Vintage Restricted List Discussion
If, at some later date, outcome was restricted then I think consult would be a way to add a lot of power to 2 card combo without buffing pure storm excessively (1 of combo can't safely run consult)
The basic problem with combonis you don't want turn one kills. Tutors are a good way to buff combo because the fastest combo kills don't spend cards or mana on tutors, they are natural draws. Tutors are set up cards which make combo more consistent and faster "on average" without speeding up their fastest draws.
Consistent tutoring definitely leads to more turn one kills for storm combo decks. You rarely win off of a naturally drawn tendrils on turn one or any other turn for that matter there is almost always at least one tutor involved. As far as Demonic Consultation in storm combo, we already have more than enough very good unrestricted tutors with cards like Dark Petition, Burning wish or even Gifts Ungiven.
If outcome was restricted, storm would fall back on Dark petition and Gifts Ungiven.
Consult is tough to play in storm combo even with burning wish or Ad nauseam, because it can really punish you if you try to get restricted cards and you don't necessarily want to consult for any of the 4 ofs in the deck.
Consult is more broken in a 2 piece combo deck with 4 copies of each piece like Two card monte and such. Or a deck trying to abuse Lab Maniac.
We now 10 Vintage Challenges since the restriction.
And here are the decks that have Top 8ed:
And the next best performing deck?
3 PO Drain Tendrils
3 White Eldrazi
2 PO Tezz
2 UW Stoneblade
1 Monored Hate
1 Grixis Thieves
1 Jeskai Delver
1 Academy Combo
There isn't even an archetype with 4 copies, let alone 15, 20 or 24.
The point: It's not as if 8 fantastic innovators in a single tournament would have made a dent in this. This isn't about one tournament. It's about the aggregate metagame.
I have never, ever seen a metagame this consolidated. Shops and Mentor are literally 70% of possible Top 8 slots in the Vintage Challenges (56/80).
FYI, as a point of comparison, I went back and looked at the 10 Vintage Challenge Top 8s (July, 2016- March, 2017) before the restriction of Gush and Probe for direct comparison, and here are the results:
25 Mentor decks
6 White Eldrazi
4 Grixis Control (Thieves, Time Vault Control, etc)
4 Grixis Pyromancer
2 PO Combo
1 Nahiri Control
1 UW Stoneblade
1 Leovald BUG
The metagame snapshot in these 10 challenges is mathmatically more diverse and, I think, subjectively interesting than the metagame since the restrictions. Much more Dredge, Oath, and pretty much everything.
Moreover, Mentor and Shops add up to a much smaller % of the metagame. Even if you add all of the Gush decks together with Shops, you still get only 58%, which is substantially lower than the 70% since.
The restrictions of Probe and Gush destroyed decks like DPS and Doomsday, which at least appeared from time to time.
The restriction of Gush and Probe had 0% impact on the % of Mentor, in either direction. Mentor was the exact same proportion before and after. But Shops dramatically increased since the restriction.
The idea that restricting card from blue decks will reduce the prevalence of Shops is the Vintage Magic equivalent of trickle-down economic theory. It's a disproven theory that needs to be discarded.
Stuart last edited by
Maybe I'm slow, but when I look at those results, I don't see a meta that was much better than our current one. Yes, Dredge and White Eldrazi put up better results, which in one way made it more diverse. However, by those numbers Mentor was clearly the best deck (twice the metagame share of its next closest competitor, Shops, almost triple that of Dredge, and quadruple of Eldrazi's). Is a two-deck meta actually less diverse than a meta with one clear-cut best deck and a handful that are a step down from it?
(Note: I'm not saying the current meta is good, that the Gush restriction was correct, etc. Just not sure those numbers look good to me.)
So I'd need to run the number to be sure, but the field of economics actualy has an objective metric to measure the concentration of various industries called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index which I imagine could be applied to meta game concentration profitability. You could condense the two meta games tot hat index and compare to see which is actualy more diverse.
wappla last edited by wappla
@ChubbyRain your determination to defend an indefensible position is failing you.
To your first paragraph, I would simply say that a deck needs to be dominant before a card should be restricted from it. Your data helps remove the subjectivism when it comes to defining dominance, and you know better than most Workshops and Mentor's win percentages over the past however many months.
