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posted in Vintage Community read more

@moorebrother1 I didn't want to post here before now because I am not interested in spreading negativity, but I wanted to reply to your last statement - I also don't enjoy the current Vintage metagame.

It seems that there are several people who do enjoy the format, and I'm very happy for those people. As long as those people are in the majority, I'll probably carry on mostly keeping quiet, and try to appreciate the format for what it is.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@moorebrother1 The way I see it, the appeal of Pyroblast is that it is a removal spell for a resolved Lavinia, whilst also being a counterspell - meaning that it is less likely to be a dead card in your hand.

I thought of Collective Brutality because it is similar in that regard. As a removal spell, it hits a wider variety of hateful creatures than Pyroblast does which is positive, but it is certainly limited in this respect. I think it's real appeals is that it can double as a way to take counterspells from your opponent's hand - something which a dedicated removal spell - like Swords - can't do.

Not being an Instant is certainly a drawback, but I really don't want to put removal spells in to a PO deck. Sideboard, sure, but not in the main deck.

It could be that I'm totally wrong, and it turns out that it's correct to run main deck removal, but that would surprise me given that the deck is so focused on being as efficient as possible in its current iteration.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I haven't tested this yet, but I thought that maybe PO decks could try staying Esper and running some number of Collective Brutality. It deals with a lot of the creatures which could be problematic (Lavinia, Thalia, Revoker etc) while also being a disruption spell when appropriate. It doesn't get Mental Misstep-ed, which could be positive too.

I don't think that Collective Brutality is better than Pyroblast, but it is a good option if you don't want to lose Black or White, and you don't want to add a fourth colour.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

Hey @boerma!I recently moved to Eindhoven and have been looking for somewhere to play some proxy Vintage. Unfortunately I already have something I committed to on Saturday, but I'll certainly attend some of these events in the future!

posted in Vintage Community read more


@bobbyvictory said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

Restrict Mental Misstep - Card is cancer.

Hello, Bobby. I don't think that using terminology like "cancer" to describe Magic cards is prudent and I would prefer if you refrained from making use of that kind of language when speaking about Magic going forwards.

posted in Vintage Community read more


Dr Shay, thank you for laying your thinking out in a clear and concise manner. While I don't agree with you, I do appreciate you taking the time to express your thinking here.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

Thanks for the replies @ChubbyRain, @Brass-Man and @KingLeovold. Pre restriction, I would always play a 2 - 2 split of Flusterstorm and Pyroblast in Mentor decks but have found Flusterstorm to be less good since the restriction.

Last week I spent an evening trying out Scabs' Esper Mentor deck. His list played 3 Flusterstorm and I was interested to see how it would perform against Jeskai Mentor. We played for about 5 hours and it didn't go well for Esper. One of the things I missed most was Pyroblast, especially because my friend was playing 2 Jace, TMS which was often quite tough to deal with.

As Matt said, I have also found that Flusterstorm is quite strong in Thirst for Knowledge & Paradoxical Outcome decks.

Thanks again for your replies!

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that there were fewer Flusterstorms in this challenge amongst better performing Mentor lists than in previous weeks. I've found that Flusterstorm has been a bit weaker in Mentor decks given the increased presence of artifact mana in the metagame - particularly when trying to defend spells.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Flusterstorm and its current position in the metagame?

posted in Vintage Community read more

@Smmenen I'm under the impression that Oath of Druids has won the Vintage Championship on two occasions (2014 and 2015) but I may be wrong about that.

Containment Priest was printed in Commander 2014 and was legal for the 2015 Vintage Championship that Brian Kelly won. Top 32 decklists can be found here:

posted in Vintage Community read more

@ChubbyRain thank you for your considered response, Matt. I think there are many things which we agree on and it's possible that our approach is slightly different. My primary focus is on developing a cohesive view of how the restricted list ought to function in Vintage. I'm interested in doing something more similar to constructing a taxonomy - I don't know if that's possible but that's what I'm interested in. I don't claim that this is a project which is necessarily applicable to people other than me. It's merely for my own edification.

It's with this in mind that I responded to your statement that

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

clearly dominant draw engines should not exist for extended periods of time in Vintage.

and your follow up post expanding, where you said

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

Because stale metagames bore me. They aren't competitive, they aren't interesting, and Vintage will not grow as a format if the metagame is going to remain solved for years at a time.

by attempting to show that we ought to expect Vintage to progress more slowly than other formats; that solved metagames are not necessarily noncompetitive metagames; that a single deck metagame does not necessarily mean that games of Magic are noncompetitive and that there are good reasons to believe that a dominant draw engine could exist in decks with vastly different strategic aims - and that these aims could change as a result of new printings or as a result of metagame changes which open space for a different strategic aim to thrive.

With respect to using the metagame as a tool to rotate the format, you said

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

It is possible, though again I don't favor it. Surely the current metagame doesn't need restrictions "to rotate the format". It's clearly unbalanced, according to the information Ryan and I have collected.

