M-L Extended Metagame cw 42

Written by Bushviper on October 21, 2008




   What a week it has been for the Extended environment. We saw three trials won with three different decks and we saw Elfball (Glimpse Elves) start to surface and put up some impressive numbers. Few metagames are as diverse as Extended is right now and as a result it is very hard too choose the right deck to play. In order to remedy that problem, we can look at the statistics and find what decks are being played frequently and what decks have good matchup against them. Trust me, there is no deck out there right now that doesn’t have any bad matchups in this diverse environment,but playing the numbers can make you a much more successful tournament player. First, lets look at the stats from this weeks' tournaments.
 
 Decks Being Played total : 
Domain Zoo 45
New Level Blue 25
TarmoFolk 23
Demigod Stompy 20
GB Death Cloud 18
Elfball 15
Mono Red 15
Affinity 14
Swath Storm 10
Swans Combo 10
TEPS 3
Faeries 3
Bubble Hulk 2
Sea Stompy 2




















Throughout the week we saw a big surge in Domain Zoo players and as a result, a large number of TarmoFolk players started to surface towards the end of the week.  This week also saw the fallout of combo decks from the Extended scene.  Swans, Swath, and TEPS levels all dropped by staggering amounts compared to previous weeks.

Deck Trends:
+Domain Zoo
+TarmoFolk

+Death Cloud

+Elfball

-Affinity
-Swans Combo
-Swath Storm
-TEPS
Trial Deck Frequencies:
10/14/2008 Ext. Trial 

Domain Zoo 14
GB Death Cloud 8
New Level Blue 6
TarmoFolk 4
Demigod Stompy 4
Affinity 4
Swans Combo 3
Faeries 2
Elfball 1
Mono Red 1
Swath Storm 1
TEPS 1
Bubble Hulk 1
Sea Stompy 1
Other Decks 20

This was the trial when we first started to see the surge of Domain Zoo decks, being over twice as popular as almost every other deck. This was the tournament we also saw the success of Zoom-Zoom’s Elfball list and its ability to navigate through a Zoo heavy field to win the trial.  Note the beginning of a drop in combo decks.
10/16/2008 Ext. Trial    

Domain Zoo 10
TarmoFolk 10
New Level Blue 7
Elfball 5
GB Death Cloud 4
Affinity 4
Swans Combo 4
Mono Red 4
Demigod Stompy 3
Swath Storm 3
Bubble Hulk 1
Faeries 0
TEPS 0
Sea Stompy 0
Other 18

Meanwhile, Zoo levels drop but remained dominate tying TarmoFolk for most played deck. We can also see a slight increase in Combo decks with a decrease in Deathcloud decks. People started playing with the new Elfball deck however it failed to re-live the success it had in the previous trial.  Still no amount of Zoo or TarmoFolk decks could hold off Zeros’s Mono Red deck.


10/18/2008 Ext. Trial  

Domain Zoo 7
New Level Blue 7
Mono Red 6
TarmoFolk 4
Elfball 4
Demigod Stompy 3
Swans Combo 2
Swath Storm 2
GB Death Cloud 1
Affinity 1
Faeries 1
Sea Stompy 1
Bubble Hulk 0
TEPS 0
Other Decks 15


In our final trial of the week, we again saw zoo levels drop and a rise in New Level Blue decks.  Zeros’s success in the previous trial bumped Mono Red into the third most played deck while combo deck frequencies fell once again. Finally, the numbers won out and Mammoth’s Zoo was able to take home the gold.
Matchup Statistics:
The following are match results I have tabulated by recording the results of all Extended minis and trials over the past couple of weeks.  These are all games played by Magic-League players in Magic-League tournaments.
 

