Best posts made by chubbyrain1
posted in Decks read more

Introduction

When Underworld Breach was spoiled, it was a "decidedly" Vintage printing in the opinion of most players - a modern attempt at fixing Yawgmoth's Will and imbuing it with the Escape mechanic. Legacy and Vintage players were already wondering if it might be banned or restricted before the card was released. So far, that reality has manifested in Legacy but it is a bit less certain in Vintage. For one, Vintage has a much larger degree of graveyard hate that can be leveraged due to the power of the Dredge deck. Two, the format in general has a higher power level and Breach is not necessarily superior to Paradoxical Outcome, Doomsday, or Dark Petition Storm. In order to be successful, a Breach deck needs to find its niche in the format and exploit it. So while the initial Breach strategies were build along the lines of traditional broken decks in Vintage with Draw 7's like Wheel of Fortune , a full set of Breach, and many restricted cards, these types of decks didn't put up results. The first decks that really did well were Sun Titan Oath of Druid strategies that looked to mill over and bring back Underworld Breach, then recast Time Walk repeatedly to win. An example is Notmi's Breach Oath deck from the Vintage Challenge. A couple of weeks later, I won a Vintage Challenge playing a Breach deck that essentially grafted the Breach combo into a Mentor shell that played more of a combo-control game plan enabled by the format's Cantrip-Delve draw engine. This approach is largely what has persisted in the metagame and what this primer is about.

The Combo

Legacy players will know this combo well, short-lived as it was. The gist of it in Vintage is using the ability of Underworld Breach to repeatedly cast Brain Freeze from the graveyard, first to mill yourself and fuel Breach, then to mill out your opponent, while recasting either Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, or, in Vintage, Black Lotus to produce enough mana to execute the combo. The combo can be protected from the graveyard by using Flusterstorm, Spell Pierce, or Pyroblast and players should keep this in mind while executing the combo as Mindbreak Trap is seeing more play. A reminder that Underworld Breach does not allow you to pay alternate costs for spells and so Force of Will, Daze, and Gush have to be hardcast from the graveyard. Some specific circumstances to keep in mind:

  • Ancestral Recall can target your opponent and can be used to win the game on your turn rather than passing the turn back to your opponent.
  • If the opponent is running something like Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn or Gaea's Blessing that prevents decking, which is most common in Oath of Druids decks, you can navigate this situation by casting Nihil Spellbomb prior to Brain Freezing the opponent. Exile the opponent's graveyard with the shuffle ability on the stack.
  • Alternatively, you can counter your original Brain Freeze (not one of the storm copies) and recast it from the graveyard to mill the rest of the opponent's deck. Cast Ancestral Recall targeting them to win the game before the shuffle ability resolves.
  • If the opponent casts Veil of Summer and gives themselves Hexproof from your Brain Freeze, your options are to Time Walk so that the Hexproof expires and use Lurrus/Teferi, Time Raveler/Chain of Vapor to recombo, or repeatedly use Lightning Bolt or Seal of Fire to win. Or keep recasting Breach and Time Walk from the yard while attacking for 3 each turn with your Cat. You don't have to make it easy on the opponent if you don't want to...

Decklists

Pre-Ikoria

Four-Color Breach Combo

Grixis Breach Combo

Post-Ikoria

Jeskai Breach Combo

To Be Continued....

This will be something I contribute to piece-by-piece as I have time, but someone had requested primers and I wanted to start producing some. Let me know if there are specific topics or questions to be addressed.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

@ten-ten Comments like this aren't going to lead to more Vintage content, especially since this was probably not a cost-effective use of Justin's time, and more something he did for the community. If you weren't a particular fan, constructive criticism is going to get you more of the content you're interested in while still being respectful to the time and effort Justin invested in the coverage.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@evouga said in [ZRN] Sea Gate Stormcaller:

@chubbyrain1 Heaven forbid we compare new cards to old cards! A completely useless form of analysis, to be sure. Every card exists in a complete vacuum and the 20 years of history and experience playing with similar cards is surely useless for drawing any inferences about a new printing.

How about we draw on our 20 years of history and experience actually playing Magic: the Gathering rather than making comparisons at the level of any literate person with an introductory knowledge of the game?

