@vaughnbros said in Cards to unrestrict:
I thought that the coin flip having an impact on the outcome of games was a pretty well established concept.
No, it's a commonly used term, but that doesn't mean it's meaning is well-defined or it's conceptualization is well established. People use all kinds of idiotic aphorisms, metaphors, or allusions on a daily basis in common parlance or vernacular, that, upon close inspection, either have no meaning at all or are proven flawed in concept.
Here I am having to explain it to someone who considers themselves an expert on magic theory though.
There are some articles designed for beginners like yourself on this topic: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/level-one/play-or-draw-2015-03-16
Both of those articles are about the difference between being on the play or draw. Since you cite both of those pieces in support of your conception of what you mean by "coin flippiness," it's clear that you use that term to refer to who gets to play first, and, more specifically, whether a player gets a turn or not as determining who wins.
Already, it's clear how incoherent your understanding of this idea is. To put a fine point on it, if coin flippiness is literally defined, as you suggest, by whether a player gets a turn or not based upon winning the coin flip, then a game cannot be said to be "coin flippy" if a player gets a turn.
Yet, you specifically identified Worldgorger Dragon (and Dredge) as decks that exhibit or express your idea. Yet, as you should know, Dredge doesn't win on the first turn, and it is virtually impossible for Worldgorger Dragon (WGD) combo to win on the first turn. That's because the WGD pilot needs both a draw and discard outlet in play, such as Bazaar (or Compulsion), AND a (generally blue and black) mana source, in order to generate infinite mana. That's because each loop of the Dragon combo requires a mana in play to tap and float through each iteration. In general, Moxen will not suffice, as you need a black mana to cast an Animate effect, and usually a blue mana for Ambassador Laquatus or Cunning Wish at the end of the loop. Generally, the only way for WGD combo to win on "Turn 1" is to play a first turn Time Walk (or the opponent kills themselves). That means an opponent will almost always have an opportunity to play mana to cast Coffin Purge or Tormod's Crypt, etc.
If I've misread your meaning of the term, based upon the sources you provided, then it simply underscores the need, as I've said before now, for you to clarify your meaning of the term, rather than simply link to external articles to do it for you, with all of the ambiguity and indeterminacy that comes with it. You could have saved a step by simply doing that first.
What you also seem to not understand is that the history of the coin flip in Vintage and the specific time or times when it was impact has very little to do with my overall point.
What you seem not to understand is the structure of logic: the concept of coin flippiness is a premise that undergirds your conclusion (your overall point), and the strength or frailty of your conceptualization of that premise ultimately determines the validity and soundness of that conclusion.
But enough trying to understand your thinking. It's fairly clear, based upon your posts so far, that your thinking is muddled and perhaps just under-cooked as it relates to the issues in this thread. The fact that you gesture wildly to broad eras as "time of coin flip magic" without precision, specifying the boundaries of those eras clearly, while displaying ignorance of those eras and the strategies in them already underscores the lack of clarity in your thinking.
So, I'll turn now, in earnest, to your questions:
@vaughnbros said in Cards to unrestrict:
You haven't answered my initial question about how unrestricting combo decks helps with strategical diversity.
First of all, you don't "unrestrict combo decks," you unrestrict cards, not decks. But I take your point.
I already answered this question in my first post. The format right now is strategically narrow, throttled at the top by Mentor and Thorn decks, followed by PO decks, a bit of Dredge, and a bit of Oath.
The vast majority of the PO decks that appear in Vintage Top 8s or daily results are Mentor, Drain Tendrils, Mana Drain decks, etc. Aside from Reid Duke, almost no one in the format right now is playing PO as a straight combo deck, ala Dark Ritual Storm, with Necro, etc.
I believe that unrestricting combo cards, like Windfall, Bargain and Flash, have the potential to increase the strategic diversity of the format by increasing the viability of strategies that are currently unviable or extremely marginal. DPS was really hurt by the restriction of Probe. I would like to see the return of Dark Ritual-type decks to the format - that is, decks that use Wheel of Fortune, Necropotence, etc. and win with Tendrils. The format, currently, has, as I said, almost no viable deck that does this, or some that are extremely fringe/marginal.
Unrestricting Windfall or Bargain could increase the strategic diversity in the format by making those decks better. Similarly, unrestricting Flash would bring a whole new archetype into the format, and therefore increase the format's strategic diversity.
Do you feel that decks like Flash, Dragon, and numerous storm variants of that time period were slower than the current iterations of PO?
Dragon and Flash didn't really exist in the same time period, so the premise to your question if flawed.
