To try and get back on point, and wrap this up, I'd just ask that people really think deeply about when Vintage really was balanced in the last few years. Maybe we could start taking steps back towards a metagame where players could play with more of their cards, and we weren't looking to just hit everything that ran well for a while, but looked to develop new strategies to combat new problems. Everything in life isn't a nail, and we have more tools at our disposal than a hammer. Terra Nova was built as a rebuke to a comment that no new innovations were possible in Shops until new cards were printed, or new restrictions/unrestrictions took place. Maybe before we take away someone's right to play their cards we can go to the drawing board and work towards addressing the problems at hand in new, unseen ways. This current philosophy is exhausting, and awful for the long-term health of the format.
I'll offer my 2 cents on this, in particular:
The best Vintage format I've played in was at NYSE 2 (or thereabouts).
This format included 4x Golem and 4x Chalice, and I still felt actively favored against Shops.
What I think was a defining feature of format was that the threats didn't match up with the draw engines all that well. Tinker for Blightsteel was the best thing in the format, followed by a lot of other clunkier two card combos (Salvagers, Vault/Key, Oath)--all of which want you to tutor chain, rather than go up cards. The best draw engines weren't in the same deck--and didn't synergize with--the best threats. The best draw engines lived in Delver (with Gush being as dumb as ever--and this was probably secretly the best deck), and Standstill. And there was space in between the two extremes--e.g. Blue Angels or BUG Fish, which had worse than gush/better than Vampiric Tutor draw engines, but better threats and answers than Delver of Secrets and Mishra's Factory.
Note that I haven't mentioned Shops here. That's because Shops decks were, by and large, a boogeyman, but very beatable. You had to show respect, play your 2 drops and EEs and Chewers, but you could win. The small shops creatures were prisony but, outside of Ravager, actively sucked when getting into the red zone (remember--you didn't have Ballista, HBW, or Foundry Inspector!), and the large shops creatures were necessarily clunky and occasionally uncastable.
That--at least how I remember it--was the best format I've played.
@blindtherapy Loyal Retainer+Legend does get us there with high probability, but if we're actually reanimating, you have to imagine it's better to just Dread Return them, right?
@wfain It's spelled "Outcome". Please. You seem to be and have acted like a reasonable human being, I'd really prefer if you didn't turn into an internet troll who has an opinion which I ignore out of hand. (See: anyone who uses the word "Derpstep" more than once non-ironically).
Report, while it's still fresh. Props to @kaluma for the deck, I felt damn near unbeatable for most of the day. My Jeskai sideboard of 2x decay+squee was great. my shops sideboard was irrelevant (I won via normal survival things, not anything else), and my dredge hate was dredge hate.
R1 Storm. G1 I break his soul by flusterstorm on Tinker, after leading windswept heath pass.
G2 I assemble drs+leovold+countermagic. he gets clocked and dies after trying and failing with macro.
R2, lose G1 to blind revoker on lotus, win game 2 to assembling the bash bros, then winning a drawn out affair where I had to beat a traxos via phantasmal image, then lose game 3 to revoker on lotus
r3, I smash Jeskai with "here is survival, are you dead?". game 2 was a more buffoony affair where hardcast trygon predator and wonder win the game right through rest in peace.
r4, smashed landstill. felt like I won 3 games, as bazaar and survival donked him. But I did lose g2 having taken some hits while finding abrupt decay for containment priest, and getting fiery confluenced for 6.
r5 smashed Jeskai. g1 played sylvan library. it found me 3 survival. the 3rd stuck and killed my opponent.
g2, it's a more drawn out affair, but I basically win by trygon eating his hate, then pooping out vengevines.
r6 beat dredge. He mulled to 1 g1, and I had double leyline ancestral in game 2.
r7 lost to blood moons. lost g1 to "surprise you're dead" won g2 off forest jet decay blood moon, lost g3 to emerald sapphire recall...find 0 mana sources, null rod dead.
r8 beat shops, lost g1 to trinisphere, had fast trygon predator games 2/3 and he carried me home.
r9 beat grixis control. g1, I have a bug fish hand. DRS, Leovold, misstep bolt on leo, stick survival, ballgame.
g2, I open bazaar, hollow one hollow one against his library. I force his dack fayden on 3 with flusterstorm backup, then rip walk to put him to 0 instantly.
r10, I battle shops, g1 have this awkward moment where I've survival'd, forced a couple things, but now our opponent has revokered survival and has larger monsters. fortunately, I have DRS and burn her out for the win.
g2 she opens on sphere. I bazaar, vv+rootwalla (pitching esg to cast rootwalla) hollow one, and 2x hollow one the next turn and easily win.
