Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop

I do object to the over-reliance on metagame % not only because it seeks to disparage subjective experience but because the raw data itself is corrupted by players' choice and attendance level. For instance, if I decide an afternoon nap would be preferable to playing a challenge, Oath of Druids suddenly has a 25-50% lower metagame representation. Who even knows what happens to the win rate. If two Shop players attend a wedding instead of a Vintage event, there is likewise a palpable decrease. Since these attendance variables happen all of the time, imagining that the results %'s prove whatever it is we might be tempted to believe is its probative value is absurd.

The metagame is as bad as it was last year, because of the refinement of Pitch Dredge. It's an outrageous blue deck whose hand is sculpted by a free Dack Fayden and whose Arabian Nights land draws ~18 cards instead of 1. While I always thought Cabal Therapy was over the line, I never hated playing against Dredge the way I do this year.

Paradoxical Outcome/Big Blue is not a horrible deck in and of itself--it's simply the single card Paradoxical Outcome that I and several others take issue with. There's no historical metric that would excuse that degree of one-sided card draw and self-replication (ie the Mind's Desire problem).

Shops has its issues, but they are far eclipsed by the Dredge deck and the illegal-power-level 4x namesake in PO. Getting rid of its free win-ball and then restricting Walking Ballista or Revoker should abate any lingering concerns.

I will write about this more in depth in the coming weeks. I have started an article to post here and without any intention of rushing it.

Either way, although we differ starkly on views of the format, I am thankful that your perspectives are stated eloquently. I hope that a fleshed out new theory adopting a "qualitative experience" perspective will help fill the vacuum that's been there for many years.

last edited by brianpk80

@brianpk80 said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

I do object to the over-reliance on metagame % not only because it seeks to disparage subjective experience but because the raw data itself is corrupted by players' choice and attendance level. For instance, if I decide an afternoon nap would be preferable to playing a challenge, Oath of Druids suddenly has a 25-50% lower metagame representation. Who even knows what happens to the win rate. If two Shop players attend a wedding instead of a Vintage event, there is likewise a palpable decrease. Since these attendance variables happen all of the time, imagining that the results %'s prove whatever it is we might be tempted to believe is its probative value is absurd.

If that's how the DCI handled such data, you might have a case. But the DCI's use of data to inform it's management of formats is much more sophisticated. They aggregate data to statistically significant levels. The DCI does not use a single or even a handful of events to conclusively determine win rates. Again, look at Ian's July B&R announcement.

Even Matt and Ryan's (apparently now defunct) monthly analysis aggregates data from weekly to monthly and even quarterly data to wash out alot of statistically insignificant noise. Your complaint here is less to do with data itself, then the misuse of data, which is a valid complaint.

That's actually why win % percentage is a superior metric to Top 8s. Top 8 data is a function of representation and win percentage, but when win % can be got, and the DCI can and does get it - it's the next best thing. But the use of win % addresses one of the two key concerns you raise: if you aren't in attendance, and no one else is playing Oath, then Oath's win percentage isn't impacted by your 'nap.'

Ian's article illustrates that they can use MTGO to collect algorithmic win percentage for decks in any format at statistically significant levels.

The reason data is important is because it's objective: it's a way to go above the bleating din of shouting voices, who rarely seem to agree on anything when it comes to Vintage. And no wonder, as the Vintage player base is factionalized into competing "Schools." Such data sorts out what's actually doing well from what players perceive, since perception is so often wrong.

Contrary to what you are suggesting, in the long history of Vintage, the 'subjective experience' has, more often than not, been the standard for DCI management. And, it's resulted in countless absurd and unnecessary restrictions, impairing the well deserved fun of countless victims, players on the wrong end of these restrictions who suffered as a byproduct of them.

The darkest eras of this format were the times in which the DCI was more often than not captured by the loudest voices in the format, the bleatings of players like Oscar Tan or Brian Weissman, complaining about how "unfun" non-blue decks were, and resulting in surveys like this one:

http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/5980_You_CAN_Play_Type_I_108_The_State_Of_The_Metagame_Address_The_Charts.html

Was there anything Weissman didn't want to restrict? From that table, it's hard to tell.

