The great Achilles'. Man, this was yet another poor name choice. Should have been like Akelets. They are getting too old for this.

Anyways, Haktos the Unscarred. Kind of a mind-boggling ability, huh? Well, not to despair. I'm going to teach you how to not only easily choose the value at random, but also how to do it in a way that puts the odds in your favor.

The jist is simple: You flip three coins. Label each one heads, two heads, or three heads result a number. The one you want most label as the two heads result, and your best backup label as the one heads result. These are the two most probable results. The one you want least, label as the three heads result.

And there you will easily be able to choose this effect at random and will have the best odds in your best favor.

When you choose a number at random the possible outcomes are supposed to be equally likely. This is cheating.

EDIT: Not to mention the probability of getting one head is the same as the probability of getting one tail which is the same as the probability of getting two heads, so this isn't even clever.

Odds of exactly one Heads on three coin flips: 3/8, or 37.5%
Odds of exactly two Heads on three coin flips: 3/8, or 37.5%
Odds of three Heads on three coin flips: 1/8, or 12.5%

Odds you don't get one of the three outcomes you need for determining Haktos's protection: 1/8, or 12.5%
Odds this is cheating, because all outcomes do not have equal odds: 8/8, or 100%

Just roll a die, with a number of sides that is a multiple of three. For example, a d6. Assign one third of the die's faces to each of 2, 3, and 4. For example, 1-2 = 2, 3-4 = 3, 5-6 = 4. Roll the die. Done.

In almost any case you will roll a 6-sided die and simply 1-2 , 3-4 , 5-6 ; as many if not all will have one around.

Works also with a 20-sided die , 1-6, 7-12, 13-18 ; and you simply re-roll on 19-20, which is quick to do.

People will still try to cheat with dice rolls, especially with the 20-sided spindown ones (not rolling them entirely and such stuff).

It's generally best to avoid using spindown dice as er... dice. It has to do with clustering and weighting. It's hard to find a serious article that dives into the details because spindown dice aren't commonly used (AFAIK) outside of a limited number of games. There is this article that touches upon some of the points and issues but reads a bit like a promotional for the dice later in the, very short, article. https://www.geeknative.com/65027/whats-a-spindown-dice-and-are-standard-d20s-any-fairer/

For randomness I have a set of dedicated dice (25 years old and counting) or rock/paper/scissors cards. Seems to work well enough without complaints.

705.3. A coin used in a flip must be a two-sided object with easily distinguished sides and equal likelihood that either side lands face up. If the coin that’s being flipped doesn’t have an obvious “heads”or “tails,”designate one side to be “heads,”and the other side to be “tails.”Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitution. For example, the player may roll an even-sided die and call “odds”or “evens,”or roll an even-sided die and designate that “odds”means “heads”and “evens”means “tails.”

The entire point of something "random" is to make it not favored.

If you could just willy-nilly make something random heavy in favor of one or the other would make it not random at all (as you can simply choose make it astronomically unlikely, which is basically 0).

705.3. A coin used in a flip must be a two-sided object with easily distinguished sides and equal likelihood that either side lands face up. If the coin that’s being flipped doesn’t have an obvious “heads”or “tails,”designate one side to be “heads,”and the other side to be “tails.”Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitution. For example, the player may roll an even-sided die and call “odds”or “evens,”or roll an even-sided die and designate that “odds”means “heads”and “evens”means “tails.”

The entire point of something "random" is to make it not favored.

If you could just willy-nilly make something random heavy in favor of one or the other would make it not random at all (as you can simply choose make it astronomically unlikely, which is basically 0).

Nope, that wouldn't suffice. It's simply saying that a coin has to be two-sided. So long as coin is two-sided, using it in this manner would still be acceptable.

705.3. A coin used in a flip must be a two-sided object with easily distinguished sides and equal likelihood that either side lands face up. If the coin that’s being flipped doesn’t have an obvious “heads”or “tails,”designate one side to be “heads,”and the other side to be “tails.”Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitution. For example, the player may roll an even-sided die and call “odds”or “evens,”or roll an even-sided die and designate that “odds”means “heads”and “evens”means “tails.”

The entire point of something "random" is to make it not favored.

If you could just willy-nilly make something random heavy in favor of one or the other would make it not random at all (as you can simply choose make it astronomically unlikely, which is basically 0).

Nope, that wouldn't suffice. It's simply saying that a coin has to be two-sided. So long as coin is two-sided, using it in this manner would still be acceptable.

