NYSE #4 - Complete Metagame Report



  • Around 30% non-blue. That's pretty interesting.


  • TMD Supporter

    Thanks for doing this. It looks really interesting. I'm surprised so many people were able to get White Eldrazi ready for the event, it doesn't feel like its been around that long.



  • Thanks for putting in the work for this, Matt!



  • You guys are awesome!



  • 32.5% Gush Deck.
    21% of the Meta is Mentor+Gush, even when breaking down the archetypes to 35 Distinct Archetypes.

    Unlike others, I don't feel this is wide open at all.



  • Added Top 16 Decklists. Clicking on the link takes you to DeckStats.net.



  • Added Archetype Win % (Overall and against other archetypes). Major thanks to Ryan Eberhart @diophan for spearheading this. The results are interesting.

    • Shops was clearly the best archetype, specifically Ravager shops. The deck won the event and 5 out of 7 Ravager decks finished 6-2 or better. It had favorable matchups against the most popular archetypes (Gush, Blue Control, Eldrazi), with an unfavorable matchup against Dredge. Caveat of course being the somewhat small sample sizes involved.
    • Eldrazi was the second best archetype, having favorable matchups against the majority of the field (including Dredge which was a weakness against shops), but struggling against Shops to the tune of an 2-10 match record. Null Rods (BUG Fish, Hatebears, and Merfolk) took 2 out of 3 matches - the sample size is extremely limited but it suggests that mana denial is powerful against the deck, whether in the form of Spheres and Wastelands or Wastelands and Null Rods.
    • Gush had a sub - 50% MWP. Speculating on this, a part was due to Eldrazi and Shops being highly favored against the deck. A second part was the archetype being by far the most known element of the field - this led to both the deck being targeted (i.e. with defense grids, Sudden Shocks, etc.) and the deck being adopted by those without much in the way of experience with the deck. Despite the 46% MWP, the top 8 was half Gush, as was six of the top 16 (37.5%) - both outperformed the 32.5% of the metagame that was Gush. Tom Metelsky @i_b_TRUE has played Gush decks online almost exclusively for some time. Hank Zhong used to be an Oath player but made the switch to Gush Mentor a couple of months back and put up some strong finishes. Vito has played Gush forever it seems. Brian Kelly's aptitude with Gush needs no explanation. AJ Grasso has a Champs finals with Gush Delver to his credit. This suggests that while the average player struggled in a hostile field, those most experienced with the archetype did very well. At least, that is my rationalization for the apparent contradiction.

    I hope you guys will chime in on this as well, and we get a positive discussion going.



  • @ChubbyRain I tend to agree with the theory that as a deck becomes a larger part of the metagame, its overall win % will fall as it is not just experts, but also some novices piloting the deck. However you want to look at it 32.5% of the meta, and 50% of the top 8 is a big showing for the deck, even if the numbers don't stand out as much when broken down.

    The Eldrazi making their first sighting in a major paper tournament should certainly have a ripple effect on decks, and I'd expect Gush decks to figure out a way to beat them as they've done with every other deck that has popped up.

    In general, it still astonishes me how many people continue to run Drain decks even though all evidence continues to point to these decks having poor percentages across the board.



  • @vaughnbros

    Really though it's;
    3/8 Mentor at 21.7%
    1/8 Grixis at 1.9%
    1/8 Eldrazi at 10.8%
    2/8 Ravager at 4.5%

    And you can lump in 9th and 10th since they had the same record as 8th place but lost on breakers...

    Sooooooooo...

    3/8 Mentor
    2/8 Eldrazi (one unpowered)
    3/8 Ravager

    Seems like a pretty balanced and healthy format to me. I guess not really out of eight slots but you get my point. I think things look a lot more realistic when you build out to top 10/16.

    Also, yeah Drain decks - Yuck!



  • @socialite Im not sure 7 decks featuring eldrazi, and 6 decks featuring Gush in the top 16 is healthy. If we want to count the 2 dredge decks too, that's a format with basically 3 viable archetypes. Seems extremely unhealthy to me.



  • Seems like a loose definition of "viable".

    I see control, I see tempo, I see combo, I see hate bears, I see Workshops, and I see Dredge.

