Let me start with the obligatory “long time reader, first time poster”. I’m not much of a writer so I usually don’t write. Since the tournament I am writing about was run at Gen Con, I know there will not be any deck lists or coverage for the vintage events. I will do my best to outline the two events I played my turbo vault deck. I played the below deck in 2 events finishing 5-0 in the first and earning a bye at Eternal Weekend. I finished 4-1 the next day. The deck is mostly a shell of a steel city vault deck but with more focus on speed.
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Expedition Map
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Mana Vault
1 Time Vault
4 Mental Misstep
3 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
2 Voltaic Key
1 Time Walk
1 Transmute Artifact
2 Mox Opal
1 Dack Fayden
2 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Force of Will
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Time Spiral
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Seat of the Synod
1 Tolarian Academy
2 Volcanic Island
1 Hurkyl's Recall
3 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Spell Pierce
1 Arcane Laboratory
4 Ingot Chewer
The first tournament for this deck was Friday. I had played Nahiri Oath the previous day and really liked the build but I wanted to give this a try as well. There were somewhere between 20-30 people at the event. I made single sentence notes as I played so please forgive the lack of details in the matches.
I play Chris who is piloting Grindstone.
• Game 1- I drop lots of spells and moxes on turn one then turn two vault/key.
• Game 2- I keep a slower hand with a turn 1 library but no FOW. He Tinkers for Blightsteel on T1. I don’t have a Dack after drawing so I scoop.
• Game 3 – I have academy and ChromeMox but only 2 artifacts. We fight a huge counter war over my Sensei’s Top which he prepared for by dropping mana crypt. Noting happens for a long time as we rebuild our hands but he loses 5/6 crypt flips. Once I build up enough spells, I resolved warrens for 8 goblins and took the game.
I play Mike who is piloting White Eldrazi. This isn’t a good match-up for me.
• Game 1 - He wins the flip and chalices for 0. He casts a revoker then a thought-knot so I scoop.
• Game 2 – He casts some swinging type creatures which I can mostly ignore. I resolve vault/key on turn 3.
• Game 3 – He casts revoker and names Lotus in the dark. I cast T1 Jace. On turn 2 I timewalk, then storm out 20 goblins for the win.
I play Sam on Doomsday.
• Game 1 – He turn 2, Lotus / Doomsday/ Flusterstorm wins.
• Game 2 – I turn 1 tinker into Myr Battlesphere for thewin
• Game 3 – I surprise him with Trinisphere from the board and win through Tezzeret/Vault
I play Josh on Grixis Control.
• Game 1 – I T1 Vault/Key.
• Game 2 - He boards but I didn’t see anything so I run the same 60. He gets a small army out with deathrite, angler, and eventually a trygon. I cast a wheel of fortune and go for vault/key. I win the counterwar but his last card was abrupt decay. At 1 life, I rebuild my hand with twister and vault/key.
I play Max who is on Oath / Show and Tell. He gets paired up as he is 3-1. After confirming that I will be attending EW, he scoops so I can lock up the bye (Else no one would have finished 5-0). If you are reading this, thank you again! We play it out to see how the match-up would have finished.
• Game 1 – I keep a hand that had a lot of promise with normal draws but I don’t draw any artifacts. He eventually tutors for vault/key.
• Game 2 – I end up playing the control roll in this one countering the oath/shows. He eventually loses to his crypt plus the two spirits he gave me from his orchard.
• Game 3 – I get out my battlesphere and double FOW through the attacks to end 5-0.
They had the tournament set-up so that a player could win up to two byes. I decided to play the same deck on Saturday. I had a lot of game 3 and wanted to see how it performed over a longer stretch of games.
I play Vincent who is on mentor control.
• Game 1 – I go full on vintage on T1 and go through about 30 cards. I drop a Tezz with an academy for the win.
• Game 2 – I storm out 16 goblins or so around T2.
I play Sean who is on GW hate bear style humans. (This is likely my worst matchup)
• Game 1 – I draw lots and lots of cards. I think I cast all of my thoughtcasts. I end up dead with a hand full of land.
• Game 2 – He’s beating me up with little creatures. I’m searching for a win or a pyroclasm. He drops a knight of the reliquary when I’m at 6. I draw a now meaningless pyroclasm and scoop. He ended up winning this tournament.
I play Ryan who is on delver.
• Game 1 – He gets out an early delver and throws a bunch of bolts at me.
• Game 2 – I take the worst game notes possible. My note for this game is “normal”. I see my life total got down to 8 and I know I won the game. I don’t remember how. I must have thought it a very normal way for me to win.
• Game 3 – He has some delvers, I had tinkered for a battlesphere. The battlesphere was faster so I win. I think I pyroblasted away a delver he was planning on blocking with if I remember correctly.
I play John who is on mentor control.
