I am still playing several rounds of Elements per day, and the perverse randomization really strikes me at times. If I could just have the expected value of my deck, I would win a lot more than I do. As it is, I have seen a 1/12 chance fail to come up 54 times in a row. Which has a 1% chance of happening, so it must be happening more often than I notice.
If you do not understand the math on why randomness helps the weaker party, it requires the assumption that “losing” and “losing big” have no different consequences. Let’s say the other person is 20% better than you, however you would measure that. On average, he should win every single time you two are opposed. Now add some randomness: if you both do better or both worse, it is a wash and you still lose; if he does better than usual and you do worse, you get crushed; if he does worse than usual and you do better, you win at least half of those games. Adding randomness lets the worse party win what would otherwise be a guaranteed loss.
This was first driven home for me in pen-and-paper RPGs. Randomness benefits the monsters, as do things that exploit it like critical hits and fumbles and auto-hits/-misses on 20s/1s. The average goblin may have a life expectancy of six seconds, but he still hits on a natural 20, and depending on your system/edition/house rules, that may also be a crit. If you just checked the attack bonus against your armor, every goblin would always miss. Similarly, if you hit a goblin with a critical hit, so what, it was dead in one hit anyway; if you hit a PC with a critical hit, that could matter. If the goblin fumbles, it dies unarmed instead of armed; if a PC fumbles, that could matter.
This is great for the player if something is really hard and you only need to do it once. You can keep throwing yourself against that wall until the dice come down ridiculously in your favor. “Achievement unlocked!” and you can move on. If you want to beat the last StarCraft II mission easily on the highest difficulty, you can save and reload every time the Nydus Worms appear somewhere inconvenient; those are random from a limited pool, so you can eventually get them to appear in spots where they will instantly be destroyed. It’s not sporting, but there are surely many who thought that mission was trivially easy, others who thought it was near-impossible, because of the randomization. On the other side, this is horrible for the player if the difficulty is high and then you add randomness. That can make it randomly impossible, with the added bonus of making you wonder whether you actually earned that victory or just got the lucky equivalent of that Nydus Worm save-scumming I described.
If you have a fair amount of randomness, adding more trials brings you closer to the expected value. This is why you play best-of-whatever. Over a large number of attacks, that critical hit chance might come to a 5% damage bonus. The longer the fight and the more trials, the more skill can overcome perverse random events. Compare basketball to soccer/football or hockey. Basketball games have scores like 96-84; if a referee messes up a call, oh well, that’s few-point swing, which is upsetting when it matters but it usually balances out or does not matter. World Cup games frequently end 1-0, and more than 10 goals would be a ridiculous game. One odd occurrence, one bad referee call, and that changes the entire tournament.
You will occasionally see books or movies that recognize the high randomness, high consequences nature of real life combat. These tend to be dark and jarring, but you would have thought one random bullet would have caught Batman in his utterly unprotected mouth by now. You will not find many games with one hit kills and no respawn (feel free to refresh).