Posts made by Smmenen
posted in Vintage News read more

https://www.eternalcentral.com/so-many-insane-plays-podcast-episode-89-war-of-the-spark/

0:01:00: Announcements
0:05:40: VSL Season 9 Finals
0:45:40: Bolas’s Citadel
0:53:40: Jace, Weilder of Mysteries
0:57:16: Flux Channeler
1:02:40: Dreadhorde Arcanist
1:19:30: Burning Prophet
1:23:50: Teferi, Time Raveler
1:40:25: Karn, the Great Creator
1:56:03: Narset, Parter of Veils
2:01:57: Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
2:08:36: Blast Zone
2:15:55: Return to Nature
2:19:18: Price of Betrayal
2:22:35: Dovin’s Veto
2:26:21: Ral, Storm Conduit
2:31:16: Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
2:37:00: Deliver Unto Evil
2:42:05: Dovin, Hand of Control
2:54:28: Ashiok, Dream Render
3:06:16: God-Pharaoh’s Statue
3:10:48: Ugin, the Ineffable
Total runtime: 3:18:06
Show Notes
– War of the Spark Visual Spoiler

Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.

posted in Vintage News read more

It's because Magic has random elements, and infinite permutability in terms of decks

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

Unfortunately, I will be in Europe for NoobCon.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

The top 16 was posted on the MTGO website

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

@smmenen said in VSL Season 9 Thread:

Last night's matches were super interesting (to me). I love the intricacies of the Xerox mirror, so I immensely appreciated the matches that demonstrated the advantages of different colors and tactics and the possible lines of play.

SPOILER ALERT:

W
A
R
N
I
N
G

As for who will win the finals, although he doesn't have the highest MTGO win rate according to that database in the other thread, for the last year or so, I've viewed Andreas as the most ambidextrous and overall best Vintage player, in the sense of someone who plays at a pro level, but deeply understands the format, and tends to play the best decks. On the other hand, Rachel is a savant with blue decks - she's very, very facile, and intuits the correct and best play quickly and swiftly.

To me, that sets up a perfect finals - two Vintage experts, but one who is deep and wide, who plays at an extremely high technical level, and another who is basically an extremely high level fun and intuitive player, and can easily overpower the former. We saw how Rachel did that to Rich, even though Rich is obviously a deeper format expert. I've felt all season long that Andreas was going to win the tournament, so I guess I'll go with Andreas, but Rachel has a great shot if Andreas isn't very careful in his deck selection, and doesn't also match her draws in terms of power.

This post aged well.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Whoa. It’s Vroman.

posted in Vintage News read more

@chubbyrain said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

@smmenen I listened to the VSL analysis (good stuff, tough breaks in the games as well) and the initial part of the London Mulligan on reducing variance. I think it will actually benefit Shops and PO. A 58% chance of hitting a single restricted card without Powder is very high and both Shops and PO have powerful cards that they can mulligan to if their opener is not a typical Shops or PO opener. PO has potential access to Timetwister, Tinker, Ancestral, Tutors, Mentor, Balance, Wheel, Windfall (which could get much better), any 1 of which could eliminate the disadvantage of mulliganing. Shops has access to Trinisphere, Chalice, and to a lesser degree Thorn, Sphere, Strip Mine, and Workshop as powerful cards that can enable degenerate openings and win games with fewer cards. Dredge and Survival both benefit as Bazaar decks, though for Survival finding Bazaar is neither necessary or sufficient to win and so the rule's change won't help as much. The decks that get hit the most are the control decks that generally don't operate well on few cards. The only card that really saves them on mulligans is Ancestral. BUG Fish and Blue Aggro-Control are both going to be impacted by the new rules change.

I think you are missing the forest for the trees in the middle part of your analysis.

While it's true that Shops has a (growing) number of restricted lock parts, a Shops deck is unlikely to mulligan more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find them, simply because modern Shops decks rely on cumulative pressure (both lock parts and damage) more than a single tactic to hold an opponent at bay, like it could do in the days of unrestricted Trinisphere.

Similarly, PO is not going to want to mulligan any more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find the titular card. PO requires a density of mana rocks and other perms to make PO payoff. Thus, it needs a larger starting hand in general.

Your math is correct, but you are applying it in a way that does not properly account for the context in which the mulligan occurs.

What really matters is the relative rate of mulliganing in the assessment of 'who benefits?'. It's possible that all decks will be more likely to mulligan to 6 as a result of the rule change. But I think both PO and Shops (as well as Xerox) will have a lower mulligan rate increase relative to the other strategies described in the podcast.

