Is Vintage a digital format now?

Mtgo's inability to properly handle loop mechanics like bomberman is also a big drawback. Given bomberman and decks like dragon are not that all that popular, but it has its fans in paper.
Another aspect you didn't touch on - Vintage is the play type that lets us use all our cards. Our cards. Our physical, actual pieces of cardboard. By and large the Vintage community is very nostalgic in this sense and that does not always translate well into digital. I do a lot of play testing on cockatrice. But to be honest, no matter what, no part of the cockatrice or any digital experience replaces an actual game. I'd rather sit down with a 2 year old and a pile of lands to play a game than play online (and I DO enjoy online play, it just doesn't measure to the actual play experience).

MTGO is a horrible piece of software so that cuts out a certain segment of players.

MTGO doesn't simulate the paper experience of reading an opponent, bluffing and handles a massive amount of the rules for you (missed Ichorid triggers, etc.).

Paper Sanctioned Vintage for new players is super expensive cutting out a certain segment of players.

Paper Proxy Vintage repulses some players because the aesthetics of proxies is terrible.

Also the aforementioned loops situation and the chess clock matters.

It was always going to be different. When MTGO finally gets cattle bolted it will be interesting to see how Vintage survives.

I think that when you look up a deck on MTG Goldfish and see "Online: $250- Paper: $25,000," that's going to inevitably lead to the online metagame being substantially larger and therefore moving faster, becoming more optimized, etc. than the paper metagame. That doesn't necessarily mean that Vintage is fundamentally a digital format now--local metagames are just different from the overall metagame. Online discussions focus on the online metagame because it's something that is the same for everybody, but that doesn't mean you can't play something outside of that and do well and have fun at your local paper tournament.

My point here is that when we measure the format from MTGO we get Thorn restricted over Sphere. I would argue that Chalice may need to come off the list to help unpowered decks but that goes down the B&R rabbit hole.

Leaving aside the specific question of whether Thorn or Sphere is the more appropriate target for restriction, is this not the right result? Many more people are able to play Vintage online than in paper, both because of the expense and because of paper Vintage events are just not very common. Most of the paper events that do exist allow at least ten proxies. The vast majority of people playing Vintage are playing with decks that are appropriately powered. Shouldn't B&R policy address that reality?

@nedleeds I see myself playing Vintage on paper until I am too old to shuffle. I wrote this post because I think paper needs to evolve. Proxies offer a way to introduce players to the game as does MTGO.

If the game is going to evolve then players without power can reimagine the format and play every card in MTG on their terms. If we only measure Vintage using MTGO then that won't happen and the incentive to innovate is shutdown.

@moorebrother1 said in Is Vintage a digital format now?:

@nedleeds I see myself playing Vintage on paper until I am too old to shuffle. I wrote this post because I think paper needs to evolve. Proxies offer a way to introduce players to the game as does MTGO.

If the game is going to evolve then players without power can reimagine the format and play every card in MTG on their terms. If we only measure Vintage using MTGO then that won't happen and the incentive to innovate is shutdown.

I don't disagree, I'm saying the two are different for many, many reasons. It's almost impossible to disentangle the possible reasons why - yet the 2 share a B&R list. It's a problem.

@craw_advantage said in Is Vintage a digital format now?:

The vast majority of people playing Vintage are playing with decks that are appropriately powered. Shouldn't B&R policy address that reality?

We currently have that B&R list and I am ok with that. Looking at how paper is splitting from Legacy and to some extent Modern and even Standard I wonder if we view Vintage as more of MTGO format - how does that impact the game and the community.

I went hard into MTGO for December and backed off this month and I have been brewing hard in paper. I have some cool decks and cool ideas but I will not be playing these online. This kind of behavior causes splits in the meta game.

I have a few examples from last year of cool paper decks that broke through and we never see them on MTGO. Look at the Mardu Planeswalker deck from SCG Con. The Karn PO deck from Waterbury. The Sean O'Brien Teeg deck at EW and the super spicy Stax deck at EW. None of these decks ever show up on MTGO and they are all awesome.

I just want more of these spicy decks not the same crap I see over and over on MTGO.

last edited by moorebrother1

Ugh...so many problems.

