The State of SVO: Brigade Week 5

State of SVO week 5
This week of SVO concludes the open weeks of the season. The format played over the weekend was Rotation. We have seen the Brigade meta develop over the past weeks and it is time to say goodbye. With the mini expansion now live the metagame as we know it will likely shift drastically.

Pam Standings

EU Standings

In the future weeks of SVO we will be moving to a Top 8 bracket for the Brigade of the Sky. The players we see in top 8 fought hard for their positions here. The games we will have in future weeks will be played by the true veterans of the format.

pam week 5 statsClass popularity in PAM: Out of 76

EU week 5 stats.pngClass popularity in EU: Out of 64
Forestcraft: Featured deck piloted by ECHO CureMango:

86% of players took Forestcraft this week. Forest have reigned as king for weeks on end. It is hard to say if the mini expansion will hurt forest’s overall performance. Though Forest has been dominant for so long we are also seeing a shift in Forest. Decks that rely on Korwa and White Vanara have been gaining popularity. Perhaps as a counter to all of the aggressive forests being played recently.

Havencraft:   Featured deck piloted by ECHO CureMango:          

68% of players took Haven  over the weekend. Decks that play Summit Temple, Tenko’s Shrine and everything in between seem to be the most dominant ways to play the class. Haven  has multiple archetypes, all of which are great at different things. The mini expansion will need to do alot to shake Haven out of the top 3 classes.

Portalcraft: Featured deck piloted by DIS. Himari:
61% of players took Portal over the weekend making it the 3rd most popular class for the event. Puppet’s have proven their worth as a mainstay of the format since the first week of Brigade.  With cards like Silva and Nicholas and Paracelsus the deck got the push it needed to be a top dog. Moving into the mini expansion puppets will be getting Cucouroux, Green Gunsmith. This card will likely make Puppet Portal’s early turns stronger and thus be a boon to portal.

During DawnBreak NightEdge the mini expansion had a larger effect than anyone expected. Because of this I do not want to make any predictions as to what we may see in the early weeks of Brigade part 2. Many of the new cards look exciting and as though they may be able to breath new life into some of the formats more forgotten classes. We will have to wait until the next State of SVO to see what these new cards will change.

The State of SVO: Week 4

State of svo week 3.png
Another week, another SVO. This time we got the pleasure of playing and watching the Unlimited Format. Unlimited is a relatively unexplored format in the West since there are not large-scale Unlimited tournaments. This makes it so that there are many viable decks in Unlimited and rewards a player for their familiarity with a given class. This is not to say that the format doesn’t have any dominant decks. Unlimited has a few boogiemen you need to be prepared to deal with.

In PAM Tempo Storm took home 1st place once again. This week TS Potwasher piloted White Wolf, Mid-Range Shadow, and Elana Haven. Mid-Range Shadow and Elanas were both popular decks leading up to the weekend. Although White Wolf hadn’t been popular during the months leading up to this SVO, the inclusion of White Wolf made Potwasher’s lineup more robust.

For EU, Disastra (DIS) Sheepy won with a similar lineup to Potwasher’s. Like Potwasher, Sheepy took Forest and Shadow. However, the decklists had key differences. Sheepy had a dedicated OTK Roach Forest, a different Mid-Range Shadow build that fell back on Lord Atomy and Deathly Tyrant, and Daria.

Class Popularity in PAM: 76 Players total

Week 4 NA
Class Popularity in EU: 51 Players total

Week 4 EU

In previous weeks of the SVO there was more consistency with the most popular decks. Normally, the deck in the #1 or #2 position held their position in both regions. This time there was no such consistency other than Rune and Shadow making top 2. This shows how Unlimited is still open and has room for growth.

Rune: Featured Deck piloted by TK Dubski:

Overall Win Rate: 53.5%

In Unlimited, Rune has many different ways it can be built — all of them are formidable decks. Due to an abundance of archetypes, it makes sense for Rune to make it into the top 3. Between Dimension Shift, Daria, and Dirt Rune it is virtually impossible to build a lineup that is prepared for all three while remaining competitive against the rest of the field.

Shadow: Featured Deck piloted by DIS. Onion Sheep:

Overall Win Rate 53%

With Demonlord Eachtar’s nerfs recently being reversed it is no surprise to see such a resurgence in Unlimited Mid-Range Shadow. The deck can play an on-the-board beat down game and with the help of Eachtar it can close the game out or pull itself back onto the board on turn 7. Shadow has access to a few different solid builds, the main thing that seperates them is if they opt to play Lord Atomy or not.

Featured Deck piloted by TS Potwasher:

Overall Win Rate:  52.5%

Some of the most iconic decks in Unlimited are OTK style roach decks. Whether an aggressive build that splits the combo or a slower deck focused on one-turn-kills there is room for decision-making. Roach is the type of deck that rewards players for familiarity with specific lists play-style. Roach has the ability to end games without giving opponents opportunities to interact barring warding and healing.

PAM top 8 week 4

Blood: Featured Deck piloted by Shadow Shadet:

Overall Win Rate: 48.5%

Over the weekend there were two versions of Blood that had reasonable success. One popular type was the all-in Vengeance deck that relies on storm damage from Dark General and Emeralda. The other popular Blood archetype was Darkfeast Bat. Both of these decks have similar builds. The difference is how quickly they plan on getting into Vengeance and how integral Vengeance is in the deck’s success.

Dragon:  Featured Deck piloted by LiL Raindrop:

Overall Win Rate 43%

After Bloodcraft, there was a significant dip in win rate. In Unlimited, Dragon enjoys all of its best ramp cards as well as the Sahaquiel package. This week’s Featured deck stays away from the ramp package. The deck relies on some of Dragons most aggressive cards and ends the game with high-power storm finishers like Dark Dragoon Forte and Phoenix Rider Aina.

Sword:  Featured Deck piloted by TK Dubski:

Overall Win Rate 42%

In Unlimited, the two most popular decks for Sword are full-on Aggro Sword and its slower counterpart, Mid-range Sword. In a tournament format, people tend to be less willing to play an Aggro Sword deck that relies on a fast-opening hand since the players don’t have many decisions throughout a game. Mid-range Sword has a similar plan to Aggro sword though more focused on board-control. Between cards like Arthur and Dragon Knights Mid-range Sword has a lot of endgame power. Both style Sword decks have access to Round Table Assembly  a card that helps you flavor your deck in what it is trying to do.  