So, if PO and Shops were to increase their mulligan rate by, say, 5% under the London rule (such as from 1 out of every 5 games to 1 out of every 4 games), then Survival and Eldrazi's will be even greater (say, 8%, from 1 out of every 4 games to 1 out of every 3), and that's accounting for any imbalance in starting levels of mulligan rates.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

Last night's matches were super interesting (to me). I love the intricacies of the Xerox mirror, so I immensely appreciated the matches that demonstrated the advantages of different colors and tactics and the possible lines of play.

SPOILER ALERT:

W
A
R
N
I
N
G

As for who will win the finals, although he doesn't have the highest MTGO win rate according to that database in the other thread, for the last year or so, I've viewed Andreas as the most ambidextrous and overall best Vintage player, in the sense of someone who plays at a pro level, but deeply understands the format, and tends to play the best decks. On the other hand, Rachel is a savant with blue decks - she's very, very facile, and intuits the correct and best play quickly and swiftly.

To me, that sets up a perfect finals - two Vintage experts, but one who is deep and wide, who plays at an extremely high technical level, and another who is basically an extremely high level fun and intuitive player, and can easily overpower the former. We saw how Rachel did that to Rich, even though Rich is obviously a deeper format expert. I've felt all season long that Andreas was going to win the tournament, so I guess I'll go with Andreas, but Rachel has a great shot if Andreas isn't very careful in his deck selection, and doesn't also match her draws in terms of power.

posted in Vintage News read more

Separately, the point I made in the podcast is that the defining feature of Magic is variance. While lamented in some respects, by being non-deterministic, Magic actually introduces skill aspects that could otherwise not exist. For example, without variance, deck construction would look very differently.

My main point, though, is that different aspects of the game - deck construction rules, floor rules, the sideboard - are all attempts to manage variance in one direction or another.

The 4 card max/60 card min rule fixes variance at a certain rate (that is, create variance - a no minimum deck size could be entirely deterministic).

The best 2/3 match structure and the mulligan are two additional rules (generally floor rules) that try reduce variance in the other direction. That is, matches that are played as best 2 of 3 have less variance that best of one matches. It moves you closer to the statistical norm.

I am of the firm belief that you want to produce a balance of variance into a Goldilocks zone, not too much, but not too little variance either.

My overall fear is that the London rule reduces variance too much. I don't think that decks should have that kind of starting hand consistency. I wouldn't mind it as much if starting deck size were a bit larger, but I think it makes it too easy to find a single card, and also to assemble 2-card combos.

While I have this fear, I also like the fact that the rule should help non-tier one decks the most. The decks that stand to benefit the most are those that are not Xerox, PO or Shops (the three tier 1 decks).

So, for the short term, I think the London rule will be good for the metagame, in the sense of 1) increasing metagame diversity, 2) increasing metagame balance, and 3) increasing win rates for (some) lower tier decks. But the long term effects are harder to gauge, and I am less sanguine in the long run.

Anyway, that is a very brief synopsis of my remarks in the podcast, which were more elaborate and detailed.

posted in Vintage News read more

@evouga said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

Here is the additional analysis you asked about in the podcast:

Probabilities of finding a Bazaar under the Vancouver system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 38.58% 41.45% 51.77%
4 86.50% 88.70% 94.18%

For the London system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 58.04% 62.14% 75.52%
4 97.18% 98.08% 99.57%

Methodology: I assumed you

  • keep any hand with at least one Bazaar
  • use Serum Powder whenever you draw it and do not have a Bazaar
  • under the London system, tuck any extra Serum Powders back in your deck before any use of Serum Powder.

Mathematica source code: https://www.dropbox.com/s/np0y0maooxln4cr/mulligan.nb?dl=0

If I am reading this table correctly, it says that the probability of finding a particular/specific restricted card in your opening hand under the London system and with 4 powders is 75.52%?

I'm assuming that Bazaar is the column, and Powder the row. That's pretty astounding.

But if I am reading that table correctly, it also means that with 0 Powder, you have a 97% chance of finding Bazaar. 1 more powder gets you to 98%. 4 get you to 99.57%. That basically eliminates a game loss a tournament from the mull to oblivion.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

That's pretty insane. It also means it's really incumbent on Vintage players on MTGO to try to make the case, one way or the other. Dredgeapolooza.

posted in Vintage Community read more

"fair" and "interactive" are superficially neutral concepts, but actually deeply biased. At core, they favor decks that are slower on the strategy wheel, and require many turns to win, rather than strategies that tend to be faster than average. That's why they are concepts that should be viewed quite skeptically by policymakers. "Fairness" and "interactivity" would place decks like Landstill on the safest part of a continuum or spectrum, regardless of how such decks actually perform. That's one reason why such concepts should never be given too much credit in terms of B&R policymaking. They are hopelessly biased in favor of control decks. That's why decks like The Deck got a pass in the mid-1990s, when they shouldn't have. Applying an empirical analysis would have revealed how dominant the deck was, and in need of regulation, as Old School communities realized.

posted in Vintage News read more

Old School players prefer to play with mana burn, even though that no longer exists in Magic.

posted in Vintage News read more

@fsecco said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

@smmenen said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

I play Alpha40, which uses no mulligans at all, and the player who goes first draws on their first turn.

