Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Storm is Upon Us

The day we have feared is almost upon us. Soon, we will all be witnesses to the corruption of the very spirit of Yugioh.  We will be beset by evil forces that will forever hide the goodness of the game.  

… or we will all pick up some new cards and roll our eyes at the “next” broken archetype. 

Regardless of your enthusiasm for the Qliphoth invasion, this archetype will change the way decks are built. The most notable adjustment will be the reemergence of MST as a main deck card. For the past several years, MST has been sided more than it has been mained.  Doing so lowered the chances of drawing an MST when you really needed a MonSTer.  The pervasive use of Vanity’s Emptiness has led to a mini-resurgence in mained MST.  However, the Qliphoths will all but institutionalize the practice.  

The truth is that there are few cards that are as good as MST in fighting the Qliphoths. As a spell, it avoids trap negation.  As a quick play, it can be activated on your opponents turn.  Finally, it has no restrictions or costs.  The card is somewhat unique since it is really, really needed unless it isn’t.

Coming to a deck near you!
The ubiquitous use of MST will have many subtle effects on the game.  The most obvious will be the decreased effectiveness of continuous spells and traps.  While Emptiness will continue to be played, other cards may decline.  Most notably will be the use of Call of the Haunted, which will give Satellarknights another hit.  The practice of “main decking” side deck cards will probably stop as well.  Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror and Soul Drain should return to the side deck.  

A glut of MSTs changes the way players open.  Most players don’t want to run the risk of losing their single copy of Bottomless to a blind Typhoon.  As a result, they will set a lot more bait.  In fact, one of those bait cards is probably another MST.  
Trap heavy decks do thrive during formats that routinely use triple MST.  The strategy is to overcome an opponent’s MST by overwhelming the field with targets.  Of course, it is hard to imagine a format with more traps. The point is that the number of traps in the average deck is not a function of the number of anti-trap cards; it is a function of the speed of the format.  The Qlipoths, while impressive, are not the fastest killers in the Yugioh pantheon.   

The habitual use of MST does open the way for trapless decks.  Without targets, you opponent will be drawing into a dead card.  This is the equivalent of drawing twice.  Hopefully, the tactic will lure your opponent into siding out his MSTs, which is the perfect time to side in your continuous traps. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tellar Tech

Sometime in the past three weeks, I went to bed playing a meta deck like Satellarknights and woke up playing an anti-meta deck like Satellarknights.  Evidently, the stars have fallen leaving little but a burning abyss. 

Despite the loss of prestige, power, and pennies, I decided to stick with my wayward knights. Maybe I was only one tech card away from Satellar Supremacy?  

I began by searching for all cards with the term “warrior” in the description.  This strategy yielded 216 cards, most of which were pretty bad. However, Magnum Shield, the 131st card, did catch my attention.  This is an equip spell card that boosts the attack of a warrior monster by its defense.  

For the most part, equip spell cards are like marshmallow Peeps. As a kid, you love ‘em; but, the taste wears a little thin when you’re an adult.  Noob doolists love to boost their cards with extra attack. However, they do it by giving up card advantage.  Spot removal of your monster and you are down two cards to their one.  

That said, there is reason to consider this card.  First of all, the attack boost can be substantial as the table to the right suggests.  All of the normal summoned Tellar knights get over Winda and two of them can bring down Construct.  Furthermore, it forces Shaddoll players to use materials from their field or hand.  Likewise, Burning Abyss players can struggle against big monsters.  They will be forced to use a Monarch effect to get rid of the card.

The card should be used judiciously, which is why I wouldn’t play more than two.  Early in the match, you can force an opponent to burn a MST, which may preserve your Call of the Haunted plays.  Late in the game, it can give you a quick and unexpected OTK.  For example, this weekend I was paired with a Frognarch player who seemed a little too eager to let me attack into an open field.  Knowing that he had Gorz in hand, I attacked with Excalibur at 6,000 points for game.

Those of you who are still playing Satellarknights know it’s an uphill battle.   It’s unfortunate because this deck would certainly have been considered a tier one deck if it was released a year or two ago.  Nevertheless, it’s still a good deck and one that is quickly becoming affordable.  So here’s to all of you who are still looking to the stars.  
This weekend's build - a little burn with a little control.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Twosomes or Threesomes in Yugioh

My Hanzo Harpie deck performed just well enough to goad me into tweaking it.  In the parlance of Yugioh, Dark Simorgh put in some work.  Perhaps, I could increase my chances of laying down the lock-down by adding a third big bird?  After all, my graveyard was consistently full of winds and darks.  

