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By: jamuraa, Michael Janssen
Feb 20 2008 1:57pm
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Welcome to Standard Deviations. This is officially the three month mark for the article, so I guess I'm in for the long haul. Morningtide is coming soon, but we're still slinging the cards like there's no tomorrow on Magic Online. Let's get started.

Like I mentioned before, I've been collecting metagame data for three months now - this means I have a lot of data on the decks that have been played for each week, in each PE, and how well they've been doing. This week I'd like to present the first ever quarterly results analysis. I am going to put together all that data and present it to you with some short analysis.

As it's the first time I've done this, and I can't really list every single deck that's been played, I decided to use a different metric for those card piles than I've used before. I played around with using some arbitrary scheme, but finalized on a good metric I think: packs won. This is a good normalization for three reasons. First, it preserves the ordering and quality of the rankings -- eighth place is still eighth place, and you get the same amount of packs for it. At the same time, it has a good balance of quality and quantity. A deck that gets into the top eight and loses in the quarterfinals two times will be equal to a deck which gets to the semifinals once, but getting to there three times will be equal to a semifinal placing. You can take a look at the earlier article on Prizes if you want to calculate the rest. Lastly, it's something REAL and tangible - everyone understands packs and what they mean. You may win them and just instantly pawn them off for tix, but you know what a pack is worth to you. Wizards actually awareded these packs to a real account, and they got put into the Magic economy.

So on to the rankings! I present to you -- the top decks from December 2, 2007 to February 19, 2008:

  Deck Name Packs Won
#1 Elves 2211
#2 Big Mana 1932
#3 Mannequin 1095
#4 Rock 1029
#5 Goblins 885
#6 Doran Rock 849
#7 Pickles Blink 768
#8 Knoll Storm 498
#9 Faeries 345
#10 Reanimator 327
#11 Faerie Stompy 300
#12 Traumatized 225
#13 Mana Ramp 207
#14 Sonic Boom 198
#15 Merfolk 168
#16 Primal Mannequin 156
#17 Kithkin 156
#18 Wild Blink 150
#19 Tokens 129
#20 Snow Control 120
#21 Control 117
#22 Pickles 111
#23 Pickles 108
#24 Blink 108
#25 Faeries 105
#26 Big Pizza 87
#27 Gro-A-Goyf 81
#28 Pickles 57
#29 Blink 51

I wish I had a heapload of insight here for you, but is it really a big surprise that Elves is on top of this list? Almost 300 packs ahead of the other decks, it's dominant in the metagame which was recorded here. Big Mana is next, which had two major variations -- one of which I covered in my very first Deviation. The other variant is this week's Mode, how is that for full circle.

There are a bunch of interesting things that showed up in this list that I didn't expect. The first is that pet decks that are good can make a big impact. Traumatized was mostly played by a single user, cwllc, but it makes this list at number twelve! cwllc played that deck through I think. It has some raw power and a good player behind it, so it can make a big impact even if it doesn't become hugely popular. The second thing is that there are a lot of control decks in the list here. There are at least 4 Pickles variants, and two other blue-white decks. Mannequin could also be considered a control deck, but I think of it as closer to reanimator. Control still couldn't take the top spots though, which belong squarely in the Aggro field. Getting creatures out and turning them sideways was the way of the quarter.

Another interesting fact which isn't represented on the list above: if I ranked Inactivity or Concession in the quarterfinals, it would have been number twenty seven on the list. Lots of people drop after they make the top eight, and I don't know why. Sometimes they just don't have the time, but want their packs, so they have to idle to oblivion for their prizes.

That's not all though, I have more goodies for you in the quarterly review. Along with the deck types I also recorded the actual pilot of those decks. That's right, it's bragging rights time - the top winners of packs from December 2, 2007 to February 19, 2008:

  User Packs
#1 duotianshi203 354
#2 Lucindo 228
#3 cwllc 213
#4 topdeck_cn 204
#5 corvo111 171
#6 BlackMountaiN 168
#7 zelaodomal 165
#8 bilgi 159
#9 nofxdarkside2 150
#10 haoduoren 147
#11 millennium9999 138
#12 SFGYMC 138
#13 BERNIS 138
#14 Dipterans 129
#15 davidpetersen 129
#16 Tulio_Jaudy 123
#17 shlyakhov 111
#18 bolov0 108
#19 Clone 11 108
#20 rastaf 105
#21 Bolovo 102
#22 PT Anan 102
#23 CPal90 99
#24 IKEDUDE2 96
#25 plastik6 93
#26 CdC_DemoniC_AngeL 93
#27 DPS 90
#28 Stobislaw 90
#29 in5ano 90
#30 A.Lee 90

The quarterly Deviations Champion is duotianshi203 with more than 100 packs than the closest competitor! I'm not going to analyze this set of people at all, but say that if you would prefer to not have your name listed here, just comment or email me and I'll blank it out.

Statistics for Standard PEs: 2/12/2008 to 2/19/2008

This week there were fifteen standard Premier Events (PEs) scheduled on Magic Online. We were doing so well last week, and then there was a huge snag this week. All of the events on Valentines day had a pretty low attendance, and I wasn't able to get to them before the weekend. This means that they got cleared off the system before meta was gathered. This means we're missing three events, giving us just 96 top eight spots. Every event was 2x and in the exact same timeslot as before - the way it will be until Morningtide release events probably. Standard Premier Events and got an average turnout of just 34 players this week, a significant drop, but without the Valentine's day slump we have an average of 37 which is on par with last week. Nine of the twelve top tables split this week.

