Thursday, February 28, 2013

Winnowing the Weak

The short version: 61 cards didn't matter.

It's a big deal, mentally, to go beyond 60 cards because all the math, all the research, is all based around having only 60 cards in a constructed deck that isn't using Battle of Wits. Cards are put in/duplicated based on this math, with the idea that we can gain a level of predictability to our randomized decks. New players are constantly hammered with this information, as they frequently build decks that are 70 or more cards, trying to cram as many good ideas as they can into play.

However, adding one single card? It didn't have a meaningful impact on my games. One was a multiplayer matchup, where I felt I had to add Lifeline to a board with Guttersnipe and Talrand. It was not my best idea but I was going for broke. Yes, I lost that one though I was able to use Fabricate to get a Lifeline so my idiot plan could happen. I'll chalk that one in the 'doing what I hoped' column.

In a R/G matchup, I got beat in game one--which isn't easy to tell by this crappy picture. Sorry: I'll try to do better next time. I won game two and then the pub closed.

But the extra card didn't do anything to make my chances better or worse.

What I did feel though, in both matches, was that I was paying too much for a pretty weak effect in Arcbound Reclaimer.

When I look at the mana curve for this deck, there's a huge glut of things at the two spot; a total of fifteen cards. There are two cards in the three spot and five at the four spot.

But of those cards at the four spot, Arcbound Crusher is able to grow big enough to become a problematic threat, as seen in the previous matchups. Arcbound Reclaimer is a tutor for a graveyard that I am not planning on filling and doesn't really help me after that. So I'm back down to 60 cards, cutting the Reclaimers and adding a third Fabricate. This means I essentially have access to six Darksteel Reactors, six Arcbound Overseers and five Lifelines. I'm comfortable with this level of consistency.

What I'm concerned about now is the Arcbound Sliths at the two spot. You can see it languishing there on the lower right corner in the photo. Again, the power/toughness for the cost isn't doing  much for me, at a spot that already has one of the most notorious creatures in the game and flyers that can be critical to defense (or attack) until I get to the end game.The logical thing: add in something at the 1 or 3 spot.

Unfortunately, there are no modular creatures at those casting costs to add which means it's time to do some research. Ideally, the replacements will be artifacts. I can hear Fuz now, telling me to add in Steel Wall...

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