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 Post subject: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2017-Feb-16 5:20 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
So Magic's got quite a few puzzles where you need to figure out how many copies of a card to play to make your deck work (or make the card work in your deck). For example, if you play Legacy, you might need to know how many blue cards you need to play in your deck to allow you to cast a turn 0 Force of Will. Or you might want to tweak your land count so you know the odds of drawing X number of lands by turn Y.

Some of these kinds of puzzles you can solve pretty easily with a spreadsheet. Others (usually in popular, competitive decklists) get solved with a sort of wisdom of crowds effect from tournament results and online play.

I think some of these puzzles are really difficult to solve in EDH though. Most decks play quite a few ramp and tutor cards, and it tends to throw straight-forward spreadsheet work out of whack. There also aren't tournaments to speak of (or really any source for consistently amalgamating decklists), so the hive mind isn't always useful either.

Here are a couple examples I've been thinking about lately:

1. What's the minimum number of blue spells you should play if you want to cast a Force of Will for free, before you can hard cast it instead?

2. What's the minimum number of elves an EDH deck should play to be able to play Wren's Run Packmaster?

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2017-Feb-16 9:34 pm 

Joined: 2016-Feb-13 2:14 pm
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Why not simply make the spreadsheet without accounting for tutors, card draw, or ramp? None of these things are guaranteed during EDH (nature of 100 card singleton), and tutors, ramp, and card draw simply increase your chances or hitting a favorable outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2017-Feb-23 8:07 am 
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Kemev wrote:
1. What's the minimum number of blue spells you should play if you want to cast a Force of Will for free, before you can hard cast it instead?

I prefer to avoid the kind of games where I would feel the NEED to cast a FoW before I had 5 mana - I very much prefer games where the haymakers that are worth giving up 2 cards to counter don't drop that fast.
Kemev wrote:
2. What's the minimum number of elves an EDH deck should play to be able to play Wren's Run Packmaster?

Depends - is your general an elf?

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-04 6:34 pm 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
Kemev wrote:
1. What's the minimum number of blue spells you should play if you want to cast a Force of Will for free, before you can hard cast it instead?

I prefer to avoid the kind of games where I would feel the NEED to cast a FoW before I had 5 mana - I very much prefer games where the haymakers that are worth giving up 2 cards to counter don't drop that fast.


Yes, if you're playing in Singleton Vintage, you need the early FoW, no, it's not how most people like to play, so you're right on.

I'm thinking of FoW in terms of more typical bombs-and-removal EDH. especially decks that are really good at generating lots of card advantage later in game (like Damia or Melek), but don't necessarily have much to do early game. If you get to durdle around playing land go and hard cast FoW... great! But if you want the option to snipe something early (maybe something scary like Survival of the Fittest, or maybe you want to quash a land-screwed opponent by countering their signet) with minimal cost to yourself later on, you need a blue card to pitch.

...So how many blue cards do you need?

Sid the Chicken wrote:
Kemev wrote:
2. What's the minimum number of elves an EDH deck should play to be able to play Wren's Run Packmaster?

Depends - is your general an elf?


For sake of argument, no :P

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-05 8:49 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
If your deck is 33 blue cards, after your opening hand and 4 turns, you could be looking at about 4 blue cards. (12 cards divided into thirds)

If it's a lot of cantrips, you may be casting them, so you may want more. On the other hand, cantrips can also find you more blue cards.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-27 9:24 am 
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Ok, let's try running this back...

How many tap activated creatures does a deck need before Thousand-Year Elixir becomes useful?

How many knights does a deck need before Haakon, Stromgald Scourge becomes useful? How many discard outlets?

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-27 12:07 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Kemev wrote:
Ok, let's try running this back...

How many tap activated creatures does a deck need before Thousand-Year Elixir becomes useful?

How many knights does a deck need before Haakon, Stromgald Scourge becomes useful? How many discard outlets?


For your Thousand-Year Elixir, assuming your General is not something like Arcanis the Omnipotent, you would likely need quite a few. Granted there are similar cards depending on what you're trying to do like Magewright's Stone or Unwinding Clock so if you are loading up on this effect you probably have more than 10. I don't think I would add creatures with any tap effect, for example, if I was trying to ramp with it I probably would not include Llanowar Elves in a non-tribal deck even but I would add Selvala, Explorer Returned in several decks.

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge as your general there are 38 mono-black knights total, but most of them are meh... so I think you have the numbers but not the quality. Generally when I try to support a tribe, I go for 33-40 of that tribe. Probably the minimum I would do would be in the 15-20 range. If you are running Aryel, Knight of Windgrace as the general I would absolutely run Haakon, Stromgald Scourge and probably 7-8 discard outlets. As a side note I was actually suprized how many legendary Knights there were (25).

