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 keep in mind probability whenever building a deck. Especially since my decks aren't powered, the consequences are magnified against powered decks as the probabilities are constantly changing as the game progresses. That's not luck, positive nor negative.
I like this topic. There was one in the archived manadrain, cant quite remember the title though.
@Smmenen Normally I really hate getting off on tangents. I really try hard to stay "on thread" as it were. But to hell with that this time, you want to talk games? I am so there! Lets do this!
Firstly, what I meant to express was that I don't actually believe that the folks at the DCI/WotC are in fact, dunderheads. I think the game design is incredible. And that in terms of complexity, I'd place magic alongside the very best games that humans have devised. (My tactic in trying to express that was to literally place it alongside those best, and most cache-worthy games I could think of in the first four seconds after I began trying. I include Go in that list because I personally think it's the best game of its kind, even though I doubt many people have played it.) I include MtG, because the ecosystemic pressures give it a dynamism that is unparalleled in the others. (The idea that one deck can beat another because of the existence of a third, is a pretty amazing example of causality) I'm a teacher, and I actually use both MtG in class, because, logic. And language. So that's what I was going for anyway.
In terms of MTGO, I just don't want to pay WotC money that directly. I'm happy to provide some downstream value to their product when I buy my wife a retail set of Mentors for her birthday, but yeah, @ChubbyRain was right on. I just don't want to get that financially entangled when I don't at all feel that the format - THE format, that I've always played and pretty much the only one I have any interest in playing (the occasional temptation to go slumming it in legacy aside). It kinda feels like those Hasbros making the decisions are thinking, "hey, we could squeeze a little money outta that format without too much work on our part... so why not? This is a business right?" For me, it's not a business. It's a game, a chance to improve my mind and get at some of the underlying logos of competition. If they want to try to "run it like a business" which I find is usually just a palatable euphemism for, squeeze money in the short run without much care-taking or long term investment going on... (I'm from the state where they ran Flint Water like a business... saved money in the short run too. Now I gotta schlep my ass over there with cases of Poland Spring) if MtgO wants to do it that way, that is completely within their rights. They get to choose their own business strategy. But running it like a business isn't very good for business, in my case at least. That could easily just be paranoia on my part, but that's where I'm at.
SO! Games! They are great!... I love GO, and am really pretty terrible at it. I don't think I'll ever make Shodan, which is kinda a bitter pill. But man what a great game. It has so many wide ranging and applicable principles. I'm even worse at Chess, since I'm much better at creating than calculating. My most serious games were all sports growing up. (I'm a girls Volleyball coach now.) And there are so many principles (I want to say logoi here, but I kinda think that would lose the larger audience) that I've bumped into playing either Go or MtG, that when followed, are both completely tangible in a statistical and rational sense, but feel mystical in the heat of competition when there isn't time to think, but when followed with courage seem to put one on the happy side of randomness again and again. Games are really beautiful.
As for MtG, now that I'm married to a fellow game junky. I play other folks much less than I used to, because I literally play two or three matches a night, of whatever match-up we want to try. Which is incredible good fortune. If people ever want things honestly play-tested, we really do just crank games like fiends. And we both despise losing, so we always play both sides of each match-up.
I hear what you're saying about the ADD nature of some plays and players. I think that's present at least to some extent in all games they, as a real wood pusher on the chess board, I'll fess to that. But I do think that magic maybe attracts more than it's average number of people who aren't hardened in a lot of forms of competition? Maybe? That's purely speculative. I'll say it this way. The culture of each game is different, and that magic has maybe an above average number of players who are bad at the skill of losing. As a population, I think losing is done very poorly by our players in fact. I'd hypothesize that because the game is beautiful, it's art is beautiful and the stories and mythology taps into that symbology we collectively find compelling, players get drawn in who have never competed anywhere else in a dedicated way, and now find themselves in a competitive environment. (Which is great, the more the merrier) The feature I notice the most, among young players, isn't speed of play, (Though now that you mention it...) it's that they lose badly. In general, a lot of conclusions get created around protecting the against the sting of fault. People do cursory postmortems, and just abdicate choice generally. That's how I was when I was young. (Still am sometimes... We are all guilty of this to some extent. Or to answer your earlier question. Of course I don't trust myself to make decisions on MTGO, but that has everything to do with epistemology than user interface.) I got a lot better at losing over the years. Practice makes perfect.
That's also why I put Poker up there with other games. During college and the Poker craze I paid my rent playing online, and the experience of losing a month's rent in a day, and then having to get up the next morning and get back at it like a job... well, that certainly changes how you feel when you Oath for your last creature with 15 cards in your library. Live or die, it doesn't matter. The only thing is the best choice, and nothing else. People in MtG, in general, play too fast and talk about luck too much. When it's pretty clear that being superstitious is about the most unlucky thing a person can do. (NO people, I don't run a Memory's Journey. Cause seriously, you lose somewhere between 0-4% more games with it in... at least in my build.)
Loved the discussion about Thing in the Ice on your podcast too... Think it will replace Restoration Angel in those kind of decks?
