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By: xger, Xger
Jan 31 2017 1:00pm
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With Aether Revolt, it's time to look at all of the available cards on MTGO and see how much Wizards biases come throug....err, see how well they keep it in balance! This is just a numbers and stats column, no strategy or long editorializing. Let's get to the data!

What is Sets by the Numbers:

So, for those who are unaware, I am currently the one who maintains the program that gets hover cards to work, as well as creating the new decklists that have more options and work with hovers. The reason I bring that up is, as a result of maintaining those, with each new set I have been getting onto the beta and generating the card lists that allow the deck creator options. So, I have a "master" list of MTGO cards, which includes rarity, color, card type, legendary status, converted matter cost, collector number, and MTGO ID number. What does that mean? It means I can easily compare the number of mono-colored planeswalkers, or the number of 5 mana sorceries compared to 5 mana instants. 

All of this is attainable on MTGO. What I am doing here is simply collecting it and putting the information into a more legible and readable format. I will also include some charts and tables to help visualize what the differences are. 

There is a big caveat I should let you know. As I said, I get all of this from MTGO, and MTGO's filters. Sometimes, MTGO being MTGO, those filters don't cooperate or behave. So, it is possible some of this information will be slightly off. However, since we are looking a bit over 15,000 unique cards on MTGO (up to 63k unique objects), a handful of cards being off is not statistically concerning.


Aether Revolt:

So, first up, let's look at just Aether Revolt, as see how it breaks down:

The gold includes 3 Selesnya cards (the bonus cards being Ajani Unyielding and Oath of Ajani), 2 Dimir (bonus is Tezzeret the Schemer), 1 Grixis, and one each of the remaining color pairs. So, Dark Intimations is the odd one out in this set. There is also one land, Spire of Industry. So, this Aether Revolt breakdown is pretty much what Wizards always does--about equal, Red and Blue have the least number of creatures. This also highlights that artifact basis of the set. There should be little problem finding adequate number of creatures, though that says nothing about having enough good creatures.

Another critical data point is the converted mana cost of cards in Aether Revolt. The CMC of a set can highlight the speed of a draft, or how it would alter a format. Particularly, the CMC of creatures can make a large difference between limited environments.

Finally, one last data point is what are the card types we see in Aether Revolt. Kaladesh is an artifact block, so we get many more artifacts. For now, I have each card capable of such, categorized as a Vehicle, Equipment, or Creature instead of Artifact, as each of former types are more important than Artifact. Here we go:

MTGO Cards post-AER:

Now we get to find out who Wizards favors! MTGO also provides an interesting case because some cards are not ported online, such as the Monarch cards from Conspiracy 2 (i.e. Queen Marchesa, Palace Jailer). So that might impact the disparities in colors. First up, color break down:


Interestingly enough, Blue has the fewest cards, and green the most, though the difference between them is less than 2%. With less than 100 sets online, Blue would have 0.5 less cards per set than green. Overall, nothing too surprising here. Here are the two-color breakdowns:

The most interesting information here might be that the 2 blue guilds are the least and most printed. Finally, here is the chart for three or more colored cards:

Next, let's look at creatures by color:

This mostly aligns with the Wizards paradigm that Red and Blue have the least creatures, though now we can see that Blue has about 15% less creatures than Green. Wizards also implies that White and Green have the most creatures, but Black is right on White's heels there, so there really is Green, then White/Black, then Red/Blue. It's also interesting to note that about 5/6 (~84%) of gold cards are creatures, which is much higher than the approximately 50-60% in the single colors. Last, colorless is heavily oriented toward non-creatures, though that is not really surprising.

There is one last dissection of the information that I wanted to provide: Planeswalkers. As the signature of the story and the 'prominent' cards, it should be revealing to know what colors or combinations get the spotlight for planeswalkers. 

So, maybe surprisingly, by this metric Black is the odd man out, though the samples are relatively small. Of note, 5 of the 8 black planeswalkers are Liliana. Though, that breakdown is not that surprising--Chandra has 8 versions, Jace has 7, Nissa has 6. Only white does not have a single planeswalker character with a majority of its color. Here is the breakdown for the gold planeswalkers:

Each guild has at least 2, though the guilds are fairly unbalanced, with Gruul having 2 and a half times as many as Boros or Simic. The 3 color groups are pretty empty, though Grixis will likely have a second Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker version in Amonkhet.

Data Tables and non-MTGO Cards:

Finally, this section contains all of the above data in table form, as well as a list of cards not yet on MTGO. Most notably at this time, that includes a fair bit of Conspiracy, including the entire monarch mechanic. As such, cards like Throne of the High City as not on MTGO, and they are seeing play in Legacy. For ease, each table is hidden until you click on the respective button.

A rather import caveat: this list is not hand curated. I automate quite a bit, and I automated this. What that means is that it is entirely possible that things slipped through the cracks. I also relied on a downloaded text file of all mtg cards (found here). There are 1467 cards on my difference list, according to my count, but again there could be some errors as I did not go through each card and ensure it was not on MTGO.

With the list being 1467 cards, that means there are ~9% of the total MTG cards not on MTGO.

Well, that's the information I ended up with in relatively easily parsed format. I hope some people find this helpful, feel free to use any of the information. If there is something more you want for the next one, let me know!

As always, any feedback is appreciated!


xger21 on MTGO