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Subject: Is there any sort of Point Buy deck building variant? rss

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Tiwaz Tyrsfist
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Back in the day I quit magic because, frankly, it had simply become a mini-game of "Who has the biggest checkbook?"

Don't have $2K to drop on singles to build "Teh Uber Deck"? You loose.


Now, prices are much more reasonable, and set formats have changed so you don't have to buy a bunch of decade old singles just to compete, HOWEVER, it's still sort of, "Oh, you can't afford 3 cases of boosters and $60 for five Mythic Rare singles, why are you here?"



So, given that cards are MOSTLY (not totally but close) stratified in power by rarity (Mythic rares are better than rare, which are better than uncommons, etc), therefore it would seem logical to me to create a point buy system for deck building.

Start with a basic cost tree.
Basic land - Free
Commons - 1 pt each
Uncommons - 5 pt
Rares - 9 pt
Mythic Rares - 13 pt

The apply modification for specific cards as necessary, I.E. Jace, the Mind Sculptor might go up as high as 30 pts, while cards like the old Timber Wolves (ha ha if you remember them you know what I mean) might well only be 3 pts despite being rares. The point is to adjust UP cards that are very powerful, and adjust DOWN cards that are weak.


Then, as a league, set a Point value. Decks can be UNDER the value if the owner wishes, but not EXCEED the value.
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Thomas Baumbach
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I'd really *like* to see a format like this, but it would be a huge undertaking to value each exception to the general case. (It would also, I think, take an impressive knowledge of MtG both current and past to do so with anything resembling accuracy.) In other words, fantastic idea, but I don't see it coming to fruition.

But (so this post isn't completely nay-saying), your chosen starting point costs are spot on. Developing costs for the exceptions will be the trick.

 
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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Beware that by relying just on rarity, you're going to be distorting the sort of decks that are viable. Aggressive decks like Red Deck Wins and White Weenie tend to rely mostly on commons and uncommons with the occasional splashy rare, while control and especially combo (or just wacky, fun-but-not-that-great decks) tend to turn on specific rare cards. You probably also want to rate lands more cheaply than nonlands, because you need good dual lands to make an effective multicolored deck, and being point-capped will otherwise push people towards mono-colored decks where they spend all their points on the business end of their decks.

I thinks better approach would be to look at the actual market value of cards from some agreed-upon source, and use that to establish a price cap for decks in your league. You could even use that as a starting basis, then adjust the values for your league over time based on their performance. That is, give each card an ELO or TrueSkill rating, treat each deck as a team of cards, and adjust their ratings based on their win/loss record. That particularly incentivizes finding good decks that your group isn't playing with, by making their cards cheaper than decks which are currently dominating.
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Steve Wagner
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I believe there was a system like this, but it's been a long time since I've seen it.

On your system, I would say that would work pretty good, although I'd say 10pts for rares and 15pts for mythics, just to keep it easy to track. Also, I would count common as 0pts, since adding a common to a deck is the lowest you can do and there's no reason to worry about counting those.

I'd forget about exceptions. If a card is too powerful, just ban it.
 
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Philip Newman
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(Disclaimer: I play very little MtG, so I'm keeping this as general as possible.)

If I were doing this for an online league with lots of games, I would be tempted to set it up with default rarity-based values initially and then let those values evolve with game results. A system like that *might* be feasible with physical cards, though it would probably take too long to reach any sort of reasonable equilibrium.

I would suggest setting the point value for each rarity as an absolute minimum and not adjust down, only adjust up for power cards. The other problem is how to deal with combos - if you adjust up enough to keep the combo from dominating, you may price those cards out for individual use.
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Sean Raffuse
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Santiago wrote:
I thinks better approach would be to look at the actual market value of cards from some agreed-upon source...


I've always wanted to do that for MTGO, which has a near perfect market that could set point values perfectly. Bots such as cardbotmtgo are very good at setting market value on cards based on supply/demand. You could enter your decklist into the online price query thing and get the "weight class" of your deck. From there, you could either set a cap, or develop a handicapping system. I've always been frustrated by the "Just for fun" room in MTGO because of the wide expectations. This would be a way to be competitive at a variety of card availability levels. Does anybody else think this would work? Or not?
 
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Tiwaz Tyrsfist
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Oh, I agree that doing it for, say, Vintage, would be insane. But I think that for say Standard it wouldn't be TOO hard.

Primarily all you would have to look at is cards that are banned or restricted in the format, and probably just math troll a price list.

Hell, grab a price list, and calculate the average price of a card of Rarity X from set Y. For every standard deviation ABOVE the mean cost, add 2-3 points, for every standard deviation BELOW the mean, drop 2-3 points.

So, for example, I just did a little math.

I took the median card value from Magiccards.info on each of the mythic rares from World Wake (home of the abusive Jace, the Mind Sculptor). I figured the average values (mean and median), and then figured standard deviations based on both, and then compared the values, and while all the other Mythic rares are within 1 Standard deviation, Jace is ~3 standard deviations off, giving it a value of, say, 22 points.

Note that, if we remove Jace, then Wrexial and Comet storm both come in one low and Dragonmaster Outcast comes in one high.
Also if we declare Jace an outlier and then calculate him using the mean and Stnd Dev without his cost figured in, he's at almost 30 Stnd Deviations (29.99017), which would make him at 3pts per standard deviation 103ish points?

Well, he is banned in extended and modern for a reason...


