@fsecco said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":
After hearing all the podcast, I still want to hear your views on Mentor being restricted. Seems like it would solve every issue you tackled in every card at once. Young Pyromancer does NOT substitute Mentor, since it's a very inferior card. The clock is not nearly as fast and it's very much killed by any piece of removal you can imagine (even Fatal Push).
I believe just restricting Mentor and leaving all the blue spells unrestricted is the best route.
As I said in another thread, I think that restricting Mentor would have a measurable, non-trivial reduction on the % of Gush decks in the top of the metagame (whether measured as 3-1 or 4-0 daily results or as a % of all Top8s). In February, there were 30 reported Gush decks in the dailies (out of 109 reported decks), but only 18 of those were Mentor (UW, Jeskai, and 4c Sylvan). If that ratio holds, then roughly 60% of Gush decks are Mentor decks. That's similar to numbers I've seen in the past. Based upon that ratio (Gush Mentor decks to Gush decks in the metagame), it's completely reasonable to believe that restricting Mentor would precipitate a reduction in the % of Gush decks in these metagames.
The challenge is predicting exactly how much.
The largest possible reduction would be the 60% of Mentor decks as a ratio of all Gush decks. This would only happen if each of the Gush Mentor players switched to a non-Gush deck following Mentor's restriction.
The smallest possible reduction would be 0%, which would only happen if every Mentor piloted stuck with a Gush strategy, but replaced Mentor with Pyromancer, Hydra, or some other mixture of substitutes.
To put this math into % of the metagame terms, continuing with the February dailies, Gush decks were 27.5% of all reported decks. Gush Mentor decks were 16.5% of all reported decks. (However, there were at least 7 non-Gush Mentor decks reported in February, such that Mentor was actually 23% of all reported decks (not counting Mentor appearing in landstill, etc.- but this isn't germane to the more narrow inquiry of the potential impact of the restriction of Mentor on prevalence of Gush.)
So, the rosiest scenario is that Gush decks fall by whatever % of overall Gush decks employ Mentor (roughly 60%). And the most pessimistic projection is that all Gush Mentor pilots would substitute Mentor with something else, but continue to play Gush.
The truth is likely somewhere in between. But predicting exactly whether the decline in Gush decks would be closer to 60% or 0% is very difficult.
In theory, the best data point we could use is to look at the % of Gush decks in the metagame before the printing of Mentor at the beginning of 2015. Unfortunately, there are multiple problems with this approach.
First of all, no one collected this data in many years. The Q1 2011 data has overall Gush decks at 12.5% of the metagame, and the Q2 2011 data has Gush at 11.1%. But we have no data after that but before Q1 of 2016.
Second, even if you had that data, I'm not sure how useful it would be. Anything before Innistrad, such as the two data points just mentioned, doesn't account for Young Pyromancer, or the fact that Dig and Cruise exist. Also, Mentor arrived (or was arriving) after Treasure Cruise was restricted, but before Dig was restricted, but also long after Dack was around. But even if you could look at the data pre-Mentor, it wouldn't account for the fact that you can play 1 Dig and 1 Cruise still. So, I'm not sure there is a real world data set that you could use even as a reliable anchoring effect baseline even if someone had collected it.
So, any estimate is going to be very rough, and mostly speculation. That said, here's how I'd think about it.
If anywhere close to 60% of current Gush pilots are playing Mentor, as the February dailies suggest, then restricting Mentor is almost certainly going to have a statistically significant impact. I think a realistic low end minimum impact would likely be a 10% decline in Gush decks. In overall metagame terms, that would equate to roughly a 3-4% decline in the % of Gush decks in the overall top performing part of the metagame, so a decline from 30% to 26%, say or 27% to 23%, depending on the month. In other words, this would mean that roughly 16% of Mentor pilots would switch to a non-Gush deck. That assumes that roughly 84% of Gush Mentor pilots would play another Gush deck or just replace 3 Mentors with something else.
Yet, I feel pretty confident predicting that would be the minimum effect, and the low-end of the band.
I think it's probably more realistic that probably 33% of Gush Mentor players would switch to a non-Gush deck. If that happens, that means that 20% decline in Gush decks, or a 6% overall decline in the % of Gush decks in the entire metagame. That would take, for example, Gush from 30% of the metagame to 24% or 22% of the metagame instead of 27%.
I don't think, it's improbable, however, to see something like 50% of Gush Mentor players turn to a non-Gush deck. This would mean a 30% decline Gush decks in the metagame, or an 8% reduction as a % of the overall metagame, from like 30% to 22% or 27% to 19%.
Something more than that is also very possible, but less likely than those scenarios, I would guess.
The key question, as I've stated before, is what people feel is the maximum acceptable % of Gush decks in the metagame. 30%? 27.5%? 25%? 20%? Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you have different restriction targets to try to get Gush under an acceptable threshold.