One author, Danny West, wrote a piece on July 23rd about variance as a unnecessarily hated element of Magic. He saw it as the competitive chance for all who are involved in the larger tournament scene. So many variables means you can run hot and win big.
I don't really see this as a true demonstration of skill or ability. I accept when I play at my FLGS that I may have really good luck through my games which are not a solid indicator of the deck or the pilot. The same is true for my opponents as well. In the end, card deck statistics and probabilties do not always demonstrate themselves well.
I had a discussion with another Magic player about how simple or complex a deck can be. We agreed that the more choices involved, the harder the deck is to play. I agree with this metric.
If you apply this metric to other games though, which is not hard to do, Magic is by far one of the least complex games. Warhammer of either flavor is more complex, as is League of Legends or DOTA 2. Both of these games then demonstrate real skill in their players. The best players do win consistently because they ARE the best. I don't see how the variance of Magic makes it a more competitive game.
This is coming from a guy who plays multiple games, and I enjoy all of them. I love to game period. But it is easy for me to see that certain games are more competitive and a greater and more accurate demonstration of skill. This is what I like to see in competition.