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"High-variance decks"

I think that bringing a deck that you have the skill to pilot is another factor entirely. It is actually probably the single most important factor in choosing a deck, but it’s not the only factor. Trying to play up variance is simply another one.

Just because you should bring a deck you’re competent at piloting doesn’t mean that playing towards a variance spike isn’t reasonable in situations where you could reasonably bring one of two decks. Bringing a deck which a lack of skill can be offset by good luck, like NEH AstroBiotics, isn’t the only option. Perhaps your win rate with Kate and with Big Dig Combo Maxx are both around 50%. Some decks like 7-Point CI, Big Dig Combo Maxx, and to some degree, Butchershop aren’t necessarily super high variance within a game, but have matchups or certain cards that just wreck you, and one way to play up variance would be to play this sort of deck and hope your more skilled opponents don’t draw or aren’t packing the sort of disruption or protection they need to beat you.

@jrp, what you seem to be discounting is that your win rate with a deck can be looked at as variable based on your opponent or your opponent’s decks. In a tournament, you will need to beat high quality players to win. A higher variance deck’s wide differential of power level across games is the sort of thing that might win your games against an opponent that’s a lot better than you. If a deck truly does have a nut draw that can barely ever be beat, it stands to reason that you might have the best shot of beating an opponent who outclasses you by drawing those sorts of hands, whereas if you played something consistent, your opponent will probably outplay and beat you as long as they don’t get horribly unlucky.

What you’re looking to do is play a deck which wins not-close games, the presumption being that it has the potential to streamroll strong opponents, whereas a more consistent deck will probably lose a lot of close games due to skilled opponents stealing the edge.

Let’s say for the sake of argument you have a consistent deck, deck A, that will win you 95% of the time as long as you outplay your opponent, but wins only 5% of the time if they outplay you and you have an inconsistent deck, deck B, that wins 50% of games regardless of your opponent’s skill level. If you go into a 20-player tournament with a cut to top 8 and are the 5th best player in the room, you might be better off playing deck B, because to win, you will probably have to beat one or more than one of the better players than you to win it all, which is very unlikely with deck A.

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Let’s say for the sake of argument you have a consistent deck, deck A, that will win you 95% of the time as long as you outplay your opponent, but wins only 5% of the time if they outplay you and you have an inconsistent deck, deck B, that wins 50% of games regardless of your opponent’s skill level. If you go into a 20-player tournament with a cut to top 8 and are the 5th best player in the room, you might be better off playing deck B, because to win, you will probably have to beat one or more than one of the better players than you to win it all, which is very unlikely with deck A.

Good example, I agree you should play deck B here.

one way to play up variance would be to play this sort of deck and hope your more skilled opponents don’t draw or aren’t packing the sort of disruption or protection they need to beat you.

If you think your win percentage is correlated across rounds, you could capitalize on it, because then the coin flips are not independent as in my Binomial(.6,9) calculation. As you note, this could actually happen if the entire field decides to drop Plascrete, or Clot, or whatever. I wouldn’t have thought of this as high vs low variance decks, as arguably it is just reading the meta, but the concept is similar. Except now instead of a .6 chance to win each round, you now have a .6 chance to win every round if everyone cuts Feedback Filter.

People who claim to have high win rates with high-variance decks need to look at their opponents. How strong where they? It’s hard to tell when you’re playing on octgn for instance (and definitely when they were playing jank). And yes those decks can have 50/50 chances against most players, but they will often get crushed by skilled players, no matter how good you played.

For instance, last week I brought my funny ‘Wombo Combo Argus’ to a regional. It had a pretty good winrate and it sometimes crushed opponents during the swiss (and sometimes it lost because you couldn’t find your pieces soon enough). But when I had to play that high-variance deck against really good players during the double elim (@calimsha ,@mtgred ). It was just painfull to watch :pensive:

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Yeah, there is a difference between high variance and 50-50 obviously. A lot of decks that seem high variance and high power level, mostly Siphon spamming decks, are often easy for good players to play around. The entire theory behind playing a high-var deck to beat good opponents rests on the premise that good opponents can’t actually beat your god Eater-Siphon draw or whatever, when in actuality they can for that deck.

I think most of the high variance decks that can beat good opponents are relatively linear and aggressive. Aggressive decks put your opponents in a position where they need to have a certain card by a certain point in time or a start good enough to defend, which even the best players have a hard time controlling. The longer a game you aim to play, the more opportunities strong players have to take advantage of you mistakes.