• Game 1 – I storm out a good sized warrens that outpaced the mentor and tokens
• Game 2 – He gets out an early Narset and locks me out.
• Game 3 – I storm out a warrens, play trinisphere, timewalk, then timespiral timewalk again for the win.
I play Matt playing shops.
• I turn 1 out a bunch of moxes, a time vault, and a map. He ancient tombs for sphere of resistance. I turn 2 cast mana vault, use it to search up academy with the map, then tap the moxes and academy for 6 and play Tezz for the win. We only play one game so he can meet up with his friends for dinner.
The deck is about as fun as a deck can be. I wouldn’t mind fitting in a mind’s desire but I’m not sure where I would put it. The board could use some work. I didn’t even board in cage against Oath. In part it was because his build was heavy on show and tell but it was also in part because I didn’t feel like it needed it. I think any of the pridemage / stony silence decks will be tough. I have enough removal to kill null rod. I’m not sure it’s worth putting in too much for the creatures. The deck can’t board out too many cards and still be potent. Anyway, I hope you like my report. See you at EW.
I had not played in a Vintage Challenge for a while but the new restriction on MM got me excited to dust off some of my favorite 1-drops. I decided to start with Goblin Welder. I played the below deck to a 5-2 record.
3 Uba Mask
1 Myr Battlesphere
4 Goblin Welder
1 Lodestone Golem
4 Hollow One
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
2 Null Rod
3 Bazaar of Baghdad
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Mana Crypt
3 Tangle Wire
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishra's Workshop
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Sundering Titan
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Mana Vault
1 Karn, the Great Creator
1 Mystic Forge
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Crucible of Worlds
2 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Tormod's Crypt
4 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Witchbane Orb
1 Null Rod
1 Sundering Titan
1 Pithing Needle
2 By Force
Here are my thought:
I love the Uba Mask but I faced 3 other Bazaar decks in the challenge so it was boarded out a lot in this event.
Null Rod was great. I'd like to find room for 1 more
I sometimes struggled to have red mana. That's part of the reason I am light on red. I'd like to have another Pyroblast though.
Daretti was just ok. I won a gome because of him but he was underwhelming in general
I never got to use Mindslaver but I think it still has a place.
Wurmcoil was great against the BUG decks
Sundering Titan was the most frequent game winner. This guy is awesome.
I underestimated how often I would have Karn in play. I think that I should put Lattice in the board for the free wins.
I'm curious what you all are doing. What are your favorite things in Welder?
I really only get to play paper vintage at Gen Con and EW. Since Gen Con is a month away, I’ve worked to find a deck I like that I believe stands a decent shot at successfully competing in a large event. I agree that this vintage meta is terrible. I feel I’ve done my due diligence attempting to find a reasonable solution but I’ve failed. I do believe that there will be changes by EW to shake up this format. The last restrictions did not go as they predicted.
I was and still am in favor of Probe being restricted. For me, it’s not that it is an overpowered card, or even an unfun card. In my opinion, Probe is among the worst designed MTG cards. A big part of this game is the bluff. I have no issues with cards taking that away as a sacrifice to the caster. Not only did probe do this without sacrifice, but to a benefit of a storm/mentor trigger. The two life was almost always meaningless. I played it, but I’m glad I can only play one now. I want there to be some bluff component in the game.
The Gush restriction didn’t accomplish anything other than limiting deck choices. The problem is that some decks need multiples to work. I had a lot of fun with Cobra Gush. That’s no longer a viable deck. The issue with the restriction with intent to limit Mentor is that the Mentor deck does not need Gush. It works just fine without it.
That said, I am as not as opposed to restrictions as most people seem to be. The fact that people can still play with the cards in singleton is part of the appeal. I like the character. It’s great to draw the Ancestral Recall. The restriction makes it more meaningful in my mind. It also fosters deck diversity. If 4 Demonic Tutors were allowed, you would see very few vampirics, merchant scrolls, etc... I’m all for more restrictions to liven up the meta.
If nothing else, Mental Misstep needs to go. This card is the number one diversity killer. It diminishes discard, ramp, mana dorks, fast creatures, and utility creatures. If this goes, I expect that we will see more Tendrils, Doomsday, Welder, BUG, Infect (maybe), Fish, Dark Times, Tiny Robots, Painter, and whatever else I forgot about. It also will take some air out of Mentor if that card is still around.
Speaking of Mentor, it also has to go. It’s a well-designed card that was not designed with vintage in mind. When 75% of a deck causes triggers (with many of these spells at 0-1 mana), an otherwise great creature just become dumb. I’ve played Mentor plenty. It’s not really fun to win with it and it’s not fun at all to lose to it. “What did you kill me with?, oh yeah, you did 9 extra points of damage my playing Sapphire, Preordain, Misstep your own Preordain.” Who is excited there? The pilot is happy for the win but at what cost… That’s not magic.
