@John-Cox It depends on which Sphere. For Sphere of Resistance, both both the Sphere and Hollow One's effect apply in the phase of casting a spell where you figure out and pay alternate/additional costs (Rule 601.2b and Rule 601.2f). So for example, if you discarded/cycled one card and there's one Sphere, it would cost 4. If you discarded three cards and there are three Spheres it would cost 2, and so on.
Trinisphere is a little different. It checks after additional/alternate costs and always makes sure you're paying 3 (Rule 601.2f again). So no matter how many cards you've discarded/cycled, Hollow One always costs 3 in the face of a Trinisphere. Hope that helps!
Source - Being a L2 Judge
This went up a few days ago, but I never got around to posting it because of the site issues. Anyway, I wrote an article about my thoughts on where Vintage stands going into both Eternal Weekends. Hope you all enjoy!
Decklists and metagame breakdowns for Friday's and Sunday's sanctioned Vintage side events can be found in the link below. Sadly I was judging the main event on Saturday so I didn't get any decklists for that event. Hope you enjoy!
Now that I'm home and dome with all of my non-Magic obligations, let give you and everyone else a more proper response.
I believe that your point breaks down into two separate issues. The first is that I said that Mentor's performance was equal to every Shops deck. That's actually not what I said. I said they occupied "basically" the same percentage. I could have used "around", "nearly", "almost", or a litany of other synonyms. At that moment though I felt like saying what I did. One's opinion on what constitutes a close enough percentage to use that kind of an adjective/adverb may be different, but that's a pointless argument since it's a matter of opinion.
The second issue is the data I'm using and how I'm getting it. For the paper data I stuck to your Q1 results because I couldn't find the other IRL results from the archived TMD to go any further back. The IRL data showed Mentor actually having a .65% edge on Shops, so I don't believe we disagree about those results. For the MTGO data, I used all results between October 8th, 2015 and April 3rd, 2016 provided by mtgo.com. I went with these dates because they were both after the Chalice/Dig/Thirst change and after Daily Events became four rounds again. I then broke up the data into Mentor, Shops, Decks with Gush (Gush for short), and Other. For the sake of simplification, I defined "Mentor" as any deck with Monastery Mentor and Gush. The reason I chose that definition is because in my eyes those are the defining elements of the deck, and any extra Dragonlords serve as an alternative threat. Here is what I found:
Mentor Total = 85
Shops Total = 123
Gush Total = 64
Other = 272
Metagame Total = 544
With these numbers Mentor adds up to be 16% and Shops adds up to be 22%. For me personally, 6% is close enough where I feel comfortable using the word "basically", but I can understand if some people disagree. What's interesting though is if we dig into this further. Stacking up decks with Gush vs decks with Mishra's Workshop in this time period, we have these numbers:
Combined Gush Total = 149
Shops = 123
That's 27% of the field for Gush vs 22% of the field for Workshops. Again, a 5% difference would be close enough for me to say feel ok with saying "basically", but from this range of dates it clearly indicates that Gush had a larger metagame presence than Mishra's Workshop. What about the most played archetype in each of those categories during this time period? For the whole of Gush that archetype is Mentor, and for Mishra's Workshop it's Ravager Shops. Analyzing just those, we now get these numbers:
Mentor = 85
Ravager Shops = 61
That's now 16% vs 11% in favor of Mentor, which makes Mentor more played than any Shops archetype from October 8th, 2015 to April 3rd, 2016. Since we're continuing the deeper exploration of data, what happens if you change the parameters? Instead of just Mentor with Gush, what if you talk about all deck that use the card Monastery Mentor? Also, for Shops, what if you discount the Workshop decks that aren't based on locking people out of the game under numerous Sphere effects? That condition on Shops may seem somewhat arbitrary, but I believe that the vast dislike for Shops comes from being put in a position where you literally can't play Magic. If all the deck was doing was powering aggressive artifact creatures while letting you interact with it I'm not sure we'd even need to entertain the idea of Shops being "bad for the format". In my classifications I found five such decks for Mentor and 14 such decks for Shops respectively. With these shifts now in mind, we now have this:
Adjusted Mentor = 90
Adjusted Shops = 109
That's now 17% to 20%, a 3% difference. I definitely feel comfortable using the word "basically" here, but I can understand disagreeing both with 3% being close enough and the classification I used to get those numbers.
Now I don't consider these numbers to be infallible. I am human, and as a single person with learning disabilities gathering all of this data without someone to check my work it's entirely possible I may have messed up somewhere while adding all of my numbers together. Still, no data was intentionally manipulated and these were the numbers I had in front of me while I was writing. Between all of this and the fact that there are some major differences with IRL and MTGO Vintage because of things like infinite combos, ease of changing decks compared to paper, and card availability that affect the respective metagames, I felt comfortable saying that Mentor and Shops were "basically" the same percentage. From now on I will definitely be more clear with my words in order to prevent misunderstandings like this, and I thank you for your feedback.
On a personal level Steve, in the future I would really appreciate the chance to give a real explanation before my credibility is attacked. I'm sorry that I didn't go into this much detail on my Facebook response to you, but I was not in the physical nor mental place to give this in depth of a response (I also couldn't actually provide my data since I was on my phone at school and they were saved to my computer at home). I know we haven't interacted all that much, but I personally respond better when I don't feel like I'm being confronted.
I hope this answers any questions you may have. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for taking the time to comment on my article.
@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