Nope. Didn't say that. I'm referring to the totality of the circumstances here... The Magic tournament scene varies in detail across regions and locally within regions depending on tournament size, level of rules enforcement, demographics of communities, quirks of local metagames, etc. To acquire good data out of such a field, a large, unbiased, preferably randomized sample would be necessary. Although video-recorded matches and Magic Online matches do offer records from which data could be drawn, the broader set of tournament gameplay has no inherent record, so observers would need to go out into the field and collect samples. That is, professionals would need to be hired to carry out this data collection. Observers draw attention. In matches with big-name players at large tournaments, they could blend into the crowd, but that's a small subset of tournament gameplay. For most tournaments, a stranger walking in and taking notes on random matches would lead to questioning, and this could become problematic and even dangerous. Often, nothing would come of it, but for the scope of data collection that would be necessary to get good samples, especially over many years if this is an ongoing process, something is bound to happen. If, across the board, there's only a 1% chance that players will go online and post about these strange visitors at a tournament, there'd be a massive number of reports about it. If there's only a 0.5% chance that it would lead to a hostile confrontation or involve tournament organizers or judges, that would still happen enough that we'd see plenty of reports about it. I made those numbers up, but I suspect that the actual numbers would be considerably higher. Due to the way human social interactions work, the more hidden one of our hypothetical data collectors is, the more attention that will create once the individual is found out. A plain, obvious observer might get away with being generally ignored by most people, but is going to be seen by everyone and some small portion of the crowd will say something about it on the internet. A ninja hiding under tables with a periscope might be able to avoid detection sometimes, but is going to generate quite the buzz once found out. In the small number of tournaments that I have attended, I've never seen mysterious note-takers randomly observing people's matches. This isn't inconsistent with a covert data collection program, as I could just always happen to miss the tournaments where it happens, but I've also seen zero reports of it happening anywhere. Zero. None. If something may or may not be happening and I'd expect that some of the people, some of the time, would talk about it, but no one is talking about it, I conclude that the thing isn't happening. This is the same approach that I take to many things in life. For example, I do not believe that the city of Tacoma, Washington is currently on fire. I cannot actually see the city of Tacoma from where I live, nor do I have a live video feed of the city. But there are a lot of other people who can see Tacoma from where they live, and if it were on fire, they would know. Only a small fraction of them would report such an event in a manner that I might see it, but because there are so very many of them, it is inevitable that in such an event, I'd see not just one report, but that some websites I frequent would be inundated with discussion and coverage of the fire. Because this is not happening, I conclude, without direct observation, that Tacoma probably isn't on fire right now. Wizards of the Coast, if they wanted a tournament data collection program of the scale in question, could opt for a publicly disclosed program. This would have some advantages. Their agents would have official recognition, so they wouldn't be confronted by suspicious players or tournament organizers who wonder if these are people up to no good. They could act as a direct interface for local stores attempting to manage promotions and such, they could check up on local judges, get feedback from players who might not normally be vocal about things, run promotions themselves, find out things that they wouldn't necessarily learn if they were hiding in the shadows, etc. In contrast, I can't think of a single good reason to have a covert data collection program over an overt one. Wizards of the Coast has a track record of being not merely transparent about information when it isn't a liability or spoiler, but actively sensational about it. Yeah, like any company, they have things that they don't want to disclose publicly, but that seems to be more in cases where they don't want the public to see something until the final product is out there, where they want to control the release of information so as to build up suspense as the promote a new product, or where it doesn't behoove them to air their dirty laundry. They don't go revealing what really happened behind closed doors with the shifts in attitude regarding the Reserved List. They spoil upcoming sets according to a schedule they control and when there is a leak, they investigate the source. They also do "Inside R&D" and retrospective highlights of the process behind making sets and stuff like that. I think that it'd be out of character for them to hide something so innocuous as collecting data on tournament gameplay. We know a little about the sorts of people Wizards of the Coast hires. In the past, I actually applied there a few times from 2013 to 2014 (I live close WotC headquarters and I wasn't having luck with job applications for the field I got my degree in, so I was broadening my search and figured an entry-level job there might be worth going for) and still get emails about open positions (by now, I have experience with my current job and taking a pay cut to switch to a completely different industry would be a questionably decision, but I still consider it sometimes and I stay on the mailing list anyway mostly out of curiosity). But anyone who is interested can check out that stuff. We also know some of the backgrounds of the people who do work there and we know about the work people do who used to work there and have since left the company. There's definitely some diversity in people's backgrounds. I've seen computer people, artists, people who majored in communications, successful tournament players who were recruited to work on the game, games design professionals, and some other categories of professions. No career statisticians, though. I'd assume that there actually have been some, and that I just didn't see it. It seems like with how many different types of people who have worked there over the years, there's probably been a professional statistician in there somewhere. But whatever the case, it's not the norm. It's not just out of character for them to have a covert tournament gameplay data collection program. It's out of character for them to have any tournament data collection program. And in part, that's unfortunate. With this, I'm not saying that they're doing a terrible job. I bet they do have some people working on Magic who are much better with statistics than me (I took one stats course in college and applied statistics somewhat in my chemistry coursework). But it's something that I definitely think they could use more of an emphasize more. From the language they use and the decision's they do talk about, I think they're relying too much on qualitative assessment of what feels right to them and getting too much confirmation bias. This is a tangent, but there are things they could look at quantitatively and don't. Maybe they should. An international tournament gameplay data collection program would be expensive. They'd have to justify such an expense. I'd imagine that this would be difficult to do. Keeping data collection a secret could generate additional expenses beyond what an overt program would have. That would be really tough to justify. Two people can keep a secret if three of them are dead. Magic tournaments have been popular for a long time. Unless a covert data collection program just started, there would be too many opportunities for it to be outed. Wizards of the Coast has provided an alternative explanation for what information they're using to make the assessment with regard to mulligans in this case. While they could be lying to cover for their secret spy program, I see no purpose behind that, whereas their stated explanation (running tests and listening to player feedback) makes sense and seems consistent with the facts. I can't believe that I just got suckered into seriously arguing for the non-existence of mulligan-watching spy conspiracy in the Magic tournament scene, but there you have it. Well played, Spiderman. Really though, it can be a useful exercise to articulate why a claim is ridiculous, rather than just intuiting that it is. I don't think that you really believe in the existence of this spy conspiracy fantasy yourself. You just got hung up on the idea that I couldn't debunk it. Well, I think that I now have.