Tuesday, December 2, 2014

All Hands On Deck

Several weeks ago I discussed the mathematics behind playing two or three copies of a single card.  The formula for these problems is pretty straightforward.  Simply divide the number of hands of interest by the number of total hands.  These figures can be generated with a rudimentary knowledge of combinatorics and the COMBIN(x, y) function on Excell. 

In this post, I want to use a similar approach to answer this question: Should you play four hands or six hands?

Fire and Ice Hands offer players outside of the golden triangle a fighting chance, particularly in a Skill Drain era. Drawing one of them can mean good times and a chance to clear their field. However, drawing multiple hands can put you at a disadvantage. 

The table below summarizes my calculations for a six card hand.  The numbers are smaller for a five card hand but the relationships are the same.
The convention for most decks is to use four hands.  The logic of doing so is evident in these numbers.  Adding the third pair of hands increases your odds of drawing into two of them by 11.5%.  While that may not be a game ender, you are giving up access to a more useful card.  Most players would rather not stare at a pair of hands 20% of the time. Furthermore, the odds of getting at least one hand with a four hand deck is close to 50%.  As tech goes, dem are pretty good odds. 

The hands are only dead when they have no targets left in the deck.  If you are playing four, this will happen 3.8% of the time.  If you are playing six hands, the odds of drawing into three hands is about 0.4%.

For the most part, I would follow convention and play four hands.  No one likes to keep hands in hand.  There is a pressure to play it before you draw into another one and this pressure can lead to misplays. The major exception to this scenario is the Qliphart match-up since monster and spell targets are usually available.  The speed of that deck usually means one can summon a hand without hesitation.  Therefore, I am maining four and siding two.  

While the hands are seeing less play, I think they are worth another look.  Besides giving you an edge against the Qlipharts, Ice Hand gives a 500 point boost to Abyss Dweller, which is not bad against the other two legs God’s triangle. Rank four decks also have access to Emeral, which can recycle the hands and start the pain all over again.   

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