Sunday, October 4, 2015

Darnassus Aspirant

Darnassus Aspirant

Darnaussus Aspirant is a "key" card for druids introduced with The Grand Tournament set. This ramp card allows Druids to hopefully gain mana acceleration early in the game, when it matters most. However, the card is ideally used to get a few bodies on the board earlier (prior to turn 6) than your opponent. However, when Aspirant does not come out prior to turn six it can become a major hinderance, especially nearing turn 10 when it can actually cost a mana. Thus, what is the correct number of Aspirants to play?

Previously, the only cards for acceleration were Innervate, Wild Growth and Nourish.  Wild Growth can be useful throughout the game with some limitations toward the late game. Nourish often was playable only from the mid to late game and often creates a hard decision between the promise of more mana or the gamble of more cards. There are many other 5-mana cards that seem more playable at key points during the middle game, which is why it's only used in 3% of druid decks in the current iteration of the meta and 7% of decks over time play the card. Innervate is always a good draw and is always useful.

Based on the hypergeometric distribution, having one Aspirant in the deck suggests a 31% probability of drawing it by or on turn 6. Placing two Aspirants in the deck increases the probability of drawing at least one to 52% by turn 6. Having seen both by turn 6 occurs only 10% of the time and having both show up by turn 10 occurs 21% of the time. Therefore the best case scenario of seeing one is 20% improved by playing both and the worse case scenario of seeing the both by turn 10 occurs a rare 21% of the time and seeing both early in the game occurs a non-negligible 10% of the time. Note that these statistics would also apply to Shade of Naxxramus, another card where the 1 of, 2 of debate is healthy.

I'm continuing with two Aspirants as of now as part of this list, but may switch it up if there are too many dead draws at the end of the game.