I think your "schools" approach feels a bit... shoehorn-y at times (in that Rob Hahn might not translate that well to
Having said that, as a combo player combo decks by their very nature are very disparate in a way control and aggro really aren't. Decks like ProsBloom, Metalworker, Doomsday, Dredge, etc. function so differently it's hard to categorize them together. Speaking of which, was there a Type I combo deck before Type II ProsBloom hit the scene? If not, maybe that's a good place to start.
To be clear: that's not how I classify decks within the "Combo School." The combo decks that are included in the "Restricted List Combo School" follow a very specific play pattern that includes: lots of mana acceleration, a high density of restricted cards, and a number of tutors (often unrestricted), and either a big mana or storm finisher (e.g. Fireball, Kaeverk's Torch, Tendrils of Agony), or recursive elements (like Twister loops or a bigYawg Will). Thus, decks in this school include: Pre-DCI Lotus/Twister decks, 1997 Prosperity Vice, 1997/8 Doomsday (recursion deck with Timetwister), 1998-2002 Academy, 2002 Burning Long, 2003-2008 TPS, 2005-6 Grim Long, Burning Oath, Dark Petition Storm, etc.
These are decks that follow the basic play pattern of: 1) generate lots of mana -> 2) draw or otherwise see lots of cards -> 3) play a critical mass finisher. They feature as high density of mana, and very few finishers (a single Fireball or Tendrils often). And they very often use disruption to protect this plan, like Duress, Defense Grid, Abeyance, City of Solitude, Xantid Swarm, Force of Will, etc. But if you map 2002 Burning Long and 2015 DPS, it's basically the same scaffolding, just different cards in that slot. No different with other Schools, like comparing 1994 The Deck with 2002 Keeper, except that the win conditions change (i.e. Morphling over Serra Angel, etc.)
Combo decks that are focused on assembling two random cards don't fall into this school.
ProsBloom was never a tournament level Type I deck because you didn't need Cadaverous Bloom.
That being said- in your position, I'd focus on the decks. Tell us when new, interesting things happened that changed the way we think about and play Vintage (or even Magic as a whole). Tell us those stories. Weave together the fabric of the format by showing us the world as it was when it changed greatly. What was it like when Comer figured out how to Xerox? How did it change the landscape? Which darlings did it kill? Which did it foster? How does it influence what we're doing today? The same for Shops (the more control variants, the ones today are really just Zoo decks imo) and Dredge and Oath and Control (the Deck, of course, comes to mind!). The schools can be your invisible scaffolding, that which guides you in delivering the stories, but they need not be the exoskeleton that binds the body from the outside and is all that's visible to the onlooker.
In any case, I do all of these things, but the Aggro Shops decks are still very obviously Aggro O'Brien School decks, which played with 4 Juggernaut and 4 Juzam in some cases.
Thanks to everyone who replied: it affirmed my inclination, which is to take a hybrid approach rather than trying to insist upon a player name for each school.
I also realize this is an old thread, but since it's stickied I'm going to post here anyway.
My old username on TMD was JDawg13, and I was a fairly active member in the early-mid 2000s. I sold off my whole Magic collection in 2007. Most of my Magic playing these days is draft and cube, but I have recently started thinking about getting back into paper Vintage after dabbling a bit on MTGO. This new username is the same one I use everywhere online.
Everyone agrees that win % and win rates are the best possible metric for assessing deck performance, but there are two issues with this:
a) we lack this on a regular basis, your Vintage Champs analysis and my mid-October Vintage Challenge analysis are the exceptions that prove the rule, where we actually have win % by archetype.
b) Win % or win rates don't actually tell us that much about the overall shape and scope of the metagame. They don't tell us about diversity. They aren't a metagame metric, per se. You could have a large or small number of decks, and the win rate of any particular deck wouldn't tell us much about that.
Language used by Wizards: I agree with your point that Wizards is constantly refining their terminology. BUT, and this is a big caveat, the last time they restricted cards in Vintage, they specifically cited Vintage Challenge Top 8 data, not win rates or win percentages.
"Data from twelve recent Vintage Challenges reinforces this, with 40% of the Top 8 decks being Shops and 30% being Mentor. Both decks feature strategies that are powerful, stifle diversity, and can be frustrating to play against."
Before I read up on the Simpson Diversity Index, I was thinking about creating a "Menendian Index" that would be a mashup index of different indicators; possibly 1/3 the range of decks in Top 8s, 1/3 a Gini Coefficient-like variable that measures inequality, and 1/3 perhaps something else.
But when I read up on the Simpson Diversity Index, realizing that it is sensitive to BOTH the range of strategies in a metagame AND the relative proportions of those strategies in the field, I realized it was the perfect holistic measure for what I was looking for.
