Lessons from San Diego - Drafting Dragon's Maze

  • #1
    This thread is for the discussion of my latest article, Lessons from San Diego - Drafting Dragon's Maze. We would be grateful if you would let us know what you think, but please keep your comments on topic.
    Please don't PM me about staff/moderating business, I am not a part of the staff here anymore.
  • #2
    Excellent article - thanks for writing it! Smileup

    The deck didn't have many consensus "good cards" in it, but it was fast and consistent, which was enough to 3-0 the draft.

    Good recovery, but given your description of what it contained, I wonder if there might be an alternative explanation. My experience has been that flyers are extremely good in this format, particularly for aggressive decks. Cheap flyers, Shadow Slice and a bit of Extort seems like exactly the kind of thing that can win in this environment.

    Is it "two colours is best" or "flyers are best" here?

    It might even be true, but numbers don't lie, do they..?

    Or at least it's not very likely that they do. But leaving aside that possibility there's still more ambiguity to the data than you suggest. Evidently you were able to build some effective fast decks, but is this because fast decks are good or because the three colour midrange decks were put together badly?

    As far as data goes, these test drafts seem very informative but I wonder why when I play the finals of a MtGO draft I never see a two colour deck. Literally not once. Has it just not occurred to people to try it?
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  • #3
    Quote from bateleur
    Good recovery, but given your description of what it contained, I wonder if there might be an alternative explanation. My experience has been that flyers are extremely good in this format, particularly for aggressive decks. Cheap flyers, Shadow Slice and a bit of Extort seems like exactly the kind of thing that can win in this environment.

    Is it "two colours is best" or "flyers are best" here?

    A combination. Flyers (and evasion in general) are definitely unusually good in this format, but I don't think my deck would have performed nearly as well if I hadn't been straight two colors with a solid manabase, allowing me to curve out without a hickup most games. I didn't screw around with Cluestones and stuff, you know Shrugs But yes, I think Shadow Slice and evasion is pretty well positioned in the format.

    Quote from bateleur »
    Or at least it's not very likely that they do. But leaving aside that possibility there's still more ambiguity to the data than you suggest. Evidently you were able to build some effective fast decks, but is this because fast decks are good or because the three colour midrange decks were put together badly?

    As far as data goes, these test drafts seem very informative but I wonder why when I play the finals of a MtGO draft I never see a two colour deck. Literally not once. Has it just not occurred to people to try it?

    I don't think it's very common to draft two colors yet (conventional wisdom says that three colors is the order of the day). But I don't know yet - I haven't played much on Magic Online yet, only in real life. But how about you try it? Smile
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  • #4
    What exactly is the 'Hagon Draft'? Is that what we call the 'usual' way of drafting?



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  • #5
    Quote from Dark_Necros
    What exactly is the 'Hagon Draft'? Is that what we call the 'usual' way of drafting?


    No, you sit down and make the picks for every player, and assuming there are more of you, discuss each individual pick. From the article:
    Before all of our team members had arrived, we did a so-called Hagon Draft (I assume it was invented and/or popularized by Rich Hagon), since it doesn't require a full draft table. Essentially, what you do is make every pick for every player, and try to ignore the fact that you have full information of packs and neighboring players. This is a pretty lengthy exercize, as there are about 200-250 picks in a draft worthy of discussion (at least when a format is new, like now), but it's also pretty useful.
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  • #6
    Enjoyed the article; definitely a different perspective.

    For me, the 3-color vs. 2-color comes down to the power vs. consistency question; if your consistent, weaker 2-color deck can win before a stronger but more inconsistent 3-color deck can. If you get great stuff, or correctly read signals and no one cuts you off, you can get a 2 color deck with good power, from what I've seen; I've seen a lot more two-color attempts fail than succeed, though, due to lack of power. 3 color decks want to use more slots for fixing--increasing consistency at the cost of power, including picking fixers higher--or try to balance their mana, not use much/any fixing, and have an inconsistent but powerful deck instead. Having never drafted at a pro tour, though, my perspective is colored by my experiences.
  • #7
    Quote from Dark_Necros
    What exactly is the 'Hagon Draft'? Is that what we call the 'usual' way of drafting?


    Everyone sits down to draft. The first player starts and shows everything in the pack, the whole table then decides what should be taken based on discussion. This happens for every pick for every player. During discussion picks upstream cannot be referenced to avoid perfect signalling. ie: you can't say don't take the War Helix because the player upstream from you got a bomb boros rare, and if you can't justify not taking it from the blind perspective you have to take it. It is really useful for getting to know the format and as an exercise in objectivity that will help you figure out signals.
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  • #8
    I think there is one big problem in your reasoning. You discovered a strong correlation between two-colour decks and a high winning percentage - but what is cause and what is consequence here?

    Suppose someone is drafting a 2-colour deck, but gets pushed out of it completely. He ends up having to play three colours because of this. Because he was not intending to do this, he doesn't have enough fixing, and probably has a number of suboptimal picks (compared to deciding earlier on the 3-colour deck). As a result, his win% will be lower. In your statistics this will drag down the win% of the 3-colour deck - but in fact this person wanted to execute what you identify as the 'best' strategy; going for a 2-colour deck.

    I get that part of what you say is that he maybe shouldn't have been derailed, stuck to his guns, and drafted worse cards to stay in his original two colours - but that's hard to say as a general rule.

    In other words - trainwreck drafts are unlikely to be 2-colour decks. I think the number of trainwreck drafts is (much) larger in this format than in any other format before it, so these influence the numbers heavily. I'm not at all sure that your numbers give a strong indication that you should aim to draft two colours.
    You really just need to embrace the rage. I keep a small colony of hamsters next to my computer and every time I lose a match to mana screw I throw one against the wall.
  • #9
    Good article. I've been suspecting guild decks are the way to go for a couple weeks now; it's nice to see some support for this idea. I'm curious how strict you were in your definition of two color decks. Were mostly two color decks with a splash considered guild or shard/wedge for the purposes of your tables?
  • #10
    I've been putting up some decent 2-1s with single-guild strategies already. I do find that I get blown out by three-color or even four-color good stuff decks when they draw magicalchristmas mana.

    To support Bateleur's observation above, my heavy flyer decks are almost always my 3-0 decks, regardless of whether they are two- or three-color.

    Flying is king in DGR, perhaps?

    ~M
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