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posted in Vintage News

Has the new mulligan rule actually been implemented? I thought it was just an experiment?

posted in Vintage News

@chubbyrain said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

@smmenen I listened to the VSL analysis (good stuff, tough breaks in the games as well) and the initial part of the London Mulligan on reducing variance. I think it will actually benefit Shops and PO. A 58% chance of hitting a single restricted card without Powder is very high and both Shops and PO have powerful cards that they can mulligan to if their opener is not a typical Shops or PO opener. PO has potential access to Timetwister, Tinker, Ancestral, Tutors, Mentor, Balance, Wheel, Windfall (which could get much better), any 1 of which could eliminate the disadvantage of mulliganing. Shops has access to Trinisphere, Chalice, and to a lesser degree Thorn, Sphere, Strip Mine, and Workshop as powerful cards that can enable degenerate openings and win games with fewer cards. Dredge and Survival both benefit as Bazaar decks, though for Survival finding Bazaar is neither necessary or sufficient to win and so the rule's change won't help as much. The decks that get hit the most are the control decks that generally don't operate well on few cards. The only card that really saves them on mulligans is Ancestral. BUG Fish and Blue Aggro-Control are both going to be impacted by the new rules change.

I think you are missing the forest for the trees in the middle part of your analysis.

While it's true that Shops has a (growing) number of restricted lock parts, a Shops deck is unlikely to mulligan more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find them, simply because modern Shops decks rely on cumulative pressure (both lock parts and damage) more than a single tactic to hold an opponent at bay, like it could do in the days of unrestricted Trinisphere.

Similarly, PO is not going to want to mulligan any more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find the titular card. PO requires a density of mana rocks and other perms to make PO payoff. Thus, it needs a larger starting hand in general.

Your math is correct, but you are applying it in a way that does not properly account for the context in which the mulligan occurs.

What really matters is the relative rate of mulliganing in the assessment of 'who benefits?'. It's possible that all decks will be more likely to mulligan to 6 as a result of the rule change. But I think both PO and Shops (as well as Xerox) will have a lower mulligan rate increase relative to the other strategies described in the podcast.

So, if PO and Shops were to increase their mulligan rate by, say, 5% under the London rule (such as from 1 out of every 5 games to 1 out of every 4 games), then Survival and Eldrazi's will be even greater (say, 8%, from 1 out of every 4 games to 1 out of every 3), and that's accounting for any imbalance in starting levels of mulligan rates.

posted in Vintage News

Good writeup, but I'm wondering: was Colorless Eldrazi showing up because it's actually good, or were people just playing it because Shops was bugged on MTGO and this was the closest replacement?

posted in Vintage Tournaments

Last night's matches were super interesting (to me). I love the intricacies of the Xerox mirror, so I immensely appreciated the matches that demonstrated the advantages of different colors and tactics and the possible lines of play.

SPOILER ALERT:

W
A
R
N
I
N
G

As for who will win the finals, although he doesn't have the highest MTGO win rate according to that database in the other thread, for the last year or so, I've viewed Andreas as the most ambidextrous and overall best Vintage player, in the sense of someone who plays at a pro level, but deeply understands the format, and tends to play the best decks. On the other hand, Rachel is a savant with blue decks - she's very, very facile, and intuits the correct and best play quickly and swiftly.

To me, that sets up a perfect finals - two Vintage experts, but one who is deep and wide, who plays at an extremely high technical level, and another who is basically an extremely high level fun and intuitive player, and can easily overpower the former. We saw how Rachel did that to Rich, even though Rich is obviously a deeper format expert. I've felt all season long that Andreas was going to win the tournament, so I guess I'll go with Andreas, but Rachel has a great shot if Andreas isn't very careful in his deck selection, and doesn't also match her draws in terms of power.

posted in Vintage News

Separately, the point I made in the podcast is that the defining feature of Magic is variance. While lamented in some respects, by being non-deterministic, Magic actually introduces skill aspects that could otherwise not exist. For example, without variance, deck construction would look very differently.

My main point, though, is that different aspects of the game - deck construction rules, floor rules, the sideboard - are all attempts to manage variance in one direction or another.

The 4 card max/60 card min rule fixes variance at a certain rate (that is, create variance - a no minimum deck size could be entirely deterministic).

The best 2/3 match structure and the mulligan are two additional rules (generally floor rules) that try reduce variance in the other direction. That is, matches that are played as best 2 of 3 have less variance that best of one matches. It moves you closer to the statistical norm.

I am of the firm belief that you want to produce a balance of variance into a Goldilocks zone, not too much, but not too little variance either.

