@desolutionist maybe Gush is just so powerful but also so demanding? It seems difficult to want tfk and gush for example. In general I agree with your premise though.
Gush being a demanding card is one reason why one might consider playing less than four.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Gush is much more than card advantage. Steve wrote a short novel about its use and I doubt he could do the same for Thirst and likely would have a much shorter book for Gifts. Lumping Gush into other historical "engines" is sort of like putting stripes on a cat and calling it a tiger.
As much as I appreciate Steve, writing a book about Gush shouldn't invalidate the idea of playing less than four Gush. I haven't read the book yet, so I'm curious to read his writings on the topic. But yeah, Gush does some other cool things for sure. Just not without sacrifice.
When one refers to an "engine" they typically aren't referring to one card in isolation - they are referring to all the cards that participate in keeping the deck going. When I refer to the "Gush Engine", I am referring some combination of cantrips, planeswalkers, and restricted draw spells that function as a coherent unit.
Ok, thank you. This is what I was looking for. Decks are systematically broken up and presented this way.; there is a nucleus "engine" that keeps the deck going.
Preordain, Jace, etc. Those cards are going to be played anyway. They were played before without Gush. The "engine" that you're describing is just a collection of blue card draw spells. Card draw is good in general, Im not denying that. I'm suggesting that there are different configurations and is not limited to hosting the Gush show.
Gush puts lands into my hand that I can then loot away with Dack. It puts cards in my graveyard for Delve. It helps me chain draw spells together with the cantrips to find the permission I need to not die. In the end it consistently produces much more raw AND virtual card advantage than any other combination of Blue cards in Vintage, whether it be Thirst/Gifts/FoF/etc.
There's the romanticizing. Your saying that your combination of cards is better than any other combination of Blue cards in Vintage. There is no evidence to support this claim.
The win conditions are incredibly interchangeable though Mentor and Pyromancer are in general the best - I just beat a friend in the two mans with another Troll Gush list since the Daily didn't fire. Game 1, I beat down over his Moat with Silumgar, the Drifting Death. Game 2, I used Gush for double Red to cast Chandra, Flamecaller.
There are lots of win conditions that can be used in many different decks. But I wouldn't approach deckbuilding from the assumption that Gush core is the best because I wouldn't want that to limit what I could play.
Note, Gush can be a 3 or 4 of in these decks, based on metagame - the card itself is less good against Eldrazi or Shops. If I'm going into a heavy Blue metagame, I want 4.
So if you knew you were going to play against Eldrazi/Shops in every round, but you still wanted to play a Blue deck, would you consider 2 Gushes on the basis of just being a decent draw spell?
You cling to '4' because it will maximize your chances to win to have a greater chance of drawing, what you think, is the decisive card against Blue. That's fine if you think that. I don't think that. Whoever has more Gushes IS NOT who necessarily wins.
It's not propaganda; where are you getting that 4 of a card is necessary for an engine?
I'm not saying that 4 of a card is necessary for an engine, I'm saying that "engine" is just part of a romanticized idea of what we think this game is in terms of strategy. I'm suggesting that thinking of the game only through that lens is leaving untapped potential on the table.
If your draw suite was the cards you mentioned, I would say you were likely wrong because your deck seems to be going in different directions - Gush synergies with cheap efficient counterspells and mana light strategies, Thirst for Knowledge with heavy artifact decks, and Fact or Fiction with Drain-Will strategies. While these aren't mutually exclusive, I can't comment further without knowing the particulars. I'm really confused by this post...
Why would you criticize me for playing more expensive spells with Gush when you just boasted about playing 4RR cards with Gush? Obviously Gush helps cast expensive spells the same as it helps to cast cheap spells, but the point here is that Gush is also just a fine "draw-2". It's existence doesn't have to reflect in the card choices throughout the rest of of the deck. All of those cards are going in a direction, specifically to draw me cards.
I'm not trying to be confusing, I'm just presenting a case for new ideas and exploration within deckbuilding.