To your second, I called Gush and Mishra's Workshop significant blocks in the format's structure. I didn't say anything about what role they played in that structure. For someone always on guard for straw man arguments, you're quick to commit the fallacy yourself.
I have basically agreed with your identification of polarization for many months despite your insistence that I didn't. Your conclusion that Gush was the problematic card was obviously incorrect, but your initial diagnosis was basically correct. You do a good job identifying how Gush and Workshop are opposite forces in the format in your paragraph above. I would suggest you continue that line of thinking.
A house divided against itself cannot stand - rather than talk about individual bricks, I would focus on this core polarization in the current format.
your pictures of ceilings and metaphors about bricks...
If you're going to ridicule the metaphor, I'd suggest you not borrow it in the very same post.
Topical_Island last edited by
@ChubbyRain I don't think you'll see that on that thread. You will in fact see me playing around with the idea of unrestricting Balance and Flash. I wouldn't call that advocating, only because I don't have enough faith in the soundness of my own opinions here to really advocate anything of the sort... but that's me.
In fairness to Steve, we got into a side discussion of how degenerate Flash was in it's day. My experience was that it wasn't THAT bad. Other people thought it was literally the most degenerate thing since breakfast for dinner, and subtextually, we discussed what a moron I was, and whether my impression of Flash invalidated all my opinions.
At that point Steve just pointed out that Flash hadn't won that many tourneys or finished that high that often... anyway.
I don't agree that trying not to restrict unless deemed necessary, will have you arrive at the same levels of subjectivity. Practically speaking, my impression is that we are almost at maximum subjectivity as is. I'm not sure what Lincoln would say about it, but an objective standard, cleaved to even a little bit, has got to be better than this... hasn't it? It's discussions like this that continue to astound me at how opaque WOTC is on this stuff. If there is some standard, it's so closely guarded that what might be orderly, rule of law, can at least continue to seem like anarchy.
@Smmenen Gush has a pretty good argument for restriction to me from that data in that quad gush was in a meaningful percent of even the 'other' decks (certainly grixis, Tahiti, delver, probably some of the oath decks, doomsday). If cruise and/or dig needed to go, gush needed to go too. the true non-gush deck representation is actually quite small.
I can get behind "restricting probe was a mistake." It certainly hurt storm, and it made cabal therapy strategies a lot worse. It doesn't serve the same purpose in every deck, and that excuses it's ubiquity to an extent.
It's discussions like this that continue to astound me at how opaque WOTC is on this stuff. If there is some standard, it's so closely guarded that what might be orderly, rule of law, can at least continue to seem like anarchy.
Well, as much as I hate to say it, as a company that reports results to Wall Street, the DCI's methodology might be as simple as asking: "what restrictions or unrestrictions will increase the play and consumption of Magic."
Anything more altruistic than that is merely our community's fantasy.
This is where @diophan 's belief that whomever shouts the loudest to the DCI, is heard. Player outrage + player attendance is all they really need (though I wish they would only consider the latter). Any metric more complex than [are people playing more or less] is likely overkill or overthought.
Archae last edited by Archae
I am not by any means an authority on anything Vintage, but am a student of the game of magic and the Vintage meta. I have not played magic in paper or online since the Waterbury. While some considerations in my life may be factors, there is another issue at play. Reading the content on the Mana Drain, I tried to think critically about why that is the case. Here are my 2 cents:
The format seems to have consolidated around two decks, with Mentor pushing out other blue strategies as the best win condition and Shops being a natural predator, but playing fewer lock pieces than ever. Some of this could be traced back to the restriction of Chalice (which allowed for 1-drops to become more worth running en masse, which may have contributed to blue preying on itself in the form of Mental Misstep, though Mentor really brought that to the fore) and LSG (making Shop decks want to close faster) and even the printing of Dack.
However, I want to focus on those restrictions from another vantage point. There has been more outcry from the community and more discussion about potential or actual restrictions in Vintage than in my past memory of the format (circa 2009, maybe). Additional attention from the VSL and MODO may be contributing factors to this, and many have claimed that the format evolves and stagnates faster than before due to Magic Online. The recent swath of B&R changes have not have the desired effect generally: Chalice and LSG restrictions made Shops perform better, Gush did not (yet) reduce the prevalence of Spheres, etc. Managing the B&R list is surely difficult, and there have surely been missteps recently (from where I stand).
