Two Player Free-For-All, Skill or Luck to win?

32 posts / 0 new
Last post
So most people will say Skill, but I disaggree.  I believe the game already has a set probability for one or the other to win depending on what decks.  Try it out, take the best deck there is and then the worst.  Try to see a pattern like I have. Trust me you will see it.
on another note, ive been gone from the two player ranked scene for very good reason.  I see that the reason is still the same.... EVERYONE PLAYS THE SAME OP DECKS lol.  All I see is the same Vamps, Illusion, March, and Zombies.  Barely ever see any other thing... once again 16 decks and only 4-5 are ever even played competitively.  Shame on you! :P
I think the most important skill overall is properly trimming your deck. So two equally powered decks that are both trimmed equally well will mean the outcome is more luck based with a minor element of skill (with the primary skill in this matchup being...don't mess up).  

However, properly trimmed mid-tier decks can still get a respectabel win % in the 60%-70% range if they continually face unproperly piloted top-tier decks.  

But some decks (I'm looking at you Dragon's Roar) are just hopeless.

But I haven't played for a few months and am waiting for 2013 for some new decks!
very good thought,  i agree with your statement.  trimming is key to a great deck, but what if both are?  your right after that fact it IS luck. thank you :D
Are we talking about 1v1 duels here? Sorry, I guess I'm confused by the title by calling it a two player FFA. I would say skill plays a big role for the high competitive play, which is why good people should play the "top tier" decks. They are the most consistent between each other and reward the higher amount of skill. Think about it, because the weaker decks have "crappy" cards that players don't want to see, they essentially need to have luckier draws to string a larger number of good cards together to increase their chances of winning. This is why I think top level matchups (Realm, Vamps, March, etc) are going to reward more skillfull players as opposed to others.

There are also general skills that are required for general Magic play. I've ran across so many people who are just terrible at the game. Things like understanding concepts like tempo and card advantage and executing any actions that go with those, knowing when to be aggressive, when you're the beatdown deck or the control deck, how to make profitable attacks and trades and so forth. Some players are just not very good at executing these concepts and it really hurts their performance on the battlefield.

I'll kind of admit that playing a weaker deck against a better deck probably has a larger luck component though. However, I also think it requires more skill out of the pilot to maximize their chance at winning. I like to think of it as having a smaller margin for error. As the weaker deck, your good cards are more valuable because your deck has less of them than your opponent. So making mistakes will hurt you more in the long run. Still, if two equally skilled opponents were to play the bad deck vs. good deck match up, luck is going to play a bigger role in determining the winner where it's in favor of the good deck winning because it's more consistent.

TL:DR
Good decks reward skillful play. Poorly designed decks showcase a larger "luck" factor due to their inconsistency.
Brodo


i agree with the poor skills and lack of judgement from a huge amount of players, my biggest criticism is knowing when to take a hit. Letting damage slide past and taking it on the chin can sometimes mean the difference between win and loss. Oh and to those players who play a card just because you can, GTFO. 

Good decks are not more consistent than bad decks in my experience.


Every one has some card or combination of cards that can automatically win you the game just by showing up in your hand at the right moment and in the right order,  unless you commit some absurd misplay. And viceversa, with every deck you can get exactly the one card that does nothing for you in that situation, and lose. Or simply lose because your opponent got his best combo out and you didn't.


Think about the vampire nocturnus in vampires, or the blade of the bloodchief + aristocrat + bloodghast combo. Think about drawing counterspell in illusions, rather than cancel; or being able to play bribery on turn 5 against a deck with ungodly bombs, or getting a mind control right after your opponent played his best creature.


March to war can get screwed by drawing all the enchantments/artifacts and not enough creatures to use them with. Beknighted can get a lucky hand that can never lose (like mirran crusader turn 3 against a black deck, followed by armored ascension) but it can also get such **** cards that make it look like apex predators.



And certainly good decks do not reward skill more than bad decks, lol. Ghoulkeeper and Beknighted can be played on autopilot, literally dropping your creatures as soon as you can (yeah... remember not to play your knight of the white orchid on turn 2 and you are fine. Hell you are fine even if you do play him the wrong way!), Vampires is only marginally more complex. Realm of Illusions is the exception, requiring good strategies and good knowledge of your opponent's deck to be played effectively.


There is a low skill ceiling because of the small pool of cards, but there is one. It is hard not to read the original posts as "people only win because they play the best decks" disregarding any agency on the part of the player. I think Brodo said it best and there is not a lot to add after that post.
See, since I don't believe in luck, then the only answer available is skill.  Skill in recognizing what cards to remove from your deck before the game starts is a skill that I think is largely overlooked by some.  Just look at how many posts we have in each deck thread dedicated to editing your deck.  That should tell you how important that is.

