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Spreadsheet Spreading

Do you document your cube, stack, Type 4 deck, or other massive pile of awesomeness? I’ve talked about documenting these types of structures, specifically cubes, and explained that there are benefits to information. Analysis, speculative changes, and synergy within the cube can be gleaned cleanly from details contained on all the cards.

My documentation is fairly detailed as your average spreadsheet goes, but the essentials needed for some common analysis are included:

  • Color
  • Creature or Noncreature
  • Card Name
  • Printed Mana Cost and Converted Mana Cost
  • Actual Mana Cost and Converted Mana Cost (when functionally different from printed)

I also track some features like foil and artist signed but that’s unimportant (or is it?) for my purpose today. What I want to do today is consider if expanding into new fields would yield more powerful information.

The World at Your Fingertips

Data and cubes really are BFFs. If you’re not looking at things as a whole then you’re likely trying to manage information at a too granular of the level: it’s the forest that needs overarching management, not the individual trees spread all around.

Data isn’t meant to spill every intrinsic secret of a cube but to whisper and point, nudging you to see things in a clearer light. It’s just one of the many ways to seek insight into what you’ve created:

  • Playtesting Draft and Sealed
  • Mana curve sorting by color
  • Sample pack generation
  • Card swapping and change testing

The question isn’t one of “Is data useful?” but “How much is too little or too much?” I personally find that the maxim “Less is more.” often holds true for many things as bringing in too many variables into any data set can make proper handling difficult for mere mortal non-mathematicians. That said there is a lot of  useful pieces of data I’m not currently tracking:

  • Printed card types (creature, instant, artifact, etc.)
  • Creature power and toughness
  • Evasion flag (creature has flying, shadow, etc.)
  • Removal flag (creature/spell counts as removal in deck building)
  • Tutor flag (creature/spell can search out other card(s))
  • Card draw/filter flag (creature/spell that helps sculpts your hand)
  • Cantrip flag (creature/spell draws a card when played)

There are many, many more ways to slice  up a cube but these are the fields I’m considering. I’d like to see how much removal there really is, how much card draw is floating around, what cards cantrip (a favorite effect of mine), how many creatures are evasive, and more. The question is now “Will this be helpful in the long run?”

What are your thoughts?

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  1. October 19, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    I like the idea of flagging cards by their aspects. Definitely would give you a solid idea I’d what’s seems to be over and under represented. I might have to give this a go and see how I like it.

    • October 19, 2010 at 12:41 AM

      You give it a go? I plan to try it out and see if it works as I think it will.

      If you slam it out in the next week or so I’d be interested in seeing what you find out!

      • October 21, 2010 at 11:59 AM

        I merely meant that I liked the concept and was thinking of adopting it for my own cube documentation as well. I’ll definitely provide feedback once I get it in place.

  1. October 20, 2010 at 12:47 AM
  2. October 29, 2010 at 11:57 PM

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