North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown

  • Very disappointing meta if you ask me...

    I think most players have hit the nail pretty much on the head and diversity in the format boils down to two problem children.

    Mishra's Workshop
    Mental Misstep

    I think the restricting of Mentor opened things up a bit and I approve of the thorn restriction, I think they got it right over sphere in terms of its effect on shops decks. But without the above mentioned problem children being restricted, then a lot of decks that might not otherwise have a shot, are simply relegated to inferior status.

    I think we all can see the benefits with the restriction of workshop, but there are so additional benefits to Mental Misstep being restricted, such as Dredge gets weakened, they no longer get a free counter "Grafdigger's Cage". Heck they are either main decking and/or side boarding a full compliment of them, and it quite honestly brings back dark ritual which I think is a good thing for the format.

    Perhaps i'm just living in the past, thinking back to the days where the metagame had a large contingent of viable decks all at once. Keeper / Dragon / Mask / TnT / Stax / Blue Control / Hulk / Gro / Fish / Mono-Black and a plethora of variants that flirted with the tier 1 mark.

  • @bobbyvictory @13NoVa I don't know what you guys did to blow up this thread but I'm going to re-iterate the thing I think is the most relevant from that convo for posterity which is that @13NoVa pointed out that Welder's decline was not due to Mental Misstep. Similarly many of the other decks you mentioned fell out of favor long before Mental Misstep was ever printed.

  • @eksem If someone replied to this, I missed it and I apologize.

    Classification is always a mess. What Ryan and I have been attempting is to convey as much information as possible to the community through how we present our data. With that in mind,

    • Big Blue refers to decks running the full artifact mana package, Tinker, and Yawgmoth's Will. Current versions of these decks include Grixis Thieves, various Gifts combo decks, etc. These are historically Mana Drain deck but Mana Drain plays a diminished role in the metagame so we didn't think that was a good category name.
    • Blue Control refers to decks like Landstill and Blue Moon, which are also Mana Drain decks but typically are winning the through "fair" cards like Jace, the Mindsculptor, Mishra's Factory, or Snapcaster Mage. We thought these decks were different enough from Big Blue decks to justify an additional category.
    • Xerox or the cantrip decks are the previous Gush decks and include Pyromancer, Delver, and Mentor based decks. With any restriction, it's relevant to look how the decks directly affected by that restriction persist in the metagame. This has been subject of much discussion in the Vintage community, but not the larger Magic community as a whole. Because of that, we created a Delver category and put the Mentor Control decks in Blue Control as we thought that was more appropriate for the wider audience checking Champs coverage.
    • Paradoxical decks can theoretically go into either Big Blue or Blue Control, depending on the build. Again, this was an effort to answer a specific concern of the community - Paradoxical Outcome has been in the discussion for a restriction and there was talk that the deck might dominate the Vintage metagame since Thorn and Mentor were restricted. I think we are getting to the point where our classification scheme needs to be revamped, but we still have this category.

    Hopefully that answered your question. If it did not, or you have additional questions, feel free to ask!

  • Thanks for the breakdown! It def looks like shops needs a hit or maybe two, just hoping the preserve the workshop and maybe whack Ravager and Inspector, love my shops and don't really love playing affinity:) Anyway, we'll see in a couple months.

  • @aaron-patten Thanks! Came here to say exactly that. I don't think any of those archetypes would flourish in a restricted-Misstep meta. Maybe we'd see a bump in storm.

    EDIT: sorry, I don't want to turn this thread into another restriction discussion, so I deleted what I said and posted in the right place here

  • TMD Supporter

    Ryan & Matt,

    I have NO idea how you produced this gargantuan spreadsheet within literally 24 hours after EW.

    Massive congratulations and appreciation are in order.



  • Amazing work on the breakdown. Thank you!

  • Does anyone know how to calculate, using the last round standings and the win %s here, what's the most probable Top 8 for this tournament?

  • Not trying to sound ungrateful, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Steve's post graciously thanking us for our work has more upvotes than Ryan's original post (currently 7 to 10).

