Archive for October, 2013


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“I play collectible card games, like Magic or YuGioh or Pokemon.” This is the statement I usually have to admit when I start that awkward conversation with people not in the life. At this point, their puzzled looks typically grow in confusion… except the time I explained my hobby to my fraternity members. “Oh Magic,” they said, “I’ve played that before.” To be fair, my fraternity was Gamma Iota Sigma, the insurance and risk management frat. Had they been the Alpha Betas this would be a different story.

So how did they know about Magic? Well, under the umbrella of insurance there is a degree called actuarial science. These are the guys and gals that figure out the probability of damages happening in an insurance case, the probability of certain dollar amounts of damages, and how the company should price premiums for the insured. Needless to say, they folks are kind of smart and love their probs.

In a world of imperfect information, probability analysis is the best we have to make educated guesses. Evaluating a board state or predicting what cards your opponent might have in hand aren’t much different than figuring out the likelihood that a 16-year-old boy might crash his parents’ car. Actuaries play trading card games because the hobby rewards people with these skills. Lucky for us common folk, you don’t have to be a master of statistics to win at cards; however, it helps to know some tricks to improve your deck building and play skill.

Hypergeometric Distribution

This is, by and far, the most important function you can use as a card player when running stats on your deck. You can read about this theory in detail here. But let’s say you’re like me: it would take reading the opening paragraph of that article five times before you (maybe) gained a clue about what was going on. In that case, here are three quick and dirty points you need to know about Hypergeometric Distribution:

  • It measures successes over a finite number of draws from a finite pool of resources , where the pool of resources is not replenished after each draw.
  • The outcome of each draw can only be categorized as success or failure.
  • The probability of success is different for each draw.

Why Do We Need This?

If you want to figure out if Bottle of Wishes is the first shield in the row, you don’t need all this fancy math crap. You can just do three divided by forty—full playset of Bottles, divided by total cards in the deck (in this case the minimum) —and you would discover the odds are 7.5%. But that only measures the first shield. What if you want to know the odds of Bottle of Wishes being any of the five shields? This is where we need hypergeometric distribution.

Math is Hard

Computers do math well, so let them do the work. You could go back to the Wikipedia article and try your hand at the formulas there, or you can open a blank document in MS Excel and use the function HYPGEODIST (or HYPGEO.DIST in earlier versions of MS Excel). The function requires the following information (translated into card language):

  • Sample_s = how many successes you want (how many copies of a particular card you want to see)
  • Number_s = how many successes exist in the total population (how many copies of the card exist in your deck)
  • Population_s = how many draws from the population (how many cards you will draw from your deck to hit the particular card)
  • Number_pop = total population (total size of your deck)
  • Cumulative = TRUE (if the function ask for this you want cumulative calculations)

So if you run three copies of Bottle of Wishes in a forty-card deck, punch the following into the function:

  • Sample_s = 0
  • Number_s = 3
  • Population_s = 5
  • Number_pop = 40

Why use these numbers? Well, 3 is how many copies are in the deck and 5 is how many shield blasts you put out at the beginning of the game. You pull the shields from your starting deck without any other cards removed, so use your total deck size as the Number_pop (40 if you play the minimum). But 0? Yes, this doesn’t tell you want you want. It gives you the probability of not having this card in your shields; however, if you take this result and subtract it from one, then you will have the probability of at least one copy of Bottle of Wishes in your shields. In the above example, the odds of Bottle of Wishes as a shield is 33.76%.

Remember that Sample_s is how many copies you are solving for. If you put in 1, then the function will produce the odds of having exactly one copy of the card. This isn’t really helpful. Sure knowing the chance of one Bottle of Wishes is great, but having more than one is definitely a success as well. When you solve for 0 the function produces the chance of no copies; therefore, the other value that will make up 100% is the chance of having at least one copy ( % of zero copies + % of any amount of copies = 100%).

Note that this holds true for any shield blast you run three copies of in a forty card deck. So there is a 33.76% chance of Terror Pit, Stormspark Blast, etc. if you run full playsets in a deck where the deck total is at the bare minimum (testing per card in these examples are independent from other cards or factors). For exact results of one copy, two copies, or three copies of a blast in your shields, just change the Sample_s to the desired result.

Do You Accept the Challenge?

You can use this function for a seemingly infinite number of card game applications. For example, on your turn one going second, the odds of a shield-blasted Bottle of Wishes hitting the second Bottle of Wishes which will hit the third Bottle of Wishes in a forty-card deck is 0.013369%. Did you know how I got that answer?[1] Try some of the following problems and post your results in the comments below.

