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  1. #1
    Senior Member He-Man's Avatar
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    SE Strategy--Quick Match vs Best Of Three - Part 1

    This article first appeared here, on gondorian.com.

    There are some differences between quick games and the best-of-three (bo3) matches you play in tournaments and leagues. The first obvious difference is that in a quick game your match-up is always a surprise, but with bo3 you will know roughly what deck you're facing in games two and (if applicable) three. Another major difference is that with bo3, you are guaranteed to go first at least one game, and to go second at least one game.
    Furthermore, whereas you can get away with certain auto-losses in quick game mode, even assuming your goal is to get a net increase in rating over a couple of games (and especially so when the new rating system will be in place), these are highly problematic in bo3 games. Therefore, for your bo3 decks, the requirements are more stringent, as you cannot afford any auto losses if you want to make it to the top of your league or tournament.
    In a bo3, knowing what to expect should affect your choices in what you sacrifice and how you play in games two and three. Some examples:
    • Sacrifice anti-ally or anti-item cards if your opponent runs an ally-less or weapon/item-less deck respectively.

    • If your opponent's deck relies heavily on symmetrical drawing engines (Bazaar, Bad Santa), you can be very sure he/she will play those, and you can actually sacrifice yours. This gives you a significant tempo advantage, as you can play other cards instead.

    • If your opponent's deck is heavy on allies or on items, and your removal options are limited, knowing what is in their deck allows you to make smart decisions on what to use your removal spells on. For example, if, after the first game, you know your opponent runs Jeweler's Dream, Berserker's Edge, and The King's Pride, and you only have 4 Acid Jets, will you use them to remove the first weapons that hit the board? Or will you save them until a specific item hits the board?
    If you were thinking a step ahead, you already figured you could use the above strategies in a bo3 to bluff your opponent. For instance, situations may occur where you get to go first in the first game, and you are playing a somewhat favorable match up. You could now decide to alter your play style a little bit from optimal. For example, you could refrain from playing any of your low casting cost (low-cc) allies in the first game, leading your opponent to believe that you only run high-cc allies. Then in the next game, your opponent will gear his/her plays towards the idea that you will again focus on the late game with high-cc allies. You can now completely surprise your opponent by coming out of the gates much more quickly with the low-cc allies that you withheld in the first game. The opponent may have tossed out some critical removal cards that they had in their opening hand, and, better yet, may have made a wrong decision in deciding who was playing the beatdown, or aggro. You can, of course, vary on this example as you see fit.

    Now, I would like to set a little challenge, and ask the readers to take the above to the next level: Try and build your deck in such a manner that it will actually allow you to run two (or more) different game plans - a strict aggro plan and a more controlish plan, for example - with which to completely baffle your opponent during a bo3. With the new 40-card limit and people even running viable 50-card decks these days, there should be room enough in a deck to pull this off. I will be interested to see the results posted in this thread.

    Please post any comments, responses to the challenge, questions, etc, here. Happy reading!
    Last edited by He-Man; 12-08-2011 at 10:26 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member MistahBoweh's Avatar
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    Good read, a little questionable when you mention viable 50 card decks, but otherwise you make some important points.
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  3. #3
    DP Visionary Warr Byrd's Avatar
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    I think 50 card decks could be viable. There is less of a difference in draw probabilities between 40 and 50 cards than between 30 and 40 cards, and there were plenty of 40 card decks that could beat good 30 card decks. The smaller deck still has the consistency advantage and is more likely to get the card they need, but the 50 has more options.
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    Senior Member MistahBoweh's Avatar
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    No, 1.29 has more options. 50 cards has more cards.

    The bigger the card pool, the more options you have when building a deck. During gameplay, however, you only draw so many cards at any given turn, and some plays are simply better than others. A good deck makes the most of their optimal line of play instead of actively trying to do things that are rarely better but usually cost them the win.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member He-Man's Avatar
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    dndfreak, you make a valid point. As should be obvious to people that have read my previous articles, I also favor a deck that is at the lower limit of cards allowed because of the card drawing odds. (Disclaimer: odds generally work against me...) That said, it happens quite a bit that I get my behind handed to me by decks that run more cards than I do.
    And that is sort of the idea also behind the challenge I posed--increasing the number of cards in your deck decreases your odds of drawing specific cards, but it gives you a little wiggle room to put in extra cards that will allow your deck to switch between different play strategies. (In MtG terms, basically a built-in sideboard.)
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  6. #6
    Senior Member MistahBoweh's Avatar
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    As I've said elsewhere, even the best of the best in Magic have debated the validity of the 61st card. But there's one difference between 60 and 61 or even 39 to 40 compared to a jump between 39 and 49.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Xander Spitfire's Avatar
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    Great read. Thanks

    Being able to hide different strategies within the same deck would be huge.

  8. #8
    1.26 LE4GUE Champion Hatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dndfreak View Post
    As I've said elsewhere, even the best of the best in Magic have debated the validity of the 61st card. But there's one difference between 60 and 61 or even 39 to 40 compared to a jump between 39 and 49.
    I agree, I'd only consider going over the minimum if I was getting milled on a consistent basis. At 40 cards it pretty much never happens. I think people are tempted to go larger because of two incorrect schools of thought. The first is the temptation to have 4 of each card in your deck, and the second is to have an answer for everything.

    Most 50 card decks I see suffer from both problems.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member He-Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatts View Post
    I agree, I'd only consider going over the minimum if I was getting milled on a consistent basis. At 40 cards it pretty much never happens. I think people are tempted to go larger because of two incorrect schools of thought. The first is the temptation to have 4 of each card in your deck, and the second is to have an answer for everything.

    Most 50 card decks I see suffer from both problems.
    I agree with this too.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Bayfighter's Avatar
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    Excellently written article. I'd like to know if others think the tiers change when comparing Quick Match to Bof3.

    Just to kick things off, I think Amber is way better in Bof3 than Quick Match b/c the likelihood of facing Darkclaw in a tournament is so low (since Darkclaw autoloses to any decent Shadow deck, he's not tournament viable IMO) The Bof3 Amber doesn't have to play cards like Misplaced or Snow Sapphire anymore like QM Amber did.

    Who else can you think of that may change in tiers in Bof3?
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