At one point, Weissman threatened a boycott unless Mind Twist was banned - a tactic that actually proves successful in 1996.

No one is trying to 'disparage' subjective experience. But the problem is that there is no neutral way to fairly adjudicate results on the basis of this. That's why it's subjective.

But even if we could quantify it, say, using a survey that asks players on a 10-point scale to rank whether they consider a strategy 'interactive' or not, there is a tension between regulating decks on that basis and the other aim for promoting strategic diversity.

The July Vintage Challenges Top 8s were as follows:

28% Shops
19% Turbo Xerox decks (Jeskai Mentor, Esper Mentor, Delver, and Pyromancer)
19% PO
9% Eldrazi
9% Dark Ritual comibo decks
3% Dredge
3% BUG and BUGr Control decks and Aggro-Control Decks

Suppose I was taking a subjective survey ranked those strategies as follows on a 10 point 'interactivity' scale using your mode of thought, I might rank them as follows, with 1 being the least interactive, and 10 being the most:

Shops - 2
TX - 7.5
PO - 3
Eldrazi - 3.5
Dark Ritual Combo decks: 1.5
Dredge - 2
BUG & BUGr - 9

Basically "1s" are reserved for glass cannon combo decks and trinisphere like prison decks, and 10s are for highly interactive control decks.

As this exercise illustrates, a preference for what you call "fairer" or less swingy games is really just a gussied up way of expressing prejudice against fast combo decks, Dredge, and Shops, and a preference for blue decks. A format more centered around decks like Bomberman, Landstill, Leo decks, etc. may be your idea of a good format, but it sounds like dispiriting to me.

Part of what makes Vintage so special is its explosiveness and more bomb throwing than an ISIS convention. Similarly, prison decks like Shops today, Nether Void in the past, and Winter Orb decks before that, have always been a part of this format, although I wish there were fewer of them these days.

As between a format that has 6-7 very different strategies, some of which are highly 'interactive' according to a subjective scale or fewer starkly different strategies, but all or most of which are highly 'interactive' according to a subject scale, I would take the former over the latter any day of the week.

The logical conclusion of your complaints suggest that you want a format with a much lower power level over a format that is truly strategically diverse (that is, not all blue or grindy blue-ish decks) and that attack along very different dimensions.

Our long format nightmare, which really began around 2011 or 12, when Grafdigger's Cage and cards like that begin pushing out all of the great big mana decks from the format, is finally ending, and Vintage is finally escaping the grasp of the Turbo Xerox and Workshop hellscape it's been in for far too long. PO is really the reason why.

If I wanted to play a format of grindy games of Magic every round, I would play Legacy. The reason we play Vintage is because of the thrill of the format, and the tremendous strategic diversity. The myriad shades of blue decks don't make Vintage great. What makes Vintage great is the stark strategic diversity. It's that you can play against a Dark Ritual Bargain deck one round, Dredge the next, a big mana blue deck like PO after that, and a Jeskai deck and Landstill after that. A format in which I played against decks clustered around the control and aggro axes all day long, like BUG, Oath, Kolaghan's Command or Subterranean Tremors decks, Landstill, and Bomberman, would be a poor Vintage indeed. The only thing that I can imagine being worse than that is playing against Shops and Eldrazi all day long.

While I always thought Cabal Therapy was over the line, I never hated playing against Dredge the way I do this year.

Not even in 2009? I remember players really hating Dredge around that time. Back then, players had so few diverse answers to hate out Dredge. It was basically: Did you have Leyline and/or Jailer? If not, you probably lose.

If I were able to have surveyed players back in 2009, I imagine the hate for Dredge today, even accounting for your opinion here, is far less intense or extreme than it was back then.

last edited by Smmenen

I wouldn't put too much stock in WotC's methodology unless they actually reveal it. My suspicion is there is a lot more sampling error than any of us think. Any quantitative analysis is about minimizing sources of error, and focusing solely in win% won't do that.