    Honestly I'm starting to think people are just complaining to complain about this format. I've been playing Vintage since 2002 and this format is vastly superior to every iteration prior to this (perspective). When are people going to be happy, when we have the false diversity that is Legacy?



  • @socialite Agree... Look inward people. The source of the unending complaining about the vintage metagame is not the vintage metagame.


  • TMD Supporter

    It's notable that Combo actually had a 56% win percentage against Gush, which is another weakness (as I mentioned in my podcast) for Gush decks. According to the table at the top, Gush decks have losing win percentages against 4 different archetypes.

    Also, once again, Oath performs much better in paper (not simply on paper) than it does on MTGO.

    I played Storm combo, and went 5-3, but feel like I could have won my two matches against Oath and Scab Clan that I lost had I played better. The match against Eldrazi was rough tho, and I needed even more answers for it.

    The main takeaway I had from this tournament is that the Vintage format is undergoing massive upheaval, and that the effects of the restriction of Golem are far from being fully played out.

    In particular, I think Jaco's Tribal Eldrazi deck has enormous potential, and if his claim that it crushes the workshop Eldrazi deck is true - and it likely smashes the White Eldrazi deck - than that is a massive game changer.

    Some people think that Gush decks can adapt to beat Eldrazi, but I am more skeptical. I think the Eldrazi menace is much more resilient and disruptive than it appears (what I saw Paul Mastriano do to Craig Berry was insane - with Spirit in play, and using blink and TKS to exile his draws in his draw step for a close to hard lock, despite an opposing Moat). And attacking the white version may be much less effectual against the Shop or Jaco's version.

    If the Tribal Eldrazi deck becomes the "best" Eldrazi deck, that that will cause a wave of additional metagame moves that are difficult to fully anticipate, but are predictable in a few respects.

    In addition, it should be emphasized that Jaco's Eldrazi deck is the mythical Vintage budget deck that Type I/Vintage players sought for years and could never really find. It's the holy grail of budget decks.

    It's what Sligh, Suicide Black, and Stompy all wanted to be in 2001: a truly awesome budget deck for the format. I expect it to be HUGE at Eternal Weekend, as it is a budget deck that hundreds of people can assemble on a budget.

    It's funny that Jaco's deck could not only win a major tournament, but also any unpowered and budget prizes, as it runs neither power, nor Bazaars.



  • @Smmenen said:

    It's notable that Combo actually had a 56% win percentage against Gush, which is another weakness (as I mentioned in my podcast) for Gush decks. According to the table at the top, Gush decks have losing win percentages against 4 different archetypes.

    Also, once again, Oath performs much better in paper (not simply on paper) than it does on MTGO.

    Going by record, Combo went 19 -16 against Gush and one of those matches was Dave Kaplan scooping to Nick Cummings (so actually 18-17). I don't think you can definitively say that this is a weakness of the archetype - in other events, Gush has posted positive results against Storm. I'm not sure how the perception that "Combo beats Gush" got started but that hasn't been true in my experience with the deck - you have access to 4 Force of Wills, 4 Missteps, generally 2 Flusterstorms/Mindbreak Traps and a quick clock (not to mention Scab-clan Berserker or SB Hatebears if you want to go deep). Have other Gush pilots found the matchup difficult? I'm curious...

    It seems like the paper metagame has fewer Gush decks compared to Online, which is one of Oath's worse matchups. I'm not surprised it did better than it's done in the MTGO P9 tournaments, given this.

    In particular, I think Jaco's Tribal Eldrazi deck has enormous potential, and if his claim that it crushes the workshop Eldrazi deck is true - and it likely smashes the White Eldrazi deck - than that is a massive game changer.

    I believe him - Thorns are bad in the matchup and he doesn't run any. Null Rods are fantastic and he runs the full set. Eye of Ugin in a dedicated Eldrazi deck can generate more mana than Mishra's Workshop. The problem is that the deck looks much worse against Gush decks without the spheres.