The important bit is:

Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitution

And one of the definitions in the dictionary for random is:

being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence

Since this is a game produced primarily in English, the English definition of words is what is used in a lot of cases when the CR doesn't define them as something different. Since the CR doesn't define "random" we use the English definition.

There are some serious mental gymnastics needed to propose a "solution" to being tasked with coming up with a random number, where that solution is the exact opposite of being random, and then suggesting it is not cheating. The point of randomness is for each outcome to be equal. It can't be "random" if you weigh the odds in a particular direction.

The rule above in the CR covers flipping a coin because that is generally what Magic cards care about. Haktos allows for any random method to be used as long as it is random and the rule above clarifying what random means for a coin flip extends to any random selection method.

In general though, there isn't a need to codify what random means in the CR when things just say "random", or any further clarification, because most people understand the English definition and realize that all outcomes must be equal.

Furthermore, as per rule 705.3 cited above any proposed method of creating a random result must be accepted by all players. If your opponent doesn't agree, then no matter what mental gymnastics you try, you are not allowed to use it.

705.3
...and all players agree to the substitution...

So, if I am understanding you correctly, you are using the age-old argument of "the rules don't say I *can't* do this, so it must be legal". Is that the gist of your last post?

And you haven't addressed this bit:

701.1. Most actions described in a card's rules text use the standard English definitions of the verbs within, but some specialized verbs are used whose meanings may not be clear. These "keywords" are game terms; sometimes reminder text summarizes their meanings.

Or, this:

608.2c. The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. However, replacement effects may modify these actions. In some cases, later text on the card may modify the meaning of earlier text (for example, "Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated" or "Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into its owner's graveyard.") Don't just apply effects step by step without thinking in these cases--read the whole text and apply the rules of English to the text.

These two rules cover the idea of "if the word is not defined in the CR, use the English definition". Since "Random" is not defined, we use the definition. Which I quoted above. How does your proposed method *not* run afoul of that definition?

So, if I am understanding you correctly, you are using the age-old argument of "the rules don't say I *can't* do this, so it must be legal". Is that the gist of your last post?

And you haven't addressed this bit:

701.1. Most actions described in a card's rules text use the standard English definitions of the verbs within, but some specialized verbs are used whose meanings may not be clear. These "keywords" are game terms; sometimes reminder text summarizes their meanings.

Or, this:

608.2c. The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. However, replacement effects may modify these actions. In some cases, later text on the card may modify the meaning of earlier text (for example, "Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated" or "Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into its owner's graveyard.") Don't just apply effects step by step without thinking in these cases--read the whole text and apply the rules of English to the text.

These two rules cover the idea of "if the word is not defined in the CR, use the English definition". Since "Random" is not defined, we use the definition. Which I quoted above. How does your proposed method *not* run afoul of that definition?

It is to say, that is exactly how the law works. It's called a loophole.

If the law doesn't define something, then the definition of boundaries can be too ambiguous to rule against it. That is certainly the case here.

20 doesn't even divide by three evenly. So you couldn't even use a 20 sided dice without doing the same thing. It would have to a six-sided dice.

// Additionally

Flip a coin effects are specific. Choosing at random effects are entirely different—even if the method used involves flipping a coin. It's a loophole.

You're telling me as a Rules Guru, even though this isn't explicitly defined, you would apply your own homebrew rules interpretation to hotfix the game. That's unlawful. You would be oppressing the player from their fair right to decide or proceed by means that aren't explicitly prohibited.

You're telling me as a Rules Guru, even though this isn't explicitly defined, you would apply your own homebrew rules interpretation to hotfix the game. That's unlawful. You would be oppressing the player from their fair right to decide or proceed by means that aren't explicitly prohibited.

I am not going to bother responding to the rest of your comment since my previous comment already answered them. But I will comment on this.

I gave explicit rules quotations that back up my answer about used the English definition of "Random". You obviously don't agree but I can see that you aren't going to agree which means further effort on this is futile.

I don't appreciate being attacked because my answer differs from yours. I have given a number of credible sources from the CR that backs up mine (and others) assertion that what you are proposing is cheating. But, to claim that any of us have come to the conclusion we have is based entirely on our own feeling on the matter is ridiculous. We have English definitions on our side (which, as I have pointed out, are the definitions to use) and we have a similar rule defining randomness in coin flips that common sense allows us to extrapolate to this. And, again, even ignoring that rule, we still fall squarely on "English definition is what to use" rules I mentioned above.

