Many card games share similar concepts such as Card Advantage, Tempo, Subgames, Perfect Information, and Pressure. One that not all card games share is Deck Thinning. This is the act of removing cards that would be considered unneeded from the deck in order to increase the chances of drawing into cards one should need. Inversely, it is the act of increasing the probability of drawing cards you need. From what we know about probability, one also knows that having a lower pool of cards directly increases the “chunking” size of probability to draw unaffected copies. In card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, you start with a very small pool of 40 cards, draw on opening turn 6 cards, and leave a remainder of 34 for you to thin. In deckbuilding, you can place cards inside that directly search copies of themselves or other cards and that is their only purpose. These are pure deck thin cards that serve to virtually make your total deck size smaller while still remaining legal.
If you’re not at all familiar with Yu-Gi-Oh, you can skip this paragraph. Using things like “Gather Your Mind” can decrease the total deck size by 3 cards. Using “Toon Table of Contents” and a random “Toon” monster can decrease it by 4 cards. It’s virtual because this can fail once or twice as you could draw more than one copy of these self-searchers and be unable to get the rest, therefore not thinning as much. But assuming ideal conditions, you could stack these cards in your deck building choice to further some overall goal. A Forbidden One win condition would serve the best use as it directly benefits from stacking multiple effects. Other decks often take the advantage where they can get it such as Agents using Venus to weed out Shine Balls (and usually get more utility from them after that).
However, Yu-Gi-Oh and other similar games are not Cardfight Vanguard. These games are wildly different and we cannot assume that the concepts for one wholly or partially transfer to another. Instead, we must re-evaluate each concept for each game we attempt to apply it to. Vanguard’s deck pool is initially 50 for construction purposes, but automatically “thins” by 1 by removing the Starting Vanguard—making it 49 cards for calculation purposes. Then you draw an opening of 6, and your deck size is 43. A whole 9 cards higher initially than Yugioh.
From there, you proceed to draw up to 2 cards per turn, and probably damage 1 per intermittent turn as well. That’s -3 from the deck each turn for two turns and sometimes an extra one due to Draw trigger or soul charging. The average deck would be at about 38 just before the start of Turn 3 depending on if you go first or second. At that point, an additional card is now removed each turn due to Twin Drive. So -4 each turn at the start of Mid Game, and that means you have 24 cards left in the deck by Turn 6, which is usually the maximum number of turns before both players get at least 4 damage and enter Late Game. You can’t assume to take 1 damage every single turn from the start of the game since that would be impossible. Events like Draw Triggers, Heal Triggers, drawing skills, and soulcharging skills almost even out the number of average cards per turn to -4 but not quite. So the number by Late Game can vary slightly between ±3 cards.
I say all of this to get you familiar with the number of cards expected to be in the deck at the start of each Subgame. Start of Early is 43 cards. Start of Mid is 38 cards. Start of Late is 24 cards. This is going to be considerably more cards at the start of Late if you run no Draws, no soulcharging, and no ways to remove extra cards from the deck. Especially if you run ways to put cards into the deck like Tsukuyomi and Galahad. Those decks are helped considerably less by Deck Thinning, so take all of the following calculations as less reliable for their Thinning purposes. What we want to do now is take this skeleton template of deck size per subgame and determine how much thinning has to occur during a given subgame to make a difference.
|Willing your triggers to you? Real life does not work that way|
What do I mean by “make a difference”? Well, first we need a clear goal. In games like Yu-Gi-Oh, deck thinning just occurs to get to your limited powerful cards and key cards. Vanguard isn’t like that at all. Many cards in Vanguard are almost just as key as another card. As long as you get the proper rides (which all happens in Early game), then you probably won’t care too much about what specific cards you draw, and will more care that you draw cards that fit a certain template (like making a proper column, getting shield, getting a Perfect Guard, etc). The only things we really want to make sure we get are trigger effects. You want that Power +5000, those criticals, those draws, those heals, and those stands. The abusing chance article already goes over the standard approximate trigger checking probabilities. We’re going to start from Mid game and determine the number of cards you have to thin during a turn to make a significant difference. This will be defined as a difference that can be matched by having an extra Drive Check. Anything less is not going to be felt over 1 time during a given game, and any cards you would purposefully add to the deck to that end would be wasted.
At least 1 trigger check in twin drive with 13 triggers in a 37 card deck: ~58.6%
Exactly 2 triggers check in twin drive with 13 triggers in a 37 card deck: ~11.7%
This is the standard so far. Using 38 or 37 cards makes not much of a difference. At 38, it’s ~57.3%. A 1/100 difference isn’t anything. We have to make an estimate of how much thinning should occur (deck size down, trigger size remaining constant) in order to get something significant. At Mid game, a significant increase is yet another drive check chance.
