask Ken, 3/01/2004

Second-guessing one of your draft picks? Heard a juicy rumor and want to know if it’s true? Need advice on your Regionals deck? Not sure if you made the right play at last weekend’s tournament?

Kartin’ Ken Krouner is here for you!

(Editor’s Note: Ken will select one question per day, Monday through Friday, and answer it in this column. However, please send questions relating to rules or rulings to Level 3 Judge, Sheldon Menery, and not to Ken.)

I am glad to see that so many of you have written me to get answers to all those burning questions. When it comes to Magic, I like to consider myself sort of a renaissance man, so the variety in your questions also pleases me. I will be answering one question a day, so keep them coming. Just because your question doesn’t make it to the next”Ask Ken” column doesn’t mean that it won’t get answered eventually.

Today’s question comes to us from Ben Wagner. Ben’s questions concerns a dilemma he encountered in an MMM draft.


In a recent MTGO booster draft I was faced with the following 1st-pick 1st-pack dilemma: Mindslaver or Grab the Reins?  A tough choice that I would like to be faced with every draft!  I haven’t had much experience playing Mindslaver, and I chose the Grab based on its versatility and my fondness for red in MMM.  There wasn’t much else of interest in the pack to base a decision on.  So, in your opinion, what’s the correct pick?


Ben Wagner

Nightmare78 on MTGO

Thanks for the question, Ben. There are a lot of factors that go into a question like this. When I first saw the set, I figured Mindslaver to be a clear bomb. The possibilities of what that card can do seem to be endless. As with every new format, it took a long time for the beatdown deck to emerge as dominant. Considering the initial slow pace of the format, Mindslaver seemed ever better. When facing this pick, Mindslaver is also tempting as you don’t have to commit to a color.

The problem is, as always, a beatdown deck did emerge, and it is the best deck to draft if you can get your hands on the tools. Mindslaver is just too slow to be as bomb-tastic as it looked on paper. Even with everything that Mindslaver does and the lack of commitment to a color, Grab the Reins is just too good. It can end the game as Threaten, Ray of Command, Fling, or an improved Reckless Spite. It is also splashable.

All this factored in, you should draft the Mindslaver because it is rare and rares are cool. Also the picture is far better, and you can make your opponent get up and switch sides of the table.

Just kidding. Grab the Reins is the pick here, as it almost always is. There is a very short list of cards you take over it.

Very Truly Yours,

Kartin’ Ken

MMM is a format that will be gone from our culture completely in a matter of days when Darksteel goes live on Magic Online. However this change in format does nothing to change this answer. Both cards end the game, Grab just ends it quicker and more reliably.

Keep the questions coming. Tap my brain with any Magic related questions you may have.


[email protected]