Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever

Adding or changing game rules to effectivley change a card is still basically power level errata or, if severe enough basically an effective ban.

Hypothetically, what if timewalk was just a fundamental problem card, with players being able to recycle it infintley ala mystic sanctuary or something like that, and WOTC created a game rule that stated no player can take more than 2 turns in a row or that extra turns could not be taken earlier than turn 5. Would the community be ok with that, would it be healthy for the game?

@protoaddict If it came to be that it was easy to take infinite turns on turn 1 or 2...like Vault key x100 consistently, then yes, it would be healthy for the format to make a fundamental change like that. I'd also have to think the community would embrace it, or else you are just playing a game where every deck is a mirror match and all end on turn 1 or 2 to whomever assembles the combo first. Distilling every deck to one strategy/combo like infinite time walk.dec and all matches becoming mirror matches is WAY worse than sucking up one fundamental change that fixes a specific problem.

Fundamental changes happen, and Vintage still does fine. Remember when you used to be able to stack damage and deal 2 with mogg fanatic? Major rules change to combat, but we all adapted and it was fine. London mulligan vs Paris? Major rule change, and it all worked out. Fundamental game changes are part of the game, and they are meant to make the game better. Nothing wrong with that.

I don't think any ban of the companions need to be made, but I think there are elegant ways to do it without expanding the ban list or WotC reversing their errata stance. A clarification on "outside of the game" for companions to create a new zone is a perfectly fine change.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

If it came to be that it was easy to take infinite turns on turn 1 or 2...like Vault key x100 consistently, then yes, it would be healthy for the format to make a fundamental change like that. I'd also have to think the community would embrace it, or else you are just playing a game where every deck is a mirror match and all end on turn 1 or 2 to whomever assembles the combo first.

Do we think the format is anywhere near this critera with companions? Format diversity has ceriantly been challenged before and at any given time there really are not that many viable archeypes outside the pillars.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

Fundamental changes happen, and Vintage still does fine. Remember when you used to be able to stack damage and deal 2 with mogg fanatic? Major rules change to combat, but we all adapted and it was fine. London mulligan vs Paris? Major rule change, and it all worked out. Fundamental game changes are part of the game, and they are meant to make the game better. Nothing wrong with that.

I dont think you remember how hated some of these changes were. Even the current mulligan rule is opposed by many players. It is even arguable that the format is better or worse for it. Fundamental core rules changes are not central to the game, they are a side effect to the fact that designers are imperfect.

That being said, none of these changes in the past were done to specifically nerf a card or mechanic. Wotc never said "burn is too fast and consistent in legacy, let's raise starting life to 25".

last edited by Protoaddict

@protoaddict said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

If it came to be that it was easy to take infinite turns on turn 1 or 2...like Vault key x100 consistently, then yes, it would be healthy for the format to make a fundamental change like that. I'd also have to think the community would embrace it, or else you are just playing a game where every deck is a mirror match and all end on turn 1 or 2 to whomever assembles the combo first.

Do we think the format is anywhere near this critera with companions? Format diversity has ceriantly been challenged before and at any given time there really are not that many viable archeypes outside the pillars.

First, the pillars themselves barely hold now. They used to be workshops, ritual, mana drain. Now they are more like Bazaar, Workshop, FoW. And we have cavern of souls which is becoming almost a 4th pillar, and oath of druids which is a long-standing format staple. That MWS/Ritual/Drain pillar model is already obsolete. Mana drain is almost never played anymore, and ritual only appears in a deck or two, and rarely often.

Also, I wasn't saying companions are like 100x vault key. I was saying, in your example of if Time Walk was a problem and easily recastable to that level of consistency (like if the card had retrace and always started in your hand), then, yes, WotC would likely prefer making rules to nerf one card as opposed to letting the entire game fall to pieces and devolve into all Time Walk.dec mirror matches.

There's a point to where holding on to the "purity" of the game actually reduces the playability of the game. This happens in all games where factors change. In a game like chess, where the rules have been static since the beginning and no new pieces were introduced since, there's no need for change. In magic, with an ever-growing card pool, changes to the rules are inevitable. It's more like football, where television became a factor and players went from 30-year-old 195lb cigar-smoking bruisers to 260 lb physical freaks that can run a 40 in 4.3 seconds. The rules HAD to change.