My deck was from my last post:
20 core survival
1 phantasmal image
1 sylvan library
1 treasure Cruise
4 Emerald, Jet, Sapphire, Lotus
@drstreetmention edited the "original" post -- although going through the decklists right now, Paul Callis who played "Junk Survival" to a 6-2 record played the same 60 as the winning Asia Vintage Champs-- so it really was Bant.
Cleaning up the data and moving people to the right category:
Bant Survival = 65% win rate (8 players)
RGwu Survival = 55% win rate (6 players with 1 or more Ancient Grudge and Chewer)
Other Survival = 75% win rate (1 player: FOW Leovold / Misstep)
Thanks for puttting this together. Not surprising to me in the least--the RGwu versions are far more matchup dependent, and that's not as good in a huge tournament like Champs. Bant was simply ultra stable and did well. FoW Survival was me, and I finished 8-2 (with 1 loss to, of all things, Blood Moons), good for the casual 75%. That's not really any sample size.
What I see from this is that--back of the napkin--is that you've got enough sample size that you're about 80% certain that bant was better against the champs field than RGwu, and 0 statistical certainty about anything about FoW Survival.
That said--every single version is notably north of 50%, so I'm quite certain that we had the best deck in the room, with a very decent conversion rate to the top 8.
Because (1) it's a fantastic run hot deck (Cosmo's deck from champs, for example, doesn't have Preordain. It's going to fold on itself some medium percentage of the time, though I'm sure it's fantastic when it does not), and (2) it doesn't have any real champion online who is willing to grind the deck and get the 3 to 4 5-0 records it takes to get noticed. (and a big #3--it relies on your opponent not knowing what you're doing a little bit).
UWR Stoneblade. I maintain it's the best of the Boat/Dig/Gush/Planeswalker decks against Shops, since Stoneforge is such a brutal clean-up hitter against them (no, really--their deck becomes Ravager or Bust), but you do suffer some against Oath.
But realistically, the answer is "no". You look at my deck and you go huh, that's the Jeskai deck.
Are you just tired of Vintage or is there some element of dissatisfaction with the format, in your or Ryan's view? I ask not as a subsidiary or unrelated topic, but because it seems directly germane to the issue at hand.
I'll give an answer from a different player who know why. It's because Vintage doesn't feel fun anymore. If I want to win, I play shops, and if I want to have fun with cards...well, you're going to run into a wall of Pyroblast and Friends (in addition to shops), and that's just a disaster for your "let's have fun" brew. I attribute an additional portion of me burning out to my choice of Xerox deck being incidentally crushed by the first metagame shift (Stoneforge Mystic is a bad time into Oath and maindecked ancient grudge!), and just finding I finally got sick of the whole dig/cruise/gush/cantrip paradigm that blue has become.
From a B&R perspective, what would bring me back is...I don't know, just outright ban Khans block from the format--Mentor, Cruise, and Dig simply synergize too well with what the format wants to be doing, and it encourages this awkward blue format where there's very rarely a chance to answer a threat outside of the stack (which pushes blue in into Flusterstorms and Pyroblasts), where before, you could legitimately fight even blue decks on the board as opposed to on the stack.
That's my 2 cents.
(On the other hand, if you've decided that Misstep is the only thing holding you back from playing Goblin Welder, chances are pretty good that Misstep is increasing your match win rate)
Evidence that this is true--nobody is succeeding with Welder+4x Misstep. Or Crop Rotation+Misstep. The only deck which is really being Chased out by Misstep is Ritual Storm--and that less because the Ritual gets hit, but because Duress et. al. get hit, and it legitimately doesn't have the deck space to play 4x Misstep.
Honestly given all the griping, I'd rather we unrestrict some cards and live a little first, before we call for Workshops' head. Give us Merchant Scroll. Give us Windfall. Give us Imperial Seal. Or all the cantrips. Or, if we're feeling spicy, Flash. I'm pretty sure that the current iteration of blue control can beat the tar out of any blue based combo deck (short of potentially Mind's Desire, and even then), or can adapt to do so. Give blue the tools to do the dirty work of crushing Shop players more easily, and they will.
At least we'd be exploring interesting space for a bit at that point, instead of a "this sucks, please restrict".
@jhport12 I do think the BEST solution to metagame woes is a new printing, whenever possible. It rarely happens, but it's the ideal fix when it does. I like to look to Dack Fayden as the card that solved Tinker. People argued for the banning of the already-restricted Tinker for years, and I don't know what the format would look like if cards started getting banned. Tinker became less of a problem for a variety of reasons, but Dack Fayden was a big part of it.
I honestly think there's a fair few of broken cards on the restricted list that we should take off, simply because the general power level of answers and the format is a lot higher than it used to be. I'm like...80% that blue could adapt to defeat almost any combo engine that exist. For example, is Flash really that bad to add to the format? It's a cheaper Show and Tell...but it loses just as hard to Containment Priest and Grafdigger's Cage as Oath does, and it requires even more clunky cards.What about unrestricted Fastbond? It's certainly high variance and exceedingly powerful (and there are some additional enablers that didn't exist long ago), but if we only have 1 gush, it's at least 3 cards to go off.
