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 Post subject: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 11:02 am 
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One of the hardest things to master in TFW is certainly how to build a good deck. There are many and varied complexities related to creating a good deck and it would be nice to see more discussions of this on the forum. As the title of this topic indicates, I would like to discuss deck building when it comes to the draw.

We all know that a good draw can (and frequently does) make a difference between a good and a bad game. So it therefore seems imperative that a deck is built with that in mind. What, exactly, a good/bad draw amounts to will obvioulsy depend on the deck in question and the style of play it favours. However, the general idea is certainly that you want to see X amount of specific cards in the draw. If you don't see X amount of specific cards in the draw, you are likely to mulligan.

Now one of the questions that I would like to recieve some input on is whether, and to what extent, you guys build decks specifically around the idea that X amount of specific cards should be in the draw.

Let me give you an example: In one of the many versions of the 2 level MF/E deck that I tend to play, I want ideally to see:

Dwarven Hall, Vapor Mahal, Ord Stone, Hadarck's Fort, Craig Scout, Negate and Clay Ram .

The basic idea in this deck is to try to grab the middle flux well early on and then, if needed, expand to a third flux well. This ensures a steady flux increase as well as a steady glory gain. This kind of deck can be played both offensively with Flame Ents, Tremors, Negates as well as defensively with those same cards together with Cinder Mogis and Attritions. But the thing here is about the draw.


Given that I have the draw stated above, this give me a range of opportunities to play my opening hand depending on:

(i) the opponent I play (if I know the deck I am facing)

(ii) the opponent's actions during the first 1-3 rounds

(iii) the terrain I face

The ovious choice in round 1 is always to cast the Dwarven Hall and the Ord Stone, but in the second round I can decide how to play depending on what my opponent does. I can play Craig Scout so as to get a sense of the terrain (whether I can play Mahal and Hadarck's Fort so as to grab the middle well or whether I am terrain screwed) or I can wait a turn and play Mahal and Clay Ram. Everything here obviously depends on what else I draw (and a Cinder Mogi is here more than welcome), but whatever choise I decide upon, it will be one out of several possible options. And importanly here, the deck is designed so as to maximize the options in the opening. (The one thing that I constantly think about is whether to have 40, 41 or 42 cards in the deck, which is obviously important for the probabilities of drawing a certain card.)

What if I don't get the ideal draw? Well, here comes another question for discussion: If you don't get your ideal draw, what is your second- and third best draws.

In the MF/E deck given in the example above, I almost always draw the Dwarven Hall and a Mahal. If I don't see either of an Ord Stone or a Hadarck's Fort in the draw, I am likely to mulligan. So either of those cards should be in the draw to make it a good one. There are, however, cases where I don't mulligan even if I don't get an Ord Stone or a Fort. These normally involve having at least one Craig Scout and cheap spells such as Cloudburts. In those cases I think along the lines that I will survive a rush even if I don't have Ord Stone/Fort immediately.

I have given this example so as to show what I am driving at here. It is certainly an important aspect of any decent deck that it ensures that you have a range of options in the beginning. I am afraid that this post is a bit longer than I first intended so instead of trying to steer the discussion in a certain way, I will leave other things out for the time being.

/V


Last edited by Voices on Thu May 27, 2010 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Voices, this is a great specific issue to discuss and more generally a good way to promote discussion of deck building. I know that as a new player I spent a lot of time making really dumb deck building choices just because there was so little info out there (other than Keyser's guide, which all new players should take a look at).

In regards to the draw I would note two points that I think are obvious to most players but deserve to be stated anyway.

1) Keep your deck as small as possible. Personally I always run exactly 40 cards in constructed and 25-30 in limited (in this case 25 is rarely optimal since many games will go longer than 20 rounds). I can understand the arguments for a couple more cards, but the key way to assure you get the cards you need early is to have the fewest possible cards that you don't want to be drawing in your initial hand. Basically every card over the minimum is just diluting your chances of drawing those cards you do want.

2) Run three of every card you want for the first hand. This seems so obvious I was tempted not to mention it, but it goes along the same lines as point 1. If there is a card that you really want in your starting hand like ord stone the best way to get it is have only 40 cards and have 3 of them be ord stone. Now this is not to say that you should run 3x of every card although it is my general tendency. But some like graft in a tree deck are just dead weight if you ever get two in hand at a time, so I only run one.

