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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-20 10:13 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Sid the Chicken wrote:
Sovarius wrote:
Because you cannot say what the game state is at any point for sure. Because while you are explaining that *someday* you will win with Gitrog Horseman, i am not required to tell you i have Faerie Macabre and Extirpate in my hand. I can say "Okay, proceed with your combo".

Yes you can, and you can proceed to screw me over as soon as the intended state is reached... I'm not seeing the issue there.

I don't think this can be true. In the case of Gitrog, the contents of your library and graveyard are constantly being changed and reordered. How do i shortcut to say "I have Ravenous Trap and i exile your whole deck"? You don't necessarily have your whole deck in your graveyard when you go to trigger Kozilek, but you could, if he was in the very bottom of your deck; which we don't know until we get there. And since you have to loop a very large number of times, your graveyard will be different all the time (because the loop is not just 2 actions like Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth), so there will be times you can Trap/Macabre multiple cards in certain loops but not others. (if your win condition is Rath's Edge, you have to do the loop equal to the life total of opponents for example, and yet again, maybe more since sometimes you will dredge/mill your Crop Rotation so who knows how many times).

With the Efreet example, nothing of the game state actually physically needs to change. I have no problem shortcutting "Oh you flip one centillion coins for each plank volume in a googolplex worth of multiverses? Yea i assume you scored at least a 20".

If you and i have 40 life and our opponents 25 and i know your win con is Exsanguinate, i can deterministically say "I Krosan Grip your Rings of Brighthearth after you generate 25 mana".

It is not possible for me to shortcut your Gitrogian actions to "well i exile all your combo pieces/entire deck/these 3 cards by name", but it is possible in practice to respond at a certain point in a certain loop (since each will be different) to interrupt in whatever way i see most efficient. A competent Gitrog player probably shouldn't say "yea we shortcut and my whole deck is gone" because there ought to be backup pieces and such but for all i know playing against them i have a shot at exiling a whole lotta stuff that could be too effective for them to carry on.

That doesn't mean *in practice* i would never scoop to gitrog, but if i have meaningful interaction the reality is takes too damn long to work through the whole thing.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
If they wanted to stack any part of their deck they picked the wrong thing to do infinitely: infinite scry 2+ would do that.

Except it's impossible to know the exact number of scry instances necessary, so by your appeal to strict rules enforcement, that doesn't work either.

You don't need to know the exact number though. You can say 1 billion. There aren't enough cards in an EDH deck to not sort it out in 1 billion scry 2's, no matter the starting order of the cards. Once your deck is in the order you wish it to be, the rest of the scry 2's just go "top, top", "top, top", "top, top". You can even "bottom, bottom" until your deck is in the same order again.

This is just shortcutting physical labor, like Efreet, like Rings of Brighthearth + Basalt Monolith. Scrying my deck isn't affecting the order of the graveyard or any opponent's ability to respond in a particular point. If you can force them to shuffle after their infinite scry2, presumably they can Scry2 again infinitely. Which is not the case when actual cards are exiled from Gitrog's graveyard or another "Horseman" setup on the other hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-20 10:28 am 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
If they wanted to stack any part of their deck they picked the wrong thing to do infinitely: infinite scry 2+ would do that.

Except it's impossible to know the exact number of scry instances necessary, so by your appeal to strict rules enforcement, that doesn't work either.


The WotC judge community has an Official Ruling that specifically states that infinite scry 2 in order to stack a deck is an acceptable shortcut. The same ruling specifies players aren't expected to know the steps involved because they're complex and differ based on each unique rearrangement, but they're a valid shortcut nevertheless. I think that's about as "officially confirmed to definitely work" as we can get.

Anyone with a Judge Apps account can access the ruling directly here to verify.

Also, here is Ask a Magic Judge discussing infinite scry 2 to stack your deck and also ruling that infinite scry 1 and shuffling does not let you stack your library. (Infinite scry 1 is important there to examine your deck order after each shuffle.)

It takes a specific number of deterministic steps of scry 2 in order to change a deck from one order into any other particular order, making it a legitimate shortcut. We as players don't have to know the steps exactly by that ruling, but a computer could list them out in order, so it's perfectly possible to know the exact scry steps and number necessary to move from Deck State A to B. The state of the deck at the end of each step is knowable and no conditions are depended on.

It takes an unknown amount of nondeterministic steps to shuffle a library into any particular order. The loop ends after an undeterminable number of steps whenever a condition is met. This is not a legitimate shortcut.


Edited now that I'm no longer mega sleepy and in "respond to internet debate" mode:
Sid the Chicken wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
I did provide a couple of examples here of ways nondeterministic or conditional shortcuts break down.