There is no judge that would see this and not recognize it as cheating. You can argue all you want here about it, but in a tournament, you will have a bad time. And your argument of "random isn't defined in the CR" won't fly.

Would certainly be useful if the CR would properly define "random" in a sentence, just for the sake of it (as people use all kinds of methods that might or might not be actual fair and random at all, like cards with numbers, odds/even for a random cards set number/manacost and what not).

If you really think the CR is missing something or should be clarified you can contact, the MTG Rules Manager on his Twitter:

Eli Shiffrin
@EliShffrn
Magic Rules Manager

If you can convince him, you win your argument, otherwise you dont.

I don't appreciate being attacked because my answer differs from yours.

There is no judge that would see this and not recognize it as cheating. You can argue all you want here about it, but in a tournament, you will have a bad time. And your argument of "random isn't defined in the CR" won't fly.

No one is attacking you. Nothing I said was spoken in the spirit of Ad Hominem (simply intended to insult or offend). It was spoken reason, which explains the concept at hand, and then logically refutes why it is not right (or in this case–unjust or unlawful).

You are trying to rightfully play the victim, and I don't appreciate being made out to be a victimizer. This is a false light that is extremely defamatory.

A Judge has to be unbiased. You don't have the right to circumvent the CR based on your personal feelings. Doing so is a self-righteous act. It means you're turning your back on the law for your convenience, your leisure, or your personal benefit. An honorable Judge can never do something like that. You're putting yourself over another. You're putting yourself over what is written law. Destroying the equality that is the rule of law and the order that comes from it.

Furthermore, it's not cheating. Specially because there is still a large range of uncontrollable probability between the majority of the selection. The two heads and two tails results have equal odds. You have one favorable value, but you can't control its outcome. It's still (by even the vaguest definition) a random result.

Just the factor of probability playing the deciding role, makes a method (or its result) random. The result cannot be controlled. The result is subjective. The result is erratic. That is random. That is how random should be defined in the CR. That is how Judges should deem randomized selections.

Would certainly be useful if the CR would properly define "random" in a sentence, just for the sake of it (as people use all kinds of methods that might or might not be actual fair and random at all, like cards with numbers, odds/even for a random cards set number/manacost and what not).

To be fair the CR is very explicit about randomness where two options are being chosen from, and they probably thought players would be able to extrapolate from that.

I've tweeted @EliShffrn so maybe we'll have an official ruling on whether an unequal split counts as sufficiently random sometime soon.

Eli said three options with equal probability like a d6 with one number for two sides is the way to do it. Don't bother him about it.

I'm not a big fan of links so here is the full text. I'm on my phone so I'm not sure if the formatting is satisfactory.

roll with disadvantage
@LobsterRageFist
@EliShffrn
Random for Haktos the Unscarred means three options with equal probability, right? so for example defining two sides of a d6 for each protection value?
3:43 PM · Jan 25, 2020·Twitter Web App

Eli Shiffrin
@EliShffrn
·
2h
Replying to
@LobsterRageFist
Right, that's the most sensible way to do it.

The magic rules manager telling you three options with equal probability (like 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 on a d6) is the way to do it, doesn't count as a ruling.
Okay. Have fun being banned from LGSs. Peace.

It's not to say that. It's to say that you shouldn't be able to prohibit a person from using an ulterior method so long as probability is playing a major role.

You can't honestly say it's not random. They can try to put the odds in their favor—but still fail.

You keep choosing to ignore the crucial facet of equal probability. Your three coin flips don't result in a random result of equal probability, no matter how you choose to slice your argument.

Your "solution" results in a probility of 75% in your favor and 12.5% probability for your least desired number.

In short, this entire thread is nothing more than you trying to justify a blatant method to cheat. No better than someone mana weaving their deck.

You missed an important point I made which expresses the fact that even probability isn't securable for every number.

You are going to come to a dead end somewhere. Where by your logic, there won't even be a method to use to make the random selection.

Therefore, equal probability should not be enforced. So long as probability is playing a major factor, it should count as fair.

// Additionally

There's likely only one number that you really want/need in the game scenario. So this method doesn't give you 75% success—it's the other way around. There are two unfavorable outcomes and one favorable outcome. The best backup, is still the backup for a reason. It has little to no utility in comparison. It's vulnerable in comparison.

I'm not trying to cheat anybody.

I'm just trying to prevent players from under-thinking, and locking themselves out of the functionality somewhere down the road.

