The problem with this whole discussion is that T1 came to MTGO in the last years. Both the printing of absurd cards for TX strategies (first Pyromancer dominating the format, then Mentor) and Shops and the advent of total information and transparency lead to a homogenization of the format. I think this would have happened anyway, even if some cards wouldn't exist and even if some archetypes would be different, just because MTGO changed the whole approach to data we had before.
I can't really comment on the time before T1 came to MTGO but I would guess that it developed way slower and that previous tier 1 decks often needed longer to break through. With MTGO these kind of things become apparent within a small frame of maybe a few weeks.
The main problem is not MTGO, though. Wotc just printed a high number of degenerate cards in the last few years, and T1, with the unability to outright ban a card, became the most susceptible for power creep. Blue, always a good color, became so much more stronger and aggressive, while the other colors hardly got anything (Mentor is blue with the restriction of not going into Force). On the other hand, colorless, which wasn't even considered a color before, suddenly became a real force. And then another artifact block came along, which always means a few more toys for Shops. The development of their game design just shits on T1 and that is a big problem.
Actually I would even argue that Wotc kinda maneuvered the format into the worst possible dead end; not just with all the latest printings but also with the restrictions. They kinda forced a TX vs Shops Aggro format on us. Sadly, this is just another byproduct of T1 coming to MTGO and the hype that the VSL created.
What happened to the other archetypes though? Ok, so here is my point of view again: they are mostly flawed. Susceptible to variance. I mean yeah, Oath didn't get the same cool new tools as TX got. Oath, needing more specific cards to devote its gameplan to is essentially just a worse TX deck, no matter whether it plays Mentor or Pyro. Oath is of course still a great deck and can have bombastic openings, but if it only wins 55 of its 100 games while TX wins 62 out of 100 then it is just a matter of time until people switch to the archetype that grants them a higher win % over the long run.
The same is true for a deck like Dredge. I enjoy Dredge, it just crushes and operates on a different axis than any other deck. But if also produces nongames, where you just mulligan to oblivion, or get your Bazaar wasted, Dredge one or two more times just to get stack. It's not fun gameplay and it will lead to Dredge never becoming the best in the format again, unless we get another Serum Powder one day.
Other decks just generally suffer from a too high curve. Like, I think Consecrated Sphinx is a cool card, but does it really has a place in Vintage? Chances are that it just rots in your hand the whole game.
Is there a way back? I can't really tell. The way the format is structured right now is I don't really think so. Mentor gets restricted next, I think that is certainly a given, but what will happen to Shops? I doubt they are going to restrict the namesake card and pillar of the format. Restricting a Sphere seems really dull though.
Referring to Mental Misstep, I think it is just plain wrong to advocate its restriction. Misstep takes both variance and speed out of the format and that is a good thing.
@brass-man said in Why I don't think Mishra's Workshop should be restricted.:
"on TMD, on Facebook, amongst my friends, the most common chorus is that vintage is terrible and vintage is dying."
When I started playing Magic at the end of the 90s "Vintage" or whatever is was called back then was already out of reach for most players. When I came back to the game 10 years ago, not much changed. Except for that the format had the reputation of turn 1 kills among non Vintage players. Nowadays? If I ask people about Vintage the stock responses still are "costs as much as a car" and "people dying on turn 1".
Most people don't know anything about the format. I'm sure there is a name for the psychological phenomenon where people just dismiss and badmouth something because they will never be able to afford it.
I don't understand what some people expect - the rise of completely new archetypes? People abandoning Shops or the "Dack-Delve-Engine"? The restrictions happened last week and all we have is a few League 5-0s and a rather small premier, aka no relevant sample size. Also, I think that if you interpret the results things look really healthy: old archetypes can still be played with success but they dropped in overall win percentage. Delver, an archetype that was pushed to tier 3 territory suddenly was able to rack up 9-0 again.
Let's wait before becoming too vocal about nonsense restrictions - they weren't meant to invalidate archetypes but to end the previous power struggle.
