SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?"

@vaughnbros said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Smmenen I was busy having an aneurysm from the rest of your post trying to tell me that you didn't make any assumptions in the creation of your %'s, and didn't make it down to the bottom of your post.

I've already given you an estimate, and pointed out the key difference of assumptions.

Yes, but tell me which one you think is most likely. That is, gun to your head, which do you think is most likely to occur?

Also, you didn't answer the question. The question wasn't what happens to the metagame generally from either restriction.

The specific questions were: what happens to Card A if Card B is restricted? With Cards A and B being Mentor and Gush. You didn't fully answer the question.

You are making the assumption that some non-trivial number of currently non-Mentor decks are going to switch to Mentor. So much so that they will replace all of the Gush Mentor decks plus some.

I didn't say I didn't make any of those assumptions. I said that I didn't make most of those assumptions. There were at least 2 which I conceded I made. Again, please read more carefully. It seems like most of these posts could have been avoided had you simply put more effort into careful reading.

Why do you keep using Post numbers? These aren't numbered. Give me a time stamp if you really want to reference a previous post.

Again, look more carefully.

Posts are numbered. Look at the URL in the browser window, and you can see the post number. For example:

http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/1062/smip-podcast-63-where-do-we-go-from-here/150

Also, as you scroll down through a thread, there is a little bar at the top of the window that tells you what post you are reading... It's right next to the search bar at the top of the page.

It's not hard to miss. You just aren't looking carefully.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen
And many of my posts could be avoided by you being clearer, and more concise.

In my estimation, its most likely the % of Mentor drops with a Gush restriction. Based on the estimates I provided above, I'd place the range of change in Mentor from anywhere between -22% and +7%.

OK, we are making progress now, but your answers are still unclear.

@vaughnbros said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

In my estimation, its most likely the % of Mentor drops with a Gush restriction. Based on the estimates I provided above, I'd place the range of change in Mentor from anywhere between -22% and +7%.

Q: 1) If Mentor is restricted, what is the % change in the overall proportion of Gush decks in Top 8s that you expect? (I assume you believe it will have a downward direction, but please indicate).

A: Your answer is that Gush might fall by as much as 80% or as little as 42%? It's not clear from post 148.

You said under assumption 1 restricting Mentor results in 3% more Delver. Under assumption 2, it's unclear. Under assumption 3, you said 7% more delver. Under assumption 4, you said 14.5% more delver.

For transparency, my assumptions are as follows:

  1. Gush Mentor is about 18-22% of the metagame
  2. Gush decks are around 22-33% (depending on the month, even, and the metagame).

Feel free to contest either assumption in refining your answer. I just want to make sure we are on the same page in terms of at least understanding your position.

The operation I'm making to calculate the percentages is so subtract the portion of Gush Mentor (if Mentor is restricted) from the current metagame, and then adding the % of Delver decks you indicated under each assumption. Please confirm that I'm reading you correctly.

Q: 2: If Gush is restricted, what is the % change in the overall proportion of Mentor decks in Top 8s that you expect? (please indicate direction.)

A: Your answer is that Mentor will fall between -22% to +7%?

If Mentor is only 22% of the metagame now, are you saying that the low end estimate is that Gush's restriction causes Mentor to completely disappear? Recall that only 20% of the decks at the BoM were Mentor. Source: http://www.bazaar-of-moxen.com/en/index.html

I'm just trying to clearly understand your estimate.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen My estimates for Gush and Mentor are near identical based on whats currently in the meta. Sorry if that wasn't clear. It would also be -22% to +7%.

This is based on Mentor Gush being 22%, Delver at 7%, and PO Mentor at 7%. The low end of Gush being restricted is that only PO Mentor remains. The same is true of Mentor being restricted, only Delver remaining.

There may be some residual Gush/Mentor in the "other" blue category, but I didn't scrub through that.

last edited by vaughnbros

I think there's a fundamental disagreement that is based on metrics, one of which I think is defensible and the other, not so much.

There are sets of folks who think Gush Decks are the problem. Agreed, because the number of decks that run Gush is super high.

There are sets of folks who think The Mentor Deck is the problem. Agreed, without the Mentor deck, the current gush-based meta is miniscule.

So which is the best way to look at this?