    Some people think that Gush decks can adapt to beat Eldrazi, but I am more skeptical. I think the Eldrazi menace is much more resilient and disruptive than it appears (what I saw Paul Mastriano do to Craig Berry was insane - with Spirit in play, and using blink and TKS to exile his draws in his draw step for a close to hard lock, despite an opposing Moat). And attacking the white version may be much less effectual against the Shop or Jaco's version.

    I split my two matches against White Eldrazi (punting one of them) - Adding Mystical Tutor and Balance to complement the Walkers and Swords is pretty strong. Mindbreak Trap also can do work against their most broken openers. Alternatively, JVP is quite good if you can get him active, Baleful Strix is quite strong against them. Gush can definitely be built to beat Eldrazi and the Gush decks that did well made the necessary adjustments. That doesn't mean that Eldrazi is not a powerful deck - it certainly is.

    Jaco's version is likely much weaker against Mentor. The reason White Eldrazi has a strong Mentor matchup is the combination of Spheres and the big threats. Without the Spheres, Mentor can just go nuts and the deck is more susceptible to Supreme Verdict, which commonly sees play out of Mentor SBs.

    Not trying to start anything - just my two cents based on the testing I've done with Gush Mentor and looking at the decklists.

    Edit: the budget aspect of Jaco's deck is awesome. I'm glad that Wizards is printing cards and strategies that can compete in MTG's oldest format.


  • TMD Supporter

    Man, I wish I could play this event again! What made this event challenging was that White Eldrazi and Eldrazi Shops just popped up into the metagame only 1 week prior.

    Do the Gush decks of the Gush vs. Storm win% include Doomsday?



  • @ChubbyRain said:

    Have other Gush pilots found the [DPS vs. Mentor Gush] matchup difficult? I'm curious...

    From the results we've read online, and the testing I've done with DPS vs. UWR Mentor Gush it has been about a 50/50 matchup, depending on deck configuration. The more Defense Grids you play main deck the better the match gets for DPS, as it invalidates a lot of the soft counters that Mentor and Gush decks rely on. Things like Xantid Swarm, Thoughtseize (takes opposing hatebears, TKS, and never misses usually make it worth the life), City of Solitude, and even Mind Twist (doesn't get Misstepped, and is better against more decks) are also very good tools for DPS and Gush Storm decks at the moment.

    I split my two matches against White Eldrazi (punting one of them) - Adding Mystical Tutor and Balance to complement the Walkers and Swords is pretty strong. Mindbreak Trap also can do work against their most broken openers. Alternatively, JVP is quite good if you can get him active, Baleful Strix is quite strong against them. Gush can definitely be built to beat Eldrazi and the Gush decks that did well made the necessary adjustments. That doesn't mean that Eldrazi is not a powerful deck - it certainly is.

    Jaco's version is likely much weaker against Mentor. The reason White Eldrazi has a strong Mentor matchup is the combination of Spheres and the big threats. Without the Spheres, Mentor can just go nuts and the deck is more susceptible to Supreme Verdict, which commonly sees play out of Mentor SBs.

    To give you some tiny data, I went 2-0 (4-1 in games) against UWR Mentor Gush (both having a small Bomberman package) at NYSE4 with Unpowered Eldrazi, and thought the match was generally in my favor against Gush decks of all varieties heading in to this tournament after having tested the past few months (which is why I simply couldn't justify playing 4C Mentor at NYSE4, which was my other deck sleeved up and ready to register). Null Rod and 8 Wasteland effects function similarly to 8+ Sphere effects. Balance can be very good against Eldrazi, but often comes priced in with losing most of your hand when casting it against an Eldrazi player who usually has 1-2 cards in hand. I believe I had my board reset by Balance, Engineered Explosives, and Toxic Deluge at NYSE4, and it didn't even seem to matter in any of the games. Eldrazi Mimic plus one other resolved follow up threat is usually enough to finish off your opponent in those situations because of the damage already incurred before a sweeper is cast. I remember beating Oath in a fun G3 after he resolved Deluge to wipe the board, then I cast an uncounterable Mimic and passed, and then I cast another large (non-Reality Smasher) creature the next turn, triggering Mimic, and the game was over.

