Reply – Re: Mindless Decks?
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Re: Mindless Decks?
— by Quintivarium Quintivarium
Hellspawn,

I don't think any deck is truly mindless, almost any deck requires reasonably good play to be formidable.  But some decks do not require the same level of thought during play -- and some do not really allow for thought-filled responses.  "Mindless" is definitely a relative trait.

I do not play prism decks (prism is a card I don't enjoy and I avoid it) so I hate to comment on how much thought such a deck requires in play.  I do know from playing against them that there are two big risks for prism decks against standard decks (decks not specifically designed to target prisms).  One is that the prism deck falls too far behind by the time the prism is played, and even a prism doing 6 to 10 points damage a round cannot save the game, the second is that so many resources are expended trying to draw the prism that nothing remains to trigger it.  But I think these are more problems of deck design than deck play.

To me, good, thinking play requires three things: a variety of choices, choices that matter, and choices that require creativity and insight.  Suppose, on first move, I hold 4 bone dragons and a howling banshee, there is little variety of choice -- playing the banshee is a mindless decision.  If, on first move, I am playing my blitz deck and hold an aeromancer, a storm fiend, a razorsaur, a lightning golem, and a dactyl hatchling, I have about as much choice as possible.  But aside from saving the dactyl hatchling for a later tandem play, it is unlikely the card I play will make any difference at all and to the extent it does matter, it matters in ways I cannot predict -- another mindless decision.  Finally, suppose on initial move, I hold howling banshees, stitched golem, undead triton, grave robbers, and post mortem.  I could play any of the 5 cards.  But selecting the banshees is a mindless choice -- playing the golem, the tritons, or postmortem effectively wastes the card, while playing grave robbers is likely to waste tempo.

To assess how "mindless" a prism deck is to play, ask how much variety of choice it offers, how significant those choices are, and how obvious (or formulaic) those choices are.  I would guess a good prism deck to be somewhat mid-spectrum -- deeper than most blitz or brute strength decks, on a par with burning world and aquamancer-energize decks, less thinking than most relocation (e.g. tide caller) and trap decks.

I think the big concern with prism decks is they allow relatively few thought-filled responses.  Against a well-designed and well-played prism deck, either I choose a deck specifically intended to deal with fire prism, I choose a deck so quick I don't worry about the fire prisms, or I lose -- and it doesn't matter how I play.  I think this is an exaggeration, but it is certainly a perception.