There is also a lot of skill involved during the game.  Deciding which card to play first when presented with several options.  Deciding whether to play a couple of low CMC cards, over playing a single high CMC card.  I can't count the times I've seen people put down a card on turn 1 simply because it has a 1 mana cost, even though it should be evident that card isn't meant to be played until turn 4 or turn 6 or even after.  How many times have you had your 2/2 chump blocker Pacified?  LOL  How many times has my 1/1 been blocked by a 3/3 only to have a shock take it out later?  Or my 1/1 be blocked by a 4/4 only to have it destroyed by lightning bolt?  Or how many times have I, later in that game, bluffed a lightning bolt in my hand only to have my 2/2 go thru unblocked by a much larger creature?  I don't say these things to toot my own horn, I use them to illustrate how many things go on in the game of Magic that are skill based.

I don't consider top decking a bomb on turn 12 to be luck.  There is a 1 in 40 chance I get that card.  That's simply beating the odds.  With enough bomb/solution cards in your deck, that can easily become a 1 in 10 or 1 in 5 chance of getting a  card that is beneficial.  With a properly trimmed deck, you'd be amazed at how often you can beat the odds.

You're a lose cannon.

 

 

"I played 70 card decks before it was cool to play 70 card decks." -Random M:tG hipster


Good decks are not more consistent than bad decks in my experience.





Your right, every deck in DotP12 is pretty consistant.  It's just that some of them are consistantly bad while others are consistantly good.

You're a lose cannon.

 

 

"I played 70 card decks before it was cool to play 70 card decks." -Random M:tG hipster

See, since I don't believe in luck,



Lol, what a rediculous statement.
Why is that rediculous? There is no luck, only skill and probability.
See, since I don't believe in luck,



Lol, what a rediculous statement.




Obviously Sixty is Obi wan Kenobi.

I've been from end of the gallaxy to the other and I don't see no all powerful force controlling my destiny.
See, since I don't believe in luck,



Lol, what a rediculous statement.




Obviously Sixty is Obi wan Kenobi.

I've been from end of the gallaxy to the other and I don't see no all powerful force controlling my destiny.



Lol
is this even a real question. yes skill is involved the end i shoudnt need to elaborate any further.
See, since I don't believe in luck,



Lol, what a rediculous statement.




I'm not going to get trolled or bated so I'll leave it at this:

It's okay if you find my lack of superstition rediculous.  I simply don't believe there is some force that changes the roll of a die or what order I draw cards from a deck.


Obviously Sixty is Obi wan Kenobi.

I've been from end of the gallaxy to the other and I don't see no all powerful force controlling my destiny.




That would be Han Solo.  I would think that Obi Wan Kenobi does believe in mysterious forces since he is a Jedi Master.

You're a lose cannon.

 

 

"I played 70 card decks before it was cool to play 70 card decks." -Random M:tG hipster

I know. >.<

I do believe there is a certain amount of luck involved in addition to good play. Beating the odds is just good luck.
I think your confusing luck with fate, I see luck as just another word for chance or probability. If we're talking about luck being fate then I agree completely that it's superstitious nonsense.

Han Solo: "I call it luck"
ObiWan: " In my experience there's no such thing"



Beknighted can get a lucky hand that can never lose (like mirran crusader turn 3 against a black deck, followed by armored ascension) but it can also get such **** cards that make it look like apex predators.



Beknighted is never, ever as gimped as Apex unless you just draw straight lands until you lose. You can trim that deck so there are no "**** cards" in it. It's too consistent for DotP 1v1 and it's what has taken the fun out of 1v1, whereas I can consistently beat RoI, MtW, GW, etc. with "substandard" decks. I can only consistently beat Beknighted with Wielding Steel,  Dark Heavens, and I suppose RoI because there's no card I don't have an answer for with those decks really. Well, those 3 and mirror match I guess but I only take Beknighted when I know my opponent is playing it (i.e. I've played the person 3x in the past and every time they are a loser and pick the dumbest, most unimaginative deck in the game over and over because it can steamroll 90% of the decks without question.