In the case of Sea Gate Stormcaller cards with similar functionality have seen play in Narset Transcendent and Chandra, something something fire, flames, or burning. They have different pros and cons which only serve to detract from the point of a comparison which is to highlight a specific point and in this case that is "yeah, we've played cards that copy the next spell in Vintage."

Why did we do that?

Well, in the decks that ran Narset Transcendent, such as John Grudzina's Top 8 list from Champs the year Brian Kelly won on Oath, it was because of the ability to double Dig through Time and other broken spells, which were not yet restricted. If you look at Chandra, which saw more fringe play in Potucek and my 4-5 color planeswalker brews, it was essentially there to force through game ending spells like Tinker, Yawg Will, Gifts Ungiven (was still restricted I think), etc. The point is that this type of effect requires significant upside to make the setup that you put into it worth it (Lance went into that part of the card quite well). And Vintage is still a format where doubling up on an Ancestral Recall will win you the vast majority of your games.

So the real cost of these effects is delaying casting your powerful cards to get a more powerful effect later. You can minimize the setup cost by running a bunch of powerful spells to copy so that you'll almost always have one (which is why Narset became less playable following the Dig restriction) but Stormcaller minimizes this with its restriction (Snapcastering back Preordain never feels like a good use of Snapcaster Mage so you are limited to Ancestral and situationally Time Walk, Merchant Scroll, Brainstorm, Demonic Tutor). Or you can play the maximum number of Stormcallers to try and always have a Stormcaller when you find your Ancestral. The issue with the later approach is that a 2/1 just really isn't cutting it in Vintage right now. Snapcaster still sees a lot of play according to Goldfish but only as a 1-of in almost every deck running it. It just matches up poorly against Ballista, Hollow One, and Dreadhorde, while providing a slow clock against the combo decks. And Wrenn is a headache and a half.

If you are running a card as a one-of, it makes more sense to run an effect like Snapcaster since you can play your powerful cards on curve, not knowing when you will see your one copy. I don't think you can reliably hold onto one of your 5-6 payoff cards while hoping to draw a 1-of, and I don't think a 2/1 body at this rate is great. While reasonably costed, I think this card falls outside the realm of most players' definition of playable.

Of course, I play jank and have a loose interpretation of playability. One interaction that is interesting to me is using Teferi, Destroyer of Other Formats with this card to have much more control over the trigger and get value out of the body. I did the same thing with Snapcaster Mage but a limitation was that it complicated sideboarding by preventing the inclusion of Grafdigger's Cage and Rest in Peace. The additional upside is actually realized because the games go long, you can play out SGS on curve early, bounce with Teferi and then kick it later. Pretty hilarious with Mystic Sanctuary as a way to buy back a Time Walk which you can then copy twice. But that is seeking a specific interaction in a specific shell for a particular style of play (My win condition is the opponent's desire to do something else with their time). Again, I don't believe it is generalizable.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

Second trophy with identical 75.

alt text

Will probably start brewing with Yorian + Omnath next but I think it is best in Legacy.

Regarding Panglacial Wurm, timing is difficult and I was trying to avoid scenarios where you drew cards that were dead if you didn't draw Panglacial Wurm.

posted in Vintage Community read more

The format is changing, set after set. Decks look different than they did a year ago, different than they did 5 years ago, different than they did 10 years ago. What kills formats is when they become homogenized or consolidate around very few strategies - Affinity, Caw-Blade, Oko, etc... When players have few competitive options, a significant percentage will not enjoy those options or will get bored of them quickly.

Vintage has undergone considerable selection bias so that the current player base either tolerates or likes Force of Will, the Power 9, Shops, and Bazaar. Legacy has a similar issue with Brainstorm, LED, and Chalice. Wizards has said they maintain the B&R for Legacy and Vintage for the current players in those formats and that's why they don't hit those cards. They've essentially been grandpersoned in. It doesn't make it right, but bringing this up every friggin time there is a B&R discussion changes nothing when it's clear WotC isn't going to change their stance and there's not a really compelling reason for them to do so.

