In Defense of Mishra's Workshop

Given all of the recent hullabaloo about this B/R list, I decided to write an article giving my two cents. Hope you all enjoy!

Very well written. I only hope the right eyes get to see this.

This is hilarious. I have a half finished article literally titled In Defense of Mishra's Workshop, Bazaar of Baghdad, and the Status Quo in Vintage that I was set to publish tomorrow on EC. Going to have to change it up some now. 🙂

I like the points you raised about the 7 decks combating each other, and the balance they present.

last edited by JACO

I will upvote this. I will upvote this 9 times.

Honestly, I applaud you for writing this and will look forward to @JACO's work tomorrow. I have a really hard time writing about potential restrictions/unrestrictions in advance because I get too emotionally invested in the outcomes (despite knowing that I'm going to continue playing Vintage regardless). To me the changes (or not) are always patently obvious, and anyone who disagrees is a flaming idiot. Great job writing a well reasoned response.

@JACO Great minds think alike 🙂
Looking forward to reading your take on things!

If lodestone golem or even mishra's workshop were restricted tomorrow I would not shed a tear. I'll be honest about that. But I recognize this more as my own personal playstyle bias rather than a negative mark on the meta as a whole. Even as a player who personally would like to see either restricted I cannot make a sane or rational argument that is backed up by solid data to support my belief. So I actually agree with the article's 4 word sentiment - "dont change a thing."

last edited by Khahan

Great player, great article, great guy! Lets keep Vintage as great, right!

I just want to point out that, right before Chalice of the Void's restriction, everybody was also saying that the Vintage metagame was the most healthy they've ever seen. So what is it? Now or before CotV?

I mean, we tend to see what we want to see. If now is the healthiest, then restricting Chalice was correct, right?

I think restricting Workshop is NOT what anyone wants and not good for the format at all. But I wonder where the format would go if Lodestone was restricted. Workshop decks would need to dedicate slots to finishers again. Lodestone is a finisher-sphere, and I feel that's a bit unfair. I won't be unhappy if Lodestone gets restricted or if he doesn't, I don't have a formed opinion on this, but I have to wonder what MUD would be like having to play a normal win condition again.

That said, no wonder the VSL wants it restricted, since they're all blue mages by heart.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco 4 x DTT was also legal. So there was some balance. Running a Preordain into a Chalice on 1 was Blood Pet for your DTT. Hard to pull the two apart since they both got restricted together.

I don't have time to run down all the hypergeometric math of having Crypt, Mox, Land, Golem, or Petal, Orchard, Oath, or Lotus, Blasted Landscape, Golem but in general the following things are about all the same assuming 4 of's.

Mox -> Orchard -> Oath
Mox -> Shop -> Golem
Mox -> Land -> Swords your Golem
Mox -> Land -> Bolt your Golem
Mox -> Land -> Claim your Golem
Land -> Snuff your Golem (actually higher % for a maniac playing 4 x Snuff Out)

If I'm the guy just wanting to cast a Bob or something and win I just don't get more or less upset at getting Orchard/Oath'ed into the dumbest creature ever printed vs. a Juggernaut holding a sphere that doesn't hit my power. It's all pretty busted. Bazaar, Go is pretty busted. Maybe people feel worse about the losses because they don't cast a cantrip or two? Your 95% dead when Griselchimp enters the battlefield anyway. Maybe you do some stuff for a couple of turns while your opponent humiliates you with an unrestricted 7/7 lifelink bargain but it's mostly just flailing in the mouth of the shark.

These simple examples do illustrate why chalice had to go if Golem was sticking around. Most scenarios that get you out from Golem on the draw involve power.

@DBatterskull thanks for taking the time to blog on the topic.

@Dbatterskull, excellent article thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts. While I agree with your sentiment, now is not the time to make any changes to the restricted list while the meta is still shaking out, there is one option that I did not see addressed in your article or any of the posts in this thread.

