I logged into MTGO today. I updated the client and sold a couple cards to make sure I have 30 tix to play in the challenge. I was about to load Shockwave's UR Landstill but I caught myself in the act. Good thing too, I would have set myself up for a miserable day and waste a lot of time in the process. Something within me wants to play Vintage. My heart says yes but my brain says no. My fiance would have been upset with me if she saw the client window open. I'm glad I caught myself. There's just some alluring aspect, as if there is a chance the games will in someway be enjoyable, but I know they won't. I know it will just end in misery and my life would be worse. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I've almost completely given up. I check results here every now and then. Play a tournament every now and then, but MODO is such a terrible game client (and yet Arena is somehow even worse when I tried that). Hasbro is not a computer gaming company, and is proving that point with these trash iterations of game clients.
Paper magic is completely unattainable to me because the cost is so prohibitive (Ravager shops for instance is now listed as a $38k dollar deck on MTGO; that's a down payment to a house). Add to the paper issue is that I would have to devote entire days to playing a game again (waking up early, rushing out the house, "working" hard to win, then getting home late). As I college student, I could get away with that, I simply don't have the energy to do that in my older age.
If the game itself was funner, maybe, I could justify dealing with the bad interfaces or the time+money cost of playing in person. But the game has lost its allure. With every new set, more and more cards arise that just break the games general mechanics. On top of that some of the mechanics of the game itself were just faulty to begin with (most notably play vs draw, where being on the play is gives a heavy bias towards your win %). As a result, it has become a deeply flawed game that revolves around a handful of cards that the DCI refuses to take action on. Specifically, Force of Will remains the dumbest, most boring card ever printed.
There are better ways to spend your days. Thanks for bringing up the topic for me to vent on.
It's not the game's or the format's fault. Game's fine, Arena is pretty great overall and there are a lot of formats to go to or proxy events to play.
It's just you guys that are burnt out by it and maybe have outgrown it. It's OK. Kinda sucks but it's a part of life. There are other formats and/or other games/activities to do out there. I've been jamming Commander, board games and Sekiro for a change, but loving how Magic looks too. Just find your place.
Long championships are rarely a good experience for someone who is not into the competitive nature of mtg. It's actually why I completely dropped paper magic 3 years ago and I've never regreated it. Leagues are way more fun, we play as much as we want (and can), whenever we want. And that's what makes it awesome. And also that's not how challenges work. Challenges are like paper magic, which is bad.
It's good that you held yourself back. Sometimes we go with the flow and set ourselves up for a bad experience. Specially given how loud your complaints about the current state of vintage are. I've taken a time out, got an upgrade to my PC to play some better game and I'm playing from times to times. Makes the experience a lot better when I get to play.
Vintage or mtg isn't worse. It's just that we end up growing tired eventually. If someone doesn't grow tired of doing the same things everyday, something is wrong with that person.
While I agree, we as people may have evolved, the game itself has also been evolving. New printings and rules changes have made sure of that. I was first introduced to Vintage around 2002 with mana burn, damage on the stack, a shared B&R list with legacy and that format was defined by entirely different cards than exist today. 2002 Vintage is very distinct from 2020 Vintage. Take any two points in Vintage’s history and you will find difference. I think that I’ve clung on to the idea that maybe in the future the game would get better, evolve in a direction that built on the fun concepts of the early game, but for me, it has gotten worse. That is fine, people can enjoy the game and we can move on, but it is disappointing.
That’s my take on it as well. I’ve spent years thinking the game would revert back to what I enjoyed or that maybe I would find the right deck to catalyze a change, but when I take a step back and realize I’m playing with restricted cards like Mental Misstep and Gitaxian Probe against cards like Oko and Narset and they just keep printing newer and better cards it makes me rethink what I’m getting out of it.
The last match of Vintage I’ve ever played was against Dredge. Shortly into game 1 I just conceded the match because it just felt so scripted. I just flat out didn’t want to play.
