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133 thoughts on “Channel FFfreak: SOM Draft #4”

  1. Brad, would you mind explaining why M2G1 you didn’t leave Grasp up (ever)? In your last turn, you could have easily played your Island and left it open, and it would have killed Tangelwurm allowing you to block. Thanks.

  2. not that it really matters, but for the final attack of game 1, you should have tapped down the snapsail glider and suited up trinket mage (axe) with shield. the opp would have been forced to block with argent sphinx, leaving him with a much worse defense next turn. but he scooped, so it’s moot.

  3. Not leaving grasp open is just a case of outthinking oneself, which is pretty common among good players. You try to make the “advanced” play of making them think you don’t have a grasp, when it is actually just wrong to do so.

  4. I think it’s funny how arrogant you are and I can’t wait for you to punt the PoY to the French.

  5. Wow, the Magic community is pretty full of venom. Like, even for gamers the last few comments are bitter and desperate.

    I thought the draft went fine. Not great, but certainly not ‘garbage.’

  6. For some reason, I really liked the Brad/Josh commentary. It’s also really cool Brad that the Pope is your roommate.

  7. Agreed with Protoman: It seemed like you had the game won with the Darkslick, or the eventual Contagion Engine so not keeping it up (even for something as simple as Untamed Might) seems just wrong, given the option. Even just tapping a Myr and using Magnet would’ve allowed keeping it up if you wish to bluff with the Island.

  8. I don’t agree with what most people are saying, i think it was a fine draft, but i LOL’d really hard at that Jamie Gold comment xD

  9. Third pick, The one comment that glint hawk idol > glint hawk. I would have probally picked the glint hawk ( assuming those were the only 2 picks), since you already had a contagion engine on board? That synergy seems very good. Would you say that would be right or no?

  10. Loved the banter. You guys should start a comedy routine or something. Tons of misplays in match 2 (I think you probably would have won the first game if you’d kept Grasp open, and the second could have gone either way if you had either played the Arbolest rather than the Drake or, after playing Drake, double-blocked with both Drake and Sky-Eel), but I know how hard it is for me to think straight when I get tired, and I think that, for playing at 2:00 in the morning, you did amazingly well. Good job.

  11. @Protoman: He said in the video “I punted.” There’s no reason to point out a mistake he clearly knows he made.

    Anyways, I’m sure I’m going to be the first of like thirty people to point this out, but the video playlist goes backwards. Not too big a deal since you can just click through it, but it was a little confusing for a second.

  12. also, as long as you don’t already hold the absolute nuts your deck can provide you: looting >> not looting.

  13. Man, people are unnecessarily harsh. Unless they’re on the pro tour, I just don’t get it…

    Anyway, I laughed for the first time in a long time (re: Magic) on the following exchange:

    “You know what else Contagion Engine is good with?”

    “Six mana?”

    “Yeah.”

  14. Also – not sure who nosferatu is, but I didn’t get the impression he knew Brad. In which case, I’m pretty sure that “I made out with your girlfriend” << "good luck" and, immediately prior to conceding the match "I'm pretty sure you played poorly" << "good game". Originality aside, of course.

  15. He couldn’t double block with both Drake and School, as his opponent had Trigon of Rage and Bladed Pinions, meaning he’d net a grand total of zero damage and lose the Sky-Eel School. As for the haters, even if you disagree with people’s plays (and yes, he made some misplays, even goo dplayers do), saying ‘lol, u suxxor, roflmao’ or ‘words’ (and I use the term loosely) to that effect makes you look like a spoilt child who feels aggrieved because they lose far more often and haven’t taken the time to work out why. However, I’m not entirely sure why I’m bothering to even type that, since such people never learn…

  16. He couldn’t double block with both Drake and School, as his opponent had Trigon of Rage and Bladed Pinions, meaning he’d net a grand total of zero damage and lose the Sky-Eel School. As for the haters, even if you disagree with people’s plays (and yes, he made some misplays, even goo dplayers do), saying ‘lol, u suxxor, roflmao’ or ‘words’ (and I use the term loosely) to that effect makes you look like a spoilt child who feels aggrieved because they lose far more often and haven’t taken the time to work out why. However, I’m not entirely sure why I’m bothering to even type that, since such people never learn….

  17. Ugh, double post… Nice of the site to, unsurprisingly, fail to post when I forget my name the first time around, have it say ‘Double post detected, you appear to have already posted that’ after I corrected that mistake, at which point I throw an extra full stop at the end and repost to try and get around the double post thing, only to realise that despite the message, it actually HAD posted. Oh well. Feel free to delete it…

  18. This drafting was awesome, you did have the choice between uw winnie and Infect, but with that 6 mana bomb i would follow your path as it finishes them fast ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. @Protoman

    Did you watch with the sound off? He didn’t want to play the island in case he drew a looter and he didn’t think he’d have to grasp that turn. It was a mistake but he had a reason to do it.

  20. I just can’t fathom how people continue to make plays like Brad did with the Grasp in M2G1. There is no discard in the format, and no one is getting bluffed out by you holding that land. It makes no tactical sense to not just play your lands out and hold up the relevant spell instead of leaving that sweet land in hand to really scare them. This isn’t a control mirror where you have to play around counterspell or you just lose, in that case, bluffing with lands makes perfect sense. In this case he was going to play that Tanglewurm no matter what mana you had up so bluffing with the land just gives you no advantage.
    @not looting: I completely agree with the decision to not loot there. If he loots into a good card, discards another good card, and draws a land next turn, how is that good? Not to mention the fact that if the loot would have been a blank, he could discard that to his loot the following turn when he plays contagion engine. The only possible argument is that it lets you see one extra card, but even that doesn’t hold up, because he’d have to discard the Twisted Image(and thus that would negate the extra card).

  21. tip to Brad and Josh: ask LSV how he would ve build this deck, think you could learn something. It will not be quite the same.

  22. @Mike: not looting, and the entire “but but but what if it’s a good card!” argument is a Magic newbie thing, anyone with a little experience under their belt OR just a decent understanding of probability should know that there are exactly three possible arguments against looting, no more:

    1) You don’t want to show your opponent what cards you have
    2) You’re afraid of death by milling
    3) Your opponent is potentially able to wreck you by reanimating your stuff (Rise from the Grave, Geth, and such)

    The “what if you draw a good card and you have to mill it” argument is simply dumb and does not hold up or make sense, ever.

    In game 1, reasons 2 and 3 obviously didn’t exist (WU can’t interact with the opponent’s graveyard, and there was no danger of death by milling), making #1 the only possible valid reason. But that’s not the one that was given, so yeah. The play was retarded and the logic behind it was nonsense.

  23. @Ashenai: Can you explain why it is a bad argument? I’m not exactly sure how having a decent understanding of probability means that there’s not a chance of drawing a good card.

  24. The chance of drawing a good card is always exactly counterbalanced by the chance of drawing a bad card (a land, for instance) and getting that much closer to your good cards. It’s the same reason why random one-of Tome Scours aren’t playable, even though they can potentially mill away a bunch of the opponent’s good cards.

    This is why Arc-Slogger was a good card, and why you can’t beat opponents by “milling away their good cards.” Milling (or self-milling) doesn’t ever matter unless you actually mill away all of the cards in a library.

  25. @ Ashenai

    I think you’re confusing milling with looting. They are far different.

    You’re right about Tome Scour, but Arc-Slogger is another beast. In his case, you’re probably using his ability to kill their blockers or killing them. It doesn’t matter that you’re losing potentially good spells because you’re just winning with him. The Slogger is similar to Masticore. You’re discarding every turn, but it doesn’t matter because you’re winning anyway. I understand discarding is different from milling in terms of actual card advantage, but the idea of “hurting” yourself for the sake of winning remains the same.

    Looting, on the other hand, is forcing you to choose between potentially good cards and then losing one for no reason. Assume Brad has Contagion Engine and something else good (don’t exactly remember what the other card was)…and then draws Grasp or some such. Why would you put yourself in that situation? Even if you draw a land and discard it, the probability that you *do* draw something equally good as the other cards in hand just doesn’t merit choosing to loot.

