Tournament Tuesdays: The Boneyard Shuffle
Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Welcome to our newest feature: Tournament Tuesdays! Every week on Tuesdays we’ll be covering an official event, test events, or draft from the previous week, with coverage, decklists, and impressions from players and organizers! Our first Official KG event, The Boneyard Shuffle, was a ton of spooky fun on Saturday with a new format, Last Deck Standing with Bans, familiar faces, and a whole new set of data to mine!
Strong showing from a lot of reigning champs presented an interesting array of decks with some surprises along with our stalwarts. In a game as consistent as Mythgard, multideck formats offer a way to liven up competitive events and control for the brutal effectiveness of dominant decks which haunt ladder for their lack of pronounced weaknesses and incredible reliability. As I have discussed previously, Last Deck Standing presents an interesting opportunity to provide counterpicks and prioritize the ability to answer an opponent’s deck as a tool for recovering from a first match loss, rather than enforcing deck diversity by removing the winning deck after each match. Similarly bans themselves allow you to manage out-of-control decks by simply ensuring that you do not have to play against them!
As with all things, this is a work in progress and KG is currently polling to see what formats can and should be used in future events and this format certainly presented data that speaks to the strengths and weaknesses of this format. Looking at the decks in the top 8, we certainly see a healthy blend of the decks we’d expect but nothing radically over represented. Players have to choose carefully how they distribute their colors, knowing that they can bring only one set of Yellow control tools and players opted for a variety of schemes, pairing it Green, Blue, and even Orange and Purple. We saw a predictably high percentage of Valuetown (RO Midrange) decks with four in the top 8, but this was the only deck so well represented. Even though there were three GP decks in the top 8, they were all reasonably different with one being a winning Spirit Burn from Madoka_HK, another a more classic Purple Necromantic from Kitsune, and a controlling GP from AetherSSB.
Where this gets a bit dicier is looking at winrates and winshares. While Conquest forces deck diversity, forcing players to win with two separate decks, Last Deck Standing relies on successful counterpicks to ensure a diversity of decks actually played. Indeed, proper banning was one of the most critical skills in this tournament and Madoka_HK’s success relied in some part on knowing what opponents would ban and setting them up with difficult choices in the ban phase. Sampling a bit further down to the top 10 players gives us a bit more data and still records of at least 4-2 in Swiss. Of 92 matches won in swiss, 53 of them were won by either GP or RO, accounting for a massive 57.6% of matches won! These dominant decks are a known commodity but they were not as well represented in the actual decklists, with the LDS format, perhaps predictably, yielding a lot of 2-0 Rounds from these powerful, versatile decks without a lot of specific counterplay. Rounds often hinged heavily on what was banned, and the lack of bans on Valuetown led to incredible winrates from top 8 players. Three players in the top 8 had 100% winrate with Valuetown in Swiss, the most incredible of which was LendoKaar, who never saw the deck banned and won all six rounds without dropping a single game!
Red Orange Midrange
The resilient midrange gameplan which never runs out of value and has answers to everything in the form of Angel, Gigantomachia, and Seven Ring Ritual, proved too much for all comers in Swiss, and the semifinal match between eventual Champion Madoka_HK saw a ban on Valuetown and a very different outcome from the matchup in Swiss. Obviously we would always want more data to make sense of this, and account for the nuance of the different Valuetowns, but the clear hazard in Last Deck Standing is in favoring decks that can run the table and minimize the effects, if any, of potentially bad matchups.
GP saw less dramatic success, but still winshare and rates outsized for its representation. Madoka_HK’s GP propelled the champ through the Finals with relative ease, and boasted an impressive 88% winrate in Swiss, and Kitsune and AetherSSB were not far behind, with their GPs posting a 75% and 80% WR, respectively. Madoka_HK’s Spirit Burn provides a relentless assault that offers little in the way of counterplay, as damage comes directly and from many reliable sources from Jaded Courtier up to Call From the Grave.
Madoka The Champion
Perhaps even more cleverly, Madoka_HK presented opponents poor options for using their Ban phase. The fearsome and explosive YR deck, now called Justice, did not see any wins in Swiss, presumably because it was the target of a Ban, but also because it was a backup for the versatile GP plan. Even more difficult for opponents was choosing between which set of Green value tools they might expect to see in YG and GP. Madoka’s scheme to give opponents an easy Ban target in YG while retaining the board-based Green tools K-nine Handler and Night Hag was wildly successful in Swiss. The GP deck even saw newcomers like Cold-Blooded Killer which can emphasize this two-way play while also serving up face damage in the form of Death Marks.
Even more hazardous for opponents opting to Ban another deck, Madoka’s YG is not the standard Volition package and instead uses the classic Spirit Burn tool, Mothmara to ramp up the offense early in YG spell packages, relying on Mothmara and spells to provide removal, board presence, and direct damage, letting the board-based Minions take a vacation in GP, and focus the YG spells more totally for brutal set of removal. Madoka was even playing exciting innovations in YR, in the form of Grim Narcoleptic as a durable minion that will deal at least 4 face damage, but ultimately, these did not matter as the Green value decks could carry Madoka all the way to the finish line.
For better or worse, the player who brought the fewest distinct Colors at 4 (Yellow, Red, Green, Purple) was the most successful, and among the other top 8 players, three brought 5 different colors, and four brought all 6! Obviously, like all elements, diversity of decks and Colors is a means to an end, a way to hopefully present fun and dynamic events, and it will be worth studying these phenomena moving forward! Maybe most interestingly, due the deck restrictions in multideck formats, playing all six Colors may represent a vital strategic task, but a slightly less complicated deckbuilding task, wherein you aren’t worried about how to split Colors cleverly. The rewards for doing so, however, from this event seem to be well worth examining, and Madoka’s success is a testament to this planning!