For me, though, this is not the factor that has pushed me out of the game recently. Rather, I think it is the flurry of B&R activity in the form of restrictions that makes me less likely to want to play. Wizards wants to sell a product and wants to make the format as healthy and fun as possible; good on them. However, if the format will constantly be changing through (mismanaged) restrictions, I have less incentive to play. As @Smmenen mentioned in his post here (http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/1360/turbo-xerox-and-monastery-mentor/113), time is important. This is a contributing factor to people's stated beliefs that if you want to win, you should play Mentor or Shops and how that portends seeing those decks at the top tables.
I have no problem with either deck, or any deck really. I personally think that Mentor is too efficient of a win condition and the Chalice restriction made decks full of one-drops (or effective one drops; i.e. TX) too homogenized. Wizards decision to give B&R updates more frequently isn't a problem on its own, but making changes that frequently is. As there is no certainty that any deck that rises to the top won't have its legs cut out from under it by B&R policy, there will be less investment and less innovation, at least among a proportion of the player base.
@neo_altoid But that's not really argument for gush's restriction. Only because most blue decks run the same draw spells doesn't mean this draw spell needs to be restricted. For example, you could make the same argument about preordain. How many true non-preordain decks were there? this is the old "diversity in draw engines" argument that has been made over and over again. Put it to rest. Different Gush decks play very differently. Even Grixis pyromancer and mentor (two TX token strategies) play(ed) differently.
So, after the restriction, we can see that gush is not necessary for the TurboXerox engine to dominate. Even restricting every 1-mana cantrip wouldn't hurt it. I'd say the problem is that there is a finisher that is easier to cast than tinker (no artifact in play needed), requires less investment (sacrificing an artifact, running a dead card), is harder to deal with, and kills about as quickly. The only requirement said finisher has is "play lots of spells, doesn't matter what the effect says on the card."
On the other hand, some decks conceptually rely on 4 gush to work, such as doomsday for example, or any form of gushbond decks (which have been outclassed a long time ago). Not only have these decks been killed by the restriction of gush, the very POSSIBILITY of "innovating" with gush has been removed! that's what wappla means by removing bricks I think.
(Grixis pyromancer has been killed by the printing of walking ballista though, and then killed again by the restriction of probe; DPS also has been killed by restricting probe). The problem with probe is the same: the spell is only problematic when it summons a seeker of the way.
Long story short:
restrict mentor. unrestrict gush OR fastbond. unrestrict probe. unrestrict memory jar. unrestrict yawgmoth's bargain.
see what happens. if the main problem in the metagame continues to exist (I think it has been well defined that at the moment there is a two deck metagame with MUD and TX: mentor), try more things: One possibility:
restrict misstep and sphere. unrestrict chalice of the void.
Restricting misstep would make real 1cc-counters better, like REB (opening up the possibility of painters), spell pierce + snare, as well as making hand disruption, rituals and 1cc-creatures better.
Restriction of sphere is not a very obvious one, but I think it has some merits, because sphere is unconditional (removes deckbuilding options to play around it) and is only usable for workshop decks. While creature decks don't have problems with thorn, they do with sphere.
Chalice on the other hand is a card that can be used in or even enables a variety of decks (MUD, Blue moon, some baral-2cc-mono-U-control, could make eldrazi and other critter decks stronger, a white deck with chalice and chalice man, etc.) and is very effective against the cantrip menace, (unlike misstep, which forces blue decks to run their own missteps to counter the opponents missteps that countered the misstep which add more dead draws against MUD). Also, chalice is nullified by cavern of souls. It would also give all the decks an option against PO decks, while being relatively easy to answer for these decks set on any number via engineered explosives (with the help of strip/library/sol ring/mana vault/monolith mana). I'd only unrestrict chalice if at the same time restricting sphere though!
Also: the workshop: Magic players tend to forget that mishra's workshop has a weakness: All permanents in a workshop deck have the artifact type. one hurkyl's (or anything else) to rule them all. Eldrazi are already harder to answer, because their card types vary (but is worse as a deck). And at the same time, the taxing deck is important to have in vintage, to prevent t1 glass cannons and TX strategies from totally dominating. The goal should be how to make shop decks a little worse against Non-greedy TX/combo decks.
