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  1. #1
    Senior Member Master_Savage's Avatar
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    Core Theory III: Synergy.

    Savage Tarantino
    06/08/2012

    What's up guys? The next couple weeks are gonna be pretty competitive, the first Wild Card Tournament to gain a Spot in the World Championship starts tomorrow. If you haven't registered for it yet I suggest you do so ASAP.

    Okay on to the Article, The last time we looked at core theory concepts we discussed the theory of card presence and card economy. We talked about gains and losses in card presence, and how having more or fewer cards than your opponent can affect the game.

    Today I want to follow up on those concepts and frame them in a way that makes them more relevant. In the last article we made some general observations. Stuff like “if you have more cards you can put together bigger plays” and “if you have more cards than your opponent, you'll generally have an easier time countering your opponent's moves.” But those are statements without a context, and when you actually sit down to play they leave you with a few questions. How much bigger can your plays be when you have more cards? And if you're in a situation of card advantage, just how relevant is that to gameplay?

    Those are good questions, especially the one about card advantage. If I have a total card presence of eight cards (remember, that means I have 7 cards divided between my hand and field) while you have five, exactly how important is my card advantage? When both players have so many cards, each is capable of putting together big combos, and both have a reasonable chance of answering opposing threats. But what if we scaled down the numbers a bit? Say I had four cards to your two. How safe would you feel then?

    You'd probably feel a lot less secure knowing I had twice as many cards as you did. Although the Seven-to-five and four-to-two comparisons both represent a situation where one Player has a “+2” over his or her opponent, the outlook changes when we alter the context of that same number. The percentages themselves change: in the first scenario the opponent has 75% of the number of cards I do, while in the second scenario he or she has only half the number of cards.

    A Game where lots of cards still remain on each side of the table is called a “complicated” Game – there's still a lot going on, and a lot of different things could happen. Possibilities abound. But a Game where very few cards remain on each side is referred to as a “simplified” game. With fewer cards it's tougher to make big plays, harder to have the right card to beat your opponent, and it's far more difficult to put together big combos.

    While card presence theory provides a general perspective, simplification theory places that perspective into a useful context. You can't use one theory effectively without the other.

    The concept of simplified versus complicated Games actually serves a number of purposes. Let's look at the biggest ones, and then discuss how you can create complication and simplification to accomplish your goals.

    *Simplification and Card Advantage*
    The easiest way to put your understanding of simplification to work is what I outlined above. As a general guideline, if you have card advantage over your opponent, a simplified game state is probably going to be better for you. Your sheer range of options will likely outnumber theirs, affording you answers to whatever your opponent attempts to do, while denying your opponent answers to your moves. The fewer cards you have, the lower the chance of you having that Mind Control to best my Ally, or that Ley Line Nexus to destroy my Crescendo.

    At the same time, if you are not leading the game in terms of card presence, then a complicated game state is likely better for you. A complicated game state means you have more cards than a simplified game state, granting you a better chance at answering your opponent's threats even if he or she has card advantage. A complicated game also means that you may be able to put together a combo that can turn the tide of the game, or that will win the game outright regardless of card presence. More cards on both sides of the table also means a higher chance to destroy multiple cards in quick 2-for-1 trades with stuff like Lightning Strike or Tidal Wave, giving you a chance to swing the Game and recover in terms of card economy.

    *Simplification and Utility*
    But a Player with card advantage isn't the only one to benefit from a simplified Game. In fact, depending on what deck he or she is playing, a Player leading in card presence may not actually get an advantage from simplification. Utility plays a big role in the practical use of simplification and complication.

    The reason lies in strategy, and the individual cards themselves. For instance, if I play a Beatdown deck with lots of strong 4cc+ Allies, a simplified game state is going to be very good for me. The cards I'll be drawing don't require combos or synergy with other effects, so I'll be able to get the most out of my draw each turn. If the Items, Weapons & Armor I play are also high in utility, then I'll probably want to simplify my games as quickly as possible, even if I have to let my opponent have a bit of card advantage.

    If I have one big Ally like Molten Destroyer on the field and nothing else, while you have 2 cards, I could be in a bit of trouble. However, if those two cards you're holding are say, Sacrificial Lamb and Ley Line Nexus your +1 really isn't doing you any good. You'll have to wait until you draw a Ally to pair with your Sacrificial Lamb, or wait for me to play a 5cc or Higher Item, or draw something that can destroy my Molten Destroyer.

    At the same time, some strategies prefer a complicated game state – namely anything that's combo-heavy. Consider BlanketEffect's Feed-Bomb Zaladar Deck. That strategy usually achived a win through two game plans: Big Turns using Feed-Back & Bad Santa Combos, or reducing the opponent's card presence with your Hero's Ability and stuff like Mind Control and Shadow Font. Whether the deck was using a complicated game state to bide time and build a kill, or taking advantage of a complicated game state to create card advantage and then simplify quickly to make that card advantage count, success for this deck usually started in complicated scenarios.

    Whenever you're playing a particular matchup, you should try and think about what kind of game state is best for both your deck, and your opponent's. If simplification is better for your opponent than it is for you, don't simplify the game aggressively. If a complicated game state is better for your opponent, then simplification could give you a big edge.

    Luckily there are lots of tactics you can adopt to create the game state that's best for you.