Haven: Featured Deck piloted by TS Potwasher:

Overall Win Rate 37%

This weekend Haven was relatively unsuccessful but worth watching. Although Haven had a low win rate it did win PAM.  The version of Haven that found success was Potwashers dedicated Elana build. It is possible that Potwasher found success because his lineup was tailored to best take advantage of Elanas. It is also possible that the other Haven decks that were played were simply not well-constructed. Potwasher has shown that Elana Haven is a force to fear in the Unlimited format.

Portal: Featured Deck piloted by HSK Symphonus

Overall Win Rate: PAM: 0% EU 75%

Portalcraft is the most interesting thing to happen over the weekend. In PAM, not a single person played a game with portal, leaving it with a very misleading 0% win rate. In EU, Portal played 12 games total, leaving Portal with an incredibly small but promising sample size. Could it be that players are sleeping on Portal in Unlimited? Artifact Portal is already a strong deck in Rotation and now that the class has had a few expansions it may soon be reaching a break-out point in Unlimited. Only the future will tell.

EU Top 8 4
The next State of SVO will be in 2 weeks after the next SVO. Then we will see a return to the Rotation format for NA and EU followed up by SEAO playing Take 2.

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The State of SVO – Brigade Week 3

Week 3 Sate of svo.png
With Take 2 week being over, this week we had another week of Rotation format in the Shadowverse Open. This week South East asia did not get to participate in the Open, this leaves us with just PAM and EU playing.

On the PAM side of things TS Crumsion has continued his dominance in this season of the open getting his second 1st place finish. When it comes to the PAM region Crumsion has displayed a mastery in the Brigade format that is on another level of other players. We will have to see if this will stay constant throughout the season. Crumsion is absolutely a player to study if you are trying to improve your game. This week Crumsion piloted Midrange Forest, Puppet Portal and Garuda Summit Haven to victory.

As for EU this week PG Akamarured took home the gold medal, bringing him to the #2 spot of the Brigade of the Sky standings. For Akamarured, he decided to bring Midrange Forest, Puppet Portal and PDK Dragon.

                                                              PAM Class Popularity
week 3 NA
This week 109 players participated in the PAM Open.

                                                               EU Class Popularity
Week 3 EU

                                  This week 65 players participated in the EU Open

With Puppets/Forest winning both NA/EU this week and SEAO last week these two classes have likely solidified themselves as the most popular decks as well as the decks to beat moving forward. The pick rates of these classes seem to back this up. The third deck however is less agreed upon among the regions.

                                                                  Top 8 Stats

Week 3 charts

Forestcraft: Featured Deck piloted by PG Akamarured:

Combined Win Rate: 57%

This week Forestcraft asserts its dominance as the most powerful class in the format. Out of 16 players in both top 8’s a whopping 13 players had forest in their arsenal. Forest currently has quite a few strong archetypes under its belt. Between Aggro, Korwa and Yggdrasil builds of the deck it becomes hard to build a lineup that will be favored against all of the different strategies the class has access to. It seems that Forest will reign as king unless some major changes happen.

Havencraft:   Featured Deck Piloted by TS Crumsion:

Combined Win Rate: 51.5%

A few steps below Forest but just above Portal, Havencraft sits with the second highest win rate this week. 9 players in this weeks combined top 16 chose to play Haven. It seems that the Summit Temple lists of Dawn Break Night Edge season have been updated with some of the new cards from BotS like Whitefang Temple,  Garuda Ruler of Storms and De La Fil. This version of Haven dominated the PAM side of the open while EU had one of each, Garuda Summit, Lions and Tenko’s Shrine.

  Featured Deck Piloted by TS Crumsion:

Combined Win Rate: 51%

11/16 took Portalcraft to the top 8 this week. Between Puppet and Artifact builds puppet proved itself as the better build of the deck with 10/11 top 8 decks being puppets. Puppets ability to consistently end the game with Orchis/Noah on 8/9 as well as its strong tools to control the board like Basileus, Substitution and puppets is where the classes strength lies. Portal just barely broke the above 50% win rate mark this time. It is possible that with some creative deck building in future weeks the class can be dethroned since it is less diverse than Haven and Forest.

Swordcraft:   Featured Deck Piloted by Hishiro:

Combined Win Rate: 47.5%

Week after week Swordcraft dulls just a little bit more. 7/16 players brought the class to the top 8 this week. Sword continues to do what it has always done since DBNE format. The deck excels at controlling the board with good followers and has giant tempo swing cards like Arthur and Sky Fortress. Sword has likely seen most of its drop off in win rate….. However if a special somebody in Dragoncraft grows in popularity we may see Sword continue to fall.

Runecraft:   Featured Deck Piloted by LiL Raindrop:

Combined Win Rate: 44.5%

5 players managed to get Runecraft to their regions respective top 8 this week. Spellboost was the more popular archetype this week however we saw the birth of a new rune build that managed to get second place in the PAM side of the open. I will be very interested to see if this was a fluke or if Earth Rite Summoner will continue to grow in popularity in future weeks.

Dragoncraft: Featured Deck Piloted by PG Akamarured:

Combined Win Rate: 43.5%

While there were only 3 Dragon’s in both top 8’s the class overall preformed pretty well in the later stages of the event. Most interestingly although the class has a below 50% win rate Prime Dragon Keeper finished in 1st for EU. PDK also got a first place finish in team Disastra’s Monkey of the Week tournament. That makes for 2 very strong finishes for PDK in the week, this may lead us to a rise for Dragoncraft and in turn, more of a fall to Swordcraft.

Bloodcraft: No Featured Deck.

Combined Win Rate: 41.5%

Along with Shadowcraft, Blood did not make it to either top 8 this week. Blood currently lacks good tools to recover from a losing board and has no real ways to pull itself ahead in the early game. Much like last time, Blood will need some serious help of it is going to make a break into the competitive rotation scene.

Shadowcraft: No Featured Deck.

Combined Win Rate: 38%

Sadly for Shadowcraft it again holds the lowest win rate in PAM/EU. Shadow simply excels at nothing right now. Both its Arcus and Reanimate archetypes are slow and they have no good ways to pull ahead enough so that they can play their big threats.