To answer the OP question: It takes both. There is such a thing as "luck" in that probability only gives you so much in terms of being able to predict the outcome. I can have 10:1 odds that the next card I draw is going to be "X" which gives me confidence that's what I'll get but it's not absolute. What are the odds that you'll draw 10 land in a row? Or conversely NOT draw a single land for 10 turns? Probably pretty bad, but it happens and in that moment there is no amount of skill in the world that will save you (well, usually). For that reason, luck matters. I can't tell you how many times I've got my trimmed 60 card deck in a mirror match against someone with 80+ and they get all the bombs and tempo creating cards and I get squat. That's against the odds, I consider that person getting "lucky" because the odds are against them and the cards fell (well drew) in their favor despite my advantage.

With that being said, of course skill is extremely important. Being able to recognize certain combinations that are not entirely obvious is a skill. Being able to calculate for probability and take an EDUCATED risk (or NOT take an ill advised risk) is a skill. Knowing what cards your opponent has that CAN turn the tides and being able to be patient in playing cards that may be your only solution is a skill. Heck, just knowing the rules is a skill- I was playing the other day a 2-hg and one of our opponents had a tidemaker on the field and could've mana tapped us to oblivion- instead he opted to not only cast rite of replication, but kicked it, on his own legend. They had the game in the bag and he killed his own golden ticket when we had no answer and no way to stop the 8/8 body. Or people that decide to play (let alone even keep) the 4/4 air elemental and tap out their islands despite having field advantage already and 2 counters in their hand. Next turn Damnation and they feel and are dumb.

It sometimes is very difficult to convince a new player, NOT to put a card on the the table...
I've just bought the gold edition for my nefew as a gift (Steam). I've played some 2HG with him (against AI, he never played magic before (with dotp he stil hasn't of course Sealed)) and I always have to stop him...

I also explained like a hunderd times, to put things on the table during the second mainphase, in order to let the opponent think he has something in his sleeve. He just won't listen...

back to topic

in the end IMO it ALL comes down to luck....
put an expierienced player in front of a newbie (no offence). let the "expert" have some bad draws, and he WILL lose !!
put a newbie in front of a newbie ==> idem
put an "expert" in front of an "expert" ==> idem

you're skill may save you a turn or two longer than a non-expierienced player if things go bad, but not much more than that

in the end IMO it ALL comes down to luck....
put an expierienced player in front of a newbie (no offence). let the "expert" have some bad draws, and he WILL lose !!
put a newbie in front of a newbie ==> idem
put an "expert" in front of an "expert" ==> idem



I have to disagree a little bit here.

I think your first example is an extreme. For a really expert player (or even just a good player) to lose to a total newb it's going to take an awful lot of bad draws. With a free mulligan and a 2nd mulligan only costing 1 card it is very rare I can't draw a hand I don't feel comfortable with to start and by comfortable with I mean have the elements to either win the game in my hand or maintain enough tempo to control the game until I can draw a bomb. Of course there are instances where luck will cause you to lose. You're going against  Beknighted and they have all 3 Knight Exemplars in their opening hand and you've only got one removal in your hand and don't draw another in time you're probably screwed. Or maybe even a real in game example of luck, the dreaded turn 3 Ulamog or Inkwell Leviathan courtesy of a polymorphed Snake Oracle.

Nevertheless, inexperienced players generally don't know how to maximize the effectiveness of cards/their deck. For that reason, a really crappy player can get great cards and a really good player can get pretty lackluster cards, but the good player can usually find a way to win as long as they're not totally getting mana screwed or the crappy player isn't just playing Beat Down Deck du Jour and steamrolling with easy creatures.
in the end IMO it ALL comes down to luck....
put an expierienced player in front of a newbie (no offence). let the "expert" have some bad draws, and he WILL lose !!

I think this looks mostly true once the skill gap between both players gets smaller. Overall, a skilled player can minimize the effect of so called "bad luck" if the opponent is truly bad enough. Sure, sometimes the odds are against them, but there are other skillfull decisions that could've been made. Many times the victory begins with the starting hand. Often I win with what are practically the cards I had in my starting grip while drawing nothing but crap/land. Mulliganing is a skill and a lot of players do not utilize it, which is ridiculous considering we get a free one.

Not only that, a bad player can still make mistakes with the perfect grip that someone could take advantage of. Having something as simple as Damnation in hand (plus a bunch of garbage), maybe you wait an extremely long time before you attempt to stabilize. The bad opponent is going to keep dumping his nuts hand and the better player is going to buy a lot of more time and hopefully turn the odds in his favor through the massive swing in card/board advantage.

I think if you were to hypothetically have two perfect opponents, then yeah, the game is most likely determined by probability. Magic is pretty complex though, that "correct" plays don't make themselves apparent until after the match.