    Let Ryan know you like what he does...give him an upvote :p.

    Edit: Original Post now winning 12 to 11. Ryan is swan diving into that sweet, sweet TMD rep.


    I picked an image with a math equation because I know Ryan likes those...

  • @fsecco

    Quick/lazy idea:
    It seems quite complicated to model the last round due to people drawing and tiebreakers. I would instead model the entire tournament. Pretend everything is independent, that every player stays in for all 10 rounds, and there are no draws. Then each player's record is a binomial distribution with p=their archetype's sample winrate. Calculate the probability that any individual player gets an X-1 or better record ((10 choose 10)p^10+(10 choose 9)p^9(1-p)) and multiply that by the number of players of that archetype to get the expected number in the top 8. Then hope that this sum over all archetypes is roughly 8 so you don't have to do anything more complicated. Alternatively, normalize so that you predict 8 decks to get a reasonable (?) estimate.

    EDIT: Here's what I got while wasting time watching the VSL:
    alt text
    (Disclaimer: I am not a statistician and assumed a bunch of stuff that's not true. Also, the winrate of the best players of a given archetype has a huge impact on the top8 rather than the overall winrate.)

    Likely a more accurate setup would be to model each round of the tournament separately, and only look at pairings with players of similar records. I don't have the time to do this, but I would be interested in seeing the results if anyone carries it out.

  • @diophan That's pretty cool, and goes with almost everyone's prediction of around 3 shops in that Top 8 🙂 Thanks for that

    I'll try to do this once I get more time and actually find the last round pairings; but what I'm trying to understand is how the story of that Top 8 could've changed. Everyone is commenting on Shops dominance mainly because the Top 8 had 5 Shops and just 1 other archetype. I want to find out how hard was it for that to happen, just by the last round results. I guess a slightly different configuration in the matches could've made a much more diverse Top 8.

  • @chubbyrain said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

    Let Ryan know you like what he does...give him an upvote :p.

    What if my lack of upvote is protest that everytime Ryan and I play we go to time >.>

  • @winterstar He can't be as bad as @brianpk80. No one is THAT slow...

  • @chubbyrain But as long as Brian is playing in a Challenge I know I have time to get food in round three!

  • TMD Supporter

    @smmenen said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

    @arcranedenial said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

    Are we really surprised that the inbred blue decks with maindeck 4x misstep, multiple pyroblast and a smattering of other dead cards with no sideboard recourse are losing to shops? I mean let’s call a spade a spade.

    If this point had any validity, then neither chalice, lodestone golem nor thorn would've been restricted. The exact same argument was raised & rejected in each case.

    My impression is that there are still a lot of non-shops decks that start off with 4 mm 2 pyroblast with more in the board and that seems fine, but very few look like the deck below, which I think doesn't make any sense if shops is the best deck in vintage right now. I think you can't reject the validity of Kurt Crane's argument, because we have never been able to examine if it is true.

    If you think his argument isn't valid, please point me to the data that suggests that shops has overcome a dedicated deckbuilding shift like the one Kurt describes. (Interestingly, I don't think you have to cut MM and Pyroblast to be able to include all the good anti-shops cards, again see below).

    People continue to not respect shops to the same extent that they respect Blue decks and dredge, despite shops being the single most represented archetype at EW. I understand that, in aggregate blue decks are a larger slice of the pie, however, we don't generally talk about all of them as one archetype, or think about sideboarding for them in aggregate so I think the point still stands.


  • I'm fairly new to Vintage, so take what I say with a truck load of salt. But I find it fascinating as a Dredge player to see the difference in how people respond to Dredge doing well, compared to when Shops does well.

    When Dredge does well, it's like this 'break the glass, hit the big red button' kind of moment. It cannot be allowed to happen. People bring in everything short of Withered Wretch to deal with us.

    When Shops does well, you see people throw up their hands in frustration, and resign themselves to their fate. You don't see a vast increase in Hurkyl's Recall, or Stony Silence, or Fragmentize.

