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Magic Market Index for April 20th, 2018
 
Pauper Review: Dominaria
 
The Limited Archetypes of Dominaria
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    So tested a bunch last night and tonight against Gx Tron, KCI, Jund, Hollow One, Amulet Titan, and RG Eldrazi. Damping Sphere is absolutely awesome. I'm currently running one main, one in the side. It's best against Gx Tron, of course. We only played two games there, both preboard. Naturally drew Sphere, won easily, second game Whir'd for Sphere the turn before my friend could cast Karn (his turn four). Was also great against KCI, but they do have Engineered Explosives to deal with it. However, a Needle on Explosives and a Sphere probably just means we win preboard. Jund was tough, but that's how it goes, and he drew *really* well. Amulet Titan was fine, Sphere is great here again. I did drop a game though, but it happens. RG Eldrazi is also fine, but lost to it. Was very close, and I think I could have played tighter (just haven't ever played against it and was unfamiliar with what to name with Needle, etc.).

    I'm currently in the process of revising my list, but I'm going to be away for about a week or so. Will hopefully have more testing results when I get back.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from Aazadan »
    Quote from thnkr »

    Scoring There is a "loose" way to score cards against eachother, which I already linked to having done. It isn't perfect, because it ignores variables.


    How are you scoring relevance? It looks completely arbitrary with your measurement of how likely you are to use one card against another (Duress vs Lightning Bolt for example), or scoring Pithing Needle vs Gavony Township a 3 but Beast Within vs Township a 1.


    I think I explain it in the video, but what I eventually did to try to account for possible bias in scoring is count how many of one card could neutralize the other. I originally just tried to guestimate it, but later revised my method to try to remove possible bias. You'll see in the video that I began to account for how many copies of a particular card a deck runs, plus what percentage of decks run that average number of cards. I multiply that product by one, which gives the "ER" score (that you see at this point in the video). However, cards like Pithing Needle and Ensnaring Bridge were able to neutralize *all* copies of particular cards, so I added an additional multiplier to account for this. That's why something like Beast Within doesn't score as high as something like Ensnaring Bridge. Beast Within counts (barely) as a one-for-one, whereas Ensnaring Bridge counts...much higher. The end result of this work speaks for itself.

    Again, I explain all of this in the video.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from genini2 »
    While how interactive a deck is in a game depends on the opponent and even the specific draws we can still discuss how interactive a deck is attempting to be in general. That is if a deck has 4 Path 4 Push 4 Murder etc with 1 win con we can say that deck is interactive. The goal is to stop the opponents creatures, land the win con and then win. If the opponent is playing lantern control the first deck hasn't become non-interactive in general, but in that matchup it can no longer interact. Which is a specific goal of Lantern Control, to run no creatures so that removal becomes dead.


    I agree with the first part, although I would disagree that that's why most Lantern decks don't run many creatures, at least in the main. The overall goal there is to control the opp's draws so that we've reduced their relevant interaction, and creatures don't reliably assist in doing that when most decks run some form of creature control. The other cards in Lantern (Bridge, Needle, discard spells, etc.) are much more reliable than nearly any creature in helping accomplish this goal. That the opponent's creature removal is dead just happens to be a secondary effect, not a primary plan.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    Here lately I've started running one Leonin Abunas to supplement Padeem, Consul of Innovation. I like being able to have both out at the same time, rather than drawing the 2nd one and having to either kill my first to empty my hand or wait for the first to get answered (in which case we may just die).
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Okdoke, so was at work for the past 36+ hours, just got home, but have some input for the conversation:

    @tronix
    so you only count cards as interactive that have a direct impact on minimizing decisions. you brought up deck construction as a point of interacting therefore i just followed that line of reasoning. if i build my deck to be full of redundant 1 for 1 trades (decision limiters) then card selection and draw to accumulate more of those influences the decks total ability to interact by your definition. its the same concept as including more copies of a card like blood moon so you have a higher chance for it to be a factor in a game. since you are a lantern player whir is another example. as a card by itself it does nothing, but because of the other components of the deck you can use it to limit decisions. it just happens to have a 100 percent success rate whereas card draw and selection is lower.

    also does your definition of interaction means how interactive a deck is variable depending on the matchup? you used the hexproof creatures example as a form of interaction, but that is contingent on the opponent caring about removing creatures. therefore bogles has basically zero interaction against storm. or is it that a card has some potential value? even if the card in application versus a matchup or metagame may not serve the intended purpose.

    note that im not heckling you or anything. im just trying to draw out your reasoning because i dont agree with how you define interactivity. as i understand it right now it is too broad and contains a certain amount of circularity, but im one to keep an open mind.


