SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?"


  • TMD Supporter

    Linky: http://mtgcast.com/mtgcast-podcast-shows/active-podcast-shows/so-many-insane-plays/so-many-insane-plays-podcast-episode-63-where-do-we-go-from-here

    Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian look at the Banned and Restricted list update, the Q1 Metagame and what they mean for the future of the format.

    Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.

    0:00:00: Announcements
    0:00:00: March 2017 Banned and Restricted List Update
    0:54:40: Gitaxian Probe
    1:07:00: Mental Misstep
    1:25:15: Paradoxical Outcome and Gush
    1:37:00: Preordain
    1:52:00: Metagame Updates

    Links:
    ā€“ March 13, 2017 Banned and Restricted Announcement
    ā€“ Eternal Weekend Paris 3/31-4/2



  • Thanks for the podcast Stephen and Kevin. I have only listened to the general section so far.

    Perhaps this question went unasked because it has been previously covered, but the announcement made me wonder if WOTC cares about the results from unsanctioned vintage tournaments. Specifically, do they care about results more than secondarily through any negative "feedback from the community" that they might generate?

    What prompted this question is the sentence from the B&R announcement "However, we have a large data set [tournament, not data set] coming with the European Eternal Weekend Vintage Championship at the beginning of April." My immediate reaction was that Eternal Extravaganzas are roughly the size of EW: Europe last year. Does WOTC care about what happened yesterday in Baltimore?

    Personally, I found "[f]or Vintage, data is often difficult to gather" a bit laughable since there is very detailed data being handed to them on a platter. Do they know it exists? It seems a sad potential state of affairs if the top eights of two Eternal Weekends a year are going to determine what cards are restricted or unrestricted. Note that last year @stsung and @Thiim asked Bazaar of Moxen for access to every decklists to make a metagame report but their request was denied.


  • TMD Supporter

    The sound quality for Kevin's voice is much better in this one. Maybe just a little less reverb next time and it would be perfect. Steve's voice still sounds like he's coming in over the telephone šŸ˜…

    Later in the podcast, it becomes really choppy, (especially for Steve) like a bad compressor effect setting. I definitely can appreciate the effort toward better sound quality though.



  • @desolutionist I believe they do the podcast over Skype and record on Kevin's end, so that's why Steve's voice is always a little bit worse. Is that so @Smmenen ?



  • What do you all think about the Preordain restriction idea? I think it's one of the silliest proposals made thus far as most Mentor decks would just run 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Ancestral, 1 Brainstorm, 2-4 Git Probe, and 2-3 Serum Visions and not break a sweat. That's my opinion and not backed by data as yet, but please think carefully about what you think limiting decks to 1 Preordain would really accomplish.



  • @Stormanimagus I agree. I think that it's difficult to justify the continued restriction of Ponder in lieu of Preordain being unrestricted and I think that's especially true now that Mental Misstep has been printed. It may even be true of Brainstorm but I don't care to argue that position at this time.
    If people are frustrated by the dominance of Mentor then Monastery Mentor is the only card that can be restricted that would address the issue. There is too much redundancy in the form of other available draw spells for anything else to be effective. There are so many card filtering cantrips that have been printed that their restriction is no longer an effective way to address the problem strategies that rely on them. I'm not even confident that they are problematic in and of themselves without the additional card advantage created by Monastery Mentor and to a lesser degree Pyromancer. It seems that creating a 1/1 with prowess is almost as good as just drawing an additional card. It is arguably better than drawing a card in a number of situations. If Monastery Mentor drew a card instead of creating a token I think it's restriction would have already taken place (or rather that it would never pass development and be printed to begin with) but perhaps what it does in Vintage is too close to that alternate reality. In Standard, the format for which it was developed, there were no ways for it to be used to generate the amount of card advantage that it does in Vintage.
    Alternately, if cantrip based strategies were still the major issue after a mentor restriction then it could be argued that all card filtering cantrips that cost one mana (or less) should be restricted since they would have to be considered unilaterally problematic. This would mean restricting Preordain at the very least but likely quite a few other analogues.