For one thing, you would need identical lists. Comparing archetypes is going to inject error and complexity that is pretty difficult to correct. This is the same reason why things like tracking surveys use identical questions for years and years. Changing even the phrasing can lead to different results and makes the data incomparable.

It's fine provided the results acknowledge limitations and sources of error, but people tend to like making bold statements off data that won't generalize where they want it applied. Honestly, that's where subjectivity comes into play. No one should want a truly data driven format. Subjective experience matters and is measured quite differently from win rate.

WotC should be spending time measuring things like satisfaction with a given format, whether we're talking about Vintage or Standard. They could develop a validated tracking metric and collect data weekly, bi-monthly, whatever, and measure self-report satisfaction with a given format over time. It would help them an awful lot when it comes to delivering sets that are optimized for what people want to play. Their current market research does not impress me.

This is a long winded way of saying win% is a heuristic, not a complete picture.

I agree. But in the absence of such a survey Tournament results are the only empirics we have, and neutral, without strategic bias. A preference for “interactivity” generally expresses itself As a preference for blue decks, which is a problem as I just illustrated.

@brianpk80 Brian, I really don't understand your view that dredge is a problem. The deck forms less than 10% of most metagames and, I would imagine, not much more of top 8s. It is a deck that gets frequently slaughtered by Shops (even game 1) and struggles with PO decks. Just because the "fairer" blue decks have an unfavorable matchup v.s Dredge and need to dedicate more hate than other decks do does not make Dredge a deck that requires action taken against it. I think you have a personal "feel bad" set of experiences vs. cards like Cabal Therapy that belong no where near the restricted list. . . EVER. . . PERIOD. Targeting Therapy for restriction is on the same level of ludicrous as when folks wanted to target Dark Petition. It isn't even open for debate.

As to the shops restrictions you suggested, I'd be careful. Shops, as an archetype, is hanging on by a thinner thread than I think people realize. While I would love to see Ballista go I really don't think you can tamper too much with Shops without making it lose to hard to to much of the field. Ballista is a major reason shops beats up on URw Pyromancer/Mentor. Without Ballista they could probably just start running 3-4 Pyromancers and beating shops more readily again. PO I could see restricted. Mainly I say this because chaining POs is many orders of magnitude more broken than playing your FIRST PO. I think PO is on par with Treasure Cruise in a deck designed to abuse it and Treasure Cruise is on the restricted list. I think on precedence alone PO should have gotten the axe a while ago. My thoughts on the restrictions/unrestrictions that should happen going forward are that PO, Mox Opal and Preordain be restricted and Demonic Consultation be unrestricted. That is what I'd do.

-Storm

My biggest question here is what are restrictions actually for? Are they to bring problematic decks and metagames in line or are they a tool to shake up and create a metagame? It feels like, more and more, some people want restrictions to create a "better" metagame and to shake up the format. I've always said restrictions should only be used as a last resort.

Imagine if we restricted Dark Petition 2-3 years ago when people clamored for it. It would very likely remain on the restricted list for a long time to come, and nobody would entertain the idea that it could be safe. However, as we've seen, it's not even close to being a problem. It's ludicrous to even think about.

Vintage is the last place where people get to play all cards. While an argument can be made that restrictions still let you play with them, in reality this isn't actually true. Many cards are very playable as a 4-of, but completely unplayable as a 1-of.

Essentially, when cards get restricted, one of three things happen.

  1. The card is so busted that is still finds a home as a 1-of in almost any deck that can support it. It can remain a card that people build around even as a 1-of. An example is both Tinker and Yawgmoth's Will.

  2. The card sometimes sees play as a 1-of in decks but it isn't strong enough to go everywhere, but it has only a small presence in Vintage. An example is Gush, Memory Jar and Merchant Scroll.

  3. The card is effectively "banned". What I mean by this is, the card can see play as a 4-of, but is essentially pointless as a 1-of as the card requires building around, and it's not worth doing so when you play a single copy. You might still see it from time to time but it's virtually non-existent. Examples include Windfall, Channel and Fastbond.