Winner - Split - Second - Semifinals - Quarterfinals

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Elves 15%
Goblins 13%
Big Mana 9%
Mannequin 9%
Wild Blink 8%
Pickles Blink 7%
Reanimator 6%
Gro-a-Goyf 6%
Big Pizza 3%
Rock 3%
Control 3%
Doran Rock 3%
Faerie Stompy 2%
Traumatized 2%
Angel Control 1%
Turbofog 1%
Dark Boom 1%
Knoll Storm 1%
Mana Ramp 1%
Control 1%
  Inactivity 1%

Topsy-Turvy! Last week we had Big Mana on top by seven placings, and this week we have Elves back on top again. However, everything could be taken with a grain of salt this week, as I'm missing twenty four spots and the three top decks are definitely within range of each other. Goblins continues to make a good showing though, pumping those Knucklebone Witches to their highest. Mannequin is also holding strong. Wild Blink makes a comeback after placing only once last week, jumping a lot. We also saw a new decktype emerge from the fog, Gro-a-Goyf. This deck is similar to a popular Vintage deck but ported to standard. Look out for it next week, in the PEs and in Deviations as well.

The top gainer this week is Wild Blink, a deck which I'm quite fond of myself, that plays like a heavy tempo deck with Venser, Shaper Savant and Riftwing Cloudskate. The meta was particularly good for this deck this week I think, as the Control decks backed off a little. The top loser this week was Big Mana - surprising, but again we are missing a bunch of meta spots here. Still, it was absolutely dominant last week with almost a fifth of the whole placings, and we didn't see anything like that this week.

There's no "other" category this week because I have space to display all of them in the list. Angel Control is a white-blue deck which uses Platinum Angel. We keep seeing it in the Rogue category picking up a top eight spot, and this week it made it to the final table. Turbofog will be covered in just a couple paragraphs, because it's the Outlier this week. Dark Boom is Sonic Boom that went emo -- it just hates the whole world, so it runs Damnation and sometimes Shriekmaw to take it's revenge.

Mode of the Week: Snow Big Mana

Well we've wrapped around. Big Mana was actually dropping spots like flies this week, but it was the big winner last week and I re-examined Elves, so this week we'll take another look at Big Mana to cover the difference. Last time we looked at this deck, we didn't have any snow lands in it at all, and that is the major change from this deck to the last one. The snow lands from the "lost" Ice Age expansion really shine here. Into the North will fetch almost every land in the deck, including your extra draw engine Scrying Sheets, which should give you a free card at least a quarter of the time. As others have noted, Into the North for Highland Weald is functionally similar to Farseek for Stomping Ground.

Because it runs snow lands, it can also run the most insane red burn spell ever printed - Skred. Skred reads "Destroy target creature" when you're at any spot after the early game, where it just might do the same. Mouth of Ronom is uncounterable direct damage, which handles those pesky Teferi, Mage of Zhalfirs that your control opponents are playing. The sideboard presented here is a pretty wide-reaching one, allowing you to handle most matchups, but as always it should be tuned.

Outlier of the week: Turbofog

Turbofog is a list that made a quick splash at States and Champs last year, and then seemed to have dissapeared. Well, it's back for a encore performance this week, with a little help. Who needs to attack for the win? Just mill your opponent by making him draw out his deck! What? Your opponent's attacking you say? Forget that, you have Cover of Winter with a bunch of age counters on it to prevent that damage, or a Dawn Charm, or Pollen Lullaby.

Then again, you might just have 50 hojillion life from sacrificing your Martyr of Sands with all of your white cards, and doubling it with Beacon of Immortality. At least you don't need to worry about reshuffling your deck up, because in dire circumstances you have some elementals from Hoofprints of the Stag to help you beat the other guy down if need be.

I like this deck a lot because it eschews the current metagame. It plays only four creatures in a metagame which is dominated by Garruk Wildspeaker pumping out beast tokens and Tarmogoyfs attacking. It's also a very white deck, and wins just as often by milling your opponent as it does by the flying elementals. The only issue with playing this deck is that it takes a lot of time to get those wins in - you need a lot of practice to be able to get every match in under the time limit. It's also aggravating for your opponent - probably the closest to griefing that you'll be able to get on Magic Online without actually breaking the Code of Conduct.

Only two more Deviation's until Morningtide releases, and I'm excited, studying all the decklists from paper tournaments to see what is up-and-coming. I'm confident that we'll see some new archetypes as well as some revision of the old, and it's sure to be a fun time.  Did you make the top 30?  Surprises in the top 29 decks?  Tell me in the comments! Until next week, Good luck in the PEs!

3 Comments

~~ by duotianshi203 (Unregistered) 123.116.145.49 (not verified) at Fri, 02/22/2008 - 11:51
duotianshi203 (Unregistered) 123.116.145.49's picture

my e-mail  duotianshi626@hotmail.com

by DRAGONDUNG at Wed, 02/20/2008 - 17:26
DRAGONDUNG's picture

Very nicely written how about a weekly break down as to what kinda prizes a deck is winning.

by Tarmotog at Wed, 02/20/2008 - 20:48
Tarmotog's picture

Turbofog is funny. It turned up at the ext ptq and played against 2 of my friends. Just one note to pple out there. Do not play slow or you'll lose more than you should since you are always doing tons of nonsensical things. For those who want to beat it via damage, make sure you pressure him early when he's developing his board or you can forget about it. =)