  • I found myself hanging out to hear thoughts and opinions on a mentor restriction. It was alluded several times, but not explicitly discussed.



  • I think that Preordain is instrumental in combatting Workshop decks especially for tempo strategies. I do think that Mentor needs to be restricted because it is probably more efficient than Yawg Will and Tendrils combined. Not only is it just as powerful as both cards, it can be played on one turn, and then it can be used on the next turn with more mana further increasing its effectiveness. Restricting Mentor would not end the token strategy because Young Pyromancer can be used in combination with Mentor. I also think Gitaxian Probe should be restricted because it undermines a fundamental element of the game that enables various strategies to be implemented by: the ability to view the opponent's hand, draw a card, pay 0 mana, and then obtain the information to potentially carry out one's own strategy without flaw. This too much to be done more than one time without the help of another card such as Snapcaster Mage or Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. The combination of Mentor and Gitaxian Probe go against any strategic rationalization that a format should stand for. Playing a 56 card deck with the most efficient win condition in the game is further taken advantage of by Mentor's ability to gain from anything except creature spells and land. This requires no planning once the card is in play.

    Paradoxical Outcome is a card that when it is nearly at its worst amounts to an Ancestral Recall with additional mana open. Although I cannot justify calling for its restriction I think it is more worthy of being restricted than Dig Through Time.



  • Great episode as usual. Thank you for doing this.

    One piece that struck me as odd was the insistence that Workshop decks don't run 1-mana spells because the right one hasn't come along. There's definitely some truth to that, but there are design and balance reasons as well. Unless the spell costs ā™¦, any deck can run it. The place where Workshops gains a distinct advantage is when the spell costs 2+ mana, all of which is generic and/or colorless. Spells that any deck can play, like Pithing Needle and Grafdigger's Cage, do little to distinguish the Workshop deck from other decks in the format. I can attest that Mental Misstep is a powerful tool against Workshops - you just need to be in the Dredge matchup first.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    The sound quality for Kevin's voice is much better in this one. Maybe just a little less reverb next time and it would be perfect. Steve's voice still sounds like he's coming in over the telephone šŸ˜…

    Later in the podcast, it becomes really choppy, (especially for Steve) like a bad compressor effect setting. I definitely can appreciate the effort toward better sound quality though.

    I listened to the first half of the podcast, and not long into the announcements my audio became really poor. Roughly every 7th word was dropped or silent/lost.

    That's very frustrating to listen to, so I'm sorry about that. I'm not sure why. I've got a new router, headset, and I record directly into a local recording program, and send it to Kevin, where he mixes both audio. I don't think Kevin even realized how bad it was. There were a couple of places in the audio where I wish he had, during editing, just cut out what I was saying and conveyed the idea anyway, like reading the DCI announcement...

    @Stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    What do you all think about the Preordain restriction idea? I think it's one of the silliest proposals made thus far as most Mentor decks would just run 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Ancestral, 1 Brainstorm, 2-4 Git Probe, and 2-3 Serum Visions and not break a sweat. That's my opinion and not backed by data as yet, but please think carefully about what you think limiting decks to 1 Preordain would really accomplish.

    This is a topic that needs to be debated more fully at a future point, but here are a few things to say.

    First of all, going from 4 Preordain to 1 Preordain and 2-3 Serum Vision or Sleight of Hand is a massive downgrade. So much so that I think most Mentor decks and perhaps Gush decks generally would simply give up the Turbo-Xerox design approach and just increase lands commensurately. In fact, this has already been happening.

    To some extent, Gush decks today aren't even playing the Turbo Xerox game plan, although Rich talks it up quite a bit. Playing a 16-17 lands and 4 Moxen and Lotus, with more lands in the board, isn't really "Turbo Xerox" anymore. Turbo Xerox is playing 13-14 lands and a few Moxen.