Yes, fans hate some of the rule changes...but they still watch, and football has overtaken baseball as the American pasttime now. Similarly, players had an outcry over the rules changes to damage stacking and mulligans, but overall, the rules were good and allowed for different cards to exist. How broken would ballista be (in formats that care about ballista) if you could stack damage? How many times did people gripe about losing games strictly due to mana screw? London mulligan has fixed that tremendously. There's the side-effect of adding consistency to bazaar decks, but honestly, the reason those decks are so good have less to do with London mull and more to do with them getting Hollow One recently and 8 devastating pitch spells in Modern Horizons.

There will always be purists who want the game to be static, but they are the minority. MOST people that like new cards and new mechanics coming into the format realize rule changes will be necessary on occasion. The wishes got erratad, the "exile zone" became a new thing, emblems/PWs, damage stacking, mulligans. Hell, even deck size was once 40 cards! Rule changes are a necessary part of the game. The only ones who rail against any changes in the rules are those who want to freeze it in time. If that's the case, play OS. Or, stop printing new cards with new mechanics and any interactions with old cards. Those are your only two options.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

I don't believe that changing the rules or the cards is a great option, unless the rules changes are good enough on theor own and their effect on companions is incidental.

Another option to deal with the power level, if restriction doesn't work, is unrestriction of competitive options that do not work together with the companions, such as necropotence for Lurrus and Gush for the singleton companion (as examples, I don't want to start a b&r discussion here).

@joep said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

Another option to deal with the power level, if restriction doesn't work, is unrestriction of competitive options that do not work together with the companions, such as necropotence for Lurrus and Gush for the singleton companion (as examples, I don't want to start a b&r discussion here).

Power-creeping cards is honestly probably the best way to do this, but I think it would have to exist in this start the game with X space. I'm not sure specifically the ones you listed are correct to lure people away from the existing 10 beasts, but now that this design space is open you need to fill it with other things for the sake of variety. It would take a lot of convincing to tell me that you would not want a free card every game, so probably it's better that there are more free cards competing in that space to determine which one you want than to try to have a situations with haves and have nots.

Heres the thing, I do not believe that companion is broken as a mechanic, and as a result I do not believe there is justification for a rules change to it, because there are companions that exist right now that are a perfectly fine and restrictive enough not to matter. If the mechanic was truly broken then arguably you would find a way to include one no matter what. Looking at all formats in general, Lutri, Umori, Obosh, Jegantha, and Kaheera are either too restrictive or too low impact to matter on any sort of concerning level. That means that some of the cards are unbalanced, not the mechanic. Therefore I find it hard to justify a rules change.

Lurris, or really any of the companions, are not so good that it is going to convince dredge to run mana even if it could use them, and likewise it is not going to warp itself to do so. In other formats, something like Burn is not going to ruin how efficient it is just for +1 spell that isn't a burn card. Tribal decks like Merfolk or Goblin or elves are not going to screw up there decks so they can run an off tribe 5 mana 4/4 that has a useless ability. Even at that the utility you get in some lists that can run some of these without altering themselves at all is minimal in a lot of cases. Some versions of Legacy reanimator could conceivably run Jeganth, but why would they want to? Probably rather just have the sideboard slot.

If anything, I think one of the design mistakes with the companions is that Lurris cannot be run with copies of himself, but every other companion can be with the exception of Lutri who can only be run with 1 other copy. If we were running 3/1 then a restriction is much more prominent a penalty on the card, or maybe they should have been designed so that none of them could be played with themselves?

I'm curious to see what happens. I suspect that if they have more cards like this already planned for the future you will never see a ban and you just need to accept that Lurris is basically part of the power 10 now until some oof the other ones come out. You may see him banned in other formats where a ban matters but once again I fundamentally believe this card is functioning as they planned and they won't make their first power level ban in vintage over it.

@protoaddict said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

Looking at all formats in general, Lutri, Umori, Obosh, Jegantha, and Kaheera are either too restrictive or too low impact to matter on any sort of concerning level.

Lutri seems vintage playable.

