Introducing MTG Analytics: A Simple But Effective Metagame Tool for Standard

June 25, 2013 | Posted by Dee

In the last two weeks, I’ve been coding feverishly to build a new Magic The Gathering site and I’m excited to launch it today.

Here’s the link: MTG Analytics. Note the URL is “.net” instead of “.com”.

MTG Analytics is a metagame tool to help players understand the standard format quickly. I wanted to build something simple and easy-to-use, a site where you could determine which decks were doing well right away.

On the home page, you’ve got the top ten archetypes with their metagame percentages. You can go to the deck metagame page to see more archetypes and a pie chart.

With Starcitygames running a big Standard tournament almost every week and the PTQ season being Standard, the metagame usually changes pretty quickly. For example, you’ll have a deck like Bant Flash that did relatively well early in the Standard season but it stopped producing top results as the weeks went by.

On the other hand, you’ll have a deck like Naya Aggro that did not do much early in the season but it absolutely exploded after a few weeks and became a major force.

I wanted a site that kept up to date with these metagame shifts so I came up with a nifty algorithm that takes into account the age of the results. Newer results are weighted more heavily than older results. The site goes back four weekends for each archetype and adds the following weights to come up with the metagame percentages.

Time PeriodWeight
Last weekend40%
Two weekends ago30%
Three weekends ago20%
Four weekends ago10%
Five or more weekends ago0%

Notice the 0% for results five or more weekends ago. MTG players are quick to move away from non-performing decks so if a deck does not have any results in the past four weekends, it gets dropped in the most current metagame.

You can see the algorithm at work in the various archetype pages on the site. For instance, check out Bant Flash’s page. It has a line chart that shows its downward trend because it stopped getting results.

But look at Naya Aggro’s page. Its line chart shows its big rise to prominence.

On the deck metagame page, you can click the links on the left to see line charts of other archetypes.

Along with the age algorithm, the site also takes into account different finishes and tournaments. First place decks are weighted more than top 16 decks. A Starcitygames Standard Open or a PTQ is weighted more than a Starcitygames Classic or a TCGplayer Spring States tournament.

For finishes, the site uses the following formula.

1st8 points
2nd7 points
Top 4 (3rd-4th)6 points
Top 8 (5th-8th)5 points
Top 16 (9th-16th)4 points

For smaller tournaments like TCGplayer States, the site uses these weights.

1st4 points
2nd3 points
Top 4 (3rd-4th)2 points
Top 8 (5th-8th)1 points
Top 16 (9th-16th)0.5 points

Then, for each weekend, the site just adds up the points per archetype and divides that number by the total number of points to get the metagame percentages for that weekend.

I didn’t include Magic Online tournaments because they have a different metagame than real life. Here are the top ten Magic Online archetypes and their percentages.

R/g Aggro15.4%
Junk Reanimator13.2%
Junk Aristocrats7.4%
Jund Midrange7.3%
The Aristocrats5.7%
UWR Control5.7%
UWR Flash4.8%
Bant Hexproof4.5%
Naya Aggro3.5%
Naya Midrange3.5%

Compare that to the real life metagame below.

Jund Midrange13.43%
Junk Reanimator10.68%
Naya Aggro9.46%
Bant Hexproof9.27%
Esper Control8.68%
R/g Aggro6.05%
Four Color Reanimator (GWBR)5.48%
B/G Control5.38%
The Aristocrats4.71%
Naya Midrange4.08%

As you can see the metagames are pretty different. My theory is that cost is more of a factor online so players tend to play a cheaper deck like R/g Aggro. Also, I bet there are a good number of online players playing multiple games at once and it’s much easier to do that well with a fast aggro deck.

I think including Magic Online tournaments skews the real life metagame data and make it less accurate. Plus, I bet most real life players don’t follow the online metagame so it won’t influence their deck choices.

I used a responsive design for the site so it looks decent on tablets and smartphones. For example, go to one of the decklist pages on your smartphone like this one and then click a card. The card image will pop up. :) Or open the site with a desktop or laptop and resize the window. The site will resize to fit the screen.

Let me know what you think of MTG Analytics. If you see any bugs, leave a comment below and I’ll try to fix them. Thanks!

6 Responses to “Introducing MTG Analytics: A Simple But Effective Metagame Tool for Standard”

  1. thg on June 26th, 2013 3:17 pm

    Can you gather from your data what percentage of a specific archetype is being successful?

    For instance, online R/g aggro is 15.4% of the metagame, but is it more or less than 15.4% of the high finishers?

    Similar for ftf games would be nice.

  2. Dee on June 26th, 2013 3:24 pm

    Actually, the metagame percentages only include the top finishers. So the 15.4% means that R/g Aggro accounted for 15.4% of the top finishing decks.

    Getting all the decks for the real life metagame is pretty much impossible because you would have to get all the decklists from every single tournament. That means going to every tournament organizer and hoping they give you the decklists. Then, you have to input them into the database.

    It’s a similar situation for the online metagame. Wizards has the info, of course, but they only release the top finishing decks. In fact, they only release the info for one Daily tournament per day (the biggest one) even though there are multiple Daily tournaments each day.

    What do you mean by “ftf games”?

  3. thg on June 26th, 2013 8:21 pm

    ftf = face to face, I guess what you refer to as “real life”.

  4. Hi on June 26th, 2013 9:43 pm

    Could you include a section for MTGO as well, like as a separate analysis? I would love to see MTGO Modern.

  5. Dee on June 27th, 2013 12:24 am

    I might add the MTGO metagame in the future. But right now, I want to concentrate on adding more features for the real life metagame.

    But MTG Goldfish looks like a decent place to track the online metagame.

  6. Dave on July 1st, 2013 9:06 pm

    Awesome site. This will make my FNM prep much easier, as I don’t often have time to sift through top 8s to get an idea of what’s to beat. I’m surprised you don’t have any ads on it.