While studying winshares, we can also look at the opposite effects, decks that were unusual and novel but which accounted for success throughout. Lakaz’s appearance in the finals is well earned and certainly unsurprising based on Ladder performance, bringing stalwart beatdown and midrange options in Valkyries and RG, respectively, but the real prize was an exciting YP deck that demonstrates a lot of what these colors can offer. Lakaz’s deck contains the Yellow control tools we saw throughout the tournament, but couples them with devastating snowballing tools up and down the mana curve in Yellow and Purple. Sticking a Yahui, Shinobi of Smoke or even a Doper can spiral out of control as it gets buffed with Instabeast or Pentacle of Flavors, to say nothing of your Overrunning and Regenerating Twins. Versatile Minions like Backchannel Captain can provide offense, defense, removal and even card advantage and keep the snowball rolling until brutal finishers clean up the board and secure victory. While classically YP decks have opted for hard control, Lakaz took this one to the finals, sealing a semifinal match against Petamax, by offering a more balanced midrange approach to the deck, starting the snowball early and coasting into devastating late-game tools. The most dramatic ratio of winshare to representation among decks, curiously, belonged to KG’s mad scientist, nalka. Only one player in the Top 8 brought RP midrange, this deck won more matches than any deck that wasn’t Valuetown, GP, Valkyires, or BP. The Red tempo stalwart Daring Trapezists fits into this value scheme by offering two-way play, often serving as removal, alongside Purple’s Racer in Shadow, and coming back for more with Journey of Souls, but doubling as a way to sneak in damage late. The classic value Enchantment Stairway to Hades has many viable friends in Purple—Backchannel Captain and the Purple titans Merciless Koxinga, Celestial Dragon, Perfect Grade—along with its red compatriots, Serapis, False Apostle and Cerberus Unchained. These fearsome beasts are backed by removal like Extract Life and Aggravated Injury and can take running leaps at opponents with the dazzling Tempo engine in The Fast Lane.
The Future of Tournaments
Overall, we are thrilled with how fun and dynamic this tournament was, and are looking forward to the future of these events. Tempest and Rune’s brilliant coverage of this tournament, which can be found here and Ejecty’s masterful coordination provided what we hope is the standard of quality for these events in the community, and slicing and dicing data every week will hopefully give us clear signs of what we can look forward to as events progress and hopefully get a sense of where we want to be in balancing these cards in a new competitive environment! Be sure to look out for a KG Test Event this Friday where you can win some coin and have some fun (and even future broadcasts on less busy Fridays!) and please stay in touch with me directly in KG discord to help us make all of KG’s events the very best they can be!
 Mythgard’s lack of mulligan system, for example can be readily explained by the large hand sizes (7 vs 3), small decks (40 vs 60, and the ability to turn any card into a resource cards, handily ensuring whatever curve you likely want.
 Personally, my choice is Conquest with no Bans, but as always, it is very easy for a writer to ask for features that they don’t have to program themself!
 All of which are available on Mythgardhub here!
 In the Top 8 there were interestingly only two dedicated YG decks, the bogeyman that haunted previous events, two YO control decks, and three (!) BY Control decks. We even saw a cheeky set of Yellow control tools in a YP upstart from Lakaz that will be highlighted below.
 This introduces as well two novel decks, L0gick’s BYG control, which is thematically very similar to the BY control decks, and nalka’s RP midrange which is deserving of attention, as we will see below.
 Valuetown accounting for 32.6% of wins and GP accounting for 25%
 And as discussed, the variety of GP decks is interesting and worthy of study, and to a lesser degree there are also flavors of RO.
 Of the 30 total decks in top 10, 5 were valuetown (16%) and 4 were GP (13.3%)
 Certainly the only kind of Justice we would expect from Madoka_HK: perfectly focused aggressive play
 The Volitions are already in use in YR!
 The spiciest version of this deck even saw Obligation played on Champion Ladder for, I’m going to say, the first time ever.
 This seems ironic despite Madoka’s affinity for aggro play, but in reality, Madoka’s first love that I remember was Inverted’s classic RP Orpheum, which at its heart was a deck that burned and controlled board as much as it sent Minions to attack directly.
 name: Notgoblin MKIV coverart: Traitorous Murmur path: coliseum of strife power: impel 4 doper 3 yahui 2 wonder drug 3 instabeast 1 bob "banzai" vaquero 2 misanthropia 1 zolea, the unclean 1 twin blanque 1 twin junah 1 sapo, the devourer 2 racer in shadow 3 shinobi of smoke 3 shinobi of wind 1 god of gamers 2 pentacle of flavors 3 backchannel captain 1 jin-sook, dollmaster 1 merciless koxinga 2 spirit away 1 celestial dragon 1 daigoju supreme 1 perfect grade
 The package of Wonder Drug, Misanthropia, Twins Blanque and Junah, and Sapo is probably a sufficient stable concept that it should be the target of a much larger study in Mythgard starting in Beta. A task for another time.
 name: RP midrange coverart: Guise of Phobos path: journey of souls power: infuse 2 extract life 3 stray panacea 4 daring trapezists 3 melpomene muse 1 the oak of dodona 2 magmataur 1 serapis, false apostle 1 stairway to hades 1 cerberus unchained 1 gigantomachia 4 racer in shadow 2 ghost in the system 4 sword saint 1 rogue idolon 1 nine-tailed vixen 3 backchannel captain 1 jin-sook, dollmaster
1 merciless koxinga 1 celestial dragon 1 perfect grade 1 aggravated injury 1 the fast lane
 Which had an impressive winshare of 11.9% though interestingly spread between classic BP Snowball and a much more aggressive BP deck.