  • What are the odds of having at least two shield blasts in a forty-card deck when you run 18 spells with Shield Blast?
  • If you go second, what are the chances of hitting Andromeda on a turn five hard-casted Bottle of Wishes?
  • In a deck that runs 12 Light Cards, what are the odds that you will draw Keeper of Laws by turn four and have Light unlocked to play it?

As people comment, I will confirm if anyone posts the correct answers and jump in to help where I can.


[1] This requires the rule of the Probability of A and B, assuming A and B are independent events. For quick reference, when you want to know the chance of two independent events happening together (example: rolling a result of 3 on a die and flipping tails on a coin), you take the product of probability of each individual event; therefore, in the example the answer would equal the probability of rolling 3 multiplied by the probability of flipping tails.

Light, Offensive and Defensive

Scrolls of Strategy

Scrolls of Strategy

Whats up Kaijudo fans this is Nathan Bond AKA Ramboscoob333 and today I want to talk to you about the Light Civilization.  Light has been progressively seeing more play since Dragonstrike Infernus came out.  Prior to Dragonstrike it was considered one of the weakest civilizations.  Now, Light could just possibly be the strongest civilization in the game.  Cards like Andromeda of the Citadel and Lyra the Blazing Sun allow you to recover from a losing position easily.  Now we have the Monarch as well that gives you even more reason to play light.  So this begs the question what is the best offense and defense to play against light now that it is getting so strong.

Light has been given a strong ability in having creatures that cannot be the target of spells or abilities in the form of Eternal Haven and Keeper of Laws.  These creatures allow decks like the LWD Control decks to build a field and then go in for game with no fear of not being able to win instantly because these creatures can’t be targeted.  So how do you set up a defense against this.  Well there is a small list of cards that most people don’t use that is very helpful against these cards.  Both Ensnare and Devouring Smog are helpful in shields because they can actually get rid of either of these two cards.  Both of these spells force your opponent to chose an untapped creature to get rid of, allowing you to bypass the standard rules that prevent you from targeting them.  Additionally a Stormspark Blast in shields is one of the best defenses that you can have.

Now on offense there are other ways to deal with these cards.  Ripper Reaper and Queen Kalima both give you ways of removing them on your turn.  There is also Shell Dome a creature that no one uses because it was a Root Trap that your opponent chose the target of but it was still a creature.  Now that these cards that cannot be targeted are getting more popular having cards that will still allow you to get rid of them are essential.  Kronax the Brutal is even more helpful now because you can turn any creature into a slayer and make it able to attack untapped creatures.  Eternal Haven also is week to Crimson Wyvern and due to nature of Eternal Haven putting more Blockers in play, casting a Crimson Wyvern will generally destroy more than just Eternal Haven.

So now that we know what can get rid of these strong cards, how do you deal with the benefits gained from cards like Lyra and Andromeda.  Well honestly one of the easiest ways is just play a deck that is to fast.  Rush and tempo decks can generally win before Andromeda sees play, and also be fast enough to not be bothered by the hold down of Lyra.  Though after Andromeda enters play many decks struggle to be able to push for game.  Heretic Prince Var-Rakka allows decks like Saber-Bolt to win against such cards since it can fast attack to break the shields as well as return to the hand for safety so that Andromeda does not revenge kill.

One of the biggest keys to playing well against Light in the current meta is speed, but Light is not only seen in control decks.  Mono light is one of the better rush decks at the moment. This deck is extremely aggressive and difficult for most to deal with.  So should you be stuck against mono light just remember all rush decks struggle when you continually remove the creatures from the field.

Well that is it Kaijudo fans.  Enjoy your future games against the Light Civilization and the continuing KMC season.  This is Nathan Bond Jacking out.

Peer into the Veil

Peer into the Veil

Hey guys, welcome back to another Peer into the Veil. Kaijudo is still a growing game, and for tons of players, KMC’s are their first chance to trade cards with a bunch of people. However, no one wants to get home and realize that card they traded away is worth way more than the cards they got so in this article i’ll give you some pointers on what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen and you always get right back what your cards are worth. That works the other way as well. If you’re more knowledgeable about card prices than the other person, don’t rip them off. Kaijudo is a small tightly knit community so let’s really help each other and always do fair trades.