    I think it basic reasoning should allow us to see that how interactive a deck is highly depends on the opponent's deck. For example, consider these three hypothetical decks:





    You'll see that there is a rock-paper-scissors effect of interaction between the three. They all three have some objective static level of interaction, but the kinetic interaction, in an actual game, is entirely dependent on the matchup.

    Thus, any attempt to measure how interactive a deck is in a vacuum is obviously a futile attempt, because an opponent is a prerequisite for the game to happen at all.

    Scoring There is a "loose" way to score cards against eachother, which I already linked to having done. It isn't perfect, because it ignores variables.

    So, I've already come to accept that most will not read this, but for the inclined, here are my observations:

    We are building virtual machines. That's what these decks are. It's like programming, with variance built into the computer.

    Each variable on a card is a variable to be considered.
    - Power
    - Toughness
    - Type
    - Subtype
    - Casting cost
    - Color affiliation(s)
    - How many cards that specific card draws
    - Kicker cost
    - Crew requirement

    ....and a ton more variables. Every single mechanic and variable in the game, every card has a score for. In most cases, that score is a zero (most cards don't have a kicker cost, give Energy, etc.), but it's still a score. And each value from each card has some effect on the decision tree in which the card is included into.

    Those decision trees are best designed to have three characteristics to be successful:

    "Prune" or "wither" branches on an opponent's decision tree
    Protect the safety and health of branches on its' own decision tree
    Perform the two above tasks despite the variance built into the game

    Now, thanks to the large card pool in Modern, there are quite a few ways to build different machines that meet this criteria. In every case, it means denying an opponent a resource of some sort, a resource necessary for a decision tree to exist. Those resources that are limited are defined by the variables of the cards in the opponent's deck.

    Now, the biggest hurdle that I see when people look at this is that we, as a species, are very attached to measuring things as we see them. This means that we have to be able to see them. We cannot physically see the decision trees, yet they exist. Thus, people have a difficult time understanding why something like Ensnaring Bridge, Leyline of Sancity, and Chalice of the Void are interactive. Strictly speaking, they are extremely interactive with a typical opponent's decision tree.

    Additionally, time is a resource. Turns, themselves, are resources. Again, we cannot physically see a "turn", only the passing of it. But if we deny the opponent the prerequisite turns for their decision tree to grow in order to reach it's programmed end nodes (winning condition), then that is a resource that is denied. That is why, when an opponent beats us on turn three, two, one, whatever, before we can interact, they have still interacted. We just don't physically see the resource that has been denied us. Their decision tree was built to take maximum advantage of that resource, at some cost.

    But many of us have this emotional hang-up, in which, when we are denied access to branches on our decision trees that we would normally have during a game (or that we feel we should be allowed to have during a game), we assume that the opponent isn't being interactive because we can't interact. That was why I posted the analogy with the fighters in the ring to begin with: To demonstrate the absurdity of that line of thinking.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from tronix »
    Quote from thnkr »
    Quote from tronix »
    Quote from thnkr »

    EDIT: @tronix I think that's a misconstrued version of what I'm saying. I'm not saying any quality that makes a card or deck "good" is a form of interaction. I think it would be more precise to say that what reduces the amount of interaction that a potential opponent might have is what makes it "good".


    do you have an example of one but not the other?


    Ya. You might notice the order in which I talk about the three main concepts on which a competitive deck is built upon. I always list "minimize the amount/significance of the opponent's interaction" before "maximize it's own amount/significance of interaction with the gamestate". The mini comes before the max.

    An example would be something that draws lots of cards. Sure, drawing cards is very useful. It's strictly increasing the number of options available, maximizing possible decisions. However, minimizing the opponent's options is consistently more impactful when it comes to controlling the game.


    couldnt it be said that having more cards improves your ability to minimize your opponnents decisions?

    the same goes for other strategic enablers like card selection or ramp spells. they are a part of deck construction used to strengthen your strategy, and are thus instrumental in your ability to impact the decision trees.

    why is the level of impact considered when both effects have the same objective. cutting off one branch should be interaction the same way cutting off ten is.


