Undefeated OBC Decks

Posted in Event Coverage on August 16, 2002

By Randy Buehler

A lot of players I talked to this week, especially Americans, claimed that Odyssey-block constructed play was nothing but a bunch of coin flips. However, Friday's results seem to contradict that claim.

As I walked around and watched the metagame evolve, it looked significantly more interesting then I had been led to believe. It did look like at least 80% of the field was either blue-green or mono-black, but it's not really fair to call blue-green one deck as a remarkable number of unique cards got played. In addition, Team Punisher showed up with a white weenie variant that splashes blue and put up some big-time results. Tomi Walamies went undefeated, Tuomas Kotiranta made the Top 8, and Anton Jonsson could have made the Top 8 if he had realized he could target the same cards with multiple Spurnmage Advocates. (That deck is covered in detail here.)

All of that is interesting, but here's the truly telling commentary on Odyssey-block constructed: NINE different players went undefeated. If OBC matches really were nothing more than coin flips, you'd expect there to be fewer undefeated players than there normally are. Usually at Worlds there are 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 players who manage to go undefeated on day 2 or day 3. (On day 1, of course, everyone starts with the same record so the number of undefeated players that result is inevitable and can be calculated in advance (ignoring draws). On future days, however, the number can vary wildly (in theory) because there's no reason the players who are undefeated on that day need to get paired against each other.)

Anyway, if the normal range of 6-0 players is two to four in formats that are widely held to be quite skill-testing, then a truly random format should produce less. Since yesterday's "experiment" produced fully 9 undefeated players, that's a lot of evidence that the format is not actually a bunch of coin flips.

In fact, what I think happened is that the players who thought it was nothing but coin flips didn't bother practicing. Then when they showed up to play they didn't get the 3-3 result they expect, but instead got results like 1-5. (I encourage you to look through the standings – it isn't too hard to find examples of this.) Those competitors who did do their homework had a huge advantage and they deserved the results they got.

I give you the undefeated OBC decklists:

Worlds 2002 (OBC): U/G Madness

Worlds 2002 (OBC): U/G Madness

Instant (4)
4 Circular Logic
Enchantment (2)
2 Standstill
Other (4)
4 Aether Burst
60 Cards

2002 Worlds (OBC): U/G Threshold

Worlds 2002 (OBC): Mono Black Control

Worlds 2002 (OBC): U/G Madness

Worlds 2002 (OBC): U/W Quiet Speculation

Worlds 2002 (OBC): Mono Black Control

2002 Worlds (OBC): Quiet Speculation

2002 Worlds (OBC): W/G Madness

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