Articles

Kaijudo 24/7 as well as a few other sites are always posting techs and decklists from KMC’s as well as articles about cards they think are strong. That doesn’t mean those cards are always worth a lot but it usually is a helpful indicator of what the players who are finding success are using. It tells you what cards are working and as a result what people are seeking. Also if you see something that you yourself want, it let’s you easier search through other player’s collections because you already know what you’re interested in. There’s nothing worse than scrambling at the last few minutes before a KMC starts and still not knowing what you even need.

Kaijudo Dojo Bazaar(Facebook)/Pojo Trading Section

Even if you’re not into online trading, you should still check out the trading section of various websites. Look for similarities in people’s wants. As important as it is to read articles for info, it’s even more important to get the real facts from some of the actual people you’ll be running into. General Finbarr is a perfect example. You might think to yourself, “Oh this is just a starter deck card, i’ll just trade this off for something small”, but General Finbarr is actually a powerful and sought after card despite his apparent ease to obtain. You may have cards you never even knew people were looking for. You can even organize your binder in such a way to spread out your good cards evenly to keep people interested in your trades. Also generally people offer trades that are more fair online because it’s easier for people to look up prices while they are on the computer. Scroll down a bit and see what players are offering one another. See what offers players accept and which they don’t.

Ebay/Store Websites

This is the biggest one. You know what cards are good and you know what people are looking for. Now you gotta see which of those sought after cards you have and get a concrete number on what it’s actually worth. When trading, the number one question you will be asked is, “What do you value that?”.  After you have some experience, you can probably do this on the fly and make educated guesses based on playability and rarity but even smartest traders (myself included) will want to have a definite answer because we can all make mistakes on values. Go drop by ebay and type in the name of the card. Look at the ones people are bidding on. Filter out the ones that are ending soonest to see what the bids have gone up to. To get the best information though, you must check out the completed listings. If the card sold, the price that it sold for will be highlighted in green. This is the most important information you can find because it tells you what people are actually paying for it. Remember learning mean, median, and mode in math class? This is where that comes in handy. Find repeating prices; find higher prices; if prices are kind of all over the place, grab a calculator and average a few of them out. Make sure you have a definite number for each of the cards that are important to you. Look up the cards you think you might be looking for and make sure you know what they’re worth as well so when your trade partner tells you a value, you don’t agree with, you’ll know you’re correct because you’ve got the facts to back it up. Check it card websites as well (like ours). Even if you’re not in the mood to purchase a card, you can check out what stores are selling their cards for. Some stores let you know how many of each card is in stock. Check out which ones are low or sold out. Now this doesn’t always tell you which cards are popular and which cards are not but it’s another useful place to obtain information. Sometimes people don’t like the work they have to do with ebay or the topsy turvy nature of some prices and just want a definite price to go by, so some people rather use websites and that’s totally fine.

Now i hope that this article has made you guys a little bit better at trading and these tools can be used for any card game you play. So next time, right before a KMC, go do your research and you will be well prepared to get out there and get the trades you really want. Thanks for reading guys, feel free to comment with any feedback or questions. See ya!

Deck Guru

Deck Guru

So I know in my last article I said I would talk about the decks that topped the ARG open and the first week of KMCs. I even typed up the entire article. However I felt that it has been covered in various articles I have seen throughout the web. So instead I am going to focus on one deck. That made the top cut.

John Fox’s Kalima Deck:

Darkness: 32
Queen Kalima x 3
Suffocate x 3
Gregorias Fortress x 2
Death Liger, Apex Predator x 2
Grudge Weaver x 3
Mesmerize x 3
Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow x 3
Terror Pit x 3
Bone Blades x 3
Ripper Reaper x 3
Maddening Whispers x 2
Mark of Kalima x 2

Light: 7
Andromeda of the Citadel x 2
Stormspark Blast x 3
Keeper of Laws x 2

Nature: 9
Sprout x 3
Mana Storm x 1
Root Trap x 2
Reap and Sow x 3

Darkness/Nature: 3
Necrose Nightmare Bloom x 3

Darkness/Light: 3
Spire Puppet x 3

Total 54

So as soon as I saw the deck make the top 4 I had to build it. I immediately built the deck card for card. I played a couple of solitaire matches and it did alright against my Dragon deck. Seemed like a solid enough deck for me to take to locals and test further. At locals however I went 2-2 and one of those wins was a bye. However I think John built a solid foundation that we can expand upon. Let’s see what John did right and what he did wrong.

What John did right:
The light section was a great inclusion. It is not the first time I’ve seen its inclusion nor will it be the last time, but I can confidently say that adding the light section seemed to curb the Kalima decks tendency to fall flat on its face to any type of aggression, because of Andromeda.

