Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Topping Tournaments: The Unconsidered Secret

Everyone loves topping tournaments.

Yes, its not everything in the game, but saying its not something everyone enjoys is wrong.

So you pick up your Lightsworn/Anti-Meta/Blackwings/Zombie/Gladial Beast deck, and head to your local friendly tournament store, and play, play, and play.

But you lose.


You have perfect build, tested over and over, with super high chance of OTKs and next to no chance of dead draws.

Your team has crunched numbers and figured out every single percentage of drawing comboes and other cards.

On top of that, you didnt misplay a single time. You are considered by many to be one of the best players out there in terms of plays and thinking, and deck building.

But you still lost.


The answer is luck.

In deck building and playtesting, what you analyze is probability, and how to maximize it, furnishing your deck to have the highest probability of drawing card X or combo Y.

But when it comes down to the tournament, and your games that matter, high probability and good decks really help, but the reason people win or lose is ultimately luck.

Theoretically, you could calculate the probability of you winning with the entire decklist of your deck and the endless comboes and the decklist of the opponent,

but that is just theory. Even if you have a 99.9% of winning, luck can still take over and give the opponent that 0.1%.

That being said it wont happen very often and probally not in tournaments due to other factors(Misplays).

Thus, when building decks, be sure to think of the probability, but do not forget that when it comes time to shine, everything is the luck of the draw and the roll of the dice.


  1. Thanks, Thats help me understand alot more about topping tournaments. I've never topped at a tournament, but I play gladiator beasts.

  2. Same, never topped with a GB
    but well, it's usually my side deck that lose

  3. Even though I don't believe in luck, I found this article entertaining (as always).

  4. i agree in principle with your article Rauzes but generally said whether people admit it or not luck is an important part of winning/drawing/losing a deck although i generally tend to lose more if i go second during a duel and win more if i go first (unless i'm playing Empty Jar decks etc - then its really is based on luck)

    so yugi's heart of the cards statement does prove to have some truth in it after all...

  5. Rau,

    In a perfect world luck would be the principle reason. However, there is a secondary factor. Soft and Hard cheating. An example of soft cheating would be your opponent hits Destiny Draw with Diamond Dude last turn. Claims the effect does a bunch of other stuff. Then asks "Did I do my D-Draw?" if you don't remember then he just got over on you. Hard cheating is stacking and backstacking. It happens and it's real. I'm guilty of doing soft cheating once at a regionals I noticed that my opponent wouldn't cut my deck so I intentionally left a Destiny Draw on top of my deck after shuffling for ROTA for Diamond Dude. He didn't cut and I hit the Destiny Draw, and set Threatening Roar... Man I miss DDT.