I think your first example is an extreme. .



really? check out this one:

yesterday I was playing 2HG with my nefew. I was playing wielding steel, he was playing his just dicovered beknighted (yeah Iknow...)
in My opening hand (after mulligan) I've got Stoneforge Mystic AND Kor outfitter  and 3 plains. I think whoehoe bring it on !!
(btw : we were playing against the AI, he is still learning how to play...)

We're playing against Koth and another, but he or she is not relevant in this anectode

The game begins and I begin drawing lands. Who cares right I've got what I want in my hand !!
I play Stoneforge Mystic, use its ability to go and fetch Argentum Armor. (Yes I know, but I couldn't help it, I wanted to show off...)
The next turn I play Mytiscs' ability and put my Argentum armor on the field.
With a grin on my face I end the turn, only to watch Koth to put Oxidda Scrapmelter on the table. Bye bye Armor
And I'm still drawing land after land... My newbie nefew actually saved us, by holding off our opponents till I got some better cards.
Now imagine this would have been a 1vs1; I would have been slaughtered
Please note that I'm not pretending to be a good player, but I've been playing since the release of fourth edition (I stopped regular magic a few years ago though) and I cannot count how many times me and my friends said at the end of a game :"Man why did you drew that card now, I only needed one more turn"....
I feel like that's a pretty bad example for your point. You're trying to argue that luck matters more in the end, but that kind of looks like a misplay on your part. So you're really showing how a skill intensive decision influenced the outcome of a match.

There are a couple of points throughout your example where a skillful decision had to be made, whether you're playing 1v1, 2HG, or whatever. It all begin when you chose your hand. You decided to needed to mulligan the first round of seven, and then saw an "all-in" hand and went for it. You didn't have to take it and could've went down to six. Deciding on these mulligans is a skill in the game and it should be obvious that the hand you kept was very high risk, high reward. How you play that hand out could easily cause the game come crashing down against you.

So the next thing you have to decide is when to cast Stoneforge Mystic. If you're going for the quickest win, then yes, you'll throw down Stoneforge cheat in Argentum Armor and Outfit to victory. However, you already know you're playing Koth, a guy who has a direct counter to your entire strategy. You walked right into it and were punished for it.

Call it luck, or getting lucky, but it shows poor use of your resources. Since you knew ahead of time you were playing Koth, there are things you have to actively look out for. Overextending into a sweeper and that he has artifact removal. Always assume they have the answer, and since you have a very powerful hand, it would've been better to pressure the opponent (2HG with Beknighted) or sit tight and hope the AI/bad player overextends his own hand dropping Oxidda early. Koth can't do anything remotely threatening until about turn 4 anyways, so you could have kept Stoneforge hidden information until you were really pressured yourself to tutor for a bomb, which could've actually been Sword of War and Peace instead of Argentum Armor.

Probability or "luck" can decide how the cards are dealt, but it's how the players use them that can really impact how a game unfolds.
Brodo is correct.  Following your own advice and you should take it a step further by analyzing what's in your hand, what's in your nephew's hand, then determine which cards out of the two of you should be used first and go from there.  I've played a lot of 2HG and it's almost like a reverse priority list.  You start with the stuff that you don't care about first.  If your opponents don't deal with those threats, then they continue to be threats.

If they do, you create new ones, one at a time even if necessary.  Just because you have something in your hand doesn't mean it should be cast.  Stoneforge Mystic doesn't have to be cast on the 2nd turn unless there's something you and your teammate care more about in his hand.

I've lost a fair number of matches due to simple bad luck from my opponents drawing the exact card they needed right then to win.  Aside from that though, my teammate and I win most matches, even ones with bad draws and that's because of how we play and what we do with the bad hand we've been given.
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.
You guys are correct of course !!
But like I said, I wanted to show off and end the match quickly....

Just one remark though, well a question perhaps.
Even knowing that Koth could mess it up, should I take that in account?
He knows (if he were a human player) that I know and can stalemate me for the entire match no?
I never minded that my opponent MIGHT have something to annoy me...


PS:@Lancekalzas: thx, now I know how to write nephew Laughing
You're welcome.  I'm glad I could help.  Smile
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.
There is a thing called skill cap. After both opponents reach it, the game is basically just luck. While paper Magic is complex enough for even the greatest players to even get anywhere close to the cap (since, apart of the gameplay itself, it inludes deckbuilding, sideboarding, metagame prediction, and the huge arsenal of bluffing, mind tricks and other stuff, and one person just can't be equally good at all that), the DOTP version is just a tactical arcade. The rules are simplified to the point where most of classical Magic gameplay elements are simply unavailable. So as long as both players know each other's decks and the gameplay basics, there's only luck or someone's accidental misplay that define victory.
There is a thing called skill cap. After both opponents reach it, the game is basically just luck. While paper Magic is complex enough for even the greatest players to even get anywhere close to the cap (since, apart of the gameplay itself, it inludes deckbuilding, sideboarding, metagame prediction, and the huge arsenal of bluffing, mind tricks and other stuff, and one person just can't be equally good at all that), the DOTP version is just a tactical arcade. The rules are simplified to the point where most of classical Magic gameplay elements are simply unavailable. So as long as both players know each other's decks and the gameplay basics, there's only luck or someone's accidental misplay that define victory.



