Lonk joins us once again to go over the recent Cards for Humanity tournament, and what it means for the meta.
What a difference a month makes. Cards for Humanity is in the books, and this tournament could not look any different from the last one. At the Bar Brawl, it was all about how red orange midrange dominated the field, save for 2_faca’s eventual win with orange green reanimator. This one was dominated by… no one really. There wasn’t a single build that seemed to overpower anyone, which led to a somewhat surprising top 8, and an even more surprising victory by a Valkyrie deck. What’s that? How did I do? I brought my red blue rainbow aggro and didn’t win a single game all day. So, I’m not going to talk about me today, I’m going to talk about all the other players who actually showed up to play. Overall, there were 24 decks in total, and the field looked like this: 3 Red Yellow 3 Red Blue 2 Blue Green 2 Orange Purple 2 Mono Red 2 Mono Blue (Valkyries, of course) 2 Yellow Purple 9 Other 1-ofs Just like that we went from a RO-centric field to just a single red orange deck. It would appear that the latest patch did what it was supposed to and helped create a more fair and even field. And this time, the top 8 was much more varied in terms of different builds: 2 Red Blue 1 Mono Blue 1 Mono Red 1 Red Yellow Green 1 Blue Purple 1 Yellow Purple 1 Orange Green It should be noted that Hollow Tiger went 4-1 in their matches with their Blue Green spells deck, but were unable to compete in the top 8. So BG was out, and Emagarmon’s RYg was in. To break down the top 8 even further, here is a breakdown of the cards played in the top 8, courtesy of Noah of Team Rank Star.
What we can discern from this information is that even though the field was very diverse, and even though there 7 different color combos in the top 8, it was still chock full of red and blue cards. That would make sense since 6 of the 8 decks contained at least one of those colors. It’s also interesting to note the deck costs. There is a HUGE difference between the highest cost deck and the lowest cost deck. But where it gets really interesting is with the standard deviation. To put things simply, standard deviation tells us roughly the range of values above and below the average that will incorporate the bulk of the given values. To use dummy numbers, if the average cost for a deck is 100 essence, and the standard deviation is 10, we can expect most of the deck values to be in the area of costing 90-110 essence. To put it even simpler, a high standard deviation means a wider range of values, and a smaller standard deviation means a smaller range of values. With that in mind let’s look at the average deck cost and standard deviation from the top 8 at the Bar Brawl (again, thank you Noah for the assist with these numbers): Average Deck Cost: 28,988 essence Standard Deviation: 4,419 And here it if for Cards for Humanity: Average Deck Cost: 24,506 essence Standard Deviation: 10,312 Now, Moewi did have a pretty sweet extreme budget deck that cost under 5,000 essence, so you could argue that their deck was an outlier that was skewing the numbers in a way that really wasn’t representative of the data as a whole. So if we remove Moewi’s deck from the equation, the numbers for Cards for Humanity now look like this: Average Deck Cost: 27,300 Standard Deviation: 7,156 So either way, the average deck costs are down and there is a greater variety of values in how much each of the decks cost. Why are these numbers important? I think they are a good indication that aggro decks are once again competitive. The 2 most common colors in this top 8 were red and blue, and they are the 2 most aggressive colors in Mythgard. In general, aggro decks tend to be cheaper than midrange and control decks, so the fact that the average deck cost is down and the standard deviation is up would back up the notion that there were more aggro decks in the top 8 this time around. When aggro is good, midrange tends to be good, which helps prevent control decks from overtaking a format, so the fact that aggro decks are competitive is a very good sign that the meta game is probably going to be in a healthy, and balanced state. But enough conjecture and math lessons on my end. I know what you Mythgardians want most (besides more Lonk The Sane YouTube videos that is). And that is… the matchups. These are all 135 of the non-mirror matches. If you go down the left column labeled “record by” and read it left to right, that will tell you the overall record for that build. If you go across the top row labeled “record against” and read it top to bottom, that will tell you the record of the other builds against it. These are a record of each individual game played, and not the match results.
