Everyone must have heard of the term “mana curve” in the past. But what is it? What’s the best resource curve? These are the topics of my recent articles at HEXRealms.
Why is knowing the resource curve important?
In short, this will allow you to view your deck’s resource distribution. Looking at it alone does nothing. The reason why we want to do this is so you can see if your deck has “good” resource curve. If not, you want to optimize your resource curve so you can win the games more reliably.
But what does it mean by good resource curve or how do we optimize the resource curve? The detail of this will be covered in next of the series, but essentially your goal is to adjust the curve so that you can “maximize the resource efficiency in your deck”. This is an extremely important criteria for a given deck to be considered “good, or competitive.”
You can see here how poorly designed deck in terms of relative ratio of how many resource cards to non-resource cards in a given deck can affect whole deck functionality i.e. create design flaw caused resource screw.
The similar can happen with poorly optimized resource curve. One extreme example here. If you built a deck with all cards being 5 costs, you are essentially giving up your turn 1 through 4 as you can not cast anything during these four turns. This is essentially you are wasting 1, 2, 3, 4 = total of 10 resources every game, and perhaps more. Yes. this can happen even if you have good resource to non-resource ratio (R:NR).
So in reality, a deck must have both R:NR and Resource Curve optimized, which are closely associated but separate variables.
So personally, I would call this as “maximum resource efficiency curve” i.e. MRE curve. However, the real name is Sligh curve. Because this mathematical approach to maximize the resource utility was first invented by Paul Sligh in Magic the Gathering, and reportedly what made the concept of mana curve became mainstream. His deck was mono red deck i.e. all red color with Aggro archetype, direct damage, quick win concept in mind. Below is his original recommendation.
1 mana slot: 9-13
2 mana slot: 6-8
3 mana slot: 3-5
4 mana slot: 1-3
X spell: 2-3
This list appears a bit off from above calculation especially as we go up higher cost slots. There is simple explanation for this. Higher costs can be fullfilled by combination of lower costs. For example, 3 resources can be utilized by 1 cost + 2 cost cards, 4 cost slot can be filled by 2 + 2, or 1 + 3 etc. Therefore, it makes sense that higher slot can still be utilized without completely filling the slot.