    Second, consider that pretty much all of the Paradoxical Mentor decks run 3-4 Preordain. That's because Preordain is fundamentally insane by itself with Mentor. I posit in this podcast that if Gush were restricted, the Mentor deck would pretty much exist as it is now, except with 1 Gush, 1 Dig, 1 Cruise, 4 Preordain, 2-4 JVP, and be barely slowed. Alternatively, people would just play Paradoxical Mentor with 3-4 Preordain, and the rest of the same cards (1 Dig, 1 Cruise, etc.).

    In other words, any Mentor deck you can design will likely play 3-4 Preordain with or without Gush. One of the most abusive things you can do with Mentor in play is cast Preordain. It's sometimes just better than Gush because you are pretty sure to find a good spell to play, and can chain deeper.

    So, what I'm saying is that, at the end of the day, Preordain is the best card to simultaneously weaken Gush AND Mentor. It undermines the ability to build decks that efficiently maximize all of Gush's advantages while also slow Mentor.

    Finally, Preordain is already often better than Ponder in Gush decks, and Ponder is already restricted. There is a fundamental incongruence of having Ponder restricted and Preordain not. Restricting both (or unrestricting both) would correct that incongruence.



  • @Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    @desolutionist said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    The sound quality for Kevin's voice is much better in this one. Maybe just a little less reverb next time and it would be perfect. Steve's voice still sounds like he's coming in over the telephone šŸ˜…

    Later in the podcast, it becomes really choppy, (especially for Steve) like a bad compressor effect setting. I definitely can appreciate the effort toward better sound quality though.

    I listened to the first half of the podcast, and not long into the announcements my audio became really poor. Roughly every 7th word was dropped or silent/lost.

    That's very frustrating to listen to, so I'm sorry about that. I'm not sure why. I've got a new router, headset, and I record directly into a local recording program, and send it to Kevin, where he mixes both audio. I don't think Kevin even realized how bad it was. There were a couple of places in the audio where I wish he had, during editing, just cut out what I was saying and conveyed the idea anyway, like reading the DCI announcement...

    @Stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    What do you all think about the Preordain restriction idea? I think it's one of the silliest proposals made thus far as most Mentor decks would just run 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Ancestral, 1 Brainstorm, 2-4 Git Probe, and 2-3 Serum Visions and not break a sweat. That's my opinion and not backed by data as yet, but please think carefully about what you think limiting decks to 1 Preordain would really accomplish.

    This is a topic that needs to be debated more fully at a future point, but here are a few things to say.

    First of all, going from 4 Preordain to 1 Preordain and 2-3 Serum Vision or Sleight of Hand is a massive downgrade. So much so that I think most Mentor decks and perhaps Gush decks generally would simply give up the Turbo-Xerox design approach and just increase lands commensurately. In fact, this has already been happening.

    To some extent, Gush decks today aren't even playing the Turbo Xerox game plan, although Rich talks it up quite a bit. Playing a 16-17 lands and 4 Moxen and Lotus, with more lands in the board, isn't really "Turbo Xerox" anymore. Turbo Xerox is playing 13-14 lands and a few Moxen.

    Second, consider that pretty much all of the Paradoxical Mentor decks run 3-4 Preordain. That's because Preordain is fundamentally insane by itself with Mentor. I posit in this podcast that if Gush were restricted, the Mentor deck would pretty much exist as it is now, except with 1 Gush, 1 Dig, 1 Cruise, 4 Preordain, 2-4 JVP, and be barely slowed. Alternatively, people would just play Paradoxical Mentor with 3-4 Preordain, and the rest of the same cards (1 Dig, 1 Cruise, etc.).

    In other words, any Mentor deck you can design will likely play 3-4 Preordain with or without Gush. One of the most abusive things you can do with Mentor in play is cast Preordain. It's sometimes just better than Gush because you are pretty sure to find a good spell to play, and can chain deeper.

    So, what I'm saying is that, at the end of the day, Preordain is the best card to simultaneously weaken Gush AND Mentor. It undermines the ability to build decks that efficiently maximize all of Gush's advantages while also slow Mentor.

