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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pat Jay's Avatar
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    Meltdown Risks and Rewards - A Guide For Newbies

    Warning

    Meltdown no longer rewards players as per the guide below. To view how players are rewarded in Meltdown, please click here




    Introduction


    Critical points have been highlighted

    TL;DR (too long; didn't read) summary is in my 4th post in red

    Meltdown can be both an exciting and rewarding way to play Shadowera!

    In Meltdown, each player chooses 4 booster packs to open. These booster packs can either be "Call of the Crystals", "Dark Prophecies" or “Shattered Fates” booster packs. Out of the 4 packs, each player will construct a deck to verse each other with. Each player will choose 1 out of the 4 heroes available; and a minimum of 29 other cards from the remaining cards from the booster packs. Players can choose a different combination of booster packs if they are not satisfied with the set of cards they are presented with. Players do not get to keep any of the cards from the packs at the end of the match.

    Since there are no faction or class restrictions in card usage (i.e. humans can use shadow cards and hunter heroes can use warrior abilities), Meltdown can be an interesting way to explore and exploit crazy card combinations and synergies!

    In many ways, Meltdown is similar to any investment option available on the market. It has its risks and it has its rewards.

    The aim of this guide is to help new players get a better understanding of what these risks and rewards are in Meltdown.

    With a better understanding of these risks and rewards, it is hoped that new players will feel more comfortable and confident in participating in Meltdown; and thus be able to enjoy it more!


    The Rewards


    Each Meltdown week of competition starts and ends on Friday at 3:30PM GMT. At the start of the week, there is a starting prize pool jackpot of 1,000,000 gold.

    The entry cost to play one Meltdown game is 200 gold. Out of that 200 gold, 100 is added to the jackpot. At the end of the match, the winner usually receives 80 gold and 30 points is added to their Meltdown score; whilst the loser receives no gold and no points added to their Meltdown score. If the match ends in a draw, both players usually receive 40 gold and 15 points is added to their score.




    At the end of the week, prizes are given to the top players with the highest scores. The top 3 players receive a foil card of both the Legendary Allies. The top 4-10 players receive a single random foil of one of the Legendaries. And the top 11-50 players receive a single random foil card.

    Also at the end of the week, all the gold in the prize pool jackpot is divided amongst the players. Players are divided into 6 tiers according to their final Meltdown score or rank. The bottom 50% of players are placed into the 6th tier and receive no gold; whilst the top 50% of players are placed into tiers 1-5 and receive a sum of gold in proportion to their Meltdown score. At this stage, it is unclear as to how exactly the tiers are allocated and how exactly the gold is divided but here is my understanding of how it works (the numbers may be wrong but Kyle tells me the general idea is correct):

    An example of how tiers and gold are allocated

    Let us suppose there are 100 players in a Meltdown week and there is a final jackpot of 1,000,000 gold. Players ranked 51-100 are allocated to the 6th tier and receive no gold. Players ranked 1-50 are divided into tiers 1-5 similar to as follows:

    • Tier 1 is defined by the top 1% of players and receive 18% of the gold.
    • Tier 2 is defined by the top 12% of players minus the players in tier 1 and receive 50% of the gold
    • Tier 3 is defined by the top 24% of players minus the players in tiers 1-2 and receive 20% of the gold
    • Tier 4 is defined by the top 34% of players minus the players in tiers 1-3 and receive 7% of the gold
    • Tier 5 is defined by the top 50% of players minus the players in tiers 1-4 and receive 5% of the gold

    Each player then receives a sum of gold equal to their Meltdown score divided by the total tier Meltdown score multiplied by the amount of gold allocated to the tier. Refer to the table below which illustrates all this:




    The GMP has been calculated for each player which is the amount of gold received per Meltdown point earned. As you can clearly see, the higher the tier that one achieves, the more gold one receives per Meltdown point earned.

    Conclusion

    Since it costs a significant amount of gold to play Meltdown; and since the reward can vary from 0 gold to a lot of gold - it is entirely possible that costs in playing Meltdown could exceed the reward.

    As a result, it is entirely possible that you could make a loss in gold after the jackpot is divided and after taking into consideration the gold received from wins and the gold spent on entry costs.
    Last edited by Pat Jay; 08-29-2015 at 05:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pat Jay's Avatar
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    The Risk



    "Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1." - Warren Buffet


    So now that we know there is a risk we can actually end up losing gold in Meltdown... let us then naturally try to avoid this!

    So how do we make sure we do not lose gold in Meltdown?

    To answer this question, let us have a look at some data! Below is a table of data that I collected during the week 06/03/15 to 13/03/15:




    As you can see, three things have been calculated for each player: "Gold per Meltdown point" (GMP), "Minimum win rate to break even in gold" (MWR) and "Position Estimate" (PE). All the data was collected from players who participated in the same week of Meltdown competition. Players submitted their data sourced from a direct letter from Kyle.

