Sunday, 28 November 2010

Deckbuilding Challenge - PTQ Manchester *9th*

By Wagz

Hi all, another PTQ gone - 9th this time unfortunately. It was by a whole point to, so I don't even get to complain about tiebreaks. I beat everyone who hadn't driven over from Leeds that day though so I can see a pattern. Today I went to the win-a-mox Legacy tourney as well and went 4-0-2 with the UG Survival-Vengevine deck, losing to Tomas Sukaitis in the quarter finals to get a sweet 5 boosters. Props to Jules Parker for lending me infinite cards for the deck :). Anyway, what I have to ask about today is my sealed pool from the PTQ. I feel I made the best of it I could but a quick glimpse from Mick Edwards and a claim of me "horribly misbuilding it" led me to want more opinions - it's a hard one when you get into it. So, enjoy the challenge of this one: (copy the cardname into for a picture)

Abuna Acolyte
Glimmerpoint Stag
Glint Hawk
Indomitable Archangel
Revoke Existence
2 Salvage Scout
Soul Parry
Sunspear Shikari
Whitesun's Passage

Darkslick Drake
Lumengrid Drake
Neurok Invisimancer
Plated Seastrider
Sky-Eel School
Steady Progress
Trinket Mage
2 Vedalken Certarch

Blackcleave Goblin
2 Blistergrub
Carnifax Demon
Corrupted Harvester
Flesh Allergy
Moriok Reaver
Necrogen Scudder
Painful Quandary
Psychic Miasma

Assault Strobe
Barrage Ogre
Flameborn Hellion
Melt Terrain
Molten Psyche
Oxidda Daredevil
2 Scoria Elemental
Tunnel Ignus
Turn to Slag
Vulshok Heartstoker

Carrion Call
Copperhorn Scout
Ezuri's Archers
Ezuri's Brigade
Tel-Jilad Defiance
2 Tel-Jilad Fallen
Untamed Might
Viridian Revel

Barbed Battlegear
Bladed Pinions
2 Chrome Steed
Contagion Clasp
Corpse Cur
Darksteel Sentinel
Echo Circlet
Flight Spellbomb
2 Glint Hawk Idol
Golden Urn
2 Golem's Heart (1 foil!)
2 Grafted Exoskeleton
3 Ichorclaw Myr
2 Necrogen Censer (1 foil!)
Panic Spellbomb
2 Razorfield Thresher
2 Saberclaw Golem
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
2 Sylvok Replica
Trigon of Thought
Wall of Tanglecord

Island (foil!)



My first instinct was obviously "sweet, 2 Chrome Steed and some good Metalcraft rares!" However, after a scout around of my zero mana myr and mostly awful metalcraft artifacts I had to have a rethink. A check of my poison cards conjured up some strong ones, but not quite as many as I'd have liked. Carnival Demon is a sweet one though, so maybe a GB Infect deck was present. Double Grafted Exoskeleton made any potential hybrid Infect deck a lot more forgiving so I looked at that route. After the Demon and Necrogen Scudder the black cards were a bit light, but white offered me a splash of Arrest and Revoke Existence. The more I looked, though, the more I saw that I was playing 2 white cards and 2 black cards - this isn't GB splash white, more Green splash white and black. Was there a better way? White did offer some more nice cards, the 4/4 Angel being huge, Stag working nicely with a couple of my cards (Clasp, Cur, Trigon) and something to go very well with my 2 Exoskeletons... enter Shikari :). I think this was about the best I could do with it all - not enough 2 drops and too many 4 drops but addressing my curve would mean a big hit in terms of power and I wasn't prepared to not go big in a 66-man PTQ (5-2 almost definitely not making it). I know I'll probably get flak for playing what looks like a janky build, but I'd like to see a better deck out of that pool.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Guest Article - Tournament Maths – How to Make a Profit on Magic Online Part 2

By Sebastian Parker (RisingSun000 Online)

Ok, now that my last post has been up for a few days, I’d like to discuss how calculating the EV of entering events can affect your strategic decisions.