You simply aren't going to get there with fair answers, because @ChubbyRain is going to play them in the blue deck. You need actively 'new' deck paradigms pushed into the metagame--and ones which don't get eventually hated out. Paradoxical Outcomes is at least as busted as the other cards I've noted, and it's a meaningful, but largely marginalized deck right now but it was pretty close to being the new, consistent hotness for a little bit. We need more Paradoxical Outcomes type cards to break the current stagnation--and I'd rather let things off the restricted list to get them than wait for Wizards to print them.
@jonhammack I think you can feel entitled to a reasonable, polite response, even if not necessarily a handshake. For example "I don't want to shake your hand because I'm not comfortable with it, thanks for the games" is declining a handshake, but nobody should get mad about that.
There are two reasons for declining attendance in the northeast. First (and I think this is bigger)--the playerbase is getting meaningfully older on average. It used to be a 20s crowd, and the set of goons hasn't changed significantly. I suspect that the median age at TDG was like 32, when 5 years ago it might have been 27-29. People have more responsibilities, and it's a lot harder to justify the day out when you have other meaningful and productive things to do (which is why, I think MTGO hasn't suffered as much--MTGO is "I stayed home, and played the challenge," for example).
Second, it is the metagame. PO, Dredge, and Shops aren't too good, but they are less interactive and lead to fewer games where you felt like your playskill mattered when playing against them (Shops is better than PO is better than Dredge along these "by feel" metrics--don't throw data at me, because it's very much not a data driven analysis). PO and Dredge, in particular, have a high fail rate/busted rate--for every 4x Mox, Outcomes, Force, Blue card, there's the game of "Lotus, 2 lands, PO, PO, Preordain" that goes nowhere fast, and the playskill involved in "Tap Bazaar, 2x Hollow One, so sorry that you kept Crypt and Rest in Peace" isn't really high (and, to wit, the other side of "I needed to normal dredge, and you kept Crypt and Rest in Peace...this was bad for me"). Your skill matters--but the shift between deck construction being the relevant skill to Vintage and play being the relevant skill has swung towards construction being more relevant of late.
@wfain I'm even a player who's good at playing this sort of goofy, fishy deck (see: Stoneblade at champs last year!), and it's hard to get Survival right. It's relatively easy to actually execute Survival, but the decision points between Bazaar and Survival are not easy to get right. (aside: I'm 99% sure the Rich+Me stream was a stronger player in absolute than a very, very high percentage of Vintage. We made mistakes in combat math, though fewer in execution).
@Smmenen I can say that it's the most absurdly hard deck to build in paper I've ever seen. I was nearing 15 proxies for a mox event I played this at...and this is with real power, and real bazaars. 4x Survival? 4x Vengevine? 4x Noble Hierarch? That's a solid 1k of cards that don't really see play in any other Vintage deck at all!
There is no 'EV', so travelling to the event, you're not going to win money. (this is actually a pro, as you go with no expectations but to hang out and have a blast.)
I'm going to exactly Eternal Weekend this year with the attitude of "I'm here to win." And given the state of Vintage, I think I'm likely not to do that even there--I'm there to have a good time, play a few good matches, and hang out with a fun crew.
I have no nostalgia for the format, so I don't love Old School (and there's an element of elitism about "only this version is allowed" in the format I don't love), but I would 100% agree I show up to events for the community, and a 5 round goof off win box is probably going to be a lot more fun for me than an entire weekend of Magic. I 100% see where you're coming from. I've dropped from tournaments after winning a match for top 8 because a football game is on, and I felt like I made the +EV play for my life, though not necessarily for my wallet.
My overall experience has been that the paper meta has a great amount of diversity, at least in the first 2/3 of tournament rounds. At champs this year I played against 5 different decks (6 rounds, my r1 opponent was a no-show).
If you're only looking at MTGO challenges and paper top 8s, one could get the impression that the paper meta is less diverse than it is.
The paper meta has a lot of bad players playing bad decks at the bottom tables. Metagame diversity is high if I'm willing to count the no hoper who decided to play some unplayable "QUAD LASER FACT OR FICTION!" pile. (Of course, they're probably having a blast casting these cards--if you realized you're not going to win, you really ought to do what you want and have a good time playing!)
The X-0/X-1 bracket at champs, for X>5, is basically the MTGO metagame, and the vast majority (not all, but a pretty heavy majority) of bad decks have been trimmed away, and even the rouge decks aren't "WHY WOULD YOU EVEN TRY THIS", it's instead something standard with a twist instead.