This might be a bit of an idiosyncratic criticism, but I listen to most of your podcasts while on multiple hour driving stints, so I was fairly disheartened with your "please have a copy of the set open on your computer" advice. Despite this, I really appreciated your trip down Arabian Nights memory lane as well as the similar "fun" topics at the end of recent podcasts.
Posts made by diophan
RE: Podcast: Masters 25 preview, Short History of Doomsday, and Arabian Nights Review
RE: February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement
@vaughnbros I think you're making some unfair assumptions about our classification, which to be fair could be attributed to not knowing how we make them. Sure, Matt and I are primarily blue players. However we both know that there are different types of Shops, Dredge, Eldrazi, and Thalia decks. We've often asked if it's worth splitting these archetypes into Aggro Shops vs. Stax, Pitch vs. Anti-Hate, etc. As far as archetypes are concerned, Stax and distinct subarchetypes of dredge have never been a large enough percentage of the metagame that we felt that separating out the 1 person playing Stax at a tournament has been worth it. Matt and I originally started collecting data to help prepare for tournaments ourselves. We really don't care if a single person had a 45% or 60% winrate.
When we have access to the decklists, we've used the "Tags" idea that we came up with about a year ago. It was to us a good compromise between breaking archetypes into such small percentages of the metagame that it becomes meaningless and capturing the nuances of different broad brush stroke categories. To be honest, when we don't have decklists it's a pain in the ass to do this sort of nuanced categorization. Matt and I have done almost all this data collection by ourselves, and watching replays for an additional hour so we can check if the shops deck ever casts a smokestack or the dredge deck has a FOW somewhere is often unpalatable, especially if we're trying to convince someone else to do the work because we wanted to have a Saturday off. I also think it says something about the differentiation of blue decks, and not Matt and I, that we can almost immediately tell the difference between Xerox and Oath but need to watch 3 rounds of a shops deck to tell if it eventually casts a non aggro shops card.
RE: Vintage Challenge Data Collection Help Needed
@pugsuperstar Watching the replays requires paying the 250 play point entry fee. Anyone used to be able to watch replays, but they imposed this restriction to stop bots from collecting too much data and "solving" formats. In particular, mtggoldfish used to have insightful articles on how well the color combinations fared in draft, how well correlated playing various cards was with winning the game, and so forth.
The Vintage Challenges are great EV though. You get your entry fee back for top 32 (over half the players) and prizes increase for top 16, top 8, etc.
Vintage Challenge Data Collection Help Needed
After the vintage challenges rotated to a weekly schedule, Matt and I have been trying to enter as many as possible to collect data. We've had several people, most frequently Shawn Anthony, help us out. This is greatly appreciated. However, this workload has been weighing us both down. After having a miserable time playing through a challenge I entered solely to collect data, I decided to reach out to the community for some help.
What we need from you (these don't need to be done by the same person):
Watch replays to determine what deck people are playing who played below the top32. This is typically between 8 and 18 people. This should not take more than an hour. This is the most essential part since otherwise we don't know the metagame breakdown. This is also the only task that requires entering the tournament.
Record who played whom in each round. This can be up while the tournament is running, up to several hours after it ends, or you can take a screenshot for someone to input in later.
That's it! The rest we can either set up ahead of time or figure out afterwards. If you value the data that Matt and I collect we would greatly appreciate you helping us out on occasion. If we can get several people to step up, it won't be much work for any individual.
Vintage Challenges - November
We would like to thank Montolio and desolutionist for helping with collecting data this month. Unfortunately this month and next will be a bit rough because of holidays, but we will try to collect metagame results for as many of these as we can.
Thanks to Matt for help with all of these reports.
EDIT: Included Top32 metagame + 2 archetypes I knew for 11/4.
RE: Article: Vintage Champs 2017 and the State of Vintage
When I test for Champs, I do a ton of playtesting. Most of my testing goes into swapping around cards that improve one matchup at the expense of another. I played as few as 2 missteps, balance, ancient grudges in the main, and a huge variety of creatures. When I test I keep track of my winrate against various archetypes and look at my prediction for the expected metagame.
The deck I played at Champs had 4 missteps and 0 grudges in the maindeck. The reason was that I could not consistently beat delver, which both had a high metagame representation online and I expected to be well represented at Champs. Sitting on the pulpit and telling blue players how they should be building decks strikes me as assuming that the deck that one arrives at was without proper testing.
