Getting out of 2/2/2 hands – Taking control of RNG

This is an edit of this older post. It had some wonky formatting, lacked depth and had too much useless math.

You’re staring down a 2/2/2 hand, wondering what you’ve done to anger the RNG gods. you play two cards from one house. It feels bad, but surely you’re going to draw into a 3/2/1 or a 3/3, right?
Wrong, you manage to draw into another 2/2/2 hand. Situation looks as grim as ever. You’re playing two card a turn and your opponent is churning out three-four cards in rapid succession.
You pick another two cards to play, take a deep breath, and draw into yet another 2/2/2 hand. Sure enough, you lose the game. You just didn’t have the resources.

The first step is to recognize the problem

A 2/2/2 hand doesn’t always have the same impact. When your board is clear and all you get to do is play cards out of hand the impact is much higher than when you have a delta of 3. Being able to call a hand + board of 5 is often completely fine, and in fact, expected. A 2/2/2 hand split when you have seen no cards of two of the house and 5 cards of one houses can actually be a boon.

Imagine you opened with a 1/5 card split and happily played the 5 cards. You played three creatures and two actions that probably had low impact, but you thinned your deck out from that house. Now you draw into a 2/2/2 hand, and this result is actually quite lucky. It means you drew 2 cards of the house that only had 7 cards left, and now you can filter them out further while also using your 3 creatures!

But when your board is empty, a 2/2/2 hand split can feel painfully slow, not allowing to filter out cards and not allowing to set up a good board for consecutive turns. Knowing when a 2/2/2 hand is a potential problem is important, in general I think if your delta is 1 or lower a 2/2/2 hand is likely bad news.

Build up the delta

You’ve realized that you’re in a risky position and you’ve decided to do something about it, now what? Consider a mostly empty board and this hand.

Valdr, Krump, Mind Barb, Lash of Broken Dreams, Vigor, Snufflegator.

In the wild, Mind Barb + Lash of Broken Dreams can be a very strong play here. You’re disrupting your opponent’s hand, and you’re developing your Lash to be used later. However, our objective is to get out of 2/2/2 hands, so what we’re looking for, is which of those plays will make us least worried about drawing back into 2/2/2.

For me, the answer is clearly Valdr and Krump. If you draw two more Brobnar cards, you’re still going to have a solid hand + board of four. If you manage to hold those two, you might even survive drawing into a third 2/2/2 hand, especially if one of those 2 additional Brobnar cards help you develop your board further.

Play the odds

Discard piles hold a treasure trove of information and counting the house distribution will allow you to know the house distribution in your deck. If it is not the first turn, this can greatly affect your choice of house in a 2/2/2 hand split.

Sometimes building up a delta is not feasible. Maybe the creatures you can play are small and your opponent already built up a board and can easily pick them off, or maybe they will just die to out of hand actions. In this case the simplest solution is playing the house from which you have seen the most cards. If the difference is 1 card, it is not going to make a significant difference. However the more the house distribution is uneven, the greater the impact.

In the intro I told the story of drawing into a 3rd 2/2/2 hand. The chance of this happening if you chose the same house the first two times is fairly slim. From an opening had of 2/2/2 (which you should have probably mulliganed) the chance of playing one house twice and still drawing into a 2/2/2 hand is:

(10/30)*(9/29)*(8/28)*(7/27) = 0.7%

It might still happen, but not quite as often as drawing into a 3rd 2/2/2 hand if you played two different houes.

(10/30)*(9/29)*(10/28)*(9/27) = 1.2%

Which is still small, but comparatively, quite a bit more. And obviously this is much more pronounced in a later stage of the game where your house distribution might be even more lopsided.


Aurore is a competitive KeyForge player and the founder of Timeshapers. She's a programmer and a content creator by trade. Her hobbies are woodworking, game development, board games, writing, and of course KeyForge. Follow @MaterialPoetics

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