Sunday, 11:15 a.m. - Making Top 8, Part 2

Posted in Event Coverage on September 18, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Yesterday we looked at the likelihood of the 'Big Three' of Carlos Romão, Willy Edel, and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa making the top 8 of Brazil Nationals this weekend, and discovered that it's extraordinarily tough for any one of them, much less two or three. The anecdotal evidence confirms that, with only Romão still going at 6-3, needing three wins and some good news in the tiebreaks to make the top 8.

The thing is, despite nine rounds having gone by, and three quarters of the field eliminated from contention, it's still amazingly hard to make the top 8.

For example:

Tarciso Costa

In 42nd place, Tarciso Costa is the last of the 6-3s on 18 points. He can get to 27 points with a 9-3 record, but he comes back into Standard with a truly abysmal tiebreak of 39.3%. To put that in context, Samuel Emidio, the top of the 6-3s, has a tiebreak of 65%. Speaking of which...

For example:

Samuel Emidio

Samuel Emidio. He's in 18th place right now. He needs to clamber past ten people over the next three rounds, initially by winning all three. What are the chances of that? If he was 50/50 in every matchup, he'd do that one time in eight (the odds of winning an eight man draft pod if it was decided at random). If he has a 60% chance in every matchup, he still has only a 21% chance of winning those three matches. Assume he's an overwhelming favorite for every match, at 80/20. He's then roughly 50/50 to win all three matches. And even then, those around him who also win their three matches may overtake him on tiebreaks.

For example:

Jonathan Melamed

Jonathan Melamed is in 3rd place heading back into Standard. He opened 3-0 in Standard, then went 2-1, and 2-1 in his two draft pods. He has the highest tiebreaks of anyone in the entire building. Top 8 should be easy, right? Wrong. First, he has to play against a formidable opponent in Guilherme Medeiros Merjan. If he loses that one he then has to win his last two, against other players who have at least seven wins already this weekend. They're good players, they're prepared players. If he beats Merjan, then he becomes favored to make the top 8. If that happens, it will have taken ten rounds of Magic before he's more likely than not to make the top 8.

For example:

Marcus Camargo

Marcus Camargo is in second place, the only player on 8-1 at 24 points. He does, however, have very poor tiebreaks. If he wins his first round back in Standard, he'll reach the 27 point mark, and should be able to find an ID somewhere in the last two rounds. Trouble is, he's facing Reinaldo da Silva, _joseph_ on Magic Online, and that gentleman has a perfect record. Lose that one, and then he too has to win round 11. As things stand, he's favored to reach the top 8. He's one of two out of one hundred and sixty four players for whom that's true. After nine rounds of trying.

For example:

Reinaldo da Silva

Reinaldo da Silva. OK, if you're Reinaldo da Silva, and you've gone 9-0, then it turns out you're going to make the top 8. You are the exception that proves the rule. How hard is it to make the top 8?

Still, even now, very.

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