Essential Magic Articles

The Driest Magic Article You'll Ever Read

by Kevin Weber

There have been a lot of articles written - whether on EM or elsewhere - regarding drafting, deck construction, playing advice, and so on.  However, one of the most essential elements of magic - it's mathematical underpinnings - is one of the least discussed topics.  Even less present are the actual numbers; the tables and equations that can be used in the process of deck creation.

This article is going to contain relatively little writing by me.  It is mostly tables I've constructed regarding the statistics of how a game will play out, and how they can be used in your deck building.  Before each there is an introductary paragraph, and beneath each is at least one example on how it can be used.  Finally, I whipped up a sample deck to illustrate how these tables can be used to analyze a deck's performance.

Table of Contents:

Page 2-3, Table A: The Land Count of a Random Start Hand with X lands.

Lists the odds of receiving a given number of lands in a start hand, if there are X in the deck, as well as what those odds are if accepting a mulligan.  While less useful than Table B in constructing a deck, this helps pinpoint what land quantities are acceptable or unacceptable when actually playing.  Can also be used in determining color screw mulligans.

Page 4-5, Table B: Land/Creature Drop Expectancy

Given X creatures or land, lists the turns where each drop can be expected to occur.  Useful in determining a land base's performance or an aggro deck's "Gas Quantity."  Can also be used in determining colored components.

Page 6, Table C: The Odds of Seeing at Least One of a 4-of, Given X Cards

The most important table in construction of combo decks.

Page 7, Equation D: The Effect of Card Draw Ignoring Cost

Provides an equation to determine the number of cards seen by a particular turn.

Pages 8-13, Example Deck

A sample deck is put through assorted analysis using these tables, in order to demonstrate how to evaluate a deck's performance.  Then, using four goldfish runs, it's theoretical and practical aspects are compared.

Last edited 1/24/2007 Page 1 of 13  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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