Case 1: Hourly EV
Consider, if you will, a hypothetical metagame consisting of red aggro decks (think goblins, red deck wins, burn etc.), blue control decks (mystical teachings, monoblue counterspells etc.) and some other decks. The red aggro decks only take about 10 minutes to complete a whole match whereas the blue control decks sometimes win by timing out the opponent and take 40 minutes on average to complete a single match.

After playing a hundred 2 man queues with each, you find that the red deck is winning 60% of the time and the blue deck is winning 80% of the time. Which one is more profitable?

On a per-match basis, obviously blue is winning more so blue should be most profitable right? Well, that’s not the whole story. Our equation from last time:

EV = expected prizes – costs

For a 2 man queue, the expected prizes are 1 booster*P(win) and the cost is 2 tix.

EVblue = 0.8*booster -2
EVred = 0.6*booster -2

But, the red deck is 4 times faster than the blue deck so the EV of 40 minutes of 2 man queues is

EVblue,40 = 0.8*booster -2
EVred,40 = 4*(0.6*booster -2)

To work out when it is more profitable to play red:

EVred,40 > EVblue,40
4*(0.6*booster -2) > 0.8*booster -2
2.4*booster – 8 > 0.8*booster -2
1.6*booster > 6
Booster > 6/1.6
Booster > 3.75tix

So when a booster is worth more than 3.75tix, you make more profit playing the red deck than the blue deck, even though the blue deck is more likely to win a round.

This theory only really works for 2 man queues (and sometimes to 8-4 drafts, where you sometimes split the finals) because during a daily or premier event you have to wait for everybody to finish a round before the next one starts so playing a less winning, but faster deck will not increase your EV.

Another interesting point arises here, the fast red deck and the slow blue deck are hypothetical extremes but this sort of calculation can affect how you build your deck. If the most reliable win condition for your control deck is gaea’s blessing, so be it, but if you could put in meloku to take a hit to your win% and finish your matches in half the time, it may be profitable to do so even though you win less of the time.

Case 2: Cost of Investing in Cards
Last time, I discussed the loss of value during the act of opening a booster pack. This is part of the cost of playing in drafts and there’s nothing you can do to avoid that loss other than win lots more packs to make up for it.

A similar thing happens in constructed, you have to invest into a deck before you can play. You can sell the deck when you’re done, but usually you make a loss on the transaction. (You did buy the cards to play with after all – not to speculate on an increase in price.)

I’ll be working on the assumption that by this point you’ve done enough drafting to have a playset of commons and uncommons, which you can’t sell to a bot. So the loss on a bought/sold deck is basically going to be the rares.

This year’s block constructed UW control contains some number of the following rares:

Elspeth Tirel10.5100.5
Venser, the Sojourner13.95130.95
Sunblast Angel0.30.20.1
Myr Battlesphere1.510.5
Seachrome Coast1.31.20.1
Contagion Engine0.400.4
Indomitable Archangel3.252.80.45
Wurmcoil Engine (promo is cheap)2.520.5
Precursor Golem0.6-0.6

(Buy prices taken from cardbot, sell prices taken from ads in the Classifieds)
The diff column is essentially how much it costs you to buy the card, put it in your deck, play for a while and then resell it. For this decklist
4 Glimmerpoint Stag
3 Sunblast Angel
3 Origin Spellbomb
2 Trinket Mage
3 Venser, the Sojourner
3 Elspeth Tirel
2 Contagion Clasp
2 Tumble Magnet
4 Revoke Existence
2 Volition Reins
4 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Contagion Engine
1 Precursor Golem
4 Seachrome Coast
10 Island
11 Plains

4 Necropede
4 Halt Order
4 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Trigon of Thought
1 Volition Reins

The ‘buy and immediately sell’ cost is 7.55tix. Compare that to the 92tix you need in your account to actually buy the cards and it comes off quite favourably. To make back the “cost” of the deck, you only need to win about 4 more 2 man queues than you lose (so even if your win% is only 55%, you’ll eventually make it back).