Shops is always a big concern. I would be fine with Mishra's Workshop being banned in theory. I even own a play set so I’d take a big loss. The problem is that some shops players would just quit vintage all together. I accept that we’ll just ignore that broken card and look elsewhere. The go to choice is Thorn but honestly I’d rather see Sphere. While this won’t hurt Shops as much in principle, I believe that the lift creature decks get from mostly ignoring Thorn balances this out. I also think restricting Thorn hurts multiple decks while restricting Sphere mostly only affects Shops.
I would love to see some of the other restricted cards get a look but I don’t think that many realistic options will make much difference. Maybe Flash.
My hope is that the next announcement they add Sphere, Mentor and Misstep.
I love this card. I've been testing it in a BUG Fish type build. With it being green, it combos very well with Fastbond. Since I'm also playing Demonic and Vampiric Tutor, I have a single Zuran Orb in the build. I've won some otherwise difficult games by gaining infinite life. So far, this card one of the best in the deck.
To all the people saying that he was just playing sloppy, sloppy play is no excuse. This is a competitive REL event, if you're playing sloppy you don't deserve to win. Everyone needs to be doing their part in a competitive event and calling judges whenever their opponent makes mistakes like these and judges should be doing their part in giving out warnings/upgrading them to losses after 3. Joe should have been given a game loss just based on what was on camera round 7. And if he was playing half as sloppy in the rest of the rounds, he should have been eventually given multiple game losses throughout the day so that he would never be in contention for top 8. It's kind of annoying that the penalties reset for the 2nd day given that day 2 was just top 8. Reseting penalties makes a bit more sense in a longer day 2 like a GP, but I think for just a day 2 top 8 it just allows for more sloppy play in top 8.
Vnayin is making the correct point. It's very difficult to prove intent. The rules are there for a reason. It doesn't matter if a play intended to play 2 lands a turn (ect...), doing so is a violation and should be treated so. We want Vintage to be above the bar, for people to play with honor and enjoy the game. I want this, but it allows us to be more forgiving. It also allows malicious people to take advantage of our community. When we are playing in a competitive REL event, we need to be consistent with the application of the rules. Not doing so opens the floodgates.
No disrespect at all i_b, you should always play what you want, but I think you missed the point. The concern is that it is a two deck meta and you were playing a fairly stock mentor list. While I played BUG this weekend, I was on shops last weekend. It's hard to play anything but shops or mentor if you are looking to win. That's the point and the problem.
I'm not sold that Workshop needs restriction. While workshop is the enabler of many powerful effects, the main role is allowing the Shops player to be less affected by the tax effect. In the games where the Shops deck does not draw any spheres, Mishra's Workshop is rarely a problem card. The fact is, outside of a turn 1 Trinisphere, there is nothing that a Mishra's Workshop can cast that is more broken than what a basic island can cast. Eliminating Workshop would only marginally reduce the number of turn 1 sphere effects. Having 2 mana on turn 1 is almost automatic for the deck, even without Workshops. The spheres wouldn't go away from a banning of Mishra's Workshop. If anything needs done, it would be reducing the number of taxing effects. If Thorn is hit, then Eldrazi and Hate Bears also get hit. I would restrict Sphere first.
It is s proven fact that people dislike change. Despite this change is often very healthy. I firmly believe that change is needed in the vintage card pool and fully welcome it. While there will not ever be community agreement on what change is necessary, leaving things as is would be a disappointment. I know people get disillusioned with change and sometimes even quit. Leaving a failing meta also can cause people to quit. I’m sad that they are not having a good time in this great game but I also firmly believe that this would be their loss in the end. The sky is not now nor has it ever been falling.
I shared my view on restriction is the other thread but I’ll reiterate my believe; in Vintage, restrictions are not the same as bans and should not be viewed the same way. The fact that people can still play with the cards in singleton is part of the appeal. I like the character. It’s great to draw the Ancestral Recall. The restriction makes it more meaningful in my mind. It also fosters deck diversity. If 4 Demonic Tutors were allowed, you would see very few vampirics, merchant scrolls, etc... I’m all for more restrictions to liven up the meta.
It is somewhat sad that some restrictions kill specific deck types though usually when this happens, it is due to that deck being out of balance. It also usually means that the deck has had its day in the sun. (A pretty good tell is if the deck contains the name of the restricted card) When this happens and there isn’t the “go to deck”, we often get great innovation. I’ve recently read Stephen’s History of Vintage First Ten Years. We have gone through some amazing periods of Magic with all kinds of fascinating decks we’ve played over the years. Some of these were born of new printing, some of restrictions, and some of crazy innovation. The fact that there is evolution and change is healthy. While I loved playing in each of these eras, I enjoyed the next one as well. I’m ready to move on to the decks of tomorrow.