What I mean by this large rant is, when people want cards restricted, sometimes those cards actually get banned, for all intents and purposes, because it's not really possible to play many cards as a 1-of. Vintage is the last place people can play these cards, and I would highly prefer a very lenient restricted list in order to make this possible. Instead of making Vintage a format where you get to play with all iconic cards of MTG's history, many of them are actually "banned".

I get incredibly disappointed each time I look at the restricted list and see a number of cards I never got to experience in its heyday, and probably never will get to experience because of the way the restricted list is slow to change.

Vintage, to me, is not just about playing shiny new Standard Mythic with Moxen. There's nothing special about that. It's meant to allow cards from MTG's entire history. Instead, the way things are going, we'll end up with Highlander, with a restricted list stretching miles long.

last edited by Hrishi

@hrishi said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

we'll end up with Highlander, with a restricted list stretching miles long.

I am a strong advocate of just skipping the middle steps and just going straight to this. Restrict everything. Be done with all these "shakeup" restrictions that have been occurring as of late, and mitigate the effect of insanely broken new printings (like Delve, Ballista, Outcome, Hollow one).

@vaughnbros

Then why not just lobby to get the Power 9 unbanned in Highlander instead of wanting to fundamentally change Vintage?

@davidlemon

Highlander is not a sanctioned format, and I don't think it "fundamentally" changes Vintage. Vintage comes with one core concept:

Every card is legal to play.

Vintage Highlander doesn't betray that core concept (existing highlander does).

In practice, we end up playing decks that are about 50%+ highlander already, and the existing restricted list (and every argument lately pro-restrictions) are not even based on power level anymore.

"Lets restrict Workshop decks, but avoid the most powerful card: Workshop"
"Lets restrict Blue Control decks, but avoid the most powerful card: Force of Will"
"Lets restrict Dredge decks, but avoid the most powerful card: Bazaar of Baghdad"

Please no. Vintage Highlander would just be Blue.format.

@stuart said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Please no. Vintage Highlander would just be Blue.format.

Mission accomplished.

@stuart

Force of Will, Dual lands, and fetches are restricted in highlander. If any deck would dominate, it would probably be a storm variant, but thats probably a stretch given the two dozen or so good answers to that strategy.

I think there could be fairly significant diversity and due to the restricted mana bases likely a pretty big uptick in 5C decks (blue control, workshop, hatebears).

I have a request for those who are making arguments for or against restrictions based on 'interactivity.' Could you take a moment and define this term and what it means for you? Believe it or not, interactivity or interactive game play is not as objective a term as some people think. For instance I would define interactivity as games where both players attempt to execute their game plan. Whether its on the stack or in the combat phase, both players have the opportunity to cast spells and achieve their goal. By my definition, blue permission is interactive. If I'm on blue permission nothing is stopping my opponent from casting spells. I may be stopping him from resolving them but that is interactivity on the stack. Landstill, Oath, bug would all be interactive.
Current iterations of shops would be non-interactive. Their goal is to stop you from doing anything - waste/strip your lands, sphere your spells and revoker your moxen to leave you dead in the water, unable to act while an army of artifacts beats you down.
But there are people who consider counter-heavy blue decks to be non-interactive because they stop you from resolving spells.
I'm not looking for a debate or argument over what interactivity means. Just looking for some information to help me properly interpret some of the commenters statements in this thread.

@hrishi said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

My biggest question here is what are restrictions actually for? Are they to bring problematic decks and metagames in line or are they a tool to shake up and create a metagame? It feels like, more and more, some people want restrictions to create a "better" metagame and to shake up the format. I've always said restrictions should only be used as a last resort.

Obviously, I agree entirely. But Brian Kelly, like Brian Weissman here, has a different vision.

