@BazaarOfBaghdad said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":
@Smmenen I don't really get your argument either. My guess is that your saying that after a Gush restriction, with less of a target on its back, Mentor decks will fare as well or better results-wise. The main cards that "prey" on Gush decks are spheres and a few anti-draw cards. I don't foresee people discarding many of their card choices because of the card Gush exiting en masse. But I suspect I've badly misconstrued your argument somehow, so feel free to explain again. I'm too lazy to scroll upthread to look for something more on point, but if it exists, feel free to copy/past instead of reexplaining.
@vaughnbros said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":
@Smmenen What is your reasoning exactly now?
It's the same point I've been making over and over again for nearly a year now:
Monastery Mentor is the best win condition in the format. It's easy to resolve, protect, fast, and difficult to remove, answer or address.
The reason Mentor currently is so deeply associated with Gush decks is because Gush shells currently constitute the strongest set of synergistic blue cards to surround Mentor with.
If Gush is restricted, Mentor will simply migrate to the next best set of blue cards to surround itself with. As I said, "like a hermit crab moving to another home."
That's the general argument. Now I will delve more into the specifics, and then provide some specific numeric estimates.
Mo' Mana, Mo' Mentor, Mo' Monks
Gush decks have a long history with "growing" creatures, whether vertical or horizontal, and that's one reason Mentor fit right into Gush decks.
But because Mentor, unlike Dryad, Pyromancer or most other growth creature that have seen heavy play, triggers on artifact spells, there is a huge incentive to play not only full Moxen (all 5 Alpha Moxen), but also Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. You'll notice that very few Mentor decks currently run all of these. Essentially, only Remora Mentor, Esper Mentor, and Paradoxical Mentor.
Yet, full Moxen and Mana Crypt are insane with Mentor, not simply because they trigger Mentor, but because they lead to earlier Mentors AND can be used to play Tops, which are absolutely bonkers with Mentor, because top is a guaranteed source of Mentor and Monk triggers every turn. A pair of Tops is even more insane, because you can essentially trade them off and generate prowess and monks for every mana in play.
The problem with Gush decks is that Gush decks incentivize fewer mana sources, including less than all 5 Moxen, and rarely play Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. As a result, they also rarely play Tops.
So, there is a fundamental tension between two general axioms: 1) Mentor is faster and more aggressive with more artifact acceleration, and can do more things like Top shenanigans and actually play more spells more quickly (recall Gush is a turn 3 play, at earliest), but 2) Gush provides a superior blue shell because of the free card advantage, mana advantage, tempo and virtual card advantage.
With Gush in the format, the tension is resolved decidedly in favor of Gush. Roughly about 70-95% of all Mentor decks (decks defined as having 3 or 4 Monastery Mentors maindeck) in the Vintage Metagame are Gush decks, depending on the month or metagame.
However, with Gush restricted, there is no reason not to go all in on the big mana plan anymore. That means that Mentors will becoming down 1) more quickly, and 2) monk production will likely be faster as well.
In other words, not only do I not believe that restricting Gush will weaken Mentor, but it actually has the potential to free Mentor to rise above it's current station. I'll go over some numbers to show how this can be true.
Estimate of Mentor in a post-Gush Metagame
You point out that Mentor is currently 23% of all Vintage decks on MTGdecks. In the Bazaar of Moxen, Mentor was 20% of the metagame. Let's just assume that Mentor is consistently around that range. It might fall to 19% one month (as it did in MTGO data recently) or be a little higher (it was 22% of all reported MTGO decks in February).
Taking this as a baseline introduces one preliminary complication that has to be dealt with proactively: not all Mentor decks are Gush decks. Recall that I define Mentor decks as any deck with 3-4 maindeck Mentors. For example, to take an extreme one, 7 out of the 24 Mentor decks reported in the MTGO daily results from Feburary were Paradoxical, not Gush, Mentor.