    Finally, Preordain is already often better than Ponder in Gush decks, and Ponder is already restricted. There is a fundamental incongruence of having Ponder restricted and Preordain not. Restricting both (or unrestricting both) would correct that incongruence.

    Stephen, the only point you made that makes virtually any sense at all is the incongruence point. Show me results with it and I'll eat my words. Paraodoxcial decks don't tend to run a full playset of preordains cause they don't have room. Look at Reid Duke's list or any "hybrid" PO Mentor list. Many of them are running 1-2 Preordains. Stephen, you are flat wrong if you think that Preordain is the problem. Preordain doesn't functionally make mana while drawing cards and doesn't create an unbeatable card advantage with Dack Fayden. Almost no one has suggested that Preordain is the issue and there's a reason for this. A card like Serum Visions does a perfectly acceptable job of imitating preordain early game in finding lands. and you can just run 2 copies to allow for not getting flooded with them late game when the card would be undesirable. So I contend that turbo-xerox would be still totally possible with something like 2 Serum Visions, 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Brainstorm, 3-4 Git Probe. Sure, you might run 1 additional land, but you would still essentially be erring more on the side of turbo-xeron and Gush would still be inexusably broken. Gush is a uniquely powerful card the likes of which Vintage will probably never see again. It does things that no other card is capabale of and, sadly, Mentor was the card that put it over the top. I think we need to either restrict Gush or Mentor, but I'd tend to prefer restricting Gush and I think it would more unequivocally solve the issue of the Gush Mentor Deck. If players just move to Paradoxical after that, GREAT! That deck is more of a glass cannon and, therefore much easier to hate out.



  • @Stormanimagus http://www.blackmagicgaming.com/bmg-extra-weekend-vintage-to-report-nyse-v-and-ee6-qualifier/

    Also you can put me on record saying I'll snap run shops rather than play serum visions. That card is awful and is the reason I refuse to play modern.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    @Smmenen said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    @desolutionist said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    The sound quality for Kevin's voice is much better in this one. Maybe just a little less reverb next time and it would be perfect. Steve's voice still sounds like he's coming in over the telephone šŸ˜…

    Later in the podcast, it becomes really choppy, (especially for Steve) like a bad compressor effect setting. I definitely can appreciate the effort toward better sound quality though.

    I listened to the first half of the podcast, and not long into the announcements my audio became really poor. Roughly every 7th word was dropped or silent/lost.

    That's very frustrating to listen to, so I'm sorry about that. I'm not sure why. I've got a new router, headset, and I record directly into a local recording program, and send it to Kevin, where he mixes both audio. I don't think Kevin even realized how bad it was. There were a couple of places in the audio where I wish he had, during editing, just cut out what I was saying and conveyed the idea anyway, like reading the DCI announcement...

    @Stormanimagus said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    What do you all think about the Preordain restriction idea? I think it's one of the silliest proposals made thus far as most Mentor decks would just run 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Ancestral, 1 Brainstorm, 2-4 Git Probe, and 2-3 Serum Visions and not break a sweat. That's my opinion and not backed by data as yet, but please think carefully about what you think limiting decks to 1 Preordain would really accomplish.

    This is a topic that needs to be debated more fully at a future point, but here are a few things to say.

    First of all, going from 4 Preordain to 1 Preordain and 2-3 Serum Vision or Sleight of Hand is a massive downgrade. So much so that I think most Mentor decks and perhaps Gush decks generally would simply give up the Turbo-Xerox design approach and just increase lands commensurately. In fact, this has already been happening.

    To some extent, Gush decks today aren't even playing the Turbo Xerox game plan, although Rich talks it up quite a bit. Playing a 16-17 lands and 4 Moxen and Lotus, with more lands in the board, isn't really "Turbo Xerox" anymore. Turbo Xerox is playing 13-14 lands and a few Moxen.