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Anyways, Haktos the Unscarred. Kind of a mind-boggling ability, huh? Well, not to despair. I'm going to teach you how to not only easily choose the value at random, but also how to do it in a way that puts the odds in your favor.

The jist is simple: You flip three coins. Label each one heads, two heads, or three heads result a number. The one you want most label as the two heads result, and your best backup label as the one heads result. These are the two most probable results. The one you want least, label as the three heads result.

And there you will easily be able to choose this effect at random and will have the best odds in your best favor.

EDIT: Not to mention the probability of getting one head is the same as the probability of getting one tail which is the same as the probability of getting two heads, so this isn't even clever.

Odds of exactly two Heads on three coin flips: 3/8, or 37.5%

Odds of three Heads on three coin flips: 1/8, or 12.5%

Odds you don't get one of the three outcomes you need for determining Haktos's protection: 1/8, or 12.5%

Odds this is cheating, because all outcomes do not have equal odds: 8/8, or 100%

Just roll a die, with a number of sides that is a multiple of three. For example, a d6. Assign one third of the die's faces to each of 2, 3, and 4. For example, 1-2 = 2, 3-4 = 3, 5-6 = 4. Roll the die. Done.

Two Score, Minus Two or: A Stargate Tail

(Image by totallynotabrony)I understand that the probability is simply inversed for the two heads, two tails result—that's why I said split it between your best two options.

with equal probability for each outcome.Two Score, Minus Two or: A Stargate Tail

(Image by totallynotabrony)Works also with a 20-sided die , 1-6, 7-12, 13-18 ; and you simply re-roll on 19-20, which is quick to do.

People will still try to cheat with dice rolls, especially with the 20-sided spindown ones (not rolling them entirely and such stuff).

It's generally best to avoid using spindown dice as er... dice. It has to do with clustering and weighting. It's hard to find a serious article that dives into the details because spindown dice aren't commonly used (AFAIK) outside of a limited number of games. There is this article that touches upon some of the points and issues but reads a bit like a promotional for the dice later in the, very short, article. https://www.geeknative.com/65027/whats-a-spindown-dice-and-are-standard-d20s-any-fairer/

For randomness I have a set of dedicated dice (25 years old and counting) or rock/paper/scissors cards. Seems to work well enough without complaints.

Is this a comprehensive ruling I am unaware of? Can you show me?

The entire point of something "random" is to make it not favored.

If you could just willy-nilly make something random heavy in favor of one or the other would make it not random at all (as you can simply choose make it astronomically unlikely, which is basically 0).

Nope, that wouldn't suffice. It's simply saying that a coin has to be two-sided. So long as coin is two-sided, using it in this manner would still be acceptable.

The important bit is:

Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitutionAnd one of the definitions in the dictionary for random is:

being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrenceSince this is a game produced primarily in English, the English definition of words is what is used in a lot of cases when the CR doesn't define them as something different. Since the CR doesn't define "random" we use the English definition.

There are some serious mental gymnastics needed to propose a "solution" to being tasked with coming up with a random number, where that solution is the exact opposite of being random, and then suggesting it is not cheating. The point of randomness is for each outcome to be equal. It can't be "random" if you weigh the odds in a particular direction.

The rule above in the CR covers flipping a coin because that is generally what Magic cards care about. Haktos allows for any random method to be used as long as it is random and the rule above clarifying what random means for a coin flip extends to any random selection method.

In general though, there isn't a need to codify what random means in the CR when things just say "random", or any further clarification, because most people understand the English definition and realize that all outcomes must be equal.

Former Rules Advisor

"Everything's better with pirates." - Lodge

(The Gamers: Dorkness Rising)"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science."

(Girl Genius - Fairy Tale Theater Break - Cinderella, end of volume 8)Bottle of Suleiman // Mana Clash // Desperate Gambit

And substitutions for these effects particularly.

This ruling doesn't have any domain over other randomized selections.

Control of the Court // Scrambleverse // Wild Swing

Or methods used for choosing them.

And you haven't addressed this bit:

Most actions described in a card's rules text use the standard English definitions of the verbs within, but some specialized verbs are used whose meanings may not be clear. These "keywords" are game terms; sometimes reminder text summarizes their meanings.Or, this:

apply the rules of English to the text.These two rules cover the idea of "if the word is not defined in the CR, use the English definition". Since "Random" is not defined, we use the definition. Which I quoted above. How does your proposed method *not* run afoul of that definition?

