Goldfishing and Testing Decks By Yourself

Testing deck ideas and builds is an essential skill for trading card game players. Much like in a scientific experiment, testing decks in card games proves or disproves the validity of certain hypothetical builds. Although this process of testing is important, testing a deck build usually requires two players. Is there a way to test with one player? The answer: goldfishing.

Goldfishing is a term from players in the Magic: The Gathering community that describes the solo-testing process of one player playing a deck solitaire-style as if playing against a goldfish, as if one is playing against their pet. For the sake of this article, the fictional opponent that the player will face in a solo game will be referred to as a “goldfish”. This process is executed in the following steps:

  • Define player behavior for the goldfish. This behavior can vary from only giving a damage per turn to destroying creatures and other conditions. In addition to this, the behavior the player sets for the goldfish to do each turn may vary depending on what one wishes to test. if the player is testing for tournament validity, the behavior of the goldfish should replicate the kind of turn-to-turn play that one expects to see in a current tournament. If the player wants to see if the deck in question will function at all, the goldfish should replicate a player that is doing close to nothing during the solitaire game.
  • Play games with the goldfish. Play games as normal with the exception that the goldfish behavior is happening on the opponent’s turn. Also, play enough games that one can determine how consistent the deck can function as the player desires in the scenario set up in the solitaire game scenarios.

That sums up the process of goldfishing in a nutshell. If anyone has any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.


Goldfishing is defined on this wiki: https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Goldfishing

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