    Second, consider that pretty much all of the Paradoxical Mentor decks run 3-4 Preordain. That's because Preordain is fundamentally insane by itself with Mentor. I posit in this podcast that if Gush were restricted, the Mentor deck would pretty much exist as it is now, except with 1 Gush, 1 Dig, 1 Cruise, 4 Preordain, 2-4 JVP, and be barely slowed. Alternatively, people would just play Paradoxical Mentor with 3-4 Preordain, and the rest of the same cards (1 Dig, 1 Cruise, etc.).

    In other words, any Mentor deck you can design will likely play 3-4 Preordain with or without Gush. One of the most abusive things you can do with Mentor in play is cast Preordain. It's sometimes just better than Gush because you are pretty sure to find a good spell to play, and can chain deeper.

    So, what I'm saying is that, at the end of the day, Preordain is the best card to simultaneously weaken Gush AND Mentor. It undermines the ability to build decks that efficiently maximize all of Gush's advantages while also slow Mentor.

    Finally, Preordain is already often better than Ponder in Gush decks, and Ponder is already restricted. There is a fundamental incongruence of having Ponder restricted and Preordain not. Restricting both (or unrestricting both) would correct that incongruence.

    Stephen, the only point you made that makes virtually any sense at all is the incongruence point. This UW Paradoxical Mentor concoction of yours is just YOUR pet deck. Show me results with it and I'll eat my words.

    Well, there are a half dozen daily appearances with it, and pretty close versions that have done well in paper tournaments, but that's not my point.

    My point was that there will be plenty of viable Mentor centric decks all using 3-4 Preordain if Gush were restricted, and they will barely lose a step. I think restricting Gush will do to Mentor essentially what restricting Dig did: virtually nothing.

    Paraodoxcial decks don't tend to run a full playset of preordains cause they don't have room. Look at Reid Duke's list or any "hybrid" PO Mentor list. Many of them are running 1-2 Preordains.

    That's not a Mentor deck. Mentor decks run 3-4 Mentor.

    Stephen, you are flat wrong if you think that Preordain is the problem.

    Well, that assumes there is a problem. Some people believe there is. Some don't.

    But, for the sake of argument, let's assume there is a problem. I would restrict Preordain before Gush for the same reason I'd restrict Mox Opal before Paradoxical Outcome. 1) It makes more sense based upon the current B&R list, and 2) if you can weaken the draw engine by other means, and leave it a part of the metagame, and thereby maximize the strategic diversity in the metagame, I would.

    Preordain doesn't functionally make mana while drawing cards and doesn't create an unbeatable card advantage with Dack Fayden.

    No, but Preordain does other insane things. By looking at potentially 3 cards with each cast, Preordain has unparalled digging power for an unrestricted card.

    Look how many Preordains are in the 2014 Vintage Championship Top 8 decklists compared to Gushes. 6 Preordain decks, and 4 Gush decks, and 21 Preordains to 10 Gushes.

    Fast forward to 2015 Vintage Champs Top 8:
    3 Preordain Decks, 2 Gush decks; 11 Prerdains, 6 Gushes

    There was only 1 Preordain and 1 Gush deck in the 2016 Vintage Championship top 8, so that one was a wash, but there is a plenty of evidence that Preordain is both more widely played than Gush and therefore a deeper problem.

    Preordain is insane as part of the delve engine. More importantly, it's amazingly good at finding cards like Oath and Paradoxical Outcome - key 4-ofs.

    Almost no one has suggested that Preordain is the issue and there's a reason for this.

    And no one thought Ponder was a problem either, and very few called for the restriction of Brainstorm. But the DCI restricted both cards.

    There is a reason both Ponder and Preordain are restricted in Modern. Non-Vintage players know that these cards are insane.

    A card like Serum Visions does a perfectly acceptable job of imitating preordain early game in finding lands. and you can just run 2 copies to allow for not getting flooded with them late game when the card would be undesirable.

    I agree that some Gush decks could run Serum Visions, but I don't think many would. BTW, they would run Sleight of Hand over Serum Visions, as that's what we did in 2007, just before Ponder was printed. Serum Visions was legal, but Sleight of Hand was better.

