The Curious Case of Mishra's Workshop

Having a deck named after you isn't all it's cracked up to be, @Thewhitedragon69.

@ilpeggiore I agree with this, except at some point dredge poked its head in there...and then really great grave hate got printed. I don't understand why people are so cool with Vintage being predominantly blue deck vs. brown deck vs dredge deck. There are so many other options, and lots of them get choked out because of workshop. I heard someone once say they wished vintage was all blue mirrors because it's the most skilled deck to play. I can't get on board with that, but to each their own, I guess.

@hierarchnoble It's not. Neither is having your name on a book jacket. What's worse though is having someone ELSE'S name on the book jacket of the book you wrote. That shit just feels bad and like your effort was wasted.

I d like to see how many slots are needed to have a fair/positive matchup against shops.

Right now a 3x bolt+3 energy flux seems enought on paper.

This version of shop is explosive but seems frail, being composed of aggressive artifact Creatures, the most killable permanent ever

In our testing it felt like the paucity of spheres was pretty exploitable. Especially if you were on the play. The test gauntlet was URg Delver with null rods, abrade and grudge ... still with some duds main like 3 x MM, 1 x Fluster, and UGb Fish again still with 3-4 dead cards. We were winning a reasonable amount of game ones and being reasonable against blue stew Jeskai. Losing games where blue stew could win a Misstep war over a token maker.

Game 2 and 3 where the X for 1's like Grudge, Flux, By Force and typically an extra basic came in didn't feel bad. Alot of playing Smokestack for me was playing aggro shops and getting smashed on the draw by Deathrite go or Thoughtseize go into spot removal and endless wastelands.

I haven't crunched the numbers, but for the advocates of restricting Misstep, has anyone tracked the actual % of Top 8s that Misstep occupies in any systematic way?

I'd be very curious to see those numbers.

@smmenen According to MTGTOP8 it's 61% of the Top 8 decks. It loses only to Lotus, Moxen, Strip Mine and FoW (and ties with Ancestral Recall).

EDIT: Actually Ancestral and Misstep fare at 60,5% with Misstep averaging 3,4 copies per deck.

EDIT 2: in the Top 20 Most Played Cards, the only 3 unrestricted cards are FoW, Misstep and Wasteland.

last edited by fsecco

Yeah, and at 21st, 22nd are Delta and Strand.

Misstep also sees play in a broad spectrum of decks: combo decks, Dredge, big blue, tempo, Fish, and blue control.

The argument for restriction Misstep is a tough one. How do you separate it out from Force of Will or Wasteland? Two cards that are also widely played across archetypes and strategies? It's a really hard argument to make. You can draw distinctions, such as the fact that Misstep trades 1-for-1 instead of 2-for-1, but is that really a meaningful difference? Force sees more play than Misstep. If Misstep were restricted simply because it sees "too much play," then I don't see how you draw the line at Misstep without also drawing in Force and/or Wasteland.

My deceptively titled article draws out the differences between Force and Skillstep. 🙂

tldr; Misstep counters spells during deck construction in addition to its whoops uninteresting play pattern.

What makes Misstep, targeting Misstep, ad infinitum any less interesting than Force on Force on Force? The only difference is that you can stack more Missteps at a time because Misstep doesn't cost 2 cards in a game with a 7 card hand size limit.

Also, does anyone believe that Misstep pushes people off of 1cc spells anywhere except at the margins? The format is full of 1cc spells. If you were to examine the Vintage format before the printing of Misstep and after it's printing and use, I doubt you'd find a statistical observable difference in the ratio of 1cc spells.

@smmenen I think it leaves many spells off the list to begin with, or because the spots are consumed by Missteps they are squeezed out. Blue stew lists now universally begin with

4 force
a bulk of the blue restricted draw
3.8 Missteps

"A common retort is that Force of Will is played (slightly) more than Misstep. No sane person is advocating a Force of Will restriction. This is an inaccurate comparison. A quick look at building a deck from scratch reveals this. Nobody discards a card from contention in a list because it gets countered by Force of Will. Nobody omits a card from a deck because it can be Force of Willed or Mana Drained or Spell Pierced or Spell Snared or even Flusterstormed. Mental Misstep alone wears that crown of shit. Go listen to or read any Vintage focused set review. They are littered with sighs, ‘oh wells,’ and qualifications about what a waste of time a 1 mana sorcery speed spell in the face of a hail of Missteps. So why does this even matter? What has been left on the scrap heap of deck building due to being a massive tempo blowout when a +1 mana, 2 life instant gets exchanged for your actual mana?

Misstep oppresses many cards that can tactically fight Shops and Mentor/Blue Stew, especially post-Thorn restriction. Those cards either aren’t worth sinking mana in to, or you are sucked in to the same endless vortex that got it banned everywhere else: Misstepping the Misstep that Misstepped the Misstep. Unlike Force of Will, more Force doesn’t beget more Force. But the best way to fight Misstep is Misstep, because in Magic nothing beats free. This is worth reiterating, we are at 4 Missteps because of how the card and resulting play pattern operates. If no one plays it its efficacy wanes, but once its adoption grows it spreads everywhere because there’s nothing more efficient than no mana."

Cards are discarded either because they get Misstepped or by process of deckbuilding because in order to waste a main phase mana on lets say a DRS or a Sensei Top you have to play 3.8 Missteps.