The Karn PO deck was partly developed on MTGO, with contributions from JP Kohler, Jeremy Beaver, and myself (all of us have MTGO accounts). I tested exclusively on MTGO but I can't speak for everyone. I streamed the Mardu Planeswalker deck multiple times, even spoke with the creator about an updated list. These lists often don't persist in the more competitive MTGO metagame but that isn't for lack of trying. Stax sees play and had a 5-0 recently. I haven't tried Sean's list as we have different deckbuilding and format philosophies, but that doesn't mean others haven't tried it on MTGO.
There is a Dragon player by the name or Redlose who has several 5-0s with it. And if you check this week's lists, you will see Cindervines Jund, Dark Bant Hatebears, Turbo Depths, Brian Kelly's pile, along with the usual suspects. To say that none of these decks ever show up on MTGO is inaccurate and honestly offensive as I have made it a personal mission to do just that.

As far as you playing the same things over and over again, do you have data to support this? I kept track of my league matches since Lavinia was printed and the only archetype I have encountered over 20% of the time has been Xerox. Every other archetype is around 5-10%. You play these decks once every other league and xerox every league on average. Now, it may not feel like it. Selection bias occurs especially when you are unhappy with a deck or play pattern in a format . You remember the games in which you face triple Hollow One off a Bazaar but those games aren't representative.

Regarding unpowered decks, yeah, they are bad. There is no competitive advantage from limiting your access to the most powerful cards in a format, which is why the TOs allow proxies or give additional prizes. And it's why these decks don't get played on MTGO. Unpowered decks are not a feature of the metagame, but a bug of the high cost of the format. Specifically, the cards that you mentioned as enabling unpowered decks do so because they are powerful themselves and proved to be oppressive in powered decks. Chalice was able to ruin 20% of Vintage games in conjugation with the die roll, and would be downright absurd in modern Ravager Shops.

@chubbyrain I do appreciate your feedback. In your opinion - Is Vintage primarily now a digital format now?

As I mentioned, several Legacy players say that the digital meta and the paper meta are very different. Mostly because of costs and who plays paper versus MTGO.

Decks get brewed in several ways and I understand players that play MTGO brew. My point of this thread was 2 fold. To ask the question about the meta-game as primarily existing on MTGO vs paper and to ask about a path forward to see more paper.

I get it, paper is expensive and people look at the meta and want to play good decks with awesome cards. I know MTGO is convenient and inexpensive compared to paper. I am not complaining about MTGO. When I played a bunch in December, I had fun. I have 6 decks on MTGO just FYI. I was able to figure out how to compete in the new meta, and I will probably start doing leagues again. I love Vintage and I want to play it the way I like it - on paper. I'll settle for MTGO if that's all I can get.

@moorebrother1 I think that Vintage is not primarily a digital format. Yesterday in Berkeley we had multiple big names come out for Vintage for a grand total of 19 people! For us it was a lot, and I think there was and will continue to be a lot of enthusiasm and interest in the Vintage format in paper for as long as possible. While I agree that MTGO and paper Vintage have different meta's I think that people play what they want on both platforms. I think that the divergence in meta is a product of the target audience and primary users rather than a lack of innovation or whatnot.

In terms of quality from MTGO I think for a piece of software it's somewhere close to the best we can get at simulating a magic game. There are still some problems with the program itself but mostly with how much we can simulate a magic game with a software. I enjoy a lot it's interface, it's very easy, we have all the information we need, we can even buy more good-looking versions of cards if we want to. And considering the 'alternative' is MTGArena, sounds like MTGO is the best interface we will get and for me it's not a bad thing.

You said the things you lose on digital magic, but there are lots and lots of things we win. For me being able to play whenever I want and without losing time (a.k.a. playing 12 matches divided however you want in the same amount of time as a 4 rounds champs). But you guys are very different from me in terms of the paper magic feeling. Maybe because I couldn't afford vintage and the most iconic cards in magic, and even though we had FoW and dual lands I didn't have that feeling with my legacy decks (which I sold).

I, as someone who dropped paper magic to play only digital magic am probably very biased for it. But anyways, I enjoy a lot MTGO, and for me considering every aspect, even if we took the financial side out of the equation, the magic online experience for me is way better than paper magic. I've made a very big post not so long ago defending digital magic, and I don't want to repeat that as I know this is kind of different. But I just felt like MTGO deserved this defense.