    Observations

    Bottom 50% will always make a loss

    Scores that belong to the bottom 50% or the 6th tier receive no gold. These players will always make a loss in gold as they can never recover the cost of the entry fees needed to play Meltdown. This explains why the minimum win rate exceeds 100% for the 6th tier in the data.

    Top 50% can still make a loss

    Score that belong to tiers 1-5 do receive gold. Players who belong to the same tier receive the same amount of gold per meltdown point (GMP) and also have the same minimum win rate to break even (MWR). Players in the top tiers enjoy higher GMPs and lower MWRs whilst players in the bottom tiers suffer lower GMPs and higher MWRs.

    This means the higher the tier you end up in, the less dependent you are on a high win rate in order to break even. And the lower the tier you end up in, the more dependent you are on a high win rate in order to break even.

    Take Smejky and E2E Matei13 for example. Smejky achieved tier 1 where the MWR is ~ 20% whilst E2E Matei13 achieved tier 5 where to MWR ~ 33%. This means if Smejky did not win at least 1 out of 5 games in order to achieve a score 3450 to win 112,885 gold - he would have made a loss. Similarly, if E2E Matei did not win at least 1 out of 3 games to achieve a score of 150 to win 2,454 gold - he too would have made a loss.

    And so, just because you escaped tier 6 and earned some gold at the end of the week... this does mean you are immune to making a loss in gold. You can still make a loss if your win rate is low enough!

    Conclusion

    So getting back to our initial question... how do we make sure we do not lose gold in Meltdown? Well based on our observations from the data, I believe the data is telling us that:

    The key to not losing gold is to achieve a win rate of at least 50% and achieve a score or rank that is within the top 50% of players



    Reducing Risk Part 1/2 - Achieve a

    50% Plus Win Rate




    "Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing." - Warren Buffet


    In order to achieve a win rate of at least 50%, you will need to win more games than you lose! Duh Below are a series of videos explaining how to build and play a Meltdown deck:


    Also, here are some links which can advise you further on how to win:

    Meltdown Tier Lists

    Raph's Meltdown Guide

    Jeromy's Meltdown Guide

    Cyph3r's Meltdown Guide 1

    Cyph3r's Meltdown Guide 2

    Pandevmonium's Meltdown Guide

    Pychobabble’s Meltdown Strategy Thread

    Top cards in Meltdown

    Meltdown Card Combos

    Alzorath's Meltdown Monday Videos

    Mistah Boweh's Metltdown Analysis

    Gondorian's Meltdown Simulator


    You also can get a better understanding of how to win in Meltdown by watching others play. This is possible simply by clicking on the Meltdown labeled games in the game lobby area having hit the "challenge" button.

    And so, may you become a better Meltdown player and be able to achieve that 50% plus win rate as result from learning from the experts!
    Last edited by Pat Jay; 03-31-2015 at 11:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pat Jay's Avatar
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    Reducing Risk Part 2/2 - Achieve Top 50%



    “An investor needs to do very few things right as long as he or she avoids big mistakes.“ - Warren Buffet


    We know that for us to have any chance of not making a loss in Meltdown, we need to achieve a score or rank that is within the top 50% of players. In order to do this, we need a good estimate of what the median score or rank could be.

    The median score is the middle score out of all scores and it separates the 5th tier from the 6th. Do not confuse the median score with the average score as they are completely different; click on this link for more information on the difference:

    How do we estimate the median score and or rank? Well, there are two ways:

    Estimate median score from past data

    If we look at past data, it would be reasonable to suggest that the median score is around 120. Therefore we simply need a score that is above 120 to avoid the 6th tier and make a definite loss.

    The median score from week to week is fairly stable and is not likely to change. So if the median score was around 120 for a certain week, it is highly likely to remain at 120 for the following week.

    In fact, it can be said that the median score has been around the 120 mark for at least a few years now according to the data collected in Oct 2013.

    Estimate median rank from actual data

    You can estimate the median rank with actual real time data. This can be done by having another account to score 30 points with one win. This lowest possible score now will return a rank; and this rank now serves as an estimate of how many players there are at the time you hit the status button. And when you divide this rank by 2, this will give you an estimate of the median rank.

    Now it is preferable that the other account has a high amount of experience. This is because if two accounts have the same score, the account with the higher amount of experience will have a lower rank - thereby giving us a better estimate of how many players there are.

    If you are a new player... this will be impossible to do on your own. So maybe join a guild and ask a guild member that has an account with high experience to score 30 points for you. You can find out more about guilds here.

    Conclusion

    Therefore, by making use of these two methods to estimate the median score and or rank, this can help you ensure that your own score or rank is above the median and within the top 50%.


