Deckbuild with paperstrips v3:

by wickeddarkman on 16 April 2018

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Deck Description

For a long time I've been using paperstrips as a computational tool to improve my decks. The process have been through a ot of changes and each of them have brought more speed an efficiency to the paperstrip method as a tool.

The process seems to be partially subject to moore's law which means it doubles it's efficiency every second year. I've recently changed the whole process from version 2 and have gained a lot more efficiency out of it...

A short explanation of how it works would be that part of the process works as a quantum computer with a lot of cards placed in a sort of state of both being in the deck while also not being there at the same time. The more tests you perform with the deck the faster it's cards will reach a quantum collapse and become a solid part of your deck rather than being in a state of being everything you can think of.

Another part of the process is "optimization" which is the mathematical equivalent of evolution. Those of you who do not believe in evolution should at least consider to take a look at how optimization works. Those of you who do believe in evolution will probably go rampant on how much paperstrips can emulate evolution.

In just 5 "runs" paperstripping have restructured a deck originally made by _godica and turned it into something that currently wins around 50% of it's games at tournaments. This deck currently look like this:
https://www.mtgvault.com/wickeddarkman/decks/evolving-modern-espermill-v5/

Each run I've had involved 25-30 decks and took a month to play through.
The new version of paperstrips take the same time to play out but is able to deal simultaniously with a huge number of cards to be tested.

Paperstripping is meant to be a powerfull tool for really dedicated magicplayers that want to build a deck from scratch and make it competitive.

The process involves as many competitive decks as you want to test against (I use around 30 "proxy" testdecks at the moment) and any cards you don't posses in real life can be proxied (photocopied) which allows you to test out new cards before you buy them.

The process allows you to take any deck and will let you modify it with several cards you want to test while doing it all simultaniously. You will be able to successfully merge three decks into one if that's what you want to.

ONE WARNING THOUGH...
When you play against testdecks and get to play with pretty much what you wish the cards to be, there is a distortion in the win-rate. If you play like 10 games against a specific deck and win 8 of the games, you could say your winrate is 80%. But once your deck takes form and you play against it with "set" Cards you will discover that the average winrate is cut by maximum 30% of the winrate, reducing those 80% to a more moderate 50%. This is a necessary part of the method, and to save time it's easier to just cut your test winrates by those 30% than playing against everything with a changing cardpool, and then replay it again with a "solid" deck. This is how I cut down on half of the project time.

THE POSITIVE DISTORTION OF PLAYING UP AGAINST THE HILL:
When I play against testdeck they always have free mulligans and whenever the opening hand has less than two lands or less than three spells they get a mulligan.

On the other hand My own deck is only allowed to mulligan when I have a zero lands hand or a 5 lands or more hand and I get punished by mulliganning by that 1 less draw.
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PREPARATION: "STEP ONE": (Proxying the most played decks)
The paperstrip method demands that you play against decks you want to defeat.
The easiest way to do this is to search for netdecks and print them out, then put them in sleeves with a land behind the printed paper.

For competitive proxies I can recommend http://tcdecks.net/
where you can "proxy" out a lot of decklists.
(there is a "proxy this deck"-button at the bottom of all decklists)

PREPARATION: "STEP TWO": (Analysing the decks for obvious weaknesses)
Once you have printed enough decks (Use for the 15 most played, 20 if you have lots of time and 30 if you are single or insane or both) you should look them through to get a feel for what the majority of the decks share as a weakness.

PREPARATION: "STEP THREE": (Build a deck based on exploiting those weakness)
Do this as best as you can and take notes during it's construction. If you can, try to exploit several weaknesses. (The more notes you keep the better the process works)
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"STRIPPING" THE PAPERSTRIPS:
Rip up some paper (or use scissors) to create 60 paperstrips, and put one in front of each card in your deck.

Divide your deck into categories and create a cardpool for each category
(For my own milldeck I used):
22 "lands"
8 "opening hand" (This category of cards was anything that protects against discard)
10 mill (millcards of many types)
10 removal (mass and single removal and even extirpate)
10 walls/Draw (a mix of cards that either worked as a wall drew some cards or both)

Your categories can be divided into as many as you like but if you use too many categories your deck will become very complex very fast.
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CARD LIST:
Write down the categories you want to include in your deck with 1 category at the top of each of your paperstrips.

