I have played a lot and a little at various times over the years and at 2 points I stopped playing for over a year. Sometimes, you need a break. I do not think it is the cards, but fatigue.
Honestly, if you invested the time you could build a mono-black deck that wins in this format. I have done it, it just takes time and commitment. The issue is not a single card, I think changing how you think about the game may bring back your enjoyment.
Except for a very small number of cards, I see the issue with the players not the cards. I played around with Modern and Legacy, and Vintage is my format. I do recommend a break. If you view your collection as a treasure trove then dumping the cards will eventually happen.
I have seen many players dump their collections with mixed emotions afterward. I personally view my collection as a piece of me and I am not willing to ever sell it unless I am about to be homeless, but that's me.
@brianpk80 I really respect your analysis and points. I have danced around some of these points myself. There is a very big challenge here there you are not addressing and that is the player base itself.
I have written several posts over the past year or so trying to become a better player and understand the meta game. But, the most insight I gained was looking at the split between Old School and Vintage.
I have learned that Vintage probably has the most diverse group of players. It is not the largest group but a very diverse group. This causes all kinds of perception issues. I was primarily a paper player and since I have had my 3rd child late last year, I am now primarily a digital player. This has changed my view on all of these discussions.
There is a HUGE gulf between who plays paper, how they play it and why compared to the digital format. It is literally 2 different formats. There is also a very large split in the Vintage community basesd on age and income. I am a 40 something professional, and my view of what I want from the game is very different from a 20 something college kid or young professional.
With all of that said, I think your points are good but the conclusions are not quite what people are looking for in this format.
People play Vintage for many, many reasons. I myself switch from nostalgia to competitive to goofing around and some times just experimenting. I like your premise and I like several of your points but I do disagree with the recommended actions.
The primary reason that I disagree with your recommended actions is because I have found that most people like Vintage the way that it is. Some people leave and some people join, but most people actually like what Vintage is now and what it has been aside from a few periods of single cards that messed up the format.
The reason for this is that Vintage is the place where busted things happen. If you are playing a control style deck you have to expect that Shops will try to overpower you in the first 3 turns, and the dredge is just a bad math up for you game 1. If you are playing Dredge you know that you have to win game 1 and fight like hell to win one of the next 2 games.
I look at Legacy where they killed off Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe just to get the same format from 2014, and that is because they won't ever touch Brainstorm, Force of Will, Dark Ritual and Chalice of the Void. Those card define Legacy. Vintage is defined by the core restricted cards from Alpha/Beta, Mishra's Workshop, Bazaar of Baghdad and whatever budget option beats those things.
This is not a bad thing it's just what it is. Our meta-game is surprisingly small compared to Modern given our card pool because similar to Legacy it is about efficiency. I play many formats and each format gives me something different. I primarily play Vintage and I have not only accepted the meta-game but I have come around to enjoying it.
I'd like to take a minute and thank Ben Perry @Shaman-Ben for organizing a consistent and cool vintage playing environment in Southeast Michigan (Detroit Metro). I have been playing for a long time and we have had a good community here but it was not very well organized. We were a spread out group who all just love playing cards, and @Shaman-Ben made it a consistent reality that we can all play every month and I am very thankful. Here is a interview with him on his efforts. This interview contains a lot of discussion on Old School magic but there is a significant discussion on building a vintage community for Vintage. Thanks Ben!
We spend a fair amount of time here discussing how to make decks better and some time on match ups. I do not see any threads on how do I beat this deck. I wanted to start some threads on How do I beat Jeskai and How do I beat Paradoxical and How do I beat Shops?
I see in various decklists that few selections are made now on how do I beat this deck and more on how do I win more or how do I not get hosed. There is a subtitle but important difference here.
Looking at a Kelly Oath deck you see card choices on meta that scream I beat this deck with these cards. I see in the Waterbury results several decks that ran Cavern of Souls, why? I know someone will post an obvious answer but if you are running a one of land with no tutor and 6 filter cards + some draw, do the math. Your chances of seeing it when you want it are around 25% maybe lower.
Any interest in this discussion or should I just go to Facebook and ask my friends?
I just want more large Vintage events. Due to life circumstances, I cannot make all of the events so the more events that there are, the better for everyone in my opinion.
The prize support is never a consideration for me. My considerations are will my wife freak out if I go. So, I could not make it to Waterbury since it was on Mother's day weekend.