It is to say, that is exactly how the law works. It's called a loophole.

If the law doesn't define something, then the definition of boundaries can be too ambiguous to rule against it. That is certainly the case here.

20 doesn't even divide by three evenly. So you couldn't even use a 20 sided dice without doing the same thing. It would have to a six-sided dice.

// Additionally

Flip a coin effects are specific. Choosing at random effects are entirely different—even if the method used involves flipping a coin. It's a loophole.

You're telling me as a Rules Guru, even though this isn't explicitly defined, you would apply your own homebrew rules interpretation to hotfix the game. That's unlawful. You would be oppressing the player from their fair right to decide or proceed by means that aren't explicitly prohibited.

I gave explicit rules quotations that back up my answer about used the English definition of "Random". You obviously don't agree but I can see that you aren't going to agree which means further effort on this is futile.

I don't appreciate being attacked because my answer differs from yours. I have given a number of credible sources from the CR that backs up mine (and others) assertion that what you are proposing is cheating. But, to claim that any of us have come to the conclusion we have is based entirely on our own feeling on the matter is ridiculous. We have English definitions on our side (which, as I have pointed out, are the definitions to use) and we have a similar rule defining randomness in coin flips that common sense allows us to extrapolate to this. And, again, even ignoring that rule, we still fall squarely on "English definition is what to use" rules I mentioned above.

There is no judge that would see this and not recognize it as cheating. You can argue all you want here about it, but in a tournament, you will have a bad time. And your argument of "random isn't defined in the CR" won't fly.

If you really think the CR is missing something or should be clarified you can contact, the MTG Rules Manager on his Twitter:

Eli Shiffrin

@EliShffrn

Magic Rules Manager

If you can convince him, you win your argument, otherwise you dont.

No one is attacking you. Nothing I said was spoken in the spirit of Ad Hominem (simply intended to insult or offend). It was spoken reason, which explains the concept at hand, and then logically refutes why it is not right (or in this case–unjust or unlawful).

You are trying to rightfully play the victim, and I don't appreciate being made out to be a victimizer. This is a false light that is extremely defamatory.

A Judge has to be unbiased. You don't have the right to circumvent the CR based on your personal feelings. Doing so is a self-righteous act. It means you're turning your back on the law for your convenience, your leisure, or your personal benefit. An honorable Judge can never do something like that. You're putting yourself over another. You're putting yourself over what is written law. Destroying the equality that is the rule of law and the order that comes from it.

Furthermore, it's not cheating. Specially because there is still a large range of uncontrollable probability between the majority of the selection. The two heads and two tails results have equal odds. You have one favorable value, but you can't control its outcome. It's still (by even the vaguest definition) a random result.

Just the factor of probability playing the deciding role, makes a method (or its result) random. The result cannot be controlled. The result is subjective. The result is erratic. That is random. That is how random should be defined in the CR. That is how Judges should deem randomized selections.

I've tweeted @EliShffrn so maybe we'll have an official ruling on whether an unequal split counts as sufficiently random sometime soon.

Eli said three options with equal probability like a d6 with one number for two sides is the way to do it. Don't bother him about it.

“Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are.”Esmeralda SantiagoVideo of the month

Art is life itself.

Sorry it looks like garbage.

Just lol if they try to say that a method using probability isn't random.

There's no way to secure such proportions with certain odd numbers. You'd always come to a dead end somewhere.

So long as a method uses probability—it should count as random.

Okay. Have fun being banned from LGSs. Peace.

“Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are.”Esmeralda SantiagoVideo of the month

Art is life itself.

You can't honestly say it's not random. They can try to put the odds in their favor—but still fail.

That's not random? Sure will feel random to fail.

Your "solution" results in a probility of

75%in your favor and 12.5% probability for your least desired number.In short, this entire thread is nothing more than you trying to justify a blatant method to cheat. No better than someone mana weaving their deck.

You are going to come to a dead end somewhere. Where by your logic, there won't even be a method to use to make the random selection.

Therefore, equal probability should not be enforced. So long as probability is playing a major factor, it should count as fair.

// Additionally

There's likely only one number that you really want/need in the game scenario. So this method doesn't give you 75% success—it's the other way around. There are two unfavorable outcomes and one favorable outcome. The best backup, is still the backup for a reason. It has little to no utility in comparison. It's vulnerable in comparison.

I'm not trying to cheat anybody.

I'm just trying to prevent players from under-thinking, and locking themselves out of the functionality somewhere down the road.