    I understand the argument that Sphere, or Thorn can put a hamper on these plans. But you don't see people stop playing Reanimator simply because Deathrite Shaman exists, or people stop playing Storm because Flusterstorm is a thing. They find ways around it, or they power through it. The argument that Sphere effects are a reason to not even try feels similar to the popular 'Dies to Doom Blade' argument.

    This past weekend the meta was incredibly hostile towards Dredge, largely because it was touted as the bogeyman of the tournament. People responded to that threat accordingly. I would like to give these same people a chance to respond to this threat of Shops before I start seriously considering a restriction on Workshop.

  • @oestrus said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

    When Dredge does well, it's like this 'break the glass, hit the big red button' kind of moment. It cannot be allowed to happen. People bring in everything short of Withered Wretch to deal with us.

    When Shops does well, you see people throw up their hands in frustration, and resign themselves to their fate. You don't see a vast increase in Hurkyl's Recall, or Stony Silence, or Fragmentize.

    This is an interesting way to look at it that seems obvious, but isn't. You vocalized this very well, Erin.

  • @oestrus said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

    When Dredge does well, it's like this 'break the glass, hit the big red button' kind of moment. It cannot be allowed to happen. People bring in everything short of Withered Wretch to deal with us.

    First of all I want to say excellent post, well thought out and presents excellent points.

    To the point quoted above, there was someone on stream this weekend discussing how they were siding in 12-13 cards against dredge (apologies, I do not recall the name). I think that’s the exact sort of raise the alarm response you’re discussing. I have personally had someone play multiple City in a Bottle against me Game 2 (which I could be wrong but seems super deep in the anti-dredge options especially in multiples at this point) in addition to cages and priest. People are willing to go super deep against the deck and stop at nothing to try and beat it.

    As you stated I think a big part of this was the lead up to EW. 1) Dredge was being consistently labeled as the monster in the closet and people were incorrectly hitting the panic button, 2) People, in my opinion, seem to often have an incorrect perception that the percentage of dredge decks is going to go through the roof at EW because it is less expensive to build. To some extent it was as if all the attention was placed on dredge while shops just said, “Oh yea pay attention to those guys, we will just be over here”.

    I believe another thing that scares people is they always believe dredge is just going to come out of nowhere and win, it’s the one turn blowout effect that they feel has to be stopped at all costs. Shops does not always have the same effect. But as seen this weekend, that deck can basically beat you in one turn by shutting you down or as Rich Shay showed us can literally just 20 people out of nowhere when they feel like everything will be just fine.

    Workshops should not be restricted. It should be built around and prepared for. Find a way to approach it and it will be ok. It is a card that is a vintage staple and in my eyes provides a great challenge for the format.

  • @Oestrus Are you really that surprised that people perceive Dredge in that way? Dredge gets the hate that it does because it's not considered "typical" Magic. It's such a powerful mechanic that Game 1 is often an instant scoop — a turn 1 Bazaar is usually enough to send people to their sideboards. So, yeah, if someone travels cross-country to play Magic, imagine how they feel scooping within 60 seconds.

    Then, games 2 and 3 rely on whether or not the opposing player can mulligan into their sideboard cards, which also tend to be game ending for the Dredge player. In any case, it's rarely the "battle of wits" that players envision when they think about Vintage. It's more about chance — will I draw my sideboard, will my Dredge opponent mulligan to 1? In any case, Dredge has plenty of answers in the format, which is why it hovers close to a 50% winrate.

    Shops, on the other hand, still feels like a back and forth game with many different decision points; however, people are frustrated because Shops has, arguably, the best set of cards of any archetype. Mana acceleration has largely been restricted, except for Workshop. I'm not saying it should be restricted, but that's why basic Island slingers are begging for a shakeup.

    Anyway, people enjoy complaining...WoTC could restrict Shops and we'll still get these kind of threads after EW 2018.

  • @qq I believe I was quite clear about the fact that my surprise stems from the difference between how the two archetypes are perceived, rather than just how Dredge is perceived.