Deck Name

Swans
Combo

GB
Death
Cloud

Bubble
Hulk

Sea
Stompy

Tarmo
Folk

Domain
Zoo

Demigod
Stompy

Swath
Storm

New
Level
Blue

Mono
Red

Affinity

Faeries

TEPS

Elf
ball

Swans Combo

N/A

1-1

 

1-0

2-1

5-4

3-3

1-4

6-2

0-3

3-3

2-0

1-0

 

GB Death Cloud

1-1

N/A

0-1

 

0-1

5-3

2-1

1-1

2-3

1-2

1-2

1-0

 

1-1

Bubble Hulk

 

1-0

N/A

 

0-1

1-2

2-2

 

 

1-0

2-2

 

 

 

Sea Stompy

0-1

 

 

N/A

 

3-3

0-4

1-1

1-2

2-0

0-1

0-1

1-1

 

TarmoFolk

1-2

1-0

1-0

 

N/A

4-2

5-1

0-1

5-3

4-4

2-0

0-1

 

3-3

Domain Zoo

4-5

3-5

2-1

3-3

2-4

N/A

3-9

3-1

8-6

2-3

6-3

2-1

 

1-4

Demigod Stompy

3-3

1-2

2-2

4-0

1-5

9-3

N/A

2-3

9-5

1-3

5-3

3-0

1-0

1-0

Swath Storm

4-1

1-1

 

1-1

1-0

1-3

3-2

N/A

1-2

 

3-0

1-0

2-1

0-1

New Level Blue

2-6

3-2

 

2-1

3-5

6-8

5-9

2-1

N/A

2-2

1-7

2-1

2-1

0-3

Mono Red

3-0

2-1

0-1

0-2

4-4

3-2

3-1

 

2-2

N/A

4-3

0-1

3-1

2-0

Affinity

3-3

2-1

2-2

1-0

0-2

3-6

3-5

0-3

7-1

3-4

N/A

1-2

3-0

 

Faeries

0-2

0-1

 

1-0

1-0

1-2

0-3

0-1

1-2

1-0

2-1

N/A

 

 

TEPS

0-1

 

 

1-1

 

 

0-1

2-1

1-2

1-3

0-3

 

N/A

0-1

Elf Ball

 

1-1

 

 

3-3

4-1

0-1

1-0

3-0

0-2

 

 

1-0

N/A

 Now that we have the numbers, we can start to dissect this metagame to find the right deck to play.

First we know that Zoo is the most played deck right now. So lets look at the three decks with the best matchup

 

against Zoo Demigod Stompy 9-3
  Elfball 4-1
  TarmoFolk 4-2

Next we can look at the second most played deck, New Level Blue, and see how these decks do in that matchup.

 

against NLU Demigod Stompy 9-5
  Elfball 3-0
  TarmoFolk 5-3

Finally, lets look at stats for the third most popular deck, TarmoFolk

Against TarmoFolk

Demigod Stompy

1-5
 

Elfball

3-3
 

TarmoFolk

N/A

From this we can surmise that Elfball is the best choice in the current metagame with Demigod Stompy running a close second.  If you look across the board, Elfball looks solid against most decks with its only real problem being Mono Red. However, the stats we have for Elfball are not very extensive as the deck has only become popular in the past week.  So, instead of relying on only the numbers, lets take a look at the deck and see why it is doing so well.
 

 

In my testing I found that .Zoom-Zooms Elfball deck is so successful because it can run in two different modes.  The first and most successful mode is straight aggro.  The deck can use Heritage Druid and Birchlore Rangers to put out a great number of attackers within the first three turns and overwhelm even the fastest decks.  The other mode is combo. Even in a situation where you must win this turn or die next turn, Elfball can pull out a deadly Roar of Crowd under the draw engine of Glimpse of Nature and Regal Force. It is the decks ability to overwhelm or switch win conditions that makes it so versatile in this metagame.
 
However, note that after testing this deck myself, I have found that it takes extensive playtesting to become competent with the deck.  It is also not a good deck for control  players to mess with, as the whole point of the deck is to be aggressive.  The deck can  also fizzle out on you sometimes while trying to combo out and it is very easy to overextend into a Death Cloud or Damnation. Just a fair warning.

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Comments:
by TugaChampion on 2008-10-21 21:12 CET

wait for the PT.


by gypsy on 2008-10-21 21:19 CET

good article but the flaw with analysis like this is it doesnt take into account play skill, especially when your talking about NLU, any idiot can pick up the deck and then lose 0-2 in a trial to a potentiel good matchup which drastically skews your data in the wrong direction. also your stats arent rly that good when a deck does well in a trial people play it in the next one, then if they all do bad they switch and play soemthing that won the previous trial. when the most played decks only have 7 people playing them thats not rly a huge percentage of the field


by Bushviper on 2008-10-21 21:24 CET

So I should only map the records of +1700 players??


by IshiIshi on 2008-10-21 21:59 CET

What I like about this is it shows the meta. If you would only focus on 1700+ players, you are no longer showing what is being played en mass, and your looking at trends is usless.