    For your first question, yes, but only under specific circumstances. First, the opponent's decisions must already be minimized to the point where spending a resource (time) to cast that card and draw more cards won't allow them an opportunity to have a counterplay that just wins. Second, the success of that card that lets us draw more cards is very dependent on whether we do draw cards that continue to allow us to control the game, to continue to minimize the opponent's branches.

    If you read the rest of my post that you quoted...

    An extreme example of this, to point out how much of a difference this makes, is if we have two decks. One can draw tons of cards.. Tons of options. The other deck, however, doesn't draw extra cards, but instead makes it so the opponent cannot make any relevant choices with the cards drawn. Thus, even if the opponent draws any single card in their deck, if there is no coherent branch from having that card in the hand that leads to a winning node on the decision tree, then it just doesn't matter.

    The quality of a card is primarily defined by how much it prunes branches off of the opponent's decision tree. Second to that is maximizing it's own branches (and the "health" of those branches), and third to that is whether it helps do the first two things consistently.


    ...you'll see that I already explained this. Having cards that maximize our options by pure card draw in no way minimize the opponent's actions. How does Thirst for Knowledge answer anything on it's own? There must be some other number of cards in that same deck to make Thirst for Knowledge worth it. It'd be like increasing a country's military budget, but then never spending that money on improving the military's power.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from tronix »
    Quote from thnkr »

    EDIT: @tronix I think that's a misconstrued version of what I'm saying. I'm not saying any quality that makes a card or deck "good" is a form of interaction. I think it would be more precise to say that what reduces the amount of interaction that a potential opponent might have is what makes it "good".


    do you have an example of one but not the other?


    Ya. You might notice the order in which I talk about the three main concepts on which a competitive deck is built upon. I always list "minimize the amount/significance of the opponent's interaction" before "maximize it's own amount/significance of interaction with the gamestate". The mini comes before the max.

    An example would be something that draws lots of cards. Sure, drawing cards is very useful. It's strictly increasing the number of options available, maximizing possible decisions. However, minimizing the opponent's options is consistently more impactful when it comes to controlling the game.

    An extreme example of this, to point out how much of a difference this makes, is if we have two decks. One can draw tons of cards.. Tons of options. The other deck, however, doesn't draw extra cards, but instead makes it so the opponent cannot make any relevant choices with the cards drawn. Thus, even if the opponent draws any single card in their deck, if there is no coherent branch from having that card in the hand that leads to a winning node on the decision tree, then it just doesn't matter.

    The quality of a card is primarily defined by how much it prunes branches off of the opponent's decision tree. Second to that is maximizing it's own branches (and the "health" of those branches), and third to that is whether it helps do the first two things consistently.

    EDIT: I do think that it's probably important to point out - The imaginary decision trees that exist during the game are part of the gamestate, whether we can physically perceive them or not.

    EDIT 2: And by "during the game", I'm including the deck design/choice phase of the game.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Ah, that sounds much easier (smaller cardpool, so less processing power to analyze all possible cards). Remember that article I linked? It sounds like you're working towards the Monte Carlo Tree Search, described in it. Did you read all three parts of the article? I know it's a long read, but I figure that if you really wanted to get the best product, you would try to acquire as much information as possible to make sure you're heading down the right path.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    ...expectiminimax does not rely on perfect information relies on "perfect but incomplete information". That's why I linked it, and that's why I'm confused as to why you are saying it doesn't apply.

    EDIT: To expound on this, in your example, you use expectiminimax to calculate the chances of your opponent having any specific card in their hand. No, you don't know every single card in the opponent's deck, nor do you have to. Are you at least familiar with the metagame and statistically probable decklists? If not, then we have much more basic problems to solve to improve, long before we get to game theory.

    You then use that calculation to determine what is the best play to minimize the opponent's decision tree branches, while maximizing our own.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from Aazadan »
    Quote from thnkr »

    I understand that it's a lot of work, but despite the excessive amount of work to apply it, it seems to be the best method. Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not correct.


    Processing resources are a thing. The way I like to sum it up is that Magic has something of an uncertainty principle in it. If you seek to get too detailed in your move analysis you wind up with fewer moves and fall victim to variance, making your data unreliable. If you leave out too many details in favor of more speed, you fail to capture necessary information making your data unreliable.