I was very pleased to read this. I too would be opposed to using the restricted list in this way.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

I believe that diversity in Vintage is largely created from Blue decks. Shops, Dredge, and Combo are too restrictive in the cards they can play and risk producing a format that becomes uninteractive, which we know is grounds for restrictions based on multiple B&R announcements. So how do you create diversity within the context of Blue decks? You recognize that the draw engines and win conditions are the two main areas of differentiation. We've already discussed how Mentor has become the win condition of choice because it combos with the most basic element of playing Blue (casting spells) while having a very small downside and being difficult to hate. On the flip side, draw engines have a much more significant role in how people design decks. Graveyard synergy with Gifts, Artifacts with TFK and PO, cantrips/Gush and tempo creatures with the Delve spells. I think there is a viable Fact or Fiction deck out there along with Night's Whisper/Painful Truths (and not just a Mentor deck). Each option has different constraints and/or color requirements. If I thought that Gush could coexist with these various other decks, I would be all for it being unrestricted. However, I'd argue that no one else in Vintage has tried more different configurations of Gush decks, with or without Preordain or Mentor or whatever other card Steve wants to hit before Gush. It is my firm opinion that if Gush remains unrestricted and the Delve spells remain legal, the format will continue to be divided into Gush tempo decks and Shops.

Thank you for laying out your thinking in this way - reading this is a particularly useful way for me to use to come to understand how you have formulated some of your thinking. I agree that the Gush - cantrip - Delve draw engine was more efficient, and probably more powerful than the examples of other potential draw engines you listed in this quote.

My question still comes back to "is this enough to warrant a restriction?" Clearly your view is that it is this is adequately compelling. I'm not sure it is. I haven't yet found a way to formulate a cogent view of the restricted list which balances the competing elements in a logical and compelling fashion and I think many people over value diversity. Additionally, and more relevant to this specific topic, I'm not sure that diversity should be measured on a non-strategic level.

I would like to note that if we agree that diversity is created primarily by Blue decks, then it becomes more important to have diversity within Blue decks when looking for diversity in the format. I'm not sure I agree that is the case, but I certainly see your line of thinking.

@ChubbyRain said in Vintage Restricted List Discussion:

"One key to the continued health of Magic is diversity. It is vitally important to ensure that there are multiple competitive decks for the tournament player to choose from. Why? If there were only a single viable deck to play, tournaments would quickly stagnate as players were forced to either play that deck or a deck built specifically to beat it. In addition, different players enjoy playing different types of decks. If there are plenty of viable options to play, there will be more players at more tournaments."

While it might be considered competitive, Wizards recognizes that such a metagame would be difficult to maintain. Cawblade Standard was very close to what you are referring to and Wizards felt that action was necessary given declining tournament attendance. It's worth the read:

Thank you for this suggestion - this was a really great article which I don't remember if I ever read. It was certainly worth reading (again). I agree that the metagame I described is similar to Cawblade Standard and that there are many parallels here.

This particular paragraph was illuminating:

"I have seen many arguments flying around the Internet that nothing needs to be banned, as the format is very interactive and skill-testing right now. I suppose I agree with those descriptions of the format—the Top 16 in Singapore was loaded with talented names, and the same core group of guys keeps making the Top 8s of StarCity's events. As for interactivity, when you lose to Jace / Stoneforge decks, you still feel like you're playing Magic: you cast your creatures, attack and block, yet, if your opponent plays well enough, eventually fall under an avalanche of card advantage and efficient tutoring. Game play like that is a far cry from past Standard environments containing ban-worthy cards, wherein you might get decked by a Tolarian Academy–fueled Stroke of Genius on turn three, or die from 20 on turn four to a combination of Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault, and Cranial Plating, both frequently at the hands of less proficient players. Those games felt more random and less satisfying, and the outcry to do something about it was loud and clear."

My initial reaction to this is to note that in the past, WotC have said that they expect the barrier to entry to older formats to be higher than in Standard. I would expect that a high skill = high reward dynamic falls into a similar category. When the best players perform well with decks that require high skill level to play well, I could see this as being something which is not desirable in the format which you are working to make accessible (meaning it should provide the lowest barrier to entry). Conversely, I would imagine this kind of dynamic is better, and possibly even desirable, in older formats like Vintage. I'm not sure this is a great way to think about it though - it may be my own bias on show here.

I also think that that it was both the formal complaints by the player base and their decision not to attend events which, at least in part, motivated the DCI's decision to ban Jace, TMS and Stoneforge Mystic. I equate these complaints and low event attendance with the player base communicating that they don't enjoy a format. As I've said, I very much agree that if the majority of the player base communicates that they are not enjoying a format, then a change ought to be forthcoming.

It's possible that in considering the recent restrictions in Vintage, these conditions (with respect to player feedback) were met and as a result a change in the format was necessary. I don't know if that was the case, but if it was I would argue that a restriction is not necessarily the best solution.

I agree that metagame diversity is better to see than not to see. I think metagame diversity is good. I'm just struggling to balance it with the logical constraints I think exist in the format.

Perhaps constructing a taxonomy regarding the restricted list is an impossible task. It mostly doesn't matter if it is or isn't for me - my views and understanding in this regard have about as much chance of affecting B&R policy as a pizza does. But I'd like it if the DCI behaved in a consistent manner, and I'd like it even more if I was able to figure out what it is that they use to ensure their actions are consistent.