@cutlex said in Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor:
@Smmenen said in Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor:
Shops are just much more powerful, flexible and adaptable than they have ever been.
This is objectively false. Modern Shop decks are no where near the power level of the 4x LSG, 4x Chalice decks. I can respect an argument that the archetype could be too strong right now but let's not get carried away with hyperbole: we are no longer in the era of "oops I'm dead before I can play spells".
Guilty, as charged. I confess to hyperbole to drive home a point: that Workshops performance today is not best understood as a function of their role as a top predator for TX strategies.
I am probably guilty of not acknowledging this enough in recent debates, but it is true that the in the two previous Gush eras (late 2002-June, 2003 & July, 2007-June, 2008), the rise of Gush strategies prompted and was coincided by a metagame spike of Workshop decks. In fact, Workshops first full flowering in Vintage directly followed the rise of GroAtog in early 2003. My metagame reports from 2007-2008 document this. So, the theory that Rich outlines has a historical basis.
The problem is that it just isn't true today.
First, the historical period in this just recently passed "third Gush" era doesn't fit that pattern. When Gush was unrestricted in late 2010, Workshop were already surging. Gush was a tiny part of the metagame when Worldwake was released a few months later, and Lodestone Shops quickly became a top tier deck, while Gush remained relatively small % of the metagame, on average, for several years. Take, for example, the 2012 Vintage Championship. 50% of the Top 8 was Workshops. Gush was a comparatively tiny part of that metagame. Shops performance during the Worldwake through 2012 Vintage Championship period and even a bit beyond cannot be explained by "Gush" or "TX propping it up."
And neither can it be explained today. Gush was restricted this past April, but Workshops increase by nearly 2.5 times in the Vintage challenges since compared with the preceding Vintage challenges of equal number. That fact cannot be squared with a theory that TX is propping up Workshops. If that were true, then Shops should have subsided, at least a bit. Not increase by 238%.
The point I was trying to make is that Workshops are much stronger today against non-TX decks than they were in the earlier eras where TX decks were more accurately propping them up. Specifically, the 2011-17 era of Workshops is very different than earlier eras.
As I said above:
Restricting cards in blue decks isn't going to weaken Workshops. That may have been true ages ago, but is fallacy today.
The idea that restricting Mentor is going to reduce the % of Shops is ridiculous, IMO. Mentor is one of the best cards you can play against Shops. Unlike Gush or Probe, which were maybe of questionable direct value against Shops, Mentor is extraordinarily effective against Workshop decks. It's horizontal growth potential outpaces cards like Tangle Wire or Smokestack, and it's vertical growth potential can even race cards like Ravager, with similar growth potential.
No matter what kind of indirect effects you can present or articulate to support the notion that restricting Mentor will weaken Shops (a tortured chain of logic, IMO), there are countervailing factors and other unaccounted for variables which disrupt and undermine that chain of logic. The most obvious being that Mentor is insanely good against Shops itself.
As I said yesterday, "Restricting cards in blue decks & expecting Workshops to get worse is the Vintage Magic version of trickle down economics. It doesn't work."
At this point, the specific restrictions being discussed and proposed seem like throwing darts blindfolded, aiming in the right general direction, but hoping - fingers crossed - to produce good results. It's a kind of: "Whelp! Gush/Probe didn't work, let's try Mentor/Misstep now!" And if that doesn't work, what then? I'd like to have a much better sense of the next steps, if this doesn't work (as I predict), and a much clearer and more precise picture of what we expect to happen, before pulling any triggers.
@p3temangus said in Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor:
@Chronatog said in Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor:
@Smmenen said in Turbo Xerox and Monastery Mentor:
if the restrictions he recommends happen, I predict Workshop will not decline below their average baseline from the last 12 months. Then, we can see, again, who turns out to be right.
It looks like many, if not all, discussions about possible evolution of the metagame as result of hypothetical restrictions are based on one very strong assumptions - the metagame (market) is efficient. This assumption means that players have access to all cards, have plenty of time to spend on MtG, and can immediately adjust to changes. However, players do not have access to all cards, especially in paper, have some attachments to decks they play and are hesitant/slow to change them. Additionally, many players play occasionally and just want to have some fun without carving out too much time from their busy lives.
So any prognostication about metagame changes should take into account all Magic-unrelated factors. Otherwise, such discussions will remain only theoretical discussion quite disconnected from the reality.
Except now, with MTGO, Players do have cheap access to all cards, and can react immediately to the changes. Hell, anyone trying to test hypothetical restrictions can EASILY do so on MTGO.
The "herd mentality" explanation for the concentration of Shops and Mentor in the metagame is quite weak for a host of reasons.
The "strong" version of that argument, which suggests that players deck choices are fairly sticky, and not very responsive to changes in performance and metagame dynamics, is ultimately self defeating by it's own terms. If that were true, then B&R list policy is not an especially useful metagame lever for promoting diversity, since the relationship between B&R policy and metagame chance is attenuated by deck "stickiness."
More generously, if that theory really had merit, we would see much less deck turnover and metagame change over time. Yet, as the MTGO Challenge metagame breakdowns show, there are wildly dramatic fluctuations and representation from event to event. In February of this year for example, PO spiked to nearly 20% of the metagame, from under 10% the month before, and fell back under 10% in March. And Mentor in the first few months of the year saw equally dramatic swings.
But most importantly, the herd mentality theory overlooks how little it takes to completely change a metagame. A single player in a single tournament is theoretically capable of winning a tournament. If someone has brilliantly found a metagame niche, it could literally transform the metagame overnight, as imitators mimic the first mover's performance. Even if a single performance is insufficient, a repeat performance is usually enough to get entrants to move into that market niche. Vintage history is filled to the brim of examples of this, like Eric Becker's Intuition Tendrils or Vroman's Uba Stax.
This happens in the real-world all of the time as well. Think about how google displaced bad search engines or how Netscape was once a dominant web browser, despite having use built-in advantages from existing user bases. If there is a metagame niche to be exploited, and profit or wins to be achieved by doing so, it will happen. The fact that it hasn't happened suggests that no such niches exist. Markets don't have to be "perfectly" efficient for this to happen; just somewhat so. After all, we mostly just count the top 8 players out a much larger pool.