I dislike variance

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so am i stupidly unlucky or is there a problem when i start with 1 land, mull 2 six, get one land, mull to five get 2 lands but dont draw any for a couple turns, then in game 2 i get six land, mull to six and get 5 lands, mull to 5 and get one land, then mull to 4 and get one land and of course the next 6 cards are land, but by that point i'm out of luck
Depends on your land ratio in your deck. If you play too few lands that can happen alot yes. Too few would mean under 24 lands for a "normal" deck.
Try abstracts. Go, Arimaa, Hive, and plenty of others are good times. You'll probably still complain when you get smashed constantly, but at least it won't be about variance.
It's funny, players who know how a build a deck properly and mulligan properly never have reason to complain about the shuffler.
It's funny, players who know how a build a deck properly and mulligan properly never have reason to complain about the shuffler.


I wouldn't say never. I'd say not as often as others.

Winter.Wolf

And then there was the time I was on the draw and kept the hand with 2 lands, 4 Archive Traps, and a Ravenous Trap, and my opponent opened by cracking a fetch to bring a swamp and cast Inquisition of Kozilek. So while that was on the stack, I held priority and cast all 4 A-traps. The 43rd or so card into the graveyard was Emmy, so when that went on the stack, I cast the R-trap. Boom.

But most of the time, I get my butt handed to me - on a platter, no less - when I play mill.

Random is as random does. 

That includes your mana mishaps.

But, as stated, proper deck construction can change that. Affinity or Elves can run 16 lands, Jund can't. Merfolk & Tron usually run 20 lands, Rock can't. There is no "right number of lands". 

I do not wish to participate in this Community Site.

Tonight I was playing a Classic Delver deck and kept my seven with 1 land, Snapcaster and a bunch of free counters. I figured I could control the game until I drew into more land and/or action, then I'd still have Snapcaster to re-use a counter. 

But then I drew Delver on turn 1 and just won.

YAY FOR RANDOMNESS!!!! 
If you're going to complain about variance, you should be lobbying for R&D to design more cards that mitigate randomness, like cycling lands, landcyclers, cycling, lands that act as spells (manlands, barbarian ring, etc.), card filtering, spells that act like land (Llanowar Elves), and so on.  Complaining about the draws you got in one match are irrelevant when a) Any good player should have played so many thousands of matches that of course they're supposed to have hundreds of bad beats b) We don't have enough information to know whether your deck was constructed well, whether you made wise mulligan choices, etc..  Am I the only person who wants R&D to design a less luck-intensive, more skill-intensive game?
Am I the only person who wants R&D to design a less luck-intensive, more skill-intensive game?


There's a fine balance in Magic that is appealing to both skill and randomness camps. When a game is too weighted toward skill then it's a turn off for the other group, and may cause a decline in interest. As a cautionary tale consider how consistent Upper Deck made their Versus card game, and how it is now discontinued after just 5 years in production.
It's funny, players who know how a build a deck properly and mulligan properly never have reason to complain about the shuffler.


I wouldn't say never. I'd say not as often as others.



**** happens. Some accept this as a fact of life, some complain. If you know what to expect and are not an unreasonable person, you don't necessarily have a reason to complain if things don't go your way.
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It's funny, players who know how a build a deck properly and mulligan properly never have reason to complain about the shuffler.


I wouldn't say never. I'd say not as often as others.



**** happens. Some accept this as a fact of life, some complain. If you know what to expect and are not an unreasonable person, you don't necessarily have a reason to complain if things don't go your way.



Yeah well reasonable is a variable anyway. :P but I agree. Typically not complaining leads to better results in the long run and a rationally minded person will know this and not complain much or perhaps only do it to entertain.

