Evaluating decks by the numbers (sealed)
In the last online sealed chain auction I participated in, I felt like my deck assessment was way off. I’m giving myself some slack here since we got about 70 second to evaluate each deck, which is less than what you get for Archon format. So I did very rough counts and mostly used a gut feeling.
Still, I’m going to a sealed vault tour, I need my deck evaluation to be good. It was announced that we’ll have 30 minutes to pick a deck, that is plenty. This will allow me to crunch some numbers.
As an exercise, I will go over the six decks that were in the sealed auction and reassess them based on numbers.
By the numbers
The parameters I’m going to count are:
Aember control out of hand cards are going to be valued higher than cards that need to already be on the board. Each out of hand card will be worth 1, and each card that requires to be on board will be 0.5.
Raw aember is easy, but I will also count things like cleansing wave and Glorious few as generating 0.5 aember.
With creatures I’m interested in knowing the total number of creatures but also their distribution. I will subtract the count of the house with the lowest number of creatures from the house with the highest number of creatures and divide by 2 and add that to the result, which will give a higher score for lopsided distributions.
Swing cards are cards that can complete change the game state. Be it Bait and Switch for a huge aember swing, or a board clear like gateway. Also very strong cards like Control the Weak will go here. Out of hand cards will be 1, while cards that rely on sticking around for a turn, or prolonged use will be 0.5.
Dead cards are cards that almost always have very low impact. I don’t count low impact cards if they have an aember pip.
When I’ll play at UKGE I will count Artifact control too, but in CotA, I don’t feel it is important enough for it’s own parameter and they will simply be added to the Swing cards if they are strong like Poltergeist at 0.5 points each.
Aember control: Bumpsy (+Wardrummer), Urchin, Old Bruno, Dodger. Since Wardrummer isn’t reliable and Dodger needs to already be on the board, unless you have Speed Sigil out we have 3.5.
Raw aember: 13 plus 0.5 each for Warsong and Hunting Witch.
Creatures: 16 total, plus 1 for distribution.
Swing cards: Since this deck lacks sufficient creatures to take advantage of Speed Sigil it is likely going to be discarded so I’m not counting it. If it had more untamed creatures I would count Hunting Witch, but it doesn’t. So all this deck gets is 0.5 for Witch of the Eye.
Dead cards: Save the Pack and I’ll give both Cooperative Hunting -0.5 as this deck has a pretty high creature count, but it is still situational.
The Gauntlet that Brags of Metal
Aember control: Burn the Stockpile, Bumpsy, Lomir Flamefist, Jammer Pack and Grabber Jammer plus a hald point for Yxili Marauder. 5.5
Raw aember: 13 plus 0.5 for Hunting Witch and Full Moon.
Creatures: 16 total, plus 0.5 for distribution.
Swing cards: Hebe the Huge is the closest to a swing card this deck has, I’ll put it at 1.
Dead Cards: None.
Archlegend, the “Vizier” of Conversation
Aember control: Bumpsy, Neuro Syphon at 1 each, and Krump, Krump, Batdrone at 0.5 each for a total of 3.
Raw aember: 11.
Creatures: 19 plus 3 for a 6 creature difference between Untamed and Brobnar.
Swing cards: Earthshaker, Key Charge, Library Access.
Dead cards: Again I’ll give both Cooperative Hunting -0.5 as this deck has a pretty high creature count, but it is still situational.
Aember control: Dextre, Urchin, Nerve Blast for 1, and Batdrone, Batdrone, Champion Tabris, Mooncurser for 0.5 make a total of 5.5
Raw aember: 13 plus 0.5 for Cleansing Wave.
Creatures: 16 plus 3 for a 6 creature difference between Shanctum and Shadows.
Swing cards: Bouncing Deathquark, Miasma, Blinding Light, Blinding Light.
Dead Cards: Strange Gizmo is unlikely to be good.
U. Quari, Fisher of the Fabulous Treehouse
Aember control: Neuro Syphon at 1, Mindwarper, Mindwarper, Yxili Marauder, Noddy the Thief at 0.5. I don’t count Ghostly hand since it is very hard to pull off without other steals. total 3.
Raw aember: 10.
Creatures: 18 plus 2.5 for a 5 creature difference between Mars and Shadows.
Swing cards: Speed Sigil, Amonia Clouds, Poison Wave.
Dead cards: Bad Penny is a creature, and creatures are rarely dead, but Bad Penny should often be discarded as she acts as a Succubus against you if your opponent can easily kill her. If the deck had Seeker Needles and Pawn Sacrifices she wouldn’t be dead.
Aember control: Too Much to Protect, Bait and Switch, Relentless Whispers, Urchin, Urchin, Murmook for 1. Dodger, Dodger, Faygin, Noddy the Thief for 0.5 make a total of 8.
Raw aember: 11 plus 1.5 for Loot the Bodies, Loot the Bodies, Looter Goblin, though they have a high chance of success with the double Coward’s End.
Creatures: 17 plus 1.5 for a 3 creature difference between Shadows and Brobnar.
Swing cards: Coward’s End, Coward’s End, Bait and Switch gets mentioned here too. Not counting Save the Pack as it’s usually bad.
Dead cards: The Warchest is unlikely to go off very often with the limited creatures in Brobnar. Save the Pack.
So after putting all those numbers in a neat little spreadsheet, this is what I get:
I don’t think this system is perfect by any means, but I think it gave a much better ranking than my gut. Even though Wymonia placed third rocking 3 chains, I still think it is the worst deck. And final standing is also not necessarily indicative of deck power because of chains, player skill and luck. I’d also like to note that Ugluk4242 that piloted Archlegend to victory exclaimed that Rajah was the best deck and I may have to agree.
TheNickOfSlots also did a similar exercise and has come to the conclusion that Magnus is their favourite. They decided to also look at the distribution of aember control between houses, which is definitely valid analysis.
I’m thinking of using a similar system for UKGE, but I’m going to mix it with my gut feeling. A lot of cards are new and it’s going to be hard to assess them properly. Even SAS ratings, which are very intricate system cannot be fully relied on. SAS ranks all those decks between 70 and 76, with Wyomia actually ranked highest. Everyone tells you not to rely on ranking systems, but use them to help assess a deck and get more information on it. It is probably the same for this system.