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The Gypsy is Here

This new program just might be one of the most revolutionary items for the game of Magic: The Gathering.  Itís been in development for a while now.  It finally goes online this week.  It can possibly level the playing field between mediocre and strong players.  It can easily eliminate anywhere from 10-20 hours from your playtesting time.  Itís a good quick reference tool and great to help you deck build.  

I guess with all this hype and rambling, many of you are wondering exactly what this program is.  The program is going to be run from a secure set of servers and be run through a website (Donít worry, this doesnít hurt the speed of it at all).  The site is being referred to as a "deck building advice web site,"  and honestly, that is probably the single best explanation for what it is.

The program breaks down the cards, deck building process, and even does a deck analysis for you.  It does all of this by breaking the program into three different sections.  Letís take a look at what all they offer.

"The Seer"

This section is the first one to mess with.  This section allows the user to find cards by set, abilities, and colors.  The best part about this section is that it is broken down within each type.  You can looks up items by card types.  You can even get specific.  You can set the program to bring up all Black, land destruction cards from Odyssey if you want to and it will bring up a full set of results.  After the results are brought up, they are listed with what they do in addition to a numerical rating.  Analyzing over a hundred different criteria on each card creates the ratings.  This does cause some ratings to look a little funny on some cards (which are usually highly specialized), but thatís ok.  After they are put into decks and different cards are put together or tested the final deck ratings come out ok.  This can help you find all the different cards that do what you are looking for and figure out which better suits your needs.

"The Gypsy"

This section is where most of the deck building occurs and is probably the most important.  This deck building software takes a little bit of work to get used to.  I spent about two hours on it to get it down to a complete understanding.  Once I did though, I was able to drop decks into the system with amazing ease.  This section is broken into grids.  There are ten grids that have slots for up to ten decks.  This generally means that you can have up to 100 decks.  To save you a few questions, the grids are made to hold a 60-card deck and a 15-card sideboard.  Yes, this means that you can not put in a 250 card Battle of Wits deck.  The main reason for this is that it doesnít fit most of the parameters and equations that would allow the program to develop and proper rating for the deck.  While deck building you can still bring up a variety of different cards with their explanations to look at what they do before adding them to the deck.  The search engine when looking up cards is really good.  It accepts partial spellings to bring up the cards you are looking for.  The one thing to note while deck building is that you need to click on the card name to bring it up first, then add it to your deck.  The best part about this section is the deck-analyzing portion.  It takes your deck and looks at it based on two different styles, these being points and finesse.  Points looks at your deck needing to kill your opponent the traditional way by reducing their life total.  Finesse looks at your deck needing to win by some other criteria.  Finesse generally needs more emphasis on card advantage an utility spells like Wrath of God and Propaganda, while Points decks refer more to creatures and damage spells like Raging Kavu and Fireball.  In the analysis, you can look at your decks numerical percentages on different aspects that can help dictate how often you should draw certain things and how things should effect the deck.  If you DSR (Deck Strength Rating) isnít real high, you cut your playtest time here by going back to the drawing board and adjusting a few things.

"The Player"

This is the last of the three sections.  This is a very intriguing section to look at.  This section of the site actually has quite a few uses.  It has what it calls an "interplay analyzer."  First of all, it allows you to shuffle decks based on your shuffling style Light, Heavy,  and Super.  The more shuffling you do, the better randomization you get.  After shuffling, you can review the results for any number of hands drawn between one and one hundred hands.  This can be used for a variety of things.  I have used it to try and figure out my mana situation by trying to decide how often I would mulligan my opening hands.  It also allows you to look at the first few draws beyond your opening hands.  It looks at your first sixteen turns.  This helps you verify deck consistency, strategy, and timing.  this section also runs what it calls a "PDR Summary."  PDR is short for Play Damage Ratio.  This allows you to check your percentage of damage being done one each turn.  Within the PDR summary, you can call up your previously shuffled and drawn hands for review.  Another cool part about this section is its combo summary.  It allows you to call up particular combinations and cards and tells you how frequently they would come up.  For instance, assume you were playing a Fires deck and wanted to have a mana creature, a land, and a fires by turn two, you would simply put in Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, all of your various land and Fires of Yavimaya.  Then the program would tell you how often the combo would come up by the required turn.  Another interesting thing to do is to analyze the opening few hands for two different decks with two different windows open.  This can be really good for planning out games against particular bad matchups.

Admittedly, this program is not going to replace old fashion playtesting.  However, it can very well save people time while deck building.  The websiteís largest claim is that it saves time while building winning decks.  If you want to do an interesting test, take the previous winning decks from various Pro Tours and look at how well they placed in comparison to the other decks in the event.  The results are actually pretty amazing.  They some up almost how you would figure.  Of course there are cases where particular sideboard cards, or bad deck matchups skewed the results and some players didnít place quite as high, but that comes back to matchups.  

Also, as a side note of interest, the program doesnít support anything older than extended.  The main reason being that many Type 1 cards would be off the scale for what they do and too many decks would have insane ratings.  Also, the card lists donít evaluate cards that were released prior to extended.

This program should turn out to be useful to players to all skill levels.  There are a variety of players already looking into it.  The company took a couple of opportunities to give some free demos of the game to the general public.  they took a moment to do so at Grand Prix Houston.  They gave free demos of the game this past weekend at our local Pro Tour Qualifier.  The program has tons of ins and outs to learn.  There is a short learning curve to it, so you will want to tinker with it a bit to get efficient with its controls.  There shouldnít be anything on there the average player canít handle though.

Iím sure many of you have gotten this far and are wondering how to gain access to the program.  Well, itís simple you have to pay for it.  Itís not what you would think.  It is only $9.95/YEAR!!  Thatís not a typo, it is actually $9.95 for a full year if you sign up by April 30, 2002.  All you need is a credit card and your set.  It even has a tracker on the web site that tells you how long until you need to renew your membership.  Another thing that I thought was cool was that itís only $19.95/YEAR even after the introductory rate.

If nothing else, I would recommend that every player at least sign up to the program and use it for at three weeks.  This will give you time to test it out, try all the different aspects, and get a decent amount of use out of it.  If you do not like it, you will be out less than $10.  This is a remarkable deal.  This program definitely is revolutionary.  You get a really useful program at your fingertips for less than the price of a draft set.  

Go to the site, sign up, check out the program, and tell the company what you think.  I like it a lot.  Iíve already made use of it and easily got more than my $10ís worth out of it.  

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
The Game Closet




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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