For each category you must write down a list of cards you want to test. You can make a very large list but i recommend that you keep it around 15-20 cards to begin with until you feel more familiar with the processes involved. Feel free to add any cards you find interresting but do not add any cards to the project once you start up a run and have completed it. If you want to try out something fun try to use three decklists to create your initial cardlists.
Once you've filled out cardlists for all the categories you are ready to test your "deck".
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TESTING AGAINST TESTDECKS:
Start playing against your testdecks. (Play them yourself of have a friend play them)
Each of your paperstrips can become any card of your choice as long as it is one you've written on your cardlists. Everytime you decide to let a paperstrip become a Card you must write it's name (Unless it's allready on the strip) and a line.

A strip used several times can look something like this:

CATEGORY: "Creatures"
Goblin guide: III
Tarmogoyf: IIIIIIIIIII
Bloodbraid elf: IIIIII

The Key is to use the strip as the best Card availably to you against the exact situation you are in against the testdeck.

Be aware that you may have more than 4 of a preffered Card. (During my own tests with this version of paperstrips I have had 6 archive traps during the tests against the first 8 testdecks before the number settled at 4 copies). This is part of the process so don't worry if your strips want to play with 12 path to exiles because the process will take care of that in the end if it doesn't take care of it automatically during your first testdecks.

During these games make sure that you never mark more than 4 cards as a specific card (unless you are fond of relentless rats) during that game. Also use extra strips to mark cards that are somehow placed back in your library or hand so you don't mark the same card more than once every game you play against the testdecks.
One way to keep track of whats where, is to create extra proxies of your cards that you can put in play or in the graveyard, or use in many other ways. During play you may have trouble finding out which card is actually the "best choice" of them all, so "cheating" will be necessary. Look ahead what cards will be drawn by both players during the next 3-5 turns to make more qualified decissions, and pretend that you've played both cards and keep track of the consequences that arise. Put "damage counters" on creatures to keep track of which creature dealt the most damage and keep two tracks of life if one works better as a blocker than the other. You will soon learn how to evaluate what the best card will be during a game, and that card is the one that you mark with a "line".

During the many games you play, you will start to notice that the paperstrip method seems to automatically mark some cards more than others. This is due to the clause that no more than 4 copies of a card must be marked during play, and soon it will become more obvious what cards seem to work against several testdecks.

If you need to cast a certain type of spell from one of your categories and you have several strips in that category in your hand, count the lines of all entries on each strip to find the strip that has been marked the most positive amount of lines with the card you want to play.
EXAMPLE:
You need to cast a shriekmaw and have three removal strips in the hand.

CATEGORY: "REMOVAL" (strip 1)
Doomfall: IIIIIII
Extirpate: I
Shriekmaw: IIIII

CATEGORY: "REMOVAL" (strip 2)
Liliana of the veil: III
Drown in sorrows: II

CATEGORY: "REMOVAL" (strip 3)
Doomfall: IIIIIIII
Liliana of the veil: IIII
Extirpate: IIII

Seven doomfalls plus an extirpate is 8 lines. shriekmaws 5 lines cut this Down to 3 "not shriekmaw" which Counts as a -3.

Liliana + drown makes the Card a -5 (0 shriekmaws)

doomfall + liliana + extirpate is a whooping - 16.

The strip that needs to be marked with shriekmaw is strip 1 because It's the one with the least number of other cards when adding a shriekmaw.

If you were in a situation where you needed doomfall, strip 1 is the best strip because once you Count extirpate and shriekmaw together on that Card and detract them from the number of doomfall the number is +1 doomfall, where strip three has +0. Strip 2 will be a -5 in that case.

