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Thread: How Have Your Matches Been Going Lately?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    into that good night

    Default How Have Your Matches Been Going Lately?

    It seems there's no currently active thread in which to write about the actual Pokemon matches you've been playing recently. I'm hoping there's enough traffic to foster a discussion about things like what tournaments/events you've played in, what kinds of decks or Pokemon you like to use or come up against a lot, how your matches have panned out (did you get a really good early set up, or perhaps a very bad run of coin flip luck?).

    The motive for this thread, then, is my recent experience at a theme deck tournament featuring the new decks from the Dragons Exalted set. I went against my better judgement and the advice of a knowledgeable friend and chose the Hydreigon deck (I just like Hydreigon more than Garchomp, alas). And to be honest, the worst matchup I had during the tournament was versus someone else's Hydreigon - I whupped all the Garchomp decks I encountered.

    Actually, there was one exception. In my final match of the tournament, my opponent started the game with his Gible to my Deino. The coin flip gave my opponent the first turn, allowing him a Sand Attack. When I tried to Guard Press with Deino, I flipped a tails. Then my opponent flipped heads on Knock Away and KO'd Deino for the second turn win (and I had, for the first time all day, both Zweilous and Hydreigon in-hand).

    I can hear some folks laughing in schadenfreude and others weeping in sympathy. u_u

    But that brings up an aspect of playing this game that I just can't seem to appreciate: the flipping of coins. Now I'm sure we've all had enough runs of poor luck with the flippy requirements of Pokemon battles, and a stable feature of human psychology is something called "confirmation bias," where we tend to remember more vividly those experiences that give us grief (like getting a tails on a game-losing attack/ability) while forgetting those experiences that we anticipate or expect anyway (like success on a coin flip), so our memories of this game will automatically be saturated with examples of coins or die who seem to go out of their way to destroy our otherwise straightforward paths to victory. To put it briefly, claims of bad luck are generally going to be exaggerations of reality.

    But! I am a scientist in training (a psychologist, specifically, which you can thank for the lesson about confirmation biases above, haha), so leaving my evaluation of the flippiness of my battles up to subjective recall wasn't satisfying. Because our memories try to deceive us, we might remember many more unfortunate flips than fortunate ones and so feel that we always have bad luck - which is what I was in danger of doing - when in reality our flip results line up perfectly with the math of probability involved. Who wants to be a sour Sally and run around making complaints about bad luck that really isn't? Certainly not me!

    For that reason, I decided to try keeping a track record of all the coin flips, both mine and my opponent's, during the games I play. With actual numbers, we can statistically analyze just how evil coins are.

    I most frequently play with my cousin, who has always seemed to have supernatural luck when it comes to flipping coins in battles (a pattern he and I both recognize and over which much laughter and teasing is routinely had). So last week when I got this idea, I recorded the coin flips of a few hours' worth of play, over the course of about ten or twelve battles. As it turns out, our ratios of heads to tails were considerably dissimilar, and neither stayed true to the probabilist's ideal of 50/50.

    Unfortunately we no longer have the notepaper with the records on it, but the general numbers are still in memory. With a total "coins flipped" count that day of 40-something, my cousin achieved a heads:tails ratio of about 8:3, which means he flips heads more than twice as often as he flips tails! My own total "coins flipped" count that day was just about 20*, with a heads:tails ratio of 2:5, which means I flip heads less than half as often as I flip tails!

    This single sample is actually too small to make definitive claims, of course. I'd need to perform and record many hundreds or even thousands of flips in order to draw any legitimate conclusions. And thanks to one of the laws of probabilistic math, the Law of Large Numbers, the results of a series of trials like these will more closely approach the ideal results probability predicts (50:50) as the number of trials increases. What that means is that, somewhere between now and infinity, I will flip a whole bunch of heads to counteract all the tails I'm flipping now. The only problem is that infinity is a lot longer than I'll live!

    *The large difference in our total "coins flipped" count is a result of our recognition of what kind of cards we can get away with using. My cousin is able to consistently reap the rewards of card effects like Poke Ball and Hyper Beam, which require flipping heads to succeed, and so his decks contain many flippy cards. I don't experience anywhere near the same kind of consistency, and so I eschew as many flippy cards as possible when I build decks. ;I

    So how about everyone else? I'd like to read about some of your recent battles and the kinds of decks you enjoy playing with. ^_^
    Last edited by Profesco; 19th August 2012 at 4:05 PM.

    Robin Williams
    "What's it gonna be? I don't know. But maybe along the way, you take my hand, tell a few jokes, and have some fun. C'mon, pal. You're not afraid, are ya?"

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