In other formats, something like Burn is not going to ruin how efficient it is just for +1 spell that isn't a burn card. Tribal decks like Merfolk or Goblin or elves are not going to screw up there decks so they can run an off tribe 5 mana 4/4 that has a useless ability.

burn does play lurrus in modern; the stock burn list has 4 baubles and 1-2 seal of fire. jegantha seems to be played in humans, as it's a free card and flood insurance. merfolk/goblins/elves can't fit jegantha, but slivers might. or you could play some of those decks with lurrus. jegantha is also free to play in legacy belcher.

If anything, I think one of the design mistakes with the companions is that Lurris cannot be run with copies of himself, but every other companion can be with the exception of Lutri who can only be run with 1 other copy. If we were running 3/1 then a restriction is much more prominent a penalty on the card, or maybe they should have been designed so that none of them could be played with themselves?

this seems technically true but nonsensical in context. yes, if Lurrus was an ever better card than it is now it would be possible to restrict it so that it would only be as good as it is now.

@blindtherapy said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

Lutri seems vintage playable.

I've yet to see a deck that tries this in serious fashion and shows that it's worth it. Losing 3 force of wills and x Force of negations has proven backbreaking in most of the match ups I have seen. In it's best case scenario Lutri seems to be a wash, the extra value you get from him just serves to make up from all you lost.

Lutri in the maindeck however, as a better dualcaster, seems fine and playable, but all these examples were meant to illustrate the cards as companions not just regular dorks.

@blindtherapy said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

burn does play lurrus in modern; the stock burn list has 4 baubles and 1-2 seal of fire. jegantha seems to be played in humans, as it's a free card and flood insurance. merfolk/goblins/elves can't fit jegantha, but slivers might. or you could play some of those decks with lurrus. jegantha is also free to play in legacy belcher.

Back to my original point then. Have any of these lists proven to be a problem because they now have companion? I would be over the moon if after a huge storm chain my opponent managed to cast an elk and didn't just win on the spot. This goes further to prove my point that the mechanic is not itself broken, just a few of the cards specifically may be. The issue is not the cards at all but the nature of the restricted list in the first place.

@blindtherapy said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

this seems technically true but nonsensical in context. yes, if Lurrus was an ever better card than it is now it would be possible to restrict it so that it would only be as good as it is now.

This was more of a statement on it being an inconsistent cycle which gets under my skin, but to also show the circumstances where restriction would help.

I think fundamentally what I am trying to say with all of this is that the restricted list has always been a flawed and unsustainable way to control the format and I have been saying for some time eventually they will have to change something more core to the way vintage works to maintain it once the restricted list fails. Now I thought the issues would eventually have been from redundancy of similar effects, where there are so many ancestral variants or Moxen or whatever that you can in effect use the number you want to use and just have to use a number of singletons, but companion was an unforeseen test of the restricted list that the list failed to accommodate for.

I agree with those saying that Vintage is a format about playing all the cards, and that neither power-level errata, nor power-level "rules adjustments," would be a satisfactory solution to Lurrus.

Lurrus has warped the metagame for sure (I've been playing more MTGO recently and Lurrus is rampant there) but I'm far from convinced that Vintage is in a crisis. Even if decks are incapable of competing with Lurrus (by running more maindeck creature and graveyard hate, e.g.) there are other levers that can be tried, for example restricting (absurd as it may look to the outside) the Baubles.

last edited by evouga

@evouga Except vintage has never been about playing ALL the cards. Ante cards are banned, and things like Planes and Conspiracies were never allowed. The precedent of banning card "types" (i.e. Companion) is certainly there.

Now that is an interesting thought. Banning Companions just like banning Ante cards.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

@evouga Except vintage has never been about playing ALL the cards. Ante cards are banned, and things like Planes and Conspiracies were never allowed. The precedent of banning card "types" (i.e. Companion) is certainly there.

Ante was never considered for tourney play. I am of the mindset that I would not mind errata on those cards to make ante mean something else so they would be playable. Like what if demonic contract upped your ante by 1, which means that if you lose the game you lose the match instead? Playing "all the card possible" is probably a more accurate way to describe the format, as I think that manual dexterity should not be a factor.

To that point, companions are not really comparable to planes or vanguards or conspiracies, because at the end of the day those are card types that were printed with the explicit thought that they would not be playable in tourney play from the onset, the same with silver bordered cards. Companions are creatures that were fully intended and designed for competitive play.

