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From the Mind of Family Guy, Volume 2

Zero-sum game: A situation in which one person's gain must be matched by another person's loss. Without considering taxes and transaction costs, many types of investing, such as options and futures, are examples of zero-sum games.

Raw Deal is a zero-sum game. With very rare exceptions, someone wins - another person loses. However, the point of this article is to break down pieces of the game itself into individual wins and losses of varying degrees in order to determine the outcome in your favor. I'll be using an All Axxess deck that I've been running with some efficiency out here - a design of the Crippler called "Melt With You".

Melt With You
The Crippler/Smackdown/Heel/Fan Favorite (AA)

Backstage Area:
Signature
Signing Appearance
Fifth Anniversary

Most of the time you're only going to reveal the Fifth Anniversary - going first isn't very important to this build. However, if you think you can get down Rochester, it behooves you to get Shenanigans'd. Your turns are rather unimportant.

Prematch:
Rochester, NY *
A Victim of the Crippler *
Inferno Match (T) *
Managed by Vince (T) *
Calling You Out
Old School Wrestling Match
US Title Belt
The Champ is Here!
The Old Switcheroo
Banned From Ringside

The four asterisked slots are the most important, and here is the first zero-sum game. If I play a Venue, you do not - and I win. When I get my Feud down, I'm guaranteed to lock you out of both a Stipulation, which very few people play, and more importantly, a Manager. Another situation where I win and you lose in the prematch. The fifth slot is gravy and really depends on who your opponent is and what they drop.

Midmatch:
For Real
Toothless Aggression
Cow
Road to Victory
2x Immune to Pain (T)
2x Hardcore Style (T)
Sustained Damage
Backlash!

If you are hit by It's All About the Game, you have protection in the form of your Immune to Pains and Hardcore Styles. With these four cards, you are still able to throw Lariat Takedown to your heart's content. With your nine card hand (7 from SS, 2 from Vince), you should be ahead of everyone in starting hand size to begin the game if they do drop IAATG. Another situation where you come out ahead - their hand is -5, and you can still do the things that you need to.

Maneuvers (19):
3x What a Maneuver!
3x Lariat Takedown
2x Blindside Hook
2x Shoot Lock-Up
2x Rolling Headlock Vise
2x Short Arm Rib Breaker
The Maneuver of Doom
2x Back Breaker Torture Rack
Dynamic Finisher
Crippler Crossface

Actions (6):
3x Iron Will (T)
3x Blindsided by the Dangerous Divas

Reversals (35):
3x A Revolution of the Mind
2x Eye Rake
2x Back Rake
2x Strangle Hold (OG)
2x It's Great to Be Back Here In....
Big Stupid Grin
3x I'm Driven by Anger
2x Get Back in the Ring
3x Manager Interferes
3x Volley This!
2x Hold the Phone
2x I Gotta Say, Outta Play
2x Overshot Your Mark
3x Get the 'F' Out
The Price We Pay
Divine Intervention
Raw Deal Revolution

Now, the zero-sum game involved with the deck. Whenever I play something, you have to determine whether or not you want to reverse it. The question always becomes - will reversing this card do more damage to me than it will my opponent? The Crippler is extremely resilient and recursive. If you reverse the Lariat Takedown with two cards, is it going to do enough damage to merit the burn that you will receive from Inferno Match (T)? When you play moves on your turn, are they doing enough damage to merit the burn that you are taking?

Every time you make a wrong decision playing against this deck, or playing this deck for that matter, you come one step closer to losing the game. Every decision is a place where you win the game or you lose the game. Let's take a look at a scenario.

Your opponent has 10F, you have 7F. You're holding a Short Arm Rib Breaker, What a Maneuver!, Manager Interferes and Iron Will in your hand. Knowing that your opponent is Heel and has two Manager Interferes in hand to deal with your Multi, what's the correct solution? My answer is to use your ability with the What a Maneuver to get three maneuvers back in Arsenal, and throw the Short Arm Rib Breaker. If they have a Spine Buster (T) in their hand, then I will lose this small battle. However, if it is Manager Interferes, I have done two things - gained one card in Arsenal overall (+3, -2) and burned them for between 2 and 4 cards. If they let it go, I have done two things: gained 5F, pushing me to Toothless Aggression range, and still gained either one or two cards in Arsenal while dealing up to 5 damage.

The Crippler, as the game progresses, forces your opposition to make more and more of these decisions where the best answer is sometimes not to play cards - which is counterintuitive to many of your opponents. I'm sure we all deal repeatedly with decks that feel as though they must reverse absolutely everything that is played, and that works to your advantage. The Crippler works best when he's reversing out of deck and not torching himself, getting a What a Maneuver! off almost anything your opponent plays. In many instances, you take less damage from his moves than he dishes out himself!

It's not just the Crippler that you should think about in this manner. Is it worth playing that Volley This! in your hand when the result will be that you remove a huge percentage of cards in your Ringside pile? Is the 2F and two damage really enough to make it worthwhile? Suppose they have Sustained Damage in play when you reverse a Divas! Divas! Divas! with Volley This. The net result is for you removing five cards from the game, and reducing your hand size by one, that you have made your opponent discard a card and ended their turn. Even if you Don't Try the Sustained Damage, you have reduced your hand by two cards in order to make your opponent discard three.

Most every card in the Raw Deal Universe has the same drawback - once it's played, you can't get it back. I know of plenty of exceptions to this axiom, but normally, it's standard. So the question becomes - when is the proper time to play that reversal? Reversals are a finite resource. When you run out of them, it's usually a sign that you're about to lose the game. There have been strategies since day one to run deck types that exhaust your opponent of one type of reversal and play that move until they lose. Intelligent play says that it's better to keep spinning that reversal (as long as it works on overturn) than it is to play it, if you think the game may go on awhile. That way, you have the capacity to make a mono-Maneuver type deck have its Maneuvers as finite resources, instead of your Reversals.

This is where I am heading with Raw Deal - breaking it down mathematically in an attempt to make the best play possible at the correct time. When you think about what your opponent could have and what playing a card will do to the game state, you are ahead - and you will start winning more of these zero-sum games.

From the mind of Family Guy.....

->Family Guy

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