Even though restricting over and over ad nauseam seems stupid, I think we have reached a point where you just cannot restrict or unrestrict reserved list cards at will. It would break consumer trust and create stupid price jumps. In another thread people shared their opinion on unrestricting Library of Alexandria and while I'm not in the mood to discuss game theory right now, I think it is a pretty bad idea as the card would rise exponentially, creating an even further barrier.
Workshop is like the opposite spectrum of that. The price would decline, even though not by that much I suppose, but there is a real chance that it would weaken an essential pillar to many players. Again, I can't really argue about its effects on the format, but diminishing the reliance of an already less consistent deck (compared to blue - shop is redundant in what its cards do but games with 1 compared to 3 spheres just play out so differently and there are no cantrips to ensure that) just doesn't sound good. I may be totally wrong on this, maybe Workshop can just be replaced with City of Traitors (and Eldrazi Temple).
I'm in favor of Wotc giving us a good answer card first, like the ones with Channel or Cycling that were already suggested. Should the archetype still be too dominant after this, we can still talk.
I'm still quite new to Vintage/ Type 1 (playing Magic for nearly 20 years now, but mostly Extended, Standard, Legacy, Modern and Draft - now Vintage as well, but I took a couple of breaks in between) and while being drawn to the format because of Ancestral and Time Walk at first, the absurd percentages of Shops as of late wanted me to get more familiar with the archetype as well so I practiced it a bit in the last few weeks.
First, thanks @Brass Man for all the work he is doing to keep a place alive where people can talk about the real way to play Magic, and for maintaining a lot of different sub forums and topics.
A little bit of critique from my side: as a new player, this primer could be compared to an iceberg: the surface explains quite nicely to people not familiar with the format what the deck is about, but it lacks any in depth discussion for people who are new to the deck and look for edges to get better.
Anyway, back to the topic. As I explained, I'm mainly a blue mage throughout various formats, so playing Shops now feels both weird and interesting. It feels like the average opening hand has so much more variance than in a blue deck. Lands, counterspells, cantrips? Keep. Often you can exchange the counterspell for a removal and it works as well; the same could be true for 2 counterspell, 2 cantrip, 2 removal etc, the slots are kind of interchangeable, blue decks often don't even need a threat in their opening hand but can just evade long enough until they find one. Shops on the other hand is a deck where I often feel like you need to have Exodia in your opening hand to stand a chance. Like, all the pieces must fit together or you easily fall behind or fail to do anything at all. What makes it even worse is that a good hand against a blue deck is often terrible in the mirror. And mana always seems to be a problem - either too much or too few.
I'm sure I come off as a total scrub, but since mulligans are an important skill to the deck I think I may be lacking there. Are there any general advice? Like... is a hand with a mox and 1 mana land, but not that much to do with them - let's say a Sphere and a Ravager, + some stuff costing 3 or more - a keep? A hand with just spheres and mana but no threat? A hand with 3 Shops, 2 Foundry Inspector 2 Revoker? A hand that does nothing on turn 1 but can be explosive once it gets down an Inspector?
There are many more options, so so many. I mull a lot of hands and don't seem to get rewarded - like often when I mull a mediocre hand my next one is really bad, so I'm kind of afraid of refusing the mediocrity.
Phyrexian Revoker has to be the most skill intense card of the deck because I hate it the most. I hate hands where it is my only threat (same for Ravager, do I just mull these hands? They are so slow) and I hate being on the play with them. Naming cards in the dark always feels bad, as cards that you want to name are usually 1 or 2 offs, so it mainly turns off a mox, which is ok but not impressive. I mean just beating for 2 gives blue opponents too many windows. In the mirror it is an interesting and complex card, as it can often mean the difference between winning or losing, or it just sucks as a 2 mana 2/1 against a barrage of 3/3 golems.
I'd also like to hear some sideboard plans from other players. How often do you board out Trinisphere on the draw? Is there any reason to bring in Cage against Big Blue decks (so far I think no)? How do you board against the different blue archetypes? Is there any reason to leave in Sphere in the mirror?
