When to Move From Swiss to 8-4 on MTGO

“Hello Jon and Marshall. Love you show and certainly i am getter a little better thanks to you guys. I have a very simple question and maybe one that you guys have already addressed before (though i could not find it anywhere): when should i move up from swiss queues to 8-4’s? Ive been grinding swiss for little while now, to the point where I go into the draft expecting to 3 0. Since 4322’s have worse EV, I’ve tried to 8-4 twice and got crushed. Should I insist on 8-4? Should I try 4322’s? Does the rating matter at all while deciding this kind of things?”
Good question! One that we get fairly often, actually.

I’d recommend checking out this show #146. (Man, that episode feels like it was just yesterday!)

Also, the links in those show notes are very good. Especially check out Steven Stadnicki’s article. Also, this link will show you that below a 50% win percentage 4322 is better, above 50% 8-4s are better, and that 4322 is never the most efficient option.

You also have to take into account what’s valuable to you. If you’re looking to maximize most Magic played relative to money spent, Swiss is by far your best bet.

Your win percentage is going to change from Swiss to 84, though to what degree I can’t say. It might feel like your win percentage is lower when you draft 84s because you play less rounds per draft, so it’s hard to get a good feel for it with a few number of drafts.

There’s really no key moment that defines “now it’s time to draft 84s”. I wish there was a rule like “after you go 9-0 in Swiss it’s time to move on,” but there’s not. You just kind of go by feel, since most of us don’t have enough data to make a purely mathematical choice.

Overall, make sure you’re not lying to yourself. If number of rounds played is important to you, don’t make yourself play 84s over swiss if it will make you less happy in the long run. Just don’t fall into the inefficient 4322 trap.

-Jon Loucks

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