Personally, I don't think lumping "Gush Decks" into one category is a useful metric when talking about restriction. They share characteristics, surely, but some are clearly better than others, and they are not equal. Some non-trivial percentage of the total number of Gush-based decks are decks that are causing the current problem, ignoring the fact that those causing the problem have the card Monastery Mentor as the crux is irresponsible. When people say "Gush decks" within the context of this entire discussion, it is about Mentor decks. It is revolving around Mentor decks. It is the basis for analyzing what will happen to Mentor decks. If all Gush-based decks are a serious problem in the current metagame, those wanting Gush restricted will probably have to show why Pyromancer Gush, Nahiri, and Gush/Bond are problematic in the current meta, or that those decks will be a problem in a Mentor-less meta, or were a problem before Mentor was printed (sans Nahiri).

That's where stuff gets very tricky.

The argument that the currently un-problematic Gush-based decks are still somehow destructive to the metagame is one not based off of data, or the current/past metagame. I agree, Gush being in the format is stifling to other archetypes, but calling for a restriction based off of a personal desire to see an idealized state of vintage is not defensible, especially if we're calling for official DCI intervention. Restricting Gush may be "good for the format", but it doesn't solve the immediate problem which is the Mentor deck. If we want Gush restricted because of some generalized feeling about how vintage should be, then I don't think it's reasonable. Remember (not so long ago, and currently, forever) people were opposed to the card Mishra's Workshop because of a notion that people should be able to play spells because they're playing Magic: The Gathering, and Workshop "enables" Sphere and Thorn and Tangle Wire? Same thing.

On the flipside, if we view the "Mentor Deck" itself as the problem, we can easily see that the mechanics of the central card benefit greatly from more cards in the deck than just Gush. We see Probe, Preordain, Jace(s), Dack, and a number of other restricted spells that generate the game state none of us enjoy being under. Gush isn't even a fundamentally required part of the Mentor deck. Restricting Gush doesn't hurt this engine, there are ample replacements for Gush just waiting to be utilized. The problem of "Gush Decks" being the best decks would be solved immediately if 100% of the Mentor decks switched overnight to U/R Delver/Pyro-Gush. Since that's not going to happen, I'd imagine some of that to be spread around nicely. The reason nobody's talking about Pyromancer in terms of Gush's restriction is those decks are far less menacing and it doesn't fit a narrative that Gush is the sole reason Mentor is king.

So... it seems like if you've always wanted Gush to be restricted, "Gush Decks" have always been the problem, so Gush is the problem. That's just not good enough. I think a lot of people are using Mentor's dominance as a means to leverage their distaste for Gush without actually thinking about what would happen to the Mentor decks and their standing if Gush were restricted (very little).

I'm not even a Gush player, I'd love to play weird brews and decks enabled by old cards that people don't use anymore, I like "breaking the game" and finding fun, unintended interactions between cards. That's what draws me to Vintage (and Magic in general). I rarely can do this. Seems at odds with my defense of Gush? I just think people need to be reasonable in their assessment of what's actually wrong with the format right now and what's the most effective way to fix it with the least amount of steps possible. If something Gush-based emerges after Mentor to be annoying, unfun, and choking the meta, then look at Gush.

And think about it... If Gush is gone, you will have to rework the metrics of "Gush Decks" to "Mentor Decks" anyway since the deck will still be regularly making top 8s.

So I guess the question is, is it "Gush Decks" or is it "The Monastery Mentor Deck" that's causing problems?

Do you think the two prior restrictions of Gush were not correctly decided?

@wappla said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

the data doesn't support restricting anything from the Gush decks

I think Wappla has the argument right here. I don't think anything should be restricted or banned.

@ajfirecracker They probably were, as was the restriction of Gifts Ungiven, Thirst, Frantic Search, etc.

The question is whether the current situation requires it now.

My assessment is the current situation exists because of the printing of Monastery Mentor, not the unrestriction of Gush 7 years ago.

@Dumpsterac1d I assume you are referring to me and Steve? Except that I've already stated multiple times that either a Mentor, or a Gush restriction would be fine with me.

Honestly, as a Dredge player I would much prefer Mentor to go. People playing W is a much more difficult thing for me to beat, and having my opponent durdle around with Gush is much easier to win against than a Mentor killing me on turn 2. But that wouldn't be objective. Objectively, either is a fine restriction.

Steve's argument has been that if a restriction should occur, it should be Mentor and not Gush. I'm arguing that there shouldn't be a distinction. Either card could satisfy reducing the power level of Mentor Gush.