    3 Step Approach to the Meltdown Week



    "We don’t have to be smarter than the rest;
    we have to be more disciplined than the rest." - Warren Buffet


    So now that we understand how important it is to achieve both a 50% plus win rate and a top 50% score or rank... how do we now apply this knowledge into practice? Well, here is one way to approach it:

    Step 1 - Plan resources

    Since the median score is around 120, it would be prudent to (at the very least) aim for a 4th tier score such as 240 to ensure we escape the 6th tier.

    If our win rate should be at least 50% and we are wanting to achieve a score like 240, therefore we will need at least 3000 gold to play 15 games in order to achieve this.

    So make sure you have at least 3000 gold to spend and have the time to play at least 15 games ( ~ 2 or more games a day) before you commit yourself to the Meltdown week.

    Step 2 - Track progress

    Track win rate

    Start to play the amount of games you planned for preferably at the start of the Meltdown week. Record the number of wins and number of games played as you play. If you have any games that end in a draw, record this as 0.5 or half of 1 win.

    Monitor your win rate constantly. To calculate your win rate: divide the number of wins by the number of games played, then multiply this by 100. If your win rate turns out to be around 25% or lower, then stop and assess the situation:

    If at this point you believe that you have the skill, time and gold to continue playing to improve your win rate towards the 50% plus mark, then continue to play. If you do not believe this is possible, then consider stop playing to avoid further potential losses.

    Track position (optional)

    Have another account (preferably with high experience) to win one game of Meltdown to receive a rank. Now make sure that the statement below is always true:

    O > M x 2

    Where:

    M = Main account's rank
    O = Other account's rank with 30 points

    If this statement is always true, there is a 0% chance your main account will end up in the 6th tier and make a definite loss. This exercise is optional since we will avoid the 6th tier anyhow with a score that is well above the median as per step 1.

    Step 3 - Verify result

    At the end of the week, you will receive a letter from Kyle like the following:




    Calculate the Minimum Win Rate (MWR) for your tier with the following formula, where G is the amount of gold received and P is the final score:

    MWR = 2000P / (3G + 8P)

    Now compare this MWR to your actual win rate:

    If your actual win rate is higher than the MWR, then you have definitely made a profit. And the larger the difference... the larger the profit you have made.

    If your actual win rate is lower than the MWR, then you have definitely made a loss. Fortunately, it is very difficult to made a substantial loss in Meltdown.
    Last edited by Pat Jay; 04-03-2015 at 02:54 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pat Jay's Avatar
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    Discussion


    Focus on your win rate

    Your high win rate is what predominantly earns you the profits rather than your tier placement. This is evident when we calculate the differences in the amount of profit in gold earned per minute spent playing Meltdown (PG/min) between different tiers and win rates:




    As highlighted in yellow above, a player with a 40% win rate who achieves tier 1 having played 200 games will effectively have earned 14.9 PG/min. Whilst a player with a 70% win rate who achieves tier 4 having played only 10 games will effectively have earned more PG/min at 15.6 PG/min.

    Clearly, a high win rate is more important than a high tier placement in terms of earning you more PG/min.

    So do not rush in more games just to get more points to try to improve your rank. Take the time to draft your cards carefully and explore more booster pack combinations. The extra time you spend to draft that winning deck will be worth it.

    Will I make more gold in Meltdown compared to World and Quick Match?

    If your win rate is high enough such as 60% plus, then you can make more gold in Meltdown compared to World and Quick Match.

    For a more in depth explanation on how this is so, click here.


    TL;DR Summary or Conclusion


    Meltdown can be both an exciting and rewarding way to play Shadowera!

    In Meltdown, the rewards are many. You can win foil cards, you can win lots of gold and you get to have tons of fun playing such an interesting and exciting format!

    In Meltdown, there really is only one risk - the risk of making a net loss in gold after the week is through.

    However, by understanding the need to achieve a 50% plus win rate and the need to achieve a top 50% score or rank, this can help you to work out a plan to reduce this risk.

    Finally, by understanding all these points, it is hoped that new players will feel more comfortable and confident in participating in Meltdown; and thus be able to enjoy it more.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pat Jay's Avatar
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    Appendix


    Kyle's statements on Meltdown payouts

    Kyle's post on Meltdown rewards

    Kyle's post on Meltdown gold payouts

    Kyle's post on tiers and the need for an entry cost

    Kyle's post on changing booster pack combinations



    How the total number of players was estimated

    We know that the median rank is what separates tier 5 to tier 6. We also know that this rank when doubled will equal the total number of players who participated.

    Since the lowest tier 5 rank is 156 and the highest tier 6 rank is 189, therefore we can say that there were 312 (156 x 2) to 378 (189 x 2) players who participated.

