Once all the cards in Ikoria Limited had been previewed I sat down with some spreadsheets and started analyzing the set. I made sheets that looked like this:
I wasn't trying to rank anything. I just wanted to be able to see what was going on in the set — to look at the cards individually and try to figure out which aspects mattered, to highlight patterns, and to look at how well-supported each relevant mechanic seemed to be in each color and what the curves were like.
This was the basis for my initial evaluation of the set that I used to figure out what the actual archetypes were and what each color pair wanted to do. This made it easy to identify early on that cycling was strong and well-supported, and that most allied-color decks weren't going to be particularly synergistic.
This gave me a pretty big advantage in the first week when people were still figuring the format out. For the first few days I was forcing cycling before it was really respected . . .