February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement


Finally something we can agree on. Flash decks are hit by not only dredge hate, but much more given that Swords to Plowshares affects them too. In a format where Dredge is legal Flash should be too. People still don't even main deck hate for Dredge so its not like %'s against those kind of decks can't be improved dramatically.

I'm also not really sure what degenerate thing people can do with Fastbond, given that Gush is restricted. Zuran Orb + Crucible is a 3 card combo. A legacy lands type build would be an amazingly refreshing addition to the format.

@vaughnbros There have been quite a few people pioneering lands in vintage for a while and doing decently with it.

@jonhammack Yeah taking it to another level would be good though, no?

@vaughnbros I don't think this is fair. Blue was so busted early on in magic's history there is no plausible way that you won't have blue being the dominate color with a huge representation. Unless you start banning instead of restricting it is impossible that Ancestral Recall and Time Walk decks won't be a large share of the meta game. However, there is a big difference in those "blue" decks. Oath is nothing like Grixis Walkers which is nothing like Mentor Control.

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


More like lets keep restricting workshop's, and eventually blue won't be over 50% of the metagame... That's the message we have been giving for decades in Vintage. "If we restrict this non-blue deck, then the format will get more diverse". Meanwhile, everything remains as blue as ever.

This is a completely fair response but it touches on an important issue that I think lies near the heart of B&R, and I'm not convinced it can ever fully be resolved.

Imagine two metagames:

A: 30% Shops, 30% Mentor, 30% Dredge
B: 25% Shops, 25% Mentor, 25% Dredge, 25% Delver

The lines between decks in magic are blurry, and in vintage even more so. If you genuinely feel that Delver and Mentor and Oath are unique decks that provide different gameplay experiences, then metagame B is more diverse than metagame A. If you split things in your head along color lines, than you're going from 30-30-30 to 25-25-50, and metagame B is less diverse. It's all gray areas though. To me Oath and Mentor are clearly different decks, but Mentor and Delver are blurrier. Some players split things more finely (Jeskai Mentor and Esper Mentor are different decks) and to some players they're all just "blue".

This categorization is subjective, unfalsifiable, and ultimately people don't change their mind on it very often - it's mostly based on feel. It's also COMPLETELY foundational to any discussion about format balance, which means that it is essentially impossible to come to any kind of conclusions about which decisions would balance a format unless all parties happen to agree on how they categorize decks.

spoiler alert: all parties don't agree.


The current iteration of Workshops is also nothing like Martello Workshops, or Terranova Shops (the two builds at the start of the chain of restrictions).

@vaughnbros I get that. I'm not complaining about there being more than one type of workshops deck. I would rather the total shops number be higher and have there be a diverse style of shops decks as opposed to a lower number where every single one of them is ballista ravager shops.

@vaughnbros I think the deck is perfectly fine as it. Could it be made more powerful? Sure. Does it need to be pushed? No.


People's perception of the format is certainly dramatically different. Some say Mentor/Delver are different decks. Others say they are the same (and call them Xerox or even more general and call them blue).

I think personally when you look at game design you are looking for diversity in strategy, and when I personally ask myself to do that I ask "does this deck have an inherently different strategy than this other deck?". Often that answer isn't "Yes" when it comes to two blue Vintage decks. Certainly there is even variation among decks like Oath (some actually fall into the "Blue" category of card advantage is kind, Kelly builds, some do not at all, like Burning Oath). This idea of classification around a single card or a small set of cards, I think has caused a lot more problems than answers.

@13nova said in February 12, 2018 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

The "Restrict Mental Misstep and Workshop Decks will be taken down a notch" argument is just saying "Let's cut taxes for the upper class, and let it trickle down to the middle class!".

It's blatantly false and makes you look like an uneducated lemming.

I'm not quite an uneducated Lemming, maybe a Lemming with a PHD. I think restricted Misstep will open the door to some other archetypes being ground floor playable. Whether those archtypes can dent the Shop / Stew dichotomy is impossible to gauge.


Sure, but the restrictions on Workshops have actually had the opposite effect. We have less diversity in them as "Prison" shops isn't an option only "Aggro" shops.

I think diversity within pillars is the real crux of the issue for people. Shops has completely homogenized to Aggro Ravager Shops because it crushes other versions of shops, as well as shops colorless 1st cousin, Eldrazi. If you could reliably play Stax, Martello, Eldrazi and an Aggro-ish Shops deck in a 7+round event, there would be less complaints. The same goes for blue, though I do not see the same diversity issues. TO ME, outcome, oath, xerox, and BUG all win the game in different ways, even if they all generally play 4 force, 4 misstep, and some number of preordain (well maybe not outcome on preordain, but you hopefully get my point).

If the desire is to have brand new never before seen archtypes (pillars) in vintage, then that will not be accomplished via restriction, but via printing of brand new game changing mechanics, ala dredge.

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

I think personally when you look at game design you are looking for diversity in strategy, and when I personally ask myself to do that I ask "does this deck have an inherently different strategy than this other deck?".

I don't disagree with this at all, but people STILL come up with different answers to this question. There isn't a correct way to split the decks up, so it really can't be argued or disproven.

I think that there are effective and ineffective ways to split up archetypes, if your goal is winning matches. There are ideas that you can have about which decks are similar that make you play better or worse against those decks, and you can measure that. But that doesn't make them objectively better metrics for determining format balance. That's still subjective and it's always going to be subjective.


If we really want to get philosophical, everything is subjective.

I still think there are much better ways to create classifications than to focus on a singular card (or a small handful). That kind of abstracts from the real goal of the game.

@vaughnbros I'm not sure who in this thread is classifying decks that way? I mean you used the term "Blue decks" and I used the term "Oath decks" but I assume we both have more nuanced views than that.


Isn't that how we are classifying a deck as Oath? Or paradoxical? Or any of the other number of blue variant classifications? (or even the variation among Shops for that matter). We are defining them by saying "Oath" as in a deck that plays Oath of Druids + Orchard ~3 directly related oath cards (~11 cards (including 4 lands) defines this as an entirely new deck to a lot of people). Or defining a deck as "Paradoxical" as in a deck that plays Paradoxical Outcome (literally only maybe 4 cards different from "Xerox"). Do you feel people mean something different when they mention Oath, or Paradoxical?

I've been playing a "Paradoxical Oath" deck, I'm not even sure where that falls into the classifications people have been using...

last edited by vaughnbros

@vaughnbros I am going to assume you are being trolly on purpose and not just ignorant. Oath is way more than just 7 cards different from other blue decks. The kill condition is completely different. Paradoxical Outcome decks are so much different than just 4 cards from Xerox decks. Are you kidding me. They play way more artifacts than a Xerox deck does. It closer to dark petition storm than Xerox. It just uses a different engine to get that storm count going.

@kingleovold I am literally playing a Paradoxical Oath deck. What is it? Is it Paradoxical? Is it Oath? Is this a whole new deck now to you?

Saturn Combo is a deck that has recently picked up stream. It runs 4 Mishra's Workshop and 4 Paradoxical Outcome. Golden Gun Oath and Saturn Combo have the exact same kill conditions (Blightsteel Colossus + Emrakul, the Aeons Torn) and are vastly different decks. They can also both run Forbidden Orchard (although some builds of Saturn use Spire of Industry now). Where does Saturn Combo lie in all this taxonomy discussion?

Saturn Combo, for reference: Saturn's List, Recent geekyjackson List


Id personally place it as a "storm" or "combo" deck as its general strategy seems to be the same: "Cast as many spells as quickly as possible."

I have no idea how any could classify this using the "Pillar" classification method.

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