Winter.Wolf

Most of my decks contain 23 lands out of 60 cradz and play online as they do in paper.  Variance is one of the reasons your only allowed 4 of most cards in your deck.  The random chance of drawing what you need when you need it and the ways to improve or alter that chance are what I find the game is about.  
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Most of my decks contain 23 lands out of 60 cradz and play online as they do in paper.  Variance is one of the reasons your only allowed 4 of most cards in your deck.  The random chance of drawing what you need when you need it and the ways to improve or alter that chance are what I find the game is about.  


+2.

Winter.Wolf

PVDR has an article up today over at Channel Fireball entitled

The Art of Reducing Variance
 
www.channelfireball.com/articles/pvs-pla... 

I hear he's a fairly good player.  Arguably top 5 of all time?
Thank you, Erik.
I've learned that the people who dislike variance and spend time complaining about it are the ones who actually need it the most.

Are you sure it isn't people who spend time complaining about people who complain? :-p

Personally I hate variance but I agree it is a necessary evil to a point. It would be very frusterating for new players (or anyone I play against in draft to lose consistantly and I expect the random wins keep a lot of people playing until the point that they have a resonable expectation to win based on their skills.

On the other hand, after recently losing a close match to someone because:
1) They opened Ajani, Caller of the Pride and played it 2 out of 3 games
2) I got stuck on 2 lands game 1
3) I kept a 4 land hand game 3, and ended up with an 8 land, 5 spell split

It makes me wonder how much variance is really helpful, before it starts muddling correct play for new players. For example, in game 1 my opponent used Ajani's ability and Plummet to kill off a creature that posed no threat to him, which opened the door to him losing Ajani to the creature I had that did pose a threat. But I couldn't capitalize on this error (aside from killing Ajani) because getting stuck on 2 lands at the start meant my best cards were still in my hand. By the time I'd played most of them out my opponent had Predatory Rampage. How can someone learn when they are winning games based on bombs/opponent mana issues, rather than skillful play?

I don't think it is possible to reduce variance in constructed without consequences, but certainly it seems like something could be done for limited, which has considerably more variance to begin with.

How many times did you draw your one of three drop with which you steam rolled your oppoenet that had a slow draw/deck/mana issues? Never? In all your magic carrer you never got a lucky draw, perfect mana, bomb or removal draw just at the right moment?

It highly unlikely that you never got lucky while your oppoents get consistantly lucky. Everybody lost the way you did but then again everybody won beacuse of similiar things. It's just that we get annoyed more by getting unlucky that the times we get lucky. It's the whole idea some people have that they win becauase they are skilled but loose because of bad luck. 
I'll say the same thing here that I said in silentbobus's thread on pretty much the same topic in the paper forums.

Can any student of Magic imagine any good limited player making the ridiculous claim of 90% of losses due to mana, mulligans, and mythics?

Methinks this claim says everything about silentbobus that one needs to know to reliably evaluate anything else he might say.  
Thank you, Erik.
How many times did you draw your one of three drop with which you steam rolled your oppoenet that had a slow draw/deck/mana issues? Never? In all your magic carrer you never got a lucky draw, perfect mana, bomb or removal draw just at the right moment?

It highly unlikely that you never got lucky while your oppoents get consistantly lucky. Everybody lost the way you did but then again everybody won beacuse of similiar things. It's just that we get annoyed more by getting unlucky that the times we get lucky. It's the whole idea some people have that they win becauase they are skilled but loose because of bad luck. 



Man I don't know about anyone else but I am very consistently lucky in waves. I mean I go through weeks with incredible luck and then just normal luck.

Winter.Wolf

I agree wuth you it is possible for a player to have a (shorter) streak of luck/bad luck but I refuse to believe that one player has only bad luck overall and never good luck.

Edit: You never hear anyone saying on these boards how lucky they are. To offset that I can say I got passed a Bonfire of the Damned in a swiss draft recently. I could go on that I was unlucky not to draw it each game and winning with it
I'll say the same thing here that I said in silentbobus's thread on pretty much the same topic in the paper forums.