The State of SVO will return next week. The next open EU and PAM will be playing Unlimited. This may be Blood and Shadow’s time to shine. The classes both have powerful archetypes in Vengeance Blood and Midrange Eachtar Shadow.

The graphs used were provided by XiaoKen. You can find his tier list here:

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Written by HSK Szerro

The State of SVO Week 2

This weekend was the second week of the Shadowverse Open. This was a Special weekend for 2 reasons:
1) This week South East Asia has one of their 3 Opens (Rotation Format)
2) PAM and EU played Take 2

Before we talk about take two I would like to break down what happened in the SEAO Rotation Metagame.

                                                               Overall Stats of SEAO


Total players this week in SEAO: 126

How many players took Forestcraft?    87 / 126 or 69% 52% Win Rate

This weekend Forestcraft boasted the highest win rate at 52%. This falls in line with my predictions from last week. The nerfs to Swordcraft and Havencraft had some strange effects on this weeks metagame but we will get into that later. What is important to note here is that while Forestcraft had the highest win rate this week it was barely over 50%.

How many players this week took Swordcraft?        86 / 126 or 68% 51% Win Rate

The nerfs to Swordcraft did not change too much this week. Swordcraft clocked in as the second most played class just like last week but its play rate dropped by a small 3%. Interestingly enough last week I predicted that the nerfs to Swordcraft would only make the Sword Vs Forest match up better for forest but this week Forestcrafts worst matchup was Swordcraft with the matchup being 56% for Swordcraft.

How many players this week took Portalcraft?      78/126 61% 50% Win Rate

This week Portalcraft makes its way into the top 3 classes. Portal was already pretty popular last week so it is not too surprising that after dodging nerfs it made its way to the top 3. Out of the 2 versions of Portalcraft Puppets preformed much better than its Artifact counterpart getting 6 copies into the top 8 with only 1 Artifact making its way to the top 8.

                                                                     SEAO TOP 8


This week the 3 most popular classes absolutely dominated the top 8. We The top 8 metagame was controlled by strong Mid Range decks that if given a chance can beat down incredibly hard. Moving into future weeks it will be very important to bring decks that can compete with these style strategys if you want to be successful.

The most interesting thing about this week is how close all of the class win rates were. Last week we saw a difference of 40% between the most successful and least successful deck of the weekend. This week however the difference was only 6%. This can be due to a few factors, the most outstanding being the Recent nerfs shaking things up. It is also possible that the SEAO Metagame has developed differently than the PAM / EU metagames did and this may be causing these widely different win rates. I am very interested to see if this trend continues in PAM / EU next week.

                                                                  PAM / EU Take 2

Take 2 is always an interesting beast. The format doesn’t get too much attention in the competitive scene and due to this the format has a lot more opinion than it does hard fact. The format has tons of nuance to it and allows the player to draft closer to their own play style.

This week in the Top 8 was heavily represented by 2 classes in both EU and PAM. Out of 23 games (46 total class picks):

Portal was picked 14 times and won 8 times leaving it with a 57% win rate.

Dragon was picked 12 times and won 7 leaving it with a  58% win rate.

Falling further behind is Runecraft 6 picks and 3 wins giving it a 50% win rate.

Haven was taken 5 times and won 2 times giving it a 40% win rate.

After Haven we really start scraping the bottom of the barrel with swordcraft being taken 4 times. Of these games it won 1 time leaving it with low 25% win rate and an even smaller sample size.

This leaves us with 5 more picks. Of these picks they were all split pretty evenly between Forest Blood and Shadow. Cumulatively they had a 40% win rate.

The players in Take 2 clearly had classes in mind they wanted to take. Dragon and Portal made up over 50% of the picks this time around making them clear winners this SVO.

The graphs used were provided by XiaoKen. You can find his tier list here:

Written by HSK Szerro

The state of SVO will be a weekly article during the SVO Season

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The State of SVO – Brigade week 1

Over the weekend we had the first Shadowverse Open for the Brigade of the skies expansion. Going into the week many players had expectations of what would perform and what would not be worth bringing. It was widely accepted throughout the community that Havencraft (Tenko and Lion) would likely be the most popular class/deck choice. This would be followed up by Swordcraft since many players were familiar with the class from last expansion and remains a powerful deck in the current format.

For many Havencraft and Sword would be their go to choices with the 3rd deck being less agreed upon.

# of players in PAM – 122
# of players in EU – 90

How many players in PAM took Haven?       98 / 122   or 80.32% 56% win rate
How many players in EU Took Haven?         68 / 90     or 75.55% 50% win rate

The popularity and dominance of Haven did not surprise anyone. From day 1 of BoTS Eris proved herself to be a top contender and the recent announcement of nerfs aimed towards Tenko’s Shrine only further supports this. I would expect the nerfs to Sealed Tome and Tenko’s Shrine to cause popularity in the deck to degrade. Lion Crystals however will feel much less of an impact from these soon to be nerfs. Players who were once playing Tenko’s may find themselves moving to Lions in future weeks.

How many players in PAM took Sword?      87 / 122   or 71.31% 52% win rate
How many players in EU took Sword?        65 / 90       or 72.22% 58% win rate

Sword had the highest average win rate of the weekend at 55%

As mentioned earlier, Sword was a class many players had their eyes on after the release of BoTS. The stats here show us that Sword was the second most played class, falling behind haven by 9% in PAM and 3% in EU. Swordcraft is a class that has a good shot at winning in most matchups. Its strength is that it is a solid and consistent deck. It makes sense that a deck like Midrange Sword had this much popularity this week. With nerfs being announced for Haven, Swordcraft also did not get off so lucky. Chromatic Duel and Valse, Magical Marksman will both be taking a hit. Both of these nerfs will likely directly affect the Sword vs. Forest matchup. Valse being a 2/1 makes him very poor against forest and the change to Chromatic Duel will cause sword to have a harder time blocking Cassiopeia/Bramble boards since both queens tend to be important in the matchup.

This will bring us to the 3rd most popular deck of the weekend and one to watch moving forward.

