• Reading the Rainbow Yu GI Oh Drafts Episode 5 Efficiency

    Welcome back, folks! Last time we talked about Constructed Bias. Today, we are going to talk about a similar topic: efficient purchases. When you are selecting cards for draft, you will often times get left with inefficient cards or cards whose cost doesn't match very well to the die's stat lines, and whose ability is situational at best. The key to draft is knowing which cards have great stat lines for their cost, and which ones don't.

    First, here's our Friendly Rainbow:

    Next, let's look at our first pack and see if we can compare costs versus stat lines.

    Looking this selection over, we don't see any blatant strategy pieces. No Baby Dragons, Time Wizards, or Thousand Dragons. Quite a few cheap fists, and a highly rare Breaker the Magical Warrior looks tempting... but with all the cheap fists in one pack, it might hurt us more than help us to pick Breaker over the fists themselves. Let's take a look at perhaps just drafting the dice based on their individual value, and see if we can get some synergy developed from there.

    Breaker the Magical Warrior 5, We already mentioned this guy's ability being good, but at 4 cost, how efficient are his stats? A low fielding cost is good for a guy with a "when fielded" ability, but he's only 4/4 at level 3. That is pretty low for a 4 cost character that doesn't have a very reliable ability.
    Man-Eater Bug 4, Great removal ability, but again, let's look at his efficiency. A Total Fielding Cost(TFC) of 5(1+2+2) and he has an ability that makes us want to field him over and over? That sounds pretty bad. What about his cost to stats ratio? 4 cost for a guy that barely hits 5/4? Nah, not quite worth it.
    Summoned Skull 5, This guy seems like a light version of common Firestorm, but if we look closer, there is no comparison. Ability wise, he targets characters, not your opponent. Add to that that there are a lot of cheap bolt characters in set, and we're looking at an ability that MIGHT trigger once per game. The ability is made even worse by the fact that you have to field Skull on the same turn as another bolt character. His TFC is 4! if there is another bolt character we are fielding that means we rolled 2 characters out of 4+ dice, and we are unlikely to have enough energy to field these two characters, let alone save for something else. Add to all of this, that his stat line doesn't equate to his cost and you're talking a very inefficient card.
    Injection Fairy Lily 6, You may have seen this card on some constructed deck lists. Why? Efficiency. She has one of the best stat lines for any 2 cost fist character in the game. Add to this her low TFC and she's a STEAL of a character, even without an ability.
    La Jinn 3, This guy costs 4 fist, and has a stat line that is pretty respectable: just a touch over 4/4 at level 2. Add to this that his ability spins him up and you're looking at a guy that is consistently a 5/4 or better for 4. His TFC is a bit poor for his game impact though, but he's hopefully not a character you're going to be fielding often. This guy is efficient, IF you already have some other fist characters rolling through.
    Dark Magician Girl 4, Great total fielding cost, better than average stat line and an ability than is relatively reliable to activate if you have low cost characters you can purchase often. Efficient for sure, but remember, you need the low cost characters first.
    Summoned Skull 5, This ability is surprisingly good for how situational it seems. The problem is you pay way too much for it to actually make it worth while. A cost of 6, TFC of 4 and a stat line that is more along the lines of a 4 cost than a 6 -- definitely not efficient.
    Saggi the Dark Clown 4, Stat line wise, this guy is super efficient. His TFC and his stats are about that of a 4 cost character. The only downside? He's a defensive wall, not an efficient attacker. If you need a low cost mask character to help you ramp up to a game ender, take this guy. However, if you don't have a plan on what to do with him, hes not going to get you there by himself, and buying him might even make that trip harder.
    Goblin Attack Force 4, These guys are the model of stat efficiency. All attack, all the time. However, their ability and the low defense makes them little more than a basic action your opponent can block. These guys are definitely a good beat stick to bring if you can't find something else to use, but have a plan for that opponent that brings rare Slifer or the Magic Missile basic action.
    Sangan 5, A TFC of 2 isn't terrible. His stat line is also average. He's efficient enough to pick up if you know you need to ramp with shields, or if you just need a low drop and there aren't many left.
    Kuriboh 4, Great TFC, good defensive stats, which isn't undesired in 2 cost characters, and even an ability to KO one of those sidekicks your opponent didn't attack with to try and chump block with on your turn. A pretty efficient little blocker for 2 shields. However, blocking is only part of the game. Attacking is how you win, and Kuriboh is definitely not the best attacker.
    Breaker the Magical Warrior 5, We talked about his efficiency above, and his situational ability last week. To summarize, don't pick him unless there are no better choices, even if those better choices are for a strategy you aren't running. Sometimes it is better to pick a card your opponent wants than to take a card you are pretty sure you aren't going to put in your deck (even if it matches your theme). We call it hate drafting, but we all know we love doing it.

    OK, looking back through the first pack, Injection Fairy Lily is definitely the most efficient card for us to take. While she doesn't have an amazing ability that wins us the game, let's face it, there aren't many of those in Yu-Gi-Oh. Instead let's focus on drafting the cheap efficient characters that give us the advantage over our opponent by having more energy to use each turn, while still bringing a solid force to bear. Since we have psuedo-decided on this strategy, we will keep in mind that if we can get enough early fist characters before pack 2, we could always choose the Rare Breaker instead of the common IFL. For example, perhaps a situation where we already have picked up 2 or 3 IFL dice.

