Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some Quick Thoughts on Desperate Ravings

I've been having quite a few ideas for posts recently. Maybe that means I'm just really good at blogging (I am blossome), or maybe I'm gonna burn myself out and get sick of Magic and never write again. Thank God nobody reads this thing or I'd be freaking right the fuck out right now.

I had a thought today (!) about Desperate Ravings while playing online. It's hard to evaluate what exactly the card does to your hand. Because, you know, Variance. A lot of people write about variance. So I'll spare you my thoughts. Just know that it doesn't just mean "randomness". It refers to how random something is; how far the results are spread out. When we talk about variance in Magic, we're usually referring to the amount of randomness in Magic itself, relative to... life? I guess? There is "some variance" in Magic, which governs our lives and makes us its bitch.

When you cast Desperate Ravings, the variance... varies. There's a variety of situations. Insert stream of V alliteration here.

For the moment, we're throwing out graveyard interaction and we're throwing out mill as a win condition. Pretend, for a moment, that any card that would be put into your graveyard gets put on the bottom of your library instead. And I guess pretend Cellar Door doesn't exist (weren't you already?). How does Desperate Ravings affect your hand?

Well, this might be uncomfortable for the non-mathy people here (as will most of this, if I'm doing my job), but we'll start with two hands; a zero card hand and an infinitely-large hand.

When you cast Desperate Ravings with no other cards in hand (or from the graveyard with none in hand), you draw one card. The other one gets discarded before the spell resolves, so it doesn't affect your hand--which is, again, what we're looking at here. With zero cards, Desperate Ravings functions identically to Think Twice.

When you cast it with a near-infinite hand size, the odds of you discarding a card you just drew are very nearly zero. You always get two new cards, and discard an old one. You can't equate this to an existing card nearly as easily, because you're still discarding a card at random no matter how you phrase it. But the more cards you have in hand, the closer you get to seeing two new cards.

Now I'm not gonna draw a graph or any of that shit. It looks really boring anyway, since the Y values are all between 1 and 2. But we can start by saying that, with two cards in hand, you have a fifty percent chance of getting two new cards because you discard a random one out of the four you draw. So I guess you draw 1.5 cards? Take that, high school statistics!

Anyway, from a pure card advantage standpoint, if your worst-case-scenario is a Think Twice, you're doing just fine. That's the principle behind the four copies in the list I just posted as well as the list I'll be posting when I talk about my crazy combo shenanigans. So although it may be hard to know exactly what Desperate Ravings is doing, the short answer is "good things!"

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