Can any student of Magic imagine any good limited player making the ridiculous claim of 90% of losses due to mana, mulligans, and mythics?

Methinks this claim says everything about silentbobus that one needs to know to reliably evaluate anything else he might say.  



I don't believe I've ever made that exact claim. The claim you are likely thinking of is that 90% of my losses came in games where I muliganed my starting hand, had mana issues (either missing the first 3 land drops, or drawing more lands than spells) or my opponent beat me with a rare/mythic bomb.

Considering that for M13 I have an overall match win rate of 83.3%, 14 matches in, I don't think this would be that surprising. After you reach a certain point your losses are going to have to come from games in which you have some sort of a handicap, the ones I mentioned just happen to be the most easily trackable ones.
How many times did you draw your one of three drop with which you steam rolled your oppoenet that had a slow draw/deck/mana issues? Never? In all your magic carrer you never got a lucky draw, perfect mana, bomb or removal draw just at the right moment?

It highly unlikely that you never got lucky while your oppoents get consistantly lucky. Everybody lost the way you did but then again everybody won beacuse of similiar things. It's just that we get annoyed more by getting unlucky that the times we get lucky. It's the whole idea some people have that they win becauase they are skilled but loose because of bad luck. 



The purpose of this post is not to discuss unequal distributions of luck, the purpose is to discuss variance and our dislike of it. As a player who typically wins a large percentage of his matches (80% for AVR, 83.3% for M13 so far) I dislike variance because it means I have to eat the occassional random loss where I am making all decisions correctly. By keeping a 2 land hand for example, where the next land is 9 cards in. Or drawing an 8 land, 5 spell split after keeping a 4 land hand. Or because my opponent is rocking both Bloodgift Demon and Bloodline Keeper and the deck I drafted only has hard removal for one of these. Once you reach a certain point you are always going to daydream about the 90%+ win rate you could have if only variance were eliminated.
I will ask you again. Do you trully believe that all your wins were just because of your skills? Isn't it more likely that you lost roughly 5% of games because of luck factors while also winning some 5% because of the same luck factor?

Oh and some news flash for you. Magic without it's varnace would be a boring game. New players or less skilled players would just stop playing. The only ones left would be top or the most competitive players. Againts those players only I am sure you're winning percentage would drop drasticaly unless you're claiming you're the best (or top 10) magic player in the world. Highly unlikely. 
I will ask you again. Do you trully believe that all your wins were just because of your skills? Isn't it more likely that you lost roughly 5% of games because of luck factors while also winning some 5% because of the same luck factor?

Oh and some news flash for you. Magic without it's varnace would be a boring game. New players or less skilled players would just stop playing. The only ones left would be top or the most competitive players. Againts those players only I am sure you're winning percentage would drop drasticaly unless you're claiming you're the best (or top 10) magic player in the world. Highly unlikely. 



I'm sure that x% of my games are easy wins due to luck factors, to help counteract the y% of losses due to those same factors, but perhaps it would be better to look at this another way. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm winning 83.3% of my matches in M13, historically I've won around 70% of my limited matches online, and around 80% of my limited matches when I used to play offline at my local store. Based on these percentages, my ratings and my record at the few big events I've played at, I believe I am likely in the top 1% of players, and certainly in the top 5%. And yet I still don't win 95% of my limited matches, no one does. I understand the problem with making Magic completely deterministic, but I see nothing wrong with wishing it were less random than it currently is.
I will ask you again. Do you trully believe that all your wins were just because of your skills? Isn't it more likely that you lost roughly 5% of games because of luck factors while also winning some 5% because of the same luck factor?

Oh and some news flash for you. Magic without it's varnace would be a boring game. New players or less skilled players would just stop playing. The only ones left would be top or the most competitive players. Againts those players only I am sure you're winning percentage would drop drasticaly unless you're claiming you're the best (or top 10) magic player in the world. Highly unlikely. 