@Fred_Bear Yes, Shops was a great deck choice. It was arguably the best deck in the format over the past 3 months. The problem in my opinion has to do with the type of matches being played. Having games in which my opponent routinely locks me out of taking game actions is not fun for me. Neither are the games in which I have 3 Ancient Grudges and kill everything relevant my Shops opponent plays. If these types of matches are frequent enough, I wouldn't feel compelled to play that format. Same with being Belched all the time, or losing to turn 1 Tinker-Robot every game. Though some people obviously enjoy these plays, them happening all the time isn't for me.
So much of this conversation to me sounds like people saying blue is the center of the vintage universe and that other decks have to be relegated to "meta calls," that they all just have to shift in prominence based on what blue mages typically play on any given day to adjust to other blue decks. Blue decks playing a bunch of missteps and flusters to deal with other blue decks, shops is the "spoiler." Decks go light on grave hate because they have to max out on mentor answers, time to consider dredge. The interplay between Dredge and Shops is basically boiled down to shops plays Cage because it also happens to be good against some blue lists, and Dredge plays ingot and grudge because it is basically what they have that MAYBE has some effect on a blue players jewelry as well.
I recognize blue is the dominant color because of the P9, tinker, and a few other culprits, and that likely will not change any time soon unless WOTC slips up on a card again. But every time they slip up it seems to favor blue anyways, and then blue mages get a new toy that they get a singleton of as opposed to a full suite. Hell even a card like blightsteel helped blue, when on its face it should have been a card that was better for a deck that literally specializes in rushing out high cost artifacts. A lot of the talk about shops diversifying post restriction have been around it potentially splashing blue to run tinker and pay for metamorph or get more sideboard options.
Even in this new set, blue is the clear winner with Thing in the Ice being the only thing that really shows potential. There are several other blue cards that had they just been costed slightly different or had a slightly different effect could have had the potential to be meta defining cards. Nothing in this set came close for other strategies. Shops got a pile of nothing. Dredge got Prized amalgam which they will likely not play over other options. Even if it was much better than it was and maybe came in at the same time and untapped it would maybe see play, and likely not as a full suite.
I personally hope for a day where the Vintage Meta is far more open than it is now. I would love to see a viable Burn deck, or a viable monoblack rack deck, or a Hatebears list that wasn't a budget concession but rather a solid metagame choice, because right now even when it is it usually isn't as powerful as a well positioned metadeck should be. Restricting cards from other decks is not going to help that happen, and really the restricted list itself is a flawed solution because we all know even 1 copy of a strong blue card can change everything. Ultimately it needs to be through new printings that give incentive to other decks to not run blue, and new printings that lead to decks that specifically don't want to run power (ala dredge.)
At this point pretty much any time a card is put on the restricted list, all it means is that a non blue deck was really hurt, or that a blue deck likely got more powerful because they got a new card that was way, way too powerful. I am almost convinced the only way to actually power down blue and to open the meta to more balanced play to justify some of the bannings we have seen would be to restrict the only cards blue very exclusively use that other archetypes do not, which would basically be Oath, Fetches, and True Duals.
The word "active" has an ambiguity to it. One reading is that the DCI is actively paying attention to Vintage and the Vintage community. Another reading is that the DCI is aggressively managing the B&R list.
I strongly prefer an active DCI in the first sense, but a passive DCI in the second sense.
This echoes my sentiments. I'd love a DCI that was passionate and interested in the format. I'd also like them to give us time to adapt and change to things.
I'm not sure about this. If they were super active, and trying to create a "key" valid/competitive environment (ie, as important as Legacy, etc) wouldn't they have to bring the restriction axe to a ton of hallowed cards?
It went great. My 9 year old got one of the sickest card pools for a sealed tournament that I've ever seen. It included thing in the ice, jace, westvale abbey, invocation of saint traft, liliana's indignation (absolute allstar in sealed) and her support cards were pretty solid, too. I basically had 50 mins to build 3 decks so I built mine and while doing that told the kids to figure out what colors they wanted to play by whatever criteria they wanted to use. Then I went and built their decks based on their color choices.
My 9 year old's card pool in the hands of even a semi-experienced player would have been a 4-0. But she went 0-4 (0-2 each round). I watched a few games out of the corner of my eye (arranged it so they sat on either side of me all day) and there were a few should definitely should have won but she just would miss plays constantly because well, she learned the game the night before. My 15 year old actually won a round. She was really psyched about that. Technically she went 1-2-1 on the day but her tie she conceded to her opponent since she was felt unlikely to get enough wins and the guy was a really good sport. Both girls' opponents all day long helped them with play, gave advice etc. A few even kind of played a few of their turns for them suggesting they take an action back and try a different action. None of them took advantage of their green opponents. It was a great experience and I offer huge props and thanks to all the players at Deal Me In Games.
@nedleeds I always run a few cards for the Shops match up in my oath deck even though the match up is usually fine, just because sometimes it isn't. And I have enough respect for the deck to not be stupid and ignore it.
Also I had this thought the other day: if people played more main-deck cards for the shops match up it would make more space in the sideboard, and they could play their Pyroblasts in the SB instead. Seems legit.