Let me ask the very blunt question of is Lurrus more powerful or warping that these cards already on the restricted list:
Lotus
Moxen
Ancestral Recall
Time walk
Chalice of the Void
Thorn of ameythist
Trinisphere

And let me add three that are not
Force of will
Bazaar
Workshops

All of those cards are openly allowed and accepted as some form of baseline for powerlevel in the format. Much of that is not because of the cards inherent balance but because of our fondness for the cards. Most of you would flat out say that vintage simply would not be vintage without these cards in some number.

I submit to you that Lurris as a companion is still not better than having a lotus in your deck. If Lurris had copy on him that said you cannot have Force of will in your deck, likely you would not play him. If those cards are restricted, not banned, or in the case of bazaar and workshops somehow still unrestricted, then I fail to see how you can justify banning either Lurrus or the mechanic.

@protoaddict

Well, as I said, I'm not arguing that the Companions are too OP. They're strong, but I put them on the level of Oko. Annoying as fuck, but they can live in Vintage. My argument has always been that there is a clean way to remove them from vintage if they are problematic without banning.

As far as OP cards though, you REALLY want to allow ante cards? 4x Contract from Below doesn't sound like a deck I want to play against. I just don't understand the desire to cling on to every card to play with as opposed to a functional format. Maybe vanguard and such were not designed for tourney play, but we also know Vintage is rarely in mind in card design.

What if WotC printed a companion that cost 1{U/W}{U/W} that read "Permanent cards in your deck can't cost more than 1" and "0: return a nonland permanent you control from the battlefield to it's owner's hand, then draw 1 card." Essentially, "play this with a mox and draw your deck." Would you want to allow that to live in Vintage just because you want to allow ALL playable cards to be played? That's ridiculous. You're putting "play all cards" above a healthy format at any cost by taking such a stance.

I mean, that's the philosophy of Legacy, right? Allow most cards, except the ones that are most broken?

I guess we could also have "Type 1.25" that sits somewhere in between Vintage and Legacy, but frankly it seems absurd to create a format around excluding Lurrus alone.

@evouga I think the fact that this is a card that starts in a different zone and has errata already just to be played anywhere (clarifying what "from outside of the game" means) means that you can cleanly remove the whole mechanic from the format without having to do individual card bans.

There comes a point where you either want A) a format that is fun, healthy, and has some variety, or B) a format that is 95% the same deck, turn 1 wins, and plays all the cards. That's a bit of hyperbole, however, clinging to the "let me play every card" stance means that with future printings, we will hit critical mass at some point, and the format really WILL become coin flip city. Once a REALLY problematic card gets printed where a restriction has no effect, you won't ban it, so then you just have every deck being thatcard.dec. We're not there yet, and these companions really aren't so terrible - just currently overplayed as the flavor of the month - but we can eventually get there. Vintage is an afterthought (or not a thought at all) in card design, so there could be something broken along the lines of "U - instant - contract from below sans ante" with a drawback that is negligible in Vintage....something like Armageddon yourself.

If we adhere to the "play every card no matter the effect on the format" philosophy, then we may eventually not have a format to enjoy that's not all mirror copies of the same uber-broken pile. Consider the "blue vice" deck of Alpha40. Are we okay with Vintage if it becomes all copies of this same deck and whoever wins the coin flip wins the game on the following upkeep? I'd personally rather a game I can actually play and use strategy over turns, and not just a face-off with my opponent where we're both holding a loaded bazooka and just need to hit the trigger. We're not there yet, and the Companions are no where near this problematic - but the philosophy of "playing all cards printed" is.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

As far as OP cards though, you REALLY want to allow ante cards? 4x Contract from Below doesn't sound like a deck I want to play against. I just don't understand the desire to cling on to every card to play with as opposed to a functional format. Maybe vanguard and such were not designed for tourney play, but we also know Vintage is rarely in mind in card design.

I mean, I would restrict it.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

What if WotC printed a companion that cost 1{U/W}{U/W} that read "Permanent cards in your deck can't cost more than 1" and "0: return a nonland permanent you control from the battlefield to it's owner's hand, then draw 1 card." Essentially, "play this with a mox and draw your deck." Would you want to allow that to live in Vintage just because you want to allow ALL playable cards to be played? That's ridiculous. You're putting "play all cards" above a healthy format at any cost by taking such a stance.

