Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017

@wappla said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

@Topical_Island What you and many people seem to be missing in all this is that this isn't a fight over what the metagame looks like. It's a fight over the fundamental principles of the format. As I said last week, many Vintage players believe Vintage is the least restrictive format. Vintage is a place to play Mishra's Workshop, moxen, Time Walk, and Bazaar of Baghdad. Other people believe Vintage is a place where Mana Drain is good.

The first group are and will continue to be so upset by the Gush and Gitaxian Probe restriction because these cards are obviously acceptable in a format where you can play Mishra's Workshop, moxen, Time Walk and Bazaar of Baghdad. We don't just object to Gush and Probe being restricted, we object to the idea of restricting cards simply to adjust the metagame and in the absence of dominance or power level concerns.

The second group argues that it's fine to restrict cards to tailor the metagame to meet their arbitrary tastes. They can't present an argument against Gush other than their preference of Thirst and Drain to it. They also believe that preferring Thirst of Knowledge and Mana Drain to Gush is reason enough to restrict a card in Vintage. The specifics of this last restriction are important, but it's the DCI's validation of this belief that is so alarming and worth combatting at every turn.


A small group of people hijacked DCI policy and got Gush and Probe restricted, contrary to the wishes of most Vintage players.

A new poll by Shawn illustrates the depth of unhappiness with this decision:

By a more than two-to-one margin, players are expressing their unhappiness with the 4/24 restrictions.

And yet, we are being told to sit here and present a happy face despite a disastrous and misguided B&R policy led by a small group of players.

The format is more polarized in terms of Mentor/Thorn than before the restrictions, and everything the DCI said would happen is not happening, and yet the Restricted List is two cards larger. That's a completely unacceptable result. The only reasonable response to this situation is anger.

Asking people to put on a happy face, and accept this outcome is itself completely unacceptable. After all, the anti-Gush crowd hardly suppressed its unhappiness with Gush before it's restriction. And, now the majority of Vintage players are being asked to be silent in the interests of format comity? Please, what a joke. Maybe if the pro-restriction crowd had done the same.

Yet, at every single opportunity to complain publicly, the pro-restriction group whined about Gush. Now, the people who opposed that restriction and surveying the wreckage are being asked to hold their tongue? Friends, please.

The proper remedy is the immediate unrestriction of Gush, Lodestone Golem, Dig Through Time, and Gitaxian Probe. None of these cards performed well enough to deserve restriction. Golem, Gush, and Probe were all VSL-complaint restrictions, while Dig was randomly restricted for being "comparable to other restricted card drawers", a profoundly dumb reason.

I agree with one slight modification: I would unrestrict Gush, Probe, and Chalice, and leave Dig and Golem restricted at this point. Chalice was the first Shop card restricted as a result of the the complaining you talked about, and I would unrestrict it first.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

A new poll by Shawn illustrates the depth of unhappiness with this decision:

There also seems to be an n>1 concern about Montana, which we seem to be completely avoiding in this discussion.

@wappla I pretty much agree with everything you just said... especially in terms of the cards you named. (Although you can still play all of those cards in Vintage, just in fewer numbers. So we aren't really talking about not getting to play cards... But I shan't quibble too much with you.)

If those cards got immediate unrestrictions, I honestly would not mind a lick in terms of game-play. I had no problem with any of those cards when they were in, and I barely if ever sleeved them up... (Did I ever? YES... I ran double Dig in a deck pre-restriction, and that was it.) I was always playing against them, and I lost a lot to them. I also won a lot against them, and had fun doing both... so no worries.

But let me just suggest that there is something more fundamental to the game at work here... namely, how restriction decisions get made. If those cards saw the unrestrictions which you want, and which I'd be fine with, it would be for one reason - there was enough complaining to make it happen. Already we are going from online hew-and-cry to being a contributing factor in the restriction process, to it being the main way business gets done.

Honestly, at this point, if you are a serious vintage player, and you aren't complaining about something, if you aren't trying to influence the DCI in some way, can we even say you are playing the whole game? Just as deck selection, and building is a huge part of the game in addition to actual play, campaigning for or against restrictions is becoming just as much an aspect of the overall game. Just look how much time people spend doing it. Should that be? Is this what we want?

