- The problem with the "good players" argument is that it discounts those players' skills at deck selection. Rich didn't pick a deck at random and neither did Brian - they chose to play Gush for a reason. If you are going to suggest that these are the best players in the room (and I agree with you on that), then you also should assume they are skilled when it comes to deck selection.
What you say is true, but my point was that I think these players would have done either better or just as well had they played the better performing deck. You played Gush, but your teammates who played Shop Eldrazi got 1st and 9th. Why didn't you? Empirically, Workshop Eldrazi was the better deck choice, right?
Possibly one reason is that you don't have as much confidence in yourself as a Shop pilot as Montolio or Brian - which suggests the limits of your "skill in deck selection" argument.
there was a perception that with Chalice and then Lodestone Golem getting restricted, combo would have a field day and part of that perception was that it had a favorable matchup against Gush. That has not really developed in any metagame.
I think the reason for that is that Thalia/Thorn metagame is just as bad for combo as the Shops metagame - if not worse. A second reason is that combo is just hard to play. Even if combo is the absolute best deck in a Vintage metagame, it's very difficult it for it to every truly dominate, because there aren't enough players who can master it. As Rich says, it "makes his head hurt."
- It's hard to figure out the effect of MTGO's limitations on our metagame data. However, of the decklists we have, there was only 1 Salvagers Oath list.
The premise that Oath is much better on paper because Salvagers combo, and therefore the 2015 Championship deck, is not viable on MTGO shouldn't be controversial, should it? That's why Brian Kelly said for a long time that he refused to play MTGO.
That's the most obvious reason to think that Oath would perform better on paper than online.
And I'm not talking about just this event, of course.
The metagames surrounding Champs and the Asian Vintage championship are dramatically different that what we have now.
Sure, but they were also similar with respect to your point: the presence of Gush. Your point is that Oath is weak to Gush. But Gush was an even larger part of the 2014 Vintage Champs metagame when Tocco won, and I probably more than 30% of the 2015 Top 32 decklists, IIRC. Brian Kelly won through a sea of Gush decks.
The fact that something is different in one respect doesn't negate the similarities in the more relevant respect. Yes, they were different metagames, but the point was that Oath could compete in a field of heavy Gush.
Brian Kelly's Salvager's Oath list destroys Workshops - but it does not do well against Mentor.
It probably doesn't do that badly either. There were Gush and Mentor decks in the top 8, and a ton in that tournament. I don't know exactly what Brian faced, but I doubt he felt it was a match he couldn't win, or he wouldn't have played that deck.
We do know that he beat diophan in the quarter finals 2-0, piloting a Gush deck, after Ryan lost to Oath in the 2014 Top 8 as well. So Oath can certainly beat Gush decks, as it did in both Top 8s.
The Asian vintage championship seemed like it was actually a very small event and again, Lodestone was legal as a four of at the time.
The AVC was a small event, but every player there had to win a tournament (at least one player there won a 150+ player Hararuya event) or be a HOFer to qualify, and the field was something like 7-8 Gush decks in an invite only 22 player event where Oath won - or something like that.
Rich's Odd Oath deck was built to beat Storm and Shops - it doesn't consistently beat Mentor.
Sure, but there are almost no matchups that "consistently "(like 80% of the time) beat another match in Vintage.
If Odd Oath wasn't competitive with Mentor, I'm sure he wouldn't have done as well as he did. I'm not saying it crushed Oath, but it wasn't as bad of a matchup as I think you are suggesting.
If we are going by the X-2+ finishers as those who could have won the event if one or two matches ended differently, it's literally Eldrazi, Shops, Dredge, and Gush. No Thirst decks, no Gifts decks, no Landstill decks, no Blue Moon decks. That I think is the argument for the restriction of Gush, that you have a more diverse Blue slice of the metagame without it than with it.
Both of our positions on this specific point have been exhaustively presented on this point, and I don't think we need to spin our wheels going in circles on them. I understand your perspective - that you feel that Gush crowds out other blue decks. I agree with that, to some extent. Gush decks are strong against some blue decks, but where I disagree is that I think that blue decks can actually compete.
The big blue decks that succeeded at the last Vintage Championship had tools to overcome Gush's inherent advantages. They used Sylvan Library & Top to compete on virtual card advantage, and Supreme Verdict, etc. to win back tempo. There are other things they can do, like Blue Moon, to attack Gush more directly.
I believe that other blue decks do remain viable and competitive. Oath, Landstill, blue Moon, Storm, etc all appearing in tournament data in nontrivial numbers, and even doing quite well. It's true they showed up less here, but they certainly showed up in the MTGO P9 and daily events.
Your response to my rejoinder that is that you don't feel the data shows that enough - that, for example, the MTGO data has Oath ~40% against Gush, or whatever.
And my response to that point is that Oath performs better on paper, and that these other decks continue to do well in spite of the aggregate results - like the Blue Moon in the Top 8 of the MTGO Open, or Landstill in the VSL, or Oath in the Vintage Championships/AVC.
I think, more broadly, though, the metagame is undergoing some pretty dynamic changes, and it would be irresponsible to restrict an archetype that has losing records to 4 other archetypes. That's the definition of a non-dominant deck.
The case for the restriction of Gush has pretty much collapsed at this point, and looks less necessary every week, as it's % of the P9 and daily metagame declines, and as new strategies have emerged to combat it. Two months ago, it was 60% of MTGO dailies, then in May it was 40%, and in June it's probably going to be under 30%, and probably closer to 25%. The trend lines are clear, and with Gush failing to win the last three major Vintage events (Bazaar of Moxen, MTGOP9, and the NYSE).
I asked a ton of players at the NYSE what they thought, and every single player I asked said that the rise of Eldrazi, etc. convinced them that Gush was not a dominant deck, and no longer needed restriction, if they ever believed that in the first place. Rich told me that he thought the MTGO P9 event may have been a fluke, but that the NYSE proved to him that Eldrazi and Shops could compete with Gush. Your data bears this out, and Gush's weakness to Storm and Dredge as well.