The Relative Values of Data



  • When discussing the health of the Vintage format we often engage with metagame data.

    Of course, data comes from many sources. There is the mtgo daily meta. the mtgo challenge meta. The U.S. paper meta. The non-U.S. paper meta. And all of these different sources generated slightly different images of where the format was.

    Now we have an additional oddity in the mtgo League data which we get on a daily basis but is subject to multiple caveats in how it is generated (and which is replacing mtgo daily event data completely, but that's likely all right since the mtgo daily events were often in step with the challenge event data)

    I personally don't quite yet know what to make of the league data. On one hand were aren't necessarily getting a complete picture with it, it is deliberately going to obscure deck dominance and the like...and yet it's also going to show how people are (successfully, mind you) enjoying the format...

    So I open this question to everyone because I am curious how various different minds are looking at it: what data sets are you prioritizing when looking at the health of the format?



  • This will of course depend on how one defines "health" of the format, but assuming that this is somehow related to diversity of deck archetypes here's my thoughts.

    The new method of reporting a limited number of collated decks with a minimum of 10 cards different between decks for leagues make this data unusable for assessing the health of the format. It will show an arbitrary diversity of decks that is in no way associated with the meta percentages represented by those given decks.

    This leaves us with the excellent break down of the weekly challenges that we have for some idea of the meta breakdown for mtgo. Though I feel this may be skewed due to the popularity and convenience of leagues.

    With so few reporting's of significant statistical value for the paper meta it will be difficult to assess whether it will be heavily varied from the online meta. Of course you'll always have more budgetary issues, etc. with paper so that will additionally need to be accounted for.



  • @winterstar said in The Relative Values of Data:

    So I open this question to everyone because I am curious how various different minds are looking at it: what data sets are you prioritizing when looking at the health of the format?

    I have no ability to impact the "health" of the format. I can certainly opine on it, but given that I can't do anything about it, I'm not going to put in the time to analyze a bunch of datasets that each have flaws.

    That being said, the data is still useful for building a rubric for what I need to be prepared to face.

    • Deck appears in several T8s/undefeated deck listings - Expect to play against this deck
    • Deck appears in a couple T8/undefeated deck listings - Be prepared to play against it
    • Deck occasionally appears - Be aware of the deck and its plan.


  • I like league data. Here is why:

    Leagues present several decks that performed well. These decks have to be somewhat different from each other, per Wizard's reporting rules.

    This tells the player: hey, here are a bunch of viable decks. Pick one and try it out. Hopefully then the player will test it out and decide for themselves whether or not to play it.

    I am not a huge fan of metagame data because it seems to have led us to an inbred metagame. People saw that the same 2-3 decks had better percentages, so they kept playing those over and over.

    Granted, that's just a theory. An argument against that theory is that Legacy has had leagues for a while and the MTGO Legacy metagame does not seem to be very diverse (mostly Delver and Deathrite control decks). I am not entirely sure how to bring MTGO's metagame diversity up to par with paper's. Maybe it's not possible.



  • I kinda like the way they're handling League data too. I like that we now only have Challenge data to actually see everything that's Top 8'ed.

    So if you want to make a data analysis to discover the % of each deck on Top 8's, you can't use League data anymore, just Challenges. League data serves for you to discover viable decks and have a glimpse of what's viable in the format.

    I like this and think this approach makes for more cautious data and reduces the speed people were starting to complain about "dominance". This may result in a less active B&R Announcement schedule for us, which is great.

    Vintage was always a format of slower changes, and I believe this is a step in that direction so I like it.


  • Administrators

    I'll take it a step further and say that I believe that the data doesn't reflect the health of the metagame, it creates it.

    When a player sees that Workshop decks keep showing up at the top tables, they think "I wonder what's good against Workshop decks".

    When a player sees that Workshop decks have a 65% match win record against the field, they think "There's no reason to play anything but Workshop decks"

    Subtle but important. A player who doesn't enjoy playing workshops looks at the former and is inspired to build. Maybe they go on TMD and post a thread asking "what can I do to beat these shops decks?" Experienced players chime in to answer, and new players get the benefit of the conversation.

    The same player looks at the latter and quits. But not before going online and telling the world that vintage is terrible and other people should quit, too. Experienced players who enjoy the metagame chime in to argue, and new players look somewhere else for a hobby.

    The same players, the same metagame, different data. One is healthy and the other is a train wreck.



  • @brass-man said in The Relative Values of Data:

    When a player sees that Workshop decks have a 65% match win record against the field, they think "There's no reason to play Workshop decks"

    do you mean "anything but workshop decks"? I think that makes more sense in the context of your post.


  • TMD Supporter

    Vintage was a better format when the data collection was more limited (before MTGO). There were more threads about strategy then and less threads about complaining because people had hope that they could win the next tournament if they put enough energy into it. (Still True today but people don't do it; they just go with the win percentages and call it a day)


  • Administrators

    @mediumsteve that's right steve :D fixed the original post



  • Well, this is...disheartening...


  • Administrators

    To be clear, as a player, I want the meta data. I want the full breakdown, and I want an unbiased sample (i.e. not the biased sample that wotc is providing for leagues). For the purposes of maximizing my personal odds in winning an event, I want the information to be as accurate as possible./

    For better or worse, these days I spend a lot more time community-building and content-generating than I do trying to increase my chances of winning tournaments. In that sense my priorities might be different than a lot of the people using the site - in the same way that WotC's priorities when choosing which league decks to show are different than a player's priorities when choosing which league decks they want to see.

    I can't begrudge anyone for doing the research and collecting the data that's important to them, personally ... especially not when their motivation is clearly altruistic.



  • @desolutionist said in The Relative Values of Data:

    Vintage was a better format when the data collection was more limited (before MTGO). There were more threads about strategy then and less threads about complaining because people had hope that they could win the next tournament if they put enough energy into it. (Still True today but people don't do it; they just go with the win percentages and call it a day)

    In my opinion, the problem is not that there is more data collection, but that every time the data gets posted it seems like half of the replies are people trying to interpret the data to support their position on the format and the other half is people telling those people they are wrong to do this and should stop.

    I am a firm believer in positivism and negativism being infectious.

    I have gotten and repressed the urge to post more frequently on TMD in the last few months because I know that the people who disagree with me are going to speak louder than those who agree with me. I don't feel like wasting my time trying to change the minds of people who will not agree with me, may never even understand my point of view and will likely not disagree with me in a manner that leads to a productive conversation.



  • Health of the format is really only addressed by having a hollistic view of the format. I think both MTGO data sources will provide a different view. The weekly tournament results tell us what are the popular decks, and how they are performing while the league data tells us what types of decks are viable in the current meta. Its only by considering both data sources that you can determine health. If there are huge win%'s for the popular decks thats a problem. If there is a lot of diversity in the league data that is a good thing.



  • @desolutionist @Brass-Man

    I dont think its fair to pin the problems of the format on data collection. There was a ton of discussion surrounding restriction of Shops prior to Vintage on MTGO ever even existing. Instead it just used anecdotal evidence and the limited data that we were able to collect from paper tournaments. I think you are both conflating the increased monitoring of ourselves with the increased monitoring of Wizards / Pro Players.

    Many of these restrictions should have happened years ago, but Wizards was not paying attention to the format. Shops at its height was extremely oppressive and overpowering. For years your deck was irrelevant without having a very strong game plan for that deck. Storm combo ceased to exist even in small numbers during that time period, and tailored anti-shops decks were solid budget decks for those entering the format.


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