Instead of using the Restricted List as a tool of last resort, and only to curb the most egregious and obvious case - as Sirlin explained in his famous essay in "playing to win," the two Brian's would have used the Restricted List to curb strategies and decks that are not only proven to be problematic in the metagame by objective standards, but that they feel violate some subjective principle of "fair play."

Thus, a Brian Kelly or Brian Weissman Restricted List for VIntage and Type I respectively, would be much, much longer than current restricted lists. Brian Kelly is on record stating that he would add like 10-15 cards to the restricted list (including Show and Tell and Dack Fayden!), and ban a number of cards on top of that.

Suffice to say, and as suggested by the table I linked above, I do not share that vision. Instead, I think that the Restricted List should be as small as possible, with a sharp eye on promoting metagame diversity broadly speaking.

last edited by Smmenen

Then instead of saying MUD is too strong and needs more restrictions, why not unrestrict cards that would help curb Shops "dominance" like Fastbond, or Balance, for example?

@smmenen said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Obviously, I agree entirely. But Brian Kelly, like Brian Weissman here, has a different vision.

Instead of using the Restricted List as a tool of last resort, and only to curb the most egregious and obvious case - as Sirlin explained in his famous essay in "playing to win," the two Brian's would have used the Restricted List to curb strategies and decks that are not only proven to be problematic in the metagame by objective standards, but that they feel violate some subjective principle of "fair play."

Thus, a Brian Kelly or Brian Weissman Restricted List for VIntage and Type I respectively, would be much, much longer than current restricted lists.

That's not an unflattering comparison.

Brian Kelly is on record stating that he would add like 10-15 cards to the restricted list (including Show and Tell and Dack Fayden!), and ban a number of cards on top of that.

That's correct. I believe play experience is more important than fetishizing the length of the restricted list. This view, as you acknowledged with your own links above, is much more consistent with the most successful years of Type 1, a period where the dominant narrative was so focused on sanity and fairness that I, of all people, could barely get anyone to entertain the idea of unrestricting Fork.

In my view, today's entrenched decadence is the product of years of official sustained neglect and an unchallenged hyperlibertarian narrative.

Suffice to say, and as suggested by the table I linked above, I do not share that vision. Instead, I think that the [Restricted List should be as small as possible]

And I think it should be whatever length is necessary to maximize enjoyment. I'm not embarrassed by or apologetic for that perspective.

@hrishi said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

My biggest question here is what are restrictions actually for?

I think the answer to this question begins with asking:

"Why is Black Lotus restricted?'
"Why is Tolarian Academy restricted?"
"Why isn't Niall Silvain restricted?'

Difficult as it can be to quantify, there are intrinsic and conceptual "power levels" associated with each card, both in a vacuum and in context, and a few are over the line, at least as that line is conventionally understood. Theoretically, we could abolish the restricted list, and there probably would be a handful of people out there who would love to play in the resultant format.

@hrishi said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Are they to bring problematic decks and metagames in line or are they a tool to shake up and create a metagame? It feels like, more and more, some people want restrictions to create a "better" metagame and to shake up the format. I've always said restrictions should only be used as a last resort.

I can only speak for what motivates me, which is mitigating negative play experiences, which are usually a function of imbalanced power level. As Steve mentioned, there are cards I consider restrictable based on power level & purpose alone (ie Show and Tell and Pact of Negation) that are hardly ever played. This is consistent with the knowledge that I would consider Ancestral Recall a restrictable card even if it appeared in 0% of decks, based on power level.

@hrishi said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Vintage, to me, is not just about playing shiny new Standard Mythic with Moxen. There's nothing special about that.

That is the most anti-Matt Murray talking point I have ever heard in the Magic community. 😄

For me, the P9 define the format and are the sacred cows. Shop and Bazaar are pretty much on that level too. Nouveau trash like Walking Ballista and Paradoxical Outcome gets no such deference.

@stormanimagus said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Targeting Therapy for restriction is on the same level of ludicrous as when folks wanted to target Dark Petition. It isn't even open for debate.

