【HEX】 What’s the optimal number of resource card?

Now that we have talked about why had Cryptozoic decided to take Magic like resource management system, anyone who is going to play HEX have to understand that deciding # of resource cards to include in your deck is critical part of your deck design.  So those of you who are not familier with this concept, let’s take a brief look at this.

Why does number of resource card in a deck matters?

Even for those of you who have never played TCG, this may be an obvious thing but just make sure all of us are on the same boat, let me briefly state the obvious.

In a game of TCG, resource decides what you can do.  It does not matter what card you have in your hand.  If you don’t have the enough resource to cast the card, you really cannot do anything.  The famous mana screw.

In HEX, the resource is managed by a player using actual resource cards.  This may be a familier concept for those of you who have played TCG like Magic the gathering, Carte or World of Warcraft TCG.  This may or may not ring bell for those who played game like Shadow Era.  Lastly, this may be a brand new thing for those who played Yugioh, Solforge, or Infinity Wars.

Basically, in HEX you will draw resource card just like the rest of cards from your deck.  You will cast the resource card and that’s how you build up your resource.  So essentially, you are responsible for your own resource management.  It sounds like a fun, doesn’t it?

This will create very interesting mechanics, and potential for expansion.  You can easily imagine that they can make some cool special effect on the certain resource card.  However, the major challenge this will provide in comparison to the sacrifice system as in Shadow Era or no resource system as in Yu Gi Oh or Solforge are that if you don’t optimize the number of resource cards in your deck, you will get resource screw or resource flood.

What is the optimal number of resource cards in my deck?

The short answer is “No. magic number that works for all.”  Otherwise, there is no reason for the game to have resource system like HEX because everyone uses the same, right?

24 +/- 4

Although there is no magic number that works for all, you can have base number that allows you to start out with.  The number is 24 in a 60 cards deck.  This number is derived from Magic the Gathering where their resource system is extremely similar to that of HEX, and have had 20 years of history with the system.

+/- 4 part is where you tune up the number based on the resource curve of your deck.  For example, if you need more resource card than normal then add more resources.

MTG Approach

Given the extreme similarity between the HEX and Magic, starting with what working on Magic should give us a great guidance.  Take a look at following table.



HEX Approach

Did the table above make sense?  Is it helpful?  It sort of was for me but what if I don’t know the difference between generic deck, control deck, heavy control deck etc.?  What are the definition of those?

The best approach perhaps is through “play testing.”  You basically test with real play.  You feel like you get mana screw too often?  Then add 1, 2 more resource cards in your deck.  You feel like you draw too many resource cards?  Take out some resource cards.  Basically though an actual play, you are fine tuning.

Fortunately, it looks like HEX will have a great deck builder within the game that may perhaps allow this play testing instantaneously rather than you actually play multiple games.

The above is a snap shot of the Deck Builder within the HEX.  It will specifically have a tab called “Test Draw.”  There are buttons at bottom.  To me those button seem to indicate this Test Draw mode can simulate actual in game draw.  So keep drawing and see how it looks to you.

I really hope HEX developer team will push this one more step and give a way to simulate 100 games, and spit out a table indicating how many land draw at which turn.

So when HEX actually becomes available for play, the easiest way and perhaps the most powerful way to decide the optimal number of resource cards for you deck is to start with 24 resources in your 60 cards deck, then simulate multiple draws using the deck editor and fine tune it.

Mathematical Approach

For those of you like myself who need objective evidence.  Let’s take a look at some statistics.


This is a probability table with 24 resource cards in a 60 cards size deck.  What the table show are the followings:

  • Each row represents # of turns. (Turn 1, you drew 7 cards but from there 1 additional card at a time).
  • Each column represent minimum number of resource cards in your hand.

So if you look at turn 5, resource 4, the probability is 72.6%.  This means basically you have about 7 in 10 games you can expect 4 resource cards went through your hand by turn 5.   Now on the other hand, if you want to use a card like Legionnair e of Gawaine which costs 5, you won’t hit 70-80% probability until turn 8 or 9.  So even if you are able to draw him, don’t expect being able to use him on turn 5 or 6.


So instead I bumped number of resources to 28 cards from 24.  Now by turn 6, I have over 75% chance 5 resources.

However, you have to also remember that more resources coming into your hand means less non-resource card.  So the balance is always important.

Great website http://ark42.com/mtg/land.php can dynamically create the above table.  So if you like statistics, there you go.  Play with it!

What’s missing?

All the approach above have several flaws.  The reasons are basically so many variables that can influence your outcome that are not easy to include in your simple formula.

Here are some list of these variables.

  • Draw card – This tends to be more favorable thing.  If you have additional method to draw cards, you are basically jumping turn in the turn table to increase your probability.
  • Threshold – Compared to magic, the threshold requirement may be less restrictive for you to use your card but still it can be a factor.  You may have enough total resources, but may not have met the threshold goal to use the specific card.  So ratio of how many resource from each shard to include become important.
  • Reshuffle – If you use reshuffle card back (as in cards with Escalation) you now have more cards in your deck from the turn and after.  So your drawing probability of the rest of cards decrease.


Any of the approaches provided above perhaps all in combination should be a great start.  In fact, AIDA system in HEX may even do these automatically.  However, in the end you have to do a play testing and fine tune your deck because so many variable in TCG makes any statistical analysis to have flaw (s).

However, this process is one of the interesting part of the TCG as seen in Magic.  Your skill of deck building matters not only what cards you choose but also dealing with these probabilities.  So learn to enjoy it!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by nickon on June 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Awesome read, enlightening for a beginning TCG player! I indeed hope CZE will expand their draw card tool to a more advanced simulation tool (hopefuly even before the game officially releases) 🙂


    • Posted by houshasen on June 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm


      Thank you for the kind comment. These comment really makes me happy of what I do. 🙂


  2. Love your article. Thank you for sharing your knowlege.


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