NYSE #4 - Complete Metagame Report

@vaughnbros In the reasoning business, we call what you just did, authority bias. Also, when someone allows themselves enough leeway to casually claim that the format has three viable archetypes, then nitpicks someone else's viewpoint by focusing on whether or not they conformed to a strict definition of the word "statistical" (and forbidding them from using a word?... I'm still wrapping my head around that one)... we call that hypocrisy... in the biz... as it were. (If you think misusing a single word is annoying, just imagine what the above scenario looks like to someone in communication/natural language...)

If you don't like Steve's argument, then address his argument. (It very well might be wrong.) The subtext of your last post is that you understand statistical computation. Stipulated. Leave your resume in the drawer man. I agree he can be peevishly tactical in his own arguments sometimes, but address the larger ideas, please, I beg you. I swear I'll never use the word statistics again.

For the record. I think the Metagame is great right now. I love it... but of course the finals of my last tourney was a split between two unviable Landstill decks... (which I of course never meant to imply was significant or meaningful in any way... oh no... I've been bad... I have to go wash my mouth out with soap now...)

@Topical_Island Ah I forgot Steve is always right! My bad. Your worship of him is certainly something else...

I'll check my resume at the door the second it's 1. Not relevant to the discussion. 2. When Steve does the same.

@vaughnbros Did you just pull a strawman followed by a "he did it first" on the Mana Drain? Well played Sir... well played indeed. He did do it first, person who isn't one of my middle school students... he did do it first. You are right.

Leave it in the Drawer... a drawer... resumes go in... ahhh never mind.

Anyway. I disagree with your Ideas... if those ideas are, or include, the belief that this metagame is "unhealthy" or anything like that. (speaking of conflating terms here, I think it's probably more accurate to talk about the play environment... a metagame being a little different) I think that this play environment is pretty normal if one accepts that the population of decks types in a healthy environment should follow a Zipf's curve, which is what I believe.

last edited by Topical_Island

@Topical_Island I'm assuming you mean Zipf's Curve? Which has a smoothing parameter so it can take many forms... Thats the equivalent of saying I think the metagame should consist of magic cards.

@vaughnbros That's the one, and I'm sure you know what I mean. A play environment that's behaving as it should (ie. being balanced by metagaming forces), will end up in a Zipf's curve... maybe I should say long tail distribution here. I don't really know. I'm fine taking your word for whichever in the mean time before I check... in the meantime I'm going to... you know... continue trying to use words to create meaning. That sort of thing.

Guys, I was enjoying a brilliant work from Matt and Ryan, and you are making it a bit less enjoyable 😞 I respect you all and I understand how difficult is to explain in a forum and to agree, but please don't keep with this.

I have one question for people here: is Eldrazi as a deck going to stay, or is going to be a quick trend and nobody will remember in a year?

@vaughnbros your dislike of Steve was apprent in the old TMD as well... (As it was with me, but that is not relivent here). I am not saying Smemmycakes is right or wrog, and I am not saying you are right or wrong, but this constant argument is annoying. I am more interested in interpretting on my own the data presented, and hearing others opinions to create what I envision the result to be. In business and in important life matters things like statistical analysis and stop-gap etc is more important... I am a payroll business analyst/implementation specialist and definitely understand how to use the data to get to a clear and refined end result.... But this is a GAME and If I come to a different result than what you do based on the data provided, then why is my being wrong necessarily a bad thing? Wouldn't that help you since I would be ill-prepared for the next major event?

@xouman yeah, sorry for my part, and yeah...

That is a great question. If I dare throw another two cents in here, I actually put way more faith in deck testing rather than stats on the play environment for questions like this. I personally try to use %s of decks played to tune and determine what to play myself, and use testing to determine what is good. But if the question is, will this type of deck still be winning games in a year, rather than will it be widely played...? Then lets test. (One thing I find a little amusing, but to each their own, is watching someone board in a bunch of cards for game 2 against Gush... why aren't they mainboard?... why not play a different deck that can mainboard things that beat Gush... why not play Eldrazi? Hey, I just figured out why so many people played Eldrazi!)

So I am saying, yes... And by yes I mean that so long as Gush is unrestricted, then the suite of Thorn, Cavern, Thalia, Thought-Knot Seer, and less close to the core, Eye of Ugin, Eldrazi Temple, Vryn Wingmare and Reality Smasher... those all seem great. They will win games against decks running Gush.