Now for some specifics as they relate to one of the decks I run most often, sylvan one domain rush. One of the first reasons I started running this deck was that it eliminates many of the confusions of first hand draw, which is also why I have recommended one domain as the first deck new players should try (I can safely say it's possible to make a competitive one with sylvan, chaos, or CI and I would wager each of the other three domains too). By only having one domain cards you are assured that you will have the required domain to cast them all first turn. What you won't have all the time is enough flux if you are running 4+ flux cards, which I will get to in a second. Now with my rush deck the main concern is getting at least a couple of creatures out first turn. This means that only 1 and 2 flux cards count toward what I want to initially draw (porcupine and farizai shaman can't come out first turn). In addition, the trees (sapling and treeherd) won't necessarily have a tree to spawn in within sight (trust me this can be a big problem given that the last game I just played had no trees on the whole map). After all of this I am aiming to include 12 one and two flux creatures in my deck that can come out first turn. The reason for this is that if you run the numbers your odds of not getting at least one of these in either the first hand is about 10%, and not getting one in the first mulligan either is about 1%. This is what I am willing to tolerate, since it means that I won't lose games exclusively because of my draw. For newer players this basically means you should be including elven scout, thistle falcon, tenderfoot archer, and valedune arborist all x3 in the deck.

Anyway, hope that advances the discussion a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Tue May 25, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Thanks for your input, Huger! I think our posts show what a great difference there is between playing a 1 domain deck and 2 domain deck. Most of us obviously know this, but I am sure that it can be very helpful for new players to read about it.

I am also somewhat surprised by the lack of input from other experienced players. Come on guys, tell us your secrets!


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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Tue May 25, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Voices wrote:
However, the general idea is ceratinly that you want to see X amount of specific cards in the draw. If you don't see X amount of specific cards in the draw, you are likely to mulligan.


I've always found this to be tricky, both choosing which hands to mulligan given a certain deck, and even more so when designing decks. Depending on what you're up against, and for many of my decks also depending on the starting map, it's so different what a decent first draw looks like. So far I've never been able to figure out a good balance from scratch - the only thing that makes me spot the weaknesses of a deck is testing and adjusting things gradually.

Most of the setbacks I've had has been with 3 domain trick decks. They have to be filled with stuff for defence until the magic unfolds, and all that stuff should harmonize with your end trick as well. I never seem to get it reliable. I do have a lot of fun trying though :)


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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 4:50 pm 
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Should I have time I'll also post something but for the time being I'll give out just this one advice.

If you're sick of all those weenie rushes like Huger plays, play Drain Blood. Combined with Call from the Pit, it really rocks.
Best fun here is to wait until the other player moves all his creatures, 'sacriface' one your creature you'll cast DB on and move the rest of your creatures out of it's sight. IF you are able to do this, you've mastered one of the best spells in whole Wilds :)
(AND it's gonna win you games, obviously)


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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Thu May 27, 2010 10:28 pm 
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Sorry it took me so long to respond Voices...

Here's what I look for in my opening draw...

a) Who/What am I playing against...although this only really comes into play when I'm facing a rush deck. Its always nice to have an Attrition or a Cinder/Sleet Mogi combo. While an Building drop or DL deck I would like to get some vision and see where they are and what they are doing.

b) Terrain...can I hide a Ord Stone or at least make it tougher to get to. Being able to cast it on a Mountain can equal and extra turn till it needs defence.

But the biggest piece of advice is (and I know it can be difficult to do, especially for newer players that get excited to throw in new cards) have a plan for your deck. Pick one or two simple combos and then add multiple copies of those cards and keep your decks small. 'The Draw' isn't so bad when you make your deck small and concise...Example...my deck has 14 different cards, 13 of those cards have 3 copies of said card. (I know most regular players know and do this, but I'm thinking this post is for new players.)

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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion] Deck Construction: The Draw
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:29 pm 
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This might help the discussion:

Code:
       1      2     3     4     5     6
First  85%   71%   60%   50%   41%   34%
M1     74%   54%   39%   28%   20%   14%
M2     66%   43%   28%   18%   11%    7%
M3     61%   37%   22%   13%    7%    4%
M4     58%   33%   19%   10%    6%    3%


This table shows the risk that you don't draw a certain card for your starting hand. The different columns show the numbers increasing the more copies you have of that card. The different rows account for how many times you are willing to mulligan, should you not have drawn any of them. I've assumed 40 cards, and no autdraw other than the first base.

An example: You have 3x Ord Stone in your deck. if you are willing to mulligan twice to get it, the risk you will end up without it anyway is 28%.

The numbers show clearly that while it's a big gamble to hope to draw a single card, you can rely pretty heavily on drawing at least one out of 6 cards you deem acceptable. (Things get a lot trickier with combos, of course. In most decks, you need to evaluate more than just if you've drawn one certain card.)


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