    The best approach excepting access to a supercomputer is to strike a balance between the two. One big factor here besides variance is that Magic is always evolving, new cards enter the Modern card pool every 3 months, new cards are added to decks shifting meta balance every week. In order to have any meaningful results that can be applied to the current metagame, processing time is a very large factor.


    Did you not look at what expectiminimax is? Or read the article I linked, in which they explain how to reduce the necessary processing power required while applying minimax?
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    I've read about it, I don't think it's the right approach for Magic because variance is too high.


    The approach I've taken instead, which has worked with several decks at this point is to seek to make a good move based on known information rather than simply the most optimal.


    These particular sentences are interesting to me, because that's where we can come to appreciate the application of expectiminimax.

    I understand that it's a lot of work, but despite the excessive amount of work to apply it, it seems to be the best method. Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not correct.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    If you're looking at an approach that is driven by AI, then you may be interested in why minimizing the opponent's ability to interact while maximizing our own is rather relevant.

    Link

    and specific quote:

    The approach Shannon suggested is today called Minimax (named after John Vonn Neuman’s minimax theorem, proven by him in 1928) and would be hugely influential for the future game-playing AIs. It is perhaps the most obvious approach one can take to making a game-playing AI. The idea is to assume both players will consider all future moves of the whole game, and so play optimally. In other words, you should always choose a move such that, even if the opponent chooses the absolute best response to that move and to every future move of yours, you will still get the highest score possible at the end of the game.


    It was specifically used, and is currently used, for designing AI's to properly evaluate gamestates and decisions. I think what many people might be missing is that gamestates aren't solely determined after the opening hands are kept in Magic. They are primarily influenced, above and beyond all else, by the construction of the decks.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    So are you saying that the design of the Bogles deck isn't to pre-emptively interact with a potential opponent's decision tree, to reduce as many possible branches as possible?

    EDIT: @tronix I think that's a misconstrued version of what I'm saying. I'm not saying any quality that makes a card or deck "good" is a form of interaction. I think it would be more precise to say that what reduces the amount of interaction that a potential opponent might have is what makes it "good".
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    @Aazadan & ktkenshinx, That method is actually exactly what was used for the development of Lantern. You can see me explaining it here.

    EDIT: While I'm at it, to avoid double-posting, working on Lantern is also what I feel helped me come to understand the game better, to include having a better grasp of what it truly means for a deck to interact or have linear characteristics, and why decks are best designed to minimize the opponent's ability to interact effectively, maximize it's own ability to interact effectively, and do those two things consistently.

    I feel that we can understand why people currently use those terms when they do by understanding human behavior. As I mentioned before, our species is heavily influenced by what we are able to directly observe - Physical objects and their movement. When someone plays a card in this game that drastically reduces the number of branches on an opponent's decision tree, we don't get to see those branches get pruned. We see cards moving around some, and that's about it. But if we can see past the movement of those cards, and use our minds to perceive the invisible changes in respective decision trees, I feel that we can come to a deeper understanding of the game.

    So our dilemma, when we want to understand the game better, and when we want to talk with others about understanding the game better, is that we must be able to overcome our own human instinct to focus only on what we can see and we have to avoid using (as someone recently best described it) dog whistle terms for criticizing what we don't like, usually due to some feeling of entitlement for what we might consider fair and just.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    @ktkenshinx, I think the solution might involve considering what decks use as pre-emptive solutions to prune branches off of an opponent's decision tree as well.

    Since it's already established that a (competitive) deck is designed to accomplish three things:
    • Minimize the amount and/or significance of interaction the opponent can have on the gamestate
    • Maximize the amount and/or significance of its own interaction
    • Maintain as much consistency as possible in that minimization and maximization

    We can see how all decks accomplish these things.

    Bogles does so by using hexproof creatures and effectively making their creature threats much larger and/or resilient than the opponent's. That would be pre-emptive interaction with the opponent's decision tree.

    That actually leads us to what I think may be the root of the misguided use of the word "interaction". People see the cards on the battlefield, in hand, or on the stack, and focus on that. But a deck can best interact by being more focused on an opponent's decision tree, which isn't a physical thing that we can see. People are very vision-oriented, so this isn't something that is as easily perceived and understood, I guess.

    So rather than scoring cards on how they interact with other cards in the visual sense, it may be better to score them by how well they interact with another deck's decision tree.
    Posted in: Modern
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