Flash was a very fast deck, especially after the printing of Future Sight, which happened just after GP Flash and not long after the Flash errata. Summoner's Pact provided a reliable way to find Protean Hulk for free.
Yet, in the full year that Flash was legal with all of that nonsense, it never really did well. If you go back and look at the 2007 Vintage Championship results, a tournament I won, all of the best performing Flash decks were relegated below the Top 8, like Chapin, who made Top 16. Flash got a bit better in 2008, but still never really performed better than the Gush decks, in general; not even close. It won a few big tournaments, but it's performance, given the speed and ease of the combo, was always disappointing. The reason was that it was so easy to hate out with Extirpate and/or Leyline of the Void. And, by Spring 2008, people were playing maindeck Red Blasts (as they do now!), making it even worse.
With Leyline in play, Flash is a 3 card combo, and hardly a turn 1 win.
So, it's not really a matter of whether Flash was faster or slower than PO or anything else. It's pre-board and post-board games were radically different. It could goldfish faster than anything, but that doesn't mean it was really that fast. It wasn't.
As for Dragon, as I've pointed out many times, Dragon had essentially 0% Turn 1 kills. Although it could win on Turn 2, it was mostly a Turn 3/4 deck at best, and often slower. The reason the deck was so good was because it's draw engine was essentially uncounterable (squee/Bazaar), so it could generate more card advantage than the blue decks, and it could also win at instant speed, with Necromancy. But you needed lots of turns to dig up multiple Squees or simply make use of them with Bazaar to overwhelm your opponent with card advantage.
And, as for Storm, the Storm decks of the 2000s were all radically different speeds. The fastest was Long, with 4 LEDs. That deck was absurd, and Long v. Stax (which I have articles on SCG about), is probably the closest thing I've ever experienced to an actual "coin flip" in the format. But that only existed for about 3-5 months before it was restricted out of existence.
The Perfect Storm deck that won the 2008 Vintage Champs or the Pitch Long deck that got 2nd place in 2006 was much slower. That was more like a Turn 2.5 deck, at best. Still faster than PO decks today, but not as fast as Burning Long.
Do you feel we should have faster decks than PO now?
I think you and I have different understandings of where PO decks are now. I view PO decks that are currently doing well in this format as fairly slow decks. The Reid Duke style PO deck is certainly more geared towards Turn 1-3, but the PO decks that are best performing at the moment are significantly slower, despite the possibility of Turn 1 wins, they aren't designed to do that. If they were, they'd be playing more Mox Opals, etc. Instead, they trade off speed for resilience.
So, I think you are suffering from the incorrect premise that PO decks are actually pretty fast, when they really aren't.
So, yes, I do feel we should have decks faster than the average PO deck right now. Not because that should be a goal, but because achieving that would be the byproduct of a larger goal: making DPS/TPS or even Belcher style decks viable again.
How would such a deck help the format exactly?
Increase the strategic diversity of the format.
Let me present two simple principles that probably everyone would agree with:
In general, having more viable deck choices in Vintage is a good thing.
In general, being able to play games of Magic where both players get to play spells and make meaningful in-game decisions is a good thing.
The problem arises when these two ideas come into tension. In general, I give greater priority to strategic diversity than in-game decision making. And, in a format that is really strategically narrow right now, like Vintage, this preference has even greater weight.
In summary, I would gladly accept the trade-off of having more strategic options in this mundane and predictable format at the expense of having a slight increase in games won before a player can make a meaningful in-game decision.
Since the frequency of Turn 1 kills is so absurdly tiny in this format of late (I think someone pointed out that there was like one Turn 1 kill on the VSL for every 50 games), the format can afford to give up a little in-game interactivity in the interests of improved and broader strategic options.
And here's my last point:
I think it's quite revealing that the period you identified with the most specificity as exhibiting the dynamic of "coin flippiness" was the Golem/Chalice era. It would not be unreasonable to add the Trinisphere era (the one year Trinisphere was legal) as well.
Accepting for the moment the concept of "coin flippiness" (which I think is still ill-defined thus far, at least from you), the most coin flippy periods in Vintage history, in my opinion, are those dominated or defined by Workshop decks.
Far more than combo decks, Workshop decks really make the coin flip, and going first, most important. The presence of cards like Mindbreak Trap, Mental Misstep, etc. and the reduction in the importance of Mana Drain as a counterspell (and therefore getting UU up first) because of the printings of cards like Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm, etc, renders the importance of going first against Combo less significant than ever.