Risk Management

Hey everyone, I’m back this week to talk about an interesting topic where I’ll go into detail explaining what your priorities should be when you make your plays.

Let me start by prefacing that we want to be playing around the most cards as we possibly can. This should be pretty common sense, however we cannot always play around everything and we should acknowledge that when we are making our plays.

Necessary Risk

Let me start by giving an example. It is game one and your opponent is playing Agents, they’re down to 1 card in hand, they’re at 3900, and have not used any Hyperions or Black Luster Soldier. To simplify this example let’s say that all other power cards have been used. You have Reborn Tengu on the field with just Mystical Space Typhoon in hand. If you attack and they have Gorz, you’d lose. Do you attack? If you had no reason to read the in hand card specifically as a Gorz, you should probably attack.  The reason for this is that they haven’t used any of their power cards. If they draw Master Hyperion or Black Luster Soldier, you’d lose anyway. Those combined are a total of four cards while the Gorz is only a single card. I would rather try to win over the next two or three turns and take my chances with the one card in hand being Gorz than waiting and hoping they don’t draw one of the four other cards that will win them the game.

Unnecessary Risk

This doesn’t mean that you should just never play around Gorz. Let’s take the same situation, but instead of controlling Reborn Tengu, you control Thunder King Rai-Oh. Now they can draw the Master Hyperion or Black Luster Soldier and I wouldn’t lose since I can negate with Thunder King. Now I would outright lose to the Gorz if they had it, but not lose to the other four cards if they drew one of them. In this situation I would probably not attack and try to build some extra resources over the next couple of turns.

This is a very fine line to walk and you have to understand it all comes back to the topic of necessary risk vs unnecessary risk. The first example with Reborn Tengu falls into the necessary risk category. If they have the Gorz, it sucks; you played the odds and lost. Essentially you didn’t play around Gorz, but you did play around three Master Hyperion and a Black Luster Soldier. In the second example, attacking with Thunder King Rai-Oh was an unnecessary risk. By simply keeping him on the field you were playing around the three Hyperions and Black Luster Soldier. By attacking you’re not playing around the Gorz and you could simply not attack and not lose to any of the five cards in question.

Knowing the Meta

Another important aspect of risk management is knowing the meta. You should keep up with the latest deck lists from the most recent YCSs. When you’re playing you should be able to identify what deck your opponent is playing and then know at least 30-35 of the cards that he is playing. The reason this is so important is so that you can accurately calculate the number of outs your opponent has. For example, let’s say you are playing against Agents and your opponent has exactly four fairies in the graveyard. Let’s take the same scenario with Reborn Tengu as above, except this time all the Hyperions are gone and so is the Black Luster. Do you attack? You might be thinking yes you attack, if they draw Kristya they win so let’s try to win over the next couple of turns before they can draw it. Well, if you look at the deck lists from YCS Kansas, you’ll notice that only one of the Agent decks that topped still included Kristya and the majority of them favored other cards instead. If you didn’t know that, you would assume that it’s better to play around two cards (Kristya) by attacking and hoping to kill them before they drew it and in turn ignore a potential Gorz drop; however, had you known that the majority of Agent decks chose to exclude Kristya, it would be an unnecessary risk to attack since Gorz was the only immediate out to your Reborn Tengu.

Other Applications

We can apply the concept of risk to other scenarios in the game rather than only “Should I attack into a potential Gorz?” For example, now that Heavy Storm is back in the game, should we be setting one card or two?

Well it is first turn and we don’t know what our opponent is playing. We opened with Solemn Warning and Fiendish Chain. Do we set them both or do we just pick one? Setting them both in this case would be an unnecessary risk because if they had Heavy Storm, we’d lose out on two power cards and they would have a +1.

However imagine that your opponent has a Scrap Dragon already on the field and they just activated Pot of Duality and grabbed Master Hyperion. Now we again have Solemn Warning and Fiendish Chain. If we set them both in this situation and they have Heavy Storm, we will surely lose. However if we only set one we will lose regardless and the best case scenario will allow us to Fiendish Chain the Scrap Dragon and Warning the Hyperion. This would be a necessary risk and we would have to set both Fiendish Chain and Solemn Warning.

Alright let’s do a quick recap. You have Reborn Tengu on the field with nothing else relevant to your opponent’s one card in hand and they are playing Wind-Ups. Do you attack?

Of course you do! Wind-Ups play 3 Wind-Up Factory and 3 Fiendish Chain, they don’t play Gorz. Knowing the meta and the most popular build of each deck will greatly benefit you. Hopefully I’ll see everyone at YCS Atlanta this weekend. Stop by and say hi. Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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