Now when I observe Vintage games involving one person sitting idle while they other is chaining Outcomes together, it just reinforces my beliefs. I believe Outcome is probably an exciting deck for a Vintage newcomer, but there are only so many ways it can play out. There’s no “end game” so to speak. Sure you can “micro” cards like Null Rod against PO or Tormod’s against Breach and say “look these strategies are beatable”; but it’s not even about having the capacity to beat oppressive strategies, it’s about having the capacity for fun.
There’s nothing wrong with the game but I have trouble with finding fun with it right now. I’m glad I can at least vent about it.
I feel like the format has changed a lot with new printings and restrictions, but I think it is not necessarily bottlenecking in a critical mass as much as it is turning directions like a winding road.
Back in its heyday, it was gushatog, oath, and trinishops with an occassional fish deck (literally blue fish). That was 2002ish. Then planeswalkers came out and that card type got pushed to the limits with narset, oko, karn (consider that the OG "this is too busted" PW, Jace TMS, is now virtually unplayable!) But now we're seeing a new direction to the game - creature's matter/self mill. With Thassa and Jace o' mysteries and underworld breach to go along with arcanist, delve spells, etc., milling yourself has become a win condition.
Cards like DRS started the creature push, but now vengevine, hollow one, stonecoil, collector ouphe, and others have made the game slow down from the "chain my gushes" days of magic and made the attack phase as relevant as it was in old school times.
The only storm cards we really got any time recently was PO, and since then ouphe, karn, narset and such have just punished the "draw deck/drop jewelry" strategies. The game looks fundamentally different, but not in that there's only 1 viable deck from saturation. As a guy who always hated the shops/blue-draw/bazaar triangle of the vintage format, I'm very happy that we've finally broken that trifecta. Those are still powerful axis cards, but decks not even running or needing those engines are doing great things. BUG is a deck, oko oath is a deck, thassa+consult is a deck, hollow vine is a deck, fastbond is a deck, and to a lesser extent fringe decks (like my own welder deck) have become playable and respectable in the meta - hell, even freaking NINJAS...I repeat, NINJAS, have the ability to win. And of course dredge, PO/storm, shops, and xerox are still decks. That's more diversity in viable strategies than I've ever seen in vintage, honestly. Any of those decks can play well and win, whereas before only the three axis REALLY could win and fringe decks had barely a puncher's chance. I think Vintage is as good as ever, if not better.
Put it this way - I ONLY played vintage from 1994-2008 and then modern came out. Vintage got stale to me and Modern became my go to format. But in the past year or so, Vintage is now my fave format again. That says a lot about the meta to me.
Yes, you highlight the shift well. The power creep has mostly generated an imbalance towards creatures/PWers, whereas prior the imbalance occurred from instant/sorcerers/sphere effects. Very different dynamics to the typical Vintage game because of that.
I also empathize with the long gap between turns from PO, Dredge, ect. Sitting there for 10 minutes watching my opponent combo is quite frankly just unfun. Although that’s always been an issue with Vintage. Hearthstone has implemented a clock for each turn based (I think it’s about a minute?). That makes it near impossible to do these stupidly long turns in your deck with 1 real win con (or none in some cases).
I think one reason for this is that WotC sees permanents as more ripe for interaction - my ouphe shuts down your mox, and you can bolt my ouphe - as opposed to the stack, where you basically get FoW or nothing. WotC has used "interaction" in just about every justification for restriction in the past 10 years and "deck variety" in every justification of unrestrictions. If they shift the game to permanents (PWs, creatures, colored artifacts, enchantments as we've seen in the past few years), then you run into less issues of denying interactivity. The outliers were pushed PWs like Oko, Karn, Narset (and the giant mistake that was trinisphere back in the day) because they were so cheap and strong and reeeeaally hard to kill. If they start printing more cards like Fry (a 4x of in my red deck SBs), magmatic sinkhole, or the elderspell, then they can keep pushing PWs. Right now there are just so few versatile , splashable, adequate PW answers, that PWs have had some problematic "I take over the game for 3-4 mana" issues.