The cards suggested here were Hollow One, Serum Powder, and Golgari-Grave Troll.

last edited by brianpk80

Very interesting discussion. I thought I'd share few words here as I've been playing and following Vintage for a long time. I know there are lots of knowledgable and skillful people posting here. I'm really not looking for any kind of argument and I'm not trying to prove anyone's point here. I'm just bringing my own perspective from an amateur point of view.

I used to own power on paper and play in events, but eventually I stopped (multiple reasons). Later on, I got back with MTGO, but ultimately (and sadly) I've stopped playing Vintage there, too. There has always been a drive for Vintage inside me, but I would find it really hard to continue playing for a long period of time, being still very passionate about it. Recently, when I was playing other formats (having surprising amount of fun), I was thinking about why it is like that. I still remember the time I played few moxen and recall/lotus for the 1st time in my life and I still remember my hands shaking as it felt incredibly powerful and really magical. I felt like a really powerful mage.

The thing is, as time passed, I got used to play with such powerful cards (especially on MTGO where you can cast millions of recalls a day in a competitive match). And the excitement from casting and playing with such powerful cards shifted to something else. It was mostly the question of "do I really have fun and do BOTH players feel entertained in a really good, close and balanced match?" or "is it just one of us doing broken things, feeling good about it while goldfishing the most broken deck they can build with some variance in terms of who is more lucky and get to do that every given match"? I have to say that for me, the answer was the latter. I wasn't thinking that much about it, until I started to play magic more recently again, in different formats, having different perspective and also as I got older, the way I value my free time has changed drastically (I'm over 30).

Recently I had a spike of a feeling that I might want to check Vintage again, but in the current state of the metagame, I just know that I would be able to play for few months perhaps and then I'll go away again, so there is no point for me buying into it again.

I know that people feel very strongly about this. I absolutely do respect that people want to play with as many cards as possible (what Hrishi said few comments above) and they have lots of money in that as well. That's why I've chosen to leave the format myself rather then whine on forums and struggle having fun playing Vintage. But I also absolutely agree and understand what Brian Kelly is saying. For me, personally, something like lots of restrictions across the whole field would have to happen to open up the format a bit again.

If I wanted to come back to Vintage today, I'd have literally just 1 deck as an option to play right now (Jeskai Mentor - yes, I'm a blue player) to stay competitive. The drive for Vintage from playing powerful and restricted cards is diminished and I'm interested in more balanced/competitive and interactive gameplay (my definition of interaction would be that both players get to cast as many spells as possible and the outcome is determined by a small margin and strategical decisions - I will add that I still value and enjoy fighting the prison/gy strategies and they absolutely should stay in the format). I understand the hate people might feel towards something like a "Modern Vintage Highlander with moxen" and they are interested in doing broken things with very old and powerful cards they don't get to play anywhere else. That's totally legitimate and that's why I'm currently playing other formats. I also know the format has been around here for a long time and it's still alive, but I think it's probably very difficult for new players to get in and stay, because as soon as the excitement from playing such powerful cards wears off, there is not much left (at least for me). I wish I could feel differently about this.

last edited by nanakini

@brianpk80 said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

@smmenen said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Brian Kelly is on record stating that he would add like 10-15 cards to the restricted list (including Show and Tell and Dack Fayden!), and ban a number of cards on top of that.

That's correct. I believe play experience is more important than fetishizing the length of the restricted list. This view, as you acknowledged with your own links above, is much more consistent with the most successful years of Type 1, a period where the dominant narrative was so focused on sanity and fairness that I, of all people, could barely get anyone to entertain the idea of unrestricting Fork.

Absolutely, but it is precisely that history that shows us how wrong and wrong-headed your preferred approach is.

The Restricted List reached it's zenith in January, 2004, with 54 cards after years of over-restriction (it now sits comfortably at 46 cards).