I'm sure that x% of my games are easy wins due to luck factors, to help counteract the y% of losses due to those same factors, but perhaps it would be better to look at this another way. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm winning 83.3% of my matches in M13, historically I've won around 70% of my limited matches online, and around 80% of my limited matches when I used to play offline at my local store. Based on these percentages, my ratings and my record at the few big events I've played at, I believe I am likely in the top 1% of players, and certainly in the top 5%. And yet I still don't win 95% of my limited matches, no one does. I understand the problem with making Magic completely deterministic, but I see nothing wrong with wishing it were less random than it currently is.

If you are so good, win a GP

My forever unfinished blog of the 2010 MTGO Community Cup: if you're ever bored...
I don't play paper Magic any longer. But, wouldn't winning a GP be top 0.1% or top 0.01%? I made day 2 at the last one I went to and that one had over 1500 people. Certainly the skill of the average GP player is significantly better than the average player.
silentbobus, I fail to see the difference between what I said and what you said at least twice.

Thank you, Erik.
I thought you read the original discussion. I had to go back quite a bit, since I kept my log during Innistrad block. Every game I lost I would write down the circumstances that led to the loss, as they related to the 3 Ms (Did I have mana issues, did I lose to an opponent's rare or mythic bomb, did I muligan my starting hand). It looks like 88% of my losses occurred in games in which at least one of the 3 Ms factors occurred. Here is the final post from that thread:

"Since DII is now over (for me) I've decided to write up the final tallys:

Mana: 38
Bomb: 32
Muligan: 8
Mana + Bomb: 15
Mana + Muligan: 6
MMM + Non MMM: 7
Non MMM: 13

So the results were as expected, excluding MMM + non MMM causes, 70% involve a single MMM factor, 19% were determined by multiple MM factors and 12% occured in the absence of MMM factors.

The individual bombs were mostly unchanged since the previous tally, but Increasing Confusion made the list, as did Kessig Cagebreakers, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Curse of Death's Hold as well as a number of repeats."
I thought you read the original discussion. I had to go back quite a bit, since I kept my log during Innistrad block. Every game I lost I would write down the circumstances that led to the loss, as they related to the 3 Ms (Did I have mana issues, did I lose to an opponent's rare or mythic bomb, did I muligan my starting hand). It looks like 88% of my losses occurred in games in which at least one of the 3 Ms factors occurred. Here is the final post from that thread:

"Since DII is now over (for me) I've decided to write up the final tallys:

Mana: 38
Bomb: 32
Muligan: 8
Mana + Bomb: 15
Mana + Muligan: 6
MMM + Non MMM: 7
Non MMM: 13

So the results were as expected, excluding MMM + non MMM causes, 70% involve a single MMM factor, 19% were determined by multiple MM factors and 12% occured in the absence of MMM factors.

The individual bombs were mostly unchanged since the previous tally, but Increasing Confusion made the list, as did Kessig Cagebreakers, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Curse of Death's Hold as well as a number of repeats."

  

Your terms mana, mulligan, bomb are not defined.

These effects are not objectively measurable without reference to specific deck lists. 

You don't state the positive effects these factors have on your winning.

----------

I have no confidence these numbers are real.  You have done nothing to establish credibility or substantiate your claims to being good at Magic.  There are no videos, decklists we've seen from you have been suspect.  You have not shown us any significant tournament results in MOL and only one unsubstantiated in paper.  
Thank you, Erik.
Please take your fight back to the shuffler thread
Your terms mana, mulligan, bomb are not defined.

These effects are not objectively measurable without reference to specific deck lists. 

You don't state the positive effects these factors have on your winning.

----------

I have no confidence these numbers are real.  You have done nothing to establish credibility or substantiate your claims to being good at Magic.  There are no videos, decklists we've seen from you have been suspect.  You have not shown us any significant tournament results in MOL and only one unsubstantiated in paper.