What I would suggest is mentioning the decks being played, then focusing on the decks that were left standing after the first two rounds - as the scrubs (I'm on of them, I know from experience) are generally knocked out by this point.


by Stalker[BR] on 2008-10-21 22:09 CET

Nice statistics. Keep writing!


by trueeevil on 2008-10-21 22:34 CET

I think playskill plays an immense part in this. Its nearly impossible to make into a statistic though, so the matchups aren't always like the w-l record shows.


by Bushviper on 2008-10-21 23:50 CET

Note Keysam as the original creator of Elfball


by Adiref on 2008-10-22 00:18 CET

Nice job!

Keep on writing these posts. They are very usefull!


by dv8r on 2008-10-22 13:17 CET

The existence of this article makes me want to play a lot less on magic-league. I think it makes serious testing with an imminent pro tour or gp around the corner impossible, especially if you wish to hide a certain deck from the general public. I know this may seem self centred, but at the end of the day a magic-league trial or mini is only of secondary importance to a serious or semi serious (i.e. above FNM level) tournament.

One of the big advantages of magic-league over modo is that a deck could exist here for a long time without anyone except the local community really noticing it, then unleash it on the ptq season. Good examples of this in the past were Enduring Ideal, Martyr, Owl and Mono Blue control with visions. By removing this secrecy you take away one of the few large advantages that magic-league actually has (the other two being a focus on casual formats, and the ability to play limited a lot at minimal cost).

I also think it's a travesty that you call the elfball deck Zoom Zoom's when Keysam is clearly the creator of the deck.


by Shyft- on 2008-10-22 14:11 CET

Um... Tarmofolk is somehow 5-3 against itself? I don't think that's possible, no matter how you twist the numbers. Looks like I need to start testing against Elfball lol. It's also amusing just how badly mono-blue is doing.


by Laplie on 2008-10-22 17:29 CET

the chart doesn't match the breakdown. On the chart you have elfball 3-3 vs Tarmofolk, but its 3-0 in the breakdown. Also, you have Tarmofold 5-3 vs itself.


by Quantumdemon on 2008-10-22 18:19 CET

Me and Coboney do much better work at mtgtimes.com


by derflippi on 2008-10-22 18:20 CET

The chart was my fault, i messed up something when trying to format it
mtgtimes was a good idea but unfortunately died 2 days afterwards.


by Esibnitsud on 2008-10-22 18:30 CET

quantum, in order for ur shit to be better u need proper english.


by warwizard87 on 2008-10-22 19:23 CET

dv8r, funny thing is after those success of decks in that vain alot of players now paymore attntion to online metagames even if they don't play


by dv8r on 2008-10-22 21:51 CET

consider it like this: Someone spend hours playtesting and metagaming a deck. They spend money travelling to play in a pro tour. And then they don't do well because everyone knows about their deck because of studies like this.

The point is that although Elfball will always be Keysam's deck, ppl will remember that pro who finishes well with it at the PT, and credit will not be given where it is due. And for what, some kudos and an article on a free website? I personally find that pretty sad.


by derflippi on 2008-10-22 22:09 CET

magic-league is a free site to have fun while playing Magic. It's also clear for years Top decks are displayed at the mainpage (heck, all non PT/PTQ/GP decks from deckcheck.net are us!)
I also know several high level pro players who get their tech only from magic-league, therefore they have the information already.
I support the creation of articles like that as it makes information submitted to magic-league by the decks' players consent accessible in a much easier way.
One could browse through the deck so the information is open to all. Seeing no privacy is violated by that collection of data, I don't see a problem. If you don't want the (more or less anonymous) information to be displayed here, you can opt to playtest in private groups or Single matches here.


by dv8r on 2008-10-22 22:12 CET

of course cma, I understand the logic of such an article. I'm just stating my opinion, you are free to disagree if you wish.


by Bushviper on 2008-10-22 22:34 CET

Problem has been resolved.


by ut_neon on 2008-10-23 05:14 CET

dv8r, please... don't tell me now you're saying you won't make a good result because people know the decks? lol then find a team and don't show you decks. i don't care about the deck i play in the pro tour, you just need to play better than the opponent. deck is not the most important, as long as you play with a good deck. anything else won't be important


by on 2008-10-23 08:04 CET

I just hope noone ever finds out about my secret 59 island + fireball deck!