New cards don't get the same consideration. They are untested in the context of Eternal formats, and untested cards don't deserve a certain period of time to breath when it comes to a game, especially since B&R is the mechanism Wizards has proposed for fixing these problems. Some cards just have interactions that after a few actual reps in the format are clearly problematic, and MTGO can generate considerable data very quickly. We already have 1387 matches from the weekend Challenges over the past 3 weeks and we missed one of the challenges. This ignores how quickly cards and decks get iterated in between challenges during the leagues.

I would also add that Wizards can't hope to match the Hive Mind when it comes to testing. Play design is 9 members split across Standard, Draft, and Sealed? Who knows what other obligations they have as well. Even if other teams are responsible for testing, they are still having to ban cards in Standard, like Oko, Veil, Field, and Once upon a Time. These are cards that emerged pretty quickly as overpowered, the critical flaw in Oko being that the teams underestimated the power of Oko's +1 ability (Melissa DeTora metioned that on stream). Similarly, the Companion mechanic was a missed attempt to balance the deckbuilding restrictions with the benefit- you can comb Maro's tweets for that. It's hard to balance for three formats, let alone all formats, especially with the current approach to card design.

I think we have to accept these limitations and recognize that, in the absence of large beta testing like other games have, cards will get restricted or banned (hopefully in other formats and not Vintage again - Companion is a rather unique example). The goal should be to expedite the process and promote transparency (would love to see Wizards data and design process for the cards).

posted in Xerox read more

Have put a couple of leagues into developing this, most recently picking up a trophy with the UG version here:

I have been experimenting with Mystic Sanctuary since its release, first by just throwing it into Arcanist shells that release weekend on MTGO (wasn't very hard to find on MTGO then), and later building around it more with the RUG Walker list that used Wrenn and Six. A key synergy is Gush and two Mystic Sanctuaries lets you recur the instant or sorcery of choice from your graveyard, whether Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, or something more boring. However, you are limited by the number of lands you can play in a turn.

Fast-forward a bit...In fooling around with Vintage Unleashed, I started with a Gush-Fastbond deck and was incredibly impressed how powerful that engine has become with the addition of Mystic Sanctuary. Sanctuary means you keep Gushing for as long as you have life points and you can recur whatever you want - you don't need to make use of the format's unrestricted Yawgmoth's Wills. I was winning with Hedron Crabs, Lurrus, and infinite Time Walks at that point but the shell is malleable. With the change in the companion rule, I was consider Uro - the life gain from Lurrus was helpful as it made up for the Fastbond life loss and allowed you to go infinite.

And that brings us to the current approach. Growth Spiral was being talked about as in the context of the Arena PTs as both something player's thought was busted (it's the internet and I have no opinion really on formats I don't collect data or play in) and were sick of since it's been in Standard for nearly two years and good the entire time along with Wilderness Reclamation (that one makes more sense to me...). And for better or worse, if cards are great in Standard, they are generally powerful enough to be fringe playable or better in Vintage. That's just the state of power creep in recent sets.

Growth Spiral fulfills the function of being able to play additional lands in the Sanctuary recursion engine (as does Uro for that matter). It does that while pitching to all three Forces in the deck, ramping up to 4 Islands, and cycling. As a card, I was very impressed by it. There are also fun things you can do like Daze back a Sanctuary, Growth Spiral it into play at instant speed to put a Mental Misstep or Misdirection on top of your library, then Gush into it or otherwise draw it at instant speed. The main
consideration though is these additional land drops mean you just get to take a bunch of consecutive turns and win the game.
I took 8-9 turns on stream last night during which my Landstill opponent killed my first Brazen Borrower, but I was able to find, play, and attack for lethal with the second Borrower. Both Uros had already been pathed.

By no means is this a finished product. There are other color combinations - I typical start minimalist to identify certain needs and then add colors that I think will help plug in the gaps. For instance, I started with a Bant version for Swords and Mentor, because I thought I would want Swords to deal with threats like Sprite Dragon and Mentor to win the game. After a 3-2 league, Mentor wasn't necessary since you take so many turns that you can literally attack with a 3/1 flier, and Swords was mostly clunkly in my hand without Dack Fayden to filter. I figured a bounce spell was enough to buy time against Sprite Dragon and Brazen Borrower could condense the slot while allowing me to cut White. I didn't get to play against Hatebears or Eldrazi, which would have presented more of a challenge for a deck without Swords.

