To Jitte or to Not?

Jitte (Umezawa’s naturally) is one of the defining cards of block constructed and looks likely to rule Standard for the next year. Its ubiquitous status in most decks makes all creature based decks run it, and most of them then find its important to run Manriki-Gusari to try and gain Jitte advantage. Jitte advantage has been named as the sole reason that some decks run Godo, so other than the deck warping effect that Jitte is having (which is usually reason enough to ban it) how does one get ahead in the Jitte race?
I’ve been thinking that having a Jitte on the table does usually decide who wins the game, which ever player has an active one the longest should win. But when looking at this list on StarCityGames.com:

Plant Zombie Death Squad
–22 Land–
6 Forest
6 Swamp
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Svogthos, the Restless Tomb

–12 Spells–
4 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Manriki-Gusari
4 Putrefy

–26 Creatures–
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Elves of Deep Shadow
3 Nezumi Graverobber
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Shambling Shell
3 Isao, Enlightened Bushi
4 Grave-Shell Scarab

Original Article (Premium)

I started thinking that this deck doesn’t really need a Jitte on the table to win, it just needs to guarantee that the opponent never has one active. This deck is probably about as efficient at that as any deck could hope to be. It has 12 different cards that can kill Jittes and all of them come online by turn 3 (turn 1, forest->mana elf; turn 2, swamp->Manriki-Gusari + equip or Putrefy; turn 3, tap mana elf to kill Jitte or Manriki-Gusari).
This just has me thinking that 12 ways of killing Jittes, even when all three are useful when not killing Jittes is excessive. So after I put this deck together and have lots of fun with it, I’m sure that I’m going to remove a few of the Jittes and put in something to help it cope in some matchups. Why would I remove the Jittes? Well compared to Manriki-Gusari it only kills 1 Jitte, not every Jittes that the opponent ever tries to play. Compared to Putrefy it is more situational, Putrefy is never a dead draw, it will always disrupt the opponent and make a difference on the game, Jitte doesn’t do all that much against Hondens.dec and other random silly things (other than add 4 power to the board on turn 4+)
So when you see me running less than 4 Jittes in my B/G deck (I will not call it the rock, more likely paper or dynamite), its not because I don’t like to run 4 copies of a legend, its because I think their less useful at what they do than other cards.

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