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Thread: Decks to Beat (2020-21) Discussion Thread

  1. #21
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Considering that for a long time now most of the lists that get published to the decklist sites are from MTGO, where only decks that differ from the others by X cards are disclosed, and the impact of the dozen or two very skilled regular MTGO players, I think it would be best to stop pretending that the metagame percentage numbers given by the decklist sites really mean very much.

    It would be better to just acknowledge the subjective nature of a list like this, choose one dedicated person who keeps up with the format, and have them just pick out the five or six decks or deck archetypes they think players should be focused on for testing and deck tuning if they have a sizable upcoming tournament with an unknown metagame.

    If that person were me and I were to make such a list today, I would probably choose:
    • Blue-Red/Grixis Delver
    • Bant Snow Control
    • Jeskai Breach
    • BUG Zenith Oko
    • Death & Taxes/Maverick


    Obviously I'm cheating a bit here by grouping some things together.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by thefringthing View Post
    Considering that for a long time now most of the lists that get published to the decklist sites are from MTGO, where only decks that differ from the others by X cards are disclosed, and the impact of the dozen or two very skilled regular MTGO players, I think it would be best to stop pretending that the metagame percentage numbers given by the decklist sites really mean very much.

    It would be better to just acknowledge the subjective nature of a list like this, choose one dedicated person who keeps up with the format, and have them just pick out the five or six decks or deck archetypes they think players should be focused on for testing and deck tuning if they have a sizable upcoming tournament with an unknown metagame.
    The 5-0 MTGO deck dumps don't seem to be used to assemble the monthly DTB's, from what I could figure out. So it seems your argument fails.

    The list you propose would be entirely subjective, which ironically reminds us of the value of having a list based on statistical data.

    As it's phrased in the DTB section:
    Rather than relying on arbitrary selection or decision-making based on conjecture which can be tainted by personal bias, decks are selected for the DTBF based on their performance at recent, large, competitive Legacy tournaments. Decks which make up a very large portion of the metagame are considered DTB's.
    However, I wouldn't mind having a subjective list of DTB's to prepare for as an alternative list.

  3. #23
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    What about three decks chosen as the highest % of the metagame as taken from the data and then three more decks chosen subjectively to round it out (i.e. what is the date missing)?
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cire View Post
    What about three decks chosen as the highest % of the metagame as taken from the data and then three more decks chosen subjectively to round it out (i.e. what is the date missing)?
    I don't necessarily disagree with this, but why are we selecting 6 decks? Why not seven? Or five?
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by H View Post
    I don't necessarily disagree with this, but why are we selecting 6 decks? Why not seven? Or five?
    One way to create a subjective list could be to let users vote for players that get to select DTB's according to their own opinion. The amount of DTB's will then be depending on what these selected players think.

    How exactly the amount of decks extracted is decided on could be handled in different ways.. Like, let them grade the DTB's they provide on a scale (1-10 for example), then add all decks' values and have a cut-off at 60% of the max value.. Or any other approach.

  6. #26
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    The list you propose would be entirely subjective, which ironically reminds us of the value of having a list based on statistical data.
    My point is that meaningful statistical data are not available. There isn't enough data collection, and the data that are collected are heavily biased. I'm arguing that we should not pretend to have an objective list of decks to beat available to us when we don't.
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by thefringthing View Post
    My point is that meaningful statistical data are not available. There isn't enough data collection, and the data that are collected are heavily biased. I'm arguing that we should not pretend to have an objective list of decks to beat available to us when we don't.
    How is it biased? I repeat, the 5-0 deck dumps don't seem to be used, I think that was the only support you provided of the statement that data is biased. I also added a quote of a statement on how the current data being used isn't biased (I'll have to reread it now but I think that's what it said).

  8. #28
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by H View Post
    I don't necessarily disagree with this, but why are we selecting 6 decks? Why not seven? Or five?
    Any number would be arbitrary, but I think if you have the top 3 decks based on stats you can round out the rest of the list with subjective choices of whatever number that weren't captured in the top 3 decks based on stats.

    So ATM the stats show:

    U/R Burn
    Miracle
    D&T

    As the top 3 based on stats. Then subjectively we can say the rest of the DTB looks like:

    Breach
    BUG Oko
    Hogaake

    That definitely misses some deck lists like Eldrazi, Grixis, and TES, but every objective and subjective criteria will miss something. We just got to make our peace with it.

    The trick though is picking who is making that subjective determination? A community poll every month seems like way too much trouble.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    One way to create a subjective list could be to let users vote for players that get to select DTB's according to their own opinion. The amount of DTB's will then be depending on what these selected players think.

    How exactly the amount of decks extracted is decided on could be handled in different ways.. Like, let them grade the DTB's they provide on a scale (1-10 for example), then add all decks' values and have a cut-off at 60% of the max value.. Or any other approach.
    Sure, but in looking at the B&R thread, for example, do you think people are generally open to other's opinions? I actually don't personally find a data-driven, subjective valuation to be bad, but I have my doubts people would "submit" to that as an ideal case. Or even a tenable one.

    Not to mention the issue of just who it would be that would be these "representatives."

    Quote Originally Posted by thefringthing View Post
    My point is that meaningful statistical data are not available. There isn't enough data collection, and the data that are collected are heavily biased. I'm arguing that we should not pretend to have an objective list of decks to beat available to us when we don't.
    Who is claiming the list is objective though? It is quasi-objective at best.
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  10. #30
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by H View Post
    Sure, but in looking at the B&R thread, for example, do you think people are generally open to other's opinions? I actually don't personally find a data-driven, subjective valuation to be bad, but I have my doubts people would "submit" to that as an ideal case. Or even a tenable one.