All in all, I'd look for restrictions and unrestrictions which open up possibilities of deckbuilding and foster variety, without destroying archetypes like workshop or gush decks.
These guys must have been discussing the Gush/Mentor restriction debate.
The DCI has a tough decision ahead of it, but I've concluded that the best course of action for August 28th would be:
+Restrict Mentor & Sphere of Resistance
-R (unrestrict) Yawgmoth's Bargain
If Shops continues to dominate after this, I'd probably have to restrict Shops next cycle, as damaging as that might be.
Restricting two cards at once violates my rule, but the problem with restricting Mentor, and not also Sphere this time, is that there is no way that restricting Mentor will not lead to an increase in the dominance of Shops. That's what happened when Cruise and Gush were restricted.
I'd keep Thorn unrestricted so that White Eldrazi and Tribal Eldrazi are unaffected by these restrictions. White Eldrazi will still have 4 Thalia and 4 Thorn.
My bigger fear is that we are close to a cascading restricted list, with PO next or in the foreseeable future.
@Smmenen I agree with these as well. I was leaning more towards Thorn vs Sphere since sphere affects shops more equally than Thorn (which they just play creatures through) but had not thought of splash damage to Eldrazi.
I think PO is probably going to get hit as well. It is not as dominant now, but DCI seems to be getting a little more aggressive and I can see them hitting all three decks at once.
My only fear with sphere is that I feel like control-shops will be dead for a long time, and shops will be forced to stay in the Aggro-role (ravager) indefinitely.
As much as I hate restricting creatures, would love to see Ravager and/or Ballista go, which at least might lead to varying shops builds (stax, more eldrazi shops, terra nova, cars, etc). Though I won't pretend to guess how any of these restrictions might affect the metagame.
Winterstar last edited by Winterstar
I'm more inclined to say Mentor and Walking Ballista.
I think that taking sphere removes too many lock pieces from Workshop and forces it even further down the hyper aggressive route.
Ballista ratchets back the hyper-aggressive version of the deck and still give leeway to other shops builds. It is also possible this will prune the deck back far enough to let other strategies breathe.
"If you want to play with more than 8 lock pieces go play white eldrazi" is not necessarily something a shops pilot wants to hear.
While I acknowledge that restricting Walking Ballista might not be enough, I think it is a better place to start than with taking a lock piece, especially given the propensity to not remove cards from the list until large stretches of time have passed. In other words, I'd rather see a tentative step that then results in further action if necessary, then a large step that will then sit for quite some time to come.
In other words, I'm not convinced this requires swift and decisive action, and would rather see an approach more akin to a scalpel than a sledgehammer.
Especially given the notion that Mentor Decks will likely move back over to Pyromancer and keep trucking with the Dack/Delve engine.
Only my two-cents.
Edit: and joshuabrooks said everything I was thinking. Heh.
John Cox last edited by
If you restrict [[walking ballista]] and/or [[sphere of resistance]] you can still make card for card, Tiny Robots. Since the days of Tiny Robots better cards have been printed so I'm almost definitively in that camp that said restrictions will do next to nothing to Workshops.
I have no idea what the best course of action is, but (IMO)that isn't it.
Stormanimagus last edited by
I just want to point out that the formula for beating workshops has been around for a while and an intelligent few have adopted it, Joe Brennan being a major one of them.
- Run Dack
- Run some 1 cmc Removal Spells to stay afloat (Ingot Chewer, Fragmentize, Steel Sabotage)
- Run a couple 2 CMC answers that have broad reaching effects (Hurks/Wear/Tear etc.)
- Run 2-3 Engineered Explosives to Deal with the F-ING SPHERES!!!
- Run 1-2 By Force to actually mass sweep the shop players board.
Players just aren't willing to devote 6-7 slots to shops and, more importantly, the RIGHT 6-7 slots.
My two cents.
@Stormanimagus You mean play Mentor like the other half of the field?
Stormanimagus last edited by
Yes, but a lot of people play SHIT builds of Mentor. I'm trying to point out where those builds could improve to address shops. Players just aren't willing to do this cause. . . well, Paradoxical Decks wah wah. . . and well, . . . . reasons! Quit your bellyaching players and just run good cards! Peace out.