In this thread I'll release a couple of AI decks I've been toying around with. These decks are meant to provide thematic variations as well as strategcal challenges.
Note that these decks are built with the goal of including them in future releases of Wagic. This means that they may not unfold their full potential due to bugs or AI shortcomings in the current release of Wagic. I hope they are interesting enough to nevertheless give them a try,
How to add an AI deck to your game:
- Copy the deck (i.e., all the text in the code box) into a text editor (like Notepad).
- Save the file to the folder PSP\GAME\WTH\Res\ai\baka\
- This folder contains various files called deckXX.txt, with XX being numbers from 1 onward. Always choose the smallest unused number for the name of your deck,
otherwise the game won't see it. Example: If the folders contains the files deck1.txt through deck28.txt, then save your file as deck29.txt .
- Optionally you can add a custom avatar to the res\ai\baka\avatar folder, as a 35x50 jpg image. If you don't, the default AI avatar will be used. I probably won't provide avatar's for these decks myself, but I won't stop others from doing so.
The rationale behind these decks
The decks in this thread are themed decks. They are not built with the goal to make the strongest deck possible (although some are hopefully quite difficult to beat), rather the strength of the deck is just one of several factors I tried to consider.
Each deck is built around one main creature. The main question is: "If this creature were to build a Wagic deck, how would that deck look like?". The deck shouldalso adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Compatibility. The deck must only use cards which are officially supported by Wagic. Players should not need to download additional sets just to enjoy the decks released in this thread.
2. Legitimacy. The deck should be legit according to the DCI rules for Vintage games. Basically this means: at least 60 cards, no more than 4 cards with the same name (excluding basic lands), banned cards should not apear in the deck, and no more than 1 each of any restricted card. Here's a link to the current list of banned and restricted cards for Vintage.
Players will (hopefully) get the feeling that one or another AI got a pretty good deck, but they shouldn't get the impression that the AI relies on "cheating" with illegit decks in order to win. Players often enjoy it if they see the AI utilizing an interesting card combo, even if that combo makes them lose - but they usually don't enjoy being beaten by a deck with 20 Black Lotus, 20 Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and a handful of direct damage spells, in turn one.
3. Focus. The main creature's abilities define the focus of the deck. Other cards should have similar abilities, or they should strengthen or help the main creature's abilities. Minimize cards that do not contribute to the focus of the deck.
The decks provided here have a very narrow focus, much narrower than most decks you see in tournaments or while playing against skilled human players. This serves two purposes: One, a narrow focus makes it easier for the AI to play the deck. For humans it may be good to have deck that allows them to switch between several styles of play, depending on the opponent. For an AI this is a recipe for disaster. A human player can use the freedom of choice to choose a better strategy. For the AI, freedom of choice just means more chances to screw up. The current AI plays best when set on rails, and a narrowly focused deck provides such rails.
Two, a narrow focus ensures that the player will experience a wide variety of very different games, although he's technically always playing against the same algorithm. It also entices the player into the metagame of identifying the focus of a given opponent's deck, and finding ways to counter it.
4. Theme. The game evokes images of a fantasy world, of epic battles being fought with fantasy creatures and spells. The deck should be be plausible in that context, this helps players to immerse themselves into that world.
"Would these creatures really ally with each other and work together?" is a relevant question for a deck's thematic integrity.
Also, since every deck is centered around one main creature, this creature should thematically be the "leader" of the deck. I tried not to add creatures that wouldn't work "under" the main creature.
5. Strength. Of course, a deck should still be as strong and powerful as possible.
In short: The goal for decks in this series is to be fully compatible with the official Wagic release, be legit for Vintage games according to DCI rules, have a narrow focus, be thematically consistent, and still perform as strong as possible.
Naturally, these goals are often at odds with each other, so a balance has to be struck. All rules except the first one may be broken, or take a backseat, if there's a good reason for it.
None of the decks I present here will be perfect, there will always be ways to improve them. I may have made very obvious mistakes, I'm not an experienced Magic player. This probably helps me to think out of the box and to not overlook cards that are bad choices for regular decks, but which might work very well for the AI under a given focus. But it also makes me vulnerable for beginner's mistakes. So, if you spot one of those mistakes, or see any other wy to improve a deck, please don't hesitate to make suggestions.
The only thing I ask for is that you also provide a reasoning for your suggestions, so that I can retrace your thoughts. Obviously, feedback in the form of "I would swap card A for card B - it's cheaper to cast, and it fits the deck's theme and focus just as well" will be much more helpful for me than feedback like "N00b, trash card A, any1 knowz it suckzorz!!!" - because the former gives clear und understandable reasons why that suggestion is a good idea, whereas the latter doesn't really provide any reason at all.
I'd also be delighted if people posted their own "creature's decks" here. I found this approach an interesting method of creating diverse decks, and there are hundreds of creatures left that just wait for having a deck built around them.
Other threads with AI decks
If you're interested in more AI decks, have a look at these threads too:
Excellent AI decks by Niegen
General AI deck thread by nakano, including a deck.
Decks by ih317kkjp
And if you want to build more AI decks (which would be great!), here are some helpful resources:
How to build an AI deck by wololo
List of all cards officially supported in Wagic 0.8.1
The testing Suite 1 by wololo
The testing Suite 2 by wololo
The Gatherer, Magic's official card library and search engine
Downloads and general information
A zip file with "Creature's Decks" 1-14, updated as of 09/30/2009, is attached to this post. All Creature's Decks in the following posts in this thread have been updated as well.
Note: These versions of the decks work with the current SVN version of Wagic. They may *not* work with Wagic 0.8.1 - if you do use them in Wagic 0.8.1, then some cards will be missing, some cards will be buggy, and some (albeit very few) cards may even cause crashes. Most decks should still work "more or less" under 0.8.1 (albeit with reduced efficiency), but I can't give any guarantees.
If someone wants to use these decks under 0.8.1, please say so in the thread. I can give detailed information about how to fix several of the buggy cards if desired.
11/02/09: Download removed, it's obsolete now. All decks (except two which where severely underperforming and await improvement) are already included in Wagic 0.9.1. I will develop more decks, but will add them to the SVN repository directly. You can checkout or copy/paste them from there.