    Not to mention the issue of just who it would be that would be these "representatives."
    It would be a complement to the current version. It could be updated more frequently, so that would be very useful. Also, it would change more quickly with perceived, expected changes, which can be argued to be a disadvantage but I would consider it an advantage, especially since the current list would contain the slower moving ranking based on statistical data.

    The perceived validity of that list would depend on the perceived validity of the selected players voting. I think it would be almost exclusively well-known players, if based on voting, so I think it would be rather accepted. It should take very little of these players' time, so I think it might be possible to get a fair amount of them to actually participate. They would also get some exposure and validation as experts so that could feel nice for them. There are many ways to design this, I wouldn't mind having active source users voting too.. It may be hard to find someone spending the time on this, but not impossible. It might be possible to automate some parts of this but finding somone willing to spend the time to do that would be harder.

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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    This all seems like a problem that can and should be solved at the DCI level.

    If store wants to run a paper constructed event and have it sanctioned with prize support, they should be required to do some level of deck registration, scan the sheets, and submit the data to DCI, where the results can be centrally stored and analyzed. This would guarantee compilation of data from events all over the world, not biased towards a few who submit to the decklists sites.

    Minimum data that should be submitted to be sanctioned:
    - Event type and structure (# of rounds, cut to top X, etc)
    - Total # of players
    - Deck archetype for each deck
    - Complete decklists for top 8
    - Top 8 ranking

    With a database like that, it would be really easy to determine:
    - Metagame %s by archetype, with the ability to filter by region
    - DTBs
    - Change in metagame over time, especially before and after major bannings

    This is useful for the players, for Wizards to better monitor abusive cards and understand the impact of bans, and even for stores to analyze secondary market prices as the metagame shifts.

    The primary obstacle with a system like this is getting buy-in from the local stores, but if they tie to to event sanctioning and prize support then it should be easy to maintain and would be overall better for the Magic community as a whole. We live in an age of data, why is there not more data about paper Magic?

  12. #32
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    @FTW: they already have data from MTGO, if they wanted data from paper events why would they start collecting it now after so many years, especially when they are trying to transition to more of a digital product. This seems unlikely to happen and anyway it is something we can't influence.

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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    @FTW: they already have data from MTGO, if they wanted data from paper events why would they start collecting it now after so many years, especially when they are trying to transition to more of a digital product. This seems unlikely to happen and anyway it is something we can't influence.
    The complaint above was the MTGO data is biased towards a few who play very regularly. The decklists sites now focus on MTGO data and have less coverage of paper Magic.

    If they keep sanctioning paper events with prize support, why not provide more support for the paper infrastructure? It's something that would be a lot easier to manage on their end then for us to try to dredge through results to come up with unbiased metagame numbers.

  14. #34
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Wizards is dead set against big data. They even, essentially, "forced" Frank Karsten to stop publishing his full meta-game analysis of GP lists just recently. And that is for formats they regularly support with paper events.

    Why should we think they would actively want to do this themselves?
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by H View Post
    Wizards is dead set against big data. They even, essentially, "forced" Frank Karsten to stop publishing his full meta-game analysis of GP lists just recently. And that is for formats they regularly support with paper events.
    Why? Many players want that content. How is it good business to deny the players something most games do and pretend we live in 1995?

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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Why? Many players want that content. How is it good business to deny the players something most games do and pretend we live in 1995?
    Because they actively fear what big data can do, most likely.

    They might even be right, to some extent. It could well be that the indeterminacy of the metagame is shield that mitigates efforts at format solution, that the insolubility of particular matchup data exactly is a part of what keeps format evolution going.

    I don't know that they are fully correct, but I'd guess they might be partly right. Some metagame diversity is derivative from people's personal preference, card availability, but some of it also must relate to the inscrutable nature of the exact metagame composition and particular deck's performance against its constituent decks.
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Why? Many players want that content. How is it good business to deny the players something most games do and pretend we live in 1995?
    I'm not sure I agree, or rather I think I disagree, but probably they want to stimulate creativity by not presenting clear info on how the format(s) appears to be solved. Which makes some sense for them, they try to create formats with a lot of variation in them to provide a more stimulating experienceffor players and they don't want to contribute to decreasing the variation.

  18. #38

    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    I'm not sure I agree, or rather I think I disagree, but probably they want to stimulate creativity by not presenting clear info on how the format(s) appears to be solved. Which makes some sense for them, they try to create formats with a lot of variation in them to provide a more stimulating experienceffor players and they don't want to contribute to decreasing the variation.
    Most of the times they are just defending themselves from showing that some formats are essentially revolving around 2-3 decks, sometimes even 1 in the case of Standard. The decision not to publish data is essentially defensive, not to stimulate creativity.

  19. #39

    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Why? Many players want that content. How is it good business to deny the players something most games do and pretend we live in 1995?
    They don't want people "solving" formats, but it doesn't account for people winning league trophies on camera with certain decks.

  20. #40
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    Re: Decks to Beat? (2020 edition)

    But MTG Goldfish and MTG Top 8 already publish this data about the online metagame. It's out there. People who want to "solve" can already do so.

    The only difference is if WOTC wants to get in the game, take advantage of their access to data that these other sites can't get, corner the market on paper data (untapped), and have that content on their own platforms generating revenue for them... or keep letting other sites do it. But that information is out there.

    At my LGS, some players will just copypaste the latest online list, including the exact SB. That makes it easy to metagame against because you know exactly what hate to expect from each deck (e.g. if you're playing an unfair combo deck..). Yet not all players do that. Some still innovate and bring fringe decks or homebrews. Why? Because it's fun. Netdecking has been around for over 20 years but never killed the game.

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