In addition to writing on this blog, I stream a lot of Magic: The Gathering: Arena over on YouTube. It’s all part of the grand quest to acquire some level of fame or notoriety (I’m not picky. As long as it doesn’t get fired from my real job I’ll take either one) so that I can get a press badge.
Specifically, I play a format called Historic Brawl. Historic Brawl is effectively just Commander/EDH, but using all cards available in MTGA. About two weeks ago, Historic Anthology Six was added to Arena, and one card in that set was Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin. It is being used as a commander a lot. Perhaps too much?
So in order to answer this question, I played 50 games of Historic Brawl this weekend, across several different commanders. I’ll link the full dataset as a CSV at the end of the article. First off, I want to look at my own commanders very quickly.
There are two things to note here. First off is that I’m not playing any commanders that are traditionally considered S-Tier/top tier by the community. Second is that a majority of my commanders are from the Baldur’s Gate: Alchemy set.
Here are the commanders my opponents used.
Go-Shintai certainly feels like an outlier, with more than twice as many games as any other single commander. However, that’s not proof by any means. This is a small sample of only 50 games. I also haven’t done statistics in close to 8 years, so I’ve completely forgotten how to do a student’s T-Test, or even know if that’s the right type of analysis to do here.
The other interesting thing I noticed is that while I had a large number of games against Go-Shintai on Friday and Saturday, after one point on Saturday I stopped seeing the deck. I haven’t seen the deck a single time today. So it’s also possible that the matchmaker was updated in the middle of collecting this data set.
(The different matchups on different days is one of the things this data doesn’t show, because while I intended to include timestamps for the start of each game, I didn’t actually record them. So instead there’s an unhelpfully blank column in the spreadsheet.)
Overall, there isn’t a satisfying answer. It’s not clear to me that Go-Shintai’s frequency is actually statistically significant here (because I can’t do stats), but certainly stands out as being played quite a lot. If anyone is able to do actual stats, here’s a link to the data in a csv, and I’d love to know what you find.