    LSV had a similar situation in a previous draft when he had 2 good cards he wanted to play the next turn and then looted into Arrest. He even made the comment that that’s the reason why looting may not always be good. Your argument is you could draw a bad card and that somehow that justifies the odds you draw a good one. What you may be trying to say is that there is always a “strictly better” card. I think that’s not always clean cut. If the top card is a land and you didn’t want it, you win. If it’s a spell you would have drawn next turn anyway but you didn’t need to discard to get it, looting is wrong. In the third scenario, you loot the land away *in order to* draw the good spell. In Brad’s case, he wasn’t really in need of setting himself up to draw into something better. If you’re drawing to outs, sure, loot away. But it’s not always correct and hardly a “newbie thing” as you put it.

  26. Having only seen the draft portion and game 1 i can say – if this game was a regular brad nelson suck fest with JUL there, it would have been 10 times worse without him there. Brad would have ended up with some half-assed pile of infect crap (like conley did in the all star one).

    You way over think to much. You can turn three sentinel (if he had the counter), but you don’t think he has it until he untaps. You don’t wait for him to play something or anything. You went on tilt. You either put him on halt order and that he would always keep mana open – or you just went on full tilt and made some poor plays to make up for it.

    I wonder who will win POY , the guy who won worlds and beat out the guy who was a match from winning POY himself – or the guy that hasn’t ran well in a long time. The limited vidoes, the standard ones, worlds – all pretty big signs that you aren’t the POY.

  27. ThePedestrian136

    Nosferatu: I made out with ur gf
    Brad: Our opponent said he made out with my girfriend. Little did he know I broke up with her 2 months ago…

    NEXT LEVELED!!!!

  28. f all the trolls I thought this was a pretty interesting set of games. Its pretty easy to tell Brads a little unfocused/conflicted and rushing, but who cares cause hes doing really good at the other end with entertaining commentary (you guys dont think he can turn on and off how focused/driven he is?) And anyways theirs lots of lessons here. They’re constantly working on feeding their opponent bad information, and doing a lot of really interesting things here. Just like I thought one of Brads previous vid’s was an bad ass demonstration of how to ink out card advantage in your attack step with removal, while your backs against the wall, and I dont think those games went past the first round.

  29. It’s just not worth having two people for the actual play of games. It just leads to lack of focus by both players.

  30. @CFB: I get kind of sick of the “duo” drafting…yes, everyone thinks that two gamers who commentate on the same draft are funny, but they obviously disagree on plays, and it didn’t always feel like it was Brad doing the decision making. Half the time, he would choose what he wanted, and then get talked into something totally different.

  31. Looting with two of the best cards in the deck in your two card hand is just retarded in a limited format. It’s common sense.

  32. @VTS, Speak for yourself. I really like the dual drafting that happens and it is a good change from the usual every once in a while. Everyone is starting to say that brad is losing it, but from just watching this series of games I can tell that he possesses a lot of play experience and is able to use that effectively to his advantaged. How many of you realized he was on dead on board after his opponent cast Bellowing Tanglewurm? It took brad all of 0.2 seconds. This man is something else, and I’ve learned a lot just from watching him, regardless of if he wins or loses.
    Thanks Brad ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. @RavensAnger
    “It took Brad all of 0.2 seconds”

    Well 7+3=10 poison counters= U r dead. That should not take longer than that to figure out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. GRF, you can’t double-block with Drake and Sky-Eel, because the Contagious Nim has first strike from the pinions. 5 points of first strike damage on ’em with Trigon means you just threw away Sky-Eel School for nothing.

    I sure don’t like that first hit from Sky-Eel to knock him down from 20 to 17, though. Like Brad said, you’re not racing successfully, so why not hold back and keep more blocking options open when you don’t even know what he’s gonna play next?

  35. I enjoy the commentary of 2 people during the draft but it does lead to unfocused drafts and playing around 2 people’s ideas is equally awkward.

    Try designating one player as the lead – like brad is when it is his account etc – then listening to what both players have to say but doing what the lead player would do.

    That way we get the commentary – good – but not the lack of focus.

    Yes I am greedy ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. @CFB & Brad

    Thanks for the funny videos. It was sad to see you lose this way, but I’m glad the CFB members still upload their videos even when things go terribly wrong. Also, dual commentary is always sweet.

    I hope no one from the CFB crew will think twice about submitting a video just because of the spineless keyboard warriors that continuously spew their useless hate all over the comments. I’m quite sure they don’t have the testicular fortitude to actually say those things face to face.

  37. Hehe, i really liked to watch this draft and the commentary. You have different playstyles/picks/deckbuilding and i like the reasoning between them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. @Chris Davis
    Because it took Brad 0.2 seconds to figure out that 2 is more than 3. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just another miniscule punt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  39. Why is painsmith not considered vs fumespitter and Neurok Replica? Painsmith seems like it would be good with blue fliers/unblockables and your artifact count.

    Josh’s comment about looting in game one was good incite.

  40. @RavensAnger: You can’t say that the drafting or execution in the game was anywhere close to optimal, or even anywhere close to “I want to take away lessons from this style of play”. Yes, they are entertaining people, and pass the time very well. But you’d agree as a fan of Brad’s that he wasn’t always the man making decisions…(or at least sticking with the ones he made)…

  41. The argument against not looting in this sort of situation is that all you’re doing is milling a card from your deck. They clearly needed both the cards in hand at that point, so you’re taking a random deck and leaving it random, while giving the opponent extra information. So there’s no value in taking the loot (mild pun fully intended).

  42. “VTS says: January 4, 2011 @ 11:34 am
    @CFB: I get kind of sick of the โ€œduoโ€ draftingโ€ฆyes, everyone thinks that two gamers who commentate on the same draft are funny, but they obviously disagree on plays, and it didnโ€™t always feel like it was Brad doing the decision making. Half the time, he would choose what he wanted, and then get talked into something totally different.”

    Agreed, he would have played even worse otherwise. Brad is a sick player and builder when he is focused, but nobody can have the fire all the time. It’s just different personalities. When PV is in a subdued state he’s still analytical and thoughtful and incisive. When Brad is subdued he gets BORED and we get videos with joke drafts and punts galore =P.

    That said, we’re all here watching for a reason. Enjoying something like this is as much a part of loving Magic as enjoying birding a PT and seeing the 100% serious version.

  43. 1st things 1st: Jamie Gold is a Legend!!!!

    As for the draft, I would have left mana open for grasp with tei-jillad fallen in play and 7 poison counters on me. I dont’ even want to count the times i ve lost to that fallen + wurm combo >.<

  44. @Hyper
    Not leaving mana open for grasp is unexcusable blatant error. There is no excuse for this, if u want to keep island in hand, well then just tap paladium myr for 2 and u can keep grasp mana open, your opponent is topdecking so there is no single card in SOM that would kill u by doing so. Either way, unless you are bluffing and there is absolutely no way you could play the card, you should always keep mana open for your instant spells.

    I don’t mind these mistakes that much, because they just show lack of concentration and don’t mean you are a terrible player. It’s kind of like a beginner taps a wrong mana and don’t have the right mana to play his other spells. For example, LSV chump blocked an Ezuri Brigade 8/8 trample at GP missing that his opponent had metlacraft, and lost on the same turn because of it, I mean these mistakes happen even to the best.
    The problem I have with Brad’s play is strategic misplays, by which I mean game play decisions, whether to race, whether to attack or block or not, whether to equip or so. It is much easier to get rid of most concentration errors, but almost impossible to get rid of strategic mistakes. You are either a gifted strategic magician or not, and judging from all Brad’s videos so far, he just makes a lot of strategic errors and is not very talented in this sense.

  45. To all the haters: you guys are terrible. Why can’t you just appreciate the free content and learn from the plays that the players make? Even if what they end up doing is incorrect, you can learn not to make the same mistake in similar situations. According to LSV that was the original purpose of these videos. They are not about demonstrating how awesome the CF-crew is. And if you guys are so upset that the POY title might be going to Brad, why didn’t you do something about it and take it home yourselves? STFU whiners.