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Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


Last edited by Inkeyes22 on 2018-Sep-27 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-27 1:44 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Kemev wrote:
How many tap activated creatures does a deck need before Thousand-Year Elixir becomes useful?

Again - does your general have a tap ability? I agree with Inkeyes that it would have to be a lot in the 99 to make TYE good, but, just as an example, I run Triad of Fate as a general, and that alone makes TYE good, even though there are very few other tap abilities in the deck (in fact only one that I can think of off-hand).

Inkeyes22 wrote:
If you are running Aryel, Knight of Windgrace as the general I would absolutely run Haakon, Stromgald Scourge and probably 7-8 discard outlets.

And two of those outlets can be Markov Dreadknight and Call the Bloodline! Synergy!

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-27 2:25 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
Inkeyes22 wrote:
For your Thousand-Year Elixir, assuming your General is not something like Arcanis the Omnipotent, you would likely need quite a few... you probably have more than 10.


Interesting. I also guesstimated 10 cards as being break-even.

Inkeyes22 wrote:
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge as your general there are 38 knights total, but most of them are meh... so I think you have the numbers but not the quality. Generally when I try to support a tribe, I go for 33-40 of that tribe. Probably the minimum I would do would be in the 15-20 range. If you are running Aryel, Knight of Windgrace as the general I would absolutely run Haakon, Stromgald Scourge and probably 7-8 discard outlets. As a side note I was actually suprized how many legendary Knights there were (25).


Also interesting... I was looking at this from the zombie angle, instead of the knights angle. Zombies have quite a few knights, and have both discard outlets and cards that benefit from being in the graveyard.

Mostly, I'm looking at Haakon as a way to reuse Josu Vess and the new card-draw zombie knight from Guilds. Do I need more knights on top of that?

Also, I think there's a BW "legends matter deck" out there waiting to be built, probably with that big dumb legendary sorcery.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
And two of those outlets can be Markov Dreadknight and Call the Bloodline! Synergy!


Ok, that's pretty slick :)

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-27 2:44 pm 

Joined: 2015-Jan-14 2:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
For TYE, like many of these questions, the number of (in this case tap) effects required to make it worth a slot will vary greatly, based on a number of factors.

1) Your Commander. Commanders With relevant abilities can single handedly make TYE worthwhile, as noted.

2) Centrality. Do the relevant tap abilities make or break your deck?

3) Repeatability/scalability. Do extra activations provide linear, exponential, or diminishing returns? P

In general, a strong tap ability on your Commander, or four or so central and repeatable effects (such as the multi-mana producing elf package in Elfball) would make TYE worthwhile. Draw and mana abilites would need fewer instances to make the card worthwhile, while removal or other utility effects would require more.

My Selvala, Heart of the Wilds deck includes exactly five creatures I’d want to use TYE on (including Selvala, Llanowar Elves don’t count!). But it includes about a dozen effects that untap creatures.

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Sep-30 2:13 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
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Another one:

How many fatties does a deck need to make Hypergenesis awesome?

Are there enough non-creature cards to drop to make it worthwhile in a near-0-creature deck?

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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-07 11:10 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Kemev wrote:
Another one:

How many fatties does a deck need to make Hypergenesis awesome?

Are there enough non-creature cards to drop to make it worthwhile in a near-0-creature deck?


I think with Hypergenesis, it is less about fatties and somehow making sure you have more cards to drop than the rest of the table. I would probably do some type of G/U/x so that I could be holding 10 or so cards minimum along with some type of Spellbook

As far as non-creature, if you are dropping high impact artifacts/enchantments maybe? Again, you would need to make sure you had more cards than the rest of the table combined. Seems really tricky, unless you are following up with Insurrection or something of that nature.

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Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-07 11:16 am 
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So I picked up a Mnemonic Betrayal, and I think it is appropriate, how much mana would you want before you cast this? Assuming your in B/U/G, when would it be worth it?

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Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency Puzzles (how many things do I need to do a thing)
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-07 1:35 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
Inkeyes22 wrote:
So I picked up a Mnemonic Betrayal, and I think it is appropriate, how much mana would you want before you cast this? Assuming your in B/U/G, when would it be worth it?


I'm gonna say minimum 7... There's a lot of quality spells that start at 4 mana, so if you need to emergency grab a Wrath of God or Zombify, it's slightly overpriced but still respectable.

It's a cool card 'cause it's super scalable... there's basically no ceiling where you can't dump more mana into it. I'm guessing 21 mana gets the sweet spot, 'cause that's Betrayal + a titan per opponent.

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