Oh, and you need a bunch of lands to maximize your explore effects and the odds of having three Islands for Mystic Sanctuary. I cut Black Lotus to help find the slots, but I recognize that not everyone will be interested in this, regardless of the reasons behind it. Just keep in mind that deck design involves balancing competing elements so if you trim lands, that has an associated cost. I actually went from 20 lands to 21 after the first league because I thought it was too few.

posted in Hate Bears read more

In an effort to keep discussion going on new decks and ideas, I'm trying to share some of the lists that I have been playing to success and my reasoning behind playing them. A card that interested me when Ikoria was printed was General Kudro of Drannith, a B/W Human lord which in 2020 has much more text than it would previously. The incidental graveyard hate and the Reprisal ability are both relevant as they provide unique functionality. An interaction that has come up frequently has been using the graveyard ability to shrink opposing Tarmogoyfs in the BUG and 4 color matchups. Removing an artifact or a planeswalker can often turn them into a 3/4 and let your team through. The Reprisal ability was something I was interested in when UR Sprite Dragon was seeing a lot of play. That card is difficult to race and I wanted an answer that wasn't narrow in the main deck.

The first iteration of the deck trophied and can be found here: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3167642#online

I have played the deck in two more leagues, finishing 4-1 in both. You play a lot of grindy games. Wrenn is a problem, as discussed here, but I simply switch decks when Wrenn becomes popular, and all decks tend to wax and wane on MTGO. Vintage has been very dynamic lately. I wasn't a fan of the Kitesail Freebooters. I found them not as impactful and poor against the Bazaar decks that were seeing more play in the field. Similarly, Dark Confidant feels slow in this format and I only run a few. You are ironically playing from behind often against HollowVine and Dark Confidant is terrible in that matchup specifically. Deafening Silence has also been a card that has been horrible for me and I keep reducing the numbers on the off chance it demonstrates a shred of promise.

Regarding the Mayors, those are considerations for having access to active FoV on turn 1, which is important for the Shops matchup (a traditionally abysmal matchup) and against PO. I'm tweaking the numbers of other cards and I haven't run into a situation in which Kambal has been good (should probably just be more Sanctum Prelates). Surgical Extractions are necessary against the HollowVine decks. You can't beat 12-16 power on turn 1, with some having haste. You just can't. You need to stop that and Surgicals are the best option. Exile the Vengevines, and then realized that you are going to have to do a lot of combat math, smart blocking, and good sequencing to salvage the game at a single digit life total.

Heck, it's a Modern deck with Power. The games are going to be tough at times. The advantage is much of the field is poorly configured to deal with your threats (both the number and the fact they are uncounterable) and you get to leverage two of the most powerful cards right now in Wasteland and Force of Vigor.

The last list I ran was:
alt text

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

5-0'd

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3423382#online

If you are running a companion, you always have something to do with your Omnath mana and you don't have to run cards like Ugin that might be dead draws if you can't stick and Omnath.

As for particular tech, Sevinne's Reclamation is great, as a value card, as a mana sink for Omnath mana, and as a way to hit multiple land drops in a turn if you need to (used it against Dredge to get back Tabernacle).

Had several powerful sequences enabled by Omnath such as

  • Companion Tax on Lutri, Ancestral, Lutri
  • Omnath, Draw Narset, fetch, into play Narset, reveal and cast Time Walk (had an extra Blue)
  • Sevinne + Flashback on multiple planeswalkers.

Omnath was also a Green card for Force of Vigor, which was pretty nice against the Golos Stax deck.

I favor this approach to a ramp deck that is all in playing Omnath, Locus Creation. While you might associate your build as a control deck, the presence of 28 or so lands really cuts down on your ability to interact with the stack and that will make things difficult in Vintage given the density of combo decks.

I also had experience playing Ugin in Vintage and this is not the metagame for it. The first times were during the Treasure Cruise era when I was trying to Drain a Cruise into an Ugin. The second time was a Rector Flash build with Narset unrestrict and a lot a Arcanist decks running around. Ugin does well against the URx decks that can't remove it while it just picks off all the creatures and walkers. Against Shops, Combo, and Dredge with Hollow One, Ichorids, Vengevines, it's not a good answer to the threats. Certainly not for the investment.