You've provided a few instances where you can throw something else into the mix to make it impractical. That's fair - I can't see shortcutting two opposing indeterminite loops. And I suppose it is easier from a rules perspective to just say no to all cases rather than try to determine which ones could function smoothly and which could not.

Thanks for reading that.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
Which kind of gets to the heart of what I'm trying to say - there's rules, and then there's common sense and being reasonable. It's reasonable to say "OK, you'd get there eventually" and just go with it, because we can see logically how it would happen, even if it would take forever to play out step-by-step, unlike your 0/1 creature and invisible Labman examples.

That makes sense. But I tend to grant leniency in inverse proportion to cheese and power, and if someone's going infinite, they get zero leniency from me in how they go infinite: they're already extremely powerful but they don't get to also have the added unfair advantage of ignoring the rules everyone else must follow. In the case where the difference is between "I can put my deck into an unknown state!" (by the rules) and "I can put my deck into a winning state!" (breaking the rules), these two actions are at completely opposite ends of the power spectrum, and since the default is to follow the rules and the onus is on the player who wants to bend or break them to demonstrate why, I have no reason to accept this. I might as well accept "I cast Brainstorm, can we just pretend I draw the exact three cards I want so that I can win?" and I wouldn't accept that either unless I wanted the game to end.

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Last edited by spacemonaut on 2019-Jan-20 9:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-20 1:17 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jul-02 4:25 pm
Age: Drake
Into The North podcast has just uploaded an episode about this very thing, encouraging people to play Gitrog Monster. I expect to see a ton of these decks randomly popping up now, because podcasts, YouTube, and Reddit seem to be where most people get their info on this format now.

https://intothenorth.podbean.com/e/into ... g-monster/


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-20 1:48 pm 
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The whole point of doing something a bazillion insane number of times is irrelevant when the official rules state that after each and every shuffle the deck is in a completely unknown state. If you flip a coin that same number of times, what’s the likelihood that your next flip is heads?... it’s still 50/50 it’s an example of independent probability.

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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-20 2:29 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jul-02 4:25 pm
Age: Drake
You're preaching to the choir. We're at a point where the rules say one thing, but the internet brain trust has waved their hand and pulled out some justification for trying it anyway because it's a casual format and there is no way to enforce the rules. They think they get to do their thing until their combo happens naturally or everyone scoops out of boredom, whichever comes first, because there is nothing outside of the MTR that says they can't.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 1:37 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Bruticus wrote:
The whole point of doing something a bazillion insane number of times is irrelevant when the official rules state that after each and every shuffle the deck is in a completely unknown state. If you flip a coin that same number of times, what’s the likelihood that your next flip is heads?... it’s still 50/50 it’s an example of independent probability.

If that's your argument then you clearly lack an understanding of the statistics involved. One coin flip is and always will be a 50/50 chance. Twenty billion flips and needing to get heads once in those twenty billion flips, mathematically is a 100% chance. These are simple mathematical facts.

spacemonaut wrote:
since the default is to follow the rules and the onus is on the player who wants to bend or break them to demonstrate why, I have no reason to accept this. I might as well accept "I cast Brainstorm, can we just pretend I draw the exact three cards I want so that I can win?" and I wouldn't accept that either unless I wanted the game to end.

The difference there to me is that I can demonstrate through actual logic WHY the combo I might be attempting would work, whereas the Brainstorm example is obvious bullshit. So while I'm willing to accept that there are potential issues, I'd appreciate counter-arguments that are also grounded in logic, and not obvious bullshit.

spacemonaut wrote:
It takes a specific number of deterministic steps of scry 2 in order to change a deck from one order into any other particular order, making it a legitimate shortcut. We as players don't have to know the steps exactly by that ruling, but a computer could list them out in order, so it's perfectly possible to know the exact scry steps and number necessary to move from Deck State A to B. The state of the deck at the end of each step is knowable and no conditions are depended on.

I get this, but man does it feel shady to me. It's basically 2 shortcuts wrapped into 1, the second of which the vast majority of people could never handle in their heads. First, scry equal to N/2 without changing the order of the cards so the order of the deck is known, then scry sufficiently to stack them. If this is not done, then the state of the deck is not knowable at each step. If I just say "I scry 2 20 billion times", then how do I know where each card goes each time? I don't, so it has to be done the first way I described. Therefore the judges are effectively ruling that you don't actually need to name the number of times you do something as long as it technically could be determined, which really makes it feel like "This mathy thing is OK, but this one isn't, because reasons".