In 1999, 18 cards were restricted in a single restriction announcement. Did 18 cards really need to be restricted that fall? Did Doomsday, Dream Halls, and Mind Over Matter really need to be restricted? No, but the DCI used your approach, of restricting cards on power level alone, without any reference to tournament play or results. The consequence? Countless players were denied the opportunity to build interesting decks that they would have enjoyed. Imagine the Doomsday decks that could have been built before it was unrestricted in 2004! Imagine the Dream Halls decks that could have been tried.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We've tried your way, and it was a disaster, denying players access to cards that had no justification being restricted. They were no threat to the format, but would have made it much more interesting and diverse.

In my view, today's entrenched decadence is the product of years of official sustained neglect and an unchallenged hyperlibertarian narrative.

I would suggest, instead, it's a result of sustained engagement and a much more careful and nuanced undestanding of the game, metagame evolution, and better grasp of data. DCI management today - over all formats - is far more sophisticated than it was during the Type I era.

Suffice to say, and as suggested by the table I linked above, I do not share that vision. Instead, I think that the [Restricted List should be as small as possible]

And I think it should be whatever length is necessary to maximize enjoyment. I'm not embarrassed by or apologetic for that perspective.

But how do we do that in a way that isn't predictably biased in favor of blue decks?

As I said above: "a preference for what you call "fairer" or less swingy games is really just a gussied up way of expressing prejudice against fast combo decks, Dredge, and Shops, and a preference for blue decks. A format more centered around decks like Bomberman, Landstill, Leo decks, etc. may be your idea of a good format, but it sounds like dispiriting to me."

The main problem with your approach, of giving primary weight to how decks "feel" and "interactivity" is that it's hopelessly biased against most of the Schools of Vintage Magic, especially those that aren't blue.

@nanakini said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:
I also know the format has been around here for a long time and it's still alive, but I think it's probably very difficult for new players to get in and stay, because as soon as the excitement from playing such powerful cards wears off, there is not much left (at least for me).

Really? There isn't much left? How about the most complex and intricate lines of play offered any format?

Vintage is not a friendly format for new players, but that's because it's the deepest format. I enjoy Old School formats immensely, but they can't come close to Vintage in terms of the depth and range of the lines of play that Vintage can offer on a consistent basis. The tutoring, library manipulation, draw and cantripping make Vintage an enormously skillful format, and quite punishing for dabblers or novices.

What does Vintage offer after you get used to the power level? It offers only the most intricate lines of play with the starkest deck choices of any constructed format. The separation between decks like Dredge, Dark Petition Storm, Ravager Shop Aggro, and Oath, to take but 4 examples, could not be more stark, and that starkness can't be found in other formats in combination with the depth of the lines of play offered.

last edited by Smmenen

@smmenen Though I know we have had our disagreements in the past, I'm 100% in agreement with you Steve. I would like to add one more thing to the conversation that begins with an analogy.

I play board games. . . a lot. The ones that stick with me most are the ones where there are elements of meaningful choice, but there may also be a smattering of randomness. The games that come to mind are games like Tzolk'in, the Mayan Calendar Game, and 7 Wonders as well as something like Pandemic. Wether there is much luck involved or not, I most enjoy games where the game balance is optimized and multiple paths to victory are equally viable. I want Vintage to function the same way. I don't EVER want one strategy to dominate, but I also don't want people to call for the pitchforks if they don't LIKE losing to a given strategy, especially if the reason they lose to that strategy more than their share is because they choose to play one of the decks with the weakest inherent match win % vs. said deck. Game balance is paramount in my list of asks on any game and magic is no exception. I really don't see why that shouldn't be the driving metric by which the DCI creates policy.

My thoughts.

-Storm

@smmenen said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

Absolutely, but it is precisely that history that shows us how wrong and wrong-headed your preferred approach is.

LOL, harsh.

The Restricted List reached it's zenith in January, 2004, with 54 cards after years of over-restriction (it now sits comfortably at 46 cards).

In 1999, 18 cards were restricted in a single restriction announcement. Did 18 cards really need to be restricted that fall? Did Doomsday, Dream Halls, and Mind Over Matter really need to be restricted? No, but the DCI used your approach, of restricting cards on power level alone, without any reference to tournament play or results.