I think doing cash gives us another great event for Vintage and if my family life allows me to attend based on the when the event is, then I will be there.
When I started playing magic there were 3 general deck types: Control, Aggro, Combo. I suppose you could add Tempo (Burn, Land destruction, etc… ) but land destruction was not a control deck, it had one simple goal – blow up your lands then kill you with some big dude so it is an Aggro deck like Burn, so the tempo deck often falls into the Aggro arch-type.
The format evolved over the years and I see 5 main types: Aggro, Control, Combo, Trigger and Replacement (Dredge), Prison, but it is still 3 types. Prison is not really it’s own type either nor is Trigger and Replacement, they are both hybrids – Prison (Control/Aggro) and Trigger and Replacement (Combo/Aggro).
There used to be a theory of the game that you needed 3 main arch-types for a healthy meta-game in Magic. You want a strong control deck that could stop spells on the stack, a fast and aggressive deck that could swam and overwhelm you with creatures, and a consistent and fast combo deck that put a clock on the number of turns. The idea was that Combo beat Aggro, Aggro beat Control, and Control beat Combo.
The classification of Dredge as a Trigger and Replacement deck that plays as Combo/Aggro is broad, the deck is simply a hybrid. Shop decks have evolved with the restricted list and the new cards, often going from an Aggro deck to a Prison deck and back to an Aggro deck.
The concept of Prison in the format creates big issues for organized play. When Trinisphere was unrestricted the meta-game was heavily skewed to beating decks that could resolve a first turn Trinisphere and play through it.
Once Trinisphere was restricted, we still had Chalice of the Void and eventually Lodestone Golem, Thorn of Amethyst, Tangle Wire and the new cards from Kaladesh Foundry Inspector, and Chief of the Foundry. Dredge was born out of draw replacement effects from Ravanica Block and some very powerful cards in Timespiral block that motor the deck – Bridge from Below, and Narcomoeba, and Dread Return.
Now I know, most of you know the history of the game and history of the decks in the Vintage format. I do not write this as a history lesson but to illustrate a point that I feel is missed by much of the conversation about the format. Restricting cards will not give you the meta-game you want, but it will re-balance the format back to classic triangle of Aggro -> Control -> Combo.
The key to any healthy meta-game comes down to looking at the theory of how deck arch-types interact with each other. Cards like Treasure Cruise get over played because it makes Aggro much better against Combo and Control, and break the triangle. Cards like Monstary Mentor give Control decks a Combo style finish that overwhelms most Aggro decks, again breaking the triangle.
The recent results of the Eternal Champs did not show a broken arch-type in the Aggro category, but illustrates that the classic Aggro versus Control match is still and always in favor of Aggro decks. I think the focus of eliminating Prison style decks from play has had a big impact on the meta-game since most players hate playing in a format where Prison is heavily played because of the un-fun game play that gives you very little player interaction.
The Dredge deck, which for now I will classify as Aggro, illustrates a hole in trying to apply game theory here. The fact that you can slow the deck down or temporarily shut it down with graveyard hate and blocking their triggers and replacement effects treats the deck like a combo deck, but when they play Aggro with Hallowed One and Gurmag Angler and the deck goes into Aggro mode it makes it difficult to play against the deck both ways. If the deck were purely Combo, then you just focus on shutting down the Combo if it were Aggro you focus on killing the swarm.
When I read through the threads about Vintage, I see a lot of complaining and not much theory. I want to know if players want a “balanced” format because I see a balanced format or if players want to play their blue decks and win more often with Control out pacing Aggro which is against the theory of the game and looks a lot like Legacy.
I personally think we not looking at all of the factors involved in playing a single deck for 10hrs straight. You need a very consistent deck that needs to break the triangle at several points during play. You can probably break the triangle and have Control beat Aggro a few times but when Aggro is very heavily represented in an event then your percentage chances of making a mistake or just losing to a lucky top deck increase each round.
I remember getting so mad while playing control decks in large events where I out played the player across from me, who was playing Aggro, but they grabbed that one card for the win and I lost. The theory of the game says that Aggro will have that edge against Control. I want a balanced meta-game and to me that means that Aggro has an edge against Control and Control has an edge against Combo and Combo has an edge against Aggro. What I really want right now is the Combo deck to be a bit stronger, and I know there are Combo decks out there but I do not see a deck consistent enough to last 10 rounds. I usually build all 3 types of the decks and play the one that feels best, even if I lose.