I do think that one should be able to "ask" the ML people who post decklists, that they not show theirs. I dont think you need to post it in order to verify 'not cheating/sec codes/etc'

If you somehow paste it yourself, well, it becomes public information untill magic-league becomes a private league.


by Teh_Blues on 2008-10-23 08:09 CET

It was more fun when just #firefly and some of jajaja had the elfball list :(.


by derflippi on 2008-10-23 10:07 CET

The dilemma for me is that on one side, the decks section attracts alot of users (ever googled "Standard deck magic" ?) therfore is very important for magic-league. On the other hand, those who'd earn credit for deckbuilding don't (dv8r-Ideal, KeySam-P420.5n and Elfball)


by KeySam on 2008-10-23 11:18 CET

Not to forget Gravegames(kelpie control, how most call it) flippi, but well i guess you have to life with it. I can understand dv8r i mean he put a lot of time testing the deck(btw for all saying his own fault for making top 4 in a trial[he messed up wanted to drop in time, you can look in the section how he tries to discredit the deck], and now well everyone knows. Of course i dont want to bash on this article, but you have to see also his perspective. Nonetheless he cant expect someone not to write about it especally because almost noone knew he wanted to take it to berlin, and so bushdriver didnt know he gives something away(if he and all the others new it wont be secret), its just the risk you took dv8r, you had bad luck that people realy started playing the deck i wouldnt open more discussion about the deck, thats life bad things happen :)


by IshiIshi on 2008-10-23 17:31 CET

If you put something on the internet, anyone can find it. By submitting your deck list, you put it out there for everyone to see (you can go through and look at all the decks played).

I don't understand why this article is such a big deal. It is very helpful and informative, and just summing up information that was available to everyone to begin with. If you want to keep your deck a secret, don't play it here on ML - Test it with some friends.


by Bushviper on 2008-10-23 18:38 CET

To everyone hating on dv8r, after talking with him, most of the problem was a mistake in credit for the creation of Elfball. So as a result, I will again state for the record that KEYSAM was the creator of Elfball. After talking with dv8r, he does not have as much of a problem with the idea of the article itself. According to Keysam, dv8r tried to drop b4 top 4 so he could keep the deck secret. Somehow that didn't happen and the deck got out oh well. But I will give credit where credit is due, sorry again Keysam. But the point is, stop hating on dv8r because the problem with the article you all THINK he has is not necessarily as true as you would believe. As I said in a comment above, the problem has been resolved so let it go.


by warwizard87 on 2008-10-23 20:26 CET

heh its kind of the sligh problem he is having, sure the deck is called sligh after the guy who played it to a top finish but the guy who made it last name was geeba.


by Ronnan on 2008-10-24 12:49 CET

screw you for spoiling my demigod tech!!!


by xiko on 2008-10-24 14:20 CET

dv8r the problem was that the deck was in the mainpage. If you played it on minis and playtested with single players only, this would not have hapenned.

I think the lists should still be mainpaged, it is a risk you are willing to take.

Take willy edel´s example from tsp block. He played ww in the 4x premiere event on modo and went on finals, everyone on the pt freaked out and had massive ww hate. True that the 4 brs playing the ww went to day 2 but all lost to massive hate there.


by Shooter on 2008-10-25 02:46 CET

The problem wasn't edel top2ing 4x, it was 8 WWs in top8 of that premiere :)
About the article: I find it useless (remember it is MY opinion). I don't rly care about ml metagame, if I want to test a deck I'll play it regardless the field here. Also I don't think ppl find out techs in articles like this, all the 'problem' started with dv8r top4ing a trial. Being in the main page is the really 'look at me,I'm new tech' tool.
Another example was WW kithkin, which used to be tech for gp buenos aires but some1 I don't remember just changed it to block and owned everything, turning it into a major contender in the block and letting every1 know how to play against it (btw,Conkisstador was the creator of the latter).
So, if u don't want to spread it,just don't play it in trials :)


by Husapi on 2008-10-25 07:39 CET

sUp ShOotEr


by on 2008-10-25 21:57 CET

nobody is playing Tron anymore, no longer tier 1?