  46. Patrick H. points out that in a previous CFB draft, LSV had a “loot or not” situation with two cards he liked in hand, chose to loot, drew an Arrest, and said something along the lines of, “This is why looting may not always be correct.” That was results-oriented thinking on LSV’s part. For one thing, he had a Razor Hippogriff in hand! Looting was *clearly* correct in that spot even if the cards in hand were exactly what he wanted, just for the chance of looting away a better artifact for the ‘griff.

    Following is effectively what I said in the comments of that draft (which LSV subsequently acknowledged were good points):

    1) Graveyard/tutor shenanigans aside, looting with *no* cards in hand is actually a neutral play: it is effectively re-randomizing your deck by putting the random top card of your library on the “bottom” where you won’t draw it. This concept is vital to understanding the whole looting debate, so I’m going to say it again: it is NEUTRAL–neither correct nor incorrect–to loot with no cards in hand. You can think of looting with no cards in hand as shuffling your deck.

    2) If looting with zero cards in hand is neutral, so is looting with the exact cards you would choose from your entire deck in hand.

    If looting with a perfect grip is *neutral*, then if there is any chance at improving your situation (and there’s no card in your library that you simply can’t win without), it goes from neutral to correct.

    In this spot, even though it would have been neutral to loot with two perfect cards in hand, I dispute the notion that in Brad’s spot they had the “nut hand.” Is anyone seriously suggesting that if they could pick any two-card hand their deck could offer, they would have come up with Contagion Engine (sure) and Twisted Image? This is not a neutral, nut-hand spot; there are *many* cards that would be an upgrade to the Twisted Image, and anything not an upgrade you would be happy to get off the top of the library.

  47. I am a big fan of Brad and got somehow annoyed at Josh’s commentary and lack of respect towards Brad.
    Josh hasn’t really proved anything as far as I know compared to Brad. He should at least act like a guest and not like the decision maker.
    Josh has 0 PT wins, 0 GP wins after all. (even though his DCI rating is pretty high). I wonder if he would act the same if he was drafting with LSV, the Ruels or PV…

  48. Where do I begin? The first thing I have to say is that this draft was done at Josh’s place after just getting back from Japan and we were just having fun. I thought it would be fun to just watch a video of two decent players goof drafting. Try to make the correct decisions but more importantly, have fun. I now know that this might not be the approach to take.

    The next thing is that it is impossible to play as tight as I try to at the Pro Tour when making a video. It is a break of concentration to explain what I am thinking/doing/going to do all the time. I am sorry about this and hope it will get better.

    Yes, the drafts with guests have been played out and my next batch of videos were done on my own. This should help with most of the blatant errors and misplays.

    I do really enjoy hearing from those of you that have constructed criticism to give me. Thank you.

    Brad Nelson

  49. @Ashenai: Your arguments are only valid if you only have the option of looting at that one point in the game. But since you’re able to do the same next turn anyway, it’s more correct to wait until next turn to see if you draw a “bad” card that you’d rather loot away (unless you’re under too much pressure where you need to draw a certain card a.s.a.p.).

    “But what if I draw a good card and have to discard something good” is NOT a similar argument to “I’m playing this tome scour to mill away his good cards”. You can just loot the next time you draw a bad card. But you could have been looting every turn for maximum effect? Not really. With riddlesmith, that wouldn’t be the case because not every card will be an artifact, and you might even be discarding artifacts to the effect; with a merfolk looter it might be a different story.

    Basically, looting โ‰  milling.

    That being said, I think there was a point where you guys actually didn’t want contagion engine and it could’ve been looted away, as crazy as that may seem.

  50. I actually like the dual people drafting. I think it gives other perspectives in situations. It could lead to a worst play as things might go in two directions, but I think it has a chance to go well.

    Personally I really love the draft videos and of all the places I have checked out this is the best place. Too many others aren’t good or they have too big of an attitude while on here it seems you get more card evaluation rather than the “my opponent is an idiot” every turn. Also really like the free content.

    With that said feel kind of robbed when bad plays happen and games and rounds get punted. Don’t think you need to have the full concentration but just have enough to not make obvious mistakes. Not sure if the other person distracted or helped. Seemed like they helped with reminding what cards do. Though they could of been breaking concentration from remembering what they do on your own.

    Also, if I had the choice of watching a joking around video on here or none at all I would take the joking around one. So if it is this or nothing at all I will take this.

  51. @Godot
    That does not make sense. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your point 1) is not correct because you are putting the cards in the graveyard not on the bottom of the library, even if you put it on the bottom of the library it is still incorrect play because looting away a good spell is always wrong, because you have limited amount of cards you will play with.

    Look at it like this:
    To keep it simple every game you draw 10 cards. 5 mana and 5 spells. If you loot with no cards in hand, there is a chance of looting away a spell in which case you would only have 4 spells top play with during the game. So if you have merfolk looter in play it is always better to wait until you draw a land and loot afterwards.

    In this case it is a little questionable, since Riddlesmith only triggers on artifact spell so it has limited activations, but still imo it was correct decision not to loot.

  52. @Godot
    I take back the first sentence. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you put the card on the bottom of the library it is Neutral, but not if you put it in the graveyard, in that case it is strictly wrong.

  53. 1. I thought the duel commentary was awesome. When two pro’s are debating plays that shits a gold mine into their way of thinking about the game.
    2. This was an awesome video full of insightful stuff. Brad almost always tries to force poison now, a demo into how twisted image can wreck, multiple turns of making the opponent sure he’s not holding the grasp. Looting, or how playing unfocused causes game loses, ect ect.
    3. @Brad – Hope you can tune the haters out. You’re insane at this game, and I feel like your videos are some of the best out their for everyone trying to improve, even when you are goofing (which is easy to tell – and not at all bad from time to time.) The short sighted peeps are just trying to get an ego boost or something, and only see wins, when as I pointed out, there’s a ton of good stuff still in this video, and also I think you’ve gotten really good with the entertaining commentary, so cant wait to see more, its gonna be awesome when you bring home POY.

  54. Hey Brad, really appreciate the video, thanks for taking the time. Really enjoy the multi-perspective with more than one person at the computer.

  55. @Jan I want to argue your wrong cuz Ryan is an insane ninja and one of my favorite thinkers on this game. But I actually kind of agree. There has to be a very small negative to a zero card loot in most cases. Basically for zero gain you’re possibly throwing away a powerful card, and thats got to make it not a neutral play and incorrect. Though an incredible small negative. Or to reverse it… if you needed to draw a specific card to not lose the game would there be an advantage to a zero card loot? Im pretty sure the answer is no, unless you have a graverobber effect in your deck too, then its seems correct.

  56. If you know for sure that you’re not discarding any of the cards you currently have when you trigger Riddlesmith, looting is strictly inferior to not looting because it gives extra information and depletes your library faster. This is rarely relevant though, since if you have the best possible cards in hand you’re either probably winning anyway or drawing stone dead.

  57. Brad, i enjoy these alot. Thanks!

    I don’t care that your not focussed, i watch them for fun. Not to become a good drafter myself. Also, i think its perfectly normal to have fun making these. I wouldn’t like to make free-content videos and having to be very focussed, and making perfect-videos.

  58. I don’t see the point in bluffing that you don’t have the Grasp.

    You don’t want him to attack since you’d rather get maximum value out of Contagion Engine than to start trading guys. If he thinks you have the grasp, he’s less likely to attack.

    The tactic you are using is to make him think its okay to go ahead to start attacking (because you don’t have a grasp) even though strategically you don’t want him to attack. So if your tactic is successful, he does what is strategically bad for you.

    Doesn’t sound like the best tactic to be using in that situation. YMMV

  59. @Mark K
    In that case you are making a mistake and u should learn when it is correct to loot or when it is correct not to loot.

  60. @Jan & Robert P: Perhaps my point would be better made with a scenario farther removed from Magic. Let’s you are playing the (fictional) Looting Game. It’s a solitaire game in which you have a 20-card deck, each card with a unique numeral between 1 and 20. You start the game by drawing three cards. Then, you take a turn. Each turn starts with the option of drawing a card and then discarding a card. Then, you draw a card, and finally you put one of the cards in your hand into the scoring pile. Repeat this five times, and your final score is the value of the cards in your scoring pile.

