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Bracket #14: PC4 Review and Sealed Deck Details

Bracket #14: PC4 Review and Sealed Deck Details

First of all, let me congratulate SkyAnemone for winning last Friday’s SolForge PC Client Tournament 4 (PC4).  The tournament was notable for the lack of Uterran Packmasters in the field; in part because of two late drop-outs (due to unforeseeable technical difficulties), only two of the nine players in the tournament played Packmaster-based Growth decks.  Those decks, played by Guttermuck and Nine, finished third and fourth, respectively.  Sky won with an Alloyin/Tempys deck that used Rageborn Hellion to add power to her Robots.  Re72 finished second, using a Nekrium/Tempys Scorchmane Dragon-centered Stall deck.

It was very nice to see some non-Packmaster decks have some tournament success, proving that even well-built Growth decks can be beaten.

SolForge PC Client Tournament 4

SolForge PC Client Tournament 4

Second, as you may know, this upcoming weekend Forgewatch is hosting a Sealed Deck Event.  There will be a Saturday bracket and a Sunday bracket, with the winners of each playing in a championship game on Monday. (Noetherian and myself are acting as Tournament Organizers for this event.) Given that this is the first Sealed Deck event we’ve run on the PC Client, I thought I would use my column this week as an opportunity to explain some of the finer points of a Sealed Deck event—and our logic behind the decisions that we’ve made as Tournament Organizers.

If you are unfamiliar with Sealed Deck, essentially it means that each player must pre-construct a deck from a randomly generated pool of cards.  While players will still be forced to use a maximum of two-factions in their deck construction, the big restriction on deck composition is which cards they are randomly “dealt” in that pool.  (In this case, pools will be sent out Friday, August 9 and players must PM their completed 30 card, two-faction decklists to me at least two hours before the tournament begins on Saturday.)  Sealed Deck events are a great way of playing SolForge when the metagame has stagnated; after all, most decks in the upcoming event cannot count on seeing even one copy each of Uterran Packmaster and Echowisp, much less the three copies of each of those cards found in the standard dominant Growth decks.

In a Sealed Deck event, not all cards are equally likely to be drawn.  For our purposes, we will be generating pools of ninety cards each which will include 60 “commons”, 25 “uncommons” and 5 “rares.”  I put those in quotes because we have no way, at this point, of knowing what cards Stoneblade will decide ought to be common, uncommon, or rare.  So instead, we’ve decided to use the pre-constructed decks as guides.  All of the cards in the client deck-builder show up in one of the pre-constructed decks.  We went through each of those pre-constructed decks and assigned rarities based on how often the card appeared in those decks.  If a card is used once per deck, we labeled it “rare”; if a card was used twice, we labeled it “uncommon; if a card was used in a deck three times, we labeled it “common”.  (For cards that appear in multiple pre-constructed decks, we chose to consider the deck in which the card appears most often.) Just to give a couple examples, Brightsteel Sentinel shows up only in the Alloyin starter deck, and there is exactly one copy of the card in that deck; therefore Brightsteel was labeled “rare”.  Technosmith shows up in both the Alloyin Starter Deck, and the Alloyin/Tempys Demo Deck, and in each case there are two copies of the card; we therefore labeled Technosmith “uncommon”.  Based on this methodology, here is the distribution of cards across all of the factions:

Alloyin (15):

Nekrium (16):

Tempys (18):

Uterra (16):

I should also note that there is nothing magical about the 90-card pools.  While that number is somewhat arbitrary, there is a logic behind it.  If the pool of cards becomes too large, then it starts to defeat the point of the Sealed Deck environment.  We want people to have to build different decks, using cards that they would not normally play, because they are drawing from a limited pool.  On the other hand, if the pool of cards becomes too small, deck construction becomes trivial; decks must contain two factions, and we want to deal players enough cards that virtually all players have viable decks available for most faction combinations.  The fewer cards that are dealt, the more likely it is that a particular faction combination does not contain enough cards in it to make a legal deck.

Using our methodology, there are 11 rares, 25 uncommons, and 29 commons.  In the pools of 90 cards that we will be generating, in expectation players will receive a single copy of about half of the rares, one copy of each uncommon, and 2 copies of each common.  Of course, because of the random nature of the pool generation, no player will actually have such a pool of cards.

In a normal Sealed Deck event, players have some probability of drawing four (or more) copies of a particular card.  In the current version of the client, however, it is impossible to create a deck with more than three copies of any particular card.  Therefore, if a player already has three copies of Stonefist Giant (a Tempys common) in her pool, at that point if the random number generator tries to generate a fourth Stonefist Giant, we will instead ‘re-roll’ that card, giving the player a different randomly chosen common.

Noetherian and I would like to thank mark (also known as 321pwn) for his help in writing the Python program that we will use to generate our card pools for this weekend’s tournament. If you would like to play Sealed Deck games outside of the tournament, Mark has made his tool available on the SolForge Forums.  If you log onto the SolForge Steam Community Chat, it usually isn’t difficult to find someone who will play some Sealed Deck games against you.

Finally, please note that we would like as many people as possible to participate in this weekend’s event, and so we have worked hard to create an event that will be a lot of fun for both veterans and novices alike.  We have a small number of $5 store-credit door prizes, generously donated by Stoneblade, which will be randomly given out to people who participate in the tournament.  So if you have the time to play some SolForge with us this weekend, please go sign up!

About mnmike2002

mnmike2002 (aka Mike Edwards) is a writer and blogger. When he's not writing, he's probably either reading (history books or fantasy novels) or playing video games (mostly RPGs). He's published one book so far: Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System that Shouldn't Work at all Works So Well, co-authored with Danny Oppenheimer. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Sarah.

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