How many players in PAM took Forest?       68/122 or 55.74%          51% win rate
How many players in EU took Forest?           49/90 or 54.44%             55% win rate

Going into the weekend Forest was a class many players had their eye on but a class less players were willing to take. With Sword having an average play rate of about 72% as the second most played class Forest takes a drop to 55% as the third most played class. Forest has a lot of great things going for it. The class is very robust being able to take a game fast or slow depending on the nature of their draw and opponents draw. Forest also has access to one of the most powerful board control tools in the game with Wood of Brambles and ways to abuse it with Starry Elf and Airbound Barrage. These things combined made Forest a very strong choice for the weekend. Moving into the weeks to come both Havencraft and Swordcraft will be getting hit by nerfs. Forest is also getting a slap on the wrist with a nerf to Ipiria but Forestcraft is far from relyant on the card considering only 1 player in PAM and EU top 4 actually had Ipiria in their deck.

I would like to take a moment to discuss the impact the coming nerfs will bring. The nerfs will bring changes to Chromatic Duel, Valse, Tenko’s Shrine, Sealed tome and Ipiria. Valse and Chromatic Duel are currently some of the strongest cards in Midrange Sword since they give the class so much needed flexibility. Midrange Sword will likely survive these nerfs but will absolutely feel the effect of them in most games of Shadowverse. Tenko’s Shrine by itself spawned a new archetype for Haven. It is hard to say how Tenko’s will do post nerf. Sealed Tome instantly became a 3 of in every haven deck and now that the card will have a PP cost we will have to see if it is still worth the deck slot. The most interesting nerf here is the Ipiria nerf. Ipiria often does not make the cut for forest decks but is sometimes able to hard carry the decks it makes its way into. What is most strange about the Ipiria nerf is that for forest it really did not change anything. This means that while the top contenders of Haven and Sword are going to go through changes, forest will not be obligated to. In the weeks to come I believe that it is possible for forest to become the top dog of the format while other classes figure out their position in the meta after nerfs.

To finalize this weeks state of SVO I would like to leave you with the remaining 5 classes win rates of the weekend and some thoughts on them all.

Portalcraft: Puppets, Artifacts and hybrid are the popular archetypes
Winrate in PAM: 52%          Winrate in EU: 47%
Moving forward with Sword getting weaker Artifacts may also likely drop in popularity. Puppets however has been having some recent success and with a hit to Haven and Sword may find itself the breathing room to be a top contender.

Dragoncraft: Dragon decks are a grab bag, most often ramp into big storm follower of choice.
Winrate in PAM: 29 %         Winrate in EU: 43%
The PAM win rates that Dragoncraft as don’t look very promising. I would not bet on Dragon making any big moves unless nerfs cause unforeseen changes.

Runecraft: Spellboost, Dirt
Winrate in PAM: 40%         Win Rate in EU: 39%
Rune keeps a close win rate to Dragon this week at 40% but the difference between highs and lows are drastic. Rune having a consistent 40% may mean that the class is not too far off from becoming a powerful force in the metagame. The nerf to Chromatic Duel also significantly helps out the Spellboost vs. Sword matchup. We may see a surge in runecraft popularity moving forward.

Bloodcraft: What do you even call a blood deck in this day and age?
Winrate in PAM: 14%     Winrate in EU 39%
Somehow blood managed to not be in last place this week. Bloodcraft will likely find itself in a bind until someone brews a deck nobody saw or until it gets more support cards. Likely the latter.

Shadowcraft: Arcus Midrange or Burial Rite
Winrate in PAM: 7%      Win Rate in EU 22%
Sub 10% win rate. Nothing to see here. Shadowcraft is in a dire position and like blood it can really use some TLC. Shadowcraft likely won’t be making waves any time soon.

Written by HSK Szerro
The state of SVO will be a weekly article during the SVO Season
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The Tempest is Over

With Tempest of the Gods now coming to end many cards that we have grown to know,  love and fear will be saying their last goodbye to rotation. Below is a List of all the classes and the With Tempest of the Gods now coming to end many card that we have grown to love and fear will be saying their last goodbye to rotation. Below is a List of all the classes and the most impactful cards that will be going away. most impact cards that will be going away.

Image result for Neutral

Neutral: TOTG has a pool of solid neutral cards but many of them were not needed cores of their decks. The biggest cards here to go are likely Ariette, Strix and the big legendary drops.  The loss of these cards will directly affect decks like Neutral Forest, Ginger Rune, Ramp Dragon and some variants of Phantom Cat Blood.

Wise Merman: Wise merman leaving only really hurts the most aggressive of Neutral based decks. Since the onslaught of Wonderland Dreams nerfs that style deck became much less common. I do not think many decks will miss this one much anymore.

Wandering Bard Elta: A solid 2/2 for 2 with a less solid half evolve. Elta has a very powerful effect on evolve but I can’t help but feel that its lack of full evolve stats really hurt the potential of what Elta could do. Mostly the card only saw fringe success in Ginger being used as a nil in the coffin after a Ginger turn.

Image result for Grimnir war cyclone
Grimnir, War Cyclone: Gone are the days where Grimnir ended 80% of games. After the nerf Grimnir was not the 3 of in every deck like he used to be but he was always quite reasonable. The rotation of Grimnir is a big deal to me because I feel it shows the beginning to the end of an era of design philosophy.

Impartial Strix: Strix is the best 4 drop on 4 for most Neutral based aggressive and midrange decks. When you can trigger it the game is just flat out massive, evolving into a 4PP 7/7 that demands an answer.

Arriet, Soothing Harpist: The only times this card would get played is in decks only looking to gimp its opponents. Of those decks Queen of the Dread sea and Beauty and the Beast Forest made the most use out of this (Frustrating) card. The card would often put the defending player into the bind of either full clearing a board of large threats every turn or not clearing and risking being dead from a massive damage swing. Ariette only allowed for degenerate things to happen and I think Rotation will be healthier with her gone.  

Image result for israfil shadowverse
Israfil: Since the rotation of her sister Sahaquiel, Israfil did not get to see much play however she was such a format all star 3 months ago she had to make the list. The decks that will miss Israfil the most will be Ramp dragon and Ginger Rune, a deck that will not survive TOTG leaving.

Zeus: Big Daddy Beat stick. Zeus is just a solid 10 drop. Ends the game, walls you up, and bane to clear off anything big and pesky. Much like Israfil Zeus gets played in ramp dragon and Ginger rune. At the moment the best target shadow has for reanimate is Zeus too so there will be a few classes that feel the impact of Zeus leaving.