    If you got an opening hand of 20, 19, and 18, should you loot on your first turn? After all, you have the best three cards you can have, so you will discard whatever you draw 100% of the time. The answer is: It doesn’t matter. If you replay the game a million times from that decision point, there will be no difference in your average score between the times you loot and don’t loot in that spot. Sure, you might have to draw and discard 17, but you are just as likely to draw 17 with your final draw of the game, a card you wouldn’t have dug down to had you not looted initially with 20, 19, and 18 in hand.

    This is the baseline principle I’m trying to get across in the Magic looting case. Magic is an extremely complicated game with tons of nuances, edge cases, and hypothetical considerations that can affect any given loot scenario (graveyard interactions, decking, tutoring, etc.), but the baseline understanding that looting in the Looting Game with the nut hand is neutral is something many players–even top pros–haven’t fully processed about the underlying statistics of looting.

    In your responses, both of you perpetuate the phobia/psychology of looting that fuels this misunderstanding:

    Jan: “Looting away a good spell is always wrong, because you have limited amount of cards you will play with.”

    Robert: “Basically for zero gain youโ€™re possibly throwing away a powerful card, and thats got to make it not a neutral play and incorrect.”

    Again, it is just as likely that you will draw that “good spell” on the last turn where it is relevant because you “zero looted” down to your powerful card as it is that it will be the spell you loot away right now.

    In the specific case of this draft, while one might consider Contagion Engine to be the equivalent of “#20” in the Looting Game, the idea that Twisted Image is #19 is pretty ridiculous. Building on the baseline understanding of looting with all of the relevant game-state information, it is flat-out wrong not to loot there and try to improve upon the Twisted Image, or get something worse than Twisted Image off the top of the library.

  61. @Godot
    Let me explain it to you again. i think you are trying to overthink the process a little bit.

    I ll give you an example: Suppose you have a merfolk looter on the battlefield and no cards in hand. So if I understand you correctly you are saying that looting every turn is at least neutral, so correct me if i am wrong but you would go ahead and loot every turn?
    In that case basically every draw after looting with zero cards in hand would be random, because you would just take a card from top and put it straight into the graveyard. However, if you do not loot if you have zero cards, you keep your options open without a risk of losing a good card, and you can always loot away your next card. Drawing is about probabilities and if you have zero gain from the loot, why would you do it?

  62. God you are stupid Jan. Just go ahead and give up on understanding this concept. You say Godot is over-thinking it because you are too dumb to think about it properly, so you have to simplify it.

  63. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a neutral play in Magic. Every single decision you make has probabilities tied to it (including looting with no cards in hand), thus making it either correct or incorrect.

    Activating a merfolk looter with 0 cards in hand is, most of the time, incorrect. If you have 20 cards in library, and only two cards in your deck can win the game for you, there is a 10% chance you’re throwing one away. By not looting, you’re giving yourself a chance to draw one of them (a.k.a. more “outs”). But, by looting with no cards you can dig yourself closer to those winning cards? Just start looting the following turn if you draw a blank, and the only thing you might have cost yourself is a single dig. The probability of that single card dig costing you the game is less than that 10% chance of throwing one of your two winning cards away. There could be a case made for looting blindly if a lightning bolt targeting your looter is on the stack.

  64. @ Brad Nelsom

    I’d like to comment on the following sentence from your latest post :
    “Try to make the correct decisions but more importantly, have fun. I now know that this might not be the approach to take. ”

    I think it is DEFINITELY not the approach to take. Look at TSG’s drafts… All the bashing going on in the comments cause he’s kinda noob.
    I think most readers//viewers on this website are competitors, tournament oriented and I wouldn’t be surprised if our average DCI Total rating was 1850-1900 (mine is 1930ish).

    Most people watch drafting videos in order to become better and want to see a pro playing at its best. (exception Conley since he’s the Rogue//Doctor guy).

    So yea, I don’t think “taking a card cause it’s fun” or “goofing around” is what your audience is expecting.

    Thanks for posting awesome videos though. I hope only Conley (and mayb TSG) do “fun” videos. I’m definitely here to listen and learn.

  65. @Jan, you still seem to be missing my point. If looting in a given spot is provably, absolutely neutral (as in the “nut hand” Looting Game scenario), the decision to loot or not doesn’t actually affect what you can expect your average score to be. It’s not that I would loot every time in a neutral spot, it’s that it wouldn’t matter whether I did or not.

    Once you grasp that it is neutral to loot in the Looting Game with the nut hand, itโ€™s easier to see that looting with anything less than the nut handโ€”even a really good oneโ€”is correct in the Looting Game.

    Once you see that it is correct to loot with a great but non-nut hand in the Looting Game, it becomes easier to see that “I have pretty good cards in my hand already” is *not* a good reason to skip a loot option in MTG; you have to have very specific deck/board/graveyard/game-state reasons that override the basic statistical principles at work in the Looting Game.

    To recap the Looting Game for those arriving late:

    * You have a randomized 20-card deck, each card numbered 1 – 20.
    * Deal three cards to yourself
    * Play five turns and accumulate the highest total possible in the scoring pile.

    Each turn:
    1) Optionally, you may draw and then discard.
    2) Draw a card.
    3) Place the highest-numbered card in your hand into the scoring pile.

  66. @me (and tangentially @Jan): Let’s reduce your scenario to something even simpler for clarity’s sake: It’s the end of your opponent’s turn, you have no cards in hand, and an active Merfolk Looter on the table. Your opponent’s only remaining win condition is an evasive creature on board that will kill you after two more attacks. You have 10 cards left in your library, nine basic lands and one spell that can destroy this creature. If you draw it in the next two turns you will win (your opponent has three cards in his library, all basic land). If not, you will lose. It is simply the only card that matters: your one and only out.

    If you loot at eot with the empty hand, you draw and discard card #1, then untap, draw card #2, loot to draw card #3 discarding card #2 and pass. You take one attack, untap, draw card #4, loot to draw card #5, discarding card #4. Then you die if you haven’t drawn your out yet, or if you milled away your out by looting with an empty hand.

    If you don’t loot at eot with the empty hand, you untap, draw card #1, and loot to draw card #2, discarding card #1. You pass, take an attack, and untap. You draw card #3, loot to draw card #4, discarding card #3. Card #5 sits on top of your library, and you die if you haven’t drawn your answer at this point.

    If your out was card #2, #3, or #4, you draw it in either scenario and win. If your out was card #6, #7, #8, #9, or #10, you fail to draw it in either scenario and lose. All of those scenarios work out the same regardless of your empty-hand loot choice. If your out is card #1, you lose by looting on empty, and win by not looting on empty. If your out is card #5, you win by looting on empty and lose by not looting on empty.

    At the point of the empty-hand loot decision, there is a 10% chance your card is #1, and a 10% chance your card is #5. Your odds of winning the game do not change based on your decision to loot on empty.

    Magic is almost always going to be more complicated than this scenario, but understanding this scenario is a foundation for navigating the more-complicated waters of actual Magic.

  67. @Godot
    I believe you just killed your own theory. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Yes, the final odds of finding the card are the same, correct. However, I would much rather get the card immediately than waiting for 5 more cards, because by doing so you will loose precious life in the meanwhile.

    Either way, lets look at the scenario from the real match: You have twisted image and engine and decide whether to loot or not. You are saying that the only correct decision is to loot. IMO it is much more difficult decision:
    There are three basic outcomes:
    1) you draw a land in which case you just gain a turn tempo and the loot would work great.
    2) you draw a spell thats better than twisted image in which case you will discard twisted image (lets say u draw grasp). In this scenario, you lose a spell straightforwardly and looting had a bad outcome.
    3)you draw a spell that is worse than twisted image and you discard it. In this case you lose a tempo, because you had to discard a spell and whenever you draw a land, you would have that spell that you previously discarded, thats why the loss of tempo. So in this case again looting had a bad outcome.

    So basically, I need to evaluate what are these three options probabilities and what outcome would they have on the game. After that i can decide whether the first positive outcome (gaining a tempo(extra draw)) outweighs the the other two negative outcomes (losing a spell or losing a tempo).