It’s not hard to remember.

Also, I have always hated the scry mulligan in Old School. I wouldn’t permit it at all.

I don’t consider any paticular mulligan to be a “core” magic mechanic.

Those are casual formats, Steve, it's way different than official, sanctioned formats. Differences between Limited and Constructed are so big that having 40/60 cards is inconsequential. That said, I also think that if it's necessary I wouldn't have issues with different mulligans for different formats, as long as it's a last resort only policy and that the formats with the different mulligan have something very distinct to remember which one(s) have it. For example, if it's only 1 format (like everyone gets Vancouver except Standard, or everyone gets London except Vintage) or if it's something like "all Eternal formats stay on Vancouver" - but just to show how confusing that could be, there are a LOT of players that think Modern is an Eternal format, so even that would be a problem hahaha

Magic tournament floor rules change regularly.

Players are expected to be up to date on countless areas of minutia, from errata to triggers to mulligan rules. I have lost games and received tournament penalties for applying out-dated rules in tournament contexts, because I was unaware of a relevant change, including the countless changes around triggers. I'm sure many players forget to 'scry' in Vintage games, especially old time players.

I'm not advocating that Vintage has it's own mulligan rule. But the idea that such an approach is too administratively cumbersome, inefficient, complex or challenging is not particularly convincing. Especially given the innumerable ways I've already listed in which formats differ or the innumerable rules changes over the years that players must adapt to.

While it's true that many rules changes are ostensibly universal across formats, the reality is that many rules have unequal effects across formats. The removal of interrupts from the game of magic basically only impacts Vintage and Legacy today.

Players already have to track numerous facets of game play. It's trivial for a judge to remind players at the beginning of a tournament what mulligan rule is in force, or whatnot. Just as they do about banned and restricted lists follow B&R changes.

The fact that there have been so many different mulligan rules in Magic - as covered in this podcast - illustrates that mulliganining is not a 'core' Magic mechanic.

People thought that separating the Type I and Type II B&R list was too administratively cumbersome, and it was done. Same with Type I and Type I.5. A separate Vintage or Legacy 'mulligan' rule is far less disruptive than, say, the removal of the stack during combat or changes in how optional triggers are handled.

posted in Vintage News read more

I play Alpha40, which uses no mulligans at all, and the player who goes first draws on their first turn.

It’s not hard to remember.

Also, I have always hated the scry mulligan in Old School. I wouldn’t permit it at all.

I don’t consider any paticular mulligan to be a “core” magic mechanic.

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I think Kevin shares your view, but think about all of the rules in Magic that are different between formats:

  1. The minimum number of cards per deck (40 v. 60 v. 100)
  2. the size of sideboards (limited allows more than 15)
  3. the list of permissible sets
  4. Banned and Restricted Lists
  5. match structure (best of 1, best of 3, best of 5)

Why not mulligans?

Your point, about administrative efficiency and simplicity, was not good enough reason to require Type 1 and Type 2 to share the same Banned and Restricted list, and they were eventually unbuckled. Same with Type 1 and Type 1.5 (although slightly differently). Those, too, were unbuckled.

If different mulligan rules serve different formats, I see no reason that couldn't be accomplished for the same reason that different deck sizes, match structures or B&R lists do.

posted in Vintage News read more

As you'll discover, when you all find time to listen, Kevin and I like the new mulligan proposal, and think it will help, not hurt, Vintage.

posted in Vintage News read more

Our podcast went live Monday, but it's still not up on EC yet. @JACO

So as you don't have to wait another minute longer, you can listen on MTGCast.

http://www.mtgcast.com/podcasts/so-many-insane-plays/posts/episode-88-the-london-mulligan-6c46fa2c13

Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian analyze the London Mulligan for Vintage, including its impact on individual decks, pregame procedures, matchups, and the metagame.

Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays (https://twitter.com/manyinsaneplays) on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.

0:01:00: Announcements
0:02:40: VSL Updates
0:25:40: The London Mulligan announcement and general impacts
0:58:00: Mathematics and specific impacts
1:51:15: Predictions and likelihood for implementation

Links:

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

You should consider playing Eldrazi with 4 Null Rods.

posted in Vintage News read more

Nice job Joe! You are the only regular vintage columnist these days. Keep up the good work and carry the torch!