In my 10 rounds at Champs I played 1 dredge, 1 shops, 1 mono red deck, and 7 blue decks. Perhaps a more expected result would be 2 shops decks, but I can't understand how anyone thinks I am going to improve my 8-2 record (losing to dredge with 8 sideboard cards and mono red) by cutting missteps and switching my abrade for an ancient grudge in the maindeck.
We don't get to engineer the metagame for a tournament. I can't force 50% of room to be on shops. I can't, as Matt also alluded to, make a pact with the other blue players not to play misstep. If you want to play blue and want to maximize your overall winrate you need to construct your deck in a certain way. If misstep gets restricted I am not replacing them with 3 grudges; likely they become flusterstorms, mindbreak traps, or pyroblasts. If someone can build a blue deck that has a decent winrate against the 70% of the meta that is blue and consistently beats shops, then sign me up. If such a deck exists, however, it would have an incredible winrate and unbalanced.
Just to be clear I do agree with several points in the article. I think we should give the metagame some time to sort itself out (look at the crazy metagame online right now). The "reusable black lotus" line doesn't hold water when you can't use your lotus to cast ancestral recall. The constant complaining about B&R is incredibly annoying and frankly toxic to the community when every conversation devolves into that.
Vintage Challenges - October
This month's Challenge data is unfortunately smaller than September's. There were only 4 challenges, and Matt and I were at Eternal Weekend last Saturday so we missed collecting that data. Rather than doing a poor job inferring from the top 32 summary, we decided to omit that challenge from the calculations (I added the top 32 metagame for display only). If anyone recorded results, send Matt or me a message and we would love to add them in.
The performance of shops in this data stands in stark contrast to the success of that archetype at Eternal Weekend and last month in the vintage challenges. In particular, shops had a 58% winrate versus xerox at Eternal Weekend, but just 34% here. The fast pace of metagame changes on MTGO could very well be the cause of this; if anyone has time to look at the differences in decks that would be fascinating to see. Or perhaps we can just mumble something about small sample sizes!
Thanks to Matt for help with all of these reports.
RE: North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown
Rather than declaring that the majority of vintage players are dredge-hating, shops-not-respecting, derpstep-loving, hyphen-overusing, netdecking troglodytes, let's do some analysis.
I'm going to make the bold assumption that I intelligently craft a deck with the intent of maximizing my overall winrate. To simplify the discussion let's say there are 3 archetypes: Blue (B), Dredge (D), and Shops (S). My expected winrate is then (ignoring subtleties) the dot product of the % of each archetype at the tournament times my winrate against that archetype. That is, OverallWinrate = Meta_B*Win_B+Meta_D*Win_D+Meta_S*Win_S.
I'm going to construct a deck the way I suspect most people who have time to test do: choose a decklist from an archetype and fiddle with it to try and maximize my winrate. I'm going to be a blue player for this.
Observation #1: Meta_B is way bigger than the other two. This means that even if adding a 4th misstep causes Win_B to go up just a little bit and I incur a slight hit to Win_S (how this affects Win_D is less clear), I've still likely increased OverallWinrate.
Observation #2: Changing Win_D significantly can increase OverallWinrate, even if Meta_D is relatively small. There are cards I can add to my sideboard that are very good against dredge (RIP, Crypt, etc.). Let's say I am deciding on the last sideboard slot. Shops was 17% of the meta and dredge was 10%. I can either add a card that is solid but not gamebreaking against shops, or I can add the 2nd RIP to increase my dredge winrate significantly. I don't run lots of dredge hate because I hate dredge, I run it because it has a significant return for the investment. If I expect some incredibly low dredge %, like the low single digit percent it was on MTGO for months, this analysis changes and I skimp on some dredge hate.
So why has shops been the dominant deck for years? It's because Meta_S is consistently "smaller than it should be" and I don't have the same sort of haymakers I can put in the sideboard as I do against dredge. The closest thing to RIP against shops is Oath of Druids, and that's not a card I add as a 2 of in the sideboard of my Xerox deck.
I shouldn't be messing with missteps at all; I should be jamming workshops. I didn't decide to run 4 missteps because I don't respect shops; I ran them because I wanted to play blue and maximize my winrate given that affinity.