But yeah, it would take a decent amount of work.
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Matt Vollick
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Rotisserie Draft a block. Group commons into sets of 5 to decrease the time it takes to draft. Let market forces determine a cards value and let players make trades. The exact number of cards in the draft can vary depending on the number of players in your league.
 
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Jason Mackay
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Biggest problem with this is you'd have to update the cards values constantly.

A single common (like back in the Madness days) can "define" a deck. Take out that one card, and the rest of the cards lose their relative power. So then you'd have to reposition the power ratings. But then someone comes along and builds Faerie's... suddenly "bad" cards are now "broken"...

May be able to do it with a static format that's been around a while, but otherwise you'll just have to use your point system for rarity, and take the good with the bad.
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bob dole
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There isn't a point build version that I know but there are some other formats. Heirloom-each rarity is capped by how much they're worth, pauper-commons only, peasant-all commons+5 uncommons.
 
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Tiwaz Tyrsfist
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So relevant to the discussion from yesterday, I generated this in about an hour, and frankly it would have been faster if I know anything about how to auto strip data from a website. This was an hour copying by hand.

Anyway, this is a list of the M:tG Mythic Rares and Rares with the number of Standard Deviations from Mean cost (top and bottom 10% clipped for normalization). It's currently rounded to 1 decimal place, but beyond that I'd say always round down. For each full standard deviation above or below the mean, the cards point cost increases or decreases (respectively) by one. So, Ajani would be 16 pts, while Worldfire would be 12.
Mythic Rares wrote:

Ajani, CotP 3.0
Akroma's Memorial -0.3
Chandra -0.7
Elderscale Wurm -0.9
Garruk, PH -0.4
Jace, MA 0.0
Liliana otDR 1.8
Nicol Bolas -0.4
Omniscience -0.6
Primordial Hydra -0.9
Serra Avatar -0.9
Sublime Archangel 2.3
Thundermaw Hellkite 2.6
Vampire Nocturnus 0.1
Worldfire -1.1

So, 10 of the 15 Mythic Rares would be at the base value of 13 pts.

Rares wrote:

Battle of Wits -0.9
Boundless Realms -0.8
Captain of the Watch -0.1
Cathedral of War 2.9
Clone -1.0
Diablolic Revelation -0.6
Disciple of Bolas 1.3
Door to Nothingness -0.9
Dragonskull Summit 1.4
Drowned Catacomb 2.1
Elvis Archdruid -0.3
Faith's Reward -0.4
Fervor -0.8
Firewing Phoenix -0.8
Gilded Lotus 2.7
Glacial Fortress 1.8
Ground Seal -0.6
Hamletback Goliath -1.0
Hellion Crucible -0.4
Intrepid Hero -0.6
Krenko, Mob Boss 1.5
Magmaquake 0.1
Master of the Pearl Trident 3.4
Mutilate 2.4
Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis -0.2
Odric, Master Tactician 1.2
Phylactery Lich -0.9
Planar Cleansing -0.9
Predatory Rampage -1.0
Quirion Dryad -0.4
Redirect -1.0
Reverberate -1.0
Rhox Faithmender -0.1
Rootbound Crag 1.1
Sands of Delirium -0.6
Serra Avenger 1.4
Shimian Specter -0.6
Silklash Spider -0.8
Slumbering Dragon 0.9
Spelltwine -0.8
Sphinx of Uthuun -1.0
Staff of Nin -0.8
Stormtide Leviathan -1.0
Stuffy Doll 0.8
Sunpetal Grove 1.5
Talrand, Sky Summoner 5.4
Thragtusk 14.5
Touch of the Eternal -1.0
Trading Post 0.2
Void Stalker -0.5
Wit's End -1.0
Xathrid Gorgon -1.0
Yeva, Nature's Herald 3.2

Also, we see here that Thragtusk has the biggest swing, at +14. Thragtusk ends up being a 23 point card.


So, I think that, Especially if you had someone who knew how to write a script to pull then names and costs automatically, it wouldn't be to hard to figure a complete list. Especially if you further truncated the weighting system by saying "weight only cards OVER +/- 1 Standard Deviation" (well, to be more specific, only apply weighting to cards of at least +/- 2 Std Dev)
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Todd Pytel
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I've wished for this sort of thing before myself, but I just don't think there's any good way to do it. Using market value, as you are, seems like the most sensible approach, but card value depends on too many things besides raw power. You'll often find cards with inflated values because they have casual appeal or fit some specific niche in an older format - but that doesn't make them any more powerful in the card pool you're creating. A strong card that's been reprinted numerous times will lose a ton of value once supply surpasses demand. Cards can hold a high value because they serve as specific answers to popular tournament decks, but that doesn't make them any more useful against a wider field of general-purpose decks. The list goes on and on. Price isn't a useful metric of card power, at least not useful enough to build a point system around.

If you want to avoid the wallet battle of Constructed Magic, just play Limited.


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David Me
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I ran tournaments using a point system by Garfield in an early Duelist. It allowed up to 10 copies of any card, maybe 10 points to build the deck (or 20?) and a few points less if you used a sideboard.

Decks tended to be very broken by using so many copies of cards that didn't get points.

The list was never updated, I suppose because of the time it took to build decks.

I've wished that MTG Online would enact something like this, with points going up and down daily or weekly based on past tournament results.
 
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While I like the idea, my recommendation would also be to
tppytel wrote:

just play Limited.


Edit: This Market draft variant, where players buy cards from a limited pool, might also appeal to you.
(I haven't played it, but it sounds pretty good.)
 
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