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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 2:13 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I would be upset if a judge ruled that an arbitrary large number of coin flips had the desired result, whether it was one heads or one million. Because the probability of each coin flip is 50/50, every additional coin flip to achieve a singular "heads" result will get you closer to a 100% success rate, but it will NEVER actually become 100%.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 6:25 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Sid the Chicken wrote:
I get this, but man does it feel shady to me. [...] If I just say "I scry 2 20 billion times", then how do I know where each card goes each time? I don't, so it has to be done the first way I described. Therefore the judges are effectively ruling that you don't actually need to name the number of times you do something as long as it technically could be determined, which really makes it feel like "This mathy thing is OK, but this one isn't, because reasons".

The graveyard mathy thing isn't a mathy thing because interaction.

This Scry 2 mathy thing is a mathy thing because you can arrange your deck however you like and there is no reason to know the correct number. You say "i scry 2 one billion times", and after it's in the correct order you scry "top, top" repeatedly. You also can just Scry 2 once at a time and decide to repeat the action, there is no world in which you need to name a number of scry2's, you *never* need to know the total amount. This shortcut only changes the amount of physical time it takes you to do your action. The graveyard thingy is just begging interaction and is not a mathy thingy and changes something about the game state every time. It's not "because reasons". You're getting sassy about bullshit but this is just outright lazy man.

cryogen wrote:
I would be upset if a judge ruled that an arbitrary large number of coin flips had the desired result, whether it was one heads or one million. Because the probability of each coin flip is 50/50, every additional coin flip to achieve a singular "heads" result will get you closer to a 100% success rate, but it will NEVER actually become 100%.

Why though? It doesn't technically reach 100%, sure. But we are talking about shortcutting a physical action that doesn't change anything about the game. You just add counters to a dumb enchantment in the best case scenario (or making the BBD guy bigger or something), which is advancing your gameplan, and the worst case scenario is you are flipping for no reason in which case you are slow playing regardless of whether you allow a shortcut or not.

If i have Efreet and Chance Encounter, does it actually matter to you if i physically flip until i hit 10? If it matters to you, would you suggest i can't sit there and flip 30 coins? Do i have to hit a certain ratios of hits/fails for you to not consider it slow play?


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 6:39 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
If we were playing casual EDH (or heck, even a league game) and you did the Efreet/Chance Encounter combo I'd let you have it, because I'm not going to nitpick like that. But if we were playing in a sanctioned Legacy tournament and you did that, I would expect that a.judge would not rule in your favor, simply because mathematically speaking, it is NOT a 100% chance that you hit 10 heads. Am I being petty at that point? Possibly, but the rules are black and white and unless I'm mistaken, that interaction isn't one which you can shortcut. But then again, I guess the judge could rule that you have to play it.out until you hit 10 successful coin flips.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 11:40 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
cryogen wrote:
unless I'm mistaken, that interaction isn't one which you can shortcut. But then again, I guess the judge could rule that you have to play it.out until you hit 10 successful coin flips.

Yeah, I didn't think it was (it probably isn't? i'm not sure why it can't be though), my argument is more about, and comparison of, flipping coins vs any horseman style graveyard cycling. I just don't think there's a point to not allow shortcutting manual labor.

You could also use a tool to flip any number of coins at once. Random.org a number between 1 and 2 and it takes a second to generate a result for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 12:09 pm 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Is that something a TO would allow?

Again, personally speaking I would be fine with this because I get how statistics work and yeah sure you got your 10 coin flips. I'm simply saying that when you have to be a rules stickler then this isn't an acceptable shortcut (unless of course you flip pins until you get your 10 and then just ignore the rest of them).


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-03 2:10 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Actually, i made that remark simply in regards in time without thinking about what else electronics imply, but now that you ask; you aren't allowed to use electronics that can take and store notes during an event sanctioned at competitive or above. At regular, you can as long as you're not using it for strategic information and whatever you're doing is publicly visible. So i suppose using a phone app would be fine in an fnm type of setting or outside a real event.

But other than device rules, yea you could use an app potentially.

Quote:
705.3. A coin used in a flip must be a two-sided object with easily distinguished sides and equal likelihood that either side lands face up. If the coin that's being flipped doesn't have an obvious "heads" or "tails," designate one side to be "heads," and the other side to be "tails." Other methods of randomization may be substituted for flipping a coin as long as there are two possible outcomes of equal likelihood and all players agree to the substitution. For example, the player may roll an even-sided die and call "odds" or "evens," or roll an even-sided die and designate that "odds" means "heads" and "evens" means "tails."


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-04 3:26 am 
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Age: Dragon
FWIW on the Chance Encounter thing: in a tournament setting you can't shortcut it. In practice, at EDH I'd just say yep you win, in a tournament I might go either way: making you burn time could be advantageous to me.