I like to play Oath and have a build that does pretty well against the old Lodestone Shops, but worse against Ravager. I've logged 500 games easy with this build, and can make pretty good decisions even when I'm tired or under pressure. So really, one of the best strategic things I can be doing with my time is working hard to get the DCI to unrestrict Lodestone. I could be practicing other decks. I could be working on building other decks to beat Ravager. But honestly, I'm not that good at those things. I could work to get better... but I'm already good at making pointed comments on the internet (who isn't?), and I'm good at playing my Oath deck, so how am I incentivized to do anything else but find the twitter handles of anyone who has a say and lite them up until I get my way?

If this is the way decisions get made, and it causes the exact unrestrictions you want, what do imagine will be the very next thing that will happen. Maybe our decision making process needs some tending first eh?

@Smmenen I'm not sure if what you said was directed at me or not about anger. I'm going to respond as if it was, but my apologies if it wasn't.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be angry about the restrictions. I think that's a legitimate beef and worthy of discussion. It's the anger that basically adds up to grade school name calling I have an issue with. That's the line I'm referring too that has been crossed by some people. That has no place here.

On a side note, I voted no on Shawn's poll, as I'm not happy with the restrictions either. Only on the basis on Wizard's explanation did not add up. I don't know how you could argue that their explanation does.

However, I am still enjoying the format and will take a lot for me not to enjoy it. I've liked watching the changes that have happened, regardless of how I feel. I'm generally a huge proponent of less restrictions and would love to see some love given back to shops (as a non-shops player). Vintage is the place of broken spells, I want to play with broken spells.

Wizards should just Unrestrict Gush, Git Probe, Fastbond, Lotus Petal, Mana Vault, Chalice, Lodestone, Dig Cruise, Library of Alexandria, Balance, Channel, and Flash. How much would that lead to new Archetypes and a completely different t8 every week as people try all kinds of crazy stuff? Im ok with these things, and honestly do not believe it would lead to any one dominate deck.

Unrestrict everything! Let's see what happens! Exciting!!

@enderfall Love your style. Let's dance bro!

@Serracollector said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

Wizards should just Unrestrict Gush, Git Probe, Fastbond, Lotus Petal, Mana Vault, Chalice, Lodestone, Dig Cruise, Library of Alexandria, Balance, Channel, and Flash. How much would that lead to new Archetypes and a completely different t8 every week as people try all kinds of crazy stuff? Im ok with these things, and honestly do not believe it would lead to any one dominate deck.

I don't agree with all those unrestrictions; I think there is a lot of merit in revisiting the B&R list and taking things off of it like you are suggesting. Vintage list has no chance for self-correction.

I also believe people need to step back and separate out their personal pet peeves and dislikes from over-arching power level issues that present a problem for the metagame.

I think the DCI should have a laissez faire approach to the B&R list. If we go back to the Chalice or Lodestone ban, it seems that it was made because of people complaining about "fun". I don't think either should have been restricted because they were shop's answer to blue card advantage (you can disagree with me on this). I have some pet cards that I would love to play again (restrict revoker + ballista please for Goblin Welder), but I don't think we should use personal preference to determine the B&R. Now, some people think that we should because at the end of the day, Magic is a game and a game is meant to be fun. I respect that opinion, but I disagree.

What's fun for one person is not the same for another. As a result of it's subjectivity, I think the default, purest way to go about the B&R is to go by objective "brokenness." I don't think Gush was fun. I think it's stupid and boring. However, I don't think it was inherently "broken" either. It canabalized blue, yes, but it also got WRECKED by thorns. If we go to rock-paper-scissors of pregush restriction, i'd argue that big blue > shops > gush > big blue. The issue was that people enjoyed gush more than big blue, despite the poorer shops matchup. This lead to people who play big blue to feel bad because they have to face more gush decks than expected. However, that's an issue with preference, and not "brokenness."

tl;dr I think the B&R should be used for brokenness, not fun. One man's trash is another man's Goblin Welder.

And to be clear, my post may be incoherent because i'm tired AF from studying. I'm also a Goblin Welder fanboy so the whole Gush vs. Mana Drain discussion doesn't really bother me as I would play Mishra's Workshop regardless.

I feel obligated for whatever strange reason to give my $0.02 on the whole "State of Vintage" debate.