I've defined mana issues, rare/mythic bombs and muligans countless times. Mana issues are defined as missing one of your first 3 land drops, or drawing more lands than spells over the course of the game. Muligan is defined as any game in which you start the game with less than 7 cards. I've given the list of cards I consider bombs in the 3M thread itself, but the easy definition is rares/mythics that take over the game by themselves. Cards like Bloodgift Demon and Bloodline Keeper.

There are hundreds of decklists in the limited forums, at the very least every 6-0 deck I've made is listed there.

I've written up all of the M13 results that I've had in the limited forums. I went 3-1 in the sealed prerelease and the rest have been split between 2-1 and 3-0.

But perhaps this is the easiest way:



How many people do you know that have MOL limited ratings over 1850?
How many people do you know that have MOL limited ratings over 1850?



None actually because most good players don't have the need to brag about their play skills/ratings.
How many people do you know that have MOL limited ratings over 1850?



None actually because most good players don't have the need to brag about their play skills/ratings.



To be fair you guys did call him out. Posting a screenie of his rating seems only fair as a response.

I happen to know quite a few high rated players but the flip side is I know many more mediocre rated players (such as myself).

Winter.Wolf

I agree Telir it was harsh but to me it seemed that his/hers comments here were more of an ego trip than an actual contribution to the thread. 
I agree Telir it was harsh but to me it seemed that his/hers comments here were more of an ego trip than an actual contribution to the thread. 


This is how things can be misunderstood when things have to be explained over and over.

When things dont have to be explained over and over it becomes easier to discuss how to improve the game even further.
- This is, honestly, a grotesque advantage. Noah Weil on scouting, an attorney from Seattle with 20 Pro Tour appearances.

I'd be truly interested if there are any Pro players who feel the same way, that most of their losses stem from your three factors.  I've never seen such, but I don't have access to their inner secrets, just what is published for all to see.

silentbobus, that is an outstanding rating.  Good job.  No, I don't know anyone with that sort of rating.  But then again I don't know anyone's rating.  Sax used to have a way to guess how many people had what sort of rating, I think it t depended on knowing the number of MOL players, a rating and what rank that player was.  Do they even give ranks anymore?

Thanks for providing an idea of where I can look at your decks and for defining your terms. 

JMason my apologies that you don't like the discussion.


Thank you, Erik.

I'd be truly interested if there are any Pro players who feel the same way, that most of their losses stem from your three factors.  I've never seen such, but I don't have access to their inner secrets, just what is published for all to see.

silentbobus, that is an outstanding rating.  Good job.  No, I don't know anyone with that sort of rating.  But then again I don't know anyone's rating.  Sax used to have a way to guess how many people had what sort of rating, I think it t depended on knowing the number of MOL players, a rating and what rank that player was.  Do they even give ranks anymore?

Thanks for providing an idea of where I can look at your decks and for defining your terms. 

JMason my apologies that you don't like the discussion.





I have known pro-players who have expressed dislike of variance. One pro-player at my local store expressed his discontent with variance in regards to the Elo ranking system. He felt that he needed to play frequent tournaments at the local store to improve his abilities, but "Losing to random scrubs" was keeping his rating down. Indeed every major tournament he went to he improved his rating, and then it slowly fell as he played locally. This is back when the Elo ranking system was still used, and getting above various rankings gave you byes at the GPs.

I'm not certain at what level of skill the majority of your losses in limited come from the 3 M factors, but I have to imagine that all pro-players have hit it. Either they are playing less skillful players, such that the only real chance of victory their opponents have is for the pro-player to get terrible draws (mana issues/muligans) or to draft so many stellar cards that the pro-player can't deal with all of them (rare/mythic bombs). If the pro-player is playing someone of roughly equal skill it is likely the outcome of the game will come down to a single card, play or point difference in CA. Thus starting with -1 CA due to muliganing, or getting -x virtual CA due to mana flooding should put the other player in the driver seat. And if it must come down to a single card deciding the game, what better card than something like Bloodgift Demon or Bloodline Keeper? I would never bet against a player with either of those on their side. Hence the person losing the match is inevitably losing to a rare or mythic bomb, provided his opponent didn't run into mana issues that prevented them from playing the rare/mythic bomb in the first place. If you keep track of the 3Ms I suspect you will see that the majority of your losses occur in games in which at least one of the Ms is hit (provided your limited ranking is at least 1650 or so)
If you keep track of the 3Ms I suspect you will see that the majority of your losses occur in games in which at least one of the Ms is hit (provided your limited ranking is at least 1650 or so)