Forest: With this rotation Control and Midrange Forest lists will be taking quite the hit. Currently many forest lists interested in taking the game long rely on Crystalia Aerin and Jungle Warden to survive and close the game out. For the most part Aggro Forest gets out unscathed other than the loss of Beetle Warrior, but this card did not even make the cut in many Aggressive Forest lists.

Cybele: Cybele is a great was to snowball a board. In combination of something like an elf song the increased HP can turn your fairy’s into very beefy threats that can dodge some AOE’s like Force of the Dragonewt or Nova Flare. Cybele was never a popular pick since many decks could not make much use of her buff.

Image result for beetle warrior shadowverse

Beetle Warrior: Forest Albert is going away. Beetle Warrior is a good way to push damage while developing a reasonably powerful board. The Beetle was never a staple for forest but would always up up every now and then.
Image result for jungle warden shadowverse

Jungle Warden: Goodbye King Monkey. Warden is something forest lacks. A powerful effect on a single card in forest. No combos needed, just enhance on 10 and ward up. Warden is great at ending the game on turn 10 and stalling the game until turn 10. I hope the new king monkey can fill the void Jungle warden leaves.

Image result for crystalia aerin

Crystalia Aerin: I’m not ready for her to go. Great heal. Great Ward. Great stats. Plus a free Evo? What more can you want? Control and mid-range forest is going to feel the sting of Aerin leaving for time to come. Funny enough one thing Aerin was fantastic at was stalling the game out until Jungle warden could come down.

Image result for Elf queen shadowverse

Elf Queen: Queen was a great option when all you cared about was gaining HP. Nothing can heal you up quite like she can. Queen is an interesting card because she let a non Shadowcraft card make use of its Shadows, an otherwise dead resource. Queen occasionally made her way into a deck as a 1 or 2 of as tech against HP based matchups.

Image result for deepwood anomaly

Deepwood anomaly: Rest in peace everyone’s favorite meme 2017-2018

Sword: A lot of the power in Swordcraft at the moment comes from its raw card quality. Sword will be losing some of its very strong tools but the cards that will be going away are not mandatory for a functional Sword list. Sword has been top tier all of Dawnbreak Nightedge and will likely continue to be a powerful deck even with the loss of some of its best cards like Gawain and Luminous Mage.

Image result for Vagabond frog

Vagabond Frog: It’s time to settle down my dudes. Frog is the king of pushing uncontested stealth damage. Vagabond Frog was a staple in aggro sword for quite a while even after getting nerfed from 3PP to 4PP. As time goes on Frog will likely fade away as he gets outclasses by other cards but he will always hold a place in my heart.

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Gawain of the Round Table: This guy saw 0 play for almost a year. Then one fateful day Swordcraft got multiple good commanders and everything changed. Gawain has a reasonable stat line, a clean enhance ability and most importantly his cost reduction lets him cheat out powerful commanders early like Arthur, Knight King, Sky Fortress or Mars, Silent Flame General. I have a feeling as time goes on this guy will stay quit relevant in unlimited for time to come.

Luminous Mage: My sword brings hope! Luminous mage is flat out Flexible. For 5 PP you get a 2/3 a 2/1 and a free Evo. The Luminous Knight is a great way to help push damage or to trade up. It’s hard to put into words how great the Mage is but the main thing to keep in mind is she just hits many powerful keys. She may continue to see play in unlimited for time to come since she refunds an Evolve.

Support Cannon: What was once a meme is now living as a dominant force in today’s metagame. Support cannon is incredible at grinding out a game if you can safely land it. Cannon is probably too slow to make its way into unlimited but if we ever got a singleton format with I could see Cannon being a staple for sword.

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Roland: Did this card ever see play? Roland was neat because she gave you Durandle. Unfortunately that’s about all Roland did and at 7 PP you need just a bit more than a 4/5  Ward. Sword will not miss her much but I can’t help but feel a bit sad that this card never even became close to playable.

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Rune: With TOTG Rotating out Rune will be losing quite a bit of power. Quite a bit of the staple cards used in Aggro Dirt will be rotating out leaving the Dirt style Rune decks once again trying to find a new identity. Along with the hit to Dirt, Runecraft will be completely losing the Ginger Archetype. Moving forward Rune may need to look past the loss of Chimera and fall back on its tried and true spellboost style archetypes.

Magic Illusionist: Good Riddens. Dirt Rune has not been very dominant lately but Illusionist used to carry the deck pretty hard. Back then Illusionist was a 2/2 and removing 3 or 4 Illusionists could often be hard to do (Especially since your spending resources to deal with an illusionist while your opponent only spent 2PP for it and a couple of Earth Sigils.

Mage of nightfall: 3PP 4/3 with Ambush. Mage pushed tons of face damage and all she asked of you was a single Earth Sigil. She was a staple in the aggressive Dirt Rune lists that used to dominate the format but lately she has not quite been enough.

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Halo Golem: The last of the Dirt package to be rotating in TOTG. Much like Magic Illusionist and Mage of Nightfall, Halo Golem converts your Earth Sigils in to raw damage. Halo golem is comparable to a turn 4 evo card (Such as Priest of the Cudgel or Dragon Warrior) but has 2 major differences. It demands an Earth Sigil rather than an evolve and it gets full stats on evo. Halo Golem has pushed tons of damage for Burn Dirt Rune and the card will certainly be missed.

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Mutagenic bolt: Mutabolt has fallen out of favor lately but this card is disgustingly powerful. Muta is like a strange fancy Dance of Death. It can be used to just remove a single big threat or can stifle a full board and turn everything into Flame Rats. A lot of Mutabolts power comes from the powerful swing turns that Wizardess of Oz can create. The rest of Muta’s power comes from the fact that it is a Transform effect and not a kill effect. This allows it to get around last word effects such as Jormungand, Spawn of the Abyss and Tutankhamun. I think one of the main takeaways of Mutabolt is that it is not intended as  board clear, it is intended to be used as a win condition.

Chimera: Chimera is one of the strongest cards in spellboost Rune decks. After just a few spells cast Chimera becomes a hyper efficient removal spell with a free threat to boot. Chimera is reasonably statted as a 4/4 too making it a great evolve target if you re trying to get over a larger body such as a 4/5. Spellboost Rune based decks will greatly miss old chimera but they are still keeping Giant Chimera and are getting a new Despondent Chimera so I think they will find a way to get by.