Since UW control is posting solid results in daily events, I’d expect it's winning something like 60-70% from the strength of the deck. A very strong pilot could probably steer toward the top end of that, along with the certain level of randoms playing their draft cards in 2 man queues, you can expect to win back your 7.55tix by entering

EV2man = 0.7*3.93 – 2 = 0.75
7.55tix/EV2man = 10

Ten 2-man queues, which will take approx. 4-5 hours with a control deck.
These are just a couple of the ways I use maths to help me make decisions in what to play online. I’m sure that a lot more people will want to play 2 mans when they release higher stakes. Hopefully this has been enlightening and as always,

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Guest Article - Tournament Maths – How to Make a Profit on Magic Online

By Sebastian Parker

It's been a while since I contributed to the blog, but I have some spare time (since i've finished my degree and haven't got a job yet) to play magic. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go to all the PTQ’s I had planned to because I stupidly won the first one I went to (OOPS...). So now I have turned my attention once again to Magic Online.

Last time I talked about block constructed vampires, making profit online from a small initial investment. There are several layers of probability maths in magic:

1) “in game” maths, which affects your plays, like the probability of drawing a removal spell influencing whether you block or not.
2)“deck construction” maths, which affects how many lands you put in your deck, how many birds of paradise is preferable etc.
3)“tournament” maths, which affects your deck choice, how likely you are to win a round, how likely you are to top8.

This time I want about tournament maths - how to go about making profit online.
First, I’d like to introduce the concept of expected value (EV). EV is a way of expressing the average outcome of uncertain events. The easiest way to explain is with an example game:

Alex and Norman are playing a bean game. Alex has to throw beans into a cup a 3 metres from where he’s standing. Alex will win every bean which lands in the cup. Norman thinks Alex will struggle to throw beans into the cup, so Norman and Alex each put 5 beans into the pot from which Alex will attempt to throw beans.
From Alex’s perspective, he’s paid 5 beans to play the game. He will win every bean which lands in the cup. His expected winnings are the number of attempts times 1 bean times the probability that he will successfully get a bean into the cup minus the cost of entry to the game, 5 beans.

EV= expected prizes – cost of entry

EV= 10*1 bean*P(success) – 5 beans

(the asterisk * indicates multiplication, P(success) indicates the probability that Alex will successfully throw a bean into the cup)

So if Alex is good at throwing beans into cups, i.e. if P(success) is more than 0.5, then Alex will have an EV of more than 0 * (i.e. positive) and as the game goes on expect to increase his collection of beans.
*(EV = 10*0.5 – 5 =0)

Now let’s relate this concept to magic – 2-man constructed queues. To enter costs 2 tix, the prize depends on the format but most at the moment are either Scars of Mirrodin packs (which you can sell to the trading bots ..Hogwarts.., .7BP or .Coruscant for 3.93 tix) or M11 packs (which are 3.3 I think).

In order to make profit in 2-mans, we can apply the same formula:

Scars pack queues:M11 queues:
EVscars = 3.93*P(win) scars – 2EVM11 = 3.3*P(win) M11 – 2

And rearrange to find the point at which we start to make profit (EV=0 is the point between profit and loss, so setting EV=0 gives us a minimum P(win) needed to make profit).

2/3.93 = P(win) scars = 50.9%
2/3.3 = P(win) M11 = 60.6%

So in order to make profit in 2 man queues, you’ll need to be winning more than these %’s.

So far so good, these are fairly simple calculations. Now let’s move it up a notch – 8 man constructed. 6tix entry, 3 rounds, single elimination, 5-3-2-2 scars packs. To keep things simple, we’ll assume and average win% rather than take into account the fact that winning players are tougher opponents.

We’ll start by listing all the outcomes and their probabilities and payouts:

Lose 1st roundP(lose)0
Win 1st round, lose 2nd roundP(win)*P(lose)2*3.93
Win 1st round, win 2nd round, lose finalsP(win)*P(win)*P(lose)3*3.93
Win all three roundsP(win)*P(win)*P(win)5*3.93

Since there are only two outcomes to a match – win and lose, P(lose) = 1 - P(win)
EV = expected prizes – costs
EV8man = P(lose)*0 + P(win)*P(lose)*2*3.93 + P(win)*P(win)*P(lose)*3*3.93 + P(win)*P(win)*P(win)*5*3.93 – 6

This is easiest to do in excel, so I’ve written a spreadsheet to work it out for me. In order to make profit in an 8-man, you need a match win% of just 51%.

