Off topic: @aaron-patten
It would be close to disastrous if workshop were to be restricted alone. Nothing but C-c-combo everywhere.
If shops is too good and needs restriction, then ancient tomb should go first but I say it shouldn't be restricted at the moment.
The situation isn't so cut and dry anymore. Wotc have shaped the current meta and it can only get worse on the current path.
Sphere needs to go.
Mentor needs to go.
On the other hand, I wouldn't mind scrapping the current meta (B&R list) and starting from scratch. I believe Vintage is overdue for a rebirth.
@smmenen Well, people can definitely play what they want more often on MTGO than anywhere else (besides 100% proxy and cockatrice, but for sanctioned, competitive play it's MTGO).
The other thing is that card availability on MTGO is instantaneous. Let's say I play one of my terrible brews and get frustrated with the results. Then I see how Thiim's awesome MUDrazi deck has been crushing people. So I add my entire deck to my trade binder, get a few hundred tickets, and buy Thiim's deck card for card. That process is as quick as five minutes (if you want to scout the best deal it could take longer).
This makes the case for paying attention to MTGO results as a barometer of the health of Vintage stronger, not weaker. Less stickiness in deck selection implies a "truer" representation of metagame composition and health of the format. The fact that Shops are so expensive on paper suggests that their actual metagame representation is artificially suppressed, especially in paper environments, relative to non-Shops strategies. That MTGO has greater substitutability generally makes it all the more remarkable that Shops are dominating.
Great response and exactly what I was looking for. I know some players can get pretty micro on evaluation of a single tournament and when you are dealing with only 3-4 decks being able to skew percentages, I was wondering if you thought that significant. You and Ryan spend a ton of time on this and that's why I was curious if it was lining up with your personal experiences and perhaps biases. When you see the data in a total sum, I think it paints a clearer picture, and I would agree with every point you made. Thanks for taking the time to do that.
I am interested to see the number of anti-shops cards that the PO decks were running, and also to know whether or not the shops decks were running null rod. same for how many stonys the mentor decks were running.
I guess in the top 32 lists we have 2 null rods in the 1st and 11th place shops decks.
12th place mentor deck has 1 stony in the board, 20th place has 3(!) in the board, and 32nd has 1.
I'd say all of the top 32 PO decks are softer to shops than my list...
Thanks for the replies @ChubbyRain, @Brass-Man and @KingLeovold. Pre restriction, I would always play a 2 - 2 split of Flusterstorm and Pyroblast in Mentor decks but have found Flusterstorm to be less good since the restriction.
Last week I spent an evening trying out Scabs' Esper Mentor deck. His list played 3 Flusterstorm and I was interested to see how it would perform against Jeskai Mentor. We played for about 5 hours and it didn't go well for Esper. One of the things I missed most was Pyroblast, especially because my friend was playing 2 Jace, TMS which was often quite tough to deal with.
As Matt said, I have also found that Flusterstorm is quite strong in Thirst for Knowledge & Paradoxical Outcome decks.
I think outcome mentor will continue to succeed as lists become better and better, cutting bad cards like drain for more efficient ones. Props to Hoffman for his list, which is about as aggressive as you can possibly be, and providing one end of the spectrum for us to compare decks to. My list has shifted to be slightly more aggressive (3 mentors instead of 2) but still doesn't include the synod/thoughtcast package and includes more md bounce to deal with thorns, rods, and stonys.
Many, if not most, Vintage players play this format because it is the final place we get to play all of our cards.
Well, we get to play Gush. Or Mana Drain. But they were nearly mutually exclusive.
Which merely underscores the unjustified and unprincipled nature of these restrictions.
The foundational principle of the format is that players get to play with all of their Magic cards so far as can be reasonably accommodated. That doesn't mean you have a right to have any card be "good."
If Mana Drain wasn't playable because of Gush that doesn't justify restricting Gush. There are literally thousands of cards pushed out or marginalized by other cards in Eternal formats.