Oh, I must have missed the part where The Academy deck turned out to have been fringe, nearly absent from results, and largely celebrated by the community.

The consequence? Countless players were denied the opportunity to build interesting decks that they would have enjoyed. Imagine the Doomsday decks that could have been built before it was unrestricted in 2004! Imagine the Dream Halls decks that could have been tried.

Behold this tragedy.
Alone this Doomsday.
Forsaken these Dream Halls.
How we weep,
How we wail.

In my view, today's entrenched decadence is the product of years of official sustained neglect and an unchallenged hyperlibertarian narrative.

I would suggest, instead, it's a result of sustained engagement and a much more careful and nuanced undestanding of the game, metagame evolution, and better grasp of data. DCI management today - over all formats - is far more sophisticated than it was during the Type I era.

No one is buying it. The DCI's shameful neglect produced results that happened to coincide with your hyperlibertarian objectives, so you exalted their dereliction of duty as "prudence."

And I think it should be whatever length is necessary to maximize enjoyment. I'm not embarrassed by or apologetic for that perspective.

But how do we do that in a way that isn't predictably biased in favor of blue decks?

It's not for the benefit of "blue" decks. How did "blue decks" benefit from restricting Treasure Cruise, Dig through Time, Gitaxian Probe, Monastery Mentor? (all of which I supported) "Blue decks" did not benefit from restricting Gush, a restriction campaign I refrained from joining out of humanitarian concern, namely the cruelty it would issue to you after you had just produced an extensive work on the card.

As I said above: "a preference for what you call "fairer" or less swingy games is really just a gussied up way of expressing prejudice against fast combo decks, Dredge, and Shops, and a preference for blue decks. A format more centered around decks like Bomberman, Landstill, Leo decks, etc. may be your idea of a good format, but it sounds like dispiriting to me."

The main problem with your approach, of giving primary weight to how decks "feel" and "interactivity" is that it's hopelessly biased against most of the Schools of Vintage Magic, especially those that aren't blue.

Really? Don't Dredge and Workshops benefit most from restricting Paradoxical Outcome? Aren't "blue decks" hurt the most by banning Treasure Cruise and Dig through Time (positions you yourself introduced not too long ago)?

This is an example of the delusion that Vintage players are divided into cults who only coldly pursue material self-interest in winning. I don't know where this falsehood originates.

@nanakini said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:
I also know the format has been around here for a long time and it's still alive, but I think it's probably very difficult for new players to get in and stay, because as soon as the excitement from playing such powerful cards wears off, there is not much left (at least for me).

Really? There isn't much left? How about the most complex and intricate lines of play offered any format?

Oh dear, scolding, shaming, and blaming those who reject your vision. Where have I seen this before?

Rather consistent with your stated view that Vintage should not be a democratically organized format. Can I be The Mana Drain's official superdelegate? 😉

@stormanimagus said in Brian Kelly is actually responsible for the Unrestriction of Mishra's Workshop:

but I also don't want people to call for the pitchforks if they don't LIKE losing to a given strategy, especially if the reason they lose to that strategy more than their share is because they choose to play one of the decks with the weakest inherent match win % vs. said deck.

Mr. Smith, this cartoon logic and was rejected many times in the earlier part of this thread. Do you think I have a significant handicap in Vintage? Am I losing all of the time? Do you believe I am lying about enjoyment of the game being extremely important to me? If so, then say it, because what you're insinuating is both delusional and insulting.

I have a very high win rate against Paradoxical Outcome; the card should be restricted. I play Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time; they should have been banned. I have a favored Shop match-up most of the time, particularly on Druids. Trinisphere should be banned. Dredge is drawing 15 cards for {0} while drawing 3 cards for {U} is restriction-worthy. Allowing it to continue existing in its current form thwarts the game balance you purport to value.

It should be obvious from the most cursory reading of my arguments that they are not driven by a base desire to win more; I don't have that need. It's about qualitative experience. Even Stephen who disagrees with much of my philosophy at least understands what I am saying. Sheesh.

last edited by brianpk80
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