The discard was handy enough. Mesmerize can still be an early game monster. Crippling all the set up plays that the Tempo/Mid-Range need to hit. As well as taking out that pesky Keeper of Laws everyone is playing.

The Nature section seemed pretty solid and standard. Mana Storm proved to actually be pretty useful. Reap and Sow should have been giving the foil treatment, not sprout.

X 3 Suffocate is the way to go. Although not as solid against Naya Blitz/Starseed Smasher decks, it can decimate certain board states. Not to mention it destroys the various Blurple decks popping up.

What didn’t work for me:
Adversely the discard sucked as well. They’d slap down a Keeper of Laws and then there is basically no point. Spire Puppet was cool but did nothing worthwhile to keep you alive long enough to see the benefit of your grind game. Not to mention when you got to late game and you are stuck with a fistful of discard and your opponent is top decking their way to freedom you just get sad.

I am not sure how he got Apex Predator to work, but kudos to him for it. Card was garbage for me all day. Sure it has some cute tricks. But really it’s nothing worthwhile. I got the same feeling about Stormspark Blast. The card is amazing just not in this deck. You have plenty of “board wipe” effects and Stormspark doesn’t really save you a ton when rush/tempo is going in at your face.

Probably the biggest weakness I noticed was that the deck just felt like it packed less of a punch without Tritonus. You were literally Kalima or bust. Andromeda was more of a card that keeps you alive rather than finishes the game. Against any form of Haven, Andromeda gets smashed. You want to overwhelm your opponent by constantly banishing creatures, and you just don’t have enough Kalimas (nor hand presence) to win like that. There needs to be some back up, and Tritonus just lets you do that.

I missed water badly. Even it was just for Tritonus, but Kivu and Squillace Scourge allows for flexibility.

Thoughts:

Well first we need to take a look at what the core of a Kalima deck is. It’s Math and Probability. So let’s look at the math.

After play testing with the deck I never straight up whiffed, but you will suffer epic wins and heart breaking losses all through Kalimas/Marks effect.  John has 38/54 Darkness cards, so a little over 70% of the deck is Darkness targets for Kalima and Mark. However this isn’t even taking into account the possibility of shields being darkness cards and the cards you have drawn. In a perfect world you would hit 2/2 or 3/3 for Mark and Kalima respectively, but this world isn’t perfect. Still the odds are in his favor to hit at least 1/2 or 2/3 (usually).

Since this is more of a deck analysis than a deck fix I won’t go into detail about which cards to cut and which cards to add, because honestly. There are a lot of different directions you could go with Kalima. I’ll just list some cards I have really enjoyed testing with (as well as a small explanation about the card).

Skaak the Stinger:

Not going to lie. I underestimated these new Battle Mages. Skaak is awesome. He’s essentially a +2. Definitely a card that should be considered.

King Tritonus:

Even if it is a small Water section, and only 2 of him. You just need something. You burn out so quick with ramp. Tritonus is just a natural fit.

Squillace Scourge:

Dare I say staple in this deck? The card is nuts, it’s a dark for Kalima, AND you push peoples chest in for game. Super Sharktopus Sharknado™

Screeching Scaradorable:

Shout out to Rob Heber for thinking up this one. She fits right in. Hugely necessary for surviving the early game, not to mention its unblockable effect will come in handy. Calling it now.

Ghostbite/Grip of Despair/Toxic Fog/Devouring Smog/Death Smoke:

These are kind of interchangeable, what you are expecting to play meta wise is a key factor into deciding what to put in. Grip is generally all around good but T5 can hurt. Ghost Bite is like a pseudo Bone Blades so it can help and suck all in one. Toxic Fog is a bird and bug killer. I’ve even enjoyed Devouring Smog and Death Smoke. They all have their place and they might even be good if Keeper of Laws didn’t dominate kill spells.

Dark Scaradorable/Doomblast Scaradorable/Obsidian Death/Serperns the Spirit Shifter/Wild strider Ranmoth:

So there are a lot of options in this area. Kalima has zero mid-game. ZERO. These cards kind of solve that, sorta, Doomblast is probably the best of the bunch with Serpens in second. Dark Scaradorable being T6 actually makes him viable. That extra turn can mean the death of you. Obsidian Death hasn’t done crap for me and Ramnoth doesn’t exactly help your Darkness count, although he has had some decent results.