Let’s add another layer of complexity. When you’re drafting, the booster packs you open have random cards in them and the cards hold a value. The expected value of the cards inside a pack is the value of the cards you could open, multiplied by the likelihood of opening them. As such, I have another spreadsheet with all the card names of Scars of Mirrodin and how much you can sell them to cardbot for. Multiplying each value by the likelihood of opening that card yields a value of 1.08tix. So to buy a scars pack for 4tix and open it and sell the cards inside has an EV of -2.92tix. (We all know just opening packs straight up is like throwing money down the drain, and this is why – it costs nearly 3tix per booster!)

So when you’re drafting, it costs 3 packs and 2 tix (or 14 tix if you’re buying boosters). Your expected prizes are the value of the cards you open (3 Scars of Mirrodin booster packs worth = 3*1.08 = 3.24tix) plus the actual prizes you win.
Again, we list all the outcomes and their probabilities and payouts:

OutcomeLikelihoodPrize (4-3-2-2)Prize (8-4)
Lose 1st roundP(lose)00
Win 1st round, lose 2nd roundP(win)*P(lose)2*3.930
Win 1st round, win 2nd round, lose finalsP(win)*P(win)*P(lose)3*3.934*3.93
Win all three roundsP(win)*P(win)*P(win)4*3.938*3.93

Assuming you’re using packs you’ve won (which are worth 3.93tix to you) 2 tix + 3 packs = 2+3*3.93 = 13.79

EV4-3-2-2= P(lose)*0 + P(win)*P(lose)*2*3.93 + P(win)*P(win)*P(lose)*3*3.93 + P(win)*P(win)*P(win)*5*3.93 +3.24-13.79
EV8-4= P(lose)*0 + P(win)*P(lose)*0 + P(win)*P(win)*P(lose)*4*3.93 + P(win)*P(win)*P(win)*8*3.93 +3.24-13.79

Again, I’ll let the spreadsheet do the work. To make profit in a 4-3-2-2, you need to win more than 79% of your matches. To make profit in an 8-4, you need to win more than 64% of your matches. Remember, this is under the assumption that you’re selling all the cards you open (that you actually can – you’ll end up with a bunch of worthless rares like Dissipation Field along with all of the commons and lots of uncommons).

The conclusion is that it’s much easier to “go infinite” online playing 8-4’s than 4-3-2-2’s, which we all knew since we’re good players and we only play in 8-4’s anyway.
We could add another layer of complexity, which would be to account for winning players being tougher opponents – P(win round 1) being greater than P(win round 2) etc. But in order to come up with an estimate, we’d need a bunch of data on the ratings of players who enter the tournaments. (The ELO rating system used by the DCI uses a formula to calculate the probability of the outcome of a match given the difference in rating between the two players). At the moment, MTGO ratings are not published due to a previous culture online of ratings taunting – players being obnoxious to each other due to their low ratings etc. so calculating different win% for different rounds is impossible.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the maths of magic tournaments, hopefully I was clear in my explanations. If you were skimming through for some actual online strategy, rather than just some abstract theory:

1)Force poison in draft, I mean it – take Plague Stinger over pretty much anything (even Sunblast Angel and Arc Trail for example). Do not pass infect creatures except to pick up Darksteel Axe, Untamed Might, Grasp of Darkness, Skinrender, Steel Hellkite, Wurmcoil Engine, (Spikeshot Elder if you might be Gr or Br) or money cards (Koth, Venser, Masticore, Elspeth). Cut the player to your left out of black and green as hard as you possibly can. Give them good metalcraft cards so they’ll stay out of poison. I have made 49tix in the 7 drafts i’ve played so far using this strategy and I intend to continue. (editor: must be lucky, I agree with the sentiment but I've found infect to be massively overdrafted and easy to beat if you want to).

2)Play UW control in Scars of Mirrodin block constructed – it’s dominating this year. Check out for daily events decklists. It also doesn’t have the same mirror match problem as last year since it’s about 100tix to put together not 12, so people are trying out cheaper (and worse) options.