    Looking toward pack two we want to find the most efficient fist drops we can.

    Kuriboh 4, This guy has an ability that is one step up from the common. You are blasting any character instead of just a sidekick. The big difference though is that you are paying 3, and Kuriboh's stats suddenly become a lot less efficient if you have to pay 3 to buy him. Don't get me wrong, he's a great card. He is better than most other things we've seen. But, he not a first pick in terms of efficiency.
    Time Wizard 4, Sometimes efficiency isn't represented by stats. Time Wizard is a great example of that. While his stat line is pretty poor for a 4 cost character, his 1 TFC and removal "when fielded" effect means he can out perform other 4 costs with better stat lines by removing targets. If you miss his removal, you prep a sidekick. All in all, both are abilities that we wouldn't mind being slightly inefficient for.
    Marshmallon 6, This guy's stat line is terrible for a 3 cost character. On top of that, he has a deceptively inefficient ability to allow you to spend a life to keep him in the field. There is nothing so awesome about this guy that we want to keep him in the field at the expense of our life total. He can block, but then again there is a 75% chance he will roll a face, and a 66% chance after that that the face will field for free. Definitely not efficient.
    Curse of Dragon 5, Stat line wise, these guys are decent. However, their 4 cost version is much more efficient. Their TFC of 4 is pretty hefty of a burden, but if you can field another character (like a sidekick with them) that efficiency sky rockets to a super efficient 6/6 for 5 -- great for a deck with good economic ramp going on, especially if it involves a slew of baby dragons.
    Saggi the Dark Clown 4, Evasive abilities like this are inefficient on blockers. Saggi is a blocker through and through. In other words, this ability is wasted on him.
    Injection Fairy Lily 6, This ability is really popular in constructed because you can use it to trigger Hulk even under the protection of a Doomcaliber Knight global or Lord of D./Ring combo. Is it as good in draft? If we look at IFL as a character that has +3 attack all the time, and then compare her efficiency to her 3 cost purchase, we are talking 4/3 at level 1 and 7/4 at level 3. For a character with 1 TFC and 3 cost, that is what we like to call efficient. Sure we might be using another resource, life, to fuel her, but that's a cost we can choose to pay if we think we need it, not one we MUST pay.
    Man-Eater Bug 4, This guy may seem like he's better than IFL, but take a look at that TFC! A TFC of 5, especially on a low cost character you're hoping to spam, is just not efficient. Stat wise, he's amazing. TFC wise? He's a bust. Find a way to mitigate that and you've got a great 2 drop... maybe.
    Celtic Guardian 2, Pay 4 for a character that doesn't even get 4 attack. He also doesn't have a great defense stat. And that ability? Only thing it's good for is stopping Overcrush characters.
    Harpe Lady 3, Decent stats for a 3 cost, however his ability is pretty inefficient, and her TFC of 4 makes it even worse. If you roll Harpie Lady, you have to pay 1-2 energy to field her. You can then spin one of your other energy to a sidekick. That's 3-4 dice from just that one play (Harpie lady and one sidekick).
    Blade Knight 3, This guy is a bit inefficient (lower stats, high TFC) but at least his ability is pretty decent for those costs.
    Injection Fairy Lily How she calls to me! I mean I want her almost as we want your Vixens. (EDITOR'S NOTE: A lot.)
    Doomcaliber Knight 3, Good stats for cost, high TFC, and a highly situational ability. However, it was good enough for Walsh in the World Championship final. Don't pick it first, but if you find yourself in need of a mid cost fist character, he's not terrible for his cost.

    Well, there we go. For efficiency we saw Injection Fairy Lily a bunch, and we also looked at maybe picking up the Rare Breaker if we get enough fists by pack 1. We also thought about Rare Time Wizard, and he really might be the best choice here because of his removal. But with no Baby Dragon, Thousand Dragon or even real mask character to build into, he's just one of those things you hope wheels as you take all of the great 3 drop characters. Remember when you're drafting, think about the value of each card you take, their ability, and always be efficient.

    Bonus: For bonus purposes, player 3 takes 2 Common Injection Fairy Lilys.
    Player 2 takes Curse of Dragon and Kuriboh
    Player 1 takes Blade Knight and Rare Breaker the Magical Warrior
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Shamelessly commenting on my own article to say OOOOOO..... nice sidebar @Ken .

      Hrm, I commented and the left sidebar went away, what did I do!?!?!
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Out of curiosity, why did you pick both common Injection fairies? You only need one copy in order to have the option of the 2-cost, so why not pick up the uncommon as well? You get the same amount of dice and increase your options. Is it for reasons of hate drafting the cheap 2 cost away from your opponents?

      (Also, Summoned Skull has a 4-TFC, not 5)
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      That is exactly the reason I took both commons. I would rather take the common twice so my opponent can't have them than get the option to take a more expensive card, with an ability that doesn't combo with anything in the set. It is a decent ability by itself, but its ability to combo with Hulk is what makes it worth it.

      I could have sworn I corrected that typo. I wonder if I didn't save that change, doing it now, thanks as always Necro, great questions as always.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      an ability that doesn't combo with anything in the set.
      I'm not saying that it's the wrong choice, but I have a very good idea of how to combo that ability with another character in set, but that'd be spoiling and I can't have that!