Sometime in the last few months scouting has become a hot topic in the Magic community. I don’t recall where the allegations came from, but the issue was framed as pros having access to spreadsheets of players and the archetypes that they were playing and sharing this information with other members of super-teams gave them an unfair advantage.
This position seems a little silly to me considering that top-level pros tend to get the most exposure from the coverage team. Their decks are featured in feature matches and deck techs, which exposes a lot more information than an archetype in a spreadsheet. This exposure is what makes the Pro Tour even possible, so it obviously isn’t going anywhere.
Matt Sperling wrote an article for Channel Fireball yesterday outlining the problems with scouting and offering potential solutions, though there are a number of difficulties in working through the problem- if you even view scouting as such.
When it comes to Standard, it’s been a long time since knowing my opponent’s archetype has had a dramatic impact on my mulligan decisions. This information does have a much higher impact on Modern and Legacy mulligans though, where Lightning Bolt can either be the best card in your deck or a functional mulligan.
Even still, the advantage gained by mulliganing aggressively is minimal. The cards that you don’t want to draw are still in your deck, and you are starting with one fewer card in your hand after all. I have never put in the effort to scout, as despite the fact that it’s very easy to scout, the benefit still isn’t worth it. Even when players have approached me to tell me what my opponent was playing before a round, the information has never benefited me in any meaningful way.
I am curious though. Regardless of the practicality of a solution, do you think that scouting has a place in Magic? Does it matter that the advantage is negligible, or is any advantage from discovering deck information constitute too much of one? Does it matter that any team is capable of scouting? Please expound on your opinion in the comments!