What would the Workshop decks look like if they could not reliably count on locking their opponent out of mana? What would the Turbo Xerox decks referenced in this post look like if they had to put a threat into play that required meaningful interaction in order to forge a victory? What would match-ups look like if we didn’t have so much access to sideboard cards that swing the win percentage so violently? What would the game look like if we reduce the B&R list so much that there are 10 broken decks to choose from? While I wouldn’t be in favor of massive unrestrictions, it would change the face of a meta that is badly in need of a face lift. As it stands right now, I’m finding these discussions more interesting than the games I’m playing. While I do love to talk Magic, I want to get back to a world where discussing the game is secondary to playing it.
Great write-up as usual. I feel the ability to attack from different angles from the sideboard has allowed dredge to return to the fold. You can't just count on going all in on graveyard hate and winning games 2 and 3. It makes for interesting matches. I've found myself wanting to keep in things I used to board out (such as artifact hate to deal with Hollow One). I could board in my graveyard hate and get hit with a 20/20 flyer instead. I used to dislike dredge. Dredge is interesting now.
@vaughnbros I'm in agreement with your position.
I know that many vintage players live for the blue on blue interaction. I get and respect that but I get bored with it. I'm not sure what can be done at this point. It would require major changes that the general vintage community would hate.
In my opinion, WOTC has done a good job crafting a healthy and interesting meta using the B&R in modern. In that format, you can realistically win a major event with no less than 5 completely different combo, aggro, or control builds. I love the variety of that format right now. I wish I could say the same about vintage.
In response to the question, I am enjoying this meta more than I have the average meta over the past few years. A big part of enjoying a meta for me is the feeling that I have some space to brew and be moderately successful.
For me to enjoy Vintage most, here are the main things I want to enable brewing:
There can't be an option that is so much better as to make all other plans obsolete. This was life in the heavy mentor era. There really were not alternate options to be competitive outside the established pillars. I don't feel like the current meta has a card set that can't be bested. This seems not to be true for shops. I feel for the shops players that like diversity. It's pretty much affinity style or bust - Forgemaster, Stax, Slaver, Welder, etc... are not very viable.
I want to be able to gain an advantage with cards you might not expect. This is why I despise G-Probe and did a dance of joy when it was restricted.
I don't want to have to artificially limit my options. This was the case with Chalice and is the case with Misstep. I still feel a bit stifled from this card but the recent disruptors of Hollow One and Lavinia have helped mess with the established pillars enough that there is room to explore.
As much as I would love to see Misstep gone, I have enough options to mix it up.
"Sometimes it's a near-consensus, and sometimes it's just a vocal minority, but at the scale of players we're talking about, to anyone outside the community (read: WotC) it just looks like Vintage players are always unhappy."
I've been reflecting a lot on what a commentator stated during the Eternal Weekend Coverage. To paraphrase, Vintage has moved from a format driven by spells in hand to a format driven by board state. (I think it might have been Mike Noble who made this point)
I think that encapsulates the unhappiness perception. Vintage frequently doesn't feel like the vintage we're used to playing.
I complain about them in every Gen Con survey to try to get anew TO. Magic is the biggest game in the industry but with the poor experience that Pastimes offers, I've seen the magic area shrink year after year. It was shamefully small this year. I was happy that they did not run the vintage events at the same time as the legacy events like they did last year. That's about the only good thing I have to say. in addition to the issues that impact vintage players, they fails on some pretty common items. I had planned in playing in a few Eternal Masters drafts as well if I had down time. They were only offering the standard sets at $18 per draft. They only offered Standard and Modern for win-a-box. Anymore, I only get to play paper magic at Gen Con and E.W. so their events make up half of all the Magic I get to play in a year. I hope we get a new T.O. soon.
Am I the only one that hates Pioneer? I’ve seen a ton of positive buzz about it but I’m not sure why. I tried it out a bit and looked as some of the decks… I was less than impressed.
Part of it is that I’m tired on the continued watering down of eternal formats. Like many of you, I’ve played through this with 1.5 to extended to legacy to modern. I didn’t quite feel the same when modern came out as I could see the point of an eternal format without the no-reprint list.
I assume this is just to make an easier port into Arena than it would to port over Modern.
I believe that much of the excitement is in having new uncertain meta to brew into. I normally love this but to me, the deck are bland.
I also wonder how many formats there really needs to be. I think I’ve hit my personal limit at Modern. I live in the Midwest so playing Vintage outside of MTGO isn’t a possibility. I have to live with whatever the LGS hosts. We used to have a fair amount of Legacy. That was killed by Modern. I can live with Modern but I fear than this dumb format will become the new normal for local eternal formats.
Maybe I’m just getting old
i_b, I sincerely was not trying to offend. My point was that this tread is about restrictions because of the two deck meta. Your post more supports this telling that the top two decks were each one of the two problem decks. Congratulations on the great finish. I don't want to take this topic further off point.