Watching Drafts vs Watching the Matches Afterwards

The numbers are pretty clear: Among my draft videos, the drafts themselves get twice as many clicks as my matches with the drafted decks afterwards. While different explanations are possible (watchers returning to the drafts more often for analysis purposes, for example), it makes most sense to assume that people just aren’t as interested in seeing me play those decks as in following my draft decisions, and those few voices which gave me feedback on my question hereabout support this, even if they say they clicked all my videos once.

Now, I can see where that is coming from! For one thing, I wholeheartedly agree that the drafting process itself is the most interesting part. Also, I said myself that I am not that great a player – thus it follows that there is less to learn by watching me play than watching me draft. There’s a caveat here, though: I do actually not play worse than most other players publishing draft videos – at least not worse than they do in their published games – and even clearly better than several of them, even with all my deficiencies. But then again, this isn’t about grading on a curve. If my gameplay isn’t exemplary, then it may not be instructive enough to justify spending time watching me play. It that was my only reason to do so, I certainly would not take the time to produce and upload those videos!

However, my gameplay is not why you should watch my matches after watching my drafts. Just as Jörn said in his comment: The point of the match videos is to validate my drafts! See, of course I want you to believe my theories about Theros draft; but I want to convince you, not have you blindly trust me. You should take the trouble to examine if my ideas are in concordance with reality, and to do that, you need to watch the games I play with the decks I draft.

Validation is not about my results only. Certainly, it says something that I was able to win two of my four 8-4 drafts so far and reach the finals of another. This is especially true because I am not that great a player, pointing towards my decks being strong enough to carry me to victory without overly clever input from me. But variance is still going strong in Magic, and the sample size of my published drafts is obviously rather small. (Also, you might not trust me when I assure you that I published all drafts I recorded instead of selecting those where I did better.)

To be really able to judge the advisability of my draft strategy – and, more importantly, to fully understand it, so that you can implement it yourself! – you need to see for yourself how my games shaped up; how I won, and how I lost. Were the perceived strengths of my decks responsible for carrying me to victory? Did they sport weaknesses which caused their downfall?

Assessing how lucky I was when I won, and how unlucky when I lost, puts my results in perspective. (Also, if a clear misplay might have decided a game, as in my first game first round first draft, when I overlooked on my last turn that my Fanatic of Mogis could have attacked for the possible win, you need to seperate a player’s shortcomings from those of their deck.) Still, even if you find that the validity of my ideas has been confirmed, this should not be enough for you: Only seeing how and why they work imparts the necessary understanding to put them into practice yourself, adjust them to specific situations, and improve on them.

That is why I took the time and effort to upload all matches in addition to the drafts, and why I will not go on publishing only the drafts themselves, even though this would go a LOT faster: Seeing how my decks actually play gives my draft analysis the necessary context. You can fast-forward those videos, if you like, which also has the merit of saving you from my blathering, but you should make sure to understand how these games unfold, or you aren’t taking away as much from my drafts as you should.

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4 Gedanken zu „Watching Drafts vs Watching the Matches Afterwards

  1. HanHeinrich sagt:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I do watch both the drafts and the games – and although the drafts are seemingly more „interesting“, I do learn at least as much from watching the gameplay.
    Apart from seeing how the decks „tick“ and see the theories in action, it also gives a better picture of the metagame when seeing all the other decks.

    So I would definitely watch more of „Channel Zeromant“ 😉

    • Zeromant sagt:

      Thanks, but the effort to post those videos is simply enormous, and now that I said and demonstrated <90% of what there is to show, I'll take a break – probably until the next set comes out.

      Also, in the meanwhile the metagame seems to have adapted, at least in the 8-4s I play. The majority of decks I run against seem well-built and strong to me, according to the very principles I laid down here. That's a pity, because if I were still up against a metagame like that shown in LSV's or Sutcliffe's draft videos, I might win nearly every draft I join!

      However, I'm still going strong, although I have to fight a lot more and can simply waltz over my opponents a lot less. I have decided to go back to posting winning deck lists. While of course that's a lot less information than that contained in a full draft video, the ratio between effort and information is vastly superior, and these lists should still be of interest.

      • HanHeinrich sagt:

        I actually think it is a very sensible and reasonable approach, if you only have the time resources to do a handfull of videos, then to do them as soon as possible after the publication of a new set. This is the time when players are the most clueless and need the help most.

        As to posting decklist: I think it would be immensely interesting to see decks in as much different color combinations as possible [if they come together in a draft]. For example, how would a „Zeromant-approved“ BW-list look like etc.

        • Zeromant sagt:

          There’s no single answer to that, because in my opinion it is the boosters which dictate the direction your draft has to go, and what you need to focus on can differ a lot depending on what you see. To use BW as an example: There are at least three fundamentally different archetypes possible in that color combination, each with different pick priorities acording to their strategy.
          a) WB aggro, using cheap creatures (mostly white, but Tormented Hero, Fleshmand Steed and Blood-Toll Harpy have a place here) in conjunction with Ordeals and combat tricks (including the often underdrafted Boon of Erebos) to apply pressure and then finish with Emissaries and maybe a Mogis’s Marauder.
          b) WB evasion, using the white and black flyers, preferrably in conjunction with good bestow creatures, on offense, while gumming up the ground with stuff like Baleful Eidolon or Scholar of Athreos and using Divine Verdict, Lash of the Whip and Sip of Hemlock to remove the opponent’s most threatening creatures.
          c) B/w control, built around multiple copies of Gray Merchant of Asphodel (with Rescue from the Underworld and March of the Returned as support), defending with early blockers like Baleful Eidolon and Returned Phalanx, building up devotion with Disciple of Phenax, and sporting a lot of removal, as well as a few extra finishers like Sentry of the Underworld or Scholar of Athreos.

          Obviously, real decks might fall somewhere in between those archetpyes, but the challenge is to identify as early as possible during drafting what to shoot for, and focus on that strategy.

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