Sunday, January 22, 2012

Poker in Magic, part 2/4

Last time I presented you an example how to count probability of drawing land. In this part I am going to show you totally different situation. Suppose, it is a late turn during the game. Last thing we want to see on the top of our deck is a land card. Now, we want to decrease probability instead of increasing it.

Certain cards, most notably the fetch-lands from Onslaught/Zendikar, alter these probabilities. When a Wooded Foothills or a Misty Rainforest is sacked for a basic land, the idea is that not only does it give you a land, but it also thins your deck. So the question I asked myself was: Are fetch lands all that effective at thinning? We are on play position, we drew 7 cards: 4 lands(including 1 fetch land) and 3 spells. Our deck contains 60 cards(24 lands). If we play a basic land our probability of drawing a land card in next turn is equal 37.7%(formula: P=lands left in library / total number of cards left in library). However, if we play a fetch land card and sacked for a land card our probability is equal 36.5%. As little or as much as 1.2% difference. It is typical to see 8-12 fetch lands in fast agro decks. Even the mono colored ones. In accordance with proverb: penny saved is penny earned. Nevertheless, it is not always worth using the fetch land. We must remember about paying 1 life in order to use its effect. Imagine, opponent is attacking you with 2/2 flier and you are on 5 life. If you must choose between one extra turn of life and decreasing probability, in most cases first option would be better.

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