I played in the Team Serious Open for the first time and I managed a 3-2 record. I played a new deck based on Karn, Scion of Urza and Paradoxical Outcome. Since I picked Karn, I cut Mentor and without Mentor I decided to just play Mono-Blue
4 Paradoxical Outcome
3 Karn, Scion of Urza
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Tezzeret, the Seeker
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Echoing Truth
1 Dig Through Time
1 Brain Freeze
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Ancestal Recall
1 Time Walk
2 Voltaic Key
2 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Black Lotus
1 Time Vault
2 Mox Opal
1 Chrome Mox
1 Mana Crypt
4 Force of Will
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Flooded Strand
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolerain Academy
3 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Reality Shift
2 Mental Misstep
4 Tormod's Crypt
4 Grafdigger's Cage
Round 1 - Rajah playing Shops
He went first and that pretty much decided the game. He led with a Thorn and I played a land Mox, Crypt. He played Revoker on Crypt which kept me off of Karn. I was flooded with Land for a while and got a top which he played a Revoker and that did it. Game 2, I had a slow start but I got a turn 2 Karn that he played a Revoker on it and I have one construct. He played Traxos and I could not catch up even though the construct was almost be enough to kill Traxos I never saw any business spells.
Round 2 - Kyle playing Pyromancer
Game 1 I just never got anything going. Game 2 I got Karn to work and we went the distance. Game 3 this is where I see the power of Erayo. She is just awesome. I flipped her turn one and he never recovered. I played a Karn and the beatings were just too much.
Round 3 - Jacob playing Enchantress
Game 1 was another Erayo flip and I win soon after that. Game 2 he plays an early Mystic Remora, and I play Tezzeret, the Seeker and Time Vault. I played more artifacts which gave him more cards. In hindsight, I should have grabbed a Key then kept grabbing moxes and then ramped up Tezzeret. I got the win with an army of 5/5 artifact creatures.
Round 4 - Matt playing Paradoxical Mentor.
Game 1, I have a busted hand. I go for an early Paradoxical Outcome for 3 and he forces it. Turn 2 I play Tinker Blightsteel. He searches he library for a solution with a Dig and Preordain and an Ancestral Recall. He did have a Key but no Vault so I get the early win on turn 3. Game 2 he gets the early win with a Tinker for Blightsteel. Game 3 I just go crazy with Paradoxical Outcome on turn 2 and Brainfreeze him for 15. He has about 6 cards left and next turn I play Snapcaster on the Brainfreeze for the win.
Round 5 - Frank playing Lands
Game 1 This was my first time going being on the play all day. I had a good hand with Library, Tolerian, Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Tinker and Force of Will and Brainfreeze. I made a horrible play mistake that cost me the game. Instead can casting the Sol Ring and Vault off of the Library I just play Library expecting to either get more cards or draw another mana source. He wastes my Library, and I have to Force a Null Rod. I never see a mana source in 5 turns so he does what his deck is supposed to do and hits me with a 20/20. Game 2 was a nothing for me. I just had nothing the whole game.
I really liked this deck. I need to really learn it and make better mulligan decisions. The sideboard was OK but I think 1 or 2 Blue Blasts would be nice and one other bounce spell over Reality Shift, which is really there for Eldrazi, Humans and Shops. This will be my fun deck to play for a while.
I came in 20th at SCG Con. So, thanks for all of the advice and tolerating my belly aching over MTGO. I cannot make it to Champs this year because I am welcoming my 3rd child into the world.
I hope to make it to another large event because I played day one on 2hrs of sleep and I made play mistakes on day two that cost me top 8 so I know I can do better.
Thanks to everyone in the community for their advice. It helped!!!
I have been testing with this guy and he is awesome. He literally closes out the game and he does it faster than Terferi. He may or may not work in Xerox. I'm going to try that next and the run some leagues and see how I finish but at first glance he is really good.
MTGO - Take 2
I decided to give MTGO another try and I decided to play my current paper deck. I have not tried a league yet but I have some opinions about MTGO that I want to share.
Here are my big lessons from playing MTGO:
Playing MTGO will make your understanding of the rules about MTG better but it will not make you a better paper player.
