Great podcast, as usual gentlemen. I thoroughly enjoy it every time. You challenged the listeners to talk about a metagame that they enjoyed or thought was balanced.
I often think that people have rose-tinted glasses when remembering formats, and their preference usually comes down to when they played frequently and when they had success. I am guilty of that too.
I particularly loved the 2014/2015 format.
This is a result of playing frequently and also having personal success. That success was likely a result of workshop being underrated by the masses, but it was fun nevertheless. The reason I enjoyed the format so much was that there was (seemingly) a lot of meaningful choice within each archetype.
Workshop players could play 3-4 different version of workshop and hope to top8.(Martello, Terra Nova, Stax, and the fading Metalworker)
Oath players could play 3-4 different variants of Oath and hope to top8.(Traditional Oath, ShowOath, Salvager Oath, Burning Oath)
Combo players could play 3-4 variants of combo and hope to top8.(Doomsday, Charbelcher, Steel City Vault, Tendrils)
Blue Players has multiple options as well.(Big Blue, Delver, Blue Moon, Blightsteel, and even Fish or Standstill)
Now I suspect @Smmenen will tear this notion apart and say there were only a few viable decks (and might be right), but previous to the consolidation of Shops decks, it certainly felt like a wide open field, and people could play a deck they enjoyed, not solely what was optimal. This is an important facet for the contingent of players that are not "Spikes." I think once Ravager was "discovered" and Mentor was printed, the meta got real tight and narrow and you were taking a major penalty not playing Ravager shops or Mentor.
I personally feel this whole period was also right at the advent of MTGO playing a larger role in shaping the Vintage metagame (from 15 person paper tourney once a month to daily results of optimized decks). This too might have contributed to a narrowing of the field. Anyway, that's my perspective.
Other metagames that I enjoyed:2003-2004- multiple versions of "keeper" were playable, mono black was viable, TNT was awesome, and gro-tog was still developing (memory is fuzzy on this time period). 1999- You mentioned hating the meta immediately pre-Urza, but I loved it. The trinity of Zoo vs MirrorU vs Necro I thought was a great battle, with viable side decks like reanimator, etc on the side. I think a meta like this would get real old in a modern environment, but I found it enjoyable then. But then Urza came along and almost killed Type 1.