Wordwielder Ginger: The Herald of the end is meeting her demise. Ginger excels at ending the game in a similar fashion to how Queen of the Dread Sea would. She allows the player to cheat dozens of play points into play and create a board that threatens to instantly end the game. Oftentimes a good ginger turn (Something like 2 Zeus and an Israfil) simply cannot be answered. In the current format the only way to beat a strong Ginger would be burning someone out for lethal, Mutagenic Bolt or an obscene amount of cheap removal.

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Dragon: Dragon loses quite a few strong cards this time around. Of the cards leaving most are not deck defining, more like strong options that Dragon will be sad to lose. The loss of Sibyl and Dragons nest means Dragon will have to work harder for its healing. Of all the cards to go Phoenix Rider Aina will have the biggest impact, drastically impacting the earth reach dragon can have. 

Dragon’s nest: Up until the printing of both Somniferous Whitewyrm and Lindwyrm Dragon was not very interested in a card like Dragons Nest. The loss of Dragons nest likely wont affect dragon much but Lindwyrm will not be happy to leave the nest.

Dragoon Scyther: RIP one of the best Bane cards in the game. The combination of Bane and Storm on a single card allowed her to instantly remove anything scary. She also slots perfectly into PDK decks since she cost 3 and helped push face damage.

Wrath Drake: Wrath Drake made its way into enough Dragon lists to warrant getting on the list. At the moment Ramp Dragon will play Wrath Drake to help clear board in the Mid to Late game. The thing is Wrath Drake never really excelled at clearing boards and I imagine Ramp Dragon will happily take Proto Bahamut over Wrath Drake.

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Sibyl of the Waterwyrm: The day has finally come. Sibyl will be leaving us after her very dominant run making her way into nearly all Dragon variants for a time. Nowadays Sibyl is actually a reasonable card to play against but she used to be a 4/5 for 5 that still both ramped and healed. She hard carried the class for quite a while. Since her nerf Dragon has started getting frisky, occasionally cutting her from the deck all together. I am very interested to see how Ramp Dragon will fare after the loss of Sibyl.

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Phoenix Rider Aina: The amount of raw damage this card can pump out often times can be pretty absurd. Getting a 4 or 5 attack Aina seems to be pretty common and sometimes she can get upwards on 6 damage…. And that is before evolves happen. Aggressive Dragon decks at the moment rely pretty heavily on Aina and Azi Dahaka to close games out so losing Aina may be a devastating blow to those decks unless they get a good replacement.

Ouroboros: Did you know this guy used to heal for 3 every time it died? It has been a while since Oro has been a staple in Dragon decks (or even just a 1 or 2 of) but I remember those days fondly. Oroboros could lock someone out of a game, removing a weak follower, leaving behind an 8/4 that demanded an answer then it heals for 3 before doing it all again. Ouro was a very interesting way to give Dragon a Play Point sink and for quite a while, it worked.

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Shadow: Shadow is losing some pretty powerful cards with the rotation of TOTG. I think its worth pointing out how many of the Shadow cards that made the list got nerfed. Many of the cards that did get nerfed continued to see play in Mid Range Shadow up until the bitter end. TOTG was very nice to Shadow and with it rotating Shadow may struggle unless there are new cards to help fill the void TOTG will leave behind.

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Little Soulsquasher: I have PTSD because of this card. Little Soulsquasher has Squashed the souls and hopes of many players. Since the nerf She has gone from a 2/2 for 2 to a 2/1 for 2. The nerf was surprisingly impactful because ever since it happened players started shaving on her numbers, some go as far as to not include her anymore. Moving forward Shadow will have Big Soul Hunter around to do the best Soul Squasher impression possible.

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Zombie Party: V A L U E  P A R T Y. 2PP to deal 3 is the golden standard for removal. That combined with Zombie Parties insanely powerful enhance ability you get a Grade A Shadow staple. What else is there to say? Zombie Party will leave a hole in many players heart until something comparable returns.

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Prince Catacomb: What are you hiding inside? Catacombs excelled as both a way to farm shadows and as a way to create a very sticky board. Catacomb used to cost 3PP and those were some crazy days. A curve of 1 / 2 / Catacomb on the play could end the game by itself back then. Today we see Midrange Shadows hover around 2 and 3 Catacombs since its still a great way to build a resilient board even at 4PP.

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Demonlord Eachtar: This head has finally been taken. Eachtar saw the Rise and fall of Shadow as a whole, surviving nerf after nerf of his friends and family until the day he himself got hit. Even after this Shadow still played 3 Eachtar without question, he was simply that strong. It took until his dear brother Thane to get nerfed before Eachtars warpath really started slowing down.

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Immortal Thane: How many of you readers heard his laugh echo in your mind when you read Thanes name? Thane provides a ton of stats for his cost. It seems standard for a 4/5 to cost 5PP, a Whight itself costs 2PP and a White King costs 4. Today Thane costs 8PP but he used to cost 7 making him incredibly efficient for his mana cost. The Whight King he give you is incredibly strong too (much like most 0 cost cards) since you could save the ward for when it would be most useful.

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Blood: Bloodcraft has been in a strange spot ever since the great nerfs of 1812 Wonderland Dreams. Up until Dawnbreak Nightedge came out much of the support blood got was lackluster. With the rotation of TOTG blood will be losing some of its best 2 drops as well as some strong vengeance activators / payoffs. I believe Cygames will address the issues blood has moving forward but if this doesn’t happen blood may be in trouble.

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Spiderweb Imp: One of the best 2 drops blood has gotten to date. Spiderweb is overstaffed at a 1/4 for 2 and she comes with the incredibly relevant ability of ward. She can eat up small followers in the early game and protect your stronger followers or face.

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Baphomet: Baphomet got a pretty hard nerf and still remains one of Blood’s best 2 drops to date. A 2PP 2/1 isn’t the best stats for its cost but Baphomet also had the added benefit of drawing a Blood card. Baphomet is very similar to Dragon summoner but they have flipped stats. The extra attack is really appreciated by blood since blood decks tend to be on the aggressive side.

