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Which Path Should You Choose?

Lonk joins us to go over some hard data provided by Rhino Games in regards to Path statistics in Mythril ladder.

Sometimes the simplest of questions can turn out to be way more complicated than you ever expected.

My question was simple: which path is the best path to use?  If I am trying to spike this, and I want to build the most competitive deck possible, then it would make sense to choose a path that gives you the best chance to win.

To answer this question, I turned to Rhino for a little bit of help.  I asked if they had any data they could share with me, and being the cool people that they are, they shared the win-loss percentages, and the percent of decks that they were used in.  The data was collected between January 6th and February 6th for matches played on the mythril ladder. So the data may not be reflective of the ladder as a whole, but it’s still a good reflection of how the paths are being used among the most competitive decks.

I was fully prepared to be told to buzz off, or at best ignored, so thank you Rhino for being kind enough to share a bit of info with a schmuck like me.

I don’t have any hard data as to which decks were using which path, so some of this analysis is going to be pure speculation on my part.

As I looked closer at the numbers though, I realized things were not nearly as cut and dry as they seemed.  So this article went from me searching for an answer, to me explaining the data as I search for an answer. It took me a little longer than I planned to sift through the data, but I don’t think the results would be all that different if I used more recent data.

Without further ado, let’s see if there is any path that stands out above the rest.

Fires of Creation

Win %- 42.4

Loss %- 57.4

% of decks- 6

Poor Fires.  It is a really cool and interesting path, but that win rate is kind of scary.  It is important to note that with it only being played in 6% of the decks, the sample size for it is really tiny, so it may not be an accurate portrayal as to how FoC actually performs.

Essentially, it’s like taking a five gallon bucket, scooping out some water from a pond, and then declaring there’s no fish in the pond because there aren’t any in the bucket.  Obviously there’s a good chance that there are fish, you just didn’t have a big enough bucket to capture a sufficient amount of data (or in this scenario, fish).

The only decks that FoC really works in are artifact heavy control, and they just aren’t that good in the meta game.  That is another reason why the sample size is so small. But you can expect that to change as we get new sets. As the card pool gets deeper, there will be more good artifacts to toss in rather than playing some mediocre ones just to have a sufficient amount just to make it work.  So expect FoC decks to get better and better over time.

Disk of Circadia

Win %- 48.1

Loss %- 51.9

% of decks used- 15

There is one strategy that the disk is almost exclusively tied to, and that’s reanimator.  Tune Star’s peach aggro was definitely a thing during the time this data was collected, but I don’t know that it saw a whole lot of play on the mythril level.  So while this is used significantly more than Fires of Creation, it’s still a somewhat small-ish sample size to be drawing conclusions from.

The fact that it’s tied to just one strategy is both a blessing and a curse.  Yes, it’s found some footing in the meta game, but the lack of diversity means that its success is tied to how that one particular strategy is performing.  Reanimator is a combo-reliant build that sometimes loses because it just doesn’t have all the pieces it needs to work, so it’s probably not a tier 1 strategy because it’s not always the most reliable.

If players are able to find ways to spin the black circle in other builds and diversify the types of decks it's used in, Disk of Cricadia could see an improvement in it’s win % by not being so closely tied to a strategy that’s a bit on the wobbly side.

Rainbow’s End

Win %- 49.3

Loss %- 50.7

% of decks used- 24

That win rate is basically a coin flip, right?  We have a good sample size with this one, as well as a variety of decks that it was used in, so I think this path is right in the Goldilocks zone (aka, not too hot, not too cold, but just right).

Most of the decks that used the rainbow during this time were blue based, so there’s valkyries, blue yellow control, and red blue aggro that all make use of this path.  Plus, there were some purple based decks that made use of it once the patch came in. I don’t think any of these would qualify as powerful tier 1 strategies, but the fact that there is such a good variety of decks using it helps it tremendously by removing some of the risk of it being tied to just one strategy.

This is another path that is only going to get better as the card pool gets deeper.  When there are more good enchantments to use, then there will be fewer mediocre ones it will need to use.  With that win rate already right around 50%, this is one that may be the most at risk of becoming overpowered as more sets are released.

Turn of Seasons

Win %- 51.0

Loss %- 48.9

% of decks- 35

Seasons was easily the most played path, and that comes as no surprise. Control decks use this path very heavily, and the meta game was (and still is) a very control friendly environment. Green yellow control, Aztec control, and even red orange midrange on occasion utilized this path. These 3 comprised the lion's share of the meta game.

But their popularity also creates a problem. When GY control faces off against GY control, who wins?  Your first instinct might be to say "no one," but on paper, the answer is GY control. So GY control gets both a win and a loss, and thus the mirror match pushes the win rate towards 50%, which obscures the data.

Ideally, you want to look at win percentages with the mirror matches removed. That paints a better picture of how it does against the competition.

Since this path was used by three of the most common decks in the meta, there were many Season vs Season mirrors. So the win rate may be a bit suspect, though I expect the win rate in non-mirror to still be solid.

It is also important to note that the mirror conundrum affects all of the paths, but it's more prevalent here because Seasons is more used than the other paths by a significant margin.

Journey of Souls

Win %- 52.6

Loss %- 47.4

% of decks- 21

I was really, REALLY surprised to see this deck as the one with the highest win percentage.  This is a path built for more aggressive decks, and aggro just wasn't very good in the meta game during this time.  The only deck that really uses this path regularly on the mythril ladder is red orange midrange, which I think uses Journey more often than it does Seasons.

But JoS runs into the same problem as Disk of Circadia. It's another path that is tied almost exclusively to one strategy, at least on this level of the ladder. RO midrange is more reliable than reanimator, so in this case, the win rate is probably more favorable than disk's when it's all said and done. But again, the win rate is probably more reflective of the deck itself, rather than the effectiveness of the path.


So which is the best path to use?  The answer is...none. There is no one path that is clearly better than the other, and that is exactly the way it should be.  The paths are there to facilitate your deck’s overall strategy, and not to do the heavy lifting. They all hover around that 50% win rate, and the ones below that have reasons as to why they could be better and the ones above it give reasons to be skeptical.

The path that we were able to get the clearest picture of is Rainbow's End, and even that is still affected by the all-encompassing mirror conundrum.

If you exclude an outlier in Fires of Creation and assume that my analysis is garbage (which is a bit harsh, but whatever) and that the win rates are 100% accurate, the difference between Disk's 48% and Journey's 53% win rate is marginal at best.  And neither percentage is far from being a flip of the coin so there is no clear advantage to be had.

So pick the path that best suits your strategy, because the the cards you play and how you play them are ultimately going to be what wins you the match.  If you think your path is going to do the heavy lifting then, well, you’re headed down the wrong path.

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