    In my opinion the negative outcomes outweigh the positive one and thats why i woukld not loot in this case, but I agree it is very close, but saying it is always good to loot is just incorrect. I agree, you will always improve or at least have the same hand, however as you see from the real example you might either lose a spell or tempo which might be crucial for the game.

  68. Brad: Get more experience video commenting your drafts on your own before doing more duos. I think having a second person is distracting you from your game / play style since you actually have to negotiate with Josh on top of just negotiating against your opponent, taking away from your strengths. I think you’re still affected by the community watching and scrutinizing your every move and, in trying to impress us with fancy moves (like a continuous bluff), you end up punting games (ex. M2G1)

    Sticking to disciplined good plays might not seem exciting to you, but us out here in magic consumerland aren’t necessarily even always at 100% disciplined good plays and have a lot to learn from.

    btw: I liked the way you bluffed not having the grasp earlier (the play where you consciously bluffed it and claimed it), but one iteration should be enough; there was no value to not representing it the second time. In fact, with the Drake, you can play Island, tap all 4 of them and then “bluff” having the grasp since you told your opponent you didn’t have it earlier (After all, you just drew your Drake, right?)

    In any case, commentating and playing are hard enough; until you have the experience to do both comfortably without worrying about forumite backlash, just focus on making the good plays we know you can make while explaining your decisions. Don’t worry about fancypants moves until you feel more accustomed.

    Either that or stop trying and stop the videos; it really isn’t you to do things halfheartedly.
    J

  69. Jan, I’m not even sure what you mean with your first comment, maybe you are just trolling at this point. I killed my theory? You prefer one method of certain victory to another, both with the exact same likelihood of happening? Whatever, I’ll assume you were joking.

    Your assessment of the quality of the different outcomes is poor, undervaluing card quality upgrades, undervaluing being a card further into your deck, overvaluing Twisted Image, and (most importantly) ignoring the baseline looting theory I put forth with the Looting Game.

    In playing the Looting Game, do you accept that looting with an opener of 20, 19, and 18 would be neutral? Would you ever choose not to loot if you held less than the highest three cards left in the deck? What if your opener was 20, 18, 16. Would you loot?

  70. I think the problem with your example is that there is a KNOWN limited time to find that card before you die. In that case, you are correct that it doesn’t matter whether or not you loot with 0 cards on that first turn. But if you’re not under any pressure, that is a different story. It’s likely that you don’t even know which cards you actually need to defeat your opponent, so it’s better to wait and see another card, and perhaps another card from your opponent. By looting with 0 cards in hand, there is a chance of getting rid of your best card (whether or not you know that is the best card for the matchup), after which you can never draw it, which means you are giving yourself a chance to lose. By waiting to loot, there is NO chance of losing your best card (barring other deck shenanigans).

    In your scenario, there is an equal chance that the card you need is on top of your deck as there is that it’s card #5. Yes, if you would die in 2 attacks then it’s neutral to loot with 0 cards. But let’s change this scenario to one where you’re not dying so soon. You have a million 1/1 tokens, your opponent has a silent arbiter, and the only way you can win is by drawing your 1-of dark banishing for the arbiter. The only way you can lose this game is by decking, and you would in fact run out of cards before your opponent. You definitely should not loot in this case if your hand is empty since that gives you a (albeit small) chance of losing if your top card is that dark banishing. This is an extreme example, but it should illustrate why looting with no cards is at least sometimes incorrect and NOT neutral.

    And I don’t think your looting game really emulates what goes on in Magic. There is no opponent, therefore no information needed, and no real decision-making.

  71. @Godot
    I agree with your looting game 20, 19, 18 example. However, this does not apply to magic. Yes, if you draw 17 then you will still have 20, 19, 18 and your hand would be the same, and yes by looting your hand CAN NEVER EVER BE WORSE after the loot. That is correct and I think that everybody knows that, but that still does not apply to a magic game.

    You are saying my explanations are vague, so let me put it more straightforward:
    Here are the outcomes:
    1) you draw a land and loot it away- yes this is the strongest outcome and gaining a tempo and new card draw is very valuable. The percentage of this outcome is probably around 40%, since you have more spells than lands.
    2) you draw a card better than twisted image (like grasp of darkness)- you discard twisted image and lose a spell. Well, in reality you lose only the ability of the twisted image, which is the change of power and toughness, but you have zero gain from this. Lets say you have two grasps on top. If you loot, you get rid of twisted image and turn two you ll have 2 grasps. If you don’t loot, you draw grasp #1, play twisted image and draw card, which is grasp #2, so you will have the same cards as if you looted however, you lost the twisted image ability when you looted. This outcome is obviously negative, and it depends on your evaluation how valuable that twisted image ability is for you during the game.
    3) you draw a card that is worse than twisted image and you discard it. This is again a negative outcome, because you lose a tempo by doing this. If the next card after the spell you discarded is a land you are basically a tempo behind because you would have had a spell instead at that point in time. This outcome is very judgmental, because you are a spell behind however, you are a card ahead in your library, therefore this might be sometimes beneficial and sometimes detrimental depending on the state of the game, you again have to evaluate what are the probabilities of this and decide based on it.

    Your last comment that I ignore your fundamental basics of looting, yes I do ignore it because they do not apply to a magic game. Magic game is not a lottery where you always want to have the highest numbers (or the best hand). magic is about card advantage and you need to utilize the cards that come up from the top of your library to the best potential. I agree, most of the times looting is correct, however sometimes it might threaten the card advantage principle and that can harm you during the game. So sometimes it is just not correct to loot.

  72. @Jan, @me: Your failure to see the statistical and strategic connections between the clear-cut, clinical examples and actual Magic game states is unfortunate, but your blind spots are all too common among Magic players, even very good ones.

    Jan, regarding your explanations, it’s not so much that the initial ones were vague; it’s that they don’t really matter. If there’s no graveyard interaction, tutor, decking, informational, or edge-case considerations (such as me’s scenario where you have the game 100% locked up, and could only lose by looting on an empty hand), it’s at worst neutral to loot. In the vast majority of cases, the chance to improve your hand (ala Looting Game) trumps any of the considerations that make looting with an empty hand not purely neutral in Magic.

    Ironically Jan, you even all-caps at me with the central point: “by looting your hand CAN NEVER EVER BE WORSE after the loot.” I know you were talking about the Looting Game, not Magic, but again, barring edge cases, the same holds true for Magic. Your remaining library and upcoming draws might be worse, but they are just as likely to be better, so that is not a relevant consideration.

    I could continue to press the point, but it appears fruitless, your mental blocks seem too firmly entrenched. I know youโ€™ll think the same of me, but I can live with that because I have math and logic on my side! Hopefully someone else reading these comments will have the epiphany you are failing to, though, and my time will not have been spent in vain. Cheers, thanks for the discussion.

  73. @Godot
    When I capitaled you I was meaning magic as well and yes you are once again correct. By looting you can never end up with a worse hand after the loot and it is true at worst looting is neutral. However that does not mean that you should loot every time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, you will statistically improve your position, but thats just statistics. i ll give you an example from Poker: I am holding pocket aces. I know that if my opponent has random pair of cards I will statistically win at least 80% of hands against him if I go all-in pre-flop.

    Should I go all-in?? In this example it would be statistically correct to go all-in every single time. Heck you will win at least 80% of hands, however, there are certain times that you don’t want to risk that 20% of losing the tournament. With pocket aces you probably would go all-in all the time, but lets say you have 88 and know that your opponent has AK, you know that you will win 51% of time. According to your theory you say that you should go all-in (loot) every time you have 50% or more winning chance. But you don’t want to do that sometimes.

    So here is my point: Yes looting will always be a statistically correct play, however, there are certain points in the game when you don’t need to try improve your hand and all you need is to play it safe. Because your goal is not to have the best hand at all costs, your goal is to BEAT your opponent. So sometimes playing it safe is just worth it, like the example “Me” gave you, if you play it safe you win, if you loot, you give yourself a chance to lose.