DISCARD & COUNTERSPELLS:
When you judge which cards an opponent would counter or remove from your hand consider the cardname with most lines to be the most important. If you can somehow avoid that strip being countered or discarded by changing it into another card do so and give that other choice the line. (One example is if your opponent cast inquisition of kozilek and all of your spells in your hand are saved by suddenly costing 4 or more. Don't be afraid of letting them all be saved by this since the process deals with it by compensationg the other way when you during an early game cast the strip as a 1cc rather than a 4cc. In the case that you selfdiscard a card don't give it a line unless it forwards some goal by being in the graveyard (Like giving you delirium or boosting your goyf or if it's a bloodghast or something)
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WHEN ALL GAMES HAVE BEEN PLAYED:
It's finally time to count everything together.

Split up the deck into all your chosen categories.
Use an ordinary paper to write Down all the cardnames in that category on the left side of the paper. (Like this)
Category: mill
hedron crab
glimpse
archive
mind funeral
phenax

Then write Down the total of lines from the first strip just beside the cardnames.
a: 02
b: 08
c: 17
d: 02
e: 04

Then write Down the total of lines from the NEXT strip just beside the cardnames.
a: 02 06
b: 08 07
c: 17 15
d: 02 01
e: 04 03

Continue until you have written out all of the strips:
a: 02 06 04 08 03 05
b: 08 07 06 06 01 13
c: 17 15 18 21 12 15
d: 02 01 00 00 01 03
e: 04 03 06 02 08 05

We are dealing with 6 cards in this category in this example so we must pick the 6 best scores to find out what the deck have become. It is only possible to play with 4 of each cards so any excess cards must be ignored.

Since archive trap scores 21 18 17 and 15 as the highest scores the deck will be playing with 4 of these and we ignore the rest of the scores for archive trap and continue with the second highest scores.

glimpse has 13 and 8. hedron has 8 and phenax has 8

The glimpse scoring 13 is also added to the deck which makes it a total of 5 Cards.
Since we have 6 strips that means that out of the three cardnames with a score of 8 we only need one. So far we are weighing what the deck becomes by the best score, so counting the combined score that these 3 cardnames have (hedron = 28, glimpse = 41 and phenax = 28) it becomes clear that glimpse is the 6th card.

Now we mark the 6 chosen cards (I use markers, but in here I use xx.
(The excess archive traps are marked with --)

a: 02 06 04 08 03 05
b: XX 07 06 06 01 XX
c: XX -- XX XX -- XX
d: 02 01 00 00 01 03
e: 04 03 06 02 08 05

This shows that two strips does not have any XX on them, (strip a and d) which means that out of the 6 cards in our category only 4 strips have actually been decisive. That means that they open up the possibility of adding a new category if other categories have possible leftovers.
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PREPAIRING THE NEXT RUN:

By now your paperstrips should have generated a decklist that should be able to beat a lot of the testdecks, but have some troubles with a few select decks.

By looking on the scores of cardnames on your paperstrips you should be able to see what cards were very far from making it into the deck and those that were just a single point from being in the deck. Remove the weakest cards from each category, add some cards to each category that you think will be able to fight the problem decks and start up the whole project again.

In case that you want to add a new category you need to split up some of the old strips into those two categories, containing both the old strip and new cards from the new category. Strips that gather most points in the old category should remain as that category during your future runs, while strips that adopt most lines in the new category should become that category during your future runs.
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REMOVING LINES PLACED BY MISTAKES:
Since we are dealing with narrow lines (like these IIII) on a paper, the easiest way to remove a line is by making two lines into a small Square and color the center. If you write a cardname and then make a line besides it only to regret it seconds later you may convert it from I to an E-like mark that can later become a Square when you put a line at that cardname later in the process...

LINK TO MY MOST RECENT DECK BUILT WITH PAPERSTRIPS:
(I update it constantly, so you can always see the newest design made by paperstrips)
https://www.mtgvault.com/wickeddarkman/decks/phenax-god-of-mill/



Deck Tags

  • paperstrips
  • article

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Mana Curve

Mana Symbol Occurrence

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Deck Format


Modern

NOTE: Set by owner when deck was made.

Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Not Legal in Modern
  • Not Legal in Vintage
  • Not Legal in Legacy

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