Samantha: “Matt, the deck lost to Merfolk.”
Matt: “I don’t build decks to beat Merfolk. In any format.”
Just chiming in to point out that allowing 10-15 proxies in events is helpful not only to players who don't own power, but to those who prefer to travel without a $30,000 mark. I know several players with vast collections who prefer to travel to events without taking an enormous risk. Additionally, allowing proxies incentivizes grading (which renders cards physically unplayable), which is an aspect many seem to appreciate & enjoy.
In chapter 2, the Bells ring, the Council surrenders, green and white flames herald the coming of the great apex of all dragons, Mother of Ugin, Breaker of Trinispheres, Khaleesi of the Tropicals and Tundras, First of her Name, Dromoka, and she burns it all down, mercilessly.
Sheikh Baghdad attempts to raise her mess against her in the form of an undead council, but is easily dispatched. Someone tries to play folk hero and make a "dramatic and tragic final scene" by stabbing Dromoka under her central scales, but it doesn't play out "like it do on TV" and the assassin disappears in a ball of green and white smoke. Trinisphere, Monastery Mentor, Hollow One and the legendary scrolls Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise are never seen again. The world rejoices and celebrates Dromoka's reform. She returns, victorious, to Tarkir.
It looks like a theoretical discussion about the nature of the format in broad terms. Colorless decks are on the rise but this development is somewhat offset by the fact that Dredge is now a de facto blue deck. It does everything Xerox hopes to accomplish but more potently--flooding the board with minimal investment and backing it with a wall of countermagic developed via hyperefficient filtering. Bazaar makes Dack Fayden look like a 7 CMC Theros rare.
That given, blue isn't waning; it's expanding overall by consuming what used to be a standalone Dredge archetype but then losing some market share to various Karn decks.
1A, 1B, 5, and 4. We have enough broad hate that is either too inefficient, too ineffective, or carries too much dead weight.
Something untaxable (ie land or "reveal this card from your hand") that converts tax into cost-reduction (ie your Thorn becomes my Helm of Awakening) while still having other text would be a fine example. It's not inherently unfair because it can't hurt anyone who doesn't voluntarily decide to use taxing permanents, thus making a real cost-benefit dilemma out of an otherwise no-brainer scenario. When countertactics demonstrate an actual deterrent effect, it is at that point we can say they have been successful.
Thank you for the excellent response, Jim. I think you hit upon one reason we've gotten to this mess and that is that Wizards's printings have only been strengthening already dominant strategies, making them more degenerate, more consistent, and more resilient. By contrast, in addition to their awful response time in addressing theses problems, they seem incorrigibly incapable of realizing effective countertactics.
Generally speaking, a countertactic by its very nature cannot be degenerate because it can't cause an opponent to suffer or lose the game absent that player's use of the problematic tactic in the first place. IE, you can win the game with a Lodestone Golem, but you cannot beat your opponent down to zero with a Disenchant.
Since countertactics are largely useless absent an original problem tactic, the potential for that impotence needs to be factored into its price resulting in some sort of bargain or additional upside. Tsabo's Web, Teferi's Response, Ethersworn Canonist, and Abrupt Decay are fairly good examples. They're efficient and effective with upside (drawing cards/having a body/flexible + built-in protection). By contrast, Illness in the Ranks is terrible. Not only does it fail to respond the problem it purports to address (leaving token generators themselves entirely off the hook) but it's 100% blank in situations without tokens, doesn't replace itself, is highly vulnerable both on the stack and in play (ie no uncounterable/hexproof/Reality Smasher type clauses/etc.), cannot attack, cycle, or do anything unless you're using it as an embarrassing blank text enchantment to draw a card off of Argothian Enchantress or fuel Serra's Sanctum. Virulent Plague is even worse since it actually costs more than many of the problem makers it purports to address, while still serving as only a half measure.
The ideal solution to problematic strategies & tactics would be for powerful measures to exist within the game providing the types of checks & balances that make it worth playing. It bears noting that mass restrictions or bans were not the first options considered by trigger happy regulators. We have, as you mentioned in your original post, been waiting for an eternity for proper countermeasures with no sign of progress on that horizon.
IE, the current situation results just as much from Wizards's failure to print something like an untaxable answer to taxing, or similar things that truly punish dominant strategies to such an extent that playing them isn't a no-brainer but rather an undertaking that requires a serious cost/benefit analysis. For years, we heard "oh but they can't mess up Standard" and now that they've been printing explicitly Standard illegal sets for over half a decade, that excuse doesn't fly.
There has been no corresponding "answer-creep" to the "power creep," hence we're left with B&R.
someone in wizards R&D keeps losing to legacy lands on their mtgo alt
LOL. It's pretty funny how in-your-face nakedly against Lands this card is.
I don't think it's too relevant in Vintage at the moment but one day, something could happen that makes this a relevant sideboard card.