And what if they printed a lightning bolt for 20 that costed Phyrexian mana? A card that broken would likely never be printed because it would break other formats as well and it would be caught in playtesting. I have confidence that this hypothetical is unrealistic.

The issue with most of the newer power cards is that the nature of vintage is different than other formats. There is overlap in the Venn diagram to be sure, but vintage has some space of its own where things that are ok in other places are not ok in it.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

There comes a point where you either want A) a format that is fun, healthy, and has some variety, or B) a format that is 95% the same deck, turn 1 wins, and plays all the cards. That's a bit of hyperbole, however, clinging to the "let me play every card" stance means that with future printings, we will hit critical mass at some point, and the format really WILL become coin flip city.

Vintage has always suffered from the second law of thermodynamics, in that over a long enough timeline all things trend towards decay. The restricted list was always a band aid because the core idea of the format was always allow as many of the cards as possible from the start of the game until forever. If you don't have that then I would argue vintage simply isn't vintage. In many ways the restricted list is also definitional to the format. It is the only format that maintains one and people identify the format with it.

I do believe there are fixes to this situation that do no require outright banning should the format last until that point, but I'm not sure people would accept them. Things like a point system ala Canadian highlander, a much more expansive restricted list (duals, fetches, workshop, bazaar, sphere, fow, etc), or making the format just purely singleton would preserve the idea that you can use cards from the entire games history, just maybe not all at the same time or in the same numbers you were allowed to before.

I actually recreated my account to try and focus on article-type posts and primers, but to answer some of the questions in this thread, Lurrus actually is probably as good or better than all of the restricted cards in the format.

A consideration is decks will always have Lurrus as an additional card. Period. That's a boost to every game played. They will rarely have a particular restricted card. They will have a 4-of 40% of the time per 7 card hand. The metagame data we have from the format shows that Lurrus decks have an estimated 61% win rate against non-Lurrus decks (when adjusted for expected mirror matches). The odds of having a restricted card in your opening hand approach that 11% differential, though it can be higher with mulligans, and is obviously mitigated by just considering that having a restricted card doesn't necessarily translate into a win (it won't necessarily resolve or might not win the game). Prior to Ikoria, I was making the argument that Black Lotus was actually detrimental to the control game plan, which was more built on attrition, and was cutting it from Jeskai and other decks. I even won a couple Vintage challenges, which prompted comments like "Uro/Oko is better than Black Lotus, confirmed" from people outside the format. Having something powerful to do with zero risk of putting yourself down a card, has made Lotus much better, so don't worry, not cutting Black Lotus any more.

Furthermore, if you compare the decks, Shops and Bazaar decks are really struggling in this metagame. Shops has a 42% win rate. Dredge has a 36% win rate. You can argue that if these decks were to replace Workshops and Bazaar with Darksteel Ingot, they would have worse win rates, but that's a pretty uncompelling theoretical argument that ignores how decks are actually constructed. Cards don't exists in isolation. Force of Will has risen in importance and prevalence but honestly, a huge part of this is due to Lurrus. Lurrus is essentially a 2-for-1, no matter how you slice it up, and Force of Will is arguably one of the better ways to 2-for-1 yourself. MBT is also decent as is Force of Negation and STP because of the exile effect, and this is evidence of metagame warping.

Restricting the Baubles and other pieces makes little sense, due to the redundancy of effects. Breach decks are very functional at one copy, Urza and Mishra's Bauble are very close in efficiency, restricting Remora really doesn't have much of a structural effect on the metagame, are you really going to restrict value-based Dredge hate like Nihil Spellbomb and Soul-Guide Lantern? There are many ways to derive value from recurring permanents <=2 mana, decks are even running [Unbridled Growth].

People have tried to combat or ignore Lurrus but you are just sacrificing too much utility and there is just too much versatility in how Lurrus can be used that make targeted approaches difficult. Hatebears strategies fall victim to a huge increase in creature removal as a response to Lurrus being prevalent, not to mention more Karakas, and the fact that most decks have a 3/2 lifelinker to recoup life loss as an 8th card every game. Reality Smasher is much less impressive when the 5 life attack is negated by Lurrus + a Deathrite Shaman. Similarly, attacking the graveyard or artifacts, trades at a card disadvantage since the floor of Lurrus is still a 3/2 lifelinker. It's similar to Illness of Ranking or Dread of Nighting Mentor in that you are going down a card to mitigate the effects of your opponent's card, except this card was cast from outside the game. Graveyard hate and null rod effects are only great when they attack the opponent's core strategies such as Breach combo or PO.