Being able to go to your pc and play it when you don't have many other things to do and you are in the mood instead of having to play when you have lots of other things to do (FNMs, weekend champs) and you are not always on the mood. I mean... I rather play MTGO when I'm in good mood and want to, than play paper tournaments only when I'm able to.

#peace

last edited by GutoCmtt

@gutocmtt said in Is Vintage a digital format now?:

In terms of quality from MTGO I think for a piece of software it's somewhere close to the best we can get at simulating a magic game.

I hear this a lot, but there are free alternatives. I don't get why people keep trying to play on MTGO when it's full of bugs that shouldn't have existed in the first place. On top of that, it requires you to pay money for cards that will continue to devalue and look worse than scans of actual cards. Why endure that for a program that Wizards is not incentivized to keep on life support?

last edited by Wretchling

@wretchling If you like the thrill of competition and monetizing your game, there isn't another digital alternative. And the thing is, you will probably lose some money in the beginning, but after a while if you improve you can start getting back what you spent on the game. Also, when you are not playing for money you constantly face people that really don't want to pretend like they care for the game. And I'd rather go play anything else than online MTG with nothing on the stakes. I've done that a few times and only got bored.

I know there are some bugs, but I see very few bugs in vintage. Like, really few. I think the last one was DRS being summoning sick on my opp turn when it wasn't supposed to (happened a few times, then never again). I hear people complaining about that, I hear people swearing at the program for things they had set up to be like that, like the GY popping up when something there has become castable, but very few times really bugs.

BTW, I'm not sure where 'Wizards is not incentivized to keep on life support' came from. There's arena now, but to make all the logic for all MTG there would be a huge amount of work. And having only standard and limited, it's... limited. There are a lot of people playing MTGO that bring money to wizards and that wouldn't migrate to arena, both for not having older formats than for it's design (which for a lot of people is way worse than MTGO, but that reaches their target audience for the program).

All opinions contained in this post are simply that: opinions. They are mostly based on anecdotes and qualitative, not quantitative data.

I think there will always be a bit of a difference between the paper and digital vintage format. The aforementioned loops issues keep certain powerful deck types more or less out of MTGO (I have a fondness for bomberman, but not enough of one for the carpal tunnel). There is the cost issue- it is easier for me to shift cards around in my deck and try new things in a league or a challenge on mtgo when the cost to try new things is low. MTGO also lets me try things I'd be less inclined to put together for one of my local vintage leagues like Saheeli Oath or some horrifying Brian Kelly concoction.

I also tend to play different decks in paper than I do online. I tend more towards workshops and weird xerox decks online (or fun things like Aperture Science) while in paper I've decided to stop being an artificer and have gone back to my first love of necromancy.

Vintage is a digital format. I don't think that vintage is only a digital format. I don't think the paper and online metagames are identical, but neither are they all that far afield from one another.

And stuff.

@winterstar Your points in this post really capture my feelings. Building and brewing in paper is more satisfying to me personally. I just do not get to play much paper.

In my local and a lot of people I play with are more likely to jam Old School than Vintage now. I play online and the meta is just different. I am not fortunate enough to play against people like @ChubbyRain so I see the same decks over and over. That’s why I asked this question in the first place.

To be fair, there are spicy decks online. But there is a set of players that just want to ladder the league. I got caught in that mindset and that’s why I had to take a break. It’s also why I enjoy paper over digital. I just tend to play for fun over trying to ladder a league and trophy.

And, if we are honest you need at least a 3-2 record in a league so you don't just need to keep spending money to play in the league.

last edited by moorebrother1

@nedleeds said in Is Vintage a digital format now?:

MTGO doesn't simulate the paper experience of reading an opponent, bluffing and handles a massive amount of the rules for you (missed Ichorid triggers, etc.).

I once had a player message me to tell me that they thought I had something due to the amount of time it took me to respond to something. Then they played around that "bluff" for the rest of the game.

In reality, I had run to the bathroom while on the clock.

@thecravenone I have a 3 month old so I have several moments while playing where I will need to check on the baby or pick up the baby. I never thought of it having an affect on my opponent. That is so funny.

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