interesting concept
There is a thing called skill cap. After both opponents reach it, the game is basically just luck. While paper Magic is complex enough for even the greatest players to even get anywhere close to the cap (since, apart of the gameplay itself, it inludes deckbuilding, sideboarding, metagame prediction, and the huge arsenal of bluffing, mind tricks and other stuff, and one person just can't be equally good at all that), the DOTP version is just a tactical arcade. The rules are simplified to the point where most of classical Magic gameplay elements are simply unavailable. So as long as both players know each other's decks and the gameplay basics, there's only luck or someone's accidental misplay that define victory.




My experience against Steam Users disagrees with this statement.  I've ran into many opponents that obviously knew their decks.  Had short, concise turns  which indicates a good knowledge of gameplay basics and (in the least) a good knowledge of their own decks that simply made bad play decisions.  I've also ran into people that have an obvious grasp on gameplay basics and concepts that still have 70 cards in their decks.

I agree that there is a skill cap, I just think it's quite a bit higher than you illustrated in your comment.  With the exception of sideboarding there are many elements in DotP that provide a lot of room between the floor and the ceiling as far a skill goes.

You're a lose cannon.

 

 

"I played 70 card decks before it was cool to play 70 card decks." -Random M:tG hipster

There is a thing called skill cap. After both opponents reach it, the game is basically just luck. While paper Magic is complex enough for even the greatest players to even get anywhere close to the cap (since, apart of the gameplay itself, it inludes deckbuilding, sideboarding, metagame prediction, and the huge arsenal of bluffing, mind tricks and other stuff, and one person just can't be equally good at all that), the DOTP version is just a tactical arcade. The rules are simplified to the point where most of classical Magic gameplay elements are simply unavailable. So as long as both players know each other's decks and the gameplay basics, there's only luck or someone's accidental misplay that define victory.



I agree that there is a skill cap, I just think it's quite a bit higher than you illustrated in your comment.  With the exception of sideboarding there are many elements in DotP that provide a lot of room between the floor and the ceiling as far a skill goes.



I just define the "gameplay basics" a bit broader than you, I suppose. Although, given this a little more thought, I have to agree, that there's quite a piece of knowledge that has to be aquired to become a good DotP player. Most of good players I know are ex- or current Magic players and have already learned most tricks required. For someone entirely new to the game (which is the vast majority of DotP playerbase, I suppose), it takes some time to learn the ropes. But anyway, even if the cap is higher that it appears to me, it's still there and it's still very, very reachable for anyone who decides to put a little bit of effort and thought to the game. These people are quite rare online, though. Most people treat this game exactly how it's supposed to be treated - as an arcade to spend a couple of evenings, and one can't exactly blame them for that.

the bottomline is: comparing to paper Magic, the skill:luck ratio is significantly lower. Given the same skill (e.g. two more or less experienced Magic players playing DotP), it's mainly luck that matters.

the bottomline is: comparing to paper Magic, the skill:luck ratio is significantly lower. Given the same skill (e.g. two more or less experienced Magic players playing DotP), it's mainly luck that matters.




I agree.  There is far more randomness in DotP than you would find in even casual magic.  This is mostly due to the way decks are constructed and also why certain decks are far more consistant that other decks.  The majority of decks in this game have a handful of bombs.  But most of them are singletons.  I think this tends to lead to the "lucky" feel when your opponent top decks one of them.  If decks were constructed with 3 and 4-ofs like normal magic then people would be drawing their 5/5 first strike flying angels more often so it wouldn't feel as "lucky" as it does now.  Compare that example (Weilding Steel) to Beknighted and it's obvious why people feel Beknighted is less "luck" oriented.  It has 3 Knight Exemplars.  So it far more consistantly gets its "bomb" on the board than WS does.  Leading people to think that WS are just lucky when they win.  When in fact, it's simply an illusion of luck created by the fact that Beknighted is far better built than WS is.

You're a lose cannon.

 

 

"I played 70 card decks before it was cool to play 70 card decks." -Random M:tG hipster