How does TMD feel about an active DCI in vintage?

It's really hard to print cards and anticipate the actual effect in Vintage - especially when you don't test the format as Wizards R&D admitted. Just read any of the Vintage set reviews. I would much rather Wizards be proactive in managing the format through restrictions than print cards that may not have the intended effect, either by being unplayable or degenerate and unfun. Especially when you can't ban the card in the future like you are able to in other formats. The worse-case scenario is that you unrestrict the card 3 months later.

Yes. I won't venture into guessing what people were thinking when they designed cards, but I agree on Nature's Claim. Also, the best examples I would say are Containment Priest and the number one, Grafdigger's Cage. I am most often an Oath player, and I think those cards are totally reasonable and fair. They blunt the effect of hugely broken cards in Vintage, the bulk of those cards still see pretty robust play. (Oath, Yawg Will, Tinker, and Bazaar shinanigans) So I'll venture to say that we can agree cards can be printed in contemporary editions which balance out Vintage.

As for Dig, Treasure Cruise, Mentor, we can disagree peacefully on this one. I’m just not convinced that these are catastrophes. (And I never played any sort of multi-dig, multi-cruise stuff myself.) Nor was I ever convinced that Lodestone was a problem. I’ll just go back to the statement of explanation made by the DCI, in which they claim Workshop is overrepresented. Obviously, I don’t have access to the proprietary data, but looking at mtgtop8, shops are at best a third of the metagame. They are less commonly played than Gush for example, and vastly less common than Force of Will. Should we expect that they are on track for the next round of restrictions? Those must be overrepresented if Shops is.

I’m expecting somebody to suggest that Shops might be much more common online, which could be true, and I am willing to believe. But DCI ought to draw on the whole game, since their decisions affect the whole game correspondingly. When one looks at a shallow Zipf's curve (which is what a stable ecosystem of this kind should look like) Shops was never overrepresented in any real sense. Overrepresented compared to what? All the cards ever printed? Some arbitrary ratio known to the DCI?

These decks are just the ones people want to play the most. And that’s fine. They aren’t more than half of the meta, they aren’t even much more than a third each at their height. And most importantly, they aren’t winning at an extreme rate. These decks win a little more than half their games. They are just the decks people liked to play… So what? Are we going to restrict the most popular deck every so often simply because people like it, or because famous people’s pet decks do badly against them? This is bad policy. Let the ecosystem correct on its own. If people won’t back off shops after this, or if Mentor play spikes to 40% because of it, then those Mentor players will get to watch people packing 4x Supreme Verdicts or Toxic Deluge in their SB roll over them, and the meta will diversify. Or if heaven forbid, people continue to play shops simply because they like it, and the tacit threat inside the DCI announcement comes to pass and Mishra’s Workshop actually gets restricted. THAT is what a catastrophe looks like.

@Topical_Island One of the reasons why I consider Mentor to be a terrible design mistake is how little counterplay there is to it. Those cards that you mentioned can take out Mentor, but they're very expensive. Supreme Verdict costs more mana than Mentor itself. That's hardly an efficient solution.

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi That's fine. I just want to be clear on what we mean when we say "terrible" design. (Ancestral is terrible. Tinker is terrible... If you want to say Mentor is terrible too. That's cool.) We are way in side conversation mode here anyway. And maybe I'm just in a different meta and haven't seen Mentor go nuts like you have. I'll give you that its a really powerful cards and all. Just, in a format with Vault+Key, Oath, Tendrils, Tinker+Robot... it seems... About that good? I mean, it kills you fast. It's very very strong. But I don't think Mentor decks are winning like 70% of their matches or anything insane right? It's vintage. The best way to deal with it, is the same as with all the other things I listed. Just get control of the game and kill the other guy first, right? As it always has been and always shall be.

last edited by Topical_Island

@Topical_Island I don't disagree with anything you said.

@joshuabrooks said:

There's been a ton of talk recently regarding the April 1 B/R. In the early days of Vintage, Type 1 player begged for any attention they could get from the DCI. In recent years, the B/R list stayed pretty stagnant. In the last two years, Vintage enjoyed a flurry of high profile restrictions, and rumors of an overhaul.

I know lots of pros have been pretty vocal about what they would like to see, but pros are also used to cards getting banned, and they often seem to like an objective "best deck" for each format. They then tweak that "best" deck to their liking. Vintage players often define a healthy metagame as one that puts the most variety into a Top 8. This is a pretty big difference. I also think that pros struggle with the randomness of Vintage and the "oops, I win" nature of a lot of games.

For many years I think Vintage has been somewhat self-governing, where after some time, the consensus chooses cards that should be nominated for restriction (via high profile articles or clamor). But with highly influential pros now weighing in, does TMD prefer the DCI taking things into their own hands and shaping the format? Do you trust the DCI in vintage? (I ask this in sincerity, not in alarm).

I'd love to hear what people think are the most important factors in Vintage to consider, and whether you think the DCI will consider those things. Should the goal be simply making it the most balanced format? Is it taking historic cards and decks into consideration. Should paper outweigh MTGO? Should any cards be untouchable?

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.

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi said:

@Topical_Island I'm less fond of attempts to balance the format through new printings, when you consider that Wizards does not test whatsoever for Vintage. An example of a card made specifically for Vintage that worked out really well is Nature's Claim. Examples of cards made for Vintage that worked out terribly are Treasure Cruise and Monastery Mentor. Disastrous things can happen if Wizards isn't careful with what they print.

Also, wasn't LSG designed specifically with Vintage in mind? I could've sworn I read that somewhere before.

@Smmenen said:

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.

@Winterstar said:

@Smmenen said:

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?

last edited by joshuabrooks
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