Also, I don't share the sentiment that creatures in Shops are large Ravager/ Ballista/ Revoker and also Inspector are all kind of small, even though the first 2 can grow they will rarely attack for more than 1 or 2 on their first occasion. In general, after watching some videos on Youtube before Lodestone and Chalice were restricted, the deck looks more fair and way slower these days than it used to be.
To be fair, after having played the deck for a bit I can't understand all the stress surrounding the archetype. A lot of opening hands fall apart if your opponent just disrupts one correct card and often an early resolved Mentor or Tinker is is an unbeatable struggle. Worst thing is that despite the deck name I only have access to Workshop itself in like 60% of the games, so there are already a good number of games without the namesake card. Actually, this may be biased, but I would argue that my blue opponents have more Recalls then I have Workshops.
Right now I'm not sure if anything really needs restriction. Taking Workshop or even a Sphere might make the deck so inconsistent that it will mostly turn into Robot Beats which is probably not good enough against the degeneracy of other decks.
As far as the metagame goes, Workshop is just the most played archetype and while the meta went into the right direction with decks packing up to 4 Null Rod 2 weeks ago, it already went the exact opposite way this week, rewarding people who play Shops variants that are super soft to Null Rod. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Someone suggested "restricting Ballista" - no way this is ever going to happen. It's nowhere over the top compared to a lot of other things, just a flexible card. I'd say the creatures are all safe...
I know I'm not the first person to bring this up, but seriously. Why aren't Merfolk
Creature – Fish?
I think it's pretty well established that everyone thinks this a serious problem.
According to that logic shouldn't humans then be Creature - Primate? I think that is the great discrepancy - if you differentiate humans and apes/ monkeys then you have to differ between fish and merfolk as well.
There are several ways to design anti artifact cards that work under Spheres. The hard part is balancing them right. Channel is probably easier than cycling as you don't get to draw a card in the process.
Here are my takes for cards that we might see in future supplementary packs:
Cip destroy target artifact.
Channel G - Destroy target artifact.
Cycling Spree 3RR
Destroy all artifacts.
Whenever you cycle, pay x. Destroy x target artifacts.
Does this mean abeyance is a strictly better time walk? Likely not, but I do think some cards should be fixed for functionality. Ali From Cairo, Library, Bazaar are obviously legendary from a flavor perspective but did the designers have the legendary idea in mind prior to legends? You say it's impossible to ask, but I don't think it is. The problem is likely more of their views on the functionality changing. When relic bind was printed, the untap symbol did not exist. same with voltaic key......
In 1996 I showed up at a tournament feeding final fortune turns into the unrestricted but heavily erratted time vault.
I have always had a hard time with howling mine and winter orb getting shut off when tapped but not other continuous artifacts like black vice.
Some cards are harder to judge than others as they were printed within a different ruleset. I would have to do research on Abeyance, but iirc it was only able to timewalk people for a few months. I guess cards like this and Lotus Vale need to have some kind of errata because they can't be reprinted.
I don't buy the argument with Arabian Nights cards - judging by flavor, Valakut the Molten Pinnacle should be legendary and it was printed "recently" - there is just no objective here.
You don't think it is impossible to reach out to people who designed cards in 93 or something and then never had to with anything? Good luck.
Regarding Serendib Djinn: I tried to delve into its past to find out why they made the change from destroy to sacrifice. Apparently the wording in Arabian Nights was just so random that they tried to homogenize them. Dandan says just destroy, while Junun Efreet states destroy without regeneration. To make it worse, cards like City in a Bottle and Bottle of Suleiman state the term discarded. So creatures are destroyed, everything else is discarded? But wait, Flying Carpet is not discarded but destroyed. And Diamond Valley explicitely states that a creature is sacrificed, despite that not being official language before Revised (thanks for the article, Aaron!)
All I could find was that the "Official Encyclopedia Volume 1" from 1996 already states that the Djinn sacrifices land, because apparently they can't be buried. I would be nice to get the original wording back on this one, but since the card works the way it does for more than 20 years now, I doubt this will ever happen. I'm giving up on this one and I agree that whichever Oldschool community wants to play it either has to use house rules or just play it as intended since 1996 (or 1994 even, when Revised came out - I wasn't able to find a date when the change actually happened).