First though, I want to express my thanks to Matt, Ryan, and everyone else who helps put together data like this. I have been longing for data like this for far too long and put together Metagame breakdowns which paled in comparison to this back in 2010-2014. I know how much thankless work must go into this and I want everyone who helps with this to know that I appreciate the work they put in.

Vintage is a strange format in that it is an eternal format defined by the most powerful cards from the dawn of Magic which also incorporates and in some cases is shaped by the newest sets. I think for a long period of time this was not entirely the case, blocks like Kamigawa and Ravnica didn't completely change the landscape, but now it seems that every year something new comes out and completely rocks the Vintage world.

My point in saying this is that most Vintage players can point to a year and subjectively declare that, "Vintage was best in year ____". No one is wrong in saying this, maybe you loved the format in 2005, 2009, 2011, 2014 or 2016; regardless, you're not wrong for feeling that was the case. Unfortunately, Vintage is never going to be the place that it was in 2014 again before Khans came out, it doesn't matter how much you dislike what the Delve cards did to Vintage, they're not going to be un-printed. Personally, I loved the metagame immediately before Khans came out, but who really cares, Vintage is never going to be the same as it was until someone holds a "2014 Vintage Tournament".

Arguing about whether Vintage was a better format when Mana Drain is a strong card is a fool's errand. I think that trying to shape the B&R to make something like this a reality could work out really well, or it could be disastrous and given that nobody really knows what will happen if they restrict X or when something format altering is printed in 2018, it might be best if everyone stopped fighting about the B&R.

I think that Vintage is approaching a point where there are going to be people who play "Modern Vintage" and then there is going to be those who want to play "_____ Vintage" similarly to how people play 1993/94 Magic. I would probably play in an event like this, but I like being able to brew new decks and seeing how the new sets change things, so ultimately I'm going to be playing Vintage for the foreseeable future. I doubt that WOTC will do something like restrict Workshop, Bazaar or Force, but if something is viewed as oppressive I envision WOTC restricting or printing cards to prune back the plant so to speak, with the hope that they don't completely kill it.

I agree that there is the possibility of a schism, Will.

Will be interesting over time to see how the MTGO community maturation differs from the paper one. MTGO won't have the same reverence for cards like Bazaar, Drain, and Workshop. They will just want the best format to play possible. I doubt there will be the same type of "untouchables" in digital play.

Either way, Vintage has always been the Gentlemen's format, but certainly doesn't seem like it lately (lots of angst out there, even in much more innocent threads).

Let's keep it classy Vintage!!!

last edited by joshuabrooks

@joshuabrooks said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

Let's keep it classy Vintage!!!

But mostly, thanks for stopping by!

@wappla This is a straw man at best, projection at the worst...

There are legitimate reasons to want a Gush restriction and/or a Mentor restriction based on diversity, your slippery slope notwithstanding. You dismissing that as a goal of the format does not matter much when Wizards has repeatedly cited it as the basis for multiple restrictions and the B&R website literally mentions it in the first sentence.

I honestly wonder if there's a point to posting this data here week after week when the only thing people seem to do is break off into cursing the DCI and then each other...

Thanks for your work Matt and Ryan.

@Hrishi said in Vintage Challenge - 6/17/2017:

I honestly wonder if there's a point to posting this data here week after week when the only thing people seem to do is break off into cursing the DCI and then each other...

Thanks for your work Matt and Ryan.

I completely concur and couldn't like this statement enough.

I appreciate the effort Matt and Ryan put in every week.

Thank you for continuing to do this: your contributions are insightful and a boon to vintage at large, unlike their threads. Please do not be deterred by residual vitriol of the community.

last edited by cutlex

@diophan and @chubbyRain thank you for the effort you take for these.

Regarding this thread: and people think I AM toxic. Jesus fuck.

We have people pointing to a poll in the Vintage MTG facebook group (who has people in it I am conviced don't see sublight or even play Magic, but just want tovbe keyboard justice warriors), a player trying to argue even though he bitched and swore not to play the format again, and other people who I dont think Ive ever seen at any of the major events, so I am convinced two-fisting games at their kitchen table are te extent of their experience.

Holy fuck. This is entertaining and pathetic at the same time.

@MSolymossy You shut your mouth!!!!

There, I feel apart of the anger now. 🙂

@mdkubiak No YOU shut YOUR mouth! (Sub-point: My daddy would whip your daddy's butt all over this playground!)

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