Mask of the black death: This card is the biggest Jebait in Shadowverse. You lull your opponent into a false sense of security, make them think they have you on the ropes then boom, Mask. Mask is a very interesting card that can fade tons of damage for a cheap price. Since it has a countdown of 5 it can stick around for a while and as long as it has any counters on it the mask will block the full hit (Ex. countdown 2 mask will negate a Giant Chimera for 48). Cygames has been printing cards that add amulets to your hand more and more lately, it would be exciting if there was a follower that added a Mask of the Black death to your hand.

Blood Moon: Blood Moon is a sweet card that is not exactly rotating. Waltz, Prince of wolves will be replacing Blood Moon before it even gets the chance to go. This helps solve the issue that blood can have where it is sometimes hard to get into Vengeance. If it were not for Waltz staying around blood would likely struggle after losing both Blood Moon and……..

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Belphegor: The other Vengeance activator. Belph is an overstated 4/4 for 4 with a free Blood pact that also puts you in Vengeance. Belph does so much for her cost and smooths out your game plan by bringing you into vengeance (sometimes a bit sooner than you wanted to be). What made Belphegor so nice is how she would reward you for taking a risk and getting closer to vengeance unlike some other cards that try to encourage you to take damage (Im looking at you serpent charmer)

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Dark Airjammer: Airjammer is like Blood Arthur. If you can get into vengeance and play it on curve things are going well for you. Air Jammer provides tons of stats for its cost while letting you cheat out helpful effects like ward from a Spiderweb imp or the now rotated Blood Wolf.

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Haven: Of the cards Haven will be losing this expansion none of them were really staples. Most of these cards would occasionally pop up but did not define the deck that they were in (except for maybe Aegis). Once again Haven gets off a rotation pretty unscathed and likely won’t feel much pain until the rotation of Wonderland Dreams.

Holy Bowmen Kel: It seems as though Cygames is pushing Tenko’s Shrine as an archetype so it seems like Kel may be rotating just a bit before his time. Kel is a well statted 2/2 for 2 with an effect that can get in some alright chip damage. The main reason he made this list is because he is leaving too soon, not because he saw any notable play.

Octobishop: Another card that people have been experimenting with in Tenko’s Shrine. It is hard to say if Octobishop would have made the cut in Tenko decks moving forward but what can be said is once rotations happen it will not be possible.

Judge of Retribution: 6PP Cudgel. Judge is a solid card that would make his way into decks on occasion. The card is just flat out solid. He is removal, card draw and a reasonable body all in one package. Haven has plenty of Blackened scripture style effects so Judge rotating should not be the end of the world.

Dark Jean: Dark Jean has been making her way in and out of Haven lists for as long as she has existed. Now that Summit Temple is one of the stronger Haven builds Jean has fallen a bit out of favor since her attack buff actually doesnt help anymore.

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Heavenly Aegis: The most baller win condition in Shadowverse is on its way out. Aegis is an insanely cool card but he comes at the cost of being very frustrating to play against. Aegis for many decks was just lights out. In the Aegis Haven mirror often the person to land the first one won the game. Against slower Ramp Dragons Aegis was GG. When Aether of the whitewing got printed Aegis got quite a power spike. Haven players were able to cut down to 1 on their Aegis’s but by playing 3 Aethers it was like they were playing 4. Aegis has had its time and it has been a good run but now heaven rebukes him.

When Brigade of the Skies hits everything is going to change. Classes will be losing Staples, Others will lose supporter cards and some wont be losing much. Brigade will be bringing in all new cards that will open up many new archetypes. What cards will you miss the most? Did I miss a card that you like? Let me know in the comments.

Honorable Mentions

Image result for lightning blast  Image result for wind reader zellImage result for man eating mangroveImage result for vist elf butlerImage result for soul dominatorMaelstrom Serpent
Image result for iron maiden shadowverseImage result for luminous standardImage result for captain walfrid Image result for enchanted sword shadowverseHulking GiantImage result for grave desecration shadowverse Image result for orthrus shadowverseImage result for tarnished grailImage result for gravekeeper sonia
Image result for frozen mammoth shadowverseImage result for earthshock ogre

How to Become a Better Player by Drawing Better Cards (A Deckbuilding Guide)

How to Become a Better Player by Drawing Better Cards (A Deckbuilding Guide)
(Written by HSK MLAQTS)

How do good players always topdeck the perfect card at the perfect time? Besides heart of the cards and just being plain better than you, they probably also have the right numbers of the right cards in their decks. Believe it or not, you also can topdeck like a pro more frequently by actively considering draw probabilities when deckbuilding.

The Mulligan

Let’s start with the basics. A shadowverse deck has 40 cards, with a maximum per card limit of 3, disregarding rarity.

In the mulligan, you are shown 3 cards to keep or redraw. You cannot immediately redraw the cards you throw back, though you can draw them on your first turn (even on the play).

The probabilities for drawing a copy of any particular card by your first turn are shown below.

Copies in Deck 1 2 3
First 10.0% 19.2% 27.7%
Second 12.5% 23.7% 33.8%

Note that the same probabilities apply to any set of 3 or less cards.

In some decks, such as Aggro Sword, the main concern in the mulligan is drawing a 1-drop. In such cases where the desired set is larger than 3 cards, this site (more on how to use this in “Generalization and Conclusion”) is a great tool for analyzing probabilities.

The Curve

The best thing for some decks to draw is just followers to play every turn while efficiently spending all available mana. “The Curve” can refer either to such a sequence of draws, or the distribution of followers in your deck that allows you to draw it.

Of course, the later the game progresses, the more cards each player has drawn, so most decks that value playing cards on curve run many low-cost followers. Many decks have a spike in the 2-mana slot, since 2-mana cards tend to be versatile through the evolve turns and can be played on spare mana even in the late                                                  game.

12-15 is a typical amount of 2-drops for most decks, because running 12 2-drops produces a 93%/96% chance of drawing a 2-drop by turn 2, if you hard mulligan for one. The probability drops by about 5% if you don’t mulligan, so decks that need to prioritize other cards in the mulligan, such as Deus Ex Machina for Portal, Belphegor for Vengeance Blood,  Daria or D-Shift for Rune, and Arthur for Sword, tend to run more 2pp cards.

Based on the same considerations, 7-9 3pp cards is a typical amount for most decks. Though the probability for drawing a 3-drop by turn 3 is lower than that of drawing a 2-drop by turn 2, the ability to play 2-drops on turn 3 without too much detriment allows for fewer 3-drops to be run, even in decks for which curving out is important, making more room for different pp-cost cards that are more valuable toward furthering a deck’s gameplan.

