If I had to choose what I believed the foundational principles of Vintage were, I'd settle on two primary ones. Firstly, Vintage is format to sling the most powerful spells from Magic's history. Secondly, a card should be restricted if it is able to either make one player an extreme favorite to win and be deployable within the first few turns of the game, or make going first a major deciding factor in each game. Coming up with one or two premises from which a sufficiently fun restricted list can be derived is difficult, and likely each card should be evaluated on a case-to-case basis. I ultimately do not believe that there should be changes to to format made unless absolutely necessary.
I think that specifically format diversity, fun and "freshness" should be factors in deciding what cards to restrict. As a format that is home to the most powerful cards in magic, the best decks will naturally either be playing these cards or be playing a strategy to minimize their impact. When the power level of a format is so high, only a few decks will naturally rise to the top. What I remember from being a kid was that Vintage was the "five pillar" format. I think that's alright. Not every deck needs to be viable in every format. It's fine that some decks that used to be the best are now marginal. It's fine that some decks aren't good enough.
Fun, as it applies to magic, is very subjective. Although you may not find playing against Shops fun, the person playing Shops may love locking people out of games. A restricted list based on what is fun and what is not would be entirely subjective.
Keeping a format "fresh" seems to be the new buzzword that's running around, but I do not think that what is in a certain sense the "historical" format needs to be as shiny as Modern or whatever. I personally enjoy slow moving formats, and would be personally disappointed if my formats became "Flavor of the Month" dominated.
How has Dredge been for other people? I'm feeling like I only want enough Dredge hate to get the matchup to around 50/50, but I don't have an amazing handle on how much each individual hate piece impacts the matchup. Does anyone have more advice for how much Dredge hate achieves how much success?
Thanks for the replies, that all makes sense. I certainly lose a lot of games to being greedy with By Force, so thats good to keep in mind! I have some questions about individual cards if anyone has advice or experience regarding them.
As Topical Island pointed out, EE is a good answer to Spheres. Looking through decklists however, I see that very few people are running EE in Mentor. I find myself losing a lot of games to multiple spheres, or Chalice on 1. EE also has application against Outcome, and is almost never a dead draw. Is there a reason why people aren't running EE
Almost every Mentor list I look at runs the Strip Mine, but far fewer run Wasteland. Why is this? Obviously Strip Mine is a more powerful card, but why is exactly one Strip effect really popular? Is it crazy to cut the Strip Mine?
After running Brass Man's Mentor list, I've really like having an extra draw spell to propel me through games which have stalled out. Is Compulsive the best card for this slot? I've been messing around with Fact or Fiction and having some success with it, and I'm considering trying a Gifts as just a value "draw 2 relevant spells" type effect. Has anyone messed around with this, or is 4 mana vs 3 mana a big deal?
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
I've seen a couple people playing with a Chandra in Mentor and have been testing it out a little bit. I really like that in the games where the extra draw spells are powerful, having another threat that's immune to REB might have some merit. I'm wondering if anyone has experience playing with it, specifically how it performed for them or what number of red sources you needed to support her.
How has By Force been for people in the Shop's matchup? I've really liked its flexibility, but I'm often casting it as a Shatter. I'm starting to try out Serenity as another mass artifact destruction spell at a cheaper cost. Has anyone run this, or am I missing some reason why its bad? Im frequently finding myself getting trapped under multiple Sphere effects and looking for a way to get rid of them all, but under those conditions By Force is rarely getting more than one sphere.
Obviously each game is unique, but in general what sort of game plan do you choose when playing against Shops? I've been trying to prioritize killing Threats, and destroying lock pieces less frequently, the idea being that they run out of threats while I have more card selection. This has not been working out for me in my limited sample, so I'm wondering how other people approach the matchup.
I'm fairly new to Vintage and after beating around the bush with other decks I'm dipping my toes into control decks with Mentor as a primary win condition. Since the recent restruction, how has everyone been building it?
As for individual card choices, are things like Supreme Verdict and Sudden Shock still good? As for Counter choices, Draw spell selection and other Threats (i.e. Chandra, Tendrils etc.), what causes you to play those specific ones?