3)Don’t play queues where the payout is M11 packs (pauper, classic, singleton) when you can play Scars (scars block, standard, extended, legacy) queues and have a much easier ride on the road to profit.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Drafting with Wagz #8 - Beating Poison

By Wagz

Hi all, apparently I haven't done one of these in a while. Zendikar and Worldwake were truly awful draft formats but I'm not sure why I didn't bother with Rise. Probably because I was having too much fun drafting to spend time writing about it. Zendikar and Worldwake regularly beat be out of tickets and boosters on Magic Online because each time you have exactly a 1/8 chance of winning the draft and those odds are hard to beat. I bought enough tix to do a Rise of the Eldrazi prerelease and have ridden that investment, going infinite for a while. I drafted a lot of Rise and then M11 2-3 times a week before Scars of Mirrodin came along.

This draft format is hard!

But fun. So many options, lots of things to do with your mana on any given turn, and very skill intensive. With Zendikar draft, even the stupidest of opponents couldn't much up happening to have a 1-drop, 2-drop, 3-drop draw but I've seen many opponents throw away games in Scars because there is so much to play around and so much to do.

My going infinite got me down to a mere 10 tix and a booster yesterday, however. I sold off a couple of Mythics I'd got during M11 (Gaea's Revenge has gone up in value ^^) to get me up to 20 and invested in the remaining 2 boosters to fire up an 8-4. Here's how it went:

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

I was obviously tempted by the rare but he's not very good in draft. The real options were Clasp, Red Trigon and Plague Stinger. These are all good in infect decks but the Clasp is good in any deck so I took it to keep my options here. I love drafting infect as much as the next man but when all 8 players are drafting it, as it seems to be on magic online at the moment, it doesn't often come off. I was, therefore, a little disheartened to be passing a Plague Stinger because this basically guarantees one of the two guys on your left will be in infect, sadface.

  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

I guess I should have taken Glint Hawk Idol here but I was still living the infect dream and Cystbearer is really good. Plus he's fine in a G/X control deck, so fit in many of the same decks as Clasp. The other option is Sylvok Replica, who is really good but puts you mostly in the same Green control deck when you're passing this many infect guys.

  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

*holds onto dream*

  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

*gives up*. Arrest and the other white cards here are a clear sign that White is open on my right. I don't rate Auriok Edgewright at all but since it is the 4th white card it lowers the probability that there were more white cards in here before and so increases the likelihood that white is open. Slam down the Arrest (which I didn't see for a while because the foil Soliton was shiny).

  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Slice in Twain also should not be this late. Infect is clearly a dead end so I'm prepared to be a Green/X control deck at this point, probably Green-White although I'm not sure what that deck would look like.

  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Ooh, a rare! This will help with all my mana problems! Yes, that'll do.

  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

I like the Wall a lot. At this point we notice a few blue cards have gone round, the Lumengrid Drake last pack and 2 Invisimancers. The Wall of Tanglecord will definitely go in any colour control deck though and moving in on a 2/1 for 3 isn't amazing. Obv I didn't notice the rare.

  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Nothing really here except the Trigon which is okay but not amazing. It costs a lot of mana but card advantage is card advantage and it's a better option than the rest of the pack.

  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Really had no good picks for the rest of the pack.

  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Oh, except this one was interesting. The Ezuri's Archers are a good sideboard card against Poison decks (well, Plague Stinger decks) but if I do end up control then I need some way to finish the game. The Hellion will be good if I can pick up removal. The Panic Spellbomb is also good but I prefer it when I'm definitely a lot of red, definitely not splashing that one.

  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

I heard this guy was passable in a control deck so I drafted him to try him out. You should always try out rares that look okay to get a feel for them. That is to say I am now White based control because this guy is absurd.

  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

White Myr will be very good with the Angel I've just taken. I'm itching for a couple of the other cards but this guy will always make my deck and always be very good. One thing to notice at this point is that infect wasn't an option, but also metalcraft isn't the way this deck is shaping either. I'm willing to be in the market for just good cards if they have a deck strategy at least - control. One way to get ahead here is to go in on fliers and stuff up the ground - this means I might actually go in for blue cards. Blue was open but we don't really have any blue cards yet. We do still have all those green cards, but I'm kind of okay to let them go if I'll get set up for the rest of the draft - at this point I'll be on the lookout for Blue being open from my left as well.

