[Idea] Let’s Make Draft Mode Fair: 189 Reasonable Pairs


**For those of you on /r/CRStrategy, you may have seen the start of this series of posts, where I made a post about how cards should be compared to each other in Draft Mode, and proceeded to make a post every day detailing the choices that each individual card should have. I promptly stopped after about a week, because it got frustrating to make a writeup every day when I had so many other things going on in my life. But the holiday break has been nice to me, because I found the time to look at my spreadsheet again. And over the past 3 days, I’ve looked at more than 3000 card pairings individually, and I made an educated decision on every single one.**

###Doesn’t it suck when your opponent gives you Giant and takes PEKKA? What about Bowler vs. Minion Horde? Freeze vs. Lumberjack? None of these picks are fair.

The major problem with Draft as a competitive game mode is these poor picks. Because I’m a strong advocate for Draft Mode, I felt that if I could help fix this problem, then Draft can find its place in Clash Royale’s eSport scene. As fun as the traditional gamemode is, there is only so much that you can do when you are counter-decked against a world-class opponent who has played hundreds of battles with their current deck. Therefore, by presenting this solution, I hope to give /u/ClashRoyale a start towards fixing Draft Mode.

In order to determine whether two cards are fair to compare, I used the following rules:

* **No card should cost more than twice the cost of the other.** Regardless of relative power, this difference drastically affects your cycle, and can ruin or guarantee your winning potential based on your opponent’s card choices.

* **No card is a solid counter to the other in a vacuum.** This prevents all easy choices, such as arrows vs. minion horde, rocket vs. sparky, bats vs. zap, PEKKA vs. mega knight, etc.

* **With the exception for X-bow and Mortar, buildings may only be compared to other buildings.** Having a building can often be the obvious difference between winning and losing in both directions–sometimes the building is essential and useful, and sometimes it is better to have an 8th troop than a building that you are investing nothing in. Because X-bow and Mortar can be used offensively, they can be compared to some of the other troops.

* **No building can be compared to a spell.** The idea is that the spell either does a good OR insufficient job, but there is no middle ground.

* **No troop that costs more than 2 elixir may be compared to a spell.** Spells counter troops well, and this will also prevent someone from having too many or too few spells. The 1-2 elixir cards tend to compare nicely to the spells because spells aren’t often used on the cheapest cards, and which one has a higher utility depends on how often each is necessary in the final deck.

* **Every single card must be able to be paired with at least 2 cards.** If a card does not have a reasonable pair, it would never show up in Draft. And if a card only had one pair, then if you are given that card by your opponent, you will always know one more of your opponent’s cards.

* **As many choices as possible (see the above rule) are between cards that can do roughly the same thing in your deck.** Without this rule in place, it would be possible for one player to tailor their deck very nicely, leaving their opponent with garbage. For example, while Night Witch and Musketeer are relatively balanced cards, they do such different things, and the choice between one or the other significantly skews your deck.

###Using these rules, I made a MASSIVE [spreadsheet](https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SylbDVN1JAvIWP8SlhlGLbIw8aFj-iVSzazYHqJLghQ/edit?usp=sharing) and started filling it in. In total, I believe that only 189 of the 3160 possible pairs should be considered in any given Draft battle.

Red cells are for the bad combinations, and green cells are for the good combinations. The yellow cells are also bad combinations, but I marked them yellow because they aren’t incredibly far off the mark. I switched the red I was using halfway through, but both mean the same thing.

###Highlights

* **Freeze**, **Clone**, **Rage**, **Heal**, and **Mirror** can all be compared to each other, but nothing else.

* **Bandit** seems like a glass cannon at first glance, but none of those comparisons do her justice. She can only be paired with Dark Prince, Prince, and Night Witch.

* The **Elixir Collector** is only a suitable choice against Barbarian Hut, Goblin Hut, and Furnace, since all four are investment buildings that punish you if ignored.

* **Goblin Barrel**, **Graveyard**, and **Skeleton Barrel** were all oddball cards, but I managed to find suitable comparisons for all of them. Goblin Barrel works with both Graveyard and Tornado; Graveyard works with Goblin Barrel, Miner, and Skeleton Barrel; and Skeleton Barrel works with Graveyard and Miner.

* 10 different cards (Barbarian Hut, Furnace, Goblin Barrel, Inferno Tower, Minion Horde, Night Witch, Princess, Skeleton Barrel, Three Musketeers, and Tombstone) only have two comparable cards each.

* **Mortar** can only be compared to Hog Rider, Miner, and X-bow, while **X-bow** can be compared to Balloon, Lava Hound, and Mortar. These obviously aren’t the best combinations out there, but these siege buildings needed to be included somehow.

* With 11 reasonable comparisons, **Musketeer** was the most generic and versatile card in the game. **Wizard** had 9 combinations, which was the second most.

* While **Hunter vs. Zappies** was not an included pair, the comparison could have been much worse–it was ruled out because the two cards do not do nearly the same thing.

###Notes

This took many, many hours over several weeks, but I finally got it done. It is probably not perfect, but I did my best to make it as close as possible. The list of all of the pairings is on the spreadsheet if you’d like to check it out–please, **please** let me know if you disagree with anything, and I’ll address your concerns.

**Thank you to everybody who helped me with the initial steps over at /r/CRStrategy, and thank you to you guys for reading this!**

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