First of all let me say that I do not believe restricting Workshop is really an option for the same reasons that you and others have pointed out here. I also think that restricting Lodestone Golem in a vacuum would be too much for shops to handle right now. There is however a third option - unrestrict Chalice of the Void and restrict Lodestone Golem. This would give shops one of it's best lock pieces back, while reducing the real boogeyman of the shops deck - Lodestone Golem. Now I'm not a shops expert or a combo expert for that matter, but it would seem to me that chalice at 0 or chalice at 1 on the first turn would be enough of a setback to the combo player, and would allow the other shop threats to get there.

Having said all of that, right now it just seems like any changes to the B/R list would just be change for change's sake. I think the meta is moving in the right direction and we just need some time to see where it settles. It should be re-evaluated in 3 to 6 months once there is more data to review.

Just my 2 cents.

Fantastic collection of thoughts.

For me, I hate to see Lodestone go because I like the more stax oriented shop lists. Losing another lock piece to restriction would likely end those decks.

@the_zeeker Swapping Golem for Chalice is technically an option, but I personally don't believe WotC will unrestrict a card that they put on the list six months ago. That's ultimately why I didn't touch on it. If that's what ends up happening though I sure will look silly 🙂

@Aaron-Patten You could be right, they'd likely mutate to a strange 3-5 color stax permutation.

Shops is crap without LSG. Trading it for Chalice is not viable.

I really enjoyed the article, and agree 100% that nothing needs to change at this time.

Just as an aside (for those playing competitive Vintage at the time), what was the issue with 4x Brainstorm? The reason I ask is that if something WERE to have to change, I'd rather see stuff come off the restricted list than placed on it, and I kinda always wondered how the meta would look if Ponder, Brainstorm and Chalice all came off at the same time...

@themonadnomad The stated issue was that it allowed storm and a few other engines to become too deterministic. With Chalice and Mental Misstep as 4-ofs I suspect they could have been just fine. I think that the Real issue was that with 4 Brainstorm and 4 Gush there was very little incentive to not play all of those as well as possibly one Fastbond in a large percentage of decks. The two cards are very effective together drawing potentially 5 new cards and even though they cost 4 cards (two land, bs, and gush) it's also only one blue mana on the turn that it happens. It allowed certain synergy based decks to dig deeply into their library for minimal mana cost thus allowing players to find their combo pieces and/or restricted cards more easily in the early turns of the game than they would have otherwise been able to. This engine only became readily played with the introduction of the Onslaught fetch lands. They were released in the same block as the storm mechanic which created some confusion as to the root cause of the issue. The response was an overtly and ultimately tragic overreaction to restrict every half decent blue card that saw play. Some of those mistakes have been corrected and some haven't.

There has been a long standing desire among many players to reduce the number of blue spells in Vintage. As a result blue decks get closer and closer to a list of restricted one-ofs as time goes on. Lately this hasn't been the case as much as it once was due to the fact that 4 Gush and 4 Preordain are possible but the ancient(1993) sentiment that blue is "un-fun" and "unfair" is still shared by a huge percentage of players (not necessarily Vintage players). The primary justification for restricting blue cards is that blue is the most heavily played colour in Vintage. The reason blue is so heavily played in Vintage is partly due to the fact that it allows for some of the most famously effective spells (Ancestral, Time Walk, etc.); however, even more importantly it allows for reactive spells such as Force of Will et al. Reactive play, and the ability to interact with an opponent is essential in Vintage since it is the format where card synergy can lead to game ending plays on any turn of the game. Without a high concentration of reactive and thus interactive game-play Vintage would be a very different format and likely one that would not appeal to as many players.

By my observation this leads to continual conflict within the community about what should be done about the blue threat and is the justification for certain odd looking restrictions of blue cards as well as the prevalence of some famously unrestricted non-blue cards as a competitive edge against blue decks. Unfortunately this also pushes some other decks out of the format as well. I see this as the core discussion of the current restricted list.

last edited by Aaron Patten

@Aaron-Patten said:

@themonadnomad This engine only became readily played with the introduction of the Onslaught fetch lands. They were released in the same set as the storm mechanic which created some confusion as to the root cause of the issue.

Just wanted to point out that this is factually incorrect. Storm was introduced in Scourge, not Onslaught.

@Leoj Good catch, thanks. Switched to "Block" instead of set since, by my perception, there was still confusion caused by the temporally close release of the two mechanics.

last edited by Aaron Patten
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