    The main path to victory for Mentor from every playtest game I had was if the Mentor decks get a very fast start against any form of Eldrazi (ie. resolving a Mentor before Eldrazi or Workshop deck does anything relevant), but barring that they are usually on the back foot most of the game against the versions with 4 Cavern of Souls, as there is effectively zero working countermagic at that point, and even having 4 Swords to Plowshares is not usually enough to save you. Dark Confidant, JVP, and Young Pyromancer are all OK, but none really seemed to swing games like a turn 1-2 Mentor racing. The fact that dedicated Eldrazi decks are basically half creatures, and keep pumping out larger creatures makes it very winnable for both Tribal Eldrazi and White Eldrazi. Endbringer or Eldrazi Displacer can clean up the battlefield very quickly against Mentor if the board is clogged. This also ignores the ability for any deck to play Dismember, which matters more than you'd think.

    Mentor certainly can (and will) adapt to the results of the last month, but I think the other decks will keep adapting as well. I know I will (both with Eldrazi, and all of my other decks). I have read consternation about Gush (and Workshop) decks occupying a certain varying percentage of the metagame, but I can honestly say this is the most open Vintage has been to me since like 2002-2004, if people will take the time and put forward the effort to innovate, and I'm way more excited to play Vintage now than anytime in the past few years. We all know Monastery Mentor and Gush are synergistic and the best of breed/most efficient at what they individually do, but there are Thirst, Gifts, Landstill, and other combo decks out there that can be competitive in this metagame, and you just have to put the work in to tuning them. I had a blast at this tournament playing, meeting new people, and chatting up friends of yesteryear. The post-tournament meal was my highlight of the weekend, and I wish we could have had time for more of those. NYSE continues to be my favorite tournament each year, and I'm thankful for all of the hard work @Prospero and crew put in. I really look forward to seeing everybody that can make it to Eternal Weekend in Columbus this year.



  • Awesome job guys, so wanted to see this level of a breakdown! MD Defense Grid is big for Storm being able to go off. Both the event itself and this writeup & commentary will help me to better refine my particular build.



  • @JACO

    Well written, appreciate the perspective.



  • @JACO said:

    @ChubbyRain said:

    Have other Gush pilots found the [DPS vs. Mentor Gush] matchup difficult? I'm curious...

    From the results we've read online, and the testing I've done with DPS vs. UWR Mentor Gush it has been about a 50/50 matchup, depending on deck configuration. The more Defense Grids you play main deck the better the match gets for DPS, as it invalidates a lot of the soft counters that Mentor and Gush decks rely on. Things like Xantid Swarm, Thoughtseize (takes opposing hatebears, TKS, and never misses usually make it worth the life), City of Solitude, and even Mind Twist (doesn't get Misstepped, and is better against more decks) are also very good tools for DPS and Gush Storm decks at the moment.

    Yeah, in testing I've had the matchup fluctuate from 40-80% depending on deck construction. Counterbalance is one of the more hateful options against Combo, but even less extreme measures like Cabal Therapy and Snapcaster Mage can shift the matchup dramatically in Gush's favor. It's funny, the more anti-Gush cards Storm plays like Xantid Swarm, City of Solitude, and Defense Grid, the less consistent it is at actually winning the game, which creates a sort of limit on how bad the matchup can be for Gush.

    I split my two matches against White Eldrazi (punting one of them) - Adding Mystical Tutor and Balance to complement the Walkers and Swords is pretty strong. Mindbreak Trap also can do work against their most broken openers. Alternatively, JVP is quite good if you can get him active, Baleful Strix is quite strong against them. Gush can definitely be built to beat Eldrazi and the Gush decks that did well made the necessary adjustments. That doesn't mean that Eldrazi is not a powerful deck - it certainly is.

    Jaco's version is likely much weaker against Mentor. The reason White Eldrazi has a strong Mentor matchup is the combination of Spheres and the big threats. Without the Spheres, Mentor can just go nuts and the deck is more susceptible to Supreme Verdict, which commonly sees play out of Mentor SBs.

