Right now everyone down here in the great state of Texas is rattling there brain to figure out what to play in Odyssey Block Constructed. I can't say that I blame them. We are having a Pro Tour in our backyard, Houston! Besides, it's finally hot down here. The timing was perfect. It's starts getting hot and we can go inside and test OBC.
The thing is, OBC is a wide open format. Well, let me correct that. That's partially right. Monoblack and U/G variants dominant the format. However, there are still a lot of unexplored decks. Of course, what everyone is after, is a deck that is consistent against these two decks. These are obviously the two biggest decks at this point. However, W/G variants are starting to rear their ugly heads. I have to admit, I already saw that coming. That's because I did my homework. :)
When playtesting though, one of the things to remember is to put things into perspective. You have to be careful as to not take your results at face value. There are a lot of intangibles that you have to look at when testing. Consider some of your draws from when you were testing. Did you when more often when a certain card was drawn? Did you win more games when you got the fast start? Did you lose to one particular card? Just noting what wins and what loses isn't good enough. You have to be able to see what "in between" elements are contributing to your victories and defeats. There is so much to be considered when testing other than just wins and losses. Who cares if one deck beats another if you can't tell the key cards in each matchup. You might always beat a deck, but if a good player understands a trick within a deck or within some specific mechanics, that can swing match on its own.
After watching some players test and listening to some players' test results, I have come to the conclusion that some players just aren't honest with themselves. You have to accept the fact that some decks just aren't good against other decks. Some matchups just don't work. You might have pet cards. You might even have pet decks. Sometimes, having those can be a problem. Let it go. When you are trying to get to the big show, you have to face reality. If your deck gets beat, you should do two things. Either concentrate on making it better, or can it for a better deck. Don't keep trying to force the same build through with only minor changes while trying to convince yourself it is good.
Another thing to do is work on correcting mistakes. If you have to have someone else watch your games and pick out mistakes or judgment calls, then do it. Play mistakes can SERIOUSLY skew playtest results. Wins or losses resulting from bad plays might as well be thrown out the window. Try to play with better players. They will understand the game better and will catch your mistakes, more often than not. A lot of amateur players won't admit they make mistakes. Some players just on the cusp of being professional level already things they are as good as they can be. That's part of their problem. Ego has no place in testing really. Its OK to make mistakes. That's what practicing is for. Just make them now, learn from them, and don't make the same mistakes on game day.
With this being a long season for us Texans, we have another thing to be aware of. That thing is the internet. Sometimes trends can change from week to week over the course of a qualifying season. In the past I've watched decks dominate the early part of a season, then get metagamed out. That same deck later became good again in the last two weeks of the season. Go figure. Sometimes things like that happen. It's not often, but it is possible. Just because a deck doesn't win this week, don't throw it away. If you already know it is a solid deck, it might still have its day.
Finally, just keep your head up. Don't get discouraged, because you have a hard time finding a winning deck. It's not easy. If it were, all of us wouldn't waste our time testing. Don't let your time go to waste. If nothing else, you should be learning the format and learning the cards. Take the time to look over available options. Get familiar with different decks. Get familiar with sideboard options. Seriously, you are dedicating lots of time, make the most of it.
As the week's go by, I might give my two cents on trends in the metagame for this OBC season. It could turn out to be an interesting case study. In the meantime, keep an eye out on some tournament reports in the next two or three weeks. If anyone has any neat or new ideas, I'm always open to suggestions :) I don't turn my nose up at anything.
Is there a deck that consistently beats U/G and Monoblack? Maybe not. Maybe so. Keep enjoying the game and have fun looking for it.
Until next time,
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