If someone argues that this isn't a true Omnath deck, I think a very reasonable approach is to try and explore Yorion next. But I did feel that Omnath gave a style of deck that had fallen out of favor a very real boost.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@botvinik said in [ZRN] Omnath, Locus of Creation:

This is even more true if you as a player are better than your opponent whitch chubby seems to be in most cases.

I always find this reasoning odd. We aren't talking about someone else's results - we are talking about my own results. I played each and every game of every match and are describing first-hand experience with the card. You aren't inferring a card's merits based on LSV's play, whose rationale you aren't privy too. So you are attributing my success to my playskill, but denying that I have the level of insight to realize why I am having that success, and furthermore, that you have more insight than I do into the games and matches I actually played.

@botvinik said in [ZRN] Omnath, Locus of Creation:

@chubbyrain1

At this point we can probably agree omnath is reasonable to good in the deck you put together. This then leads to the natural questions:

  1. do you think there is something better for that slot?
  2. do you think omnath is good enough for other decks who do not have to go singleton?

@botvinik said in [ZRN] Omnath, Locus of Creation:

I have played exactly 3 matches with the deck omnnath did not impress me but it did not seem bad either. Seemed like an ok card in my limited experience. Hard to cast but while it is in play it is nightmare fuel for aggro shops.

So, this is a shift in perspective from where I think you were originally where you were much more down on Omnath's utility and asking what you could do with the mana generation. Which is good, it's why I put the effort into making this thread, to have this sort of dialogue and talk about how a card could evolve to see play based on how people use it, ideally getting different ideas and inputs along the way.

I actually don't care where people rank the card on the axis of "ok", "good", "reasonable", "Mentor 2.0" or whatever. Such rankings are I guess fun to discuss but have little practical merit when it comes to building decks. During deck construction, what matters is the card's functional roles. With that in mind, to answer your questions:

  1. Omnath is the newest and perhaps best "Banedrifter" - card that enters the battlefield, generates both value and board presence. Vintage is a format that is becoming increasingly dependent both on board presence and on card advantage. For instance, you have the Bazaar decks that can generate 10+ power in a single turn and PO decks that can draw a ton of cards if you can't keep up with answers. The ability to have a threat that also generates value with card draw/mana generation/or even pitching to Forces, is really really strong. It's important to identify the role of your deck at certain situations. Like against HogaakVine, you kind of need to stick a Mentor or an Omnath asap or you are going to be overrun. The mana, life gain, body, and card are all relevant there. Against Combo, you may just need to pitch it to Force to not die. That's actually a pretty good use of a card. If you have to choose between pitching your non-blue win condition and Ancestral Recall against Doomsday on turn 1, you probably want to toss that 4/4 away.
    Very few cards have the same functional role. Mentor generates pure board presence (or is effectively a storm kill). It doesn't have the other variables and I actually board out Mentor frequently against Combo decks. Snapcaster, Arcanist, etc, all have less of an impact on the game, though Arcanist can be close. JTMS is not longer a great card at managing the board state. Oko does not fight along the card axis. The closest card is Uro and Uro is obviously insane in other formats but is limited in Vintage due to the unfavorable interaction with Moxen and other taxing effects on the graveyard such as Dig and Cruise. You can argue for more unplayable options like Dream Trawler or some Oath packages but those are very different decks. So no, I don't think there is a functional replacement for the card here.
  2. Yes. There is only one of me. I can't build and play every possible shell in which I think a card might be viable. A reason I made this post was to try and convey my thoughts experiences and encourage others to brew decks they might enjoy with this card. It's not to convince people a card is an arbitrary metric of playable. People want to try it with Coalition Victory or Panglacial Wurm, don't let your memes be dreams... The companion mechanic had not been seeing a lot of play since the nerf and if I think a new printing can revive a previous archetype, I will often try to explore that.

@thewhitedragon69 said in [ZRN] Omnath, Locus of Creation:

@chubbyrain1 My point is that, with that list, if Omnath were pretty much any other blue cantrip (Uro, for example), the deck would have 5-0d.

You didn't play the games. I played the games and disagree with you. My opponent played the games and disagrees with you.