Abstract Ideas:

Notice the abundance of Chimeras? Maybe Hydra Medusa could be a thing? And perhaps some more discard pile recursion. Pathwork Surgeon? There is a lot of directions we could go with Kalima but I just wanted to throw the ideas out there and show that this deck has a lot of different directions you could take it. Experiment!

Next article we will look at a deck that was submitted to me. No surprises now, but keep sending in deck submissions!

For all deck submissions please send your complete list toTheCardAcademyTCG@gmail.com
Please Include:
– Your Deck list. (Please send a written deck list, not a screenshot.)
– Your name and city.
– Remember – please use full card names! No Abbreviations and miss-spellings please!
– A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you’re playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.
– Don’t forget! The cooler and more out of the box your deck is the more I’ll want to fix it, so don’t be afraid to get creative!(Hint: New cards/decks will get priority)

Innovation and the Tournament Setting

Scrolls of Strategy

Scrolls of Strategy

Hello Kaijudo fans this is Nathan Bond A.K.A Ramboscoob333 and I am here to talk to you about innovation today.  When it comes to strategy innovation is both a good and a bad thing.  If you want to be competitive in the tournament setting innovation can let you have an advantage against everyone else, but that makes you wonder how can this be bad because it is obvious why it would be good.  Well this article will not only explain to you why it is good and bad but also how to make it where it is always in your advantage.

Innovation is good for the game in general, it brings new decks to the fore front as well as new card combinations that others have not thought to use.  This keeps the game alive as well as keeping it in an ever changing state.  The one thing that people should want to avoid is a game where innovation is frowned upon, isn’t rewarded, or isn’t possible.  For the game to evolve and continue to expand this has to be possible.  So lets start with some benefits of innovation, how can it actually reward you.  The first true benefit is being successful.  If a person is innovative and makes the next big deck and no one knows about it they could go as far as to win the tournament that they take the deck to.  The next benefit is recognition, this is one thing that everyone enjoys.  Everyone likes to be given credit when they have done something really cool.  The last benefit is when the deck or tech cards are still unknown to the public is the element of surprise.

So these are some good benefits but how could this be bad.  The biggest problem with innovation is a person will make a new deck claim it to be the best thing in the world but not test it.  This is a ploy to get people to play the deck without testing it themselves.  Without testing a deck to make sure that it works as any person says it does is asking for trouble.  Also an abundance of this scares people off from trying new things.  So this offers the big question how do I be innovative and avoid this, and that brings me to the most important part of this topic.

HOW DO I MAKE INNOVATION ALWAYS WORK IN MY FAVOR?

The key to this is simple when you try something new test it against every good deck in the meta.  Don’t stop testing it until you are comfortable with the results.  Now that you have done that, start testing against decks that aren’t popular in the meta any more a good example deck would be Blurple, as many don’t play it at all, and some people haven’t even seen the deck at all since they started after it had it’s prime.  Now that you have tested the deck and know it works put it on trail at your local store to broaden your testing pool to make sure it works against different play styles along with different decks, and if it does you are now ready to show it to the world in the way that you see fit.  This can be through video on a major social media site to taking it to a Kaijudo Master Challenge and winning an invite with it.  Any form that feels comfortable to you as the innovator.

So now that we had discussed how to take advantage of innovation lets discuss when it is helpful and when it isn’t.  Obviously we all want to win an invite to attend the championship, but when is it a good idea to be innovative.  This comes down to your comfort as a player with being the one that would be playing the so called “rouge” deck.  Though it may not be that after the deck goes public prior to the tournament it would be considered so, a great example of this would be Greed Dragons.  Prior to its unveiling last tournament season a deck like that was never heard of, but then that style of deck took the meta by storm.  Secondly, is the deck you have designed consistent.  If the answer to this is no, then the deck is not ready to be used.  A deck could be able to make the most powerful plays ever but if it isn’t consistent then it doesn’t have the potential to win any major tournament.

I would like to leave you with a few cards to consider out of the new set when it comes to innovation, the first being Boran, the Reality Shaper.   This card gives you field more longevity than any card before ever has since it has the potential to replace any card that gets banished, this opens room for combos with cards like Ripper Reaper.  The next card I would like to bring to consideration is Finbar’s Dreadnaught as it as well is a defense for your field, but a word of warning the effect of this card is mandatory so it does not combo well with other cards.   The third and last card I would like people to consider is Deathliger the Justicar.  Deathliger combos extremely well with cards like Twilight Archon as well as many other cards that already exist.  That is all Kaijudo fans, this is Nathan Bond jacking out, peace out everyone.