Over the history of Magic Online, we have published a steady stream of decklists for players to explore and learn from, but the way we do that has changed over time. Our current method for presenting decklists for Magic Online Leagues is to randomly select ten of the top-performing decklists per format per day. Starting July 10, we will be reducing the total number of top decklists being presented per day from ten to five, and each of these decklists will be randomly selected with the caveat that each list will be at least ten cards different from every other list.
There are plenty of reasons we think posting decklists is an excellent idea, and it is something we intend to continue doing. Decklists give players a general sense of what an environment looks like, and everyone loves seeing a sweet new brew or an interesting adaptation to an established deck. Players want to know what they should be gearing up to beat so they can build or select their decks.
With all that said, the way we've been presenting decklists from Magic Online is particularly prone to pushing metagames toward becoming homogenous or "solved" extremely quickly. Since we have been presenting a random selection of top-performing decks, even if a deck doesn't have a particularly high win rate, it can appear to be extremely dominant if it's widely played. With only this information, it's not possible to disentangle win percentage and metagame percentage. This can lead, and at times has led, to feedback cycles where a deck appears more dominant than it would otherwise, which leads to an even greater percentage of play.
While we acknowledge that many players would like in-depth statistics on the metagame, providing that level of detail can quickly lead to the perception of a stale or solved metagame, regardless of whether there’s ample room for the format to evolve. These decklists aren't intended to be a substitute for that level of detail. Rather, they're to give players an idea of what they might face and a place to look for new ideas, whether that's decks to try or cards to tinker with. Under this system, new and unique decks are far more likely to appear, and it's our goal to foster that creativity and innovation rather than stifle it.
Over the past six months, we've had extensive conversations about what we can do to improve the experience of playing Magic, examining everything from our process to our design philosophies to the way we communicate and remain engaged with our players. There's no one answer to making Magic the most fun it can be, but this is one of many steps we're taking under the belief that it makes for a more fun game overall.