    Since E2E Pat Jay's rank was 349, we can then narrow the range and say that there were 349-378 players who participated. We can take the middle value of this range and estimate that there were around 364 players. We can then use this value to calculate the position estimates (PE) of each of the ranks.

    How the formulas were derived

    The Formulas

    Formula 1 - Games needed to achieve a certain score with a given win rate

    Points = Games won x 30

    P = 30 x W x M
    M = P / 30W

    Formula 2 - Gold needed to play M amount of games with a with a given win rate

    Gold spent or needed = Games played x 200 - Games won x 80 gold

    G = 200 x M - W x M x 80
    G = M (200 - 80W)

    Formula 3 - Minimum win rate needed to break even given the amount of gold received for P amount of points.

    Substitute formula 1 into 2

    G = P / 30W x (200 - 80W)

    30GW = P (200 - 80W)
    30GW = 200P - 80PW
    30GW + 80PW = 200P
    W (30G + 80P) = 200P
    W = 200P / (30G + 80P)
    W = 200P / 10 (3G + 8P)
    W = 20P / (3G + 8P)

    Formula 4 - The amount of points achievable given you have G gold and a W win rate

    From formula 3...

    30GW = P (200 - 80W)
    P = 30GW / (200 - 80W)
    P = 30GW / 10(20 - 8W)
    P = 3GW / (20 - 8W)

    The Assumptions

    • Wins give you 30 points
    • You do not encounter any games that end in a draw that give 15 points
    • Entry cost for a meltdown game is 200 gold
    • You receive 80 gold per win

    Past Meltdown data


    All data and workings can be examined through an Excel file found here



    Acknowledgements


    I want to thank the following people for helping me in some way or form to write the older version of this guide:

    5tumbl, Abeautifulmess, Afwelch, Alexmuaddib, Atomzed, Avenger37, Awhole, Binmango, Canbiso, Denglisha, Dima, Dizzyhead, Donvla, Drakecor001, Duel Bag, Eaquari, Elegist, Esenee, Exalter, Exodus11, Fate of Wheel, Holy Bacon, HVC06, Jackabox, JBLJork, JBLTBL, Kaps A Lot, Kyle, Legitballer, Lerazil, Mad Hammer, Manker, Mavrick7, Morsusmihi, Nathanelatr, Nichan28, Nikodemus, Nikola D, Ocnarb, Rameninabowl, Random Minion, Richarichie, Roustabout, Seraphihuang, Serau, Sin Hill, Skoop, Slackerright, Soren Ends, Spiderhunter, Starfish36, Supergrover, Tinydanzer, Tsukamasa, W60, YYYonefish, Zhou86... and anyone else I left out! Thank you!

    A special thank you to my E2E guild mates Bayfighter, BraveBaldrick, Ballyworld and Jacob31088 for proofreading my guide, giving me helpful suggestions and encouraging me!

    I also want to thank the following people for helping me in some way or form to write the newer version of this guide:

    10Roann30, 15AAC, 17 Dienence, A1 Roustabout, Ahpu1666, Anson Darkeblade, Billyray63, Boulders, BP EvilPapa, BP Index, Dexterzero, Doccalabrone, Draftmaster26, Eaquari, Elaex, Emiro, Fe31, FirestormNZ, Fortana, Gother Lee, Greasypig, Guylai, Hansaplast, Hilton Wong, JBLTBL, Jenano, jkjkjk, Lost Fate, Magnus Asmodius, msaf, Orochiholic, Sinlicks, Smejky, Stellar Life, Triassen, Xanthokoukli, Zeeboo, Zhorax, ZYXW9876

    A special thank you to my E2E guild mates 17 Shining, Brandon420, Ludwig, Luminos, Matei, and Truesight Hunter for helping me locate the median score and for encouraging me!

  6. #6
    DP Visionary SET Colosal's Avatar
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    Great guide, congrats Pat

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    Sticky this please. By far, the best meltdown guide. Good job here
    "Try and try until you die...or succeed...whichever comes first"

    Jo3yb0i - Knight of Dark and Light
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  8. #8
    Senior Member meeklosh's Avatar
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    WoW epic article. Well done

    Btw, there is a disturbance in forum's space and time continuum...It states that Colosal has read the guide and posted 1 minute before the thread was even created!
    Knight of the Dragon Order (symbol)
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meeklosh View Post
    WoW epic article. Well done

    Btw, there is a disturbance in forum's space and time continuum...It states that Colosal has read the guide and posted 1 minute before the thread was even created!
    That is colosal's auto post bot. It posts every time there is a new thread
    "Try and try until you die...or succeed...whichever comes first"

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  10. #10
    Senior Member meeklosh's Avatar
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    It posts in the past!
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