    Again, it is true the math is on your side and yes every loot is statistically correct, but THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD LOOT EVERY SINGLE TIME. I hope you get my point, because the point of a magic is to win a game, not beating somebody by the highest margin. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  74. Best CFB duo yet. Honestly hilarious, I have largely stopped watching these because it can become tedious, but this was interesting, educational, and downright entertaining. Josh is very matter of fact and all about the ‘best play’ while Brad is more of a loose cannon. I like seeing Josh think when compared to a more liberal player, at least in this video. Fantastic, and I would hope for more Brad and Josh videos. Just awesome. Thanks.

    btw, the not-looting made sense. Just to chime in.

  75. @jan wow you’re a moron. You’re the epitomy of results based thinking. What a nightmare. What you’re trying to say is, “It is always CORRECT to loot, however hindsight is 20/20 and sometimes you’d experience regret.” From a gaming approach there is no way to completely eliminating regret from decision making, but making the “correct” decision does not mean that it always has the best result. Example: Rock Paper Scissors, it’s well known (probably not to you based on the knowledge you’ve illustrated about gaming in general, not specific to magic) that the proper strategy is to equally divide your selectiosn between Rock Paper and Scissors. If it just so happens that 3 games in a row, your opponent chose paper, that does not mean you should have chosen scissors. Optimal means optimal, bro. An optimal decision is one where the other alternatives are all statistically equal or worse, based on EXPECTED outcomes. that very best magic card in your deck that you’re worried about discarding is one out of 25 left in your library. the chance of being forced to discard that card as a result of a loot with 0 cards in hand is 4%. That means 96% of the time you’ll actually be digging your way closer to that best card. Who cares if it means you’re discarding a spell. you’re getting closer to better spell(s). Just shut up, youre making yourself sound so ignorant.

  76. @jan Furthermore, in case you’re actually interested in game theory concepts, the school of thought you’re describing is what’s called the MiniMax Regret theory, that you should always take the choice that minimizes the worst possible outcome at all times, regardless of likelyhood of occuring. People that practice this strategy are simply avoiding the very worst outcome, without considering what the upsides are, nor their likelihoods.

    It is never incorrect to loot. (barring decking risks, and other deck specific shenanigans Godot named earlier).

  77. @ToreroTutor
    I regret very much that you have misunderstood my comment above. But I understand that certain people do not have a brain-power to understand certain complex tasks, so that is why I excuse you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have never said anything about regret or anything else you were talking about, I am exactly opposite of result based thinking, so next time before you make a vulgar comment please try to understand my comment first. So next time, please ask me to explain it to you again, so even slower people like yourself can understand. Cheers.

  78. @Jan I’m not sure how you can agree that looting is statistically correct while also saying you shouldn’t do it most of the time. Being statistically correct means exactly that it is correct to do it.

    I mean I think that Godot and others outlined some edge cases in which you may not want to loot. But I assume you aren’t talking about those. This discussion should be limited to “Is it correct to loot the vast majority of the time?”

    Your poker example was abysmal. There are virtually no spots in poker where you wouldn’t take an 80% preflop edge outside of like a satellite tournament or some other edge case. If you are passing up on these opportunities you are flat out doing it wrong.

    The key that you haven’t grasped is that looting is neutral EV given all other considerations. It’s not a risk, it’s even money. It doesn’t actually change anything.

    You do *not* lose any “tempo” as you put it by looting away a spell. I am not sure where you were going with that one.

  79. @jan C’mon man, torero was correct with all the stuff he said. He was perhaps harsh, but the meat of what he said was true about how you are approaching this.

  80. @Jan I know YOU didn’t say it was about Regret, i was correcting you. What you’re DESCRIBING is regret, and you’re calling making the decision not to loot is correct, based on the worst case of regret. This is not correct gaming, in theory or practice. Period.

  81. @jan @marshall @godot Yes i was harsh. It drives me up the wall when peopel try to troll harder than me. And they do so with such little knowledge about what they’re tlaking about. When I troll, I come prepared with facts, and it pisses me off that Jan is giving us trolls such a bad name.

  82. And in closing:
    Thanks to Godot for patiently breaking this information down, and attempting to help.

    /thread

  83. Cool story, bro. I totally see your point now, and realize that it wasn’t actually obnoxious, incorrect, presumptious and rude.

  84. @Godot: I 100% understand the point you’re making with your looting game. Yes, by looting with your best 3 cards in hand, there is no chance of your current hand becoming weaker. However, the flaw in that logic is that you’re only concerning yourself with the CURRENT hand and improving it. However, you “future hands” do have a chance of becoming weaker.

    What do you actually gain from looting with your best 3 cards in hand? Isn’t the answer that you gain nothing? What is there to be lost? Your 4th best card, which can help you later in the game. I’ve played many games where I’ve needed to cast every single non-land card I drew to win.

    What is there to be gained by looting with no cards? The only answer is that you might dig yourself closer to your best card. But the probability of that happening is the same as the probability of getting rid of your best card, as you pointed out earlier. So those two cancel out, but that does NOT make looting a neutral play. This is because there is a possibility of the game coming down to needing every spell in your deck. Let’s say you have 10 cards left in your deck, 6 spells and 4 lands. If you loot with 0 cards and you discard a spell, you’ve increased your chance of losing by some amount, as you only have 5 more spells that you can draw. There is no chance of this happening if you choose not to loot with 0 cards. You still have the possibility of drawing all 6 spells during the game. The fact that you might have looted away a land on that first turn doesn’t change that. This is why looting with no cards is incorrect.

    Basically, your looting game doesn’t emulate Magic because it only cares about the current hand and not about crafting future hands.

  85. if you are going to blindly stand by something because somebody says it is correct, you will never learn anything. magic is about learning and you should try to do the same, that is my advice.

    I am gonna say this one last time for some people to try to understand:

    Looting will always improve your hand, however there is an opportunity cost of losing certain flexibility which at some cases might outweigh the decision not to loot. When you play magic a lot of times you never know what cards you will need to win the match, and flexibility is an important part of it.

    If you are not smart enough to understand this concept, please don’t try to make stupid comments.

  86. @me
    “The only answer is that you might dig yourself closer to your best card. But the probability of that happening is the same as the probability of getting rid of your best card, as you pointed out earlier.”
    Huh? I crunched some numbers on this above: If your best card is 1 out of 25, and the other cards are 24 out of 25, how is that the same? it’s the same if you have 2 cards left in your library, but at that point, decking is really the primary reason not to loot.

    @Jan
    It’s awesomely funny that you say this. Because this is precisely what you are doing! You have a very significant flaw in your logic, Godot poitned it out several times. I’m extremely familiar with this topic, and am not “blindly” following anything. Stating my knowledge of FACT. There’s nothing “stupid” about myc omment, you’re making generalized statements that really don’t define anything, I gave you clear reasons why your statements were incorrect. I understand you need to protect your image at this point. I’ve trolled you pretty hard. My troll belly is still hungry though, if you want to keep feeding. I can do this all day.

  87. @Torero
    Your knowledge has flaws, and you did not give me anything except for some stupid regret theory, so i don’t know what u r talking about. If you give me some nice explanation like Godot i might try to listen, but for now peace off.

  88. @Torero
    If you want to convince me then give me reasons why you would loot at the game that actually happened in this draft: you have twisted image and contagion engine. But I seriously doubt that you have anything than the old numbers theory.

  89. @Torero: Please refer to Godot’s earlier post where he gives a scenario where you’re dead in 2 turns and have 10 cards left. Then you’ll see what I mean. He points out that looting with no cards in hand gives an equal chance of digging to your best card just in time as the chance of looting away your best card. This is because the chance of the card you need being card #1 is the same as the chance of it being card #5.

  90. @Jan Stupid regret theory?! And you’re saying I’m the one refusing to listen/learn? You haven’t tried to explain anything, other than continuing to assert the same point, without logical support.

