Let me set up the scenario for you: I’m playing a mono red dragon deck,A� my opponent (Shawn), Izzet.A� The score is currently 15-4 in my favor.A� Shawn has been the victim of mana screw for the first few turns so I was able to beat him down for the first half of the game, although for the last couple of turns he has started to get some momentum going.A� Too little too late.A� My hand consists of the following:A� 1x Kilnmouth Dragon, 1x Furyborn Hellkite, 2x Hellkite Tyrants and finally, 1x Moonveil Dragon.A� On the board, I have Guttersnipe (2/2 with the ability to do 2 damage to your opponent whenever you cast an instant or a sorcery), and a Quicksilver Amulet (an artifact that let’s you put any creature from your hand onto the battlefield for 4 colorless).A� My opponent has a couple of small creatures in play but nothing with flying. In short, whatever creature I play will most likely end the game.A� However, as the title would suggest, things didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted.A� With a smug grin, and a d*ck-ish level of self-satisfaction, I drop the Kilnmouth Dragon, (5/5 Flying, Amplify 3: When this card comes into play put 3 +1/+1 counters on it for every dragon you reveal in your hand, it can also tap to do damage equal to it’s power to target opponent or creature),onto the board. I then spread my hand on the table like I’m revealing a royal flush, which I guess in this case it was.A� My Dragon is now a 17/17 flier and my opponent has no blockers, so unless he is incredibly lucky and draws removal, this game is a wrap. I pass my turn fully expecting Shawn to draw a card and then scoop. He draws, then much to my chagrin, he plays Traitorous Instinct, taking control of the Kilnmouth Dragon, giving it haste and +2/+0 and swings in for 19 damage. I stare across the table, trying to process what the hell happened…I had an 11 point lead…11 friggin’ points…what happened?A� Well, let’s discuss it..
Okay, so what was my first mistake? That would obviously be playing a huge creature when it wasn’t necessary. Shawn was down to his last gasp at only 4 life, there was no need to drop a creature that big when I knew he had no blockers, AND to boot, one that was larger than my life total. I gambled that he wouldn’t have an answer for it, and I lost that bet.A� I could have easily played any of the other dragons in my hand, which, when he took control ofA� it, wouldn’t have instantly squashed me. I could have played 2 of the other dragons in my hand the next turn, and most likely have ended the game in the next turn or so.A� Ok, so other than being a bit on the cocky side,A� what was my other mistake?A� Well, that would be not playing defensively. I was playing an Izzet deck..red and blue..that means removal, counters and creature-swipin’.A� In my opinion, blue has the most options when it comes to turning a game around in a second.A� Even though I knew his deck was focused on control, I didn’t play like I was aware of this fact.A� So what’s the big lesson here?A� Well you can draw your own meaning from this article, but the lesson I learned was this : when you have a size-able lead, you still have to find that balance of going for the kill, so to speak,A� and not letting your guard down.A� Always prepare for the worst case scenario and don’t over-commit to a play, leaving yourself wide open.A� As neat as it is to drop a 17/17, it’s not so neat when thatA� 17/17 suddenly turns into your opponent’s 19/19 and folds you up like a cheap chair.