I always think of "fairness" (regardless of format) as a measure of how closely a deck sticks to core Magic gameplay: advance your mana by approximately one per turn, play a small number of spells per turn, answer your opponent's threats, attack with creatures, gradually lower your opponent's life total. On that scale a deck is "unfair" to the extent that it seeks to bypass that gameplay and play a different way. So for example, Shops is an unfair deck because it advances its mana way too quickly, Storm is a more unfair deck than that because it completely refuses to even engage with what its opponent is doing beyond answering their disruptive plays, and Dredge is the least fair of all because it sidesteps the basic rules about how cards are drawn and played.
This a relative term, though. In the grand scheme of all things Magic, I don't think there is a viable Vintage deck that is truly fair... decks that are commonly described as fair do still have game-breaking cards like moxes and lotus and stuff like Monastery Mentor or whatever, and I would also say that while countering spells is generally considered a fair tactic, playing a card that just stops your opponent from playing most of their spells (i.e. Lavinia) is probably not. I would still say that it's a useful term even if it isn't perfectly descriptive though, since it does refer to a class of decks that is sometimes worth talking about as a group, and I think people generally know what you mean when you say it, barring a few edge cases.
Relevant portion to this question:
Speaking of ways to play, by now you've seen Wizards' announcement about esports, and MTGO will continue to play its part by qualifying players for the tabletop Mythic Championships as well as hosting our own Magic Online Championship Series. As part of that support, we increased the prizes for Championships to $250,000 for the 2019 season. We've also expanded the ways you can qualify by expanding the Weekend Challenges to be part of the Championship Series. Now you can even qualify for the tabletop Mythic Championships by focusing on your favorite formats.
So it sounds like everything they announced before is still on, including format champs qualifying for the
Pro Tour Mythic Championship, and that this was just a communication miss.
Great roundup as usual! Fastbond's underperformance this week proves definitively that we need fast action: the DCI must immediately restrict Paradoxical Outcome and unrestrict Channel, in order to ensure that green dominates Magic's second twenty-five years as planned.
I'm happy to see Belcher in the mix. To me, someone entering the challenge with a one-off rogue brew and winning the whole thing is cause for excitement, not dread. We'll see how it holds up to hate as more people start playing it, but even if it does straight up take over PO's place in the meta that's a huge win in my book.
@brass-man I'm not an old school Vintage player, and "three deck metagame" does still seem very diverse to me taking into account that that phrase refers to the number of tier one decks, rather than the number of viable decks period. Three tier one decks, approximately twice as many tier 1.5/2 archetypes, with room for rogue decks to be brewed and played credibly just sounds like what a diverse metagame looks like to me, regardless of format. An un-diverse metagame in my experience is one in which there is a single tier one deck, or a single deck-to-beat and a deck that counters that one, or a paucity of tier two archetypes to spice things up, or an impossibility of playing anything outside of the dominant archetypes without getting completely blown out. I don't think any of those describe the current Vintage metagame.
@nsammael I agree with this. It's not even a criticism, this is an excellent look at the NA (+Snapcardster) community. I'd love to see follow-up articles about the other scenes worldwide, although obviously the research for those would be a bit more challenging.
BTW @volrathxp: I have no idea how you crank out so many high-quality articles as fast as you do, but thanks and great work.
I voted for "X" and I'm going to set X=75 (Battle of Wits players are on their own). I understand no-proxy tournaments but I don't really understand "some but not all" proxy tournaments. It's kind of a bummer because I'd love to try to get a group of friends together (who no longer play competitive Magic regularly) to attend a local tournament, but it definitely isn't going to happen with the expense involved even at the fifteen-proxy level. Although maybe part of the purpose is to keep the scrubs out, in which case mission accomplished.
@topical_island I can understand why it isn't used in paper tournaments--having to hit it every time you pass priority is a lot, and it would add a dexterity component to the game that would put Falling Star to shame. But having gotten used to it on MTGO it really is fantastic. Paper tournaments would be much improved if they found a way to make it work, and it boggles my mind that Arena doesn't use it.
I love playing on MTGO. Buy-in is relatively cheap (within the spectrum of Magic prices) and I think the UI works quite well once you get the hang of it.
You can play for free in the "tournament practice" section, which has been reasonably well-populated most of the time that I've wanted a game. Just be aware that while there are plenty of good games there, the density of great players is higher in the paid leagues* so at some point you will probably get on a good run in practice and then hop in a league and get demolished by top-tier players. But it's all in good fun.
(*A league, if you don't know, is a tournament-adjacent thing where you cough up twelve bucks and play five matches on your own schedule against other people in the league. Much more convenient than the weekly tournaments if you have a bunch of other time commitments to juggle.)
I'm not on Twitter so I'll chime in here. In the abstract I like the London mulligan a lot. It feels much better especially when you get two bad openers in a row, and the experience of using it really won me over. Taking the same decks from a few weeks ago and applying the new mulligan rule to them just makes games more pleasant, on average.
Which is why I'm so glad that you were able to demonstrate what happens when people don't play the decks from a few weeks ago. The key point in the Sam Stoddard article about this mulligan rule was that it influenced deck design, and wow is that ever borne out by your Outcome list's evolution. I think that's about as clear an illustration as possible that the London rule is ill-suited for Vintage, if the goal is simply to reduce the frequency of mana-screw without substantially impacting deck design along the way.