Opt Vs. Brainstorm
A debate as old as time.
U- Instant
Look at the top card of your library.
You may put that card on the bottom of your library.
Draw a card.
U- Instant
Draw three cards.
Put two cards from your hand back on top of your library in any order.
So which is better?
Like any other thing in magic it all depends on the deck you run.
For MOST decks Opt is the better choice of the two. It is an invasion card, and thus has not seen as much play as Brainstorm. Opt lets you draw one card for one mana. On top of that it lets you decide to NOT draw a certain card if you do so choose. It gives more flexibility than Brainstorm. Opt is great because there are many times where you don't want to draw a land for a couple turns, or you really need land NOW! It lets you put aside the cards that will come in least handy this game. Opt is simple and efficient, but it is also a one trick pony.
Brainstorm is better than Opt in decks that often shuffle themselves. See, if you brainstorm, YES you will draw three cards, but technically you have only drawn one.That is nothing to sneeze at. Still, you must draw the two cards you put on the top of your library. That means Brainstorm can stick you in bad spots Opt wouldn't. Brainstorm CAN be better if used correctly. Certain decks shuffle themselves often. These are the ones brainstorm shines in. Then, Brainstorm is an Opt that goes three cards deep! Not only that, but you can keep all three cards for two less effective cards in your hand. If you don't want anymore lands this game and play a Brainstorm; normally you would be stuck still having to draw any lands you put back into the library. If you shuffle, on the other hand, you can basically get rid of those pesky lands for now.
Brainstorm can also do a trick. It can save your counterspells from being hit by Duress! Just play Brainstorm in reaction to Duress, and put your counterspells (or whatever you are protecting) on top of your library.
Does this justify putting Brainstorm in your deck?
Not really, unless you have a huge discard metagame. Really, this is just a nice trick for decks that Brainstorm already fits nicely.
I hoped I helped clear up the controversy over these two great commons. If you feel like E-mailing me you can.
Thanks for reading this far,
Donald Shults