I’d like to see this combo Argus deck.

The results and decklists were posted on acoo.
Fun to play but rubbish against skilled players.
Valencia Big Dig on the other hand … :stuck_out_tongue:

I think this hits the nail on the head in terms of a lot of confusion that pops up in these threads. There is a sense in which “Destroys scrubs/loses to skill” can accurately be called “high variance” across games in a tournament, in that you’re making a big bet based on your expected opponents before you sit down. But this kind of variance is a very poor choice if you’re trying to win a tournament under the standard FFG setup (Swiss followed by elim), because it is very likely that you will be facing good players at those top tables. (Depending on the size of the tournament and the quality of attendees, this might be an excellent strategy for making top 16 or whatever – just not for winning.) OTOH, the kind of variance introduced within a single game by something like forcing the runner to guess about your Mushin plays (in some hypothetical universe where you could reliably actually force the runner to guess enough times with game-defining consequences on the line before they win on central accesses) might actually be a sound approach for someone who is trying to take the top seat but believes they are not necessarily the top player in attendance.

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This reminds me of stories of Starcraft - if you perfected a cheese, you could climb reasonably high on the ladder with it, but you would eventually hit a barrier where it wouldn’t be enough. However, when you tried to to step off the cheese to more normal strategies, you’d feel lost, and not have the same fundamentals as your opponent.

Heh, reminds me of a long match I played one time where the guy spammed Photon Cannons all over the map. I mean all over the map. Like a fourth of the map. He had the funds because we were playing custom BGH (yeah, I know, but it was popular at the time). Three or four waves of a couple hundred Zerglings took care of that problem. :smile: They’re just the most efficient thing against cannons.

He also tried to flank me with Carriers. Trouble is, he had no support for them at all. Had 24 Hydralisks burrowed at just the right spot, waited for the right time, brought them above ground and micromanaged them properly. I blasted those carriers out of the sky, made him retreat, and all with minimal casualties. GG, no re. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

reading dan write about magic makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside for some reason

Woah, I hadn’t expected my deck to stir up this awesome discussion :smile:

Great to see @mediohxcore 's thoughts!

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One topic I didn’t see covered as much as I believe it deserves attention, is the meta.
I have the feeling, that right now on the Corp side slower decks are the hotness.
When you check the tournament winning decklists, there is a lot of HB, RP and NEH.
However, you will notice that the tournaments with a lot of players (>40) were NEVER
won by NEH.

This indicates that NEH in fact has a higher variance. The more rounds you play, the
more unlikely it is to superperform. With less rounds, chances are a lot better you catch a lucky day.

So, assuming the top ranked players likely play decks that get along really well with long-lasting games,
a higher-variance deck that is super fast might give you a better chance, if you happen to get a good start in the tournament. Also, referring to the Titan Transnational Deck, another advantage might be that it is rarely played
(compare: Cambridge, MA, Regional: 73 players, 1 Titan). So players (even the top ones), might be more likely to make subtle mistakes that they would not make against NEH, that they have played hundreds of times against.

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Oh, are the Cambridge 2015 decklists up somewhere?

It just happened yesterday, so I’m sure they’ll be up soon :). I hear Zeromus played IG into the top-4, so I’m sure everyone will freak out about that list and realize it only works for his magic hands in a month.

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10 bucks says it has the same inf spread as a list I’m working on for the post-NRE world :smiley:

I think he posted his list a while ago; no power shutdowns, 1 biotic? Kind of standard what-everyone-tried IG.

Butcher shop was the star deck in cambridge yesterday. I think everyone is still assuming that if you know how to play against weyland SEA+scorch, and you know how to use clot against astrobiotics, then you can figure out a butcher shop matchup on the fly. Not so. You gotta respect that deck.

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So basically the same story as with his PE list :)? He’s the Jinteki + Kit Whisperer!

magic

Yep. The NEH draw power gets its murder business online pretty quick.

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The Warren MI (detroit) regional was rampant with butchershop. I used a first round bye, then played 3 NEH butchershops, 0 losses, then I played 1 in elim, and it beat me for the first time when it killed me missing my IHWx2 in hand.

Oh and I was running a deck that is basically butchershop, so theres that too.

This deck is everywhere right now.

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Yep, he beat me at final table to move onto top 4, was a fun deck, and I was just happy to not lose to NEH or RP :slight_smile: