Vintage Restricted List Discussion

@Smmenen Are you kidding me? Wappla made a statement about the restricted list. You've made statements about the restricted list and Vintage (such that the purpose of Vintage is that people are able to play their cards "in the maximal allowable quantities"). I've only asked for evidence supporting these claims. In the absence of such evidence, these statements must be considered opinions, equivalent to those of other players. This isn't by any reasonable interpretation a request to prove a negative. I've tried to avoid personal attacks, but shit like this really annoys me. Take your stupid gnomes away and start being intellectually honest, please. Then maybe we can have an actual discussion.

last edited by Guest

First of all, calm down. There's no need to get emotional let alone be annoyed. This is not personal.

You asked Wappla for evidence of something that is "not" the case, in support of your point/ view which is the affirmative. How could he produce such evidence? it's impossible because the DCI has never said that restrictions are used to shake up / rotate vintage. It's the absence of such evidence which undermines your point, but which also makes it impossible for him to produce affirmative evidence of the negative.
So a request for a rejection of an affirmative statement in that regard is impossible. You're asking him to prove a negative, which is a logical impossibility.

Im sorry that my vivid analogies trigger you, but that's not intellectual dishonesty. Let's not make this personal.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen Unrestricting Flash is an interesting idea. A lot of people seem to be terrified of unrestricting Flash, but I agree with your point about adding a new angle to the format being more important at the moment. However, I genuinely wonder if Flash would even be that good right now, and I say that as a person who believed Flash was the best deck in Vintage when it was restricted. Flash played 4 copies of Brainstorm and 4 copies of Merchant Scroll, which were incredibly crucial to increasing the consistency of the deck, and obviously that cannot be done anymore. Further, there are a more hate cards compared to back then, and Plow is everywhere, which also didn't used to be the case. It would probably be a pretty safe unrestriction, to be honest.

@Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

I have no problem with a solved or even static metagame, as long as that metagame has meaningful options for deck selection and lines of play. Mirror matches create meaningful lines of play, but I think a healthy metagame requires more.

I really agree with this statement. Particularly the part regarding meaningful mirror matches not being sufficient for a healthy metagame.

I have encountered some players who seem to pine (and not just in Vintage) for the best deck to be a singular control deck with infinite lines or plays and countless decision-points. Nothing would make them happier than to live in a Blue vs. Blue Vintage where Shops and Dredge are nothing more than curious also-rans.

Without casting shade on such players personally, I very much dislike that line of thinking. If anything, there should be a meaningful (i.e., tier-1 to tier 1.5) Vintage deck driven by each color in addition to a few unique game combos/engines/axes (Workshop, Storm, Oath, Doomsday, Paradoxical Outcome, Thorn effects, etc.)

In terms of brainstorming: Blue is covered and White Eldrazi is already a thing. Maybe a Green Stompy with a Root Maze one-mana 2/2, cycling artifact kill, or a flash creature that puts a colorless spell on the bottom of its owner's library could work. Red could get one more card to add to a Magus of the Moon/Harsh Mentor shell. Someone who is a fan of Black could probably brainstorm something to go with Dark Confidant.

New cards are fun. New cards (if well-designed) can rectify the design mistakes of the past. New cards can change the metagame such that previously restricted cards can come of the list.

@Smmenen I'm asking him to provide a statement or support for his opinion. It's easy to do...a simple "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change would work." In the absence of such evidence, what we have is an equivalent opinion on what the purpose of the restricted list is. As for getting emotional, trust me I'm not. You just annoy me with your bullshit.

Again, my argument is not based on this - I don't agree that the restricted list should be used for rotations. But he made the claim. Not me.

last edited by Guest

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen I'm asking him to provide a statement or support for his opinion. It's easy to do...a simple "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change would work." In the absence of such evidence, what we have is an equivalent opinion on what the purpose of the restricted list is. As for getting emotional, trust me I'm not. You just annoy me with your bullshit.

I don't think these "opinions" are equivalent. You've made an assertion without evidence. Someone else pointed out that you didn't have evidence, and also opined that your assertion is wrong.

To counter by claiming each assertion is "equivalent" feels almost like a way of dodging the fact that you have not yet provided evidence for your assertion.

Also, I am of the belief that we HAVE been given reasons by WotC in the past for why the restricted lists exist. If they've written about the restricted list for years and have not yet affirmatively asserted that they also do it "for the sake of change", but they list a lot of other reasons... well, that would indicate that they have had plenty of time and opportunity to offer such a statement and have not.

@Smmenen Can you please answer this post?

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

Hypothetical Question: If Shops was significantly weakened to pre-Worldwake levels, would you look at this format and say it was better than when Gifts was restricted? When Gush was restricted (either time)? Fact or Fiction? Thirst for Knowledge?

In my opinion, the current illusion of "balance" is a product of Shops' strength combined with Gush's (used right now to refer to the tempo-oriented draw engine encompassing cantrips and delve spells) dominance over the rest of the format.

@jhport12 I stated an opinion in a short sentence that has misinterpreted. Sufficient diverse metagames are not "stale" by my definition (and I would argue most players definitions). There are metagame dynamics and interactions that exist between a 5+ archetype format that lead to much more rewarding deck design and interesting gameplay than in a two deck format. It's why diversity is important, which is not even my opinion - it's what Wizards has written on it's website discussing the Banned and Restricted list.

My post:

Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.

Was not concerning the rate of change in Vintage. In the context of almost all my other posts, I talked about strategic diversity. I made that clear in my follow up post to Wappla:

It seems much more unrealistic to me that a format encompassing the entire card pool should only have two viable options for deck selection. It's not a matter of the rate of change - the format should have multiple diverse decks of comparable power levels contextually better based on metagame dynamics.

I never claimed that restrictions should be made for the intent of "shaking up" a format. Wappla made the claim and I'd like to know his justification for it. I also asked Steve for his justification behind the phrase "the maximum number of a card allowable". Those two have been much more vocal than I have been on the "purpose" of the Restricted List. The burden of proof lies with them to substantiate these statements.

last edited by Guest

So what cards could you play to have an edge in the Show and Bargain mirror match? Likely, you side out Show and Tell. But if a player keeps them in, you'd like to take advantage of the non-main phase Bargain. Force of Will is a given, but I also think a Soul Spike or two would be necessary for the matchup.

From Shops perspective, they know what to Revoker and they know what to Needle. Knowing this, the Bargain player must have an alternative for Show and Tell; something like Emrakul or Blightsteel. This would make the deck better against Shops but much more inconsistent against the rest of the field. Alternatively, the Bargain player could depend on a regular Storm strategy independent of Bargain.

Gush decks would struggle against Show and Bargain unless they play some number of Arcane Laboratories or even Pithing Needle... which obviously come into play with Show and Tell.

The trend here is that Show and Tell is the Bargain deck's biggest weakness. So unless you can think of a better card than Show and Tell to sneak Bargain into play, I'd say Bargain is a safe unrestriction.

I also think it's funny that so many people think Mentor should be restricted while it's not even close to the best deck.

last edited by desolutionist

@Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@ChubbyRain You never replied to my posts confirming that I was representing your position in a fair manner, so I'm going to take your silence as a sign that I did.

@Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

In my opinion, the current illusion of "balance" is a product of Shops' strength combined with Gush's (used right now to refer to the tempo-oriented draw engine encompassing cantrips and delve spells) dominance over the rest of the format.

I'd like to make sure I'm understanding your position clearly - you believe that Vintage's current metagame state is caused by (1) Ravager Shops' strength and (2) the power of the draw engine that tempo-oriented decks employ (which may be made of something like 4 Preordain, 1 Gitaxian Probe, 1 Gush, 1 Ponder, 1 Brainstorm, 1 Ancestral Recall, 1 Treasure Cruise and 1 Dig Through Time)?

This position seems strange to me. Previously you have argued that both Monastery Mentor and Gush ought to have been restricted and that restricting one was not enough without restricting the other. I believe you were correct in affirming that in order to create space for non-tempo oriented Blue decks to thrive in Vintage, both Gush and Mentor needed to be restricted. Because of that, it seems strange for you to ascribe no causal responsibility to Monastery Mentor.

I did not believe I needed to make a case for the restriction of Mentor. The vast majority of Vintage players feel the card should be restricted and I agree with them. If you want my argument, Mentor is basically the creature equivalent of the Delve spells - a card that creates an incredible advantage for its owner based on simply casting as many spells as possible. Like the Delve spells, restricting Mentor will not nullify the advantages gained by Gush and Cantrips or the weakness to Sphere effects that has created the current (and previous) two-deck metagame.

@Jeb-Springfield said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@ChubbyRain I just want to make sure I'm representing / understanding your position clearly - you believe that no draw engine should remain better than another draw engine for an extended period of time because if this is the case, the metagame will be noncompetitive and therefore uninteresting and boring?

Matt, this really seems like a very strong position to affirm. There are several reasons I don't think your position is tenable. As @wappla pointed out, Vintage is a format which is unlikely to change quickly / frequently unless cards at a very high power level are either printed often or introduced into the format as 4-ofs by means of unrestriction (or unbanning I guess). I don't think we should expect to see cards printed at the power level of Time Walk on a regular basis, and I would argue that if we do there is a good chance WotC are making some mistakes.

I believe that diversity in Vintage is largely created from Blue decks. Shops, Dredge, and Combo are too restrictive in the cards they can play and risk producing a format that becomes uninteractive, which we know is grounds for restrictions based on multiple B&R announcements. So how do you create diversity within the context of Blue decks? You recognize that the draw engines and win conditions are the two main areas of differentiation. We've already discussed how Mentor has become the win condition of choice because it combos with the most basic element of playing Blue (casting spells) while having a very small downside and being difficult to hate. On the flip side, draw engines have a much more significant role in how people design decks. Graveyard synergy with Gifts, Artifacts with TFK and PO, cantrips/Gush and tempo creatures with the Delve spells. I think there is a viable Fact or Fiction deck out there along with Night's Whisper/Painful Truths (and not just a Mentor deck). Each option has different constraints and/or color requirements. If I thought that Gush could coexist with these various other decks, I would be all for it being unrestricted. However, I'd argue that no one else in Vintage has tried more different configurations of Gush decks, with or without Preordain or Mentor or whatever other card Steve wants to hit before Gush. It is my firm opinion that if Gush remains unrestricted and the Delve spells remain legal, the format will continue to be divided into Gush tempo decks and Shops.

You noted that the restricted list could be used as a tool to rotate the format. While I don't think there is much evidence to suggest that this is the case, it is a potential solution.

It is possible, though again I don't favor it. Surely the current metagame doesn't need restrictions "to rotate the format". It's clearly unbalanced, according to the information Ryan and I have collected.

I also don't think there is a good reason to believe that a solved metagame is always a noncompetitive metagame. Suppose it were to be the case that a metagame in its solved state consisted of three decks creating a rock - paper -scissors style dynamic. Players would be given the opportunity to choose from three decks and would be able to make advantageous deck selections based on what they thought opponents might choose to play this weekend. I would take this to be a competitive metagame.

A three deck metagame would be an improvement for sure. A two deck metagame with several much worse options is not competitive.

I would argue that even if a metagame consisted of only a single deck, this does not necessarily constitute a noncompetitive metagame. I believe that Magic ought to be several things: Magic should be interactive, Magic should be skill intensive, Magic should provide some level of complexity and Magic should be about decision making. If the single deck in the format was interactive and provided many decision points with varying degrees of complexity such that players with a higher skill level were more likely to win games than not, this would constitute a competitive metagame.

"One key to the continued health of Magic is diversity. It is vitally important to ensure that there are multiple competitive decks for the tournament player to choose from. Why? If there were only a single viable deck to play, tournaments would quickly stagnate as players were forced to either play that deck or a deck built specifically to beat it. In addition, different players enjoy playing different types of decks. If there are plenty of viable options to play, there will be more players at more tournaments."

While it might be considered competitive, Wizards recognizes that such a metagame would be difficult to maintain. Cawblade Standard was very close to what you are referring to and Wizards felt that action was necessary given declining tournament attendance. It's worth the read: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/standard-bannings-explained-2011-06-20-0.

Furthermore, I think that we have good reason to believe that factors surrounding a draw engine have the capacity to change the fundamental strategy a deck employs to win. Gush was commonly used with Fastbond in combo decks like Doomsday before Monastery Mentor was printed. The fact that a specific draw engine is better than other draw engines does not necessitate a single strategic approach to maximising that draw engine's power.

Fair enough though I believe it's clear that Doomsday and the various combo builds of Gush were not significant players in the previous metagame. They were often absent from events and rarely successful.

If I am correct about this, new cards could be introduced to Vintage, or metagame changes could open space for different cards to thrive whilst employing the same draw engine, thereby shifting the metagame. I don't believe it follows that a metagame will look the same if a best draw engine exists in a single iteration for sustained periods of time.

I really can't have an opinion on what cards Wizards might print. They could certainly create another set like Khans that decimates every Eternal Format and dramatically changes the face of Vintage. I feel assuming that they will do so and allowing that to influence Banned and Restricted decisions is flawed.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.

I find this to be your most persuasive point, though I am not sure it means we should be doing a significant amount to change Vintage on a regular basis just because some subset of the player base finds a metagame stale. I do agree that if the majority of the player base wants a change because they think Vintage isn't fun, a change should be forthcoming.

Was Mentor dominant in the previous metagame? Given all the data I've collected, I don't think that is a position I could easily defend. Mentor was even less dominant than Gush as many Gush decks used other win conditions like Oath, Planeswalkers, and other creatures. I still think it should be restricted based on how it seems to be disliked by the vast majority of Vintage players and that many players are tired of playing against it.

Whatever gymnastics one can perform to defend Gush's restriction, Gitaxian Probe makes it very hard to defend the DCI's intelligence or intellectual honesty.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen I'm asking him to provide a statement or support for his opinion. It's easy to do...a simple "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change would work." In the absence of such evidence, what we have is an equivalent opinion on what the purpose of the restricted list is. As for getting emotional, trust me I'm not. You just annoy me with your bullshit.

First of all, "getting annoyed" is an emotion. Calling a good faith argument "bullshit" is personal. Just chill.

Second, once again, you can't prove a negative. The DCI doesn't provide non-reasons for it's actions. If the DCI restricts a card, and offers reason R, it doesn't explain why X, Y, or Z aren't reasons (aren't why it acted). Again, that would be absurd. Imagine such an explanation:

Card X is restricted. This card, time and again, outperformed competitors in the metagame, and according to our data, had the highest win percentage over the last 12 months. As a result, we have decided to restrict this card to open up the metagame. Note that we did not restrict this card because the metagame was stale or because people thought it was unfun.

When has the DCI ever provided rejected grounds for it's actions? You would never see a sentence like the last one in my faux B&R announcement.

Take a look at your request. Using your own words, you asked wappla to produce this statement: "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change," or something logically equivalent. Again, if no DCI explanation ever would provide non-reasons (reasons that were not considered for their action), then how in the heck is wappla supposed to produce such evidence?

It's tantamount to asking him to produce evidence that faeries (or insert whatever non-real thing) exists, and then concluding that the evidence for that non-real thing is as good as the evidence for anything else on which an authority is equally silent.

Your logic simply does not follow.

The absence of evidence for a proposition does not make that proposition equally valid or likely or probable to a statement similarly lacking in affirmative evidence. The fact that the DCI has never once said that it was restricting something to shake up the format is evidence that such grounds do not inform DCI policy.

If you abstract your request to the level of symbolic logic -- to it's logical syntactical structure - but simply replace the two operative concepts, the "the restricted list" and "rotate a format" with other concepts or words - anything really - and your request and claim become clearly absurd, both in the logical sense and in common sense.

Again, my argument is not based on this - I don't agree that the restricted list should be used for rotations. But he made the claim. Not me.

I think you've lost track of the thread here, man.

Wappla was replying to your post 75, where you said:

"Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time."

Wappla responded, a few posts later, by saying: "Sounds like you have unrealistic expectations for how fast a format that encompasses the entire card pool should change. Vintage should change glacially unless they start printing cards as good as moxen and Time Walk again. They literally invented Type 2 to solve this problem. The restricted list is not a tool to rotate the format. That's why Standard exists."

It was only THEN, in post 75, that you replied:
"what evidence do you have that the restricted list is not a tool to "rotate" a format? Is there a statement by someone currently in charge of Wizards or is that merely your opinion?"

So, your comment at the top, that "he made that claim," not you, is misleading at best. He was responding to your claim, which appeared to everyone that you favor the use of the Restriction policy mechanism to disrupt stale metagames.

You reinforced this reading when you you said, in essence, "what evidence do you have that this ISN'T the case?" In other words, the clear implications of your question and line of questioning is that B&R list policy is legitimately deployed to disrupt stale metagames/shake things up/rotate the format.

The fact that you are now denying that is fairly mind blowing.

I never claimed that restrictions should be made for the intent of "shaking up" a format. Wappla made the claim and I'd like to know his justification for it.

Ah, but you did, as I just demonstrated. If you didn't intend to, you need to reckon with the fact that that's how everyone read your words. Again, you stated:

My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

When a predominant blue draw engine does not dominate the format, your rule, here, is tantamount to setting a timer on any predominant blue draw engine, and restricting it to shake things up. There is no other reasonable reading of that sentence when said draw engine is not dominating the entire format, and you've already made your position clear, in post 53, and you are talking about predominance among draw engines, not the entire format.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen Can you please answer this post?

First of all, it's really odd to direct that question to me. In your original post with that question (post 80), you directed that hypothetical to Jeb Springfield. So, I'm unclear why you are directing me to answer it now.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

Hypothetical Question: If Shops was significantly weakened to pre-Worldwake levels, would you look at this format and say it was better than when Gifts was restricted? When Gush was restricted (either time)? Fact or Fiction? Thirst for Knowledge?

I really don't understand your question, to be honest. It's confusing in several respects.

First of all, Shops was very strong before pre-Worldwake (as much 20% of Top 8s), so I really don't see that much difference between Shops now and pre-Worldwake, especially with Golem and Chalice restricted.

Second, the metagames with Gifts, Thirst, and Fact restricted were wildly different. I just don't understand what you are asking.

If you are asking, however, if Shops were artificially lowered to a smaller part of the metagame, would I consider this format any worse than those historical metagames just after Gifts, or Thirst or Fact were restricted?

Unreservedly. This metagame is putrid compared to any of those. The metagame immediately after Thirst was restricted was much better than this one. Take a look, if you don't believe. http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/18040-So-Many-Insane-Plays-VintageLegacy-Split-Article.html

Vintage was roughly:

Archetypes as a Percentage of the Top 8 Field (July/August 2009)

Tezzeret: 15.3%
Fish: 12.5%
Stax: 11.11%
MUD: 8.33%
TPS: 6.9%
G/x Beats: 6.9%
Drain Tendrils: 5.6%
Dredge: 5.6%
Oath: 5.6%
"Rest of the Field": 22.22%

Or, how awesome was the September/October, where the engine breakdown was:

19 Mana Drain decks: 29.68% of the Top 8 Field
10 Mishra’s Workshop decks: 15.62%
7 Dark Ritual decks: 10.93%
9 Bazaar of Baghdad decks: 14.06%

It's a little top heavy on blue decks, but that was a MUCH healthier metagame than we have now.

In my opinion, the current illusion of "balance" is a product of Shops' strength combined with Gush's (used right now to refer to the tempo-oriented draw engine encompassing cantrips and delve spells) dominance over the rest of the format.

That assumes that the metagame is balanced. I don't consider it balanced. So, I'm not sure why you are directing this question to me.

Fair enough though I believe it's clear that Doomsday and the various combo builds of Gush were not significant players in the previous metagame. They were often absent from events and rarely successful.

Not true before Mentor was printed. And with Golem and Chalice restricted, and if Mentor were restricted as well, Dday would have been a very good option again, but only if Gush were unrestricted.

I believe that diversity in Vintage is largely created from Blue decks.

Except that's not true.

While it is true that you can create quite a bit of blue diversity if you want, it is equally possible to create a very diverse Vintage format without diversity within blue decks.

This isn't an opinion. It's a mathmatical fact that you can create diversity without expanding the diversity of blue decks. For example, if Bazaar decks and Dark Ritual decks both climbed to 20% of Top 8s or of the metagame, you would dramatically increase the diversity of the format without having to do anything to blue decks.

What you essentially set out, in the middle of post 129, is a vision of Vintage that would have to use B&R list policy in a far more aggressive way to sculpt the format. And doing so would be absolutely anathema to many, if not most Vintage players, as it would result in many unnecessary restrictions, simply to execute a vision of diversity that is not actual diverse - but a faux-blue diversity, that washes out Shops, Dredge, and Combo in favor of a much bluer format.

Sounds like a nightmare to me. The alternative is simpler and much better: restrict cards only if they absolutely need to be restricted because they would dominate the format, and unrestrict cards that aren't a threat to dominate the format. That would actually create a more diverse format.

Vintage is now in a nightmare without any obvious escape route, except multiple unrestrictions that can create new options for players, IMO.

last edited by Smmenen

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen Unrestricting Flash is an interesting idea. A lot of people seem to be terrified of unrestricting Flash, but I agree with your point about adding a new angle to the format being more important at the moment. However, I genuinely wonder if Flash would even be that good right now, and I say that as a person who believed Flash was the best deck in Vintage when it was restricted. Flash played 4 copies of Brainstorm and 4 copies of Merchant Scroll, which were incredibly crucial to increasing the consistency of the deck, and obviously that cannot be done anymore. Further, there are a more hate cards compared to back then, and Plow is everywhere, which also didn't used to be the case. It would probably be a pretty safe unrestriction, to be honest.

Good point. I was probably a bit too conservative. Flash is very likely a safe unrestrict, since it has almost no chance to dominate the format.

I think some players would get scared from the random, higher than normal in Vintage, Turn 1 kills that Flash would provide. But the tactical effects of permitting flash - of requiring people to run more hate - would make sideboarding more difficult in the format, and therefore create more holes against other decks by mainstream archetypes, which can't SB for everything. That would be a good thing.

last edited by Smmenen

@wappla That we can agree on. Their explanation was incredibly lacking in substance. I don't necessarily believe it's an indictment of their intelligence or honestly, just a very clear disinterest in the format or the community (outside of a couple of more prominent voices).

@Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen I'm asking him to provide a statement or support for his opinion. It's easy to do...a simple "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change would work." In the absence of such evidence, what we have is an equivalent opinion on what the purpose of the restricted list is. As for getting emotional, trust me I'm not. You just annoy me with your bullshit.

First of all, "getting annoyed" is an emotion. Calling a good faith argument "bullshit" is personal. Just chill.

Fine. Let's get back to the issue.

Second, once again, you can't prove a negative. The DCI doesn't provide non-reasons for it's actions. If the DCI restricts a card, and offers reason R, it doesn't explain why X, Y, or Z aren't reasons (aren't why it acted). Again, that would be absurd. Imagine such an explanation:

Card X is restricted. This card, time and again, outperformed competitors in the metagame, and according to our data, had the highest win percentage over the last 12 months. As a result, we have decided to restrict this card to open up the metagame. Note that we did not restrict this card because the metagame was stale or because people thought it was unfun.

When has the DCI ever provided rejected grounds for it's actions? You would never see a sentence like the last one in my faux B&R announcement.

Take a look at your request. Using your own words, you asked wappla to produce this statement: "We do not restrict cards simply for the sake of change," or something logically equivalent. Again, if no DCI explanation ever would provide non-reasons (reasons that were not considered for their action), then how in the heck is wappla supposed to produce such evidence?

The DCI literally just gave such an explanation with regards to the 1v1 Commander format.

"Before diving into the next set of bans, I’d like to restate that our primary goal for the Magic Online Commander 1v1 format is to make the most fun experience possible. Color balance alone isn’t a reason to alter a format, but lack of variety in play experience is. Our intention is to try and trim excess power from clearly dominant decks to open up space for a variety of decks to succeed, not to introduce churn by adjusting the ban list."

They explicitly state that they didn't ban an assortment of Blue cards for color balance. Ironically, they also mentioned what I assume to be "action for the sake of change" or "churn", so I concede the point to Wappla that there is evidence for his position. Still, there are many instances in which people from Wizards have provided insight into their B&R process. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for information regarding this. I'm still waiting on your justification for "maximum number of cards possible."

Again, my argument is not based on this - I don't agree that the restricted list should be used for rotations. But he made the claim. Not me.

I think you've lost track of the thread here, man.

Wappla was replying to your post 75, where you said:

"Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time."

Wappla responded, a few posts later, by saying: "Sounds like you have unrealistic expectations for how fast a format that encompasses the entire card pool should change. Vintage should change glacially unless they start printing cards as good as moxen and Time Walk again. They literally invented Type 2 to solve this problem. The restricted list is not a tool to rotate the format. That's why Standard exists."

It was only THEN, in post 75, that you replied:
"what evidence do you have that the restricted list is not a tool to "rotate" a format? Is there a statement by someone currently in charge of Wizards or is that merely your opinion?"

So, your comment at the top, that "he made that claim," not you, is misleading at best. He was responding to your claim, which appeared to everyone that you favor the use of the Restriction policy mechanism to disrupt stale metagames.

You reinforced this reading when you you said, in essence, "what evidence do you have that this ISN'T the case?" In other words, the clear implications of your question and line of questioning is that B&R list policy is legitimately deployed to disrupt stale metagames/shake things up/rotate the format.
The fact that you are now denying that is fairly mind blowing.

I clarified my statement right before that, saying I wasn't referring to rate of change. The fact that you are omitting this is also fairly mind blowing. I even quoted it.

I never claimed that restrictions should be made for the intent of "shaking up" a format. Wappla made the claim and I'd like to know his justification for it.

Ah, but you did, as I just demonstrated. If you didn't intend to, you need to reckon with the fact that that's how everyone read your words. Again, you stated:

My argument is that clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

When a predominant blue draw engine does not dominate the format, your rule, here, is tantamount to setting a timer on any predominant blue draw engine, and restricting it to shake things up. There is no other reasonable reading of that sentence when said draw engine is not dominating the entire format, and you've already made your position clear, in post 53, and you are talking about predominance among draw engines, not the entire format.

Diversity argument. I am of the opinion that Blue should have multiple competitive and strategically different options. This has nothing to do with "shaking up" a diverse metagame in equilibrium. If Gush is not dominant, I don't care if it exists in the metagame for 10+ years. If it is dominant (i.e. clearly superior other options), then I think time should be allowed so the metagame can adjust. If the metagame fails to adjust, then that's when action should be taken. The timer is being set on the metagame, not the draw engine.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@Smmenen Can you please answer this post?

First of all, it's really odd to direct that question to me. In your original post with that question (post 80), you directed that hypothetical to Jeb Springfield. So, I'm unclear why you are directing me to answer it now.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

Hypothetical Question: If Shops was significantly weakened to pre-Worldwake levels, would you look at this format and say it was better than when Gifts was restricted? When Gush was restricted (either time)? Fact or Fiction? Thirst for Knowledge?

I really don't understand your question, to be honest. It's confusing in several respects.

First of all, Shops was very strong before pre-Worldwake (as much 20% of Top 8s), so I really don't see that much difference between Shops now and pre-Worldwake, especially with Golem and Chalice restricted.

I am not very knowledgeable of particular metagames in Vintage. Your link is helpful though. It appears that the Mana Drain was at 45% and Shops 20%. This is actually rather close to the previous metagame, in which Shops/Thorn decks and Gush decks tended to be ~33% of finishes each (off the top of my head). My argument is that Shops is a stronger pillar now given its advantage against Gush, which has taken percentage points from Gush as the dominant Blue deck. You have the top 2 decks in both formats equaling two/thirds of the winning field. It's just the decks happen to be much closer in power levels, creating the illusion of a "healthier" metagame.

Second, the metagames with Gifts, Thirst, and Fact restricted were wildly different. I just don't understand what you are asking.

If you are asking, however, if Shops were artificially lowered to a smaller part of the metagame, would I consider this format any worse than those historical metagames just after Gifts, or Thirst or Fact were restricted?

Unreservedly. This metagame is putrid compared to any of those. The metagame immediately after Thirst was restricted was much better than this one. Take a look, if you don't believe. http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/18040-So-Many-Insane-Plays-VintageLegacy-Split-Article.html

Vintage was roughly:

Archetypes as a Percentage of the Top 8 Field (July/August 2009)

Tezzeret: 15.3%
Fish: 12.5%
Stax: 11.11%
MUD: 8.33%
TPS: 6.9%
G/x Beats: 6.9%
Drain Tendrils: 5.6%
Dredge: 5.6%
Oath: 5.6%
"Rest of the Field": 22.22%

Or, how awesome was the September/October, where the engine breakdown was:

19 Mana Drain decks: 29.68% of the Top 8 Field
10 Mishra’s Workshop decks: 15.62%
7 Dark Ritual decks: 10.93%
9 Bazaar of Baghdad decks: 14.06%

It's a little top heavy on blue decks, but that was a MUCH healthier metagame than we have now.

These results are awesome and I would consider something like this to be ideal, with no single archetype consisting of more than 33% of the field. We aren't disagreeing on whether there is a problem, we are disagree on the solution. I do not believe such a metagame is possible with Gush as a 3-4 of along with the Delve spells.

In my opinion, the current illusion of "balance" is a product of Shops' strength combined with Gush's (used right now to refer to the tempo-oriented draw engine encompassing cantrips and delve spells) dominance over the rest of the format.

That assumes that the metagame is balanced. I don't consider it balanced. So, I'm not sure why you are directing this question to me.

It's not, hence the quotes. I'm glad we are in agreement. I'm curious on your perspective since you are much more knowledgeable about previous iterations of Vintage than I am.

Fair enough though I believe it's clear that Doomsday and the various combo builds of Gush were not significant players in the previous metagame. They were often absent from events and rarely successful.

Not true before Mentor was printed. And with Golem and Chalice restricted, and if Mentor were restricted as well, Dday would have been a very good option again, but only if Gush were unrestricted.

Before Mentor, Delver and Young Pyromancer were much more popular than Doomsday. You had a hybrid version of Gush storm that ran Young Pyromancers though it's not clear if that was the best version of that deck or if it would have been better off without the Storm package. In any case, Doomsday had a rather abysmal matchup against Shops and Eldrazi. Unless you are proposing a restriction to those archetypes, it's incredibly unlikely that it would be able to return as a viable options.

I believe that diversity in Vintage is largely created from Blue decks.

Except that's not true.

While it is true that you can create quite a bit of blue diversity if you want, it is equally possible to create a very diverse Vintage format without diversity within blue decks.

This isn't an opinion. It's a mathmatical fact that you can create diversity without expanding the diversity of blue decks. For example, if Bazaar decks and Dark Ritual decks both climbed to 20 of Top 8s or of the metagame, you would dramatically increase the diversity of the format without having to do anything to blue decks.

I mentioned interactivity, which is also something that must be considered along with diversity. These two qualities were mentioned by the DCI in the Lodestone restriction and it's why a Flash unrestriction is a pipe dream. Turn 1 wins might be acceptable to current Vintage players but they are a huge turn off to newer players, the ones Wizards wants playing in their online events. Restricting Dredge hate pieces (like someone suggested) is also unlikely.

What you essentially set out, in the middle of post 129, is a vision of Vintage that would have to use B&R list policy in a far more aggressive way to sculpt the format. And doing so would be absolutely anathema to many, if not most Vintage players, as it would result in many unnecessary restrictions, simply to execute a vision of diversity that is not actual diverse - but a faux-blue diversity, that washes out Shops, Dredge, and Combo in favor of a much bluer format.

Sounds like a nightmare to me. The alternative is simpler and much better: restrict cards only if they absolutely need to be restricted because they would dominate the format, and unrestrict cards that aren't a threat to dominate the format. That would actually create a more diverse format.

Vintage is now in a nightmare without any obvious escape route, except multiple unrestrictions that can create new options for players, IMO.

The nightmare scenario for me is that the DCI would let the Vintage format stagnate and wither away before making necessary changes. Can you really argue that Dig through Time was dominant before its restriction? That Lodestone was dominant? That Chalice was dominant? I agree with every one of those restrictions, but I can't reasonable say that any of them were dominant.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

The DCI literally just gave such an explanation with regards to the 1v1 Commander format.

"Before diving into the next set of bans, I’d like to restate that our primary goal for the Magic Online Commander 1v1 format is to make the most fun experience possible. Color balance alone isn’t a reason to alter a format, but lack of variety in play experience is.

Not true. In that example, they didn't provide a non-ground for their decision. They provided a partial ground. That statement suggests that color balance is a consideration, not a non-consideration, as what you are requesting from wappla would be.

They explicitly state that they didn't ban an assortment of Blue cards for color balance.

That's a misreading of what they said. They said that that was not the sole reason to alter, but clearly indicated that color balance is a consideration. They key syntax is "alone isn't a reason," suggesting that it's a factor, but not sufficient by itself.

Ironically, they also mentioned what I assume to be "action for the sake of change" or "churn", so I concede the point to Wappla that there is evidence for his position. Still, there are many instances in which people from Wizards have provided insight into their B&R process. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for information regarding this.

It's not unreasonable. What's unreasonable is requesting someone provide a non-ground or a rejected ground. No one can provide such information except by inference through conspicuous omission.

I'm still waiting on your justification for "maximum number of cards possible."

I've already provided this in the past. It flows logically from the foundational premises that 1) Vintage is the last place in magic to play with most magic cards, and that 2) no cards are banned in Vintage for power level reasons. With premise (2) being put in place in 2000, the idea that vintage is the place in constructed magic where you are permitted to play with the "maximum number of cards possible in maximum quantities feasible" is just a matter of inferential logic. To borrow an analogy from law, it's the penumbra of DCI decisionmaking regarding Vintage. It follows from the features and structure of the format.

I clarified my statement right before that, saying I wasn't referring to rate of change. The fact that you are omitting this is also fairly mind blowing. I even quoted it.

That has nothing to do with accusing him of making a claim, not you, and denying the fact that you said something you said. Even if you clarified something later (and I have no idea in what post you made such clarification), you made misleading comments about what you said before and wappla's position in more recent posts, which I took pains to straighten out here.

When a predominant blue draw engine does not dominate the format, your rule, here, is tantamount to setting a timer on any predominant blue draw engine, and restricting it to shake things up. There is no other reasonable reading of that sentence when said draw engine is not dominating the entire format, and you've already made your position clear, in post 53, and you are talking about predominance among draw engines, not the entire format.

Diversity argument. I am of the opinion that Blue should have multiple competitive and strategically different options. This has nothing to do with "shaking up" a diverse metagame in equilibrium.

But that's a logical consequence of your rule, when put into effect. In a hypothetical metagame, you could in theory have exactly one blue deck that is 25% of the field, Workshops at 25%, Combo at 20%, Dredge at 20%, and, let's say, hatebears the remaining 10%.

Your rule would force a restriction in the blue deck because the draw engine in that blue deck forces out other blue decks, and therefore shake up a diverse/healthy metagame.

Any rule that produces bad results like that is a bad rule.

I've already showed in previous posts how your rule would produce other bad results in other ways in post 120, just 10 hours ago:

[Your rule] would also produce other problems and absurdities. If such a draw engine predominates by a slim margin, it would be treated no differently than a draw engine that predominates by a large margin. Or, if you do have a graduated scale, you'd have to engage in line drawing to discern the acceptable level of intra-group dominance. Is a 5% margin acceptable, but 20% over the next best draw engine, not? Imagine this:

Draw engines:
A is 25% of the metagame
B is 15 % of the metagame
C is 8% of the metagame
and D is 6% of the metagame, with everyone else below 5%.

Does anyone really think A should be restricted, even though it "dominates" blue draw engines?

Yet, that's what we did with Gush.

Finally, if we are going to apply those rule to blue-based draw engines, what about other engines? What about mana engines or dominant intra-group creatures, like ravager?

Your rule is a terrible rule. Not simply because it's bad in concept, but because it's impossible to consistently apply, requires too many arbitrary line drawing, is a slippery slope, and would lead to absurd results. "

If Gush is not dominant, I don't care if it exists in the metagame for 10+ years. If it is dominant (i.e. clearly superior other options), then I think time should be allowed so the metagame can adjust. If the metagame fails to adjust, then that's when action should be taken. The timer is being set on the metagame, not the draw engine.

False dichotomy. Timer is being set on Both. The metagame and the draw engine are part of the same system, and interactive here.

That's a problematic rule for a half dozen reasons I've already mentioned over and over again, and which you've completely failed to refute, let alone address (i.e. the slippery slope problem, problems of line drawing, timing etc.).

Your rule, when put into actual operation, would produce absurd and arbitrary results. It's a bad rule, in concept and impossible to consistently, let alone reasonably, implement. It wouldn't pass the sniff test as a policy principle in any reasonable policy domain in real life.

You have the top 2 decks in both formats equaling two/thirds of the winning field. It's just the decks happen to be much closer in power levels, creating the illusion of a "healthier" metagame.

In who's mind? I'm the one who is saying this is a terrible metagame, not a healthy one, for virtually this entire thread. Your comment here makes almost no sense. I don't see anyone saying this is a "healthy" metagame. So, I'm not sure what the heck you are talking about here. No one (openly) thinks this is a healthy metagame, in perception or reality.

While it is true that you can create quite a bit of blue diversity if you want, it is equally possible to create a very diverse Vintage format without diversity within blue decks.

This isn't an opinion. It's a mathmatical fact that you can create diversity without expanding the diversity of blue decks. For example, if Bazaar decks and Dark Ritual decks both climbed to 20 of Top 8s or of the metagame, you would dramatically increase the diversity of the format without having to do anything to blue decks.

I mentioned interactivity, which is also something that must be considered along with diversity.

Yes, you did mention interactivity, but not in the sentence/statement I was critiquing.

The nightmare scenario for me is that the DCI would let the Vintage format stagnate and wither away before making necessary changes. Can you really argue that Dig through Time was dominant before its restriction? That Lodestone was dominant? That Chalice was dominant? I agree with every one of those restrictions, but I can't reasonable say that any of them were dominant.

Dig Through Time was like Treasure Cruise - if it wasn't already dominant, it was on it's way to Treasure Cruise like results, and therefore a reasonable prophylactic move. But I didn't support the timing, as I felt Dig should establish its dominance like cruise first.

Lodestone Golem, as I've pointed out a hundred times, was not restricted purely because of dominance, but because it was both dominant or verged on dominance and was hugely non-interactive. But, had they restricted Golem when it was 50% of the Vintage Champs Top 8 in 2012, I don't think anyone would have been surprised. Golem had moments of dominance.

Chalice shouldn't have been restricted, IMO. Although, because of Shops place in the metagame, I wouldn't unrestrict it now. But I strongly disagreed with that restriction.

As for Gush, you laid it all out in post 53. You said:

The actual argument is that the Gush draw engine produces decks that were superior to other Blue decks. It created a monolithic play experience as Gush is restrictive in deck design and incentives a tap-out, tempo oriented game plan. It was so good at what it does that it warped the metagame to fight on that axis.The best deck in the past two years by far? Ravager Shops, by nearly 10% MWP, because Spheres are ideal at slowing tempo.

The great irony is that both the warping effect of Shops and Tempo/Tap Out strategies has never been worse, despite you claiming that it was the "argument" for the restriction of Gush. The restriction you called for has made the two things you decried worse, not better.

My policy preferences were enacted in the 6 years starting with the restriction of Thirst up to the Dig Through Time restriction, and we had a golden age of Vintage. Your policy preferences are being enacted now, and the format is being driven into the ground.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

The DCI literally just gave such an explanation with regards to the 1v1 Commander format.

"Before diving into the next set of bans, I’d like to restate that our primary goal for the Magic Online Commander 1v1 format is to make the most fun experience possible. Color balance alone isn’t a reason to alter a format, but lack of variety in play experience is.

Not true. In that example, they didn't provide a non-ground for their decision. They provided a partial ground. That statement suggests that color balance is a consideration, not a non-consideration, as what you are requesting from wappla would be.

Fine. Read the next sentence where they say "Our intention is to try and trim excess power from clearly dominant decks to open up space for a variety of decks to succeed, not to introduce churn by adjusting the ban list." Isn't that a non-ground?

They explicitly state that they didn't ban an assortment of Blue cards for color balance.

That's a misreading of what they said. They said that that was not the sole reason to alter, but clearly indicated that color balance is a consideration. They key syntax is "alone isn't a reason," suggesting that it's a factor, but not sufficient by itself.

I disagree as they presented a second option that suggests that lack of variety in play experience is the reason for the current bannings. I should have bolded both sections.

Ironically, they also mentioned what I assume to be "action for the sake of change" or "churn", so I concede the point to Wappla that there is evidence for his position. Still, there are many instances in which people from Wizards have provided insight into their B&R process. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for information regarding this.

It's not unreasonable. What's unreasonable is requesting someone provide a non-ground or a rejected ground. No one can provide such information except by inference through conspicuous omission.

I'm still waiting on your justification for "maximum number of cards possible."

I've already provided this in the past. It flows logically from the foundational premises that 1) Vintage is the last place in magic to play with most magic cards, and that 2) no cards are banned in Vintage for power level reasons. With premise (2) being put in place in 2000, the idea that vintage is the place in constructed magic where you are permitted to play with the "maximum number of cards possible in maximum quantities feasible" is just a matter of inferential logic. To borrow an analogy from law, it's the penumbra of DCI decisionmaking regarding Vintage. It follows from the features and structure of the format.

I fail to see how these two premises lead to your conclusion. It follows that all cards should be legal in Vintage in some quantity but not necessarily "in the maximum quantity feasible". If so, the DCI would have implemented partial restrictions like other games in which two or three copies are allowed. This position is a stretch at best.

I clarified my statement right before that, saying I wasn't referring to rate of change. The fact that you are omitting this is also fairly mind blowing. I even quoted it.

That has nothing to do with accusing him of making a claim, not you, and denying the fact that you said something you said. Even if you clarified something later (and I have no idea in what post you made such clarification), you made misleading comments about what you said before and wappla's position in more recent posts, which I took pains to straighten out here.

"It's not a matter of the rate of change - the format should have multiple diverse decks of comparable power levels contextually better based on metagame dynamics."

For the third time, I never said the Wizard's should use restriction as a tool for rotation. You are inferring that, against the intent of my words.

When a predominant blue draw engine does not dominate the format, your rule, here, is tantamount to setting a timer on any predominant blue draw engine, and restricting it to shake things up. There is no other reasonable reading of that sentence when said draw engine is not dominating the entire format, and you've already made your position clear, in post 53, and you are talking about predominance among draw engines, not the entire format.

Diversity argument. I am of the opinion that Blue should have multiple competitive and strategically different options. This has nothing to do with "shaking up" a diverse metagame in equilibrium.

But that's a logical consequence of your rule, when put into effect. In a hypothetical metagame, you could in theory have exactly one blue deck that is 25% of the field, Workshops at 25%, Combo at 20%, Dredge at 20%, and, let's say, hatebears the remaining 10%.

Your rule would force a restriction in the blue deck because the draw engine in that blue deck forces out other blue decks, and therefore shake up a diverse/healthy metagame.

It's not meant to be a rule. Just a course of action based on the current metagame and previous metagames. Vintage has historically been blue and most diverse when there are multiple competitive Blue archetypes. The easiest way to achieve that is to target the draw engines, which impose the most deckbuilding constraints.

Any rule that produces bad results like that is a bad rule.

Based on your rule, there is no reason to restrict Mentor. Does that make it a bad rule or is there a problem in the implementation?

I've already showed in previous posts how your rule would produce other bad results in other ways in post 120, just 10 hours ago:

[Your rule] would also produce other problems and absurdities. If such a draw engine predominates by a slim margin, it would be treated no differently than a draw engine that predominates by a large margin. Or, if you do have a graduated scale, you'd have to engage in line drawing to discern the acceptable level of intra-group dominance. Is a 5% margin acceptable, but 20% over the next best draw engine, not? Imagine this:

This is crap. Dominance is generally defined as a large margin.

Draw engines:
A is 25% of the metagame
B is 15 % of the metagame
C is 8% of the metagame
and D is 6% of the metagame, with everyone else below 5%.

Does anyone really think A should be restricted, even though it "dominates" blue draw engines?

Yet, that's what we did with Gush.

Gush was generally in the 30%, but the percentages are contextual. Sensei's Divining Top was banned in Legacy to hit Miracles and I don't believe it was more than 20% of the metagame.

Finally, if we are going to apply those rule to blue-based draw engines, what about other engines? What about mana engines or dominant intra-group creatures, like ravager?

Your rule is a terrible rule. Not simply because it's bad in concept, but because it's impossible to consistently apply, requires too many arbitrary line drawing, is a slippery slope, and would lead to absurd results. "

Your rule is even worse. You are arguing that the cards below were on the road to dominance but that's inconsistent with "as a last resort". Given time and subsequent printings, such dominance might be averted and so the appropriate course of action should have been to wait until they were dominant.

If Gush is not dominant, I don't care if it exists in the metagame for 10+ years. If it is dominant (i.e. clearly superior other options), then I think time should be allowed so the metagame can adjust. If the metagame fails to adjust, then that's when action should be taken. The timer is being set on the metagame, not the draw engine.

False dichotomy. Timer is being set on Both. The metagame and the draw engine are part of the same system, and interactive here.

That's a problematic rule for a half dozen reasons I've already mentioned over and over again, and which you've completely failed to refute, let alone address (i.e. the slippery slope problem, problems of line drawing, timing etc.).

Your rule, when put into actual operation, would produce absurd and arbitrary results. It's a bad rule, in concept and impossible to consistently, let alone reasonably, implement. It wouldn't pass the sniff test as a policy principle in any reasonable policy domain in real life.

You have the top 2 decks in both formats equaling two/thirds of the winning field. It's just the decks happen to be much closer in power levels, creating the illusion of a "healthier" metagame.

In who's mind? I'm the one who is saying this is a terrible metagame, not a healthy one, for virtually this entire thread. Your comment here makes almost no sense. I don't see anyone saying this is a "healthy" metagame. So, I'm not sure what the heck you are talking about here. No one (openly) thinks this is a healthy metagame, in perception or reality.

There is no dominant deck. Therefore, by your rule no restrictions are warranteed. Wappla would back me up on that.

While it is true that you can create quite a bit of blue diversity if you want, it is equally possible to create a very diverse Vintage format without diversity within blue decks.

This isn't an opinion. It's a mathmatical fact that you can create diversity without expanding the diversity of blue decks. For example, if Bazaar decks and Dark Ritual decks both climbed to 20 of Top 8s or of the metagame, you would dramatically increase the diversity of the format without having to do anything to blue decks.

I mentioned interactivity, which is also something that must be considered along with diversity.

Yes, you did mention interactivity, but not in the sentence/statement I was critiquing.

The nightmare scenario for me is that the DCI would let the Vintage format stagnate and wither away before making necessary changes. Can you really argue that Dig through Time was dominant before its restriction? That Lodestone was dominant? That Chalice was dominant? I agree with every one of those restrictions, but I can't reasonable say that any of them were dominant.

Dig Through Time was like Treasure Cruise - if it wasn't already dominant, it was on it's way to Treasure Cruise like results, and therefore a reasonable prophylactic move.

Lodestone Golem, as I've pointed out a hundred times, was not restricted purely because of dominance, but because it was both dominant or verged on dominance and was hugely non-interactive. But, had they restricted Golem when it was 50% of the Vintage Champs Top 8 in 2012, I don't think anyone would have been surprised. Golem had moments of dominance.

You have a non-interaction clause in your rule? And yet you want to unrestrict Flash? Wow...

Chalice shouldn't have been restricted, IMO. Although, because of Shops place in the metagame, I wouldn't unrestrict it now. But I strongly disagreed with that restriction.

As for Gush, you laid it all out in post 53. You said:

The actual argument is that the Gush draw engine produces decks that were superior to other Blue decks. It created a monolithic play experience as Gush is restrictive in deck design and incentives a tap-out, tempo oriented game plan. It was so good at what it does that it warped the metagame to fight on that axis.The best deck in the past two years by far? Ravager Shops, by nearly 10% MWP, because Spheres are ideal at slowing tempo.

The great irony is that both the dominance of Shops and Tempo/Tap Out strategies has never been worse, despite you claiming that it was the "argument" for the restriction of Gush. The restriction you called for has made the two things you decried worse, not better.

My policy preference were enacted in the 6 years with the restriction of Thirst through the Dig Through Time restriction, and we had a golden age of Vintage. Your policy preferences are being enacted now, and the format is being driven into the ground.

My policy preference was to restrict Mentor and Gush. This is pure hyperbole.

The last deck that won a Vintage Challenge was Mentor with one Gush and three Night's Whisper. Basically, the Turbo Xerox engine is so powerful that it can win events, even with Gush restricted.

Should Mentor be restricted? Maybe. But hitting Gush was the right first step. Whatever else happens next, Wizards made the right decision by hitting Gush.

@ChubbyRain thank you for your considered response, Matt. I think there are many things which we agree on and it's possible that our approach is slightly different. My primary focus is on developing a cohesive view of how the restricted list ought to function in Vintage. I'm interested in doing something more similar to constructing a taxonomy - I don't know if that's possible but that's what I'm interested in. I don't claim that this is a project which is necessarily applicable to people other than me. It's merely for my own edification.

It's with this in mind that I responded to your statement that

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

and your follow up post expanding, where you said

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.

by attempting to show that we ought to expect Vintage to progress more slowly than other formats; that solved metagames are not necessarily noncompetitive metagames; that a single deck metagame does not necessarily mean that games of Magic are noncompetitive and that there are good reasons to believe that a dominant draw engine could exist in decks with vastly different strategic aims - and that these aims could change as a result of new printings or as a result of metagame changes which open space for a different strategic aim to thrive.

With respect to using the metagame as a tool to rotate the format, you said

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

It is possible, though again I don't favor it. Surely the current metagame doesn't need restrictions "to rotate the format". It's clearly unbalanced, according to the information Ryan and I have collected.

I was very pleased to read this. I too would be opposed to using the restricted list in this way.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

I believe that diversity in Vintage is largely created from Blue decks. Shops, Dredge, and Combo are too restrictive in the cards they can play and risk producing a format that becomes uninteractive, which we know is grounds for restrictions based on multiple B&R announcements. So how do you create diversity within the context of Blue decks? You recognize that the draw engines and win conditions are the two main areas of differentiation. We've already discussed how Mentor has become the win condition of choice because it combos with the most basic element of playing Blue (casting spells) while having a very small downside and being difficult to hate. On the flip side, draw engines have a much more significant role in how people design decks. Graveyard synergy with Gifts, Artifacts with TFK and PO, cantrips/Gush and tempo creatures with the Delve spells. I think there is a viable Fact or Fiction deck out there along with Night's Whisper/Painful Truths (and not just a Mentor deck). Each option has different constraints and/or color requirements. If I thought that Gush could coexist with these various other decks, I would be all for it being unrestricted. However, I'd argue that no one else in Vintage has tried more different configurations of Gush decks, with or without Preordain or Mentor or whatever other card Steve wants to hit before Gush. It is my firm opinion that if Gush remains unrestricted and the Delve spells remain legal, the format will continue to be divided into Gush tempo decks and Shops.

Thank you for laying out your thinking in this way - reading this is a particularly useful way for me to use to come to understand how you have formulated some of your thinking. I agree that the Gush - cantrip - Delve draw engine was more efficient, and probably more powerful than the examples of other potential draw engines you listed in this quote.

My question still comes back to "is this enough to warrant a restriction?" Clearly your view is that it is this is adequately compelling. I'm not sure it is. I haven't yet found a way to formulate a cogent view of the restricted list which balances the competing elements in a logical and compelling fashion and I think many people over value diversity. Additionally, and more relevant to this specific topic, I'm not sure that diversity should be measured on a non-strategic level.

I would like to note that if we agree that diversity is created primarily by Blue decks, then it becomes more important to have diversity within Blue decks when looking for diversity in the format. I'm not sure I agree that is the case, but I certainly see your line of thinking.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

"One key to the continued health of Magic is diversity. It is vitally important to ensure that there are multiple competitive decks for the tournament player to choose from. Why? If there were only a single viable deck to play, tournaments would quickly stagnate as players were forced to either play that deck or a deck built specifically to beat it. In addition, different players enjoy playing different types of decks. If there are plenty of viable options to play, there will be more players at more tournaments."

While it might be considered competitive, Wizards recognizes that such a metagame would be difficult to maintain. Cawblade Standard was very close to what you are referring to and Wizards felt that action was necessary given declining tournament attendance. It's worth the read: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/standard-bannings-explained-2011-06-20-0.

Thank you for this suggestion - this was a really great article which I don't remember if I ever read. It was certainly worth reading (again). I agree that the metagame I described is similar to Cawblade Standard and that there are many parallels here.

This particular paragraph was illuminating:

"I have seen many arguments flying around the Internet that nothing needs to be banned, as the format is very interactive and skill-testing right now. I suppose I agree with those descriptions of the format—the Top 16 in Singapore was loaded with talented names, and the same core group of guys keeps making the Top 8s of StarCity's events. As for interactivity, when you lose to Jace / Stoneforge decks, you still feel like you're playing Magic: you cast your creatures, attack and block, yet, if your opponent plays well enough, eventually fall under an avalanche of card advantage and efficient tutoring. Game play like that is a far cry from past Standard environments containing ban-worthy cards, wherein you might get decked by a Tolarian Academy–fueled Stroke of Genius on turn three, or die from 20 on turn four to a combination of Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault, and Cranial Plating, both frequently at the hands of less proficient players. Those games felt more random and less satisfying, and the outcry to do something about it was loud and clear."

My initial reaction to this is to note that in the past, WotC have said that they expect the barrier to entry to older formats to be higher than in Standard. I would expect that a high skill = high reward dynamic falls into a similar category. When the best players perform well with decks that require high skill level to play well, I could see this as being something which is not desirable in the format which you are working to make accessible (meaning it should provide the lowest barrier to entry). Conversely, I would imagine this kind of dynamic is better, and possibly even desirable, in older formats like Vintage. I'm not sure this is a great way to think about it though - it may be my own bias on show here.

I also think that that it was both the formal complaints by the player base and their decision not to attend events which, at least in part, motivated the DCI's decision to ban Jace, TMS and Stoneforge Mystic. I equate these complaints and low event attendance with the player base communicating that they don't enjoy a format. As I've said, I very much agree that if the majority of the player base communicates that they are not enjoying a format, then a change ought to be forthcoming.

It's possible that in considering the recent restrictions in Vintage, these conditions (with respect to player feedback) were met and as a result a change in the format was necessary. I don't know if that was the case, but if it was I would argue that a restriction is not necessarily the best solution.

I agree that metagame diversity is better to see than not to see. I think metagame diversity is good. I'm just struggling to balance it with the logical constraints I think exist in the format.

Perhaps constructing a taxonomy regarding the restricted list is an impossible task. It mostly doesn't matter if it is or isn't for me - my views and understanding in this regard have about as much chance of affecting B&R policy as a pizza does. But I'd like it if the DCI behaved in a consistent manner, and I'd like it even more if I was able to figure out what it is that they use to ensure their actions are consistent.

  • 303
    Posts
  • 151712
    Views