Friday, May 21, 2010
Play to Win: The Mathematical Argument for Animals

So I was browsing Bandai (big mistake, I know) and caught sight of a few baddies bashing on TCao's SJC T8 deck (an update on my Animal/NVS Hybrid).

How do people still not get it?

The deck pre-BP was already insane.

BP gave it SWoF, Jiraiya, and Rasengan. Game 1 is a joke against most decks. I don't think the deck lost a single Game 1 in testing.

So of course, people bring in the hate for Games 2 and 3.

We (being myself and readers of this blog) already know that we shouldn't be fearing generalized hate. After all, if they don't draw the hate, they lose.

How come no one understands that simple concept?

Very few people play hate maindeck. The ones that do get beat by all the bad Fire decks that don't do anything. Or the Water decks that just point and laugh at the horrible cards that do nothing. And if they are playing scared, they're probably bad players anyways - a good player already has an edge in that matchup.

So we should be analyzing playing against an equally skilled player with sideboard hate.

Assumption: you have an auto-win game 1 most of the time when luck isn't involved.

You have to win 1 out of 2 games (50%) after that. They can bring in a max of 10 hate cards. Most likely they'll have 6 tops. With 6 hate cards, they have a 33% chance of not drawing one before turn 2, assuming they go first (40% for 5, 49% for 4, 59% for 3). Even with 10 hate cards, they still have a 14% chance of not drawing into a hate card by turn 2.

Using that 6 hate card number, this means that the opponent will draw into hate at a relevant time approximately 67% of the time. Assuming the Animal deck is good enough to win 1/3 of its games when the opponent hits his hate (I believe the real number is higher), you will win 33% (the time the opponent doesn't draw hate) + 22% (opponent draws hate and you still win - 67/3) = 55% of the time. Considering you only need to win 50% of your games if you win game 1, the odds are with you.

And that's if your opponent has 6 hate cards - less and the odds are with you even more.


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Blogger Tsu Kiyo Me said...
No I agree with you on this one. I feel this argument applies to a lot of aggressive decks, not just animals. Well, except NVS since everyone will be packing extreme amounts of hate in the mainboard. The odds may be with you on a round by round basis, but in an 8 or 9 round tournament, if everyone is playing 6 hate cards, luck will catch up with you and you'll miss top cut barely.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'd love to agree with you on this Josh, I have always loved the animal build. However, Freezing Eyes is the number one hate card for animals and its a mainboard play in ton of good decks now. Between LAR and Invasion of Akatsuki, the odds of hitting it T4 are pretty solid.

Blogger Ross134 said...
And it is even easier to do with Leaf Hurricane, so this deck is pretty much a joke..

I know I personally was able to steamroll a few animal decks.

My biggest issue is that most people who try to put this deck together (including myself) lolfail at playing it whether they are really good at the game or not.

Blogger Josh said...

You only need to win 75% of your matches to make T8 in a 8 round event. If everyone is packing 6 hate cards, then using the above math you will win 79.75% of your matches (opponent has a 45% * 45% chance to win any given match = 20.25%).

Once it gets to the T8... it really comes down to a match by match basis. But I will always feel more comfortable acting rather than reacting when facing people with equal or higher skill level.

There is also a .04% chance your cards have been sent out and aren't sitting in my glove compartment.


FE has to be there on turn 4 going first followed up by game-changing backup to win. Otherwise Animals still has Rasengan and NVS to win on turn 4 or steal those last few BRs.


The Taijutsu deck is exactly the sort of deck that fits the analysis I wrote in the post. Game 1 is nearly a bye, for games 2 and 3 you have to draw Hurricane AND FE to win (or FE on 4 + backup going first).

Imagining those blowout situations just leads to "the fear." Calculating out the possibility of those blowouts happening is the better way to approach deck choice.

Blogger Ross134 said...
Again I just don't see the deck being that good, due to first hand experience, but that is just me I guess, however, I would like to see you run this deck at an SJC to prove your point. That is where the testing would be most effective.

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