1 thought on “Episode 106 – Ixalan Constructed First Look

  1. WanderingWinder

    I think Dr. Weitz’s math is a bit off on Rowdy Crew. Let’s start by assuming you start off empty-handed (I’ll discuss how this simplification affects things later). In this case, it’s easy to see that draw 3 discard 2 is not at all different than just randomly milling 2 cards from your deck. So what we have is just the probability that two random cards in deck share a type.

    There are 7 card types in Standard (Land, Creature, Instant, Sorcery, Artifact, Planeswalker, Enchantment; older formats have Tribal, but very few such cards see play, and this isn’t getting played in those formats, so let’s forget it). The lowest possible percentage from your remaining 59 cards in deck here comes when you have 9 cards of 3 of those types, and 8 cards from the other 4 types. The probability of getting a match at that point is (9*8)/(59*58)*3 + (8*7)/(59*58)*4. This comes out to 440/3422 or 12.9%, barely lower than the 1 in 7 which was at the bottom mentioned range. But this is an entirely unrealistic deck, of course.

    So let’s take some more realistic decks. Here’s a couple decks I pulled up just by going to the metagame breakdown from mtggoldfish, and going to the first deck from the top couple archetypes:

    Temur Energy: 22 Lands, 25 Creatures, 8 Instants, 4 Sorceries, 1 Artifact. Taking 1 creature out, you get a total of 1082/3422, or 31.6%
    Ramunap Red: 24 Lands, 24 Creatures, 7 Instants, 3 Sorceries, 0 Artifacts (technically 4, but they’re all artifact creatures, so that adds nothing), 2 Planeswalkers. Taking out 1 creature, you get to 1108/3342, or 32.4%
    Zombies (ok, I skipped vehicles, I’ll get to that in a minute): 25 Lands, 24 Creatures, 3 Instants, 4 Sorceries, 4 Enchantments. Taking out 1 creature, you get to 1136/3342, or 34%.

    So, those are real decks, not at all built trying to maximize this effect, and you’re getting around 1/3. Now a couple notes. First, multi-type cards will help out some. This is mostly artifact creatures matching with Vehicles/God-Pharaoh’s Gift/Gate to the Afterlife with Artifact creatures (Scrounger, Ballista), and other creatures. On the whole, though, that doesn’t have a particularly big effect – at most, it’s likely to barely be over 1%. And then, you need to worry about the initial assumption we made of empty hands. On one hand, you naturally are going to tend to play out at least 4 lands, and likely 1-4 spells before turn 4; this leads to a disproportionate number of cards getting played to be lands, which means your hand is probably going to be more non-land-heavy. On the other hand, you’re likely to play out other threats first, and if you have this in hand, you can play to try to maximize it to some extent. So I think on the whole, these things will probably be largely cancelling effects, and you’ll at least be in the ballpark of 30-33%, or roughly twice what Ben mentioned in his 1/6 or 1/7 comment.

    We can also look at Tristan’s 3 land into 4-lands-when-discarding scenario. Here on the 4 in 6, you have a 40% chance of discarding 2 lands, and if the other cards are of the same type, you have a 1 in 15 chance of discarding both of them, which brings your total to 47% (although you’d probably rather have 2 spells and a 3/3 than 2 lands and a 5/5…..). It’s worth noting that since most decks play over 1/3 land, this is actually a slightly below-average pull in terms of chance-to-be-a-5/5, though that obviously means it’s slightly above average in final card quality.

    Lastly, we can look at a few cases for if this card is trying to be maximized. In a 24 land 36 creature deck, this is a 5/5 51% of the time, at 22 land 38 creatures, it goes up to 52%, and at 20 land 40 creatures, it’s 54%. So that’s pretty marginal upgrades for how much you’re distorting your deck. I have to assume that 3/3 trample draw-3-discard-2 is not good enough for 4 mana (but would be played at 3 – compare to Rogue Refiner), while a 4 mana 5/5 trample draw-3-discard-2 would get played a lot at 4 mana, as would a 4/4. This on average will be a bit less than a 4/4 it seems, though likely the bigger problem is that it’s not consistent. So I don’t think it’s good enough for constructed, but it’s not *that* far off.

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