Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Can You Draft Door of Destinies?

Another rare of questionable value.  In some sets, Door of Destinies would be a legitimate bomb, but is Magic 2014 one of those sets?


A quick look at the set shows quite a diversity of creature types.  There are actually 58 different creature types on only 111 creatures.  37 of those creature types appear at common.  But it doesn't matter how many creature types there are, it matters how many you can get of one type.

First, let's look at what you need for the door to be good.  Playing a turn two and three creature, followed by a door, followed by another creature of that type would be +1/+1 to all your creatures.  Not the best use of your fourth turn but maybe worth an include in your deck.  If you play two creatures of the chosen type after the door then it might be worth the card even if those are the only two creatures of that type you play.  A third seems like a slam dunk for the door, as does giving +2/+2 to four creatures.

So you want to draw about three or four creatures of the same type when you draw door.  Two creatures that cost four or five each would also be okay, but not ideal.  Typically your deck will have 15 to 18 creatures, so you'll draw four or five of them in your first eleven cards.  That says to me that you should be looking at having at the very least half of your creatures be one type.

I counted up the cards of each creature type at each commonality in each colour.  Adjusting each card for its rarity, I got the commonality of each creature type in the set.  Then for each creature type I added up the number of them in the two colours with the most of them.  This narrowed down the number of creature types you could realistically try to door with.

Other than Slivers, which are the obvious point of the card, this narrowed it down to one - Human.  And that's in one colour combination - white/black.  Not only is that the only creature type you could realistically hope to get a good density of, in order to get that density I was counting Soulmender and Shadowborn Apostle.

Is it really that bad?  Yes, it's really that bad.  White/blue birds has one common bird of each colour, and one uncommon in blue.  White/black clerics has one common in each colour and two white uncommons.  Black/red minotaurs at least has two commons in black and one in red, but there are none of any other rarities.  There are three common blue merfolk but one of them is terrible and no other colours have any.

But maybe the door is still good if you have a wide variety of creature types.  You could, for instance, simply name whatever creature type you have two of right now and use it to buff those creatures.

The fact that you have to play the creatures after the door makes this difficult.  Spending your entire fourth turn adding nothing to your board may be quite hazardous when your opponent is spending their fourth turn on a Rumbling Baloth, a Marauding Maulhorn, a Charging Griffin or an Afflicted Spirit.  But if we get that your next two plays being huge could make up for this, how likely is this to happen.

So let's talk about a reasonable spread of creatures with a number of several different types.  In our red/green deck we have five slivers, four beasts, three elves and two wolves.  We don't have any other overlapping types, but we have three other creatures and three other spells that we usually wouldn't mind playing on turns one through three.  We look at hands where we draw Door in our opener.  In order to maximize the effectiveness of the door we try to avoid playing our most frequently drawn creature type until we have the door out on turn four, but we do play them if we have no other reasonable plays since we can't just do nothing.  I simulated up to turn six.

The door was just brutally bad.  Sure there was a 43% chance of getting two charge counters on it, but only a 1% chance of doing so with four creatures benefiting and a 9% chance of getting three creatures.  Much more terribly there was about a 38% chance that it was either doing nothing or giving a single creature +1/+1.  The balance of the time when it is giving two or three creatures +1/+1 isn't that impressive.  This card involves way too much chance for the slim odds of a big payoff.  And that's all on the draw.  If you are on the play things just get worse, and the chance of doing nothing and affecting a single creature combine to over 50%.

I tried it again with a crazy sliver deck - twelve slivers including a one drop, four two drops and four three drops.  No other creature types were used for this test, and I was just ignoring that this deck was going to be at least three colours and assuming it could always play everything.  This looks a lot better, but it still makes you wonder if it's worth it.  The chance of getting two charge counters was high - 73% - with 57% of that being times it affected more than two creatures.  Another 6% were times when three creatures were getting +1/+1.  However, that still left 9% of the time that the door was having a very minor effect and 11% that it was having no effect by turn six if played on turn four.  That's about as extreme a deck as you are ever going to get.  Sure, giving most of the creatures in your deck +2/+2 is a pretty good effect for a four mana artifact - and it's only going to get more broken from there - but it's hard to consider a card a bomb when you can be at turn six of the game, having the mana to play it, and having it do nothing at all more than 10% of the time.

It should come as no surprise that Magic 2014 - a set that has only four beasts to go with a common that specifically boosts beasts - is not a tribal set.
Is one of those a rare seven drop?

Basically you can't draft Door of Destinies.  You can draft slivers and if you get a ridiculous sliver deck then you can use Door of Destinies when it gets passed to you.  One day someone might also take it for their white/black deck having noticed that have a dozen humans, but that's actually only going to happen one day.  Definitely do not pick the door early.  You are probably more likely to play it if you just take the best sliver in the pack than if you take the door itself.

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