Here are some of the observations I made. - Out of the 15 builds, 11 of them played at least 10 non mirror games, and 6 out of the 11 had a winning record (55%). Compare this to last time where just 5 out of the 13 decks with at least 10 games had a winning record (38%). Red orange just suppressed so much of the field last time and sucked up so many of the wins. - As I already said, RO midrange ran amok at the bar brawl. This time around, not so much. There was just 1 RO deck, and it went just 2-4. It would seem the recent balance patch did it’s job and made this build much more fair. Personally, I still think RO is still fairly strong in the meta game, but the field seemed to shy away from it this time. - For the Bar Brawl, I declared yellow purple to be a complete disaster. This time around, YP cleaned up, sobered up, and upped its game tremendously. On day one, fellow NephilimGG teammate LargeNuggets went on an undefeated 10-0 run, and ended up 12-3 overall enroute to a 4th place finish. dMauler had the other YP deck, and ended up 6-6. So neither deck had a losing record. The main reason for its success? Both decks were able to beat up on RB, going 6-0 against it overall. - This was a weird tournament for mono red. I had to double check the numbers to make sure I hadn’t overlooked something. Despite one of them making it into the top 8, it appeared to be a bad day for mono red overall. Both decks combined went 6-14 on day one, and didn’t appear to have any matchups that looked particularly good for it. To be fair, SIlverArrow’s build was a more traditional midrange build, and GrayJedi was more of a vampire tribal. And all of the wins came from SilverArrow’s deck, which honestly didn't do all that spectacular at in the Swiss rounds at 6-6, but it did go 3-2 in its matches and had good enough tiebreakers to slip into the Top 8. But SilverArrow got hot at the right time, going 5-2 overall in the top 8 enroute to a second place finish. So overall, SIlverArrow went 11-8, while GrayJedi went 0-8. Mono red may have looked bad overall, and it may have looked out of place in the top 8, but it’s safe to say that Arrow’s version was actually quite solid while GrayJedi’s did not perform well at all. - Red blue is another deck that had an interesting day overall. Despite going 12-17 in the swiss rounds, 2 out of the 3 RB decks made the top 8. If you take out my dumpster fire of a performance, RB went 12-11 during swiss. But all 3 were very different decks. Mine was the Rainbow Aggro, Oneiric was a more midrangey turn of seasons build, and Moewi was basically a budget version of the deck I used, with 0 mythic rares and 3 rares. The deck didn’t even cost 5,000 essence and it made the top 8, which is impressive and a good reminder that it’s not always the more expensive decks that win. - But what’s really interesting is that the 2 RB decks in the top 8 were a combined 4-1 against Caradine’s Valkyries. In fact, the only 2 matches that Caradine lost the entire tournament were against these 2 RB builds. Caradine went 13-5 overall, with 1 loss to mono red in the finals, and the other 4 were all against RB. So it was somewhat lucky for Cardine that both RB decks lost in the first round of the Top 8. The path to victory is never easy, and Valks are definitely a build that needs some good piloting to succeed, but a little bit of luck to help smooth out that path never hurts either. - SilverArrow got a bit lucky as well with HollowTiger’s blue green deck dropping out of the Top 8. Neither mono red deck did anything against blue green, and were 0-4 against it overall. - Moewi may have had the most impressive performance on the day, but the most surprising has to be Tritros blue purple hoarding hero deck. Did anyone have BP on their radar? It beat up on the 2 blue green decks (4-2) and it was the only deck that was able to to win a match, let alone even a single game against 2_facas’ OG reanimator during the swiss rounds (2_faca ended up 10-4 overall; the other 2 losses were to Caradine in the top 8, as 2_faca ended up 3rd). I don’t really have enough data to conclude if this is an aberration or a really solid competitive deck, but it was surprisingly good either way. - The most disappointing build this time around had to be red yellow. The only deck it did particularly well against was the 5 color deck (4-0). But if I’m being honest, 5 color was more of a meme than it was competitive. So take that away and RY was just 9-17. It wasn’t particularly terrible against anything, but it just underperformed against the field as a whole. So congratulations to Caradine, it’s so nice to see a Valkyrie deck come out on top. Last time was all about 2_faca having the right deck to counter the most dominant build in the field. This time was more about having some things fall into place and Caradine being able to capitalize on it. As I mentioned earlier, having both RB decks lose in the first was definitely to Caradine’s advantage. The semifinal match against 2_faca’s OG reanimator was one that could have gone either way. 2_faca played an excellent game, and really didn’t make any mistakes. But Caradine had the right answers at the right time, and played just as flawlessly. A bad hand for Caradine and things may have gone differently. And that 21 damage turn to finish off SilverArrow and take the championship was just a beautiful sight to behold. Thanks as always to 983 media for another amazing event. But these are just my observations. Feel free to take a look and if you find something interesting, feel free to post in the comments below. I’m looking forward to the next one, but that’s mainly because it’s almost statistically impossible for me to do any worse.