Vintage Championships 2016 - Decklists and Metagame Analysis


  • TMD Supporter

    This is amazing, thank you guys! I was going to ask if you were going to try to control for player skill, how would you do that? Use DCI ratings, assuming you can get them? That would be incredible.



  • DCI ratings?! What year is this?



  • @Smmenen I actually thought about using MTGO ratings as a proxy for player skill. It has it's pros and cons but the programmers closed the loophole that allowed MTGBot to look up other player's ratings before we could implement that in the MTGO P9 events. For paper, I'm not sure WotC still calculates ELO ratings since they moved to Planeswalker Points; and since most Vintage events are unsanctioned, I assume those would not be factored in. If you or anyone else has a practical ideal, I'd love to hear it.



  • @spook Short answer is actually, not really. The average Swiss points of all decks carrying Misstep was 11.04. The average Swiss points of all "Non-Blue decks" was 14.4. I just defined "non-blue" as any deck that doesn't contain at least 1 island of some kind (not just basic island).

    Some thoughts on that definition - there were three Belcher decks that were pretty blue, but didn't carry any island. All ran multiple copies of Day's Undoing or Diminishing Returns. There was also an Oath deck that didn't run islands at all, but ran Mana Confluence and 3 Preordains among other blue spells. I included those in this 14.4 average, but if you want to take them out, the average swiss points for non-blue decks would drop to 10.9. Which is basically just a bunch of pitch dredge, a few storm combo, and a rogue red deck packing Misstep, and a Martello Shops deck doing the same.

    So we can't really say non-blue decks carrying Missteps did better or worse, especially because we are talking about a really small subset (21 decks) out of 164 decks running Misstep. And what most people would call "non-blue" decks did about the same or maybe a little worse, but there's really no conclusion one way or the other.



  • @Smmenen Steve, no question in my mind that if I were betting on games or something, and had perfect knowledge of decklists, who was piloting them... what those pilots ate for breakfast... everything. I would just bet based on the win rate of the pilots. It is clearly the biggest factor in who wins magic games right now. Which I suppose is really good, and emblematic of a healthy format where players who make more skillful decisions win more games.

    I'm not sure how to begin teasing that out of the numbers though.



  • @Topical_Island I think the question was for Blue decks without Misstep vs Blue decks with Misstep. Also, appreciate that you are using our data. It's validating and why we do this, so thank you.



  • @ChubbyRain Ahhhh... Right you are Sir.



  • @ChubbyRain @spook Ok, to answer the actual question, the answer is no, but with caveats. Twenty-six decks were blue under our definition. They averaged 10.03 Swiss pts. This group also included some of the most impressive performers of the tourney, namely Cordy Preston, Justin Franks, David Fleishman-Rose, and Reid Duke (#Baewatch), all with 21 Swiss points. But the average was still a touch lower than the average of decks with Misstep.

    So we can't say that blue decks without Misstep did better. We can say they did a little worse, but we probably shouldn't, given that we are talking about really small sample size and that among the handful of decks in this category, 4 of them were some of the best in the field, so there's no real reason to think that you can't make a blue deck without Misstep that wins.

    Most of these decks were Storm decks that just omitted Misstep. There was a really weird Horn of Greed deck with 64 cards mainboard... that actually scored 3 Swiss points. There was a goofy looking Rug Fish deck with Tarmogoyf that finished with 12 points making it above average. Fleishman-Rose was on Oathstill, and Cody Preston on Tezzerator.



  • @Topical_Island thanks for digging through this. It looks like it is not insane not to run Misstep, even though it is the consensus "best card". But it might also be the case that there are too many players of varying skill, and hard to define deck types with combo raising up the results.



  • @spook My pleasure. I really do love doing it, and props to these fellas one for doing the real work and making this possible.

    As for Missteps, I'm not really sure what it says about how to play or build around Misstep yourself in the micro level. On the macro level, it certainly shows that Misstep makes for this odd prisoner's dilemma, since the more an opponent plays Misstep, the more valuable additional Missteps are for you as well. (Assuming there are any other CMC1 spells in either deck to begin with.)

    I think on the micro, level you want to decide what you think your specific Missteps are trying to (mostly) do in your specific deck, amid this play environment where you know opposing Missteps are everywhere. I'm seeing a lot of these decks that are blue and run few or no Missteps (Brian Kelly for example isn't on the no-Misstep list, but he only ran 2) and they tend to be these super aggressive combo style things, ala Reid Duke.

    For more defensive hard control deck, I would guess that more Missteps might be better?

    A side thought I had is, if people really did want to restrict a card that would balance out Shops decks, I really think the card to restrict would be Misstep. It would make blue decks automatically spend fewer card slots fighting each other, and make the field of non-taxing effect decks have far fewer dead cards game one against Shops/Eldrazi/Hatebears type things. Plus you would see expanded use of things like Dark Ritual/Deathrite Shaman/and Crop Rotation which are pretty good cards yet almost unplayable right now because of Misstep saturation. I feel like, in total, the deck that would be most hurt by restricting Misstep, ironically, would be Shops.

    Full disclosure, I'm not saying that all should happen, only that if Misstep was restricted that I'm pretty confident those would be the effects.



  • @Topical_Island said in Vintage Championships 2016 - Decklists and Metagame Analysis:

    @spook My pleasure. I really do love doing it, and props to these fellas one for doing the real work and making this possible.

    As for Missteps, I'm not really sure what it says about how to play or build around Misstep yourself in the micro level. On the macro level, it certainly shows that Misstep makes for this odd prisoner's dilemma, since the more an opponent plays Misstep, the more valuable additional Missteps are for you as well. (Assuming there are any other CMC1 spells in either deck to begin with.)

    I think on the micro, level you want to decide what you think your specific Missteps are trying to (mostly) do in your specific deck, amid this play environment where you know opposing Missteps are everywhere. I'm seeing a lot of these decks that are blue and run few or no Missteps (Brian Kelly for example isn't on the no-Misstep list, but he only ran 2) and they tend to be these super aggressive combo style things, ala Reid Duke.

    For more defensive hard control deck, I would guess that more Missteps might be better?

    A side thought I had is, if people really did want to restrict a card that would balance out Shops decks, I really think the card to restrict would be Misstep. It would make blue decks automatically spend fewer card slots fighting each other, and make the field of non-taxing effect decks have far fewer dead cards game one against Shops/Eldrazi/Hatebears type things. Plus you would see expanded use of things like Dark Ritual/Deathrite Shaman/and Crop Rotation which are pretty good cards yet almost unplayable right now because of Misstep saturation. I feel like, in total, the deck that would be most hurt by restricting Misstep, ironically, would be Shops.

    Full disclosure, I'm not saying that all should happen, only that if Misstep was restricted that I'm pretty confident those would be the effects.

    I'm torn. Out of principle I don't think that Misstep should be restricted (because it's clearly not overpowered), but on the other hand I think that it would be very good for Vintage if it was.

    I also don't entirely agree with your assessment. From a theoretical point of view, the shorter the games go, the better Misstep is. Reid Duke's deck doesn't care too much about opposing Missteps, so that's why it's not needed in his build.


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