At least 1 trigger check in triple drive with 13 triggers in a 37 card deck: ~72.7%
Now that is what I call significant. We have to determine Mid game’s thinning amount to reach that number, 72.7%, which is ~14% increase. Late game sees an approximate difference of 15% (accumulated decimal amounts), so that will be our standard for it. Starting at the next turn of Mid game, let’s assume we had thinned some.
At least 1 trigger check in twin drive with 12 triggers in a 33 card deck: ~60.2%
So that is the standard. Now let’s assume a thin of 5.
At least 1 trigger check in twin drive with 12 triggers in a 28 card deck: ~68.3%
Nope, 8% is not of sigificant value yet. Let’s assume a total thin of 8.
At least 1 trigger check in twin drive with 12 triggers in a 25 card deck: 74%
So at the earliest time most decks can thin, you need to thin 8 cards for the approximate probabilistic increase of 3 checks that turn. This seems to hold true for a given turn. So it should be sufficient to split the 8 thins up over any number of Mid-game turns to increase the total number of drive checks during that subgame by a virtual 1 check. Mid Game can last 1-5 turns, but usually only 3-4. We’ll be assuming 4, to give the deck thinning as much chance at success as possible. This would mean you need to thin 2 cards per turn as early as you possibly can. Things like actually drawing do not count as thinning since drawing a card can hit a trigger. Thinning only counts if you don’t hit a trigger with it. Out of a total of 8 natural drive checks, thinning 2 cards per turn increases you to 9 virtual drive checks. I would not say that this is very significant. We can’t really press our luck either since so few decks are equipped to thin better than 2 per turn on average. Starting from this point, let’s go to Late Game where the significance is +15%. We’re going to assume we pulled off the 8-thin and the number of cards left is reflected.
At least 1 trigger check in twin drive with 7 triggers in a 16 card deck: 70%
Very good, and almost +15% over 58.6%. We need another 4% increase which can be gotten from about 2 more thins over Late game. We can assume that we’ll get these in the following turn, so that by the End of the game, we’ve checked roughly an extra three times, virtually. This adds up to being 2 more triggers per game on average.
|Tetsu does not approve|
I’m not seeing the advantage here.
No, really. Two more triggers in an entire game is not worth an unusual deck list that otherwise sacrifices consistent plays for Deck Thinning. This is the sum of your efforts when you play a deck that specifically aims to thin. Purposefully counting anything below 10 total card thins in one game as an advantage is simply not reflected as advantageous in the numbers. If you put a card in that isn’t as “advantageous as other cards in more consistent ways”; but has the “advantage” of deck thinning, then you’re making a choice that makes your deck worse off on the whole. Until Vanguard gets a deck that deliberately works to thin by more than 10 cards per given game, this is simply not a concept worth bothering to include as part of a Winning Image or strategy.
What? Yeah. You need to thin 13 or greater cards by the start of Late game in order to make a deck devoted to thinning that has any mathematically significant chance of increasing drive checks of triggers. That’s an absolutely monumental task given the cards that currently exist in Vanguard. And it still relies entirely on chance instead of consistency. Your deck would be a slave to the whims of a poorly-organized Tournament Structure. If you really hate the chance of triggers so much, then I would advise you to play Oracle Think Tank Tsukuyomi build. You’ll need a fairly higher amount of cash for that deck, a much greater understanding of the game and also a well-trained memory.
That having been said, if your deck can naturally thin without sacrificing even a single card choice to that end, then do it. A little bit that’s free should be considered a slight help. Dark Irregulars have Greedy Hand as their starting Vanguard, which can allow you to take excess Grade 1-2s and get them in the soul—which is a skill you’d use naturally. There are other less-potent uses for deck thinning such as getting more shield on average. To be significant, you would need to also thin a decently high amount while running extra 10,000 shields in the deck (which can screw up the Grade Ratio). Decks already naturally do this. Tachikaze uses Blightops to directly search for Shieldon which means not even having to thin for that purpose. Granblue uses Chappie the Ghost in nearly every build to get extra shielding, fill up the Drop Zone toolbox, and thin by 1. With so many natural choices to get around having to manually use brute force thinning to achieve some impotent goal, there yet stands no rational deck strategy for thinning. Keep this in mind any time you next go to appraise a card and count “deck thinning” among the positive aspects. Deck thinning is not “deck winning”.