@Topical_Island said in Player Skill & Deck Quality:
@wappla Ok, you win... player skill isn't a factor... wait do you even believe that?
And what the heck was Jaco doing playing Combo...?
And isn't the top of our collective bell curve still right of the average?
I was playing 2 Card Monte (ie. Combo) at Champs, because I thought it was very well-positioned for Champs again specifically (I have played it there 2 years in a row). I started 2-0 this year before the train ran off the track in a non-camera feature match where I got 3 total turns against Key-Vault (lost on second turn G1, first turn G2), and never regained a solid enough footing in the tournament after that, then dropped. It's not worth it to me to grind out playing all day for a 7-2 or 6-3 record for a T16 finish like some other people do. Once I'm either out of contention or sick of playing I drop from a tournament, as do a lot of people.
Regarding the topic at hand, there are a lot of things that go in to tournament performance. Selecting a deck for the metagame, getting paired against what you expect when you selected and built your deck, playing that deck tightly, and sometimes even drawing cards in the correct order (ie. variance, and all that you can do to mitigate it). There is an old saying that luck is when skill meets preparation, and that often holds true in Magic. If you do as much as you can to consistently put yourself in a position to win, and your process is good, that is the first step.
That being said, play skill is absolutely relevant, and there should be no expectation that players will perform roughly the same over the long haul with the same deck. Aside from technical aptitude and aforementioned variance, some players are very familiar and skilled with a certain deck (JacoDrazi, or Mentor Gush, for example), while many others may be picking up the deck for the first time that week, and this often bears out directly in tournament result metrics based on many in-game decisions that less experienced pilots are probably unaware are causing them to lose.