    Here it is, nice explanation (since teaching this topic is indeed my job):

    In gaming, one should apply the optimal strategy at any given decision point. Sometimes, it is optimal to mix your strategies. In poker you see this commonly, and players call this, “mixing it up” or “changing gears”. And a mixed optimal strategy DOES NOT mean to do something different in a different circumstance, it just means to alternate between choices with a given likelihood. Poker example ( i only play Omaha8 so my example may not be perfect). You may open on the button with QQ 30% of the time at 3x the big blind, while other 50% opening at 4x and the remaining 20% flat call, given the same situation. THis would be a mixed optimal strategy (i dont know that this is optimal, just an example of what a mixed optimmal strategy is), as i described in the Rock Paper Scissors game. If you want to bet your friend a whole lot of money you could beat him at rock paper scissors over the course of 100 games, it would be quite easy, if he doesn’t understand this concept. Prior to the meeting roll a D6 100 times. For every 1 or 6, write down a R, For ever 2 or 5 write down a P, for every 3 or 4 write down an S. Then when you play him, play the exact order of decisions that were determined randomly according to the optimal mixed strategy. You will beat any player making mental choices each time (as long as he can’t see your list) in the long run.

    In this case however, we do not have a mixed strategy situation. The only cases where you should not loot are the edge cases we’ve listed. And here’s why: The ability to loot is granting you MORE options! None of which are worse than the options you currently have. Any random card in yoru deck is NOT in your hand, and therefore is not lost if you end up not keeping it. Furthermore, if you insist that the opportunity cost is relevant, here’s how opportunity cost applies to this situation.

    In gaming, its really called Opportunity Loss, or REGRET. Its actually a technical term to describe exactly what you’re talking about. Opportunity Loss (regret from here on out) is the amount of value you COULD have gained if you had made a better decision in hindsight. Regret is useful in analyzing the value of perfect information. There are very few ways to apply this to drawing or looting, but you could use this to potentially rate the viability of a tutoring spell. I haven’t done any number crunching with this, but assessing the value of a mystical tutor for example. How much is it worth to KNOW the top card is the card you want, versus, just knowing the likelihood it is on top. Is it worht a card + 1 mana at instant speed? Well for years in legacy, yes (until banned). That’s teh type of analysis Regret teaches you about, is comparing absolute information to unknown probabilistic information (also called risky).

    In Looting, there is no “known” or perfect informatino to compare too, we simply analyze the risk of bining a card thats better than what you already have, which is 0. To go to the next level. There’s benefit of improving yoru hand, or removing an unwanted card from the path of reaching a card you DO want. Your case, as i understand it, is there are times where you may not yet know what card is the card you will need. However, giving yourself the option to have MORE information about what cards you have the ability to play in the immediate future is ONLY a benefit. Not only would you not have known what you would need, but you wouldn’t even know what was coming! I also understand from your statments that you get the statistical implications, so i’ wont rehash that, but here’s why those statistical implications trump any lost future flexibility which can’t be quantified in any way.

    You’ve put yoruself in a position to MAXIMIZE the value of the spells in your hand. Sure it may turn out to be the same, and you may discard a relevant card, but the fact that it was on top, there’s no way you could have known, its not like you were planning on drawing it. Any card discarded to a loot (that wasn’t already inyour hand) is just as Godot described, completely random, and should be chosen based on the likelihood of it occuring. However, since any given card “might” be your best card, there’s simply no way to narrow it down beyond 1 card in yoru deck, and that card is an unknown card. In either case, (knowing what the best card is or not) Seeing more cards means you’re more likely to see that card this game. And it is in no way worse. it is unfortunate to bin a spell you wanted, butyou didn’t have it before either, and it was only happenstance that it was on top (at a extremely rare likelihood)

    You made the comparison to poker: with AA being a 80% favorite. Not only is Marshall correct when he said, you should put your money in at that spot every time, we’re talking about two different things. A bet at a poker table needs to be called, so there’s a lot more involved in NL holdem as far as quantity of bet etc that may make one decision optimal over another. Sure there may be people who muck AA on the bubble at the world series, but this is simply applying the rule of minimizing regret, not maximizing value, and thats fine, its just not “correct” in the sense that more often than not (4:1) you’re getting the worse end of the stick.

    With looting, you’re right, its possible you gain nothing, but you ALWAYS gain nothing by not looting, and your choosing to not take the %liklihood increase of imporving your hand.

    Lets play “lets make a deal” You can have door #1 which has $10 behind it or you can have door #2, where you get $10 guaranteed, but could possibly win $15.
    You can have door #1, saying its safe, but I”ll take my “risk” with door #2.
    Hopefully this clarifies where I comefrom (and i think Godot comes from as well, but i wont speak for him)

  91. @me yes in that case, i could see that being true. but more importantly, the card you’re binning, is MUCH less likely to be the 1 out of 10 than the 9 out of 10. But thats assuming you have 1 good card and 9 dead cards, not a spectrum of values as more aptly described by his “looting game”

  92. @jan I think you’re backpedalling. If you want to talk about this game specifically, that’s a much simpler issue. I hadn’t addressed it, because no one refuted Godot’s point earlier, that Twisted image is only a cantrip anyway! you’re basically discarding it to draw a card when you cast it, but paying a blue mana to do so, so looting allows you to do that for free, AND potentially move a worse card (see: land) out of the way.

    Someone else above said, “you could have had that card for free next turn without discarding”. This is flawed also, because you get an ADDITIONAL card your next turn. You’re not just discarding to get that next card that you would get anyway, you’re ggiving up the worst of the 3, likely a land or a twisted image in this case, to be one card further in your library for the rest of the game, one card closer to answers, etc etc etc. Sure, i’m betting theres some convoluted case you could come up with where discarding twisted image might cost him teh game, but thats all based on unknown information. you want the best 2 cards in your hand based on the current game state, and you still get to add a card to that the next draw step.

  93. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  94. @Torero
    Nice explanation but not enough. ๐Ÿ™‚ In the actual game josh was correct in his assessment not to loot there and you still have not explained to me why he was wrong, because well I guess u can’t. Theories are always nice but remember there is a reason why they are just theories and not truths. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  95. There’s no amount of smilies that will change the fact that you are the worst excuse for a troll. You have trolled every single person all the way down the line of comments, and I thought for a moment you’d be wise enough to just stop.

    Josh did explain why he thought twisted image was good there. I agree, it was as good as that card ever would be, when you happen to have an axe and a two toughness creature in play facing down an arbalest. Even with all that being said, I still think looting would be correct (ignoring the obvious that there was a land on top, because thats just results based thinking).
    He basically gave an anecdotal example of how he “regretted” that happening ONCE. So, i’m not saying that makes him wrong, i just don’t really count that as an assessment of this situation at all.
    Here’s a better example. It’s called the Monty Hall Scenario, in a bit more detail than the “lets make a deal” short version I gave earlier.

    Suppose there are 3 boxes. And you choose box #1 will have the prize (or chance that the loot is in your favor), After you’ve made that choice, I show you that box #2 did not contain the prize. Would you switch your box to box #3? The correct answer here, is yes. Because you had a 67% chance of being incorrect at the beginning, so there’s a 67% chance the correct box is 2 or 3. Since I’ve shown you its not 2, you always switch to 3, knowing its twice as likely to contain the prize, as the one you chose. You can try this 10-20 times and you’ll see the pattern, use 3 face down poker cards, two kings and an ace. you’ll need a friend or “game show host” to reveal one of the non-winners to you.

    This relates to looting in the following way: There are 3 things than can happen here IF you loot. 1, you hit land and dump it. Jackpot. 2, You hit a spell that you’d rather have over twisted image, you dump the image. This may seem bad, but we’re comparing twisted image to an unknown card. Upgrading the twisted image to a card we’d rather have is great. Even if the next turn we would draw it anyway, we’ve missed an opportunity to loot. Not to mention, they were basing this on the fact that the guy would wait to shoot on their turn, which i think he shoul dhave just shot on main face, and blinked. Yes, at times you may discard your 3rd best spell (presuming you have the 2 best in your hand) and that’s the WORST it can get, which really isn’t that bad. The liklihood of that happening in THIS case is 1/22. So by the monty hall game, you’re gripping on to your 1/3 chance that you picked the winner to begin with, and not the 2/3 chance that you didn’t. And that’s what the deal is. You have a 21/22 chance of getting a better spell than what you have, dumping a land, and/or getting closer to the best remaining card in your deck. 3,You hit a spell that isn’t as relevant to the current game state and dump that, that’s fairly similar to both #’s1 and 2 in concept.