Anecdotally this weekend as a thought experiment I went back to U/b control and eschewed Missteps for Thoughtseizes (yes I know I can play them both). Wasting mainphase mana to have it Missteped, without being able to Misstep back was brutal. Even playing slower and having my Flusterstorm up did nothing in the face of 2 Missteps. Leaving me having spent 2 mana and my opponent having spent no mana, and actually being +2 mana on the inevitable delve spell. The card is broken, phyrexian mana is broken. Again, in my opinion.

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

Also, does anyone believe that Misstep pushes people off of 1cc spells anywhere except at the margins? The format is full of 1cc spells. If you were to examine the Vintage format before the printing of Misstep and after it's printing and use, I doubt you'd find a statistical observable difference in the ratio of 1cc spells.

I think it's emergence in Dredge speaks volumes. There is no competitive Vintage deck that doesn't either play 3.8 Missteps alongside its 1 drops or purposefully ignore it (Shops / The corpse of White Eldrazi). There are fringe decks that did not place in any significant numbers (Defense Grid Combo decks for example).

last edited by nedleeds

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

Also, does anyone believe that Misstep pushes people off of 1cc spells anywhere except at the margins? The format is full of 1cc spells. If you were to examine the Vintage format before the printing of Misstep and after it's printing and use, I doubt you'd find a statistical observable difference in the ratio of 1cc spells.

I think you'd see a difference in which spells. Sure, people play Pyroblast and Ancestral. They're both instants. You can sneak one through a Misstep war by fighting on the stack. I bet you'd see a large reduction in the number of 1cmc sorcery speed plays (with a possible exception of Cage, but even that might be lower than anticipated).

I for one think the format got faster over the years and the overall CMC of cards got way lower. So having 7-8 cards that interact with the opponent when on the draw (4 FoWs, 3-4 Missteps) is a huge benefit to the format. Imo if we got rid of misstep the coin flip would be much more important because it would reduce greatly what the opponent could do turn 1 to stop you on the draw.

@fsecco Specifically what 1 mana printings? Specifically what printings since Misstep rose to the levels I cite in the article (3+)? We lived for years with Ritual, Duress, Mana Vault, Sol Ring, Thoughtseize, Mystic Remora, Voltaic Key, Top Deck Tutors, and they didn't dominate, what are the net new 1 drops that Misstep combats and keeps us safe from? The compelling ones I can think of are Delver. A 1/1 creature in a deck that plays 4 Missteps. How threatening is Delver if your opponent has to tap out and use Force or Daze to protect it against removal that costs you know, mana?

Edit: a better argument is that the castration of the taxing archtype would make restricted Misstep 'unsafe' as the natural predator to rituals has been so emaciated that it would run rampant. I don't believe this as we've got plenty of on the stack and permanent based solutions to combo that it wouldn't strangle the format. It might be actually present as opposed to now where its just gone.

last edited by nedleeds

Derpstep --> Skillstep was hardly an improvement, @nedleeds.

Also, saying that KeyVault didn't dominate or that Rituals weren't a huge problem is revisionist history.

Mental Misstep is probably one of the single best features of Vintage right now (or perhaps better put: its omnipresence is correlated with one of the best features of Vintage). The fact that I have to run it because I need to be able to counter Swords to Plowshares and Delver of Secrets speaks to how far Vintage has come from its dark days.

last edited by ribby

@nedleeds Either Misstep stops 1-ofs from being considered during deckbuilding OR it isn't that game-warping. You need to choose one.
You can't say Misstep warps the whole metagame around it and then also say that 1 mana cards weren't that important to the metagame in the same argument.

I've said this several times, but I think Misstep makes specially Ancestral Recall harder to cast and that's actually huge and good for the format. That it slows down a bunch of other stuff helps too. Dark Ritual, Vault, Sol Ring, Deathrite, Thoughtseizes, everything you are naming, for me are important cards to be slowed down and help A LOT the format to not be just a coin flip. A resolved turn 1 Thoughtseize may mean you're dead that very turn. If you Misstep it, your opponent will NOT throw his whole hand on the chance you don't have FoW.

Also, we all know Misstep got to the 3,6 range when Chalice was restricted and everyone started playing a bunch of 1 mana spells again. Chalice did make people change deckbuilding. Misstep doesn't because it can combat itself so it's just another counterwar.

last edited by fsecco

Not sure what's new players have been hounding for the restriction of Workshop for ages.

I define a deck as being 'blue' pretty much if it can support FoW and has a MINIMUM of 14 blue cards.

When you see tournament results it's funny how 'blue' decks are put in so many categories do you want to win with blue? Oath? Tinker? Planeswalker?

Then notice pretty much all Workshop decks are put in one category (Shop) instead of Workshop Control, Workshop Aggro, or Workshop Combo.

If you did the same thing with Blue decks and lumped them all together, you would see a trend at who's been winning tournaments in higher numbers for years now... yet restricting Workshop is still the call? Geez, the more things change the more they stay the same.

@madmanmike25 We've been putting Workshop Combo in with combo since we started. We've had Force of Will tags and delineated between Ravager Shops and other variants of Shops. This position is ridiculous, but you don't really care do you. It's much easier to play the victim. Continue with your straw man...


last edited by Guest

@madmanmike25 I never seen Matt put 2 Card Monte (Workshop Combo) in the same category as the Workshop Ravager decks (Workshop Aggro).

*Edit: This is not a knock against you. I just see that most Workshop decks people play today fall under one category, so it doesn't leave Matt a lot of room to add every variation. You rarely see smokestack decks on mtgo or even at champs. Hell, as a 2 Cart Monte player myself, that deck is very rarely played itself too.

last edited by mdkubiak
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