Monday, November 22, 2010

Generate Deck - Play by Play

I love Forge's generate deck option.  It was something that occurred to me randomly and has grown to be one of my favorite ways to play Magic.  Today, I'm going to play through one game against the AI and describe all of the wonderful, exciting stuff that happens.

I lost the coin toss and I'm going second.  My opening hand has 4 lands, 3 cost creature, 6 cost creature, and an creature enchantment (aura).  I should win if I can play Plasma Elemental (cost: 5U, 4/1) since it is unblockable, if the AI doesn't weenie rush me.
The AI plays a land.

I draw the nearly worthless Demolish (cost: 3R, sorcery) which says "Destroy target artifact or land."  I play an Island.

The AI plays a different land, so he has access to both of his colors.

I draw another Island and play a Mountain.

AI plays another Plains.  (Those Zendikar full-frame lands do look great.  I was hoping that Wizards would print all new lands like that.)

I play a 2nd Island and cast my Vodalian Knights (cost: 1UU, 2/2) which has first strike and gains flying for U.  I caught a big break since Vodalian Knights can't attack unless the AI has an Island, which it does.

The AI plays a 4th Island and plays Cessation (cost: 2W, enchant creature, enchanted creature can't block) on my Knights.  At least Vodalian Knights can still block.

I draw the insane Phantasmal Forces (cost: 3U, 4/1, flying) "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Phantasmal Forces unless you pay U" and cast it.

The AI plays another land (now he has 5) and Psionic Blast's my Phantasmal Forces.

I draw and play another land so now I have 5.  I don't have any creatures that I can play yet so I destroy one of the AI's land with Demolish and I play Brainstorm (cost: U, instant, Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.) Brainstorm doesn't show me any creatures.

The computer plays Keeneye Aven (cost: 3U, creature, 2/3, flying).

I cautiously play my game winning Plasma Elemental (4/1, unblockable) and hope the AI doesn't notice.

The AI plays Diplomatic Immunity (cost: 1U, enchant creature) which gives his Keeneye Aven shroud and swings for 2. 
AI - 18 life, Me - 18 life

I enchant Plasma Elemental with Volcanic Strength which increases Plasma's stats by +2/+2 and swing for 6.
AI - 12 life, Me - 18 life

The AI destroys Volcanic Strength with Frantic Purification (cost: 2W, instant, Destroy target enchantment) and attacks with Keeneye Aven for 2.  AI - 12 life, Me - 16 life

I draw the obscure card Onslaught (cost: R, enchantment, Whenever you cast a creature spell, tap target creature) which doesn't help me at all but I play it anyways.  I attack with Plasma Elemental for 4.
AI - 8 life, Me - 16 life

The AI coolly attacks for 2 and then plays the game changing Meloku the Clouded Mirror which has the ability to turn all of your lands into 1/1 flyers.  Lets hope the AI is dumb and doesn't use Meloku's ability.
AI - 8 life, Me - 14 life

I draw another odd Magic card, Bringer of the Blue Dawn which costs an insane 7UU.  I only have 7 lands so Bringer is unplayable.  I swing for 4 with Plasma Elemental.
AI - 4 life, Me - 14 life

The AI swings for 2 with Keeneye Aven and only creates one flying token.  The AI seems smart and plays Shu Soldier-Farmers (cost: 4W, 2/4) which has a triggered ability, so the AI gains 4 life.  That extra 4 life means that the AI can live an extra turn.
AI - 8 life, Me - 12 life

I draw and play another land.  I swing again for 4 with Plasma Elemental.
AI - 4 life, Me - 12 life

The AI creates one more token with Meloku and attacks with almost everything, for a total attack of 6.  I sacrificially use Vodalian Knights to reduce the attack to 4.
AI - 4 life, Me - 8 life

Finally victory is within my grasp.  I attack with Plasma Elemental and win the game.  All in all it was a good game.  The AI whittled my life down to 8 and threw me a few curveballs.  Plasma Elemental was an all-star and I would have certainly lost the game with any other creature.  In this format the creatures win the game.  Generated decks feel similar to sealed decks because they are a little random and not very focused.

Playing a quick game like this is very satisfying.  Magic is a fun game with lots of variety.  I love not knowing which cards are in my deck.  I love that feeling of surprise and of course winning occasionally doesn't hurt. :)  I'm glad that the AI put up a good fight and didn't seem to do anything stupid.

Keep tapping,

--The generate deck code that I wrote still has some major flaws in it: it doesn't generate a mana curve and it could exclude some awful cards which are only useful if you build a whole deck around them.  I prefer generated decks without creatures with a low power (0 or 1) and without artifacts.  The menu options are in the New Game screen, under Options.

--Writing is hard work.  It took me an hour to write the 900 or so words above.  I have no idea how the guys at Star City Games churn out so many pages each week.

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