• I commonly make play mistakes due to mis-clicks or misunderstanding of cards on my screen that I would never make playing paper.
• There are things about the rules that I did not know, and MTGO exploits these. Leovold is beast against Oath on MTGO.
• The random shuffle on MTGO is vastly different from a paper shuffle where players aim for random distribution of cards.
The cost of buying into MTGO vs buying into paper is not worth it if you plan on staying in the game for any pro-longed period of time.
• Buying into the base for Vintage on MTGO is expensive it costs about $600 but optimizing a deck is also very expensive and many players including myself cheat by using sub-par replacements. Example – I needed Hurkyl’s Recall which is about $5 but initially I used Rebuild that is $0.05. This is a huge difference is how these cards work in addition to casting costs. There are several more examples like buying the right fetch lands for your deck versus using what you have already purchased.
• Paper cards mostly keep value and go up versus MTGO cards that lose value over time and rarely go up in value (I know someone will provide some counter example but generally MTGO cards do not go up in value).
• I would rather buy paper cards over digital cards any day and owning cards is a big part of my enjoyment of Magic.
The MTGO meta-game is not a reflection of what is played on paper.
• I keep proxy decks on me for testing and loaning out. These decks are my attempt to reflect the meta-game. I noticed that when a large group of paper players get together you see more quirky and innovative decks just due to the variance of people and the cards that they own.
• A lot of players do not see value in maintaining 2 card bases, and several players play limited events and play in other formats where they accumulate paper cards. If you win at a local event then you usually get store credit and most players grow their collect that way.
• There is generally more combo and aggro played in paper events versus MTGO
There is a small group of players that dominate MTGO. We see their names on mtgotop8.com and rarely see paper players names because most of the data from paper events is not collected in a reliable way.
I noticed that as I got better in MTGO it was not about how good I was at playing my deck but how good was I at beating certain players like guttershark or thepowernine on MTGO. That is not to say that playing against these players does not make you better. This is to say that when I play against my friend Ben Perry, Greg Kraigher, or Chad Teuscher who are all great players and play very different styles and decks I also become a better player and I have more fun.
I have learned a lot about being a better player playing against Kevin Cron and Aaron Katz because all of these guys are great players and no one sees their decks or ranking because we play on paper at a monthly local event that gets between 12-24 people.
I generally do not have any feeling that I am having fun playing MTGO. I often get bored or lose interest in matches. I crave interaction with people, and I like learning about my opponent while I am playing.
All of this as lead to me the conclusion, there is some value in MTGO but it is not nearly as large are people make it out to be. I love playing MTG against people in a face to face play-setting. I tolerate MTGO when I feel an urge to just play cards.
@brass-man I am still playing Oath and I like the idea in general. If you look at the Tournament Report threads, I played a Blood Moon in Sun Titan Oath build where I had a 3rd place finish in a Vintage Trial. I know Oath decks like their color wheel to be extremely varied with 4 colors but the disruption of Blood Moon was amazing. I would totally run it in my main again on Oath.
Instead of trying to discuss what is in the deck, I just want to focus on the decks weaknesses. The first and most important weakness is the lack of card draw. This is a critical weakness of any tempo deck. The relies very heavily on it's opening hand to set up then plays from the top of the deck from that point forward.
The deck will attack you from 2 fronts, creature damage and resource denial. The strategy to stop Shop has relied on 2 points. Creature removal and artifact removal or killing them faster than they can either lock the board or kill you with creatures.
The removal strategy is usually the most popular and involves running Swords to Plowshare, Lightning Bolt, Fragmentize, etc... The strategy works when you draw the cards and you can still play the cards that make your deck work. When I am playing a blue deck my normal strategy is to counter the prison piece and try and live through the aggro.
The other strategy really only works for combo decks or decks with a combo finish. You can play faster than them if they do not slow you down first, but if they can get any resource constraining pieces on the board you lose.
I'd like to discuss the best cards to stop Shops and when to play them in the thread. Playing Hurkyl's Recall is great but when do you play it. After you have taken damage, or before the attack?
Dack Fayden is also useful but no longer the I stop Shop card he used to be. What is the best way to use Dack or Jace?
One critical part of this discussion has be about sideboarding, if you are siding out 4 Mental Misstep and 2 Flusterstorm or Pyroblast then do you have to have 6 removal spells on your sideboard that stop Shop?