Article: Utility Points

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:35 pm
Utility Points

The most common win condition in Yu-Gi-Oh is the reduction of an opponent's life points to zero.
A duelist gets an instinctive feel of how close he/she is to achieving victory by comparing
his/her own life points and resources with those of the opponent. If your opponent has one card
in hand, no cards on the field and 100 life points remaining, the game will surely end in your favor.

Despite this quick and reasonable means of assessment of a current duel, there exists a portion of
competitive players who try their best to reduce the influence of luck in the game by finding a clear
(and often math-based) evaluation of any game state.

We're talking card advantage. "I have four cards in hand, you have three cards in hand. In at least this way,
I have an advantage over you." This is logical thinking, although such a situation does not necessarily link
to a player's life point total. Consider the situation where a player exhausts several cards in combination
in order to produce a Light and Darkness Dragon on the field. Suppose the opposing player has a large hand
of four monsters and a spell. If this player cannot get some kind of use of his cards, this numerical
advantage will be meaningless.

I would like to introduce a new statistic for evaluating any game state: the Utility Point (UP).
Essentially, UP measures how much "use" a player gets out of his cards. Here's our method for tallying them:

+ UP:

Monsters: + 1 UP for the successful summon of a monster.

Spells: + 1 UP for the successful activation of a spell.

Traps: + 1 UP for the successful activation of a trap.


- UP:

Monsters: - 1 UP for the negation of the summon of a monster.

Spells: - 1 UP for the negation of the activation of a spell.
- 1 UP for the destruction/removal of a spell that is never activated.

Traps: - 1 UP for the negation of the activation of a trap.
- 1 UP for the destruction/removal of trap that is never activated.

UP accumulate in a running total, where one can gain/lose UP depending on the actions of the player
and his/her opponent. Suppose Player 1 and Player 2 have the same number of cards in hand. Player 1
has five cards f/d (face-down) on his side of the field. Player 2 activates Heavy Storm (potentially gaining
1 UP, unless Player 2 negates it). Player 1 does not chain, and so he/she loses all 5 f/d cards. Player 1
now has -5 UP and Player 2 has + 1 UP. In terms of traditional card advantage, Player 2 has lost one
card in order to destroy 5, and is therefore said to have netted +4 in card advantage. However,
Player 2 has a +6 UP advantage!

Why don't we negatively count the destruction/removal of one's monsters? Well, there are several trains of thought
that all lead to this logical outcome. Firstly, UP should measure if something is successfully used. Quite a few
monsters fulfill this obligation just by being summoned (i.e. Monarchs). Also, having monsters in the grave/RFG
area can be beneficial to one's strategy. Notice that the vast majority of traps and spells are useless once they leave the
field. For those that do have a purpose in the grave/RFG (i.e. Geartown or Dark Coffin), we need not worry.
When the card activates in its appropriate zone it will add to the UP tally.

UP shines with its ability to not only provide a sensible indication of who's winning, but to also provide a reason
for why that person is winning. Suppose Player 1 has 3 cards in hand and a powerful monster on the field. Player 2
has 1 card in hand, a weak monster. Every turn, Player 1 activates at least one card, allowing him to avoid/stop
Player 2's threats. After several turns of this repeated scenario, Player 1 is on the verge of victory. Before UP,
one might say Player 1 has consolidated his card advantage. However, strictly by the numbers, Player 1's card advantage
maybe less than it was before. In terms of UP, however, he has created 'plusses' every turn. If he did not, then
certainly he would not be on the verge of victory.

Think of UP the next time you face a "lucky" combo deck that you may think is theoretically bad due to its
seemingly wasteful use of resources. Are you really +3, or are you -6?

- TheSonicVision
Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

- Dr. Seuss
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:23 pm
Cool story, bro.
But given how dynamic your 'UP' system would have to be, and the fact that a single card on the field can actively negate a portion of your 'UP', it would be damn-near impossible to code.

Also Advantage Theory is just that - a theory.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:54 pm
Card Theory is always such a headache, but at least you didn't try to explain the probability of drawing OTKs in the opening hand, and what makes an OTK deck a FTK deck (because it's probability, not the guaranteed success of a FTK).

Honestly, I never understood card advantage theory. It doesn't matter how many cards I have at my disposal if all of my cards can destroy your cards, regardless...but that's just me.

Someone should dig up the Priority article written years ago and slap that up here. Too many people who don't know how it works.
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Kochen wrote:Nothing is becoming outdated, you're just stupid.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:02 pm
Moved to Rules, Guides & Articles.

Nice article. :)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:03 pm
-Eiza- wrote:Card Theory is always such a headache, but at least you didn't try to explain the probability of drawing OTKs in the opening hand, and what makes an OTK deck a FTK deck (because it's probability, not the guaranteed success of a FTK).

Honestly, I never understood card advantage theory. It doesn't matter how many cards I have at my disposal if all of my cards can destroy your cards, regardless...but that's just me.

Someone should dig up the Priority article written years ago and slap that up here. Too many people who don't know how it works.


It's probability. You have the higher probability of having a way of having a counter or comeback whatever push your opponent with less cards has. It doesn't mean "I win, I have 3 more cards than you.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:19 pm
Alright, fixed your post for you, Axle.

While we're on that note: can you allow users to edit their posts in this topic, UD? Guides/articles sometimes need to be updated, and apparently people can't do anything to their threads after they're in this section. :(
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:41 am
I've always said Card Advantage was a steaming load due to the complete inability of everyone I've talked to about it to illustrate the exact connection between winning and having more cards when every single one of them has pulled off a victory with fewer cards than their opponent.

But this? This is just....

.......

.......

I like this.

HA! You thought I was gonna say it was shit, didn't you? Yeah, no. This not only makes more sense than Card Advantage, but by its very nature is linked to winning. I'm honestly still a little skeptical due to its similarity to card advantage, but I'll give it a chance.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:33 am
Makes sense, hard to calculate. Especially if you just walked in a duel. Lots of things can be affected to by the turn of a card. 1 guy with five traps face-down and another with Royal Decree face-up. Royal decree has UP advantage, other guy has card advantage. It's important to realize both since if something were to happen to the Royal Decree, Trap Eater for instance, the scale would tip and tip hard.

I think people knew about this before you gave it a name tho, but I'm glad you did. I approve.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:06 am
it's just an idea meant for debate and discussion.
i'm glad to see people are giving it a chance.

i intend to compare the UP totals for a few short, past Jump matches.
we'll see if anything interesting results.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:11 pm
I think lots of us already uncounsciously do and follow this, even by the most simplest of actions of checking an opponent's GY and remembering there is a PSZ in it. Most of the time you will make preparings for easy Brio drops, meaning it also has a psychological effect and it probably is what UP indirectly affects - the mind of players. Setting 2 cards first turn thinking there definetly won't be a Heavy and if not then I can pull off a sick combo and THEN getting Heavied usually means some form of raeging.
All in all, you gave it a name and also explained it. Hard to calculate, but it is done uncounsciously. Not precisely, but somehow.
You should also write about LP too. Like, let's say 2000 LP lost is also 1 UP lost, since both are pretty tied together and having more LP doesn't necessarily being in the lead, but a lucky Brain Control will surely use that advantage too.
For the same reason, you could mention that almost all decks try to maintain their advantage and deplete their opponent's.
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