    *Creating Simplification and Complication*
    While skillfully manipulating the shape of the game is a skill that's honed over years of practice, the actual tools you use are quite basic. Here's a quick list of just some of the things you can do to create or encourage simplification:

    -Make 1-for-1 plays with cards like Fireball, Mind Control, or Now Your Mine. Don't worry about conserving cards, use em quick to get cards out of the way.

    -Encourage trades in battle. Attack with a Ally, let your opponent run it over, and then attack with an even bigger one. If each Player loses a single Ally, this is effectively another 1-for-1. Aggression forces action.

    -Commit cards to bring opposing cards to the field where they're vulnerable. Play that extra Jasmine Rosecult to draw out a second attacker for your Super Nova to destroy.

    To create complication, just do the opposite.

    -Hold simple 1-for-1 cards to keep your options open, reserving them for bigger threats.

    -Pass with only Resourcing a Card – This should be done only if your in a comfortable position in the game. This can incur damage to your hero, but denies your opponent the ability to destroy things and simplify (Beware of Cards that can simplify by removing cards from your hand.)

    -Play cards like Wulven Tracker or Tainted Oracle, which complicate the game state by adding cards to it.

    -Prioritize defense at a time when your opponent is losing in terms of Hero Damage, card presence, or both. Your opponent will likely make defensive plays himself as he or she tries to recover, while you put together combos to finish the job.

    There are lots of ways to manipulate the shape of a Game. It's important to recognize opportunities for simplification and complication, alongside opportunities to gain card presence or deal damage. Note that some cards that are valued by the masses strictly for their ability to grant superior card presence, are also highly valued by more experienced players for their ability to quickly simplify what was previously a complicated Game. Think obvious picks like Super Nova, and Tidal Wave.

    *Complication, Simplification, And Skill*
    That's actually one of the big differences between a good Player and a great one. While a good Player can see opportunities to nab some quick card presence, dish out some damage, or build their combos, a great Player will also see chances to actually shape the direction of the game. Because the best of the best see opportunities to turn complicated Games into suitably simplified ones, or will be able to string together plays and pull out a win despite a field packed with cards, complication is often the friend of the most skilled competitor in a given Game.

    A complicated game state brings with it more choices, decisions, and tools to create a win.
    Last edited by Master_Savage; 06-09-2012 at 02:36 AM.
    IGN: Master Savage
    - 1st Place in 7/26/13 BP Challenge Tournament #7
    - 1st Place in 6/13/12 Pop-Up Tournament.
    Un-official Tournament Organizer.
    Ranked 2nd in Minnesota for Yugioh.
    Warriors of the Blue Phoenix, Greatness Reborn.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Master_Savage's Avatar
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    Concepts like card presence are really easy to get good at, but placing those concepts into valid contexts via the perspective of simplification versus complication is more difficult. This is actually one of the least discussed core theories relevant to the game from what I've seen looking through the forums and my many conversations with different players, and one of the toughest to truly master. Take your time in your next tournament or testing session, and look for those key turning points that simplify or complicate a game. Even if you can't manipulate games right off the bat, you can watch others Play and learn the techniques passively to start. Whether either Plater is aware of these concepts, simplification and complication happen naturally as a part of any Game, so it's easy to start building this skill set.

    Of course, before you even get to the table, consider the deck you're going to be playing. Is it higher in utility than other decks? If so, it might benefit from a higher rate of simplifying plays than others. Is your deck lower in utility than others, but packed with more synergy and combo potential? If that's the case, consider complicating the Game early on whenever you can. This concept works both on the table at a tactical level, as well as off the table on a strategic level before the match starts.

    Utility versus synergy, card economy, and simplification versus complication. If you can keep those three pieces of theory in mind whenever you Play, you'll refine your skills and become a better player over time. There are more core theories to explore in this game, but these three were first on my list for a reason – they're the building blocks for a successful Player, and taken together they offer a robust trio of perspectives. Use them all together, and I'm confident that you'll quickly find yourself winning more and more.

    -Savage Tarantino
    IGN: Master Savage
    - 1st Place in 7/26/13 BP Challenge Tournament #7
    - 1st Place in 6/13/12 Pop-Up Tournament.
    Un-official Tournament Organizer.
    Ranked 2nd in Minnesota for Yugioh.
    Warriors of the Blue Phoenix, Greatness Reborn.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Master_Savage's Avatar
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    Bump for Readers.
    IGN: Master Savage
    - 1st Place in 7/26/13 BP Challenge Tournament #7
    - 1st Place in 6/13/12 Pop-Up Tournament.
    Un-official Tournament Organizer.
    Ranked 2nd in Minnesota for Yugioh.
    Warriors of the Blue Phoenix, Greatness Reborn.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tomasruiz's Avatar
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    nice
    bump

  5. #5
    Junior Member Ubie's Avatar
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    Very good read!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Master_Savage's Avatar
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    Thanks for reading.
    IGN: Master Savage
    - 1st Place in 7/26/13 BP Challenge Tournament #7
    - 1st Place in 6/13/12 Pop-Up Tournament.
    Un-official Tournament Organizer.
    Ranked 2nd in Minnesota for Yugioh.
    Warriors of the Blue Phoenix, Greatness Reborn.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bluejet24's Avatar
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    Cool.. Keep it up
    IGN: TJ BlueJet24

    Founder of Team Juggernauts

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