    So I contend that turbo-xerox would be still totally possible with something like 2 Serum Visions, 1 Preordain, 1 Ponder, 1 Brainstorm, 3-4 Git Probe. Sure, you might run 1 additional land, but you would still essentially be erring more on the side of turbo-xeron and Gush would still be inexusably broken. So, get off your soap box and start listening to reason. Gush is a uniquely powerful card the likes of which Vintage will probably never see again. It does things that no other card is capabale of and

    I agree it does things no card is capable of, but that's true of tons of absurdly powerful cards, like Dig Through Time and Paradoxical Outcome.

    , sadly, Mentor was the card that put it over the top. I think we need to either restrict Gush or Mentor, but I'd tend to prefer restricting Gush and I think it would more unequivocally solve the issue of the Gush Mentor Deck.

    But that's my point. I don't think it will at all.

    I don't think restricting Gush will do anything whatsoever to the power level of Mentor decks. Just look at what restricting Dig did to them. The problem wasn't the printing of Mentor - it was the printing of Cruise and Dig. Those cards, even restricted, are fundamentally problematic to the format now. Because with Cruise, Dig, and Gush, you can restrict all three cards, and you can still use them as a reliable restricted singleton draw engine, and recur them with JVP.

    The pivot point in the last Gush era was the printing of Delve spells. Nothing can stop them now.

    We are now at a point, after the printing of JVP, where a 1 Gush, 1 Dig, 1 Cruise deck is still going to be just as prevalent as the Gush deck is now.



  • If Gush, Mental Misstep, and Gitaxian Probe, were all restricted (and mind you Im 100% a blue player), this would open 9 slots in a lot of decks. These slots would most likely become One cc removal spells (claim, bolt, swords, grudge, fatal push, duress, thoughtseize etc etc), which would help against Mentor, AND help shore up MUD matches, to the point that they could even unrestrict Lodestone. Also it would free up Dark Ritual since Derpstep is gone, and now the Ritual Pillar, whether storm, darkdepths combo, or 4 Hymn/4 Mindtwist.dec, all become viable again. Creating more deck archetypes, adding more removal maindeck to handle Mentors/Lodestones, and making a lot of players happy since they no longer auto lose to turn 1 Gitax Probe/Derpstep seems very good for the Vintage Community. Id much rather my opponent plat turn one Lodestone (without chalice backup, leave that shit restricted), than have some n00b git probe me, derpstep my brainstorm, and go off while I do nothing and the know I cant. Git probe feels very "cheaty". Derpstep was simply a fucking mistake and needs to be erased from all history books.



  • Thank you for this podcast, I thought it was very pertinent, especially the analysis of the candidacy of various cards for restriction.

    I felt like you touched on this, but that it's worth mentioning again that each person's perception of the B&R decisions made are shaped by their opinion of when Vintage was best and/or what they view as a healthy metagame. If someone thought that Vintage was best in 2002 and wish we could go back to the days when Workshops and Dredge were an afterthought then they might advocate something like restricting Bazaar and Workshop. Just because I don't agree that this is how Vintage should look doesn't mean that person is wrong. I also think that someone could make a claim that a metagame where Vault-Key and Blightsteel Colossus see almost no play or that changes need to occur until Bazaars as a pillar become better is not healthy.

    My personal opinion of when Vintage was best is probably right before Khans came out. Just about everything was viable, or at least more viable than many of them are today. I also think that a healthy metagame is one in which one deck is not unbeatable, which I think is the case now. I do think that Mentor is overpowered as shown by the invalidation of many flavors of blue since it's printing, but I don't think it warrants restriction.

