Making Better Bets: Part 2 - Deckbuilding

by Jacob Wielgus, Will Reinhardt 8th September 2022 15 : 49
This article is narrated by Will Reinhardt, and is available only to subscribers. Subscriptions are currently managed via the FaB DB Patreon page. You must purchase Supporter+, Majestic+ or Legendary+ to get access to The Rathe Times' Pro Series content.

In Part I of this two-part series, we established the importance of keeping track of the current turn number, and explored some practical uses of hypergeometric distribution during gameplay.

In Part II, we’re going to extend this power to our deckbuilding.

By the end of Part II, you’ll:

  1. Understand deck composition probability in order to analyze your own lists and make mathematically informed refinements that go beyond your intuition.
  2. Have a better handle on how your sideboard is assembled and how your swaps may be unintentionally hindering you.

In a Nutshell

Essentially what we will be doing throughout this process is identifying various groupings of cards that we believe to be relevant for our deck, and then using a hypergeometric distribution calculator (like this free one) to see how likely it is that we would draw a certain number of those types of cards. There are lots of angles we can take to this approach, though.

As a quick review, in order to use hypergeometric distribution we need to know four pieces of information:

1. Total population size (how many “unseen” cards in our deck)

2. Total items of interest in the population

3. Sample size (4 cards that we draw each turn)

4. The number of successes we’re looking for in our sample

Art or Science?

Deckbuilding is an art, but it’s also a science. In the end, I personally believe it is more science than art, given that cards are ultimately just bundles of numbers that adhere to game rules (more numbers), and these rules and systems (more numbers) can be optimized. But game philosophy aside, it’s clear that we should pay attention to the underlying math of cards and deck composition when we’re looking to refine a deck to its maximum potential.

That being said, the idea for a deck doesn’t begin as science. It comes from a more creative, intuitive, and artful place. But once we’ve assembled that initial spark of an idea into its first iteration, we can immediately start putting our decklist through these calculations to get a better idea of where it’s falling short.

This is a pro series article, requiring a subscription to The Rathe Times. Subscriptions are currently managed via the FaB DB Patreon page.
You must purchase Supporter+, Majestic+ or Legendary+ to get access to The Rathe Times' Pro Series content.

Jacob Wielgus

Jacob has been a CCG player since prepubescence, and a wolf in jester’s clothing. His affable and amicable exterior is plagued by an interior life that is deeply disturbed by losing. He wants to do better. He can do better.

Will Reinhardt

Will Reinhardt enjoys many card games, but none more so than Flesh and Blood. He loves any opportunity to share his passion for the game, strategy, and tips he's learned along the way. He now runs Cardboard Cast, creating content whenever he is not chasing his toddler around the house. Will is based in Roanoke, Virginia, USA.