  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Revoke is a great control card and we pass on Invisimancer #17.

  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Sky-Eel School is a funny one. It's very good, but it never gets taken. That's because it's just a `good stuff' card. I think that blue mostly just wants to be a good stuff colour (well, it is the best colour in Magic) so we take it but accept that it might not be a signal. Trinket Mage also being in the pack, however, might be.

  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Control needs counter spells, but this will most likely just be a sideboard card.

  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Erm, so 4th pick and 6th pick Arrests presumably means I'm the only white drafter. Not sure why the packs have been relatively empty then but I happily take the #1 common removal spell.

  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Gotta love the fatties. I'm not a big fan of this guy but you need a way to win somehow and he essentially has unblockable because if they have no artifacts they probably have nothing on the table.

  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Definitely the only white drafter - screw my green cards!

  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Bad removal is still removal and it gets better when you have more good removal because you don't have to waste your good removal on their less good things.

  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

The jury's still out on this one in draft as he's bad against infect but I need him in this deck.

  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

This was a bit empty. Part of me wanted to take the Galvanic Blast to keep the green and red splash open but this seemed a bit greedy as I only really had a Shania Twain that I would want to splash in green. I take the mana Myr because I really need a few of those in this sort of deck. I've plenty of removal so I'm on the lookout for 1-2 more mana myr and a few more 4-5 drop fliers at this point, as well as anything else ridiculous the packs happen to offer me.

  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

This guy is a great stalling mechanism in an empty pack. There's a stoic rebuttal here and there was one in the last pack so one will probably come back to me, which is nice.

  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Mana Myr - check!

  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Something ridiculous - check!

  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

4-5 drop fliers - check! Getting into a decent shape here.

  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Didn't need it but wasn't going to play anything else except the remote possibility of Darksteel Myr. Turn to Slag deals with the only ways we have of winning though so I remove it.

  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

The snapsail glider is decent but will mostly be a 2/2 in this deck. There's another 2/2 for 3 in this pack who interacts very favourably with 4 of our 2-drops (3 mana and the perilous Myr) so we take it for a bit of curve and synergy.

  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I take the Accorder's Shield in case I need to Shield up my ground creatures or fliers in fights but it's unlikely to be great for me.

  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

I take the Certarch in case I need him and the Liquimetal Coating from pick 6 comes back in pick 14 but I don't have enough artifacts here. I'm still missing a good flier so I'm a bit concerned but I do have plenty of removal and a good curve.

  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:

The rest of the packs don't give me anything to work with so I set about constructing my deck as:

Gold Myr
Copper Myr
Leaden Myr
Perilous Myr
Wall of Tanglecord
Contagion Clasp
2 Revoke Existence
Myr Galvaniser
Stoic Rebuttal
2 Arrest
Halt Order
Darkslick Drake
Bonds of Quicksilver
Trigon of Infestation
Sky-Eel School
Trigon of Thought
Sunblast Angel
Darksteel Sentinel
Volition Reins
Scrapdiver Serpent

I don't have replays of my matches but round 1 was against RB poison hybrid (not enough poison guys) and I shut him out on the ground before getting in with some fliers. I didn't even have my Angel this match but a 2-0 win in classic Magic™ fashion was enough.

My opp for round 2 didn't show up, leading me to believe that I'd accidentally clicked on the swiss queue and lost my first round. When I came to my senses I realised I'd been given a bye to the finals, very strange.

The finals was against UGB poison with not enough poison guys. This is the problem with poison at the moment - everyone's scrabbling for the guys and no-one gets enough playables. The best way to capitalise is as I did - solid cards and fliers. Since you have to trade a lot against poison, metalcraft decks struggle to hold onto metalcraft so you may as well play cards which are good anyway. Ways to stop the Plague Stingers are pretty key so Contagion Clasp-a-likes and slightly bigger fliers will blunt the assault very quickly (but don't play Blunt the Assault). When you have them unable to do anything you can pull ahead with your superior cards and card advantage mechanisms.

I now have 10 tix and 8 boosters in my account - guess I'll try to keep going infinite for a while.