February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement

@nedleeds
I 100% agree. Misstep needs to go. I'd really like to see decks begin to be able to run DRS with more impunity. I'd also like to see DPS curb-stomp other pyromancer lists because it can actually run Duress/Thoughtseize to greater effect again.

I agree with this as well, Misstep should go. Blue decks will always homogenize to the "best" draw and counter packages, but there are decks that folks shy away from on scale because of misstep blowouts. Thoughtseize/duress, DRS, Noble Heirarch, Exploration, enlightened tutor ect...are all cards with powerful effects that are shied away from because of misstep. I make no claim that misstep is holding back multiple archetypes, but I do believe it is stifling creativity on the fringes of the format.

If misstep was restricted I would play crop rotations for academy. That would be fun.

Misstep is a card I've gone back and forth on. I really don't know where I stand.

On the one hand ...

I've never felt like I've heard a compelling gameplay argument against Misstep. I hear people say Misstep is suppressing cards all the time that I really can't wrap my head around. There really aren't many one-cost spells that were performing well in vintage right before Misstep was printed, and stopped being good afterwards. I think there's a chance Spell Pierce qualifies, but that's not a card I hear people upset about not being able to run.

In contrast I can think of lots of one drop spells that are better now than they used to be (Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt), some that are about the same (Pyroblast), and a tons of great cards that were printed after Mental Misstep and have always been vintage playable (Grafdigger's Cage, Gitaxian Probe, Delver of Secrets. Fragmentize, Deathrite Shaman).

However, the cards I hear people mention over and over again, like Goblin Welder and Crop Rotation and Entomb were fully legal and objectively bad (in terms of tournament results) before Misstep was printed. This is not to say that Misstep isn't good against those cards - this is to say ... If you these cards weren't good in 2011, why is "they're bad in 2018" a compelling argument now? What's stopping people from playing them?

Some one-drop-centric analysis feels completely backwards to me. I think one-drop tutors are slightly BETTER against Mental Misstep than they were against Mana Drain - getting your tutor target countered is a blowout, getting your Vampiric Tutor Misstepped is a 1 for 1 with a one-mana tempo loss at worst. Largely I think Storm Combo is a better deck in a field of Missteps than it was before. Storm Combo decks are loaded with one-drops but they also have the ability to adapt to specialized counters more cheaply than control decks can afford to swap them out. The amount of effort a Storm combo deck has to go through to beat a 2010-era control deck with Duress and Mana Drain is pretty high compared to today. Have you ever cast a Defense Grid against a deck running 4 Mental Misstep, 3 Flusterstorm, 3 Pyroblast? That's an easy button the deck has today that it never had back in 2011.

Anecdotally, one drops are better in vintage now than they were in 2011. I didn't do any in-depth analysis (which would be incredibly hard if not impossible to do), but picking random lists from vintage history and random lists from vintage today, there's just more one drops being played now. This isn't evidence that Misstep makes one drops better, but it's evidence that it's not making them so much worse that deckbuilding is distorted.

I particularly like what Mental Misstep has done to blue mirrors in regards to the interplay around Ancestral Recall. The presence of Misstep has turned tons of lucky random blowout games into decision-intense interplay... Does she have it? Can I risk playing Recall immediately? Can I risk NOT playing Recall immediately? Should I bait with Preordain? If I bait with Preordain is she the kind of player that will always burn a Misstep on any one drop, or is she trapping me? Should I wait until I have protection? How long can I wait until my opponent draws more protection than me .... Wait, is that a Preordain on the stack for my opponent? Does she have Ancestral, too? or is she digging for lands? Back in 2010 this game was "Island pass, Ancestral on upkeep. GG?"

Now I don't for a second think that my metagame predictivity is infallible, but it's really hard for me to think of a scenario where Misstep gets restricted and the desired outcomes happen. I don't see how it could make Shops decks worse or Aggro decks better (If you're not running Misstep in your aggro decks, why not? You care about opposing one drops more than your opponent does, and the tempo swing is more important for you). I don't see Crop Rotation taking Academy from being a 30% deck to being a 60% deck ... Maybe it takes it from 30% to 35% ... but was 32.5% really your cutoff?

On the other hand ...

Nothing I said above really matters. Game design isn't about metagame balance and it's not objective. I can think of ways in which restricted Misstep would make the game less enjoyable for me personally, but not much worse. And while I don't think 1 Misstep would have the effect people are looking for, I could be wrong, and I don't think the outcome would be terrible either way.

The fact is some people just aren't having fun right now. I don't really know how many people, or which people, but it's obviously more than a handful.

And whether or not they're right about what would happen post-Misstep, people not having fun is a problem. If enough people end up in that camp, something needs to be done. I don't know whether a Misstep restriction is the right thing to be done (I would worry for the format if we tried to restrict cards until Crop Rotation was good), but something would need to change, and I don't know that I have any other idea that would actually solve the problem of those players not having fun.

last edited by Brass Man

Not only are decks with Mental Misstep neither homogenous nor dominant, they are nowhere close to being homogenous or dominant.

Moxen, Workshop, and Bazaar will always prevent Misstep from being anywhere near as oppressive it was in other formats.

Zero reason to consider restriction.

@wappla said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Not only are decks with Mental Misstep neither homogenous nor dominant, they are nowhere close to being homogenous or dominant.