The problem is that it has taken away the uniqueness of the game compared to other card games, and actually doesn't follow the thematic parts of the game.
The gameplay uniqueness of magic was that it was a primarily spell driven, highly interactive game for the first 10 years or so before the great shift towards permanents happened. Spells had an allure to them, an element of deception and surprise from using instants. Draw, land, pass with the ability to do some End of Turn and follow it with another powerful set of spells on your turn, if you wish. Permanents are much more typical of these types of card games, from Pokemon to Hearthstone, every card game has always stolen the concept of permanents and these other games have often done it better.
From a lore perspective, instead of being a Planeswalker ourselves casting powerful spells against eachother (only occasionally summoning an ally in the form of a creature), we are just summoning a bunch of creatures and PWers to do all of the work for us. It feels less fun being forced to play a Summoner class of Wizard.
I actually think the game was more creature centric/permanent based in the beginning. CoP:color was the best defense. Nev disk was your "answer." Your win typically centered around white knight, serra angel, serendib efreet, or the bombastic Shivan Dragon. Even spells relied on permanents - you needed mana flare and lands or mana vaults and basalt monoliths for the awesome braingeyser/fireballs. Yes, there was always the occasional channel/fireball, but creature beats were the thing in the old days. Even "The Deck" relied on moat, tormod's crypt, feldon's cane, millstone, serra angel, the abyss, and other permanents. Even the spells were primarily to interact with permanents - like plow and disenchant.
But once we got into gush times, by then we had gush, FoW, misdirection, duress, mana drain, counterspell, and some forms of cantrips paving the way to the lands + 35 instant/sorcery spells + 2-4 kill cards decks. It was no longer about creatures or even more than a handful of permanents then. I think that is when the old Vintage we think of departed from old school (and OS is more the kind of format Pokemon, etc. copied.)
I think the current shift is getting back to it's OS roots, though not the spell-slinging vintage of 2000 and beyond that many of us remember. But I definitely agree that PWs are problematic to the flavor of the game and do take away from the core of "I AM THE PLANESWALKER" that made the feel awesome. Now we are more of a general for our creature soldiers and PW lieutenants and less the powerful wizard that drives all the action. I do miss that.
I think that MTGO has made playing Vintage much less enjoyable. I know several players out there brew and make new decks and experiment with regular the arch-types but MTGO creates so many feel bad moments and since there is not any real conversation it feels so much worse.
I look at the Vintage MTGO results and it all looks so simple, there are 5 or 6 decks to beat and you play one of those or you cannot win. It so much more complex than that. I think Vintage is in a really good place right now the format is wide open. You can really brew and think outside the box and a lot of things can win.
The MTGO feedback loop can be brutal but MTGO is not Vintage. I am only focusing on paper events for this year and it has made me see Vintage in a very different light. It is different for everyone but that is working for me.
@fsecco I mean, it literally not the same game, but sure, there is was nostalgia involved. The game doesn't have really any nostalgia feel for me anymore since its evolved so far.
I mean, it literally is the same game.
As someone that started playing by buying unlimited starters and packs, the current permanent centric play feels more like the real origins of the game. The first time I saw a deck that didn't feel like really playing magic was when Prosbloom hit. That was not Magic to our playgroup.
I stopped playing at the beginning of the Urza block because it didn't feel like the same game. I got back into it right before Mirrodin block hit because I was working in a comic shop part time in Jasper Alberta. It was all young kids who just discovered it, and myself and a couple of older guys were teaching them. It reminded me why I got back into the game. They were all trying to cast ridiculously inefficient creatures that looked cool. It reminded me of turning Lord of the Pit, Shivan Dragon and Force of Nature sideways ftw.
I love Vintage, but it has never really felt like true Magic to me. The spell and combo centric nature of it was just a product of being able to cherry pick the top 1% of the cards available over decades of sets.