by ut_neon on 2008-10-25 23:17 CET

by twndomn on 2008-10-25 22:57 GMT

nobody is playing Tron anymore, no longer tier 1?

that one is still tier 1. very good for this metagame


by Lantero on 2008-10-29 22:00 CET

I don't think so. What decks can u easy win with?


by Mtgfanatic01 on 2008-10-31 18:12 CET

I really hate how everybody gives keysam credit for the deck. People already knew about it months ago. PLUS it was a standard archetype... So if i took lets say Toast and made it in extended and by some OFF chance it was good would i get credit?..... It's just dumb especially where you guys argue so much about who made the deck.


by KeySam on 2008-11-01 03:45 CET

so if a deck is in standart your not able to get credit for a similar deck for a different format(its not even near the standart token generation deck)? And for the people knowing about this deck for mont why did noone talked about it before(all kept it the tech at the same time??), i put realy work into this deck i dont see why i shouldnt deserve credit for it.


by Mtgfanatic01 on 2008-11-01 05:03 CET

Keysam. If you listen to the podcasts and read the coverage you will notice people mentioning they knew about the deck SINCE AUGUST... you didn't start playing the deck till october. Lol and yes the strategy is nigh the same as it is in constructed. Generate a bunch of mana with elves draw a bunch of cards. than kill them with some spell of your choice.... I don't see how taking a deck from a different format and making it anew should give you credit for this.... And yes that's what people did lol.. they knew about the deck in august from playtesting. My buddy Ian Bartolemei talked to me about the deck the 1st of september... and asked my opinion on it. He is playing in the pro tour right now. But whatever if you think you deserve the credit we all already know you're not going to get it anyways.


by KeySam on 2008-11-01 15:22 CET

First of all i find it interresting that you know when i started playing/testing the deck. And i never said that noone else could have also come up with the idea, before or after me. I can actually prove when i started looking into the deck(it was actually in spetember where i started playing it here) and even if some people came up with the idea, its clearly that the results here on the league, made this big apperance of the deck happen, since like you said the other kept it secret. But of course your right, i wont get credit for the deck from any side, since i am just a random ml player.

KeySam


by mtgsoldier on 2008-11-01 22:02 CET

Yes you are, but you rock, and mtgfanatic sucks.


by dv8r on 2008-11-02 09:01 CET

when ppl in the coverage say they had the deck in August, it means that they were thinking along those lines, it DOES NOT mean that they had a refined list, and it strikes me that if they had had a deck for that long or known about it, then the deck would have come out much faster, much sooner. The August comment actually struck me as being a pretty desperate attempt to gain credit for the deck, because no serious testing for the format COULD have been done before September, as that's when the rotation happened, and shards could have changed a lot (which it arguably did).

Most ppl, including those in the deck tech videos, claim to have come up with the deck 3-4 weeks ago. Keysam obviously won't get credit for the deck, just like he won't get credit for the project 520.n deck, but there's always demand in the run up to ptq seasons and pro tours for competant deck designers who can think outside the box, and I guarentee that I know, and several other ppl from the PT too, know that Keysam came up with the deck (even if he did so simultaneously with other groups in, say, Japan).

What this whole episode has basically taught us is that:

a) ppl pay more attention to ml trials than we thought

b) it's foolish to try to test any new sort of deck in this environment (perhaps moreso than on modo if the format hasn't been properly defined yet)

c) haters exist in pretty large quantities on ml (put then again, this shouldn't be surprising given the target age group and online annonimity)


EDIT: in point B I mean test any new deck in the magic-league environment


by sgt_pepper on 2008-11-03 13:01 CET

well, from my experience at PT Berlin, several people do know where the deck comes from! the german pros even knew KeySam's name and took his list as the starting point for their own changes. and also international players said they saw the Elfball/Next Level Red lists here on m-l for the first time (Flippi, Ronnan, PV, Wichtelman and i were wearing M-L shirts, so that topic came up)
Well obv, others could have had the idea with the elfball deck too, but i really doubt that if KeySam hadn't worked on the deck in the past that it would have been the 2nd most played deck at the PT.

And as dv8r already said, it shows that M-L is a big factor in the international MTG scene.


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