Also, I have put up more results than anyone else with Uro in Vintage. A deck with singleton cantrips lacks the card velocity to adequately fuel Uro and the two Delve spells. The 4 color manabase running two Triomes cannot reliably cast a late-game UUGG spell against Wasteland decks. I was running a Breeding Pool as a 5th Tropical island in my one Uro deck.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@botvinik

  1. I have spent the last several years collecting Vintage data and I wrote a post that broke down Max's "100 games with the best deck in Magic", talking about sample sizes and confidence intervals. My argument is not based on the record, it's based on all of the supporting reasons I've given, which is theory combined with actual game play. It means I don't have to deal in as many hypotheticals:

"What would have happened if I played a cantrip over Omnath?"

  • I would have died to a Hogaak since I gained 16-20 life off of triggers before turning the game around. Was better than Mentor since Mentor would have just traded some tokens and let the opponent replay the Gaak.

"What would have happened if I played a Managorger Hydra?"

  • I would have died to T1 Tinker into Bolas Citadel because I really had to Force that.

I'm literally asking myself "How good is this card?" every time I draw it. That's part of brewing and testing a deck. But I'm doing it with every card in the deck. Every card. I've cut Black Lotus from decks because I'm wondering if the negative card advantage is disadvantageous in certain control heavy metagames.

I get really, really tired of people with no experience with the deck explaining to me that, yes, I could play something else instead without actually providing a reason for that. It's lazy and I feel like the onus should be on the other person to provide a reason for why I should play any of the 10,000's of other Magic cards in Vintage instead of the card that I've chosen to play for the specific reasons that I typed out in previous posts. It is, however, an incredibly common response.

At the end of the day, there isn't a sample size that can be realistically generated in Vintage to measure the effect of a single card on a deck list with any degree of confidence (excluding obvious cases like building a deck of 60 Islands). I did build this deck almost entirely with the one of Omnath in mind. Even the Cindervine is there because I thought I could use the 4 damage as reach to close out a long game in which Cindervine was active against Blue (also ups Green count).

And the main reason to list a record is because people pay attention to records and trophies. I had hoped that it would get people to read the rest of the argument, not infer playability from that.

  1. Regarding playability metrics, you can evaluate cards and build decks however you want, but I have found my success looking at cards, decks, and metagames holistically. You want to play the right combination of cards in the right metagame, not the absolute best cards in a vacuum. It's why I'm taking time to describe why I'm playing the card and in what specific instances and roles I am using it, rather than give blanket statements about the cards playability. Again, where did I ever say this is Mentor 2.0? You and others are trying to pin it on some scale, but that just isn't how I work. I find an interesting idea, evaluate it, refine it a bit, then get bored and move on to next interesting idea.

  2. He does this all the time, but if you are talking about jamming cards in decks without considering the synergy of other cards in a deck or metagame implications, that is not a valid point. A card's utility does not exist solely in a vacuum. As I said in the previous post, this deck doesn't have the mana base to run Uro. It doesn't have the cantrips. You can tweak both to make Uro better in the deck, but it's not just substituting a single card. And I'm pretty sure I'm still the only person who has won a
    Vintage challenge with Uro.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

https://magic.gg/news/eternal-weekend-2020-on-magic-online?fbclid=IwAR1V93Y_-UQ7GNxHvBl64o-5f0lH0IdA5avtwKwyF0qM9jTHFMZb9X5CtY4

Vintage Eternal Weekend
Start Times
Saturday, October 24, at 12:00 AM PDT (Tolarian Academy)
Saturday, October 24, at 2:00 PM PDT (Library of Alexandria)
Sunday, October 25, at 8:00 AM PDT (Mishra's Workshop)
Format: Vintage
Product: A deck that matches the event's format.
Location: The Constructed lobby that matches the format
Entry Options: One (1) Vintage Eternal Weekend Token

Size: 129–672 players
Duration: A number of rounds determined by entries, Swiss pairings, each round up to 50 minutes, followed by a single-elimination Top 8

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

I am responsive to this criticism.

I have now rebuilt the deck as an Oath deck.

Omnath is the only creature I can Oath into in the MD (SB has an Archon of Vigor).

The deck's name is Omnoath.