Gush has mostly homogenized draw engines similar to how Mentor has mostly homogenized win cons. Both seem problematic in terms of diversity to me.

last edited by vaughnbros

Took this to PM to avoid having to have a technical back and forth, but we were able to get on the same page on a number of issues:

@vaughnbros asserts the following premises, which I will stipulate to for the sake of this argument:

  1. Gush Mentor is 22% of the metagame
  2. Total Gush decks are 29% of the metagame (meaning that non Mentoir Gush decks are 7% of overall metagame)
  3. Total Mentor decks (Gush Mentor and non-Gush Mentor decks) are 29% of the metagame

So far so good.

Now, back to the question:

  1. Q: 1) If Mentor is restricted, what is the % change in the overall proportion of Gush decks in Top 8s that you expect? (I assume you believe it will have a downward direction, but please indicate).

Vaughbros best estimate was a 7% of decline in Gush decks, to 22%.

My estimate, in post 112, was that between 33-50% of Gush Mentor players would switch to a non-Gush deck.

Using the stipulated premises above, that means a 7-11% decrease in Gush decks from 29%.

In other words, after all of this debate, Vaughnbros prediction is exactly in line with mine.

Now, let's turn to the second question:

  1. If Gush is restricted, what is the effect on Mentor?

Vaughbros best estimate is that Mentor would fall to 21% of Top 8s if Gush is restricted, but estimated a range of 7%-36%.

The range I estimated in post 112 is actually very similar. I estimated a post-Gush Mentor range of 16-37%, distributed among three different post-Gush restriction Mentor decks.

So, we agree on some broad generalities, although we disagree on many specifics.

My main argument is that Mentor should be restricted instead of Gush, because a restricting Mentor will bring Gush decks, overall, to an acceptable level. Vaughnbros said he agrees on this point (the latter clause, not the former).

whew that was like pulling teeth, but we got there!

We can now turn to issues on which we disagree.

I'll start:

  1. I think that the chances that Mentor either maintains or actually increases it's % of the metagame are not as improbable as he believes. Specifically, I think that the combined chances that Mentor either maintains or actually marginally increases it's % of the metagame are better than he believes.

I'm not saying that the chances that Mentor maintains it's current % or increase are more probable than a decline, but I think it is certainly more likely that Mentor would increase post Gush restriction than that Gush would increase post Mentor restriction.

That's the most important part of my claim because, if true, that makes Mentor the better restriction.

The reason for this is that Mentor is so portable among blue decks, unlike the cards Vaughbros mentioned earlier, like Thorn or Bridge. And as the best win condition in the format, post-Gush blue decks will readily adopt Mentor as a dominant win condition.

It just depends on how the post-Gush Mentor decks shake out. But the ranges and estimates on provided in post 112 show how this might happen. I'm not saying that they will, just saying that they might.

@ajfirecracker said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

Do you think the two prior restrictions of Gush were not correctly decided?

The first was correct, or at least reasonable. The second was, imo, incorrect. I have SCG articles analyzing both, and staking out these positions.

The reason I think the second was incorrect is because I believe that the combined restrictions of Scroll, Brainstorm and Ponder were more than enough to rein in Gush decks. Gush's performance from 2010-2012 suggests that I was very likely correct about this.

last edited by Smmenen

@vaughnbros said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@Dumpsterac1d I assume you are referring to me and Steve? Except that I've already stated multiple times that either a Mentor, or a Gush restriction would be fine with me.

Honestly, as a Dredge player I would much prefer Mentor to go. People playing W is a much more difficult thing for me to beat, and having my opponent durdle around with Gush is much easier to win against than a Mentor killing me on turn 2. But that wouldn't be objective. Objectively, either is a fine restriction.

Steve's argument has been that if a restriction should occur, it should be Mentor and not Gush. I'm arguing that there shouldn't be a distinction. Either card could satisfy reducing the power level of Mentor Gush.

Gush has mostly homogenized draw engines similar to how Mentor has mostly homogenized win cons. Both seem problematic in terms of diversity to me.

Not specifically talking about you both, I'm referring to everyone who says "Gush Decks" are the problem, and that Gush is the problem and needs restriction. i.e. Rich says on stream regularly (and more frequently as of late) that "Gush is the only way to beat Gush", like he's playing Pyromancer to beat Mentor or something ridiculous. The distinction needs to be made between Gush Mentor and every other Gush deck because it's useless to lump them together unless your main goal is to get Gush restricted.