    To give you some tiny data, I went 2-0 (4-1 in games) against UWR Mentor Gush (both having a small Bomberman package) at NYSE4 with Unpowered Eldrazi, and thought the match was generally in my favor against Gush decks of all varieties heading in to this tournament after having tested the past few months (which is why I simply couldn't justify playing 4C Mentor at NYSE4, which was my other deck sleeved up and ready to register). Null Rod and 8 Wasteland effects function similarly to 8+ Sphere effects. Balance can be very good against Eldrazi, but often comes priced in with losing most of your hand when casting it against an Eldrazi player who usually has 1-2 cards in hand. I believe I had my board reset by Balance, Engineered Explosives, and Toxic Deluge at NYSE4, and it didn't even seem to matter in any of the games. Eldrazi Mimic plus one other resolved follow up threat is usually enough to finish off your opponent in those situations because of the damage already incurred before a sweeper is cast. I remember beating Oath in a fun G3 after he resolved Deluge to wipe the board, then I cast an uncounterable Mimic and passed, and then I cast another large (non-Reality Smasher) creature the next turn, triggering Mimic, and the game was over.

    Honestly, we didn't have you as playing against "Gush Mentor" once during the event. AJ Grasso's Gush Bomberman list was classified as "Other Gush" as we felt it was more of a Bomberman deck with only two Mentors and the Trinket Mage/Salvagers package. It didn't run Missteps, Preordains, Gitaxian Probes or even Ponder which are commonly associated with Mentor Gush. John Leone was playing Bomberman with zero Gushes and 1 Mentor. These aren't the type of decks that I expect to give you trouble - to the contrary, your null rods should be devastating.

    The specific strategies I discussed were more oriented at White Eldrazi. You will note that I never mentioned Toxic Deluge as I think that card is terrible - you can't afford to pay 4+ life to wipe the board against a deck capable of deploying uncounterable 5/5 haste tramplers. Balance was discussed specifically in the context of Sylvan Mentor. It by itself is not enough - you need something like a Sylvan Library or Planeswalker (or Mentor + Gush) to follow it up. A strategy I've found that works well is to aggressively Gush before Balancing to maximize the Armageddon effect of Balance - Eldrazi does not function as well as Shops on 0-1 lands.

    The main path to victory for Mentor from every playtest game I had was if the Mentor decks get a very fast start against any form of Eldrazi (ie. resolving a Mentor before Eldrazi or Workshop deck does anything relevant), but barring that they are usually on the back foot most of the game against the versions with 4 Cavern of Souls, as there is effectively zero working countermagic at that point, and even having 4 Swords to Plowshares is not usually enough to save you. Dark Confidant, JVP, and Young Pyromancer are all OK, but none really seemed to swing games like a turn 1-2 Mentor racing. The fact that dedicated Eldrazi decks are basically half creatures, and keep pumping out larger creatures makes it very winnable for both Tribal Eldrazi and White Eldrazi. Endbringer or Eldrazi Displacer can clean up the battlefield very quickly against Mentor if the board is clogged. This also ignores the ability for any deck to play Dismember, which matters more than you'd think.

    If you have an MTGO account, I would love to test the matchup against you. But that was my point...without the Spheres, Monastery Mentor can trump your 4/4 and 5/5 Eldrazi by itself. I'm not counting on Swords killing all of your creatures, just the problematic ones like Displacer and Endbringer while negating the vanilla beaters with tokens galore. I've beaten quadruple Reality Smasher draws with a single Monastery Mentor on MTGO. Again, I'm happy if this thought is incorrect, but that has been my experience so far.

    Mentor certainly can (and will) adapt to the results of the last month, but I think the other decks will keep adapting as well. I know I will (both with Eldrazi, and all of my other decks). I have read consternation about Gush (and Workshop) decks occupying a certain varying percentage of the metagame, but I can honestly say this is the most open Vintage has been to me since like 2002-2004, if people will take the time and put forward the effort to innovate, and I'm way more excited to play Vintage now than anytime in the past few years.