Currently 2-0 in league matches ☺

Edit: Finished 4-1 😞

posted in Vintage News read more

I actually recreated my account to try and focus on article-type posts and primers, but to answer some of the questions in this thread, Lurrus actually is probably as good or better than all of the restricted cards in the format.

A consideration is decks will always have Lurrus as an additional card. Period. That's a boost to every game played. They will rarely have a particular restricted card. They will have a 4-of 40% of the time per 7 card hand. The metagame data we have from the format shows that Lurrus decks have an estimated 61% win rate against non-Lurrus decks (when adjusted for expected mirror matches). The odds of having a restricted card in your opening hand approach that 11% differential, though it can be higher with mulligans, and is obviously mitigated by just considering that having a restricted card doesn't necessarily translate into a win (it won't necessarily resolve or might not win the game). Prior to Ikoria, I was making the argument that Black Lotus was actually detrimental to the control game plan, which was more built on attrition, and was cutting it from Jeskai and other decks. I even won a couple Vintage challenges, which prompted comments like "Uro/Oko is better than Black Lotus, confirmed" from people outside the format. Having something powerful to do with zero risk of putting yourself down a card, has made Lotus much better, so don't worry, not cutting Black Lotus any more.

Furthermore, if you compare the decks, Shops and Bazaar decks are really struggling in this metagame. Shops has a 42% win rate. Dredge has a 36% win rate. You can argue that if these decks were to replace Workshops and Bazaar with Darksteel Ingot, they would have worse win rates, but that's a pretty uncompelling theoretical argument that ignores how decks are actually constructed. Cards don't exists in isolation. Force of Will has risen in importance and prevalence but honestly, a huge part of this is due to Lurrus. Lurrus is essentially a 2-for-1, no matter how you slice it up, and Force of Will is arguably one of the better ways to 2-for-1 yourself. MBT is also decent as is Force of Negation and STP because of the exile effect, and this is evidence of metagame warping.

Restricting the Baubles and other pieces makes little sense, due to the redundancy of effects. Breach decks are very functional at one copy, Urza and Mishra's Bauble are very close in efficiency, restricting Remora really doesn't have much of a structural effect on the metagame, are you really going to restrict value-based Dredge hate like Nihil Spellbomb and Soul-Guide Lantern? There are many ways to derive value from recurring permanents <=2 mana, decks are even running [Unbridled Growth].

People have tried to combat or ignore Lurrus but you are just sacrificing too much utility and there is just too much versatility in how Lurrus can be used that make targeted approaches difficult. Hatebears strategies fall victim to a huge increase in creature removal as a response to Lurrus being prevalent, not to mention more Karakas, and the fact that most decks have a 3/2 lifelinker to recoup life loss as an 8th card every game. Reality Smasher is much less impressive when the 5 life attack is negated by Lurrus + a Deathrite Shaman. Similarly, attacking the graveyard or artifacts, trades at a card disadvantage since the floor of Lurrus is still a 3/2 lifelinker. It's similar to Illness of Ranking or Dread of Nighting Mentor in that you are going down a card to mitigate the effects of your opponent's card, except this card was cast from outside the game. Graveyard hate and null rod effects are only great when they attack the opponent's core strategies such as Breach combo or PO.

The main approaches now are to accept that Vintage is the Lurrus format and diversity exists in the confines of Lurrus Combo vs Lurrus Value, or eliminate Lurrus as companion. People can play what they want and will play what they want, and indeed, the power of restricted cards can be pretty good at obscuring a decks flaws. However, Lurrus has been absurdly dominant immediately, taking 16/16 top 8 slots in both Vintage Challenges on MTGO, as well as winning both Paper Online events held in this weekend. As noted above, it doesn't appear from the data that other strategies are on par with Lurrus or that there is an emergence of viable countermeasures that exist outside of Lurrus decks.

In any case, I don't think anything the Vintage community does will necessarily influence WotC's decision on what they end up doing. Like Dig through Time and Treasure Cruise, Lurrus is creating similar patterns of dominance across other formats. WotC restricted Cruise and Dig at the same time it banned those cards in Legacy and if they too action on Lurrus, the would likely do the same in Vintage. What that will be, I don't know. I'm just representing my view as someone that plays the format and collects the data. My preference as a brewer would be for Lurrus to exist as playable as a non-companion rather than an overt ban of either Lurrus or the companion mechanic. In that respect, I am not as much of a philosophical purist as others in this thread.

posted in Vintage News read more

Narset was not a brake card. It was a broken aspect of PO decks and enabled a secondary combo of Narset + Timetwister/Wheel.

