The maestro of correctness responds to a fresh mailbag of letters in this month’s installment of ‘Correct Play Dog’. Don’t forget to leave your questions in the comments after the article or send them directly to

Take it away CPD

I need your help Correct Play Dog. The last two bannings have impacted both of my Modern decks. First it was Splinter Twin and now with Eye of Ugin banned, my Tron Gifts deck has lost a lot of its consistency. What should I do?

– Mark, Manchester.

Hi Mark. I know it’s not much of a consolation but we’ve all been there and I understand your pain. Luckily for you I have the answers you seek. You can re-purpose some of your Twin deck as the majority of cards survived the ban-hammer. Check out this Blue/Red Prowess deck as a replacement to Twin courtesy of our local Bristol hero, Craig. Slip Through Space is the real deal.

Main Deck:
Stormchaser Mage x4
Monastery Swiftspear x4
Delver of Secrets x4
Snapcaster Mage x2

Lightning Bolt x4
Lava Spike x2
Forked Lightning x1
Dispel x2
Disrupting Shoal x2
Manamorphose x4
Gitaxian Probe x4
Serum Visions x4
Slip Through Space x4
Slight of Hand x2

Scalding Tarn x4
Flooded Strand x4
Polluted delta x1
Steam Vents x3
Breeding Pool x1
Island x3
Mountain x1

Grim Lavamancer x1
Young Pyromancer x2
Ancient Grudge x2
Gut Shot x1
Pyroclasm x2
Spreading Seas x3
Dispel x2
Surgical Extraction x2

Now is also a great time to be playing with Gifts Ungiven so don’t you even think about scrapping that deck. Celebrate Sword of the Meek returning to the format by running Gerry T’s sweet Gifts combo list this FNM.


I hope that helps. Make sure you let us know what you think in the comments.


Do you have any gluten free articles on the Hawk Report?

– Tabitha, Brighton.

You will be pleased to hear that ALL articles on the Hawk Report are gluten free. They are also Fair Trade, suitable for vegans and contain antioxidants.


CPD, I have a friend that insists on playing banned cards in Commander. She says any cards are fine in a casual format and the Commander banned list is only for tournaments. Is she correct? 

– Omar, London

If your LGS is running a Commander tournament then they will most likely be applying the usual rules which can be found → here ←. Commander is most often played as a casual ‘kitchen table’ format though and that’s where the ‘social contract’ comes into play. It really is up to you and your friends how you play the game to get the most fun out of it.

The standard rules are the best to start with and I would only deviate from them if ALL members of your play group agree, otherwise things can become unfun very quickly. Do you think that arrangement would work with your friends? If not then there is another tried and tested approach to addressing anyone who breaks the ‘social contract’ by ganging up on them! It’s very simple, every time your friend plays a card that is banned you should try to eliminate them first. They will soon get the hint and stop being a douche!


I play EDH (sorry, I mean Commander) most weeks and have done for years with a great group of mates who have developed their own rules. We have our own banned list, start on 30 life with no Commander damage and have a slightly ambiguous but surprisingly well understood “don’t be a dick” rule. Tip of the day: winning can sometimes be fun but having fun is always winning. Also, get some beers in!

Hi Correct Play Dog. My name is Sarah and I am a big fan of correct play. I try to apply it to all aspects of my life where possible. My question is this: Can correct play methodology be applied to the trickiest game of all, the dating game? I have been unlucky in the past and don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again.

– Sarah, Berkshire

You may have stopped applying correct play methodology at the point where you asked a dog for dating tips but I will do my best for you.

No regrets


A lot has been written about what attracts us to the other sex. Symmetry of facial features, confidence and a thick shiny coat of fur are all well known but did you realise that a persons MTG format preference tells you a lot about their ‘dateability’? The maths, or math to translate for our American cousins (Editors note – our American cousins are grammatically wrong), is too complicated to go into here, but the graph below should be easy enough to follow. When considering your next partner, ask yourself this: Do they play legacy?

CPD graph 1

As you can see, a person needs to give Legacy at least a score of 7 out to 10 to be even 50% datable. That’s science. #chartsdontlie

“But what if they don’t play Legacy? Isn’t your graph a bit unfair?!” I hear you cry.

…Well, yes and no. No, because if your potential love interest is a 24/7 Legacy hero then they are most certainly a financially stable dreamboat with mad skills. Yes, because I suppose there is a chance they simply haven’t been enlightened yet. If this is the case then a slightly more complicated set of algorithms are needed to size your partner up.

To keep things simple I have again included a graphical representation to save you from the brain-melting calculations that only a correct play black-belt is capable of. This set of rules can be applied to any MTG player using a deck from any format and will give you a 90% accurate forecast of what a future relationship between the two of you will hold.

CPD graph 2

Go get ’em Sarah!

I’m not really understanding how you supposedly always make the ‘correct play’ and I’m not sure why I should follow your advice. You are just a dog. You can’t even shuffle.
– Anonymous

Actually, I use my butt and tail to muddle the cards like a casino croupier. Next question!

Lemmy, Rickman and Bowie are all British legends who have been struck down by the curse of 69 this year. I heard your birthday is coming up soon and I understand you are turning 12. Did you realise that’s 69 in dog years? I cant stand the thought of losing another British icon!

– Brad, Washington.

Those men are indeed true legends and will be greatly missed. Don’t worry, Brad. I am actually Dutch, hence why 90% of my diet consists of waffles and coffee. I just live in the UK. Karona, the False God willing, I will be here to dish out correct play teachings for many years yet!

On that note, we have reached the bottom of the mailbag. Thanks for all the questions and I look forward to hearing from more of our readers in the future.
Until next time spellslinger, may all your plays be correct. – CPD




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