The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop

I had started to put my thoughts together pre-Mentor Thorn restriction but never published anything. This article is a little long winded but traces the intersection of the last 6 or so years of events that led us here on the precipice of Workshop being restricted.


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Curious Case Article

last edited by nedleeds

@nedleeds PREACHHHHH!!!! Excellent write up mate.

I have posted my views on this topic before here and little has changed in my view. At least on the Xerox side of the coin. My bugbear now is that Wizards is focusing on MTGO when they make their choices and not Vintage as a whole. Regardless of if you feel Thorn was or was not the more powerful card (it was), it was the wrong choice to take over Sphere because of the devastation it created on paper Vintage. I would have rather seen two cards taken from shops to leave unpowered and White Eldrazi untouched. But since unpowered decks are not really an issue on MTGO, these disccusions are not given the prominence they deserve.

So I have no faith any more that the right choice can be made for a meta health perspective. Should MM have gone years ago? Yes. Will it ever go? Probably not. Just keep going down this path of 4 MM, a few Flusterstorm and some REB while bitching all is bad in the world when a Sphere hits. Its fine, Randy will back you up, say Tomb is the real issue here and regardless of if its required or not your pile of Blue will not be touched. At lest you know that no one without a house deposit in cards will ever challenge you in paper again, you know, since we don't need to take those plebs in mind when the B/R choices are made. Save for those fools who show up with Dredge, but since you do not have to worry about Shops hate in the side they are all going to get dumped on from a great height.

On the plus side, when people like myself sell out if they kill Shops at least you will have new people buying my power. People that don't know what it was like before your 90% Blue meta who are happy with the MM, Fluster, REB situation. God knows I'm not sticking around for it. I deal with that BS enough in Legacy thank you very much.

And I do honestly think that regardless of what you or I say ned, we are at the end of the road. I just, I don't see how this train is stopped now. I think its game over for Shops because it's an Emotional issue on both sides. People like me want to play Prison, people like Randy want to play Xerox and see me as anathema to their very idea of fun. Sadly I never worked for RnD, so my views don't mean shit.

That's not to say that Shops is something that should remain untouched, I know sometimes things need to be dealt with. I am just pissed that the issue of Blast, MM and FS taking up 7 to 9 slots of a bunch of Mains is something my deck has to get hit for. Feels like your punishing the wrong crew for dealing best with a situation outside of their control.


Someone said it far better than I did here.

As far as the actual opinion, David (Shops @ 20 of the meta) is consistently beating Goliath (Blue @ 70% of the meta) and you are complaining that Goliath's job is too hard. It is absolutely stunning to me that so many people take this position. Blue decks are dogs to shop G1, then have to win G3 from the draw. Take a deck with some Wastelands, Ancient Grudges, and Deathrites to bear and suddenly you are winning G1 and they have to steal back G3 on the draw. But instead everyone complains until they restrict more shop cards and we pump those blue numbers up over 80%. Breaking Force of Will decks down into 7 archetypes has been necessary for so long that we just accept it. We see Shops at 20% and 3 Blue variants at 18% and complain that Shops has an unfair chunk of the meta. It doesn't. This is akin to saying that we should ban Forest because Affinity isn't winning more than 55% vs Mono Green Hate. The success of the hate deck is predicated on the success of its prey. Let's push back these greedy Blue decks that have to cannibalize each other in order to survive instead of cutting out everything else until we are looking at mono-Blue deck vintage with varied colors splashed.

last edited by Dice_Box

@dice_box said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

I have posted my views on this topic before here and little has changed in my view.

It's pretty funny that you linked to a post where I am quoted as saying "Shops are just much more powerful, flexible and adaptable than they have ever been."

The person quoting me disagreed, saying that they are nowhere near powerful as in the 4 chalice/4 golem era.

The funny part?

Not only would I double down on that comment (that is, I am right, and Cutlex was wrong), but I'd go further: Montolio's deck, IMO, is the best Workshop deck in the history of the format, and it's not particularly close. It's faster, more flexible, more resilient, and more explosive than any Shop deck from the past.

@smmenen Agreed. The fact that these aggro shops decks can win turn 2 on the draw(lol)with the help of only 1 restricted mana producer is ridiculous. In the past shop decks needed 2 and 3 restricted mana producers. Due to this, Turn 2/3 wins are much more common than before. Foundry inspector is just that damn good :(. I wish they would axe both Foundry Inspector AND Mental Misstep.

last edited by Guest

@bobbyvictory Just curious - what is your proposed turn 2 win (hand and sequencing)?

oath + orchard + mox is also effectively a turn 2 win with only 1 restricted mana producer and only requires 3 cards. powerful things happen in vintage.