    Steve, I would be interested to hear your take on @diophan 's post. I can't help but interpret the B&R announcement as meaning that MODO and proxy events (Like the 88 person Eternal Extravaganza) do not influence their decision when compared with the European Vintage Championship which last year has 98 players. WOTC almost solely paying attention to the Top 8 of 2 events a year is scary, especially when you think about it through the lens of the ebbs and flows of the metagame. Sometimes this is based off of printings or restrictions, but more often they are natural developments. Ballista was printed and Workshops surged, then Mentor adapted with Null Rods and Workshops performed worse. Next, the metagame evolved further with Mentor decks that didn't play Stony Silence succeeding. Perhaps the next step is Outcome Storm finding success because of the rise in popularity of Mentor without Stony Silence in the main.My point in saying this is that I worry that taking 2 snapshots of the metagame could lead to extrapolation that is not warranted and a banned and restricted announcement that addresses a pivotal card in a deck that just so happens to be extremely well positioned for 2 events but were answered organically for the rest of the year.



  • After hearing all the podcast, I still want to hear your views on Mentor being restricted. Seems like it would solve every issue you tackled in every card at once. Young Pyromancer does NOT substitute Mentor, since it's a very inferior card. The clock is not nearly as fast and it's very much killed by any piece of removal you can imagine (even Fatal Push).

    I believe just restricting Mentor and leaving all the blue spells unrestricted is the best route.


  • TMD Supporter

    @fsecco said in SMIP Podcast #63: "Where Do We Go From Here?":

    After hearing all the podcast, I still want to hear your views on Mentor being restricted. Seems like it would solve every issue you tackled in every card at once. Young Pyromancer does NOT substitute Mentor, since it's a very inferior card. The clock is not nearly as fast and it's very much killed by any piece of removal you can imagine (even Fatal Push).

    I believe just restricting Mentor and leaving all the blue spells unrestricted is the best route.

    As I said in another thread, I think that restricting Mentor would have a measurable, non-trivial reduction on the % of Gush decks in the top of the metagame (whether measured as 3-1 or 4-0 daily results or as a % of all Top8s). In February, there were 30 reported Gush decks in the dailies (out of 109 reported decks), but only 18 of those were Mentor (UW, Jeskai, and 4c Sylvan). If that ratio holds, then roughly 60% of Gush decks are Mentor decks. That's similar to numbers I've seen in the past. Based upon that ratio (Gush Mentor decks to Gush decks in the metagame), it's completely reasonable to believe that restricting Mentor would precipitate a reduction in the % of Gush decks in these metagames.

    The challenge is predicting exactly how much.

    The largest possible reduction would be the 60% of Mentor decks as a ratio of all Gush decks. This would only happen if each of the Gush Mentor players switched to a non-Gush deck following Mentor's restriction.

    The smallest possible reduction would be 0%, which would only happen if every Mentor piloted stuck with a Gush strategy, but replaced Mentor with Pyromancer, Hydra, or some other mixture of substitutes.

    To put this math into % of the metagame terms, continuing with the February dailies, Gush decks were 27.5% of all reported decks. Gush Mentor decks were 16.5% of all reported decks. (However, there were at least 7 non-Gush Mentor decks reported in February, such that Mentor was actually 23% of all reported decks (not counting Mentor appearing in landstill, etc.- but this isn't germane to the more narrow inquiry of the potential impact of the restriction of Mentor on prevalence of Gush.)

    So, the rosiest scenario is that Gush decks fall by whatever % of overall Gush decks employ Mentor (roughly 60%). And the most pessimistic projection is that all Gush Mentor pilots would substitute Mentor with something else, but continue to play Gush.

    The truth is likely somewhere in between. But predicting exactly whether the decline in Gush decks would be closer to 60% or 0% is very difficult.

    In theory, the best data point we could use is to look at the % of Gush decks in the metagame before the printing of Mentor at the beginning of 2015. Unfortunately, there are multiple problems with this approach.

    First of all, no one collected this data in many years. The Q1 2011 data has overall Gush decks at 12.5% of the metagame, and the Q2 2011 data has Gush at 11.1%. But we have no data after that but before Q1 of 2016.