In a perfect world I'm for the Brian Kelly approach (get rid of all of them) but that is based on the type of Magic I want to play. If the target is to hit Gush Mentor, it's a missed opportunity if you just hit Gush, simply because the deck works fine without Gush, it doesn't need Gush, and will probably reformulate it with Moxen and an alternative draw engine and be similarly oppressive, or find a way to abuse another "formerly restricted" draw engine that will also come to be oppressive and people will want re-restricted (jeez, Gush would be re-re-restricted).

Prioritizing the existence of Mentor the card vs Gush the card in vintage is the problem because Mentor amplifies minor problems in Vintage that become major problems and need dealing with.

edit: People will probably argue that Gush does a similar thing, but when in the past 10 years of Gush's unrestriction have people legitimately been calling for 5 cards to be restricted from Gush-based decks at once? The targets of restriction are erratic in ambivalence and target; Probe, Gush, Misstep, Preordain, Mentor, Outcome are all being discussed. The thing linking all of these to this specific moment in time is the card Monastery Mentor.

last edited by Dumpsterac1d

Exactly. This, and your post 155 were brilliantly elucidated.

There was a poll in the Vintage: Magic the Group where the number of those in favor of changing the restricted list this month surpassed the number of those wanting no changes, 73% to 27%. At the time of posting, there were 89 respondents. The cards whose statuses were most desired to be changed in descending order were Monastery Mentor, Gush, Gitaxian Probe, Mental Misstep, Paradoxical Outcome, Preordain, Mishra's Workshop, Thorn of Amethyst, Ponder (Unrestrict), Mox Opal, Wasteland.

Monastery Mentor had a clear majority in favor of its restriction (66%), Gush was in the 40% zone, and the rest were lower.

This seems in line with the chatter heard & seen at paper events, Magic forums, social media, VSL spectator input, and so forth. Given the reports that two other polls showed a near tie, I didn't expect the results to be so lopsided but they were resounding and unequivocal in favor of change. It seems restricting Monastery Mentor would be an excellent well-received decision.

last edited by brianpk80

@celticgriffon said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

Not to take away from the discussion, but is it possible we are just missing obvious answers to Mentor aided via its Cantrip/Gush/Git Probe/Misstep enablers?

Swords and bolts won't necessarily do the trick anymore. But surely somewhere in the other 10K+ cards designed for magic there is an answer.

I often feel we get too focused on things being solved. I still believe there are hundreds of decks unexplored which could likely turn vintage on its head. But perhaps it is just my own wishful thinking.

Cheers,
Michael

There are answers that are unmisstepable however they are normally very narrow (like Snuff Out) or not free (like Abrupt Decay). Your opponent is playing 12-16 free spells and you are paying mana, that's rarely going to work out. Additionally your opponent may have perfect information for +1 mana and 2 life and no card investment. So if you have something like a Dismember, they will be able to play around your silly spell that costs mana and at least salvage a couple of tokens. Well how about you Thoughtseize it out of their hand whilst they wait that extra turn to play around your Dismember? Not likely since Misstep has a chokehold at 52% dominance at a rate of ~3.8. Oh you spent mana on your discard spell? That's cute. I tapped out to cantrip for answers while still being able to protect my hand. Try Addle next time! Get rid of Misstep and Probe and bring mana back to Garfield's creation, if Mentor is still demolishing everything then maybe it or Gush (if it is even present in the dominant Mentor shell still) needs to go.

@nedleeds

I like your idea and reasoning, but in operation it's clunky, simply because we'd be asking fir two cards to be restricted instead of one, with the knowledge that we'd be looking for further interventions at a later date. I'm no huge fan of Misstep and am agnostic on Probe (though I do see the argument), but I still think Mentor is the card to hit.

All of those things you mention are annoying, things getting countered without any real investment is very annoying, and an opponent with perfect information on turn 1 is unfortunate at best and game-deciding at worst. The problem is that in Mentor each of these spells creates a gro creature which is exacerbating their effect to a degree that makes the spells themselves seem much worse than they are. Like I mention, Pyromancer had all of those things AND Cabal Therapy and it was a beatable deck... could it be that the white in Mentor decks helps it to a degree that red doesn't in Pyromancer decks? Maybe, but I think it's MM. The nature of Monastery Mentor forces you to find that one answer much faster, and that "one answer" is regularly 2 cards, with the caveat that another Mentor is coming sooner rather than later and you need to be prepared for that one too.