Moxen, Workshop, and Bazaar will always prevent Misstep from being anywhere near as oppressive it was in other formats.

Zero reason to consider restriction.

Well said!
MTG Top 8 has dredge at 10% of the format. Dredge isn't as budget as it used to be but its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

@john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@wappla said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Not only are decks with Mental Misstep neither homogenous nor dominant, they are nowhere close to being homogenous or dominant.

Moxen, Workshop, and Bazaar will always prevent Misstep from being anywhere near as oppressive it was in other formats.

Zero reason to consider restriction.

Well said!
MTG Top 8 has dredge at 10% of the format. Dredge isn't as budget as it used to be but its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

Lol, Dredge plays Misstep also.

@nedleeds
I was more boasting the prominence of a budget deck to exaggerate the health of the format.

@john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

So the qualification for budget is to just be comparable in price to the most expensive decks in other formats?

@p3temangus

Agreed. The 1 mana accelerators/tutors are pretty clearly less played than they could be because of the existence of Misstep.

@vaughnbros said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@john-cox said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

its about as affordable as a top tier Legacy deck. I really like Vintage right now.

So the qualification for budget is to just be comparable in price to the most expensive decks in other formats?

5k vs 15k . Budget relatively but not absolutely.

The argument appears to be around what counts as "interactive" play. Players that want to control the flow of the game using counter magic play Mental Misstep to slow down development of Xerox and Combo strategies. I remember in 2010 before this card had really taken over you could play Noble Hierarch in a Fish deck and accelerate into a deck with board presence.

This card forced other decks to combat the slow down. But, on the other hand if you could accelerate without the need to play 1 drops then your opponent has dead cards and you have cards that play past them.

I personally, think this is an argument of interaction, because before this card, people played Daze, Stifle, Spell Pierce, etc… for the same effect.

Mental Misstep has slowed or stopped discard spells which offer a different interaction among players. I prefer players look at the interaction an exploit the dependence of someone playing Mental Misstep. This explains Workshop decks performing above average against most blue decks.

I prefer arguments of interaction to ask the question of how to exploit a known weakness. This is not Treasure Cruise so it can be a weakness as much as a strength.

This strategy is very similar to Force of Will and the format as adjusted to Force of Will and we live with it. The use of this strategy prompts me to ask - Is there a card that we could petition Wizards to design to change the interaction of play around this this strategy?

last edited by moorebrother1

Just wanted to add my voice to the mix - Misstep absolutely should not be restricted, its ubiquity is not a bad thing.. but rather like FOW is part of the glue that holds the format together. It makes games more interesting, not less. By punishing 1cmc spells, it pushes players into more unique draw engines, rather than the simple ancestral or mystical->ancestral

If anything, I think the DCI should look at hitting another shops piece, perhaps Foundry Inspector. Alternatively, unrestricting Gush or Gitaxian Probe could be an interesting tack to take, but both lead down a road that I doubt the DCI wants to take

@ravager101 said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Misstep ... makes games more interesting, not less.

Did you really type that with a straight face? Interesting? Hardly. So, I'm supposed to play this stupid card over Swords just because I should be building my deck with better "strategy" in a world of Misstep:

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Why can't people just admit the card is stupid? And why are we comparing it to FoW? Force has a real liability to it... you are creating card disadvantage when you cast FoW for free. Misstep is a perfect 1 for 1 that is tempo positive (they spend mana and you don't). There is zero cost to the card and it's truly a feel bad moment when your opponent Missteps your Misstep as you try to remove their win con from the table with a Bolt/Plow/Pyroblast or catch back up with a Recall. It's a miserable play experience to continually account for it's presence in opponent's decks. If you need a Plow to resolve to not lose a game, you almost always have to think to yourself, I need Plow AND a Misstep to win this game. How is that reasonable?

last edited by enderfall

@enderfall I agree with your stance, but not your reasoning. Why is "I need plow to not lose" (or win..) any different if misstep is restricted where now you need plow and 2 mana (spell pierce) or plow and more mana than the number of spells cast (fluster) or plow Fow/blue card vs an opponent with a full grip?

I dislike Misstep b/c of my perceptions about stifled creativity (despite the detractors stating that none of the 1 CMC spells were good before misstep). Vintage is not in a terrible place right now, nor do I believe that Misstep is the key to blue's future domination of our artifact overlords. Frankly, i just enjoy the occasional shakeup, makes life interesting.

@p3temangus I agree, the differences are subtle, but take into account situations where the opponent taps out to play said win con. Misstep is just about the only card you have to worry about in the scenario. Sure, FoW could be there, but they would also need another Blue card (i.e. lower odds). If you're opponent has a single card in hand, you have to factor in the chance that that single card is a Misstep. I mean, if they have a full grip and you only have a Plow, then you really didn't have a prayer anyway, but Misstep just makes situational Magic less interesting.

The price of playing in an Ancestral Recall format is that you need Misstep to mitigate the blowouts.

@bazaarofbaghdad So Vintage sucked for 18 years before Misstep was printed? Were people really saying to themselves in 2006, "man, I really wish they would print a free hoser to Ancestral, that would really make this format so much better"?

@enderfall No, but the subset of games in the Vintage format where an Ancestral Recall blowout occurred without sufficient tools to combat it probably sucked.

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