Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Mouths Are Hard To Feed

I finally got some games in last night with Hun-Gurr; enough that I can start making some conclusions!

Not many, though. One thing that last night reminded me is how challenging it is to get proper data about your Magic games. Unless I'm doing this for a living, playing every day, it's nearly impossible to actually accumulate enough information to make a legitimate conclusion about the tiny choices that can make or break a deck.

It's easy to notice when a single card just vomits all over you, because it will do that repeatedly and consistently. But when you've replaced that card and 'improved' the deck...how much have you improved it by?

I'm getting a little distracted. Here's the problem: I played 3 matches last night; one against a legacy Merfolk deck, one against a Stasis deck and one against a Pod deck, which is pictured.

Against the Merfolk deck, I felt like I was doing OK but I couldn't get enough nasty stuff online. I won the game where I had two Smothers but in the other games all of my low-CMC stuff, the things I want to play in the early game, deserted me and so did my removal. Is my deck at fault? Am I for not mulliganing more aggressively?

In the Stasis game, I had 8 removal cards that were totally useless to me. This happens in casual matchups and it's why so many of my decks have an 'unfocused' feel: you need to be ready for anything. I won the first game in this match because they didn't draw Stasis and I had flying Spirit tokens that effectively made Island Sanctuary useless. The second two games: Balance + Zuran Orb (and me allowing some sloppy play) skewered me. Is the deck bad or do I just need a sideboard? Or was I just outclassed by sheer power? Balance isn't legal in Legacy, the limit I set my decks to.

Against Pod, I flooded out in the first and third games. The second one, in the photo? I had a whole lot of fliers attacking for 2-9 a turn, as the game went on and a Repentance for the Grave Titan. But in game 3 I had no less than 13 lands out. Bad luck? Bad beats?

Which brings me back to 'how much have I improved the deck'? One of the pieces of advice given to many serious Legacy players is to pick a deck they love and play it and only it. I think it's probably best to pick two different decks, because the tides of Legacy are such that sometimes the deck you love is just a bad metagame decision. This advice isn't as useful in Standard because the format is either a) extremely volatile or b) dangerously stagnant.

But what is a good decision is to play a deck enough so information shows up to make some proper conclusions about it. This process also helps to better inform game decisions so I know what to do in situations that might be otherwise daunting. Mana flood happens; two games is not a metric to make a proper decision about the mana on, especially when the other games haven't had that issue. But 10? That would tell me a lot.

It's been a slow week of games though. I'll keep this one in rotation but I think it's time to move on.

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