It seems like Wizards saw how "successful" Pyromancer was and decided to play with the mechanic more, which is cool in theory, but in the end we get Mentor in Vintage, which is the only format with unprecedented ability to dig, cast spells for free, etc. One of these things is just a fact of vintage, the other one is a new printing that is forcing us to evaluate what belongs in vintage...

In summary, I'd rather restrict 1 card than a possible 3 if there is a problem that needs addressing, I'll argue that those cards that are on the chopping block were fine (or at least beatable) when Pyromancer was the go-to creature for Gush decks which is no longer the case, and that for efficiency's sake, Mentor should get the restrict. I do agree with your assessment though of the power level of those cards, I just think the power level of Mentor is drastically underrated by a lot of people.

My only issue with restricting mentor is that I actually find mentor games more interesting than pyromancer games, which is my guess for what the format revolves to in the event of a mentor restriction.

@nedleeds

Great post. I just wish there was an axis which could attack the free spells, specifically Git Probe, Mental Misstep, and Gush, while keeping mentor from exploding. Or alternatively find a way to make a million mentor tokens worthless..

@Dumpsterac1d said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

@nedleeds

I like your idea and reasoning, but in operation it's clunky, simply because we'd be asking fir two cards to be restricted instead of one

I agree it's not ideal. But as others have pointed out, allowing for example Probe to run free without Misstep might allow Dark Ritual or the Therapy token engine to run wild. My counter to that would be to say Dark Rituals haven't been very successful lately at all. If Mentor and Thorn are Rock and Paper we've basically had no Scissors. The other counter argument to Misstep being restricted is that randomly having Ancestral early makes for a more swingy game. That's certainly true, but it applies to many restricted cards. That's the nature of Vintage, the power level is such that some games may take a hard swing in one players favor because of a restricted card. The % of having the Ancestral is exactly the same as having the (now) restricted Misstep, or Library, or Lotus. Ancestral actually costs mana as well, and on the draw the counters that replaced Misstep may also counter Ancestral. The obvious candidates being, Pyroblast, Flusterstorm, Pierce or maybe even Misdirection (which has certainly been on the wane). As far as 1 Misstep making the top deck tutors return, I'm all for it. Mystical for Ancestral is 2 for 3, more than acceptable. The return of top deck tutors means they are actually resolving with some regularity which allows some of the 'bombs' room to return, like maybe Tinker, Will, Vault, Tezzeret or other interesting 1 ofs. I think blue decks would be less homogeneous.

@nedleeds I can't even imagine that making too much of a difference, though. Take the idea of restricting multiple spells to it's absurd conclusion. Let's say you restrict every blue Instant or Sorcery that has "draw..card" listed on it. All of em. AND Misstep. Don't you STILL have a functional Mentor deck?

I mean, here's a pile based on this deck: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/vintage-jeskai-mentor-27051#online. Take that deck, and replace the 27 spells like so:

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Mental Misstep
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
2 Pyroblast
3 Swords to Plowshares
1 Time Walk
4 Force of Will
1 Gush
1 Dig Through Time
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Peek (Some 1 casting cost cantrips)
1 Impulse (...and some 2 cost cantrips)
1 Opt
1 Paradoxical Outcome
2 Flusterstorm (its in your board anyway)
2 Surgical Extraction (it looks at your enemy's hand for free just like probe)

I'd argue that you end up with a deck that may not play quite as consistently, but actually still has all of the tools it needs to operate smoothly. Obviously you'd want to streamline the card choices, but even with a **tshow like this, I feel like Mentor still remains viable and powerful.

EDIT -- This actually leads to an interesting question. Why don't folks with all the Vintage cards on MTGO actually try piloting "restricted Mentor" lists and see what happens? We'd all watch em. One Gush, one Probe, whatever? People with a stream could advertise and see how it works. You might be at a disadvantage in the mirror, but you could see how such a deck plays against non-Mentor decks anyway.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

We just need.....

Costs of Life
G
Enchantment
Cost of Life always costs one green mana.
Cost of Life cannot be countered.
Hexproof
Players cannot cast spells unless they have lands on the battlefield equal to the spells converted mana cost.

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