The main approaches now are to accept that Vintage is the Lurrus format and diversity exists in the confines of Lurrus Combo vs Lurrus Value, or eliminate Lurrus as companion. People can play what they want and will play what they want, and indeed, the power of restricted cards can be pretty good at obscuring a decks flaws. However, Lurrus has been absurdly dominant immediately, taking 16/16 top 8 slots in both Vintage Challenges on MTGO, as well as winning both Paper Online events held in this weekend. As noted above, it doesn't appear from the data that other strategies are on par with Lurrus or that there is an emergence of viable countermeasures that exist outside of Lurrus decks.

In any case, I don't think anything the Vintage community does will necessarily influence WotC's decision on what they end up doing. Like Dig through Time and Treasure Cruise, Lurrus is creating similar patterns of dominance across other formats. WotC restricted Cruise and Dig at the same time it banned those cards in Legacy and if they too action on Lurrus, the would likely do the same in Vintage. What that will be, I don't know. I'm just representing my view as someone that plays the format and collects the data. My preference as a brewer would be for Lurrus to exist as playable as a non-companion rather than an overt ban of either Lurrus or the companion mechanic. In that respect, I am not as much of a philosophical purist as others in this thread.

Interestingly enough, I've actually just started running Lurrus in any maindeck that can support him mana-wise, but not as a companion, and has a fair amount of < 3cmc drops already. That's in Modern and Vintage. And he's just great whenever he hits. He's just insane valuetown. I actually find his lifelink to be the most annoying trait as you can't come out ahead in any way - even surprise chumping with snapcaster as a 1-for-1 gives them a free healing salve. There's just no stopping this card from being awesome, whether he's companion or a main deck value-engine.

@chubbyrain1 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

The main approaches now are to accept that Vintage is the Lurrus format and diversity exists in the confines of Lurrus Combo vs Lurrus Value, or eliminate Lurrus as companion. People can play what they want and will play what they want, and indeed, the power of restricted cards can be pretty good at obscuring a decks flaws.

Vintage was in many ways already this type of format. Many decks were and still are heavily defined as if you have Force, Shops, Bazaar. It's all framing. No one ever looked at a shops deck and said oh your playing a non-bazaar deck huh? For all the nuance of specific card selections, many decks at there core were still doing the same things. Pitch Dredge and Sun Titan Dredge are still 2 separate builds, but at there core they are still basically the same.

Format diversity is worse in vintage more so than any other format pretty consistently since the dawn of the format. That is fundamental to the cards that are on the restricted list and the few that are surprisingly not. Most of the veteran players are not only ok with that, but actually strive to maintain it because they do not want radical shifts to the format. This is in large part why workshops has yet to catch a restriction but so many of it's pieces have.

@chubbyrain1 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

However, Lurrus has been absurdly dominant immediately, taking 16/16 top 8 slots in both Vintage Challenges on MTGO, as well as winning both Paper Online events held in this weekend. As noted above, it doesn't appear from the data that other strategies are on par with Lurrus or that there is an emergence of viable countermeasures that exist outside of Lurrus decks.

Do we feel like this data is of a solid sample however. We really don't have a control for this type of analysis because we have never been playing under a pandemic with a set that is currently not available in paper. I also think that 1 month of results in the best of times is not enough to be sure, because new cards ALWAYS get used in high numbers at first.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever:

Interestingly enough, I've actually just started running Lurrus in any maindeck that can support him mana-wise, but not as a companion, and has a fair amount of < 3cmc drops already. That's in Modern and Vintage. And he's just great whenever he hits. He's just insane valuetown. I actually find his lifelink to be the most annoying trait as you can't come out ahead in any way - even surprise chumping with snapcaster as a 1-for-1 gives them a free healing salve. There's just no stopping this card from being awesome, whether he's companion or a main deck value-engine.

This is actually undermining to the argument in the first place. If Lurrus is better maindeck as a 4 of then it would go some length to show that companion is not the issue, it's the power level of the card. If the card is too powerful as a 4 of the first step would be to restrict it. What if the ideal build for Lurrus is actually some copies main deck with a different companion in the board?

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