My first test hand consisted of two Ninjitsu Art of Transformaion, a Trap Stun, and 2 Dark Simorgh.  Yuck! 

After power shuffling, I tried again and drew 3 Dark Simorghs, 2  Harpie Hunting Ground, and a Fiendish Chain. Yuck2!  

While those hands are particularly bad, it did raise the question about when should you play three copies of a card over two? The most succinct answer is given by YugiTube’s TheRJB0.  He suggests the following algorithm: 

·         3 copies if the deck depends on it
·         2 copies for consistency
·         1 copy for tech 

It’s a reasonable rule of thumb, but what are the numbers behind this advice?  How much do we increase the chances of drawing 2 copies of a card when we add a third copy to our deck? 

Determining the percentage of specific hands in Yugioh (or any card game) requires a little knowledge of combinations.  A combination is the number of distinct subsets one can select from a defined set.  In this case, we want to know the number of six-card subsets (or hands) that can be formed from a 40 card set (or deck).  The order that the cards are drawn is inconsequential.  The answer to this question is given by the formula to the right.  Excel makes it easier by providing the COMBIN(n, r) function.  

In a 40 card deck, there are C(40,6) or 3,838, 380 six-card hands.  This will be our denominator when we determine our percentages. 

Next, we need to determine the number of hands that have duplicate cards if you play only two copies.  All of these hands will have the two copies (Simorgh, Simorgh) and any combination of four cards from the remaining 38.  Therefore, we can write this C(2,2) x C(38,4) or 73,815 hands.
The process is similar when determining the number of duplicate hands when you have three copies of a card.  In this case, you can have two cards of the three copies or C(3,2) and any combination of the remaining 37 cards or C(37,4).  You can also draw all three of your copies or C(3,3) and any combination of three cards from the remaining 37 cards or C(37,3).  Adding these numbers together gives us the total number of hands with two or three copies.  

Taking the number of hands with duplicates and dividing them by the total gives us our answer.  If you play two copies, you will draw into duplicates 1.92% of the time; if you play three, you will get duplicates 5.36% of the time. 

Let me put these numbers into some context.  Playing three copies means you will draw into duplicates once every 18.6 duels.  Playing two copies increases this number to once every 52.0 duels.  This difference may be significant since most regionals will generate 20 to 24 duels.  The risk of drawing into doubles has to be balanced with the risk of not drawing the card at all.  Adding a third copy increases your odds of drawing at least one copy from 28.1% to 39.4%.

In short, the great RJB0 is right.  Two copies double your chances of drawing the card without significantly increasing the risk of drawing duplicates.  With three copies, you better be ready to eat some crow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tier Rankings for 178 Yugioh Archetypes

Over the past year, no deck has garnered more than 30 – 40% of the regional tops.  We lived in the “Days of Diversity”. Unfortunately, those days have ended in a Burning Abyss.  

The Burning Abyss deck will remain dominant because of its effect on trap cards. In the ole days, trap cards made you pay for good effects.  The payment or cost usually meant losing a card.  Burning Abyss completely changes this accounting by turning the cost into a benefit.  Who would ever consider playing 3 Phoenix Wing and 3 Karma Cut? Abyss players have no problem with such cards.  As a result, they will find themselves on top of the Yugiheap. 

The table below gives my hierarchy for all of the underlying archetypes.  I present this ranking with my tongue thoroughly in my cheek recognizing that there is a degree of arbitrariness.   Nevertheless, this listing is my way of standing up for all of the forgotten archetypes. 

The larger number to the left is their predicted rank; the smaller number to the right is their former rank.  I’ve done my best to represent all the archetypes even though that very designation is somewhat artificial.   

Here are some of the assumptions I used to form this list
Rank four toolbox decks get demoted.  Decks like Geargia, Madolche, and Satellarknights all lose to Shaddolls.  These decks either leave their level four monster on the field or give the Shaddoll player a live fusion card.  Neither play is good. 

Glow-up Bulb will help a handful of decks.  The little green bulb single-handedly keeps Sylvans on the top tier by giving them level eight synchro plays.  Karakuris may also get a boost because of their easier access to Beast. 

ROTA’s impact will be minor. Bujin’s and Noble Knights could get a minor boost.  I suspect other decks with warriors will probably play the card at two. 

Limiting Superpoly limits but does not kill Shaddolls.  If you’re looking for death by F & L, look at Infernities.