    Jaco, I knocked LSV out of the VMA Championship event with a Magus of the Future combo deck. That deck ran Helm of Awakening and Fact or Fiction. I put forth a lot of effort into building a Nongush Blue deck that can compete consistently with other Gush decks and the field at large. So please don't make condescending remarks like "if only people would take the time and put forward the effort to innovate"... You don't know what people have or haven't done. It's a lazy argument and it really doesn't help with the discussion.

    alt text

    We all know Monastery Mentor and Gush are synergistic and the best of breed/most efficient at what they individually do, but there are Thirst, Gifts, Landstill, and other combo decks out there that can be competitive in this metagame, and you just have to put the work in to tuning them.

    Gifts? I haven't finished going through the NYSE decklists but I'm not even sure there was a single copy of Gifts Ungiven present. Other blue decks are competitive? They were 16% of the metagame. And 0% of the top 8, 0% of the top 16, and 0% of the X-2+ decks. With Dave Kaplan actually beating Nick Cummings in the last round, there wasn't a single deck in the x-2 bracket (down to 22nd place) without Thought-Knot Seer, Workshops, Gush, or Bazaar of Baghdad. So forgive me if I don't see this metagame as wide open...



  • @ChubbyRain said:

    Jaco, I knocked LSV out of the VMA Championship event with a Magus of the Future combo deck. That deck ran Helm of Awakening and Fact or Fiction. I put forth a lot of effort into building a Nongush Blue deck that can compete consistently with other Gush decks and the field at large. So please don't make condescending remarks like "if only people would take the time and put forward the effort to innovate"... You don't know what people have or haven't done. It's a lazy argument and it really doesn't help with the discussion.

    alt text

    We all know Monastery Mentor and Gush are synergistic and the best of breed/most efficient at what they individually do, but there are Thirst, Gifts, Landstill, and other combo decks out there that can be competitive in this metagame, and you just have to put the work in to tuning them.

    Gifts? I haven't finished going through the NYSE decklists but I'm not even sure there was a single copy of Gifts Ungiven present. Other blue decks are competitive? They were 16% of the metagame. And 0% of the top 8, 0% of the top 16, and 0% of the X-2+ decks. With Dave Kaplan actually beating Nick Cummings in the last round, there wasn't a single deck in the x-2 bracket (down to 22nd place) without Thought-Knot Seer, Workshops, Gush, or Bazaar of Baghdad. So forgive me if I don't see this metagame as wide open...

    Matt, to be clear, I am not making a condescending remark towards you at all. You playing with all of these different cards, and walking through your deck and lines of play on stream, are why you are my favorite streamer, period (although I can't say I have time to watch much Magic the past few months). This is a comment for the greater player populace. I cannot tell you how many people I have played against in testing and tournaments who exclusively test just a couple of decks they found in a Top 8 on MTGO or TMD, and think the metagame is only those few decks. They literally do not even pick up the cards to test anything else. That is certainly their prerogative, but the thing which I think is intellectually lazy is a lot of people not testing other strategies because they're simply happy with Mentor Gush, Workshops, or whatever they limit themselves to. I think it is quite clear that Monastery Mentor is objectively the most powerful creature ever printed, but that doesn't mean that's all I'm going to play with.

    I know that you've put in the work to come to the conclusions you have, just like Rich, Steve, Brian Kelly, Brian Schlossberg, Montolio, and a handful of others have, and I value the differing opinions and data analysis you all have put in. I think you and I are probably in agreement on the premise that UWx Mentor Gush is objectively the most powerful deck right now, but I believe there are other competitive decks out there (yes, Gifts included, which no one is touching at the moment), and Eldrazi variants over the past month have proven that there is room to innovate. I have had my tuned unpowered Eldrazi shell together (as well as an unpowered white one) for months - since it was running rampant in Modern, and I had been saving it for NYSE4. To give you another small example, Danny's Friedman's Thirst-fueled Grixis deck went 5-0 at NYSE4 against non-Eldrazi decks (but 0-3 against Eldrazi) and is definitely a sweet non-Gush blue deck. I'm not ruling out that there will be a further concentration of power and coalescing around Gush or Workshop or Mentor, and that another restriction may be needed down the road. I would just like to see Vintage be given far more breathing room, time, and latitude than other formats to adapt, because while it is now on MTGO, there are still much longer periods of time that go between large paper events that people test and save technology for (myself included) as compared to other constructed formats like Standard, Modern, and Legacy.


 

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