My overall fear is that the London rule reduces variance too much. I don't think that decks should have that kind of starting hand consistency. I wouldn't mind it as much if starting deck size were a bit larger, but I think it makes it too easy to find a single card, and also to assemble 2-card combos.

While I have this fear, I also like the fact that the rule should help non-tier one decks the most. The decks that stand to benefit the most are those that are not Xerox, PO or Shops (the three tier 1 decks).

So, for the short term, I think the London rule will be good for the metagame, in the sense of 1) increasing metagame diversity, 2) increasing metagame balance, and 3) increasing win rates for (some) lower tier decks. But the long term effects are harder to gauge, and I am less sanguine in the long run.

Anyway, that is a very brief synopsis of my remarks in the podcast, which were more elaborate and detailed.

posted in Vintage News

@evouga said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

Here is the additional analysis you asked about in the podcast:

Probabilities of finding a Bazaar under the Vancouver system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 38.58% 41.45% 51.77%
4 86.50% 88.70% 94.18%

For the London system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 58.04% 62.14% 75.52%
4 97.18% 98.08% 99.57%

Methodology: I assumed you

  • keep any hand with at least one Bazaar
  • use Serum Powder whenever you draw it and do not have a Bazaar
  • under the London system, tuck any extra Serum Powders back in your deck before any use of Serum Powder.

Mathematica source code: https://www.dropbox.com/s/np0y0maooxln4cr/mulligan.nb?dl=0

If I am reading this table correctly, it says that the probability of finding a particular/specific restricted card in your opening hand under the London system and with 4 powders is 75.52%?

I'm assuming that Bazaar is the column, and Powder the row. That's pretty astounding.

But if I am reading that table correctly, it also means that with 0 Powder, you have a 97% chance of finding Bazaar. 1 more powder gets you to 98%. 4 get you to 99.57%. That basically eliminates a game loss a tournament from the mull to oblivion.

posted in Vintage Strategy

Forgive me if you've covered this in another thread, but I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Workshops? Surely if you're optimizing for wins, 4 Mishra's Workshop is going to get you further than 1 Black Lotus in a Jund deck? I think the Jund deck is promising and fun, and I think there are lots of decks you could build without blue power ... but a plain old Workshop deck has a decades-long record of success. Jund and any other deck in this thread just don't have the track record ... and if turns out that decks like Hatebears or GW or Jund are great right now, those are heavily metagame-centric decks that rapidly shift in power level every few months, where some form of Workshop deck has been top tier for literally 20 years.

I'm bad with prices but a quick look on MTGGoldfish suggests you should be able to cover the price of 4 Workshops with just the blue power and a single mox. If instead you sell the blue power and the Lotus, you'll not only end up with a dramatically better deck, but possibly more cash on hand.

If you just want to be able to say you own a Lotus, or you want to sit on it for #mtgfinance, or you just don't enjoy playing Workshops, then forget everything I said ... but I felt like the obvious answer went unstated.

posted in Official Tournament Results

We had 9 people come out to battle some vintage. After 5 rounds of Swiss +1, these were the results:

The Twitch stream VOD has been uploaded to our youtube, which can be found here.

Thanks to everyone that came to play! Hope to see you at the next TSO!

posted in Vintage Strategy

Sulfur elemental was a mainstay in 4 mentor land, but anymore, i don't know if it is worth the slot, can you talk more about wanting that as a sideboard card?

posted in Vintage Community

@brianpk80 said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

Bazaar of Baghdad is the problem, and would be easily restrictable if not for its iconic status implied by the Forsythe tweet, it would be removable. Since it isn't, all we have left are mitigating measures.

I think this is the part people have an issue with. I just don't buy that bazaar is "easily restrictable". By the numbers bazaar decks just aren't good enough to support the claim that they need a restriction. The basis of the OP is that results aren't everything, which I can grant you. However, if the main other factor is fun had by the people playing, it hard to get objective or far-reaching about that.

Your fun and my fun are different. I don't believe there is a consensus about bazaar and fun. There is no massive outcry about non-matches as there was with Trinisphere (which by the way exceeded dredge in metagame percentage at the time of the "no fun" restriction). There is no time constraint, like there has been with Top in multiple formats. So what is the basis, the only thing that it appears you can be arguing for is your fun is impacted. I think it is perfectly valid to say that, but I also believe that is not a sufficient argument to get a card banned.

I also think more cards from shops would be banned now because for many people (dare I say more than dislike dredge) playing against artifact prison pieces is their least favorite thing in magic, but I hope that doesn't happen. Side note: The thing i have actually heard most in playing magic for 20+ years is "counterspells aren't fun", I hope the people that control the B&R list for vintage don't get wind of that.