    Second, even if you had that data, I'm not sure how useful it would be. Anything before Innistrad, such as the two data points just mentioned, doesn't account for Young Pyromancer, or the fact that Dig and Cruise exist. Also, Mentor arrived (or was arriving) after Treasure Cruise was restricted, but before Dig was restricted, but also long after Dack was around. But even if you could look at the data pre-Mentor, it wouldn't account for the fact that you can play 1 Dig and 1 Cruise still. So, I'm not sure there is a real world data set that you could use even as a reliable anchoring effect baseline even if someone had collected it.

    So, any estimate is going to be very rough, and mostly speculation. That said, here's how I'd think about it.

    If anywhere close to 60% of current Gush pilots are playing Mentor, as the February dailies suggest, then restricting Mentor is almost certainly going to have a statistically significant impact. I think a realistic low end minimum impact would likely be a 10% decline in Gush decks. In overall metagame terms, that would equate to roughly a 3-4% decline in the % of Gush decks in the overall top performing part of the metagame, so a decline from 30% to 26%, say or 27% to 23%, depending on the month. In other words, this would mean that roughly 16% of Mentor pilots would switch to a non-Gush deck. That assumes that roughly 84% of Gush Mentor pilots would play another Gush deck or just replace 3 Mentors with something else.

    Yet, I feel pretty confident predicting that would be the minimum effect, and the low-end of the band.

    I think it's probably more realistic that probably 33% of Gush Mentor players would switch to a non-Gush deck. If that happens, that means that 20% decline in Gush decks, or a 6% overall decline in the % of Gush decks in the entire metagame. That would take, for example, Gush from 30% of the metagame to 24% or 22% of the metagame instead of 27%.

    I don't think, it's improbable, however, to see something like 50% of Gush Mentor players turn to a non-Gush deck. This would mean a 30% decline Gush decks in the metagame, or an 8% reduction as a % of the overall metagame, from like 30% to 22% or 27% to 19%.

    Something more than that is also very possible, but less likely than those scenarios, I would guess.

    The key question, as I've stated before, is what people feel is the maximum acceptable % of Gush decks in the metagame. 30%? 27.5%? 25%? 20%? Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you have different restriction targets to try to get Gush under an acceptable threshold.



  • Also, system-level effects don't exist :P



  • @Smmenen The thing is that I don't think the problem with the meta is the amount of Gush, but that Mentor is dominant as a kill condition in Gush decks to a point where players are starting to build decks to, as you said in the podcast "mentor harder than the opponent". So a lot of the games comes to who has Mentored harder, and that gets very oppressive.

    The thing is Mentor is (almost) ALWAYS at least 2-for-1. It either trades with FoW, or you follow up with a Mox/Probe and it gets Plowed but you still get a token (EDIT: just to note that a token is not the problem, but a Monk token is. Prowess token is VERY different from an elemental 1/1 vanilla). So when you have 4 available you can just blindly gamble on turn 2-3 to see if it sticks. If it doesn't, then whatever, you have another 3 and you already 2-for-1'ed your opponent anyway. It has no drawbacks, makes game revolve around its presence and outshines every other kill condition in the format (for blue decks).

    So I really don't think Gush presence is the problem. If it stays 30% after Mentor, I feel it's OK since there'll be much more variety in Gush decks than there's now.



  • I would say that it is very easy to fall into the trap of over-complicating and over-analyzing when it comes to discussions of the B&R. While I did enjoy that post by @Smmenen (and the podcast), I have to agree that I don't think looking at it as what exact meta-percentage the Engine-level archetype is encompassing is a good way of looking at it.

    I'm in the camp of first perhaps Unrestricting a few things, but with that removed off of the table AND without re-evaluating the criteria for the B&R as it relates to Vintage which would make Probe and Misstep reasonable restrictions. The only card that truly does make sense is Mentor. As a win-condition it is incredibly compact, rewards you for playing cards that you already want to be playing instead of enforcing deckbuilding clunk, is extremely difficult to answer, and is unbelievably powerful while hitting every other check mark.

    Perhaps I am just far more averse to restricting Engine cards in this format than I am in others since in stark comparison it often is the actual win-conditions of the decks that are the most problematic to deal with. The engines are all V12 monsters, but that's what makes Vintage well... Vintage.


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