If Gush is around it is going to keep pushing down numbers of big blue decks, and lesser blue drawing cards like Thirst, and so long as Gush is around, highly aggro taxing decks are going to be around too. (The rebirth of Null Rod aggro will hurt cards like Tezz, Time Vault, Key, and Top anyway.)

We'll see when we print out White Eldrazi on laserjet later today, but I can sure vouch for the Cavern/Thalia/Wingmare part of the equation.

last edited by Topical_Island

@Topical_Island I agree with you; whenever I see an opponent boarding more than 3 cards against me when I'm playing Gush, I constantly feel like their deck is misbuilt.

@Soly I don't dislike either of you as people. I dislike the way that you two choose to debate. I don't think I've ever seen an argument that you two have been involved in that didn't end personal attacks. In this particular case I:

  1. Did not address Steve first.
  2. Did not attack Steve.
  3. Ended the conversation with him immediately after he resorted to semantics and saying I was making stuff up.
    Topical Island decided he wasn't done and wanted to continue to derail the thread so now here we are. In sum, the drain may have a new pretty face, but its the same as it was before. If anyone wants to discuss this further you can reach me on PM, I will ignore you otherwise.

@xouman Yes, Eldrazi seems to be a deck assuming no other major shifts of the meta are going to occur.

@vaughnbros

I don't think you realize how bad you make yourself look and Chubbyrain did the same thing in the other thread.

1- it disrupts the thread completely. I came here to see speculation about metagame developments or a theoretical explanation/breakdown for this event. Instead I get a sterile conversation with walls of texts where each party is neither clearly wrong or clearly right but are trying to push their opinion on the other, and it rapidly degenerates into personal attack and such things.

2- You guys get really angry with Steve's way or arguing and thus make yourselves look less gentleman-y than before. I mean you guys are respected in the community for your innovation and effort, but when you went down this road you lost some amount of respect (at least in my eyes).

3- Arguing with a lawyer seems like a bad idea/waste of time, especially when Steve is obviously biased about the card Gush and not being entirely honest (although in retrospect his point of view seems more in accordance with what the metagame is going through now). If you really believe someone's arguments to be lazy or fallacious why would you continue (or even start) arguing with them. Personally if someone is being stubborn with "absurd" arguments I would just stop the discussion, what's the point going on ?

I mean why is it easier to get pointless arguments than constructive stuff on this forum. Why do (some) people have to behave like this, snobbish and snapping at other people who they believe wrong instead of using a more constructive and tactful approach?

@Macdeath Honestly? I don't really care if you feel "lesser" of us. You clearly don't know either me or Matt well if you think that we would.

As I just stated please PM me if you'd like to discuss.

Ok, in an effort to get wheels back on the cart here, I have a question for the other members of the peanut gallery who aren't myself. How do you use this data, if at all? And subquestion, to what extent do you consider the above archetypes to be 'decks' and to what extent are they just individual cards?

It seems to me that this new BrianKellyesque hybridization of decks has made the above statistical work (which is in fact awesome) more and more difficult as the venn-diagram of decks gets blurred. I heard Kelly himself say the other day that he considers Shops decks to now be a subset of the Thorn of Amethyst archetype... He was half joking, and the joking half is funny... but it was only half. As primarily an Oath player, this is pretty tough for me, since decks that just contain Oath of Druids are all labeled Oath... yet they vary incredibly within that category, from Control style Oath that I just love... all the way to that Burning/Omni/FaceSmashing Oath that Kai was on during the VSL play-in... Thoughts?

@Topical_Island said:

Ok, in an effort to get wheels back on the cart here, I have a question for the other members of the peanut gallery who aren't myself. How do you use this data, if at all? And subquestion, to what extent do you consider the above archetypes to be 'decks' and to what extent are they just individual cards?

It seems to me that this new BrianKellyesque hybridization of decks has made the above statistical work (which is in fact awesome) more and more difficult as the venn-diagram of decks gets blurred. I heard Kelly himself say the other day that he considers Shops decks to now be a subset of the Thorn of Amethyst archetype... He was half joking, and the joking half is funny... but it was only half. As primarily an Oath player, this is pretty tough for me, since decks that just contain Oath of Druids are all labeled Oath... yet they vary incredibly within that category, from Control style Oath that I just love... all the way to that Burning/Omni/FaceSmashing Oath that Kai was on during the VSL play-in... Thoughts?