So, with that preliminary information out of the way, we can begin to make an estimate into three broad categories:
Mentor decks that are completely unaffected by the restriction of Gush (anywhere between 5-30% of current Mentor decks)
Mentor decks that would exist in a post-restriction environment with just 1 Gush, like the 8th place Mentor deck (by Steven Martens) from the Bazaar of Moxen.
Mentor decks that would be constructed essentially from scratch in the post-Gush metagame (or, revive earlier forms of Mentor, such as Bulletproof Mentor or other decks that were conceived in Mentor's very early days).
So, if Mentor is currently 20-23% of the Vintage Metagame, with the vast majority of that being Gush Mentor, but not all of it, here's what I think roughly the ranges are:
Current non-Gush Mentor decks.
It's unlikely that the 2-5% of the Mentor decks in the overall Vintage metagame that don't play Gush would likely diminish by very much, and would likely continue forward in the post-Gush metagame without much change. In fact, it's much more likely that these decks will grow as a % of the metagame, in combination with the (3) category of Mentor deck. The ceiling on these decks is probably around 10% in the short term because Paradoxical Mentor is checked with Null Rod effects.
1 Gush Mentor decks.
The restriction of Gush will undoubtedly produce a reduction in the number of Gush Mentor decks in the metagame, but it won't take them to zero. 1 Gush, 1 Treasure Cruise, and 1 Dig Mentor decks will persist. The only question is how large their numbers will be. Seeing as Gush Mentor is roughly between 16%-21% of any Vintage metagame, the question is: what % of players currently playing those 4 Gush decks will transition or otherwise switch to a 1 Gush deck that essentially uses the same shell?
I estimate a high number here, for a number of reasons. First, I think the two restricted Delve cards with cards like JVP and Dack, are still one of the best things you can do with Mentor. So I'd guess that somewhere between 40-60% of Gush Mentor players will continue to play 1 Gush/2 Delve Mentor.
That equates to roughly 8-14% of the Vintage metagame will be 2 Delve/1 Gush Mentor, meaning the deck pretty similar to Gush Mentor today, but simply replacing the 2-3 Gushes with cards like Mystical, more Probe, etc.
It's possible this number is large, however, but I can't imagine a floor less than 6-7% of overall Top 8s unless category 3 is really that much better.
- New Big Blue Mentor
This is the big growth area.
Here's something folks need to remember: roughly 45-50% of the Vintage metagame is always some form of blue control deck. Granted, this include Oath, Landstill, and Gush decks currently. But let's not forget that Tezzeret decks actually reached 45% of Top 8s, something Gush decks haven't done ever in the last 9 months.
I estimate that if Gush is restricted, there will be explosion of growth in this category, with many different strains of Mentor emerging, but then eventually consolidating in a few months, just as Mentor did back in January-March, 2015. The specific numbers I estimate are this range: 6%-18% of the metagame. I would be shocked if the big blue Mentor decks were less than 6% of the overall Vintage metagame, and surprised if they rose to more than 18%, as I expect that the singleton Gush/2 Delve Mentor decks will continue to hog up Vintage real estate.
So there you have it.
When broken down into it's component parts, my claim is pretty simple:
If Mentor decks maintain increase their % of the Vintage metagame if Gush is restricted, it will be because the diminution of singleton Gush decks with delve cards is smaller than expected and/or because that diminution is offset by an equal or greater number of non-Gush blue Mentor decks. The estimates or projectsion to support this conclusion are reasonable and drawn from data and an understanding of the current metagame.
To be completely honest, 20-23% of the Vintage metagame is really not that much. It's not at all difficult to imagine Mentor being 35, or even 40-45% of total Top 8s, like Thirst TIme Vault decks in 2009. Restricting Gush is the thing, quite paradoxically, that could cause this to happen.
Now to reply to the specific bits I haven't addressed:
Last time when I challenged you on it, you just pointed to the fact that you said the % of Mentor could stay the same and the discussion was derailed into something else.
Link to the specific post where this happened, because I don't believe this to be true.