    In essence, you ALWAYS want to play the monty hall game, if you know how to play correctly. When there are 0 cards in hand, i can understand the argument against it, although i think the difference is minimal, and would depend mostly on how many cards left in your library. Not only for decking, but you could actually try to determine what ALL the remaining cards in your deck aree at a cerain point.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are correct that theories are only theories. But calculating the liklihood of better draws is science. Not saying I could or would always do it correctly on the fly, but from both experience and theory, i’ll stand behind the fact that looting there would have been better.

    RELEASE THE KRAKEN

  96. This whole looting thing was tl;dr, but I do have some input (Sorry if it’s redundant). From any current point in the game till the end, you’ll see X new cards. If you loot (even on a perfect hand), then you’ll see X+1 cards, but you won’t be able to use the top one. If the top card is better than the bottom card, then you benefit. If the top card is worse than the bottom one, then you suffer. The good cards in your library are equally probable to be the 1st card or the X+1st card, so looting on a perfect hand is a neutral play.

    Your library is equally likely to be ordered ABCDEFG as it is to be ordered GABCDEF.

  97. Javier (previously "me")

    @ToreroTutor: I’m not sure if you were speaking to me or just to Jan, but I think I should respond anyway.

    You and Godot seem to have the mindset that the only point of looting is to improve the current hand. This is actually the wrong way to think about it. You need to think of it as your entire deck being available to you.

    By looting with 0 cards, you’re giving yourself a chance of weakening your options throughout the remainder of the game. If you don’t loot, there is a 100% chance that you can still draw every single relevant spell and loot away every single blank. If you loot with an empty hand and 20 cards left, there’s a 5% chance that you lose your best card. That 5% makes looting incorrect. Only if you are dying quickly does looting become neutral (neither correct nor incorrect). Looting is not just about improving the current hand, it’s about improving your collective “hand” throughout the entire game.

  98. @MO: It’s not a neutral play if you can eventually see every card in your deck anyways. It should be assumed that the game goes long. If the game lasts until you draw your final card, then looting with no cards earlier was strictly worse than not looting.

  99. @javier towards the end just Jan, but totally game to continue discussion. The 0 cards in hand is really not the main piece of the argument anyway, so i’ll admit, that I could probably be talked into adding that to the list of edge cases where you dont want to loot. As it stands, I still feel its not “bad”. You brought up a point that there’s a 5% chance you lose the best card, but there’s also a 5% chance that best card would have been just -one- card out of reach before the end of the game (at some arbitrary point in the future) regardless of how far down the line that might be from now.

    The other main issue, to go back to Godot’s point, is these cards have relative values, not Best, and the rest bad. As a result, we’re looking at “ranges” of value. The only cards where the value doesn’t range, are basic lands. Once you’ve hit your required amount of land (around 6), all additional lands can most likely be considered less valuable than spells. Obviously this was untrue in ZZZ, making looting in that format less valuable than it is in most.
    How you value each individual card at the moment of the loot is the issue, and icould see someone making a case for that 5% liklihood of milling out THE most valuable card outweighs the value gained by the 10/20 chance or 40-50% chance they draw-discard a land.
    6 lands in play, they already discarded one, i forgot how many were in the deck, but lets assume 16-17. It would be hard to quantify the value there, but when you draw-discard a land, you could compare that to a scry 1. which is worth about half a card, or a quarter of a mana. And since that only happens with 50% frequency, not a ton of value, but about.2-.25 cards, but its certainly something. On the other40- 50% of the time, sure you’re binning a spell you wouldn’t have otherwise drawn, but the card underneath that is still random, and the marginal effect of “milling” that spell on your spell:land ratio is very small. if there’s still better cards to draw, this isn’t really a drawback, as long as its not that 5% case. Maybe that best card is actually worth 3-4 cards like a sunblast angel, 5% of 4 cards (.2-) is still less than the scry ability gains you. All being said, we’re talking about small fractions of card advantage value here, and i’m comfortable settling on neutral. I’m trying to put msyelf in the shoes of a Pro Tour Final. If i only had one win condition in my deck, would i really risk it? Probably after today, i’d have to, but I’d probably have a stong case of “shoulda woulda couldas” no matter what if the results didn’t match what i chose.

  100. I forgot to note: That you’re saying it doens’t matter when you draw it, because you will get to it anyway. that’s certainly untrue, as magic games rarely let you get to your whole deck, BUT IF YOU COULD THAT”D BE AWESOME, right? In addition, even if you would have gotten to it, getting there 1 turn earlier (or more) makes a huge difference too.

  101. Q: Should you always loot away a cantrip?
    A: Not when you want the effect.

    In all your examples, you never mention pitching the Contagion Engine (OMG BOMB!!!), so really, it’s your perceived value of Twisted Image being marginal that makes you adamantly believe it was correct to risk it to the unknown top card. If his Twisted Image was a Preordain, would you still adamantly believe that risking the top card, that you can draw anyway, is worth not playing?

    Brad already said in the video that he wanted Twisted Image’s effect. Not looting was the correct choice. Archangel was on the table, Engine was in his hand, there were no other bombs in the deck. His strategy for the win was getting the Expected Value out of each draw.

    In your Looting game example, with 20, 19, 18 in hand, you’ll gain nothing and risk the top card being the 17, and the max score.

    Would you buy a $1 scratch ticket that at best will pay out 96 cents? That’s what looting with nothing to gain is.

  102. Nothing to gain? Just because he wants the effect, doesn’t mean theres not another better card. YOu may be rgiht, in that board state, the engine really wasn’t doing much at the moment, but here’s the good news about looting, you don’t have to decide what to discard until after you draw! Sure, it’s entirely possible that a card comes where discarding the engine is correct, but that would certainly be hard to do. Ultimately, they needed an out to that damn sphinx. and the image, and the engine both were not doing it. and if that effect of saving the duder is better than what you draw, then obv, you keep the twisted image. I addressed this specifically.

  103. If indeed they need to dig to an out for the sphinx, and they don’t have one in hand, how can seeing an extra card not be a good idea?

  104. Also beyond all else: It was Josh that said, “if we draw a better spell, we have to discard the image” IF you draw a better spell. If that effect is as great as it seems, then you’re simply digging your way closer to somethign that IS a better spell. If contagion engine and twisted image are really THE two best cards remainnig in the deck for that specific board state, i’ll contend there’s just no value gained or lost either way. making always looting much safer, as you get to re-evaluate once you see what card it is. in this case, land.

  105. See, “Better” isn’t an option here, because Brad said he wanted them both.

    So, Drawing a card and pitching one that he had wasn’t palatable.
    Drawing a card that he also wanted to play and pitching it wasn’t palatable.
    Drawing a card that he was willing to throw away without regret wasn’t tasty enough to go for.

    If his best case scenario is just to thin the deck because he wants to play everything in hand or that is worth drawing, it’s right not to loot.

  106. wanting them doesn’t mean anything. its all relative, there may be a spell he wants /more/
    everything is relative. so yes, better is an option. Again, like i said, if those are THE two best cards for thsi situation, fine. looting versus not is about equal value. but you have to compare all your options, and that 3rd card was an option worth considering.

  107. The options are:

    Loot and throw away the drawn card.
    Loot and possibly throw away Twisted Image.
    Play Twisted Image and draw the card anyway.

    Was it imperative at that point to Top Deck gas?

  108. @Torero
    How can I trust your judgment, seriously? You are saying that he should have arbalest mainphase and that you needed to draw outs against the sphinx. Come on, he had just one blue open using arbalest on his turn and blinking is just purely wrong, and he was basically dead on board so Josh/Brad did not need to find addl outs on the sphinx they already had it, they just needed to push through dmg.
    And you are saying that scrying one at that case was so great, well the probability of discarding the land with the next couple loots was very high so scrying was at that point overvalued either way.
    So just wake up and don’t call me troll, because u r trolling like crazy.

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