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posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

I've skipped the NYSE the last couple of years because I no longer want to travel for just one tournament. Even if the prizes aren't great, a weekend of events is way more appealing. That way if I do bad in the main event there are plenty of fun things to play in.

I'm at the age now where waking up at the butt crack of dawn and driving home through the night for a one day event is not appealing. I'd rather just make it a long vacation weekend and enjoy my time with other players.

And multi-day events are awesome! Even if SCG puts on another Vintage event without the prizes they had before, just the privilege of playing 13 rounds over 2 days was awesome. It felt good to make Day 2 Swiss rounds, and it felt better to have a day of Swiss that was clearly the best players in the event.

I'd love it if the NYSE was more of an experience than a long day for one tournament.

In the defense of high end prizes, they definitely matter to people without power. Like I don't have dual lands and I'm missing Ancestral, so those things get my attention.

But at the end of the day I know this is still a game of chance. I view one particular tournament as gambling, but I look at a weekend of activities as plenty of ways to have fun.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

@oestrus Shops have been dominate for a long time, so I think the results are there. Even if people want to argue against that, they can't ignore this basic problem: Mishra's Workshop gets better with every set. It's the Birthing Pod problem from Modern.

I used to play Dredge until Shops was too good to ignore. I agree that on average blue mages have more disdain for Dredge, and then over prepare based on that. But the decks have some fundamental differences. I won plenty of games at champs without drawing Workshop. The same was not true when I played Dredge at past champs. And when I did draw Workshop in Pitt, I only lost in the mirror. For other decks I was able to deploy too many threats too fast for them to keep up.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

@bobbyvictory I hear you. I've only played Dredge, Eldrazi, and Shops in Vintage because I think blue is kind of a joke. It's the archtype that is the most susceptible to getting ruined by Misstep. I'm not trying to turn on a Dredge player's free roll counterspells.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

Thank you for putting this data together. This information is vital to showing R&D what's going on.

I agree with @BobbyVictory. I put in my top 8 player profile that Misstep needs to be restricted. It's super oppressive. Right now cards like Goblin Welder and DRS are laughable. If you were to somehow figure out a tier 1 deck that leaned on 1-drops, then everyone would just pack 4x Missteps and knock that deck back down to tier 2. A reason why Dredge and Workshops are so dominate is that they skip 1-drops better than anything else. The only reason blue can sometimes keep up is that they can slam a one-card win condition (Oath of Druids or Monastery Mentor).

I also think that Workshop needs a restriction. It's the Birthing Pod problem: Workshop only gets better with each set. And a restriction does not neuter the deck (unlike Bazaar in Dredge). You can definitely win plenty of games without Mishra's Workshop. If Workshop was restricted for this event, I would still play Ravager Shops. The creature suite is just that solid, and you can still skip 1-drops better than most decks. If Workshop and Misstep were restricted, then I think we actually have an interesting and diverse format again. I'd probably still jam robot beats, but that's just me.

If they decide to not make any of those changes then at least bring back Thorn and hit Sphere. Restricting Thorn really hurt a lot of the fringe Thalia decks. Sphere is only playable in Workshops.

posted in Vintage Community read more

Long time player, first time poster.

I've been thinking a lot about Vintage this week with Champs on the horizon. After a long week of experimenting, and contemplating the state of Vintage, I came to some conclusions.

You Need a Reliable Way to Disrupt Your Opponent on Turn 1

I think it's safe to assume that Turn 2 is when a Vintage deck essentially wins the game if unopposed. Even Legacy allows for decks that win the game with consistency on turn 2. But you're not going to win every die roll, so before your opponent enters turn 2 first, you need something disruptive turn 1 on the draw.

Shops is the Only Deck that Can Truly Rely on Thorn of Amethyst

Shops is the only deck that can cast Thorn of Amethyst on turn one consistently. Yes a fully powered deck with Ancient Tombs has let's say 12 ways to Thorn on turn 1. The problem is that a Workshop deck will always do it better because they also get Workshop to add to the consistency. Trading Sphere of Resistance for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is not equal. Yes you get a creature which can be harder for your opponent to prevent/remove, she's less reliable to cast on turn 1 vs casting a Sphere in Shops.

Force of Will Pushes You Into Keeper and Away From Fish

FOW, MM, and Flusterstorm are real ways to disrupt your opponent on the draw (without playing Shops). FOW is the real deckbuilding constrainer in that line-up (and Flusterstorm on your mana base). You need to play a bare minimum of 16 blue spells to justify FOW, but the more the better. That's not a bad thing per se.

The problem is that you don't need a 20+ creature suite to win the game. There are plenty of 1 card combos or win conditions (Oath of Druids, Monastery Mentor, etc). And when you don't need to dedicate a bunch of slots to threats, you can play more cantrips and disruptive spells. Cursecatcher pushes you to play Merfolk, whereas PreOrdain invites you to play all the most powerful blue spells available.

So if you want to change up the top blue decks, you restrict the cards that allow decks to only need 6-7 slots for things that actually win the game. But I don't think the lack of diversity in Blue is the true issue.

Your Deck Can't Depend on Thoughtseize And Other One Mana Spells

Other colors offer ways to be disruptive, and those other ways can be played Turn 1 on the draw because they cost one mana. The problem is that they cost one mana. Every blue deck plays a significant number of Mental Missteps because they need to keep other blue decks honest. This pushes out decks that might trade counterspells for discard.

Even worse, it's hard to justify building a deck that leans on one mana threats. When blue vs blue have the same counterspell suite, which includes MM, Delver of Secrets or Goblin Welder (or even Death's Shadow) line-up terrible when compared to Mentor. A strategy trying to go under threats like Mentor/Oath are punished by MM. Also MM is a card any deck can play, so even something like Dredge could punish a 1-drop based deck.

Conclusion: Restrict Mental Misstep

Full disclosure, I never thought I would suggest restricting Mental Misstep. I actually love this card and have enjoyed playing with it for years.

That said this restriction would allow for true innovation and metagame shake-up. To put it in perspective, I would be glad to see Mentor restricted. He's a very oppressive creature. But I don't want that to happen (not now at least), because it doesn't change the problems laid out above. If I can only play 1 Mentor, then I just adjust my 6-7 slots for win conditions. Maybe that means I'm a PO combo deck or Oath deck now, but the result is the same: you still can't really play Delver, Welder, or Thoughtseize.

Making room for 1-drops again allows for different strategies, and helps out under represented colors. If anything I'm excited to take on the challenge of building successful decks in a 1 Misstep world. It would truly be a new frontier.