Balance is obviously a metaphore that we are applying to Magic metagames, but balance by itself refers primarily to inequality. The primary image associated with balance is a scale or teetertotter. The problem with balance, by itself, is that the metaphor of balance doesn't include the range of decks. So a 2-deck metagame could be balanced, even though such a duopoly is bad for the format. My OP had two hypotheticals that illustrate two different extremes.
The Simpson Diversity Index is perfect because it accounts for both 'inequality' and for 'diversity.' Both matter.
TLDR: terminology is tricky here. We don't just care about one thing: we care about diversity AND balance, evenness and abundance, inequality AND range. And all of these concepts and terms are conceptually related, but also different.
Saw a 2-minute clip of this, it was a blast watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt talk about Magic with the exact enthusiasm and mannerisms/language I've seen from Magic players for my whole life. Thanks for the link to the whole video.
Legalizing CE and IE won't help a damned bit, other than make that already-limited supply even more expensive as there's now an inflated value to those cards outside Cube and Old School (and EDH for things like Gauntlet and Duals).
The current dip is due to Standard rotation and Guilds of Ravnica. The barrier to playing a different format on MTGO is low so you have players selling "eternal" staples to buy standard decks or play drafts. Just look at Mox Opal's price history on MTGGoldfish:
You see that pretty much every set release is coupled by a significant set drop in Mox Opal's value. The exceptions I can see are Aether Revolt (Sram equipment was a huge thing back then if I can remember correctly) and non-standard legal sets like MM3 and M25.
This is a predictable financial fluctuation on MTGO and I know some players use this opportunity to buy Modern staples.
Still, I maintain that you shouldn't buy into Vintage on MTGO because you expect to make money off the cards. You should buy in because you enjoy playing the format competitively and want the ability to do so more frequently.
@stuart for me, setting a goal related to a finish or result is actually counter-productive. We can’t control that- no control over matchups, die rolls, top decks, shuffle distributions, etc. It is, therefore, not worth worrying about. Very simply, I seek to maximize my preparation physically and mentally, maximize my enjoyment (by giving myself a chance to win and a deck I enjoy the mechanics of, ie no battle of wits), and minimize my controlable mistakes (missing on board math or forgetting revealed information).
Anything else is not in my control and shouldn’t be worried about.
(I do have some skins on the wall btw, SCG top 8, GP top 16)
Looking at past years you have: EW EU in April, TMD Open in May, SCG CON in June, NYSE in July, EW Asia in August, EW NA in November and Nebraska's War in December.
Some of those almost overlap, why is all the love going to Q2 and Q4 only?
@moorebrother1 I would argue my streams come close at times. I just streamed a Channel Mirror deck with Spellseeker (1-3) and Danny Batterman's Rector Flash w/Seeker list (4-1) yesterday. I'm planning on streaming Experimental Frenzy tonight. I've previously streamed Tezz, Humanstorm, Kaya Control, or whatever I'm interested in at the time through leagues. Rich Shay @The-Atog-Lord will stream random decks that do well or his own creations. Brian Kelly's @brianpk80 streams are always original experiences with wild cards like Nicol Bolas or Glyph Keeper.
As a quick reference, there are currently 2 CE Underground Seas on TCGPlayer, both at roughly $450. As discussed above, making these legal probably won't do any good except for the people who already own them - not that that's a problem, but I just wouldn't expect it to save Vintage.
Personally I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the idea, but I'm not holding my breath that it'll happen. I'm not worried about the argument that it would make things more difficult for vintage players - there's already an absurd amount of information a vintage player needs to have memorized to play the game ... 25 years of one-off keyword abilities, rules changes, errata. How many cards in the average vintage deck have oracle text that matches their printed text, 30%? Deck construction rules are barely a drop in the bucket, especially considering a player can verify before the tournament starts (there's are plenty of tools that check legality for you), and never have to memorize or think of it ever again. I don't have any reason to think that a semi-restriction system would make the format worse (and for that matter, even though I know boerma was joking, a 3-of rule wouldn't bother me at all, either)
That said, there's an unspoken assumption here that Wizards is having difficulty achieving their desired outcomes through blunt restrictions, and that this would be a tool they could use to more precisely create the outcome they want. I think it's a mistake to assume that Wizards has very strong opinions on what the format should look like, or that they even think there's any consensus metagame target or problem that needs to be addressed.
I think that the amount of work this would take to put together, and more importantly, how it would look to people who DON'T play vintage, both dwarf any desire they have to make the format different than it is now.
(but as an amateur game designer, I'm all about it)