PTQ Berlin 2008 – On the (statistical) significance of Faeries

One of the things I enjoy doing during each constructed Pro Tour Qualifier season is reading through the posted decklists, looking for interesting novel choices or just overall trends in successful builds. There are a number of resources for decklists from the current Berlin 2008 Pro Tour Qualifier season:
2008 PTQ Berlin decklists at Wizards
Star City Games deck database
Deckcheck.net
These are partially but not entirely overlapping resources, so it’s good to check in with all of them to get a comprehensive view.
One thing I felt I’d been noticing during the current Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block constructed PTQ season was a tendency for Faeries decks to appear more often in the top eights of larger tournaments. But was that just my personal impression, or is there something to it?
Click through to the extended article for the answer.

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My favorite play

I’ve been meaning, for a while, to excerpt a clip of my favorite high-level competitive play ever and post it. Here it is, straight from the finals of Pro Tour Charleston 2006 — Tomohiro Kaji deducing the contents of Celso Zampere’s hand during the process of playing a Mimeofacture:

This is a definite “don’t try this at home” moment — or, more specifically, don’t try this in a timed round (and even Kaji picked up a Slow Play warning from the judge, despite the untimed nature of Pro Tour top eight games). It is also peculiar to the top eight of an event, as your opponent’s exact decklist is not otherwise going to be public knowledge. Regardless, it’s my favorite moment of high-level play because it was, when I first saw it, such a clever and unexpected approach to perfectly determining hidden information based on public information.
And don’t forget that he memorized his opponent’s decklist during lunch.