The problem here is that at least one of those three Ms will occur on both sides of the table in almost every game. In many games all three will occur for both players at some point. Your system will still blame those losses on the "3Ms." 

Very few draws are perfect, so there's almost always something to point to and say "that's what went wrong." That's all you're doing. Your system is inherently flawed, and doesn't actually say anything useful in regards to winning or losing at Magic. It's just playing the blame game.
Well let's see now, the rare bombs in M13 are:
Captain of the Watch
Disciple of Bolas
Firewing Phoenix
Intrepid Hero
Krenko, Mob Boss
Magmaquake
Mutilate
Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis
Odric, Master Tactician
Planar Cleansing
Predatory Rampage
Sands of Delirium
Shimian Specter
Silklash Spider
Sphinx of Uthuun
Staff of Nin
Stormtide Leviathan
Stuffy Doll
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Thragtusk
Xathrid Gorgon
Yeva, Nature's Herald
Which is 22 cards out of the total 53 22/53 = 41.5%
All Mythics except for Omniscence and Serra Avatar are bombs, for 13/15 = 86.6%
Blended Rate 0.471 bombs per pack, 1.41 bombs on average drafted per player

Assuming 90% of them get played (some will not due to mana requirements, hate draft, rare draft, etc) 1.27 bombs per deck.

In the median M13 game, a player will draw 15 cards. So the per game percentages are:

Chance a given player will face a bomb rare/mythic = 47.62%
Chance a given player will muligan = 15.43%
Chance a given player will hit mana short = 12.59%
Chance a given player will hit mana flood = 22.84%

However, these percentages do not reflect the dependencies between the conditions. If a person has kept their starting hand it means they do not have 0, 6 or 7 lands. It is also less likely they have a 1 or 5 land hand, since people tend to toss these. If someone would like to do out the exact calculations assuming a 23 spell, 17 land deck, 90% of 1 land hands muliganed and 50% of 5 land hands muliganed, feel free to do so now. (All 0, 6 and 7 land hands are muliganed, and no 2, 3 or 4 land hands are muliganed)
The problem I have with your theory is that you massivly exagurate the importane of playing a "bomb". You make it sound that if an opponent plays a Interpid Hero for example you straight up loose. Which is incorect. If you do not play a green fatties deck you generaly do not care for that card.

Even if accept your theory it means that each of the players has a 47,5% cahnce that he wins a game of magic just of the offchance he/she plays one of the cards in his/hers deck. Meaning that you are reducing the complex game of magic down to drawing and a playing A card. You are saying that a player straight up wins almost half of his/hers game on just playing one card. That said it means that out of you 83% plus wins 40% game wins goes down on you playing one of the above bombs. So you're the lucky one annd not your opponents.

Finally with a high percentage of playing one of the bombs what happens when both players play their bombs? Instant draw?

I'm not saying that your list is made of bad cards or cards people don't want to play with. I'm just saying that these cards are beatable. It may swing the match in their favor but it's not an automatic win.

Also sorry if I offended you before I'm usually not a prick  
JMason my apologies that you don't like the discussion.

I am entertained by the ongoing shuffler debate, it just belongs in the shuffler thread
 
"Losing to random scrubs" was keeping his rating down.


I'll bet you that variance just happens to be higher at FNM REL than at pro REL. You should do a statistical study on that theory too :o)