I’ve always found calling cards or decks underrated and overrated kind of a weird way to talk about Magic cards. Like, what are our baselines here? Who are they under or overrated by? Are we talking gross misevaluations or slight nudges in one direction over the other? Thankfully, with the advent of 17lands.com, we now have some insights into the answers to these questions and some good baselines to start from.
In this article, I’m mostly going to be speaking from experience when talking about how well I’ve found a card to perform but will be referencing 17lands data to provide a bit of context.
For those not familiar with parsing 17lands data, let me give you a quick run down of some of the numbers we’ll be using today. The metric I’ll mostly be referring to is ATA (average taken at) which refers to the average pick that a card is taken at amongst 17lands users.
A related metric, ALSA (average last seen at) tracks where the card is last seen in a pack on average. This metric does not just account for 17lands users, but all Arena drafters since it looks at not just where a card is taken by a 17lands user, but when it’s passed to them and by them as well. I think either metric could be used for our purposes today, but I’ve chosen to use ATA as it’s more representative of the draft habits of more informed and enfranchised drafters (that is, drafters who are invested enough to want to install a draft tracker like 17lands.)
I’ll also be using aggregate GIH WR (Games in hand win-rate, aka, was this card in my hand at any point in the game) as a metric to contextualize the strength of the cards. While this is often the least biased and more all-encompassing metric we use when looking at cards, I do want to caveat at this is aggregate data amongst all archetypes and filtering cards by color pairs often gives you better insights into where a card shines or underperforms.
For some context on what kind of a GIH WR constitutes a well performing card, the best card in the set, Jugan Defends the Temple is sitting at around 70 percent GIH WR, the best common, Virus Beetle is sitting at 62 percent GIH WR and good commons like Tales of Master Seshiro, Fang of Shigeki and Moonsnare Specialist are all sitting at around 59 percent GIH WR.
Current ATA: 7.45
Current GIH WR: 59.1%
I’ve sung the praises of this card other places but I don’t at all mind doing it again here. Searchlight Companion is a glue card if I’ve ever seen one. The trade-off for a card being colorless is often that it’s less powerful than colored cards. That’s not the case with Searchlight Companion
Not only is it an actively good card in decks with Ninja, artifact or recursion themes, it’s also just a fine card on rate that often lines up well with your opponent’s cards. The format is full of X/1 creatures, meaning not only do you get a flyer than can peck in or be picked up, but the token often blocks one of your opponent’s creatures. Two bodies also mean Searchlight Companion a is great card for any deck with reconfigure cards. Companion is at it’s best best in a deck that has synergies, but I’ve never been sad to put the card in my deck.