Did people ever stop and consider why PO got worse in the format once Narset was restricted? I highly recommend challenging preconceptions about the format and relying on data to form your opinions of the format. It will make you a better player.

posted in Vintage Community read more

Well, something is happening next week and it affects Vintage, Legacy and Brawl. As for the actual steps they will take, I feel that is less clear.

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https://twitter.com/wizards_magic/status/1259997359179616256

posted in Vintage Community read more

@maximumcdawg said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@Illig719 I have not played Legacy with Companions, since I would normally play in paper. However, my understanding is that Lurrus is the new Brainstorm: a powerful tool being shoved into lots of different shells. Is that really a big problem?

If Brainstorm was printed today, wouldn't it be banned? DRS, Wrenn, and Top were powerful tools that were shoved into different shells and they all got hit. Astrolabe and Veil are cards that people have mentioned as possible bannings (along with Oko).

Lurrus is only on par with Brainstorm on power level. It's more comparable to DRS, Wrenn, and Astrolabe in other regards (Like, it's a 3/2 B/W likelinking value engine - how many unique decks can it generate?). Also, you'd be ignoring that Delver is winning pretty much every event and represent the majority of all these "different" Lurrus strategies.

posted in Vintage Community read more

How much is an extra card worth in MTG?

The concept is messy because Wizards knows the cost is high and that's why they keep trying to mitigate the effect with the mulligan rules, but going off the data collected from 17lands.com Resources on MTGA, it's about 12% after the London mulligan. It was previously 16% with the Vancouver mulligan. For context, the best players tend to be in the 60% for win rates, the best decks tend to be in the mid 50% range. So without mitigating the card disadvantage, you are basically turning an average player on an average deck into one of the best players on one of the best decks.

Now please don't waste people's time pointing out irrelevant details like the difference between limited and Vintage. That's not the point. The point is an extra card has a huge effect on a deck's win percentage and the Companions were trying to mitigate that advantage solely by their deck building restrictions. Or they could have made the cards week, like a basically vanilla 5/5 or 4/5 (and those still see competitive play). Lurrus's deckbulding restriction is not very significant in the context of Vintage and the card is pushed relative to other three drops if you've ever tried to play it maindeck in any format. Lurrus compounds the advantages of the extra card by being a strong card in it's own right. The 11% advantage that we calculated from our data set is likely an accurate representation of the cards power despite the fact that the format is completely warping around itself with up to 75% of decks running it.

I don't know how to spell it out any clearer.

posted in Vintage Community read more

...The Commander Rule Committee isn't a democratic body.

And you can't have every Vintage player vote or have a voice for a myriad of practical reasons. You want a "vote", write an article on why Vintage would actually be better off with Force of Will restricted. No one is stopping you from making your case.

posted in Vintage Community read more

Based on every B&R ever, what makes you think Vintage players would have enough consensus for a mission statement? Consensus on members? Consensus on anything, really? Commander isn't bound by its rule council. It's a largely casual format whose banned list and "mission" is enforced by individual play groups, producing a flexible format that appeals to a wide player base. Attributing the Commander format's success to its rule council is absurd. And expecting the Vintage equivalent of a rules council to be effective would be absurd. A lesson here is that since events are unsanctioned, people can possibly agree on modified B&R lists or other custom rules similar to how players run events in Commander. I know Legacy players have started pre-Innastrad Legacy games on MTGO.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I agree with Brian. It had been a confluence of life factors that has impacted my ability to play paper Magic (school, health, etc), rather than a flaw in paper events. When I used to go to events, it was a 1.5 to 2 hour drive each way. I also think there are going to be challenges going forward with COVID-19 - for instance, my school strongly discourages nonessential travel at the moment and the policy is evolving with regards to screening and quarantine. The situation is complex ethically, and likely outside the scope of this thread. But as it is now, paper events aren't really on the table for me.