Arguing that the restriction of Gush is a "good thing" because it makes Mana Drain better is not only unjustifiable, but it is reminiscent of the darkest days of the format, where Keeper pilots or even Brian Weissman had a heavy hand in B&R policy.
It's completely illegitimate, factional, and unprincipled.
Mana Drain does not have a right to be good in this format. A right to play it, sure. But manipulating the B&R list to make Mana Drain good is completely unjustifiable.
@HouseOfCards I think combo was shut down hard by chalice which is part of the reason it went away. But instead of combo coming back, blue decks just started packing MD flusterstorm, mindbreak trap, etc to shut it down harder. More decks running MD null rod doesn't help either.
I love playing shops and I sort of like the blue meta because it allowed me to tinker with the right lock pieces for an expected meta. I don't think shops should ever be the "majority" because at its core, it's vintage's hatebear/prison deck.
It's similar IMO to how DnT always has game against the different delver variants in legacy, but will never be the most popular deck simply because the cards are individually shit and require a specific meta to shine. If everyone in vintage started playing 20 lands (or something else that makes a taxing effect less power i.e. landstill), shops would stop being as good.
I think we're only as good as the greedy blue meta is.
@desolutionist I believe mtggoldfish had a bot to scrape data from all the events, so it's definitely possible. It's not like MTGO has an API to pull this data from though so I never seriously considered attempting to automate this. It would certainly be great if someone wants to look into this route.
As a less daunting task, someone could figure out how to take a screengrab of the results from every round and convert it into text that's easier to work with. Several of us tried to figure out a way to do this over a year ago, but after minimal effort led to incomplete results we gave up. It's much easier to do metagame analyses for paper events because I just open the .WER file in notepad and parse the results.
I'm not sure if this is something you've been playing for a while, but I'm interested in your approach. (Specifically the Sylvan Caryatid)
How was the Caryatid? Could you envision a Vintage deck that plays more than one? Or is it just only viable as a singleton with GSZ?
I've been testing GSZ for about a month and a half. The list I played on the VSL had no general meta applicability as it was tuned for what I expected in the Pod.
The Caryatid is great. I like the extra acceleration to pump out Jace, GSZ, Leo, and the Titan and to have a residual board position after Gushing. I prefer that mana sources simply do their job and had no patience anymore for the hassle of Deathrite Shaman, where you have no idea whether it will generate mana due to the ubiquity of Misstep, Plow, Decay, surprise Dig Through Times, and opposing Shamans as well as the awkwardness that results when there are no lands in the graveyard.
If there is any deck that would run more than 1 Caryatid, it would be a Superfriends list with 4 CMC sweepers/Moat where you really benefit from the color fixing and significantly from the untargetable 0/3 blocker while setting up or defending walkers. I would definitely play a Sylvan Caryatid and Sylvan Library in Nahiri if I ran it again.
@enderfall Honestly, I thought the field now wasnt nearly as good as last time I played the P9C. Even at 4-0 some opponents played very suboptimal. For example, in my previous P9C I just got owned by Diophan and ended up in 9th. So I'm not too sure how much this data even tells you about the various matchups.
I've missed the last two Power 9 Challenges, sadly. I need to plan my schedule better. If I had made it, Oath would have performed better.
I'm generally happy for Saheeli Oath to continue to be underrated. If I sideboard correctly and play patiently, I can beat other Gush decks reasonably well.
Meanwhile, Shops is a good matchup if I can counter the first disruption spell (Thorn, Sphere, Revoker, etc.) and either lay down an Oath or get a Dack on the board. White Eldrazi, however, is a real problem: the new Thalia is even more painful than the old Thalia.
If I were to say anything about the results of this challenge, it would be that the MTGO meta is really swingy. People really move back and forth across the archetypes. There are some of us who play one archetype exclusively, or at least 90%+ of the time, but more people seem to really react strongly to the last big tournament.