My New Strategy

So I was mired in the depths of a 2 W 15 L losing streak when I got what I think might be a really good idea.  After having struggled through Smelly Cat (Purugly Garbodor) and Toterra Drifblim, I was very frustrated and wondering what I should play.  I had just finished a tough loss to Buluvolt and was trying to decide what deck I might play that might actually win.  I thought, “Hmm maybe I’ll give Greninja a try.”  And then it occurred to me: I just played a Grass deck, what are the chances I’ll run into back to back Grass types?”

The answer to that is 2.8%.  Seven times in 250 matches so far this month I’ve come across the same type in back to back games.  That means 243 times the next deck I faced on PTCGO was different than the one I had just battled.  That means if you just went up against a Metal deck, you should play Fairy because your chances of running into Metal again are astronomically small.  If you just battled a Fire deck, you should run Metal or Grass because you probably won’t get Fire decks in back to back matches.

Not that it can’t happen – like I said seven times I ran into the same type in back to back games – which would mean that for those matches you’re probably walking right into an autoloss.  But as I pointed out here, the chances of that happening are pretty small: about 1 in every 35 games small.  That percentage seems really low to me – just doing a sanity check, there are only nine different energy types, so 1 in 35 off the top of my head initially strikes me as being too infrequent, but looking at my records, it is what it is: I just rarely faced the same deck type twice in a row.  Maybe it’s something with how the game pairs players together?  Maybe something about the algorithm?

Anyway, I think that what you go up against on PTCGO is completely random, and that this strategy is very much like trying to bet opposite red or black on roulette after it just hit that color.  However, statistically, the numbers are there to justify it, and I’m currently 11 W and 3 L since adopting this appproach, and I haven’t had weakness disadvantage in any of these matches.

This has also prompted me to think about tracking two new factors: 1) if one deck or another has the weakness advantage and 2) the type of the deck that I’m facing.  This could provide additional insight into 1) whether a result for a particular decklist might be skewed and 2) what types might be more favorable to play so that you might get the weakness advantage a little more often (or conversely what decks to avoid so as to minimize your chances of coming up against a deck you are weak to).

I think I’ll begin tracking this in May as that’s when the newest expansion set Forbidden Light comes out.  If you give this strategy a shot, let me know if it works for you.  The down side is that you’ll have  to flip to different decks every match, and I know I like to play a deck several times in a row normally so you get a good feeling for a deck, develop consistency.  But I’m giving this a try and we’ll see what happens.