Since more cards are drawn as the game progresses, and low-cost cards can be played even on later turns, most decks run even fewer copies of higher-cost cards. Draw consistency for specific mana-slots matters less beyond 3pp, so card quality and usefulness toward the deck’s gameplan becomes a much greater consideration than cost, even in decks with many high-pp cost cards, such as Ramp Dragon and Ginger Rune.

One other consideration for card distributions in curve decks is the quantity of efficient evolve targets to run. Having followers that grant benefits upon evolution in the midgame is not as great a consideration as just having followers to play in the early game, since evolution orbs can be used on any follower, and it is not always correct to evolve special-evolve followers even when possible.

Thus, the quantity of special-evolve followers varies widely across decks, but most decks tend to run three copies of at least one special-evolve 2pp follower, perhaps in part because the number of high-quality fanfare or innate-effect 2pp followers is currently low.

Key Cards

Many decks in Shadowverse have a certain card or combination of cards that is critical to their gameplan. I have already given the prominent examples of Deus Ex Machina, Belphegor, Daria, D-Shift, and Arthur. There are other more subtle examples as well, such as Ramp Dragon’s ramp cards, or Aggro Sword’s one-drop.

In fact, a crucial assessor of a deck’s viability is its capacity to draw its key cards when they are needed; so how do we maximize this capacity?

Most of the time for decks with a single key card, it’s right to just run 3 copies, and to keep or even hard mulligan for the key card in any matchup that is slow enough. However, this is not always the case, and the decision also becomes more complicated when a deck has multiple key cards.

In such cases, the most important factors to consider are what turns the key cards are necessary, optimal, and viable through, and the probability of drawing the card by those turns. Some key cards, such as Dragon’s low cost ramp cards and sword’s 1-drop followers, also get progressively worse as the game goes on, so it is ideal to run as few copies as possible while still ensuring that they can be drawn when they are needed.

Let’s take Aggro Sword’s 1-drop followers for an example. It’s extremely important for Aggro Sword to have a follower on turn 1, but 1-drops are also playable, especially in duplicate, even on turn 2 and 3. Past the first evolution turns, however, every 1-drop follower except Quickblader becomes a very lackluster draw. So what is the right number of 1-drop followers to run in Aggro Sword?

This is a graph of the number of 1-drop followers in a deck vs. the probability of drawing at least one by turn 1 with a hard mulligan. While the numerical probabilities are different for going first vs. second, the general shape of the curve looks almost the same. Notice that the curve rises steadily at first, but rapidly tapers off around 11 1-drops.

Since we want to practically guarantee drawing a 1-drop by turn 1, but without excessively polluting our deck, we can conclude that 11 is the optimal number of 1-drops to run in Aggro Sword, since running any more does not significantly increase our chances of having a 1-drop when we need it most.

In decks like Ginger Rune, the high amount of card draw in the deck must also be taken into consideration. In such decks built around powerful late-game win-condition cards, it is often correct to run only two copies, since typically no more than one is ever necessary per game, and a high volume of card draw diminishes the need for running a third copy.

Tech Choices

A tech card is a card which is included to help improve a particular matchup or set of matchups, but which may not be as generally useful as another option. When is it right to include tech cards, and how many is appropriate to include?

The probability calculations for tech cards are the same as those of any other card. However, the turn range a given tech card is useful through is more often determined by your opponent’s gameplan than your own. Also, tech cards should not be thought of as crucial pieces of your gameplan; the best tech cards are useful against a                                              wide range of matchups, and remain somewhat useful even outside                                        of the situations you included them for.

For example, I like to tech two copies of Lethal Blade in my Rotation Vengeance Blood because of the prevalence of  floody board-centric decks like Artifact Portal, Midrange Sword, and Tempo and Aggro Forest. It is great as a board clear for small followers when vengeance is active, but never is significantly worse than Snarling Chains, which would be run in the deck anyway.

Another example is teching a single copy of Support Cannon in a standard Midrange Sword list, especially if the list already runs a copy of Barbarossa. The card significantly improves the mirror matchup, and is playable in any matchup slow enough that passing a single turn would not lose the game. However, it is rarely a good idea to include more copies of support cannon without significant modifications to the rest of the deck. Support Cannons beyond the first become increasingly hard to play, and typically do not contribute as much without a specialized deck. Also, a single copy enables alternative plays every turn, even if the card is dead in your hand, but multiple copies makes a deck more susceptible to bad draws in which the whole hand is useless. Therefore, the risk vs. reward of running additional copies must also be considered when deciding how many of a tech card to run.

Generalization and Conclusion

Certainly draw probabilities are important to consider while deckbuilding. But where have I been getting my numbers, and how can we calculate the probability of drawing any given card in any given situation? Well, it just so happens that the probability of randomly drawing successive cards from a deck, as we do in Shadowverse, is closely modeled (excepting the mulligan) by the cumulative hypergeometric distribution, and that there exists on the internet a handy calculator for hypergeometric distributions right within our grasp.

-The population size is the initial size of the deck at the point from which you want to start calculating a probability, which will usually just be 40 for the beginning of the game. (37 after mulligans)

-The number of successes in population is the number of cards which you are interested in drawing that are left in your deck, which at the beginning of a game is just the number that you included in deckbuilding. (Ex. you play 3 Lancer and already drew 1. There are 2 successes left in your deck.)

-The sample size is the number of cards you expect to draw, including one per card that you can mulligan. For example, on turn 4 going second, the sample size would be 8 with no extra card draw, since you can mulligan 3 cards, and will have drawn an additional 5 by turn 4. Since you can later draw back cards which you mulliganed away, this is only approximation, but it is a very close one, good enough for our deckbuilding purposes.

Now, the only relevant probabilities for deckbuilding are “Cumulative Probability: P(X > x)” and “Cumulative Probability: P(X > x).” The former is the chance that you will draw at least one copy from the set of cards you considered in “population size,” while the latter is the chance that you will draw more than one copy. As discussed above, you will often want to maximize X > x while minimizing X > x.

So go on and try it out yourself! Actively considering draw probabilities with the help of a calculator will help you to maximize your chance of drawing the cards you need just when you need them most. You may not have learned to use the Heart of the Cards, but this is probably the closest you’ll ever get in this game.