Card advantage

Card advantage

Card advantage (often abbreviated CA) is a term used in collectible card game strategy to indicate one player having access to more cards than another player.cite web | last = Knutson | first = Ted | title = Introduction to Card Advantage | publisher = Wizards of the Coast | date = 2006-09-23 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-01] The concept was first discovered early in the history of strategy. Many early decks relied on gaining more cards than their opponent then using this advantage in order to play either a game winning spell with enough backup or to slowly kill their opponent while preventing their opponent from casting meaningful spells. Today it is recognized as one of the most important indicators of who is ahead in a game.cite web | last = Mowshowitz | first = Zvi | title = Systemic Thought | publisher = Wizards of the Coast | date = 2006-04-25 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-01]


The basic concept of card advantage is one player having more cards in hand and in play than their opponent. Card advantage is generally indicated in terms of a positive number - if a player casts Ancestral Recall, a spell that causes a player to draw 3 cards, that player is said to have gained +2 card advantage. It is also often stated in terms of X-for-Y, where X and Y are numbers. If a player plays [ Wrath of God] , a card which destroys all creatures in play, when they themselves have no creatures in play and their opponent has two creatures in play, they are said to have gotten a "2-for-1", where 2 indicates the number of opposing cards removed from play and 1 indicates the card spent in order to accomplish this task.

It is seen as a baseline to spend one card to get rid of one opposing card; this is often referred to as trading. A player who "trades" one card of their own for two of their opponent's is often gaining a long-term advantage as their opponent will run out of cards before they do.

Forms of card advantage

Card advantage is typically generated in four ways.
* Draw spells. These are cards which cause a player to put cards from their deck, referred to as the , into their .
*Discard spells. These are cards which cause a player to put cards from their hand into their discard pile, referred to as the . This term is also used to refer to cards which put the cards from the player's hand into other inaccessible zones, such as removing them from the game or putting them back into the player's deck.
*"Sweeper" spells. These are cards which put multiple cards the opposing player has played from play into their discard pile. These spells sometimes put cards into other inaccessible zones. Some of these cards, such as Wrath of God, will destroy all cards of a certain type, but often decks which include such cards will minimize the number of their own cards which fall into that category of card and thus make the card impact their opponent much more than they themselves are affected.
*Unfavorable combat. Sometimes a player will be low on life and forced to a large attacking creature with a smaller blocking creature so they do not lose the game. Referred to as "chump blocking", the small creature will die and the large attacking creature will survive. This is often a desperation measure on the part of the defending player, and indicates that player is losing or is about to play a card which will bring them out of danger. Sometimes the defending player will block a single large attacking creature with two or more defending creatures, losing several or all of their creatures in order to get rid of the attacking creature.cite web | last = Knutson | first = Ted | title = The Art of the Block | publisher = Wizards of the Coast | date = 2006-11-11 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-02] Occasionally, an attacking player will intentionally engineer the opposite situation, where a defending creature will block and kill one of their creatures without itself dying. This is generally done with the intent of causing as much damage to the defending player as possible as quickly as possible, so as to end the game sooner in victory rather than let the other player play cards which will save them.cite web | last = Flores | first = Michael J. | title = The Philosophy of Fire | publisher = StarCity Games | date = 2004-04-25 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-02]

Other means of one player getting ahead on cards exist. For instance, if one player attacks with a [ Hill Giant] , and the other player blocks with a [ Grizzly Bears] , the Grizzly Bears will die and the Hill Giant will survive. If the defending player then casts [ Shock] on the Hill Giant, they will have traded two cards of their own (the Grizzly Bears and the Shock) for one card of their opponent's (the Hill Giant), putting their opponent ahead in terms of card advantage.

Another relatively common mode of card advantage generation is when one player plays an aura spell, an card which attaches to another card in play. If the card the aura is attached to is destroyed in some manner, then the aura will be placed into that player's discard pile. Because many auras are cast on creatures, and creatures are fairly easily destroyed, playing with aura spells often provides a player's opponent the chance to get a "2-for-1" by destroying the creature the aura was attached to with a single card. As such, auras are seldom seen in competitive play unless they have some way of overcoming this inherent weakness.cite web | last = Rosewater | first = Mark | title = Equipment to Be | publisher = Wizards of the Coast | date = 2005-08-22 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-01]

Virtual Card Advantage

Virtual card advantage is when one card one player plays makes several cards their opponent has played or has in hand useless. One example of this is the card [ Moat] ; any non-flying creatures that player's opponent has cannot attack, so this can create situations where one player has a large number of useless cards. This is differentiated from "real" card advantage in that if the card which is nullifying large numbers of the opponent's cards is gotten rid of, then the "card advantage" disappears.

ee also

*, the concept of time in Magic: The Gathering theory


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