The data is a tool - I use it along with my own personal experiences to shape my opinions on the metagame and influence deck construction. It is not the end-all-be-all and it never was meant to be. The true value is looking at the results over time - for the reasons @vaughnbros pointed out, the data from one event is limited and best viewed as a range rather than a discrete point value (for the same reason that if you flip 4 coins and have 3 heads, you don't assume that the odds of flipping heads is 0.75). More data equals more certainty.

Regarding your subquestion, decks are never just about the individual cards but about the synergies and interactions between them and with the cards in the opponent's deck. When I brew something up, I try to think about every possible interaction, from the obvious - like Gitaxian Probe + Cabal Therapy - to the obscure - like taking advantage of Thing in the Ice flipping and Containment Priest having flash to effectively "counter" a Barbarian Ring trigger from Dredge. This doesn't change on the archetype level - synergies still exist. Just having Gush in your deck enables you to play a control game - I think Steve on the VSL stated he plays Doomsday like a control deck. You have virtual card advantage from a lack of mana sources or you have other cards in your deck like Dack or either Jace to convert the returned lands into raw card advantage or further manipulate your deck. One of the most common mistakes I see players make with Gush decks is that they play too aggressively and lose the advantage their deck has in the late game, like tapping out against Storm to land a Mentor instead of keeping mana up for Flusterstorm. Now, individual cards can change certain dynamics but to a limited degree. I don't want Sudden Shock if my opponent is playing Thing in the Ice instead of Mentor, but Thorn of Amethyst is going to be great against almost any Gush deck. Does that answer your question - it's a complex topic?

Hybridization is another limitation of data-collection. Deck classifications are messy. I'm reminded of the Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics - the more you know about a particle's position, the less you can know about the particle's motion. The more detailed you make your classifications, the less of a sample size you have from which to draw conclusions. So what we have done is establish two levels of classification: a kind of macroscopic view that lumps decks into rather generic archetypes, and a more detailed "subarchetype" view that for instance breaks "decks with Oath of Druids" into "decks with Oath of Druids and Omniscience" or Salvagers, or just Griselbrand, or Tendrils of Agony. These views tell us different things but it is a challenge to balance them appropriately.

last edited by ChubbyRain

@KirdApe said:

Awesome job guys, so wanted to see this level of a breakdown! MD Defense Grid is big for Storm being able to go off. Both the event itself and this writeup & commentary will help me to better refine my particular build.

isn't defense grid standard? at least it is in Ohio from what I've seen.

@mediumsteve said:

@KirdApe said:

Awesome job guys, so wanted to see this level of a breakdown! MD Defense Grid is big for Storm being able to go off. Both the event itself and this writeup & commentary will help me to better refine my particular build.

isn't defense grid standard? at least it is in Ohio from what I've seen.

My goal is to do something similar to what MTGGoldfish has done with their format staples. That seems like a good thing to look at - what percentage of DPS decks are running maindeck Grids and how many.

To everyone, are there other things like this you are curious about?

i'm nowhere as fluent in statistics as mr Ballester, but I have been curious about data mining since long time ago. In my understand it's too difficult to state if a card is successful or not: it's always related to the rest of the deck. For example: is gush the best draw engine available? It seems so. How is thirst compared to gifts? Fof is performing well? Do hatebear decks perform better with duals and fetchlands or only with rainbow lands? Which is the best tinker robot around? Should mentor decks play 3 or 4 mentors? Are 5c decks over 50% in win percentage or lower? Lots of stupid questions and hard to answer (or even answered, hard to make any sense outside fun facts).

I think your work is really nice Matt, and if somebody has time proficiency woth data mining tools, it would be nice to lend you a hand going deeper in data.

I posted a link to the decklists in the original post. Sorry for the delay but things got pretty hectic on both ends.

We have also created a post on EC with all 157 decklists (links) in a sortable table, and the metagame breakdown as well.
http://www.eternalcentral.com/nyse4-vintage-open-all-decklists-and-metagame-breakdown/

Having all of the decklists from this available is a cool way to see exactly how 157 Vintage players approached one of the biggest and most prestigious events of the year, by seeing exactly how they each built their decks. Thanks again to Matt and Ryan for all of their hard work on this. Enjoy!

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