Honestly, if you think Mentor should be restricted instead I'd be down for that as well.
Well that's great, except that if restricting Mentor curbs Gush decks, then restricting both cards is unnecessary. That's why I say: start with Mentor.
From what I can find in this thread your entire argument seems to now be that the only not broken blue deck is Gush.
Then you haven't been reading carefully. I've made a number of other arguments. For example, there are numerous posts in this thread asserting that restricting Gush would do little to curb the 1 Gush, 2 Delve deck, which may still just be the best blue shell, even if Gush is restricted.
However, decks like landstill and planeswalker control have been sitting on the fringe for a while now. They just don't put the results consistently since they are so suppressed by the power of Mentor Gush.
That's probably true, but restricting Gush won't bring them back. And, in any case, it's not legitimate to restrict Gush just to make "mana drain" decks more viable. That's an illegitimate motive for restriction.
You mention Outcome, Storm, and other degenerate combo decks that Gush needs to "put in place".
Quote me, because I never said.
I'm not sure how you can come to any definitive conclusion of where those decks will fall.
Of course not. I can't tell you definitively what the weather will be tomorrow or the stock market average at close of business on Monday. But you can make reasonably informed estimates on both, looking at economic data or climate patterns and history, respectively.
Even if all these players stayed on some version of Mentor. What exactly is drawing more players to play Mentor?
I already explained this. Gush does have a suppressing effect on other blue decks. In fact, that's one of the reasons that having Gush around is a good thing - blue decks tend to be a larger part of the overall Vintage metagame when Gush is restricted. My argument is that any loss of Mentor decks in the Vintage metagame resulting from the restriction of Gush will be equaled or surpassed by the number of new Mentor decks that arrive in more traditional blue shells. Reasoning is presented more systematically above.
If you don't agree with any of those estimates, then indicate exactly what your estimates would be, not just that you disagree.
@JimTosetti said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":
I am of the opinion that the VSL is nothing but a positive element of Vintage. Any format needs as many tournaments as possible to take place. In the past Vintage was suffering because not enough attention was given to it because of the lack of public events. As a result, it is possible that the WOTC and the DCI did not focus on sculpting the format the way it would others. I remember when players complained Vintage did not get the attention it needed because it did not have nearly the following as other formats. Now that it has the attention I am surprised people are now saying the attention is a negative thing.
I think what people are saying is not that they want the DCI to neglect the format, but that a few high profile people complaining shouldn't drive DCI policy, and that the VSL may be a larger bullhorn or platform for this effect than would otherwise be the case, possibly resulting in harmful restrictions that would not have occurred otherwise.
I have speculated in last few months about what needs restricted. One of my cards was Thorn of Amethyst. Interestingly enough the European Vintage champs was won by an Eldrazi deck, and the top 8 also contained other decks with this card. However, I am not in favor of restricting the card by itself, or possibly at all at this point. I think Thorn decks are easily addressed by numerous tools. Mentor decks on the other hand run rampant. The deck is beatable, but popularity is another factor that adds to the difficulty of controlling it. I think that Mentor is the most restictable card followed by Gitaxian Probe. In addition, I agree with Brassman about about Mental Misstep providing predictability to the format. Without it, I agree that greater variety woud be present in the meta, but I don't think there would be any strategic reason to it. One drops are efficient and powerful in Vintage, and I think keeping them in check is a good thing. If Mental Misstep were restricted I think Dark Ritual decks would quickly rise to the top.
Gush is another card that seems to have about as many supporters as people who want to see it restricted. I think that restricting it empowers Mana Drain decks which I would view as a positive thing. I think the best reason for keeping it unrestricted would be the Fastbond combo. However, I think this is a thing of the past considering Walking Ballista. In my opinion Oath is not doing well as a result of Gush decks.
I agree with alot of what you say, but I don't think Oath's presence in the metagame is really affected all that much by Gush decks, but rather the printing of specialized hate cards like Cage and most importantly Priest.