Here is the current T2 win that is easier to assemble than the T2 wins of shop decks in the past. This is because they require less restricted pieces than before.

T1 on the draw -(8 cards)Workshop, Inspector, Sol ring Or Black Lotus Or Mana Crypt, 2nd Inspector, steel overseer, ravager, ravager, ballista

T2 - draw a card play whatever it is, land or artifact. The card is pretty much irrelevant. Activate overseer, attack with two 4/3 inspectors, two 2/2 ravagers, one 2/2 ballista. 14 damage. Then finish off with ravager/ballista machine gun. Well over 20 damage T2, only 1 restricted mana producer required.

There are more t2 kills than this though that are easier to assemble than the older ones. When you start adding fleetwheel cruiser into the mix it can get just as silly. On the draw- T1 workshop + lotus or ring or crypt + double inspector + ravager. T2 ancient tomb + ballista + double feetwheel. attack for 17, finish off with ravager/ballista machine gun.

last edited by Guest

@vnayin Oath + orchard + mox on T1 does not outright win on T2 like shops does.

It can, and in most cases the opponent can't beat whatever big fatty pops out of the oath, so it is effectively over once the trigger resolves, and happens way more often than the above situation.

@vnayin It's not terribly hard for a blue deck to deal with inferno titan popping out(2 out of 3 targets in the current best oath deck are inferno titan). I agree that If they manage to hit griselbro it is pretty much always GG because drawing 7 cards is good.

last edited by Guest

How about Land + Lotus + D rit + bargain? still more common (in terms of odds of having the cards in the opening 7) than the above line with shops and wins turn 1. The point here is not that a turn 2 win with shops isn't powerful, but that this is vintage and if you get the perfect set of cards to win on turn 2 1-2% of the time that should just be part of the format.

Who cares how easy it is for shops to win on turn 2? That seems totally besides the point. Shops decks contain a deadly cocktail of disruption and pressure that hamstrings opposing decks in the first couple of turns and then wins the game before they can recover.

@bobbyvictory said in The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop:

Here is the current T2 win that is easier to assemble than the T2 wins of shop decks in the past.

What is the probability of having these eight cards in your open hand on the draw?

@evouga That was exactly my point. Bobby was saying that it was ridiculous that shops could win on turn 2 when it assembled the rube goldberg machine, but really that's just vintage. Most decks should have some probably of a turn 2 win, or at least heavy control by turn 2. As for shops containing a deadly cocktail of disruption and pressure, the pressure has increased, but the disruption isn't nearly as good. This makes bombs like serenity, energy flux, by force, kataki or something like toxic deluge way more easy to cast. Its really hard for a shop deck to stop the opponent's plan nowadays, so it needs to be aggressive to have a chance, if you come with a good plan for shops you can win.

Restrict phyrexian metamorph

@vnayin If you don't have the mox, your serenity/flux doesn't matter because you'll have died before serenity goes off or before casting the flux. Those are not really reliable solutions. Kataki hasn't been good since ballista came out. For deluge, you need the mox.

I'm not saying shops shouldn't have a T2 kill. Almost every deck has one outside of jeskai tokens. The problem is that shops' Inspector T2 kill happens much more frequently than any other deck's T2 kill because it requires less restricted cards to power out. Every other decks T2 kill requires either more restricted cards or variance to go highly in their favor.

T1 blightsteel, T2 win(multiple restricted cards, can't have blightsteel in hand)
T1/T2 vault/key wins(multiple restricted cards needed)
T2 dredge win(double bazaar opener, perfect graveyard mix from dredging)
T1/T2 outcome/storm win(needs multiple restricted cards in hand + the perfect draws)

All of these above require a much higher level of variance to occur thus making them extremely uncommon when compared to shops t2 kill.

last edited by Guest

@bobbyvictory Have you actually done the hypergeometric equations for the odds off those hands?

Your scenario of a workshop (1 of a 4 of), 2 inspectors (2 of a 4 of), 2 ravagers (2 of a 4 of), lotus sol ring or crypt (1 of a 3 of) overseer (1 of a 4 of) and ballista (1 of a 4 of) is really really rare. You might as well just complain about turn 1 Trinisphere because over the course of a large event I guarantee that leads to way more wins than that turn 2 play. I'm guessing if you actually did the math it would be comparable to the rarity of the other T2 wins.

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