Sid the Chicken wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
since the default is to follow the rules and the onus is on the player who wants to bend or break them to demonstrate why, I have no reason to accept this. I might as well accept "I cast Brainstorm, can we just pretend I draw the exact three cards I want so that I can win?" and I wouldn't accept that either unless I wanted the game to end.

The difference there to me is that I can demonstrate through actual logic WHY the combo I might be attempting would work, whereas the Brainstorm example is obvious bullshit. So while I'm willing to accept that there are potential issues, I'd appreciate counter-arguments that are also grounded in logic, and not obvious bullshit.

I'm not sure what to say to that. I'm not bullshitting. I'm also not trying to give you a counter-argument there, I'm just saying how it is for me. Both of these scenarios (shuffle into a specific deck state, Brainstorm a chosen card off the deck) are equally outside the rules and both are asking me to accept arbitrary luck.

I've played with someone before who played an Enchantress deck before Tuvasa the Sunlit was a thing. They asked the table: "this deck's going to do absolutely nothing until I draw an Enchantress variant, so can we agree to let me start with one of those in my opening hand? I'm also probably going to eventually draw a card that lets me combo off and win." We were interested in what his deck would do and said yes. I don't remember the combo but I remember enjoying the game, and he did win, and I'd do something like that again. That was also equally outside the rules, but I allowed it because the stakes were "player does stuff" vs "player can't do things meaningfully for several turns and/or the entire game".

If it was far into the game and the person said "I could win if I draw the right card" or "I could win if I shuffle my deck into this precise state", I'd say no because it's outside the game rules and because that's not the same stakes -- they're asking me to let them win or gain major advantage based on something that doesn't work. The exception would be if I want the game to end and/or want to see how they'd end it.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
It takes a specific number of deterministic steps of scry 2 in order to change a deck from one order into any other particular order, making it a legitimate shortcut. We as players don't have to know the steps exactly by that ruling, but a computer could list them out in order, so it's perfectly possible to know the exact scry steps and number necessary to move from Deck State A to B. The state of the deck at the end of each step is knowable and no conditions are depended on.

I get this, but man does it feel shady to me. It's basically 2 shortcuts wrapped into 1, the second of which the vast majority of people could never handle in their heads. First, scry equal to N/2 without changing the order of the cards so the order of the deck is known, then scry sufficiently to stack them. If this is not done, then the state of the deck is not knowable at each step. If I just say "I scry 2 20 billion times", then how do I know where each card goes each time? I don't, so it has to be done the first way I described. Therefore the judges are effectively ruling that you don't actually need to name the number of times you do something as long as it technically could be determined, which really makes it feel like "This mathy thing is OK, but this one isn't, because reasons".

I imagine that was just for pragmatic tournament running: lots of judges at different tournaments would've been giving inconsistent answers ("yes", "no", "i don't know, prove to me it works", "yes but I'll only let you do it if you explain correctly how it works", "let me check with the head judge") all of which can waste time or make a deck's ability to function variable tournament to tournament. Saying "yes, people can do this and don't even need to be able to explain it" brings consistency and saves time.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-06 11:58 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jul-02 4:25 pm
Age: Drake
So I've been thinking about it, and really these non-deterministic loops almost always come about from being able to shuffle your library for free when certain cards go to your graveyard. Even the MTR acknowledges this. So what do Kozilek, Ulamog, and Gaea's Blessing actually contribute to the format outside of these problematic loops? Mill protection? Is that even a net positive? Mill is terrible anyway, so giving it a boost might be interesting.

What would the format look like without them? Most people don't like Annihilator anyway, so only the people running them would miss the Eldrazi titans, and I've never actually seen Gaea's Blessing outside one of these combos.

I think I could get on board with just banning the three shuffle cards, tbh. In my opinion we have reached a point where disinformation on the internet (Reddit, youtube, podcasts) telling people this kind of thing is legal has created a problem that can't simply be solved by talking. Not even a quick Google search can resolve this issue, because there are so many conflicting answers. Basically someone in the playgroup will have to have a copy of the CR handy in order to deal with this, and even then some of these internet sources have fabricated a grifty answer to that.


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 Post subject: Re: Theoretical Probability as Win Condition
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-07 1:52 am 
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Do these combos get played outside of hyper competitive decks? I play Gitrog combo, but only against my friend who also plays hyper-competitive builds. If the majority of EDH players don't build or play with that mentality, why should a small subset of decks/players/interactions result in the banning of cards?

Also, everyone should be packing at least one piece of graveyard hate, no matter what. So many decks in the format abuse or use their graveyards, there is no excuse not to have at least one